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2010 redux, 2011 resolutions

Posted at 17:47 on 3 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Happy new year, kinksters! How's 2011 shaping up for you so far? I've had a lovely, low-key few days, mostly taken up with cooking and housework, but also picking up the project threads laid aside over Christmas, scenting that new year energy on the wind.

Twelve months ago I wrote a long kinky retrospective on the year just gone. The picture that emerged was of a whirlwind of work and creative projects, at the expense of personal time and private explorations.

My resolutions were a bit long-winded, but they boiled down to four key points for improvement. Did I manage to achieve them in 2010?

1. For Tom and I to move in together, and hopefully find more time for play and domestic discipline as a result.

A half win. Most of this year has been dominated by Tom's new business start-up, which is currently struggling through its first winter but hasn't gone bust yet. I've given an awful lot of time to it, but he's given more. While in many ways he is much happier and the changes have improved both our lives, the stress of starting a new business has been very detrimental to his physical health.

Our partnership has grown and strengthened - we've had some rough patches, worked through them, and right now are greatly enjoying each other and the prospect of a shared future. Living with him, getting to see so much more of him, sharing so many experiences with him, has been great. But sex and play have been off his radar for most of the last six months. Polyamory (and lots of talking) has helped me learn patience without pressuring him, but I'll have to wait a little longer before improvements start spilling over into our shared sex and kink life.

That said, Tom and I have had a couple of epic threesomes this year, a fun video shoot with Ludwig and Kaelah, and a brilliant photoshoot with Adele and Jimmy - plus a few memorable play evenings regardless. So I can't complain too much.

As for increased D/s structure - Tom has been willing but we've both been aware of his limits, and he hasn't needed me to burden him with extra responsibility. Strangely enough I've recently started exploring this side of things with D, which is new for us. More on that later.

2. To launch my new site.

Nope, pretty much entirely for the above reasons. I've given half my year to Tom's business, and the rest of my time has been taken up by earning a living, political activism, and doing less of that overworking thing, and more of that resting and socialising thing. (Ha! Well, a bit.)

That said, I've turned things around in the last 6 weeks and have been throwing myself at the project every spare moment I have. I have plans for fundraising and investment, I've made progress with editing, post-production and brand development, I've got money put aside for the site build and I've had a couple of great shoots. I may not have achieved my aim, but I'm leaving the year feeling motivated, driven and totally fired up about this project, and I'm confident that one way or another, I can make it happen, on my own terms and in my own time.

If I make one kinky resolution for the year ahead, this is it.

3. Develop a private D/s connection with a woman (specifically, with the lovely Penny D) and generally enjoy kinky play with more ladies.

I'm happy to report that 2010 was a total win on this front. I'm going into 2011 on the arm of a dominant lady as well as my lovely men, and Penny and I have had all sorts of good times together this year, including an outing to Club Subversion. I've enjoyed bottoming to the delicious Adele Haze on a couple of memorable occasions, including a double caning from her and Abel back in January. In fact I've not had a shortage of new female lovers with a taste for spanking me, and have enjoyed hot dates with March Middleton and Serafina. I continue to be amazed at my good fortune.

Finishing School was also a landmark here - a whole weekend roleplaying with the sublime Lucy McLean and Amy Hunter (culminating in another double caning - the second of three this year, which is a theme I wholly approve of!) It turns out that I find playing with friends on a social basis (rather than with lovers on a romantic one) far easier and more appealing if the friends in question are female. Lucy and Amy provided a blinding initiation into the joys of immersive group roleplay, and I loved every minute of it. I hope to carry this trend into 2011 - I'd love to attend more roleplay events, and there are one or two lovely switches among my kinky friends that I'm keeping an interested eye on. (Look out, ladies...)

4. Generally, spending more time and energy on socialising, meeting new people and lovers, and quality time with my partners.

I think I can safely say I managed this one as well. As well as the delights described above (plus a couple of unnamed others!), paradoxically, my relationship with D has thrived since moving away from London. Long distance does seem to suit us, and the second half of this year has brought unexpected renewal, romance and kink to our partnership.

I've still tended to overwork this year, and accumulated more long-term fatigue over the summer, but I've got better at resting sensibly to recover from it. Life feels pretty good at the moment, and I'm really looking forward to the challenges and new adventures 2011 has to offer.

Reading your comments on last year's post, I'm pleased to see that some of you have fulfilled your 2010 resolutions, as well. I hope 2011 brings you everything you hope for, and more!

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Tags: Adele Haze, D, dominance and submission, kink, learning curves, Penny D, Photos, porn production, Subbing to women, Thomas Cameron

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Erotic asphyxiation: treatments of kink in therapy and the media

Posted at 16:45 on 4 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Just before Christmas, Dr Petra Boynton called my attention to a worrying article in Psychologies magazine (remember, the one which supplied the bad science which has been used to justify the idea of a UK opt-in system for online porn).

This nuanced piece of journalism, entitled "Erotic asphyxiation why do people do it?" springboarded off the unfortunate death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams, who was found mysteriously dead in his flat. As soon as it was "revealed" that he liked to look at bondage websites, speculation abounded that auto-erotic asphyxiation was the cause of death.

Public opinion has a strange relationship with erotic asphyxiation (better known to you and I as breathplay). The stereotype of the solitary version is a sad man in a suit, accidentally hanging himself to death while seeking cheap masturbatory thrills. When I was 15 my dad, aware of The Story of O's presence on my bookshelf and concerned for my moral and physical welfare, had a long Talk with me about the dangers of BDSM. He cited the tragic case of a couple he knew, wherein the gentleman was accidentally strangled during a consensual bondage game, leaving his widow harrowed by guilt.

Psychologies magazine quoted relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam, who explained to the layman reader that this bizarre yet fascinating quirk of human sexuality was "like taking a drug. As with all addictions when youre not doing it you start to fantasise about doing it." Oh dear; that doesn't bode well, for a start. There are all sorts of things I think about even when I'm not doing them. Sex, work, creative projects, music, food, things that made me laugh ... clearly those are all dangerously addictive, too.

As it happens, I enjoy breathplay a lot, but it's neither an addiction nor a core component of my kink. In fact I almost never fantasise about it - it's more about the doing. The actual 'headrush' physical stimulus enhances my orgasms, and the threat of a hand, rope or blade against my throat makes for powerful D/s play.

But never mind that, my experience apparently doesn't count for much - since according to Quilliam, practitioners of erotic asphyxiation are "usually male".

"Because a woman needs to feel safe and secure to orgasm there's a direct contradiction between the high risk of asphyxiation and pleasure."

Problematic? Oh, let me count the ways.

1. A woman needs what? This bogglingly sexist statement might be true of Susan Quilliam, but such inane generalisations are impossible to make of a whole gender, and this one in particular buys into the toxic "men need cheap thrills, women need security and romance" stereotype which damages all of us.

2. Personally, I quite like a bit of danger. In fact a hand around my throat as I'm being fucked can pretty much guarantee me a blinding orgasm. And I'm a woman.

3. Since when did orgasms equate to the sum of sexual pleasure anyway, for people of any gender?

4. Breathplay is edgy! That's sort of the point! My experience and observation strongly suggests that it's something responsible kinksters undertake warily, with trusted partners, not on a first play session with a casual fling. "Safe, sane and consensual" is the watchword of many BDSMers for a reason - everyone has boundaries, and needs those boundaries to be respected in order to enjoy risky play. Trust and security enable a better experience for everyone. It's not gendered, it's just good sense.

So not only were these damaging, incorrect generalisations peddled without comment, criticism or a balancing perspective from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, but the article closed with this gem:

Sexual therapist Simone Bienne says bondage and sado-masochistic fetishes are subconsciously related to childhood trauma. "It's about a struggle with life. They could work through their issues in a normal way, of course, talking to counsellors or using self-help books."

Talking to the kinds of counsellors who will pathologise their sexuality and make insulting assumptions about their childhoods, you mean? Hrm. Psychologists claiming that in order to be "normal" people should spend money on their services and products. Let's just think about that for a second.

Just to set the record straight: BDSM isn't a pathology, studies have provided no evidence that it's linked to trauma. The assumption that a kinky sexuality is a symptom of post-traumatic stress is harmful and outdated. There is no such thing as "normal" or "abnormal" when it comes to the colourful spectrum of human sexuality.

This sort of speculative reporting peddled as science is irresponsible, judgemental and dangeous, and sets psychology back by decades: pathologising kink is so last century. And yet many therapists and medical professionals still receive inadequate training in how to engage productively with kinky patients; and the media is all too quick to reproduce the resulting assumptions and stereotypes.

Therapists and counsellors hold a position of immense responsibility. Particularly when helping people with issues of sexuality, it is vital that they do not let ignorance or prejudice distort their duty of care. A couple of friends have already left excellent comments on the guilty Psychologies article - it would be great to see more. And a complaint or two to the writer Sophie Herdman, or editor Louise Chunn might not go amiss. They and other healthcare practitioners may find the following resources useful in coming to an understanding of kink and BDSM:

A kink in the process - Su Connan (Therapy Today, July 2010)
"Sadomasochistic sex is arguably one of the least understood and most demonised forms of consensual sexuality. How able are we to offer ethical therapy to kinky clients when there is so little awareness of the kink experience?"

Kinky clients, kinky counselling? The challenges and potentials of BDSM - Meg Barker, Alessandra Iantaffi and Camel Gupta, 2007.

Health Care Without Shame: A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and Their Caregivers - Charles Moser, 1999.

Safe, Sane and Consensual - Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism. Edited by Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker, 2007.

(Thanks to Dr Petra Boynton for the twitter chat and links.)

The bottom line is that kink is nothing to be ashamed of, not a symptom of any mental or emotional disorder, and can be a vibrant part of a healthy sexuality. Moreover, kink and BDSM practitioners often come to an enhanced understanding of their own desires through the emphasis on personal boundaries and communicative consent which arises from a responsible approach to power and pain play. All sex is risky; these themes are not exclusive to kink, merely thrown into focus. The vocabulary and discourse of kink can offer meaning to people of any sexuality, and better the sexual discourse of our society as a whole.

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Tags: Gender politics, in the news, Kink activism, Politics, rant, those crazy kinksters

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Start as you mean to go on

Posted at 00:42 on 6 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Two days after telling you all that spanking hadn't been on the horizon much for Tom and I, the new year has already proved me wrong - and I couldn't be more delighted.

The midwinter break has done us both a bit of good. Yesterday I'd finally got round to booking some time (and a venue) to film a couple of custom clips for a client, based around stress exercises and enduring punishment positions. I was a bit nervous about the exercises, so I decided to boost my energy levels and pain threshold by doing a clip with Tom first for my own site.

I'd originally thought of doing a bog-standard schoolgirl scene, so as to minimise the amount of effort and emotional energy it would take, and not detract from the exercise clips. Once Tom and I got to brainstorming ideas, though, we decided we'd have far more fun with a mystical/sci-fi/office crossover. Yes, it was as random as it sounds. But we had a hell of a lot of fun with it - and it served its purpose, in giving me a good buzz with which to approach the custom pieces for my client.



To my relief, I was able to endure the stress positions for the full 15 minutes each, despite a lot of anxiety beforehand about whether it was a good idea given my back problems (and one or two stern looks from my physio). I like to think that the endorphines from my spanking immediately beforehand played their part. After all, kneeling on a wooden stool in extended cornertime is far more interesting if you've actually just been punished.



It was even more of a relief to complete the assignment given that the shoot had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but had to be delayed by a day for reasons beyond my control. After spending the morning getting everything ready and then having to call it off before I got to shoot anything, I felt thwarted and frustrated by the delay, and began to feel that I'd never manage to shoot these damn clips. It was a real sense of achievement when I managed to survive both of them today without any further hitches.

But perhaps not being able to shoot on Tuesday was the best thing of all. Despite not being in a very kinky headspace lately, Tom had taken the time to gear himself up and get himself into the right mood to shoot a hot scene with me. When it was put on hold, I was mostly feeling down about it, but Tom's dominant (if tired!) energy was there to buoy me up again.

He made the offer that we could play anyway while we were preparing lunch. Originally, I felt so irritated about the shoot not going ahead that I turned him down - although I couldn't believe what I was saying, given how much I've missed playing with him lately. But we had lunch together, and once I felt a bit more relaxed I decided that although I needed to do a bit of work before my guest arrived in the evening to compensate for the wasted day, I would very much like a spanking if there was time.

There was time. And oh, I'm glad - it was quiet and loving and, well, not gentle exactly, Tom has a great oar of a hand, but very safe. I whimpered and tried not to squirm too much over his knee, and then I knelt up to arrange bolsters on the bed at his instruction, and melted a little bit when he started pulling his belt out through the loops of his jeans. (He teased me about that after the whipping, and I laughed. "Yeah, you don't even need to whip me, in fact. Just slide your belt out ... and slide it back in again ... and slide it out again...")

The belt was hard, but I knew it wasn't as hard as it could have been and I was grateful for that. By the end I was swallowing my cries as each stroke fell, absorbing them quietly, responding with murmurs and tiny bucks of my hips.

I wish we'd had time for more - but I went back to work with a smile on my face, contented and mellow. And I got everything I needed to done before I had to stop for the evening.

Two scenes in as many days; domestic spankings, a successful shoot and content for my site. Here's hoping this unexpectedly positive note sets the tone for 2011!

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Tags: kink, Photos, porn production, shoot writeups, Thomas Cameron

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Extreme porn legislation: after the Act

Posted at 17:16 on 6 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

To some extent, I've been blithely assuming that the "extreme porn" sections of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 wouldn't have any real effect in law. Yes, the wording is dangerously vague and creates a 'thought crime' in UK legislation, but wasn't that case with the comical tiger sex clip dropped in January after the prosecution actually listened to the soundtrack? Apart from that, I haven't been aware of much activity since the Act was passed. Perhaps our concerns that it would be used to police sexual fantasy and give police ammunition against people they didn't like but nothing to charge them with were unfounded.

Yesterday a dramatic local news article announced that this law was being tested in a "landmark trial":

In one of the first cases of its kind in the country, Kevin Webster is accused of having "grossly offensive or disgusting" pictures, even though they are "fakes".

Webster, aged 47, denies three charges of possessing extreme pornography depicting images likely to result in injury to a person's breast and one similar charge depicting an act which threatens a person's life.
In this case, the staged nature of the images is not in question - the subject matter is what is relevant. Darron Whitehead, prosecuting, stated:
"Why is there a need for this new legislation? There is a need to regulate images portraying sexual violence, to safeguard the decency of society and for the protection of women."
This suggests that our fears about the consequences of the extreme porn legislation are being borne out. It's no longer about protecting the people involved in making the images, but about policing our fantasies. Never mind that no causal connection can be demonstrated between viewing pornography and sexual violent crime (in fact it's arguable that access to pornography helps prevent violent crime by giving people with socially 'unacceptable' desires an outlet for their fantasies), nor that it is perfectly possible to create ethical images of violent acts using consenting actors. Under this way of thinking, even illustrations and cartoons are too dangerous. This isn't about regulating the porn industry, it's about personal taste masquerading as morality. The prosecution in this case explicitly uses the Victorian concept of the "decency of society" as an excuse for censorship.

This position is demonstrably hollow. If drawings of tentacle rape are so dangerous, what about the constant barrage of violence and sexual violence we see in mainstream film? If porn affects the "decency of society", why not these? If you're really interested in protecting women, Mr Whitehead, why not turn your attention to prosecuting rape and sexual assault cases?

Porn is no more inherently dangerous than any other cultural text. Claiming that violence in porn is somehow worse for us than the violence and carefully-policed sexual content permeating our media is to create a ludicrous double standard. Sex is everywhere we look, and yet explicit sexual discourse, real human sexuality, is still the enemy. Our culture is fucked up about sex, and the only way to fix that is from the bottom up.

Censorship has never, in the long run, been successful, and often serves to increase the taboo appeal and cultural interest of the banned content. Top down legislation of this nature is not the way to fix the exploitation within the porn trade or violence against women. If you're worried about unethical porn, support independent and fairtrade producers. This legislation is clearly not intended to make anyone safer, but merely to make people who think their culturally-approved sexuality is the only 'decent' option more comfortable, and to punish those who don't conform, regardless of whether anyone is harmed by their desires.

All these arguments were made countless times, and by better spokespeople than I, during the campaign against the legislation. Once the Act was passed, our only remaining hope was that in practice, few people would actually be charged under it. And until yesterday, I thought that was more or less the case.

How wrong I was. A bit of googling revealed that Kevin Webster's case is far from the first to be brought under the extreme porn legislation. Very few of them have made national news, but the local papers carry many more examples from the last couple of years. Here's what google threw up on a first pass (names included merely to demonstrate that these each represent a different case):

16 June 2009: Colin Blanchard, Manchester, accused of sexual assault, making and distributing indecent images of children, and possession of extreme porn.

18 June 2009: Man prosecuted for possession of extreme photographs depicting women and animals; given an 18-month supervision order and 24 hours at an attendance centre as the judge deemed "support and assistance" were needed.

4 September 2009: Nathan Porter of Pendleton charged with seven counts of possession of extreme pornographic images featuring "content of a bestial nature".

17 December 2009: Matthew Jones, Chertsey, charged with possessing child pornography, making an indecent image of a child, and possessing extreme pornography portraying sex with animals and an act likely to result in serious injury to a persons private parts.

13 May 2010: Peter McArthur of Kingskerswell pleaded guilty to possession of extreme pornographic images featuring 'mutilation' and bestiality, and and six indecent images of children.

5 July 2010: John Wood,of Thurlby, near Bourne, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of 17 'extreme images', and one charge of possession of child porn.

25 July, 2009Alan More of Carrickfergus charged with sex offences against a 15-year-old and possession of extreme pornography (BBC erroneously claims this is the first case to be brought under the 2008 Act.)

3 August 2010: Darren Toone of Worsley jailed for 16 months for two counts of possession of child porn, possession of amphetamines and possession of extreme pornography featuring violent rape scenes and bestiality.

17 August 2010: Paul Reynolds of Walpole St Peter charged with making indecent photographs of a child, and possessing child pornography and sexual images involving animals.

24 August 2010: Glen Smith, Chingford, sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for selling pirated CDs and DVDs and possessing extreme pornography. Officers claim they're the first in the UK to bring charges under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

18 September 2010: David Harvey of West Cross charged with making child pornography and possession of images featuring sex acts between people and animals.

1 November 2010: Brian Porritt, Manchester, sentenced for possession of child porn, cocaine and extreme pornography.

30 December 2010: Mark Russell of Neath, Wales charged with possessing extreme porn featuring animals, making indecent photographs of a child and possessing child pornography. Case continues - his next court appearance is February 23 2011.

That's a steady stream of cases, and it's no doubt an incomplete list. Since it was passed, the extreme porn legislation has certainly been earning its keep. So what do the cases so far tell us about how it's being used?

  • All of the defendants so far have been male.
  • Bestiality porn seems to be the most frequent target of the legislation to date, although the "serious injury" clause has had a couple of outings.
  • These cases mostly represent "extreme porn plus" - that is, possession of extreme pornography charged alongside cases involving child pornography, counterfeit trading or drugs possession. Two of the 2009 cases listed here are the only exceptions I've found so far; I haven't seen any cases in 2010 which were brought involving extreme pornography alone. (Edit: but that doesn't mean there weren't any: see this list for more.)
  • Images seem to mostly come to light when the defendant's home is investigated relating to other sex offences, a crime committed in their own home for which their computer is evidence, or else the images are reported by engineers fixing the computer. I haven't seen any examples of random police raids, or computer searches arising from warrants unrelated to sex offences.
  • Where the charge is possession, no details are reported of any investigations into the creators of the images.

If Kevin Webster is found guilty, he may be the first person in a year to have been prosecuted under only extreme pornography charges alone, which would herald a worrying shift. And unlike cases which involve images of children or animals, in this instance the images only portray adults - and, since even the prosecution describes the images as "fake", most likely consenting adults, at that.

This has been a wake-up call for me. I had no idea the Act had been so, well, active; and the Webster case has some notable, and worrying differences from most of the cases last year. Of course I'm not about to start self-policing and clear any images which may be covered by the legislation out of my cache; if people start doing that, the censors have won.

Please do send me any relevant news items I've missed - I intend to keep a careful eye on the way this legislation continues to be used.

--

Edit 17:33: Snap! I'm not the only one to blog about this today, but Heresy Corner has more up-to-date news sources; he's just posted the news of Kevin Webster's acquittal. Good news. Heresy Corner writes:
Had he been convicted, it could well have opened the floodgates to many more such prosecutions. Will his acquittal have the opposite effect, and make the CPS think twice about their own definitions of extreme pornography?
We can only hope so, but right now I for one am not inclined to be complacent.

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Tags: Extreme porn legislation, in the news, Politics

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Hitting Snooze preview

Posted at 21:16 on 10 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I'm doing so much editing at the moment there's no time left for proper blogging, so have a couple of screencaps from the clip I've been working on instead. It's from the first ever film shoot for my site, with Tom and J back in March 2009, and the story's called 'Hitting Snooze':

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Tags: Photos, porn production, Thomas Cameron

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The Woman's POV

Posted at 20:18 on 11 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

This is exciting! Award-winning adult performer, feminist and pornographer Madison Young (whose work you've probably enjoyed on Kink.com) has launched a new porn project called The Woman's POV. It's part paysite and part open resource, combining free articles, sex toy, book and DVD reviews with photosets and videos inside a member's area, all exploring the concept of the female gaze and women's perspectives on sex, sexuality and porn.

Madison's work is artistic, feminist, fairtrade, queer, kinky, emotionally intimate - all my favourite things. There is no doubt, looking at her site, that this is woman-positive, woman-driven, respectful and ethically produced; but Madison Young is one of the most hardcore kinksters of them all, and the site already includes hot examples of consensual power play and D/s.

I discovered the project through a review by Violet Blue, and this quote from her article just made me want to applaud:

What I find very interesting about this is seeing links to female porn performers (where they are performing) and showing viewers which women have self-identified as feminist. These female performers, if you look at their online presence, can be found to be fully versed in various stances on women and pornography and feminism and where they fit in the pro-porn feminist ideology. They are not bubbleheads saying the word "feminist" because it is the thing to do, and they are open to engaging anti-porn pundits in debate on any level (Maggie Mayhem, Madison Young, Courtney Trouble, many others). This aspect dispels a significant assumption about women who make and perform in porn (even "extreme" porn, as some of these women do) that these women are unaware victims, or somehow duped or coerced. The Women's POV seems to be actively seeking self-aware, educated women in porn to create a community that dispels myths and empowers women that participate in porn, and women who watch porn."

Fucking yes. This is what I'm trying to do. This is what we should all be trying to do. This is, in my opinion, the future of porn.

It's weird writing this now - I've been working only this week on my own definitions of "feminist" and "fairtrade" porn as part of the branding documentation for my own embryonic spanking site (although its long gestation progresses apace; these days I'm definitely showing). Trying to translate the values of feminist pornography to the spanking genre is a complex business. I'm inspired by Madison Young's pioneering efforts in bringing the female gaze to BDSM porn. And it turns out that what I've come up with has a fair amount of overlap with the values listed on The Woman's POV:
The Womans POV is dedicated to the authentic documentation of female pleasure and orgasms. We realize the power of orgasm and plan on changing the world one climax at a time.

We are devoted to showing diversity in female identity, the expression of feminine sexual desire, diversity of body types, as well as a wide spectrum of sexual and gender identities.

We are devoted to empowering women and creating safe space for exploration of sexual desires and fantasies by handing women in our community the camera. It's time to turn on the camera and get turned on.

We are dedicated to obliterating body shame and sexual negativity through realizing and documenting of our sexual desires and our sexual culture.

We are ready to reclaim the term pornography and recruiting YOU and YOUR LOVER/S and FRIENDS to pick up the camera and show us YOUR POINT OF VIEW.
Oh yes, that's right - the project is also collaborative, and welcomes submissions of photosets, videos and prose from readers and viewers. This openness breaks down the traditional categories of performers and voyeurs; everyone is invited to participate. I'm tempted, but I won't - I've got a site of my own to build. I am delighted, however, that the road ahead is being paved so expertly. Thanks, Madison, for showing us what's possible.

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Tags: Fairtrade porn, Female gaze, Gender politics, Madison Young, other pictures, Politics, Violet Blue

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Porn, criticism and dialogue

Posted at 01:00 on 14 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

As some of you will have seen, this week has seen Kink.com come under scrutiny for the press release starting to be known as "Hymen-gate", in which the ceremonial deflowering of young model Nicki Blue was marketed using sexist and damaging language. It's been an enlightening conversation for all sorts of reasons. Here's the lowdown:

The offending press release, as reposted across the adult web.

Kink.com model Maggie Mayhem wrote a comprehensive and balanced critique of the press release, complete with educational material on vaginal anatomy and why these details are socially and ethically important. She has just published an inspiring follow-up post in which she credits Kink for responding quickly and positively to the criticism and talks about the ways in which small things can change the world.

The post on the Kink forums in which Nicki Blue announced her desire to experience her first vaginal penetration on video. It's interesting that Nicki seems to have initiated the problematic language about "taking her virginity" and "breaking her hymen" - either her forum post is deeply 'in character' of her virgin fantasy, or she could perhaps benefit from a little sex education herself.

Adele Haze explains why, although this isn't okay, it isn't surprising given Kink's track record with affiliate promos that are demeaning to women (which is weird, given this trend really isn't reflected in the scenes themselves).

Maybe Maimed roundly condemns Kink for their mode of porn-selling, if not their mode of porn-making; his post contains a number of links to other discussions of this issue, if you're interested.



This discussion has been fascinating for its revelations into Kink's workings. Like Maggie, they were one of the first BDSM websites I came across, and I always felt comfortable with the extremity of their scenarios because of their overt focus on consent, the enjoyment and limits of the models, and transparency. In the presentation of scenes on the site the promo text is usually "out of character" and praises the models' professionalism, courage, endurance, beauty and horniness. Even in the free previews you get a happy smiling post-scene shot, and the videos are supplemented by forum discussions and a lot of behind the scenes content. It's great to be reassured that this impression is upheld by outspoken feminist performers who have worked for them.

At the same time, the models who support them don't do so unconditionally. Being able to honestly and publicly critique a studio you hope to work for again is hell of a brave thing to do, and I'm full of respect not only for models like Maggie who are prepared to do so firmly and politely, but also for a studio that can listen, take the criticism on board and not take offence. That's got to be healthy, and it's the sort of dialogue I'd like to see between more models and producers in an open and respectful way.

This is why the internet has revolutionalised porn; because it facilitates exactly this sort of conversation. This is why blogging, online commentary and interaction between viewers, performers and producers will be instrumental to transforming the porn industry into the safe, respectful, thoughtful and sex-positive place we want it to be.

Keep reading »

Tags: Adele Haze, Fairtrade porn, Gender politics, Kinkcom, Maggie Mayhem, making a scene, Politics

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Temperance

Posted at 15:21 on 17 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake



Before Christmas I asked D if he'd do something for me. I'd become aware, lately, that I'd been drinking more than I was comfortable with, and I wanted help keeping track of it. With some nervousness, I hinted that the sort of help I wanted was the D/s type. D's never been particularly comfortable with formally structured protocols, and prefers a level of informality and spontaneity to both play and punishment. 'Serious' rather than playful punishments have been rare between us, and mostly on a one-off basis - although I've learned over the years that this doesn't mean our D/s dynamic is any less real.

So I wasn't sure how he'd react to the idea of a more structured, explicitly negotiated system to help me watch my drinking. I told him the truth - that I'd taken the proposal to Tom, first, but although he'd agreed, he never ended up acting on it. Tom's health has been so poor lately, and his stress levels so high, that it hadn't seemed fair for me to put extra pressure and responsibility on him. So I checked that Tom didn't mind, and approached D instead.

To my surprise, D seemed amenable. Unlike Tom and me he almost never drinks; perhaps that was why he felt comfortable keeping tabs on this area of my life. He'd feel hypocritical, he said later, holding me to standards he wasn't keeping himself. (In my defence, I'm not a total pisshead - four pints of cider is an unusually heavy night's drinking for me - but I do find it all too easy to have one or two at the end of a long day, and it adds up. When I realised I couldn't remember the last day I'd abstained completely, I decided it was time to change my habits.)

After a vague "yes" but no further discussion, I knew better than to push, and left the ball in D's court. Sooner than I expected, however, I received a startlingly stern email from him describing the process and principles he wanted me to follow, and asking me to let him know the guidelines I wanted to be kept to. I read that email several times: it was a delicious mix of negotiation and dominance. The basic rules were up to me - although he was prepared to let me know if he thought my suggestions were too slack. But once agreed, he would keep me to them; and it was him that insisted that I send him an email every morning reporting what I'd drunk the night before. If you don't report a drinking level for a given day, without a good reason, then I'll assume you deserve a punishment for that day regardless of surrounding drinking levels. I shivered with delight at the realisation that he was taking this seriously.

We discussed punishments. A designated implement seemed sensible, given the associations it was likely to accumulate. With some trepidation I proposed the horrible little bath brush which, conveniently, has been barely used since I bought it. We were both being very honest with each other - him about his lack of booze knowledge, and me about my own weaknesses. The whole thing felt more consultative than authoritative, but I felt very secure knowing that, unlike me, he wasn't going to cut me any more slack than I deserved. I was confident that the structure we'd developed was sensible and sustainable, holding me to the spirit (as it were!) rather than the letter of the law, and I trusted D to make fair judgments.

As I sent him my daily emails (a hard habit to get into), it became clear that I was trying to lean too heavily on my 'rules', whereas he was more interested in general patterns and my perceptions. At first it felt like I was in a constant state of self-denial - possibly the restrictions increased the temptation - and moderation felt surprisingly difficult. Nonetheless, as I'd hoped, the act of recording affected my decisions, and the prospect of disappointing my Dom proved far better motivation than my vague guidelines in themselves.

After about a week, I discovered that he was collating the emails in a spreadsheet. A categorised, colour-coded spreadsheet. I was amused, flattered, aroused - but also shiveringly nervous at the precise record-keeping this implied. I've had punishment books before - but this was my first punishment spreadsheet!

I got to see it in person on Friday afternoon. Green text marked the booze-free days; red the heavier ones. A blazing scarlet background denoted the day I forgot to check in. We argued about that, a bit. The thing is that I was fairly sure I'd not drunk anything that day, but I couldn't prove it until I got back home. I was perfectly happy to be punished for not sending the email, but it seemed unfair and unproductive to treat the missed email as if I'd had a piss-up. The two crimes were clearly separate! Eventually he agreed - by which point of course I felt anxious and guilty about having got my way.

Once the spreadsheet was up to date, D cheerily suggested that we get the punishment over with. With alarm, I suddenly realised how close I was to tears. A combination of disappointment for having missed a report, anxiety about the perceived unfairness and guilt for arguing with him. As we hugged he noticed my trembling, and decided that spankings would happen after dinner. I was both relieved and disappointed. I appreciated the chance to calm down enough that I had a chance of taking my punishment with some dignity, but no-one likes to wait.

(To be continued...)

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Tags: Adele Haze, D, dominance and submission, Jimmy Holloway, other pictures, Real life punishment

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e[lust] #22

Posted at 22:09 on 18 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

For I think the first time in the history of this blog, my submission was voted in the top three posts. Wheee! Thanks so much, anonymous judges! You know how to make a girl's day :)


Photo courtesy of Lady Grinning Soul

Welcome to e[lust] - Your source for sexual intelligence and inspirations of lust from the smartest & sexiest bloggers! Whether youre looking for hot steamy smut, thought-provoking opinions or expert information, youre going to find it here. Want to be included in e[lust] #23? Start with the rules, check out the schedule and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Weeks Top Three Posts ~

Erotic asphyxiation: treatments of kink in therapy and the media - Kink and BDSM practitioners often come to an enhanced understanding of their own desires through the emphasis on personal boundaries and communicative consent which arises from a responsible approach to power and pain play.

Mirror, mirror - I found myself back there again, perched on the edge of the white expanse, spreading myself shamelessly in front of the glass

Worry - Ive been thinking about rape culture more than ever before. On the outside, much of Ks and my play looks like sexual abuse. Its not, because consent is always central.

~ Featured Post (Lillys Pick) ~

gender and misogyny: responsibility and erotic writing - I spent a good portion of my adult life being gender fluid myself ... and have partnered with several gender fluid folks as a top. Creating representation of us and our eroticism feels so vital to me, so important.

~ e[lust] Editress ~

Help End the Backlog - Speaking out works. Taking action works. Silence doesnt. Politicians on every level need to hear your voice saying this is unacceptable. 76%. 3/4. Thats how many rapists get away with it on a national level.

See also: Pleasurists #111 and #112 for all your sex toy review needs

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the read more tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Erotic Writing

A Tryst By The Car
Compliant
Fantasy: Brand New Day
First-Time Sex: How I Lost My Virginity
Happy New Year
Hysteria
Indiscretions Vol. 1: Caught And Wild Chlid
Like Mother, Like Daughter (part two)
Loving her, Mounting her, Owning her
Merry Christmas Baby
O/One
Should Have
The Starlet
Undiscovered
Wax Off
Whenever I'm Alone With You
Yeeees. Date Night

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Breaking Up, Polyamory Style
Computer Sex
Douchebagopolis - When Communication Fails At A Swinger Party
Epiphora's best and worst sex toys of 2010
Good Head
Hormones & Biological Clock Ticking
Lockets, Sins and Ink
Off My Chest
Swing Shift Volume 39- One and Only
Semi-Rant Part Two

Kink & Fetish

Barely Cooking Christmas Party
Camp Smack That Ass!
Fucked in bondage
Fucking bitch
How He Does It
Master's Good Medicine
Paddled and Fucked
Parodies and Pizza Boys
Photographer
School Girl Night
shes and me...
You Know It Was Good When...

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Tags: elust, other pictures

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Punishment, humiliation and bondage

Posted at 21:17 on 19 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Photo of Ariel Anderssen courtesy of Restrained Elegance

Actually, when D suggested we get the spankings over and done with at the end of my last entry, there were two in the offing. My punishment for not checking in as per our agreement a couple of days earlier; and a fun spanking he owed me to make up for being mean.

Put like that, it sounds kind of contradictory. But I suspect you'll understand.

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Tags: bath brush, bondage, breast slapping, D, dominance and submission, hand spanking, kink, kinky merit badges, Real life punishment, rough sex

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Pyjama punishments at Triple A Spanking

Posted at 20:46 on 22 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I've just been watching some of the videos at brand new spanking site AAAspanking.com (I think you're meant to pronounce it "Triple A Spanking", although the idea of a spanking site called Aaaaaaah Spanking does have a certain appeal). You may remember my post last summer about this shoot, which included a gruelling game of Spanking Twister and a luxurious scene in a hot tub. Both of those videos, however, have yet to be released in full on the site (the Spanking Twister one is currently being published in installments, but I'm waiting for the whole film to be available before I watch it).

Don't be put off by the lads' mag style branding - the films are less trashy than the site design might lead you to expect. With only nine models featured at this early stage, there's already more of a range of looks and body types than you see on many sites. The shoot I was on was very model-led, with opportunity for us to come up with scenes we'd enjoy playing, no pressure to do things we weren't comfortable with (like the Religious Tattoo Punishment scene I vetoed first thing), and a light-hearted vibe which lent itself to some entertaining improv. Witty dialogue never harms a spanking scene, and quite a few of the videos had me giggling when I watched them. The concept and cinematography are hardly groundbreaking, but if you're looking for straightforward, classic spanking scenarios in high definition, you could do a lot worse.

There's a respectable amount of material for a new spanking site, but the funny thing is that nearly all the films of me so far feature pyjamas. The site is only a week old and it already has me being spanked in THREE different pairs of jim-jams. More than any other spanking site to date - how's that for a claim to fame?


Pyjamas #1: Purple polkadots (AKA 'Arson Attack')



It wasn't until I was over Paul's knee that I was informed what we were being spanked for, every morning before school. Burning down the local corner shop!

Favourite line: Leia-Ann, "It needed renovating anyway".


Pyjamas #2: Blue with pink flowers (AKA 'Red Bottoms at Breakfast')

Why bother going into school on the last day? It's a half day anyway, and the lessons are always filler. Besides, there are far more interesting things at home - like Buffy, or bread that looks like regurgitated insects. Not hairbrushes though. Hairbrushes are almost as bad as school.



Favourite moment: Leia-Ann, valiantly ignoring Jean Bradley's attempts to get through to her via her bottom, starts faking a cough while over the knee to try and get out of both the spanking, and school. It doesn't work. But good effort nonetheless!


Pyjamas #3: Black and white polkadots (AKA 'Wakey Wakey')

My bed was so comfy! Why did I have to be dragged and shouted out of it to go to the bloomin' dentist? On a Saturday morning! No fair!



I actually loved the rougher aspects of this scene. It's short, sharp and the spanking pulls no punches. Jean hauled me out of bed and over her knee, and no amount of crying or struggling did me any good whatsoever. So I took the opportunity to struggle rather a lot. HOT.

--

But the pyjama thing isn't just me. Check this lot out:


Bonus Pyjamas #1: Black satin (AKA 'Post Party Punishment')



That's Cindy Hodges modelling the slinky black and white leopard print number, and Sarah Winter (who also works as Winter Skye) not only demonstrating the "watching with horror" facial expression with flair, but suiting the blue and pink pyjama set way better than me.


Bonus Pyjamas #2: "Come here and kiss me" (AKA 'Bathroom Leathering')



Krystal Delight looking ridiculously pretty in a flirtatious 80s-style "come here and kiss me" t-shirt, teamed with cutesy teddy bear print pyjama bottoms. Her private moment in the bathroom is interrupted by Chopper, who decides that a dose of the belt is in order. Don't tell anyone, but you know, I think she might like it.


Bonus Pyjamas #3: Blue and stripy (AKA 'That's My Boyfriend!')

Jasmine Lau rocking the pale blue check with hotpants, Kami Robertson as cute as ever in blue/green pastel stripes.



I have to admit though, this scene does remind me of that bit in that Black Books season 2 episode, 'Fever', where Johnny Vegas as the sleazy landlord interrupts Fran and her neighbour arguing. "Girls! Girls! Girls ... You're both such lovely girls. Don't fight. And if you do, fight nice. With pillows. And jim-jams."

--

Finally I want to mention the way Triple A Spanking has handled their model profile pages. The bios are written by the site owner rather than by the cast themselves, but he's done a respectful job of it. My only criticism is that it would be nice to see the male actors listed alongside the women - Paul Kennedy did a fantastic job on our shoot, and deserves just as much credit as his female colleagues. But the descriptions give each actor a bit of love, with some glowing praise for their performances, and emphasis on each model as a whole person, promoting their activities within the scene and beyond on their own terms. It's not hard to do, but it makes all the difference.

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Tags: Cindy Hodges, featured photos, Jasmine Lau, Jean Bradley, Kami Robertson, Krystal Delight, Leia-Ann Woods, other pictures, Paul Kennedy, Photos, Triple A Spanking, Winter Skye

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Plans are afoot (although not - yet - legwarmers)

Posted at 02:19 on 25 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

This morning, as I emailed D my daily report on the previous day's drinking (one pint of berry cider, for the curious) I asked him a question which came up while I was swimming yesterday. How about if I listed my exercise along with the booze? No pressure to add it to the D/s deal, but I'm picking up my fitness schedule at the moment and I want to keep track. Since I was sending these emails anyway, it seemed easiest to roll it in, if he didn't mind?

Happy to keep notes, he replied, also happy to discuss how you might be held accountable for keeping at it. Thrills.

This evening, I got online to an email entitled 'Instructions'. I'm to bring a school uniform with me this weekend. Not the sexy brat kind, the authentic kind. White knickers. Flat shoes.

Things progress apace.

It's astonishing how well long-distance (well, relatively; different towns, but only 2 hours away) has suited us these last few months. Seeing each other is a treat; in between we miss each other like crazy. It's not just the distance; our communication is the best it's ever been, we're confident with each other, and every good experience swells the positive feedback loop. But the distance, the missing, wanting what we can't have, sending each other horny text messages when we're not seeing each other for days - it gives it that urgency, that edge.

In chat this evening, he enquired whether asking for spanking would ruin the experience for me. I was surprised by the question - surely I've blogged enough about asking for a spanking over the years? - but thinking about it, I realised I've done that with Tom far more than with D. Partly because D's topping style is so spontaneous; partly because our communication about sex has only recently become so fluent, and in past years I was more insecure and afraid of rejection, and less articulate about my wants. Partly because D has, historically, been more into mindfucks than beating me - has treated my penchant for CP with a wry amusement - and I didn't want to impose my kink on him too much.

But the positive feedback loop seems to have done its stuff. D's confidence has grown with experience - specifically, his confidence that I really do enjoy it - and that knowledge seems to have fed his sadism in a direct way. He's more interested in spanking me, and, apparently, he's also interested in being asked explicitly when I want it. He's always encouraged me to talk filthy. He likes it, especially if I feel shy and end up squirming.

In answer to his question I said that spanking works for me with a myriad different headspaces. Wanting to please, but finding this implement difficult. Sexy, enthusiastic, loving it. Immersed in subspace, flying high. Playful and laughing, mock-hating it. Roleplay scenes. Punishments. Edgy and emotionally difficult scenes in which I'm pushed.

I enjoy all of these, but only some of them are compatible with asking for a spanking. If I've asked, the consent is made explicit - it's difficult to play with non-consent after that point. So yes, asking for a spanking is great if I want a playful, sensual scene - but for the D/s to get intense the control has to be out of my hands. The only way an asked-for spanking could become edgy is if the top turns the tables on me and gives me more than I expected, an implement I didn't ask for; starts to make me regret having asked in the first place. Which ... would be hot.

"Even if I want and ask for a spanking," I said, "there are some types of pain that are just going to push me. Like anal sex."

D grinned.

As I've mentioned before, anal play has been off-limits for a while for health reasons. Nothing serious - just fragile skin that tore (frustratingly, not during any sexy escapades) but has taken over a year to heal up. Much patient nursing has paid off and lately, it's felt it might be possible again.

D has been teasing me with the idea accordingly, as any self-respecting sadist would. Somehow, I guessed that this whole schoolgirl plan might have something to do with my recently healed, pseudo-inexperienced arse. The image made me shiver with arousal and fear.

He confirmed my impressions as soon as the topic came up. "I tell you this now," he said smugly, "so you can agonise about it for the rest of the week."

"Waaay ahead of you."

"I hope my housemates are out. I'd like to hear you screaming for me."

I visualised myself, white knee socks, innocently flat heeled shoes, white school blouse. White knickers puddled around my ankles. Being spanked, the fantasy remained demure. But this ... I would be frightened, struggling, sweaty. School tie around my wrists, perhaps? Knickers stuffed in my mouth?

"Pity I don't have a Japanese school uniform," I quipped, disguising my flutters of erotic fear with flippancy. "I'm going to feel like a manga character."

By mutual unspoken agreement, within a minute we were both browsing Ebay.



I've also developed a sudden desire to own legwarmers, one pair black, one white:



Neither could arrive by this weekend, but the English schoolgirl has her own appeal. And it's nice to have more than one thing to look forward to.

--

So I asked D if he wanted me to play a schoolgirl, or a grownup woman wearing a school uniform. He considered the question happily for a moment before replying that a schoolgirl would be fun. Now, our previous attempts at non-consent roleplay have been very sexual, and my ability to pretend to be suffering goes out the window once penetration is concerned. But since then I've had more practice at roleplaying, and the idea of being a very scared, very helpless, very punished schoolgirl who doesn't know what's happening to her and feels horribly dirty and violated is a fantasy that appeals. I sent D a link to Mr Defeu's extremely hot "punishment plus" story when it was posted, and he apparently found it as hot as I did.

I also like the idea of being an older schoolgirl, daring to ask for what she wants. But roleplay is where it's easiest to play with non-consent, and the little girl image appeals right now, especially in the context of the violation fantasy.

The only question remaining was, who would D be? With his long hair, tattoos and cat eyes he's not the classic authority figure. My wicked uncle? My perverted biker uncle, the black sheep of the family. Not uncle. Guardian, perhaps. I'd definitely find roleplay easier if I wasn't the only one in character; and the rougher and meaner he was, the easier I'd find it to take the pain.

To my surprised delight, and despite some understandable self-consciousness, he's game to try playing a role. I don't know what sort of shape it might be, but it wouldn't be D without some spontaneity. I'm looking forward to being surprised.



Pictures of Zille Defeu provided by the incomparable Northern Spanking. Thankyou for providing such hot fantasy fodder!

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Tags: D, dominance and submission, Fantasies, kink, learning curves, Northern Spanking, other pictures, school uniform, Zille Defeu

5 comments | Leave a comment

The disciplined dancer

Posted at 20:47 on 26 Jan 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I love this promo gallery shared on Spankolife by David Pierson. Starring dancer Angelica and top Veronica Bound, it features beautiful use of natural light and some simple, striking compositions.





I love the use of the high-legged chair to adjust for tall spankee and average-height spanker.





Beautiful kneeling bench, too - although having experienced a similar kneeling punishment recently, I know how hard that position is.

You can view the full photoset and video on Punished Brats.

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Tags: Angelica, other pictures, Punished Brats, Veronica Bound

4 comments | Leave a comment

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