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Communicating by touch

Posted at 17:45 on 1 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I'm an inconveniently light sleeper. I've also suffered from insomnia my whole life - as far as I can tell, the primary cause is having too much to do, and a brain that is extremely reluctant to turn itself off. Since moving out of London I've managed to develop a routine which has mostly suppressed my getting-to-sleep insomnia, but I still tend to wake throughout the night - and have the same struggle getting back to sleep every time I do.

I recently obtained some ear plugs for the first time to see if they helped me sleep next to a lover who snores. I'd previously only encountered people using the things at nightclubs or while skydiving, those foam ones you have to push in. These were a new design: gel pads which you push over the ear canal to form a seal. They're far more comfortable, and surprisingly effective. As soon as I started using them I realised how much of my wakefulness is in response to sound. Suddenly I'm able to sleep through the night, or take naps in the middle of the day, or get to sleep even when the neighbours are playing loud music. It's incredible - and Tom, a fellow insomniac, has had similar success after I recommended he try them.

The other night, for the first time, we both bedded down together with our ear plugs in. Mostly I've used them while sleeping alone. I realised as soon as we were both deprived of hearing how frequently Tom and I communicate in words. We talk a lot: we have always bonded through in depth conversations; we rarely run out of things to say to one another. Even at the end of the night, preparing ourselves for sleep, we exchange words along with cuddles, sweet nothings, verbal love and affection to reassure and soothe each other. (By contrast, D uses words sparingly; I hadn't noticed any difference when wearing ear plugs in bed with him, as he tends to respond to my remarks non-verbally anyway.)

Sharing our small, temporary sensory deprivation, Tom and I snuggled up to each other in the dark. I would open my mouth to say something, remember he wouldn't be able to hear and kiss him instead. I became very aware of the places where we touched: his hand lightly stroking my spine, my hand sliding around the smooth skin of his torso, thighs pressed against each other. Each touch became resonant with meaning. Eyes closed, I could hear little beyond the pulse of blood in my skull. We could only communicate by touch, and something about it was profoundly intimate.

Sensory deprivation is a common tool for BDSM practitioners, usually experienced by the submissive in a scene. It's not something I've played with myself apart from the occasional blindfold or gag, and I've certainly never heard of a dominant taking part too. It made me wonder what it would be like to be spanked in this state of heightened sensory awareness; deprived of sight and hearing, how much more acute the experience of being over my dom's knee might be.

Playing in a night club is the closest I've come to that experience, where the wall of sound from dancefloor and crowd drowns out subtleties; if you aren't within a few inches of someone it's difficult to hear each other without shouting. When I'm bent over a whipping bench, head down, and my dom/me is standing behind me, the usual verbal check-ins are not possible over the noise of the club. My partner has to pause, bend down, speak into my ear; or else communicate with a hand on my back, a caress, a shoulder squeeze, a brush with the flogger or warning tap of the cane. But I can't reply, not without breaking position.

It's an intense way to play, but it's also difficult. Scenes can go awry more easily without the direct feedback provided by vocal response. And both parties have to work harder to communicate.

I find myself curious about the idea of a scene in which both me and my dom wore ear plugs. If I were blindfolded as well, we would be even more dependent on our sense of touch. What would it be like, being hit without the evocative sounds created by different implements? The cane would sneak up on you out of nowhere. Heavy paddles and straps would announce themselves with a whomp of air before they landed. Would hand spankings feel as sharp without the loud crack of palm hitting flesh? Would every sensation be more welcome, without any other way for me to experience the closeness of my partner?

I'm not sure if I'm going to suggest such a scene or not, but it's fascinating to think about the different role each sense plays in this thing we do.

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Tags: featured photos, meta-analysis, Photos, Thomas Cameron



Posted at 16:33 on 6 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I have some very exciting news. A film I started making nearly four years ago is now, finally, available. Tom and I wrote and filmed Acquiescence with Michael Stamp and Stephen Lewis for Control and Reform in the summer of 2007, but the process of editing and finishing it has been a long and drawn out one (with some spankings along the way!). I haven't seen the final cut yet, but Michael Stamp has just sent me a trailer and the news that it's ready. Click on the picture to download the five-minute video preview:

This remains one of my favourite projects, and I'm very proud of it. It's a dark, psychological interrogation thriller set in a dystopian near-future. My character is dragged from her bed and into a state van in the middle of the night, and taken to a secure facility where she is questioned and isolated. She was never particularly political and her arrest comes as a complete and total shock. She has no idea what information they after, and (apart from references to certain forbidden sexual habits) she is never accused of anything more specific than "sedition". Her interrogators are verbally aggressive, but never touch her; and during the night and the long periods of solitude she is frequently hauled from her cell, blindfolded and shivering, and beaten by anonymous figures who never speak a word.

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Tags: Control and Reform, DVD releases, Fantasies, featured photos, Michael Stamp, Photos, Stephen Lewis, Thomas Cameron, Videos


Delicious domesticity

Posted at 16:08 on 11 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Things are pretty good at home right now. The sun is shining, and we're all basically solar powered. Tom and I have been making more effort to spend time together and put each other first, and it's paying off. His health and my work commitments still aren't predictable enough for us to plan for intense scenes, but we've done pretty well at unplanned scenes lately.

As this year has progressed I've become more active, more healthy and more productive. It's a positive curve and I'm proud of the progress I've made. It means I have a stab at achieving what I've set out to do - launch a self-funded spanking site through freelance work and my own energies alone, alongside various ongoing not-for-profit commitments. The strategy I'm working on means I have to work three times as hard as I ever have before. Firstly, I have to earn a living wage. This is getting easier the older I get, and the further my career develops; a few years ago I was living hand to mouth, but I'm now debt-free and able to put something aside each month. Which is useful, because secondly, I have to save up a couple more grand to invest in my site to get it off the ground. Thirdly, I have to save up enough to pay my bills and living expenses for a couple of months, in order to buy myself a couple of months to get all my editing finished and build the site.

This is the main reason progress has been so slow, why the launch date keeps getting put back. It's also the reason I've been working this year as if someone had lit a fire under my tail. I've been running around like a mad thing trying to earn three times as much as normal so I can save two thirds of it. And I've been winning; I have enough contracts lined up that between them they're covering my budget, and I'm not taking any more work on for other people after that. The downside is that my energy for anything other than work is peeled back to the bare minimum. I'm not keeping up with activism or political organisation at the moment. My good friends who are oft-time lovers are, at the moment, just friends; I'm barely getting enough couple time with my primary partners, and I have almost no social or romantic energy beyond that. I'm happy enough, but Tom has had to put up with me having almost no free time, and being very tired whenever we do make time together.

So instead of romantic date nights, he's started helping me with the small stuff. He brings me tea to get me up in the morning. He reminds and encourages me to do the physio exercises that D is helping me keep track of. We've started going to the gym together. He offers to rub my back. We aren't quite yet at the point of turning any of this into a formalised discipline relationship, but I respect him enough to follow his suggestions when he makes them, and his attentiveness has been both lovely and extraordinarily helpful.

All this is making it sound like he's turned into my support staff. Perhaps he has, a little; but we've always been very good at caring for each other, far better than at caring for ourselves. We support and help each other, and that has always been mutual. What's changed recently is that rather than simply picking me up at the end of my hard day, Tom has started engaging with my day itself.

And that's where we've had most success with play, lately. Twice recently, a particularly hard, frustrating day has put me in a stressed, irritable mood. Work stress, things not going to plan, the internet not working, accidentally bashing myself against pieces of furniture, headaches, backaches. I go into Tom's room and he pulls me onto his lap for a cuddle. I growl about my day. And it suddenly seems obvious, to both of us, how to fix it. I take my tea back to my desk with a 15 minute warning, and at the end of it, he comes through, quiet and gentle, and leads me to the bed.

The first time, he started with his belt. As I watched the shadow of it fall on the wall I thought I can't do this, not cold; but when the impact landed I devoured it. He wasn't going full force, but he wasn't messing about, either, and as I warmed up I slipped into a place where I couldn't take enough. Once my behind was glowing from the belt he got out a couple of canes and proceeded to make me sigh into the pillows.

The second time, one of the things making my day difficult was an aching muscle after my first squash lesson. My right glut had throbbed the day after, but the day after that a muscle in the top of my left thigh, right in the crease of my bottom, was shrieking with pain. My desk chair just seemed to be making it worse, and by the afternoon it was really pissing me off. I'd been idly wondering all day whether spanking would help or not, and I enjoyed finding out.

The impact of each smack didn't alleviate the muscle ache itself, not quite as I'd hoped it would. And my soreness made me more sensitive to the pain. Tom sat beside my shoulders and reached down my body to whack first one cheek then the other with his broad, strong palms. It felt shockingly hard, but the angle was enjoyable, with the sensitive skin on the lower half of my bottom receiving all the attention. He spent some time painting my arse various shades of pink, and amusing himself making handprints. And afterwards, the glow of endorphins managed what ibuprofen hadn't, the tension flowed out of me and my limbs bathed with good feeling.

It's amazing how much a spanking can turn a shitty day around. And it's a surefire way to guarantee that Tom and I will get distracted; the sort of spontaneous loving which leaves us feeling connected and intimate, without either of us putting pressure on ourselves beforehand to perform. I go back for another few hours of productive work, refreshed, relaxed and energised. And when we snuggle up tiredly at night, that connection is still there. It's all good.

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Tags: kink, Photos, porn production, Thomas Cameron


Schoolgirls in Space!

Posted at 19:43 on 14 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Here's an awesome thing: Northern Spanking Institute have just released a spanko sci-fi satire to warm the cockles consoles of geeks everywhere. Starring the "comedy core" NSI cast of Amelia Jane Rutherford, Leia-Ann Woods, Paul Kennedy and Amy Hunter (whom you may remember from Strictly Come Spanking!, among myriad other projects), Schoolgirls in Space is described as the closest the team have come to producing a "Carry On" film. If you like a dash of laughter with your kink, or if you've ever enjoyed classic British sci-fi like Doctor Who (or spoofs like Red Dwarf), this is for you.

Schoolgirls in Space apparently started out as a dare to come up with an original schoolgirl spanking scenario, and that it certainly achieves. I'm told that unlike many web clips, this one was scripted, resulting in a snappy back-and-forth of witty dialogue, laced with geeky references and terrible puns (and, no doubt, great potential for cock-ups - I'm looking forward hugely to seeing the out takes from this one).

There is no denying that this film is very, very silly. Featuring tin foil hats (remember: they're keeping you safe), arachnid-invested swimming pools, regulation space underwear, a nasal-voiced space stewardess and unexpected lingerie-related incidents, this is not for those who take their kink too seriously. The NSI crew gleefully and mercilessly rip off sci-fi, schoolgirl spanking scenarios, the vagaries of air travel and themselves. The result is gloriously entertaining, with several laugh out loud moments.

Pornography and satire have always gone hand in hand. It's impossible to resist the urge to remake our favourite entertainment with more explicit content, and if you're doing so with a lower budget and a sense of humour, remake almost inevitably becomes pisstake. Some have criticised Schoolgirls in Space as nonsense. If so, it is extremely high quality nonsense. The script is witty and delivered with perfect deadpan timing. The actors are watchable, charming and very nice to look at. A great deal of care has gone into the set and costumes, with perfectly matching school uniforms, an extremely impressive futuristic set by the design wizards at Restrained Elegance, a lovely latex outfit for Amelia and matching metallic accessories for the ship's crew, including a silver-coloured cane. Comedy it may be, but it's well crafted. Even the tinfoil hats and flight console represent more effort than goes into many spanking productions, as do the silly sound effects (which bring the whole thing together perfectly, in my opinion).

Whether it serves to satisfy as pornography is a question of personal taste. For me, this clip is closer to a clever, laugh-out-loud burlesque show than a straightforward erotic striptease. The spankings are extended and the caning hard enough to leave visible red welts, but the giggle-inducing dialogue stimulated my funny bone and my brain as much as my clit.

As titillating, kink-positive, fabulously satirical spanko entertainment, Schoolgirls in Space is a total success. This is one to show your pervy and geeky friends, especially the ones who need putting at ease with the CP aspect of their kink, and I'll definitely be re-watching it.

Click below to download the trailer:

And the full video can be viewed online at Northern Spanking.

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Tags: Amelia Jane Rutherford, Amy Hunter, funny, Leia-Ann Woods, Northern Spanking, Paul Kennedy, review, Videos


Wanted: male spanking performers

Posted at 19:27 on 16 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

There's been some excellent discussion this week about discrimination among spanking afficionados, especially site owners and event organisers, against M/m couples and content. I haven't had the chance to engage with the debate yet, although you can probably imagine where I stand.

Conversation and debate are essential, but so are actions. Specifically, so are positive, creative actions; I'd rather make the porn I want to see than criticise other producers for not making it. I haven't had the time or energy to contribute to the blog discussion yet. But inbetween reading other people's comments I have been thinking about the fact that I intended to launch my site with some M/m video, and it's the one orientation I haven't shot yet. I would have by now, but suitable performers are thin on the ground. So this is my (initial) response to the discussion, in the hope that I will be able to effect change with actions rather than words.


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Tags: Female gaze, Gender politics, M-M, making a scene, other pictures, porn production


Bye bye Blogger, and hello freedom

Posted at 13:52 on 19 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

You'll have noticed that earlier this year, Google saw fit to whack a compulsory "content warning" on my blog, forcing all viewers to click through a page informing them that "some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable". I'm not sure what annoyed me more: the fact that unlike the self-selected Adult Content Warning, this was externally controlled; the fact that in a single day, my hits dropped to 1/3 of what they had been, and haven't recovered since; or the weasel wording with which Google saw fit to inconvenience my readers while disclaiming any prejudice or opinion on their part.

The disclaimer is, frankly, bullshit. Of course Google side with those who believe that adult content, or kinky content, is "objectionable". That's why Google Ad Words aren't permitted on adult blogs; why Google Checkout doesn't permit any use by adult service providers. (My account was suspended after I used it to accept payment for a spanking audio story. The filename was totally innocuous, so either one of their employees sat down and listened to the mp3 to see if it was "safe" or not, or else they judged me on the basis of my blog contents.)

The only reason I stayed with Blogger so long was lack of time to setup a new blog elsewhere. This new content warning pushed the move higher up my priority list. And I can now, not before time, happily announce that this blog has moved permanently to a self-hosted, independent home.

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Tags: admin, Blogging


Adventures in topping

Posted at 00:54 on 26 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Last week I experienced my first over-the-knee spanking from the other side.

It happened like this. My friend Jacq, whose place I was stopping at during my trip to London, texted me asking if I wanted to accompany her to the local fetish night. Her tone was embarrassed. It wasn't a real fetish night, she hastened to assure me; it was, in fact, full of posey spooky kids and a bit crap, but she used to go to it a lot and her friends were begging her to come out with them. She wouldn't expect to actually play, since no-one else ever did, but it would be much more fun if I was there.

Forgive my filthy bathroom mirror; I went and cleaned it as soon as I saw this photo.I was up for it, but I was already on the hoof and I only had what I carried in terms of outfits. The summery day dresses for the 50s style domestic spanking shoot on my first day in London wouldn't do, and everything else I had with me was similarly casual. The only thing that might do was my new Japanese-style school uniform, which I was taking to D's for a rape scene we'd been planning.

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Tags: Fetish clubbing, Jacq, kink, otk spanking, school uniform, switching


Live blog: What Happens in Vegas

Posted at 00:01 on 27 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I'm just watching NSI's film What Happens in Vegas, which they filmed at the Shadowlane party last September. I was drawn in by the exceptionally pretty photography - the colours and lighting in the accompanying stills are just gorgeous - and, of course, by the tempting prospect of Zille Defeu and Bailey Sullivan in black lingerie. It's worth writing about, so I'll blog in real time as I'm watching it.

Technically speaking, the film definition is very high, but the audio does suffer from the fact that Northern Spanking were filming out of their suitcases and were presumably limited in terms of microphones - it's a bit hard to hear the dialogue unless you turn it right up, at which point there's a lot of rumble. Audio is one of the hardest things to get right, especially if you don't have a separate boom mic, so I have every sympathy - I've had the same problem on more than one occasion. Mostly, I'm just glad this film exists at all despite them being away from their standard setup, so I'm not inclined to complain too much. And the light in the film is almost as lovely as in the stills.

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Tags: Bailey Sullivan, cane, F-F, Marcus Black, Mf, Northern Spanking, paddle, Performers and producers, reviews, Zille Defeu


Gazing, voyeurism

Posted at 22:08 on 29 Apr 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Last summer Tom and I finally got the change to take to bed a good friend we'd been courting for some time. The young lady tells me she'd like to be known here as Jacqueline - and yes, she's the same girl who recently inspired me to top a lover for the first time. This is the first half of that story.

I first kissed her after midnight in the garden of a London nightclub. She has red or purple hair and soft curves, a calm sense of competence and pragmatism, and she laughs easily and often.

She and I revealed our mutual attraction to each other early on, but our flirtation stalled on the knowledge that she was deeply, unequivocably submissive; and I was moving on from my tendency to date other subs, and starting to seek out dommes and switches. She and I spent a pleasant night together, but I couldn't help feeling that things would be more satisfying for both of us with a top in the bed.

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Tags: Female gaze, Jacq, kink, meta-analysis, Thomas Cameron


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