Posted at 14:24 on 17 Jul 2012 by Pandora / Blake
Long long ago, in the mists of time, I defined my boundaries as a spanking professional. I'd decided early on that I wasn't comfortable offering private ('121' in scene lingo) sessions. The question of spanking parties helped me to resolve my boundaries more precisely.
I drew a line which was a compromise between my own comfort zone and that of my boyfriend D*, and the line was this: I wouldn't do any spanking work where the person paying me was paying to spank me. Being paid by the person who was spanking me was fine if the end product was a video or photo set, but if the end product was a sexy experience for the spanker, that was outside my personal comfort zone. Basically, I wanted to establish a professional identity as a performer, and not a personal service provider.
* I consulted Tom too; he had no preference and was happy for me to do whatever I wanted.
I've heard second-hand that some people have got the wrong end of the stick about this decision, so I'll make it clear now: I've never thought I was somehow 'better' than people who did sessions. It was outside my personal comfort zone, and that was all it ever was. Actually for most of that time I've looked up to spanking professionals who have the confidence, social skills and self-knowledge to offer one-to-one sessions. I have huge admiration for anyone who's that good with people.
I've been growing and learning ever since that initial decision not to offer personal services, and my perspective on kink and the sex industry is still evolving. Six years on, I'm a different person with more experience and more confidence. I'm an advocate for sex workers' rights, and have done a lot of reading and thinking about sex work and freedom of choice. I've embraced my inner top and started identifying as a switch. I'm a business owner, a director and producer as well as a performer. I'm far more sure of my own preferences and boundaries, and far more willing and able to clearly express them. At the same time I have a more realistic sense of how little I know and, relatively, how little experience I have; I'm both more sure of my tastes and more open-minded about trying new things.
I've always had friends who offered personal spanking services, but for most of the last few years the closest of those has been Zoe Montana. It was in 2009 that she first asked if I would be interested in coming along to one of her sessions. She knew that I didn't want to be spanked by her clients, but she told me that several of them would enjoy having me along for the ride regardless. Here was her suggestion: she would advertise a roleplay scenario in which Ms Montana the headmistress called a naughty boy and girl into her office. During the session, she would punish both me and the client. I'd be paid for my time as a performer putting on a little live show with my friend Zoe, and I'd join in with the roleplay and hopefully help create a stimulating, immersive experience for the chap. He'd get to watch and be watched, but he wouldn't touch me.
I said that sounded like fun, and D said he didn't see why not, so Zoe and I met up a handful of times with different gentlemen. I got to meet various fellows on the scene, and found most of them interesting and easy to get on with. I learned a lot from watching Zoe put them at ease, subtly manage the flow of a scene, and clearly maintain her boundaries while always seeming easy-going and flirtatious.
It turned out that I really enjoyed not only the roleplay and having an audience while getting spanked by Zoe, but I also loved to watch her spanking men. Above all, I loved the opportunity to talk to different people about their spanking kink. I heard some fascinating stories, became increasingly aware of my own good fortune in having regular spanking relationships, and found it genuinely fulfilling to play a small role in providing a beneficial, therapeutic, sexy spanking experience for someone who really needed it.
When Zoe went back to Australia in early 2010, my friend Annabel Trotwood and I teamed up to offer 221s on a similar basis. Last year, as my interest in switching increased, I had my first try at topping clients in these sessions, and absolutely loved it.
These encounters were sporadic: every other month at most, and usually far more irregular than that. But I enjoyed them. I realised that I'd really like the chance to try more things, like switching with a client, or meeting up with people one-to-one. It was time for me to sit down with D and have another chat about our boundaries.
We talked it over a few weeks ago. I explained that I still had no interest in offering private sessions as a spankee, but that I was increasingly interested in doing so as a switch. Something about the expectations, the equal power balance, made the idea much more appealing than a one-way interaction. D said that he still wasn't entirely comfortable with the idea for various reasons, but he would respect my wishes if I wanted to go ahead and try it.
He gave his permission for a small number of initial experiments to see how I got on. Those were a group switch scene with Molly and a couple of mutual friends (both of whom, as it happened, I'd already played with just for fun, which made the whole thing feel a lot safer) and a couple of one-offs in Texas. We'd check in with each other afterwards and let each other know how we felt.
As I suspected, playing in a group with Molly is pure delight. It's sheer pleasure; it doesn't feel like work at all. I would gladly do that any day.
In the end I had three 121 sessions in Texas: two booked in advance with online friends, and a third arranged spontaneously during the weekend itself. They offered a nice mixture of personalities and styles, from in-depth roleplay to casual back-and-forth. And I learned more about my preferences:
1. Switching really does make all the difference to me. I love topping, but (at this point in my life) I'm not a domme. Switch roleplays in which one character turns the tables - or just cheerfully exchanging beatings with a like-minded enthusiast - suits me perfectly. Outside my existing relationships, the play partners that interest me at the moment are fellow switches, and it turns out the same is true in a professional context.
2. I found the actual spanking to be the easiest part of a session; the part I found hardest was the socialising. Don't get me wrong, everyone I've met up with so far has been lovely. It's just that I'm not the greatest people person in the world, and talking to people I don't know very well is fun but tiring. I enjoy it, I hope I'm not too bad at it, but it wears me out a bit. The sessions I've most enjoyed so far have been with the people I'd already spent a certain amount of time talking to. As a result, I think I'd prefer to mostly do 121s with people I already know.
Other than that, my Texas encounters confirmed what I already knew: that I love feeling like I've helped someone connect with their kink in a positive way, I love spanking eager bottoms and talking about spanking, and I'm still a bit picky about who I let spank me.
The upshot of all this, having talked further with D, is that Molly and I have just started advertising switch 221s in London and Surrey. Unlike my previous ventures into the scene, these sessions will include the opportunity to spank me - as long as you're prepared to offer your own bottom in return. You can also watch Molly and I punish each other if you like, which as you can imagine is a terrible hardship for both of us. I'm also potentially interested in booking occasional 121s with fellow switches if I feel we click.
So there you have it. Pandora, who always made a point of never offering private sessions, now sort of is. If you have any questions, ask away.