Posted at 20:00 on 31 Mar 2017 by Pandora Blake
I talked in a previous blogpost about a fun interview with a French indie magazine called Bottom Up, the print version of which is now available! They gave me heaps of coverage in this issue, including a report on the Kink Olympixxx which talks about censorship relating to the Digital Economy Bill, a review of Dreams of Spanking, and a very sweet and flattering profile of me followed by an interview - the full transcript of which is below.
I particularly adore this picture of me and Myles at the Kink Olympixxx!
To get a copy, send an email with a paypal payment to Laurent at email@example.com.
Here is the unedited version of the interview:
Pandora. We see that you are very active in the world of "Spanking". We would like to know how you started...
I've always been into spanking. I think I first realised I was fascinated by the idea when I was 6 years old, and I read Roald Dahl's autobiography 'Boy' in which he describes getting the cane at boarding school during the 1930s. I never experienced or witnessed spanking for real growing up, for which I'm grateful. For me it was only ever fantasy - I never thought I would get to experience it for real!
Did anybody initiate you?
I kind of initiated myself! When I was a young teenager, while I was struggling with the awareness that I was sexually aroused by the idea of spanking, I was also wrestling with my growing awareness that I was queer. I spanked my first girlfriend when I was 13, and I got my first spanking a few years later, when I was 16, from my first boyfriend.
And what prompted you to make a professional career?
I'd always enjoyed looking at spanking porn - although as a teenager I didn't have a credit card, and all I could look at was the free previews. Still, looking at spanking photos online when I was a teenager was the first time I realised I might be able to find someone else who enjoyed it. Until I got online and found spanking porn, I thought I was a complete freak and the only person on the planet who fantasised about such things!
When I was in my early twenties, I was doing occasional art nude modelling, which I enjoyed for multiple reasons - it allowed me to explore the creative side of producing erotic imagery, it put me in a better place with my body image and self esteem, and it allowed me to earn a bit of money too. In 2006 I was telling Tom, my partner at the time, that I really wished I could model for one of my favourite spanking porn sites, and he told me that if I wanted to do it, I should. I doubted whether I wasn't pretty enough, or could take a hard enough spanking, but with his encouragement I started to consider applying.
Then a photographer contacted me on a modelling site offering a "simulated" spanking shoot, with me and the other model doing spanking poses for still photography, but no actual spanking. I had been nervous about going along to a real spanking shoot and getting spanked by a stranger, but this felt less terrifying, and it allowed me to take the plunge
I loved the shoot, and those first images empowered me to contact the spanking sites I liked and apply to work for them. The rest is history!
You are often seen as "Bottom" but you can also notice that you are also "Top" What do you prefer?
Oh, that's an unfair question! I'm bisexual too - you might as well ask me if I "prefer" men or women! I like both, and I'm glad no-one is forcing me to choose just one or the other.
I get different things out of both topping and bottoming, and I find them each nourishing, rewarding and sexy in different ways.
These days most of my personal relationships are with other switches. There's something wonderful about the mutual trust, respect and vulnerability of playing both ways with the same person.
And what brings you the BDSM game, I mean, mentally, spiritually, physically...
Mostly what brings me to it is the fact that it's a core part of my sexuality that has been with me since I was a child. I find the idea of being helpless or not being in charge innately arousing, and I've always been turned on by thoughts of being bound, tormented, and spanked. As an adult it's an important part of my sex life. But I get so much out of BDSM that isn't just about sexual gratification. Submission is immensely empowering for me. It puts me in touch with my courage, my resilience, and my ability to endure. Taking erotic pain involves a zen mindset, kind of like meditation. It puts me in my body and in the moment; and afterwards I feel on top of the world, like I could do anything I set my mind to.
Domination is a gorgeous, rewarding experience too - it brings me so much pleasure to lead other people on similar journeys, and help them get in touch with the power of vulnerability. Topping people is intimate, it's an incredible connection, and I feel a lot of love for my submissive while I'm doing it. It's immensely rewarding and satisfying to use my skills, empathy and experience to take people to those deep places, and guide them safely through it.
Aside from the fact that you are involved in the Spanking and Discipline Game, you are also known as an activist, tell us about your fight for sexual freedom...
Yes, that's right! I'm campaigning at the moment on behalf of sexual freedom for all consenting adults - I strongly believe that consenting adult sex should not be criminalised. This ends up taking me in multiple different directions, all of which have their own challenges; from LGBTQ rights, to sexual liberties for adults with other marginalised sexualities, such as fetish and BDSM. Then there's the overlapping but very different fight campaigning for the decriminalisation of sex work, and for worker's rights and better working conditions in the industry.
So you are politically engaged...
Very much so. I wasn't terribly political when I first starting working as a spanking performer back in 2006, but over the years my interest in feminism, gender politics, social justice and civil liberties deepened. Once I'd started to think about the ways in which gender and other structural oppressions affected the work I was doing in the porn industry, there was no going back. I started to develop my ideas about how to shoot BDSM porn in way that was aligned with my political values; and as I learned more about the law in the UK, I realised that there is still so much work to do to protect our rights and freedom.
And what do you think about censorship? I know that in England it is very severe there!
It's getting pretty bad here. When I first started working as a porn performer, censorship wasn't really on my horizon. The first legal issue on my radar was the "Extreme porn legislation" in 2009 which criminalised the possession of certain fetish images in the UK. We didn't manage to stop that law from getting passed, but that was when I first awakened to the need to fight for our right to freedom of sexual expression, and realised how backwards UK law is around obscenity and porn.
Since then it's got progressively worse. In 2015 I was targeted by the Authority for TV on Demand (ATVOD), who were the UK porn censor at the time. They subjected me to a traumatic and invasive investigation into my site Dreams of Spanking because it was seen as contravening draconian new porn regulations, which had been brought in without any Parliamentary debate or democratic process. They found me in breach of a new rule forbidding any depiction of spanking or BDSM that leaves marks on the body beyond those deemed "transient or trifling" - in order words, no welts or bruises are allowed, regardless of whether the practices are safe and consensual. I also broke the rules by publishing free previews on my website, as it was decided this would "harm children". I was forced to take my site offline or I else pay a large fine. I appealed the decision, and in June this year I won the appeal and was able to reopen the site with all the films and photos intact. It was a great moment for sexual freedom!
Unfortunately that victory has not lasted long. The law in the UK is still changing and there are new threats looming close. ATVOD have been disbanded, and the British Board of Film Classification is the new porn regulator now. My appeal win means I am exempt from the 2014 porn regulations and I can publish what I like. But they are currently in the process of passing a new law which brings in exactly the same rules as an Act of Parliament, and more restrictions besides. When this law - the Digital Economy Bill - is passed in a few months, it will be illegal to publish any porn that isn't compliant with the strict British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) regulations. So no spanking that leaves marks, no watersports, no fisting, no bondage with a gag, no female ejaculation. A long list of activities which are legal and safe to perform in real life are banned from being shown in porn. It's a ridiculous and outdated set of regulations.
This won't just affect UK sites - any international site (including European sites) which doesn't comply with the BBFC rules will be targeted for censorship. The BBFC will order your hosting or billing company to stop providing services unless you remove the banned content. If you refuse to comply, the final sanction is that your site will be totally blocked at an ISP level from being viewed by anyone in the UK. It's hugely problematic for so many reasons, and I am fighting to raise awareness about this law and the impact it will have on all of us. You can support my campaign here: patreon.com/pandorablake
And yet, I should admit that your country is one of the most involved in the BDSM world or spanking scene! Don't you see there, a form of monumental hypocrisy?
I agree, it's so hypocritical!
And how would you see sexuality in our society?
I think our society still has a very repressed view of sexuality. The idea of sex that we see in films and on TV is so heteronormative. There's a lot of sexist ideas, such as that a man who has lots of sexual partners is a stud but a woman who has lots of sexual partners is a slut. A lot of people are also ignorant and feaful about kink, fetish, and queer sex.
I'm particularly disappointed that so many women who describe themselves as "feminists" seem unable to understand that BDSM games can be consensual and a healthy part of an adult sexuality. They talk about "violent porn" as if it was a recording of a non-consensual crime, whereas in reality this is very rare, and most videos referred to as "violent porn" are just BDSM fantasy where a consenting performer who is being paid for their work gets tied up or spanked.
This rhetoric about "violent" and "extreme" porn, and particularly the idea that it will harm adults and children who see it, or that it's degrading to women, is very dangerous. This discourse completely ignores the consent and agency of the performers, and it erases the struggles of porn performers who are resisting real exploitation within the industry, campaigning for equal pay, decriminalisation, legal recognition and workers rights. If porn is seen as "inherently" degrading it makes it much harder for performers to talk about the times when things do sometimes go wrong, and to negotiate better working conditions where we have more choice about what we do, who with, and how we do it.
And if not in the game, what do you enjoy doing? In "Bottom" as in "Top"...
I love gardening, hula hooping and dance music, and cooking and eating vegan food! I'm also partial to music festivals, yoga, and reading. I'm a huge geek - I love sci-fi and fantasy novels, TV shows and films. Plus I'm a computer programmer and web designer, and I design and build all my websites myself.
What is your favorite spanking scenario?
I love historical fantasies with lush costumes and gorgeous locations! For instance, a poor Victorian maidservant who is punished severely for some trivial misdemeanour, or a strict Edwardian governess who takes her charges over the knee. I love bloomers, petticoats and corsets, and fantasies of unfair spankings in an overly strict society. I like to feel like a mistreated heroine who is very brave - it's much more fun for me than being a brat who deserves what she gets!
You are often seen playing and wandering in spanking scene and discipline softer than the pure and hard BDSM ... But do you also practice the BDSM?
Spanking can be hard - just take a look at any of my severe caning videos! But yes, I enjoy lots of kinky activities other than spanking. My fetishes include bondage, nipple clamps, hot wax, erotic hypnosis and plenty of other fun things. Mostly these activities are more sexual though, and so I am very selective about who I enjoy them with, and I'm only just starting to explore this sort of BDSM play with certain trusted individuals on video.
You manage the site "Dreams of Spanking" - tell us about your site.
Dreams of Spanking explores the romance, drama and adventure of spanking through stories and fantasies showing a wide variety of scenarios. It's queer inclusive, with actors of all genders, including non-binary and transgender performers. The site also has an ethos of gender equality, with tops and bottoms who are both masculine and feminine, and no idea that women are more submissive or any of that nonsense.
The site also makes very clear the boundary between fantasy and reality. I only work with genuine spanking enthusiasts, and the consent of performers is made super clear through behind the scenes videos, interviews, and letting them speak for themselves through blogposts and social media. Especially when I'm filming edgy or severe fantasies, it's so important to make it clear to viewers that everyone on set enjoyed the shoot and wanted to be there.
The site includes spanking photo galleries, films and audio stories, and I strive to always create beautiful imagery with high production values. Authenticity and believability are very important to me, as are sympathetic characters and interesting storylines that make sense.
And if you were a famous character, who would you be? And why?
I've always identified with La Maupin - Julie d'Aubigny. She was a swordswoman and opera singer who debauched her way through the French aristocracy in the 17th century. She dressed as a boy from an early age, studied fencing, had an affair with her fencing master, and travelled across the country giving sword performances, cross-dressing and singing in taverns. She was bisexual, had female lovers and even joined a convent so she could run away with one of the nuns! She fought - and won- duels with noblemen, got pardoned for her crimes, joined the opera, kissed young women in public at society balls, and generally caused a scandal. She was a gender-bender, a woman who used her body and her sexuality as power, and a queer role model. I can really relate to her joy of life, her determination to defy society's rules around gender and sexuality, and her defiance of convention and law when it tried to prevent her from doing what she wanted!
Maybe you gotta laugh, but it is a question I am asking to any ladies...If you think I was a so naughty boy to ask such question, which punishment scenario you will reserve to me?
Such cheek! You would be sent to the Headmistress' office without question, where she would give you a withering scolding. There you would be made to stand in the corner with your nose to the wall, to reflect on your crimes and the punishment that was coming. Then she would take you over her knee for a hard spanking on your bare bottom with her hand and wooden hairbrush. Any disrespect would be met with harder punishment. And if you do not behave better in future, you will have to bend over for the cane...
Do you have projects in the immediate future?
Yes, always! I have so many ideas and time is so short, I always have dozens of thoughts about what I want to do next. There are lots more porn films I want to shoot, and I have begun writing a book about the politics and psychology of sexual fantasy which I am eager to finish. But right now I am focussing on my campaign against the Digital Economy Bill, and publishing new spanking films and photos on Dreams of Spanking while I still can. If the law passes and the site ends up blocked within the UK, I won't be able to update it anymore, and I'll have plenty of time to write my book then.
And how do you see your future?
I intend to stay true to myself, and always be authentic, fierce and passionate in my work. I don't see myself stopping making porn any time soon, although with the changes in the law, I will have to find new and creative ways to make a living. But it's also important to me to have a private life, and to continue to spend time with my friends, lovers and chosen family.
To conclude, you may have something to say or share to our readers...
My message to your readers is this: no matter what you fantasise about, or what turns you on, you don't need to feel ashamed. There is nothing wrong with any daydreams that arouse you in the private theatre of your imagination. We can't help our sexuality, so we might as well enjoy it! Indulge in whatever fantasies you want; and if you have the chance to bring your fantasies to life with consenting, enthusiastic partners, do it. You won't regret it!
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