Want to read more? Join my Patreon community

March Roundup

Posted at 15:00 on 1 Apr 2021 by Pandora / Blake

To say March has been madness would be putting it lightly. Between arranging film shoots and night weaning, I’m in a state of chronic sleep deprivation. Editing footage and writing have been squeezed in around parenting, and I still managed to do all this!

Patreon Posts

Pandora practising Tai Chi in the grass

Dreams of Spanking Scenes

Keep reading »

Tags: Dreams of Spanking, kink education, march, Patreon, roundup, Youtube

65 comments

This One Weird Trick

Posted at 12:00 on 22 Mar 2021 by Pandora / Blake



It’s been a long, locked-down winter, and a month ago I was feeling crappy: slow, sluggish and permanently overtired. I’m doing a hell of a lot better now than I was, and I wanted to talk a bit about why.

There’s been a lot of buzz in recent years about ‘self-care’. As a concept it’s not without its problems: not everyone has the time, energy, headspace or resources to devote to the various things it’s now recommended we all do to look after ourselves. As the idea takes firmer root people end up feeling as though they’re being blamed for their own difficulties because they’re not taking enough baths or buying the right sort of scented candle. In the USA there are health insurance companies who actually offer money off some policies if you can demonstrate your participation in certain ‘self-care practices’ -  which of course aren’t accessible to disabled people, overworked people, people living in poverty, people with inadequate childcare, or people with any number of other physical and environmental limitations. Holy ableism, Batman.

There’s something horribly dishonest about the idea that one must “feel good” all the time - and that those good feelings are entirely within our own personal control. Sometimes things are just shitty, and the best thing we can do is accept that we're gonna feel shitty about them. Sometimes it’s not even close to being your fault, and shit is being dropped on you from a great height.

But... sometimes there are things we can do. You might, like me, be a relatively privileged, relatively able-bodied person with an adequate support system. Perhaps you feel crappy because you have needs that aren’t being met, and perhaps you can do something to meet some of those needs. Yes, even in the midst of pandemic chaos.

I hate feeling bad. I much prefer to feel good, if at all possible. So I launched myself on a quest to figure out what that ‘something’ might be. Did I need to work less? We arranged some COVID-secure childcare so my partner and I could spend a whole day together. No work, no toddler - just us. Was that what I was missing? It was lovely - but it brought home to me how depleted I’d become. It took six hours of cuddling, talking, massage and snacks before I felt like I wanted a spanking.

Amidst numerous complaints about how crappy I felt, I shared that I'd heard a podcast the other day where both guests agreed that if they could only do one thing every day for their wellbeing, it would be exercise. I couldn't remember when I'd last done any. "I think that half an hour of Tai Chi a day would do you a lot of good," Felix agreed.

I’ve been doing Tai Chi for three and a half years, more off than on since we all got stuck at home. I was taking classes on Zoom for a while, but not since we moved house. 

So Felix offered to take the munchkin first thing before breakfast, to give me a bit of time when I got up in the morning. Why not try it for a week and see?

And what do you know? After a week, the difference was remarkable. After a month, I never want to stop.

I wake up, get dressed in joggers and a hoodie, drink a glass of water, and go out to our chilly conservatory where there's a bit of space. I do ten minutes of qi gong, then the 18-step Chen bare hand form three times, and ten minutes of weapons practice. I've been relearning Cheng Man-Ch'ing narrow sword from my notes, and have just started brushing up my fan form.

Doing the same thing every morning makes it easy to start. I don't have to feel energetic or make decisions - I can go through the motions at first. My mind is usually busy when I start, but by the time I'm doing the form I'm able to focus internally. That's when I really notice the benefits: when I bring my attention to my breath, and to my centre. I focus on making my movements smooth and flowing, strong and explosive, or soft and subtle. When my attention is focused on my internal experience rather than on racing thoughts, the practice is emotionally calming and mentally enlivening.

I knew Tai Chi was awesome, but I was literally stunned by how quickly I noticed the benefits from doing it every morning. I'm stronger and more flexible; my body simply works better. I have more energy and I feel more alert. I’ve become calmer and less reactive, even after a broken night, and I’m finding it easier to self-regulate strong emotions. My concentration and mental clarity have improved, I’m more cheerful and contented than I was, and my stress levels have fallen dramatically. I’m even sleeping better - in-between interruptions from the toddler, of course.

This is all amazing, of course, but the most startling benefit has been one I have no idea to expect: it’s totally transformed my relationship with my body.

I wrote recently about my thoughts after listening to Sonya Renee Taylor, author of Your Body Is Not An Apology. Since then I've been regularly reminding myself that “comparison is the ladder”. It’s proved a tough nut to crack - I still caught myself making judgements and comparisons about my body. But after a couple of weeks of doing Tai Chi once a day, I suddenly noticed I hadn't thought those things at all. I caught sight of myself in the mirror one day and realised I couldn't remember the last time I'd cast an assessing or evaluating gaze on my own figure. Maybe I look different and maybe I don’t - I actually haven't noticed. For the first time in my life, the only thing I notice about my body is what it feels like, and what it's capable of.

This is... revelatory. I’m blown away. It might sound like a small thing, but for someone who has struggled with body image over the years - it’s a huge shift, all the more delightful for being unexpected.

I’m not really trying to say that you should all rush out and start learning Tai Chi, not least because it might be tricky while there's a pandemic on. But if you're feeling crappy and there is some kind of exercise and movement you enjoy doing, and you’re not currently doing it, might that be a sort of low-hanging fruit? 

There are three main factors, I think, that make this work for me:

  1. My routine starts gently, so I can begin no matter how tired I’m feeling. 
  2. It’s mentally engaging enough to hold my attention. I get bored easily, so I benefit from something that uses my brain as much as my body. Studying the forms, paying attention to my breath, where my weight is, the quality of my movement - it's interesting. And far more beneficial than just waving my arms around while thinking about work.
  3. By the end the physical intensity has ramped up enough that my heart is beating faster - which is energising and enlivening.


This won’t work for everyone, of course. Maybe you need something more or less physically demanding to feel good afterwards. But that’s what works for me.

So rather than dispensing advice, I'm curious: What have you found that helps you stay sane in the midst of this pandemic? Does regular movement like this keep you steady, or do you need something different? Please share your thoughts and experiences below - you never know, your One Weird Trick might help someone else as much as this helped me.

This post was funded by my 113 Patrons. To power my activism and my writing on sexual freedom and social justice, join my Patreon community here

Keep reading »

Tags: accessibility, body image, body positivity, health, mental health, movement, Patreon, self-care

47 comments

February Roundup

Posted at 15:00 on 1 Mar 2021 by Pandora / Blake

For such a short month, I sure have been busy in February! I got high-quality speakers for Christmas and have been spending a lot of my time perfecting the sound on every film and audio story. I’m self-taught in almost everything I do, and I get a lot of satisfaction from adding another skill to my arsenal. 

Patreon Posts

I ran a promotion to mark 2021 and a renewed commitment to the slogan Shame Less - kick sexual stigma and fight for social justice. All patrons who signed up by Valentine’s Day would receive an exclusive Shame Less pin. The beautiful enamel pins are in the post to their new owners as I type, and I can’t wait to see people condemning kink shaming all over the world.

A pile of Shame Less enamel pins in the colours of bi pride

Dreams of Spanking Scenes

As we fall into the rhythm of a weekly schedule, I continue to be amazed by the benefits involved in working with a team. I can delegate, I can communicate my limitations - essentially, I can take a day off and know that the ship will keep sailing! Here are the updates we released to you lovely people this month:

Keep reading »

Tags: Dreams of Spanking, February, Kink Education, Patreon, roundup, Shame Less, stigma, summary, Youtube

3 comments

A spanko's guide to long-distance relationships

Posted at 15:00 on 22 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake



I am no stranger to the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. I now live with my long-term partner and child, but there was a large chunk of my life where I lived alone and travelled to see my partners. Sometimes it was a bus ride, and sometimes a long train journey. 

I've learned a lot and I'm still continuing to learn - the pandemic has introduced new obstacles for us to overcome, and has forced us to come up with ever more creative ways to stay connected. Particularly as spankophiles, it can be challenging to feel close to your partner when your usual way to connect is taking them over your lap. As Erica Scott puts it, we have a fetish that is not exactly conducive to social distancing.

I was therefore delighted to be asked by Jillian Keenan to be involved in her educational film on long-distance dynamics. This two-parter features so many spanking celebrities it'll make you spin - Princess Kelley May, Stephen Lewis, Ariel Anderssen, Pharaoh Spanks, Madame Samantha B, Cassidy Lau, Miss Rachel, and Erica Scott. It was an honour to be featured alongside my esteemed peers in this film, and I would encourage you to check it out. You may even recognise some of them from the Dreams of Spanking catalogue...

For my contribution, I spoke about the importance of communicating about your communication. This may sound redundant, but you would be surprised how quickly dialogue can break down when you're operating in a medium that one party isn't comfortable using. 

Keep reading »

Tags: collaboration, educational, long-distance dynamics, Patreon, video, Youtube

3 comments

Next Watch Me Write Session: 19th December

Posted at 10:00 on 14 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake



It's time for another Patreon Watch Me Write session! Otherwise known as an opportunity to be the first to read my new writing, and to share your perspective on the topics at hand. Which is a pretty big deal, because for the first time I'm inviting you to watch me write my book, live in real time.  

For those who don't know, here's how my Watch Me Write sessions work. On the date and time of the session, you will be given access to a Google Doc where I'm working on my manuscript. Think of it like a live writing hangout. You can nosy at my draft and follow my revision process - moving around big chunks of text, deleting, formatting, and sometimes starting all over again.  You can add comments and interact with my writing in real time, or you can be a lurker and enjoy the process. 

I've done Watch Me Write sessions before with drafting articles, but this is the first ever opportunity to take a look inside the cover of my manuscript. Draft zero of my manuscript is at 20 chapters, and I'm working to distill it into 12. I'm currently working on a chapter exploring where our fantasies come from, so during this session I'll either be working on that or the next chapter, which is about what happens when you try to suppress those fantasies. This is my first time opening the cover of my book to you, so be gentle! 

Keep reading »

Tags: draft, editing, manuscript, Patreon, writing

2 comments

How to come to terms with a kinky sexuality

Posted at 15:00 on 10 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake

As I'm revising my manuscript, I'm cutting out sections that don't fit and posting them here. Become a Patron to get access to cut sections about my personal kink journey, and excerpts from what I'm keeping.

Coming to terms with yourself is a lifetime’s work. For me, it took twenty five years to reach the point where I started to really accepted the kinky sides of my sexuality. Since then, I’ve spent a decade deepening my enquiry, and introducing more complexity and nuance as my understanding has evolved. Rather than killing my desire, this deep dive has had the opposite effect. I’m pleased to say that my kinks have survived the process - in fact in some ways I'm kinkier than ever.

When we embark on this enquiry, we might trip over areas where our sexual desires seem complicated by our politics and our values. “I used to enjoy weird sex, then I became woke and stopped” would be a sad story. Luckily, that's not my story, and it doesn't need to be yours. I enjoy kinky sex, my wokeness is a work in progress, and the combination sizzles with delicious complexity.

The book I'm writing is a call for social and self-acceptance of kinky sexuality, and it’s a manifesto for consensual sexual expression and ethical erotic practice.  I’ll come straight out and say it, because you’re going to find out in the first chapter anyway: my sexual fantasies often involve coercion or violence. I've struggled with the question of how to relate to them in a way that feels aligned with my values. Even the thought of enjoying some fantasies in the privacy of my own imagination has made me uncomfortable at times.

If you don’t have these fantasies, and you feel horrified at the idea of someone getting turned on by such a thing, trust me: it doesn’t make us monsters. Just complicated humans, with complicated wants.

If you do have them: welcome. You’re in the right place.

Maybe you have sexual thoughts that you bury because you're worried about causing harm, or because you don’t want to perpetuate violent social patterns. I've met many principled, compassionate kinky people are concerned by the apparent disconnect between their ethical principles and their dirty fantasies. Tops worry that they are terrible people, and bottoms worry that they are self-destructive. But our ethical principles and our dirty fantasies are not only compatible, they can actually mutually support each other.

How kinky fantasies and interpersonal ethics intersect is a complex and fascinating topic. It’s not as simple as “Free expression means I can do what I like”, and nor is it as simple as “Hurting people is wrong”, or “Violent fantasies mean you’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy”. The truth is, it’s more complicated than that.

I want to inject some nuance into the conversation. Self-acceptance - and even self-love - doesn’t have to be blind or uncritical. It doesn’t have to be based on the idea that ‘anything goes’. The most productive self-criticism comes from an exploration of our own ethics and values, rather than from comparing ourselves with social norms.

I reject the narrative that says because my fantasies are deemed ‘unconventional’ by the risk-averse mass-media entertainment industry, I should feel shame. I am queer, I am trans, I am kinky, and I am not ashamed.

It’s okay to be kinky. It’s also okay to critically examine our sexualities in their social context. Let’s do it together! I’m eager to discover what we can learn by situating our fantasies in wider culture, and using that analysis to develop healthy boundaries and ways of relating.

Creating a more functional, compassionate society starts with the self. Understanding, accepting and loving our whole self, including our sexual desires, is a necessary step to become whole, balanced humans.

Being kinky and principled isn’t a weird accident, or an unresolvable paradox. Rather than contradicting our principles, kinky fantasies can support them by providing a release valve for repressed desires in a controlled, consensual, and pleasurable way.
Kink offers us opportunities to learn about consent, intention setting, negotiation and boundaries - all of which are essential parts of the toolkit for healthy interpersonal relationships.

This is just a taster cut from draft 1 of the introduction, which I ended rewriting in different words. If this tickles your interest, join my Patreon and keep an eye out for updates on the progress of my book. I'm revising 12 chapters which fully dive into the details of how to come to terms with kinky fantasies - watch this space.

Keep reading »

Tags: drafts, excerpt, kink, manuscript, Patreon, patron

1 comment

Yay annual membership!

Posted at 15:00 on 2 Dec 2020 by Pandora / Blake



Patreon has had a spanking new update! Some of you may have seen that they can now facilitate annual membership, paid up front with a tasty discount to give you access to your favourite creators for the whole year ahead. This feature was in beta with selected creators for a time, but it’s been rolled out Patreon-wide which means you can benefit from it!

 

What does this mean for you? Well, that depends. Maybe it suits your finances better to continue paying monthly, and that's totally fine and dandy. For some though, this could be really neat. There’s a fair bunch of you that have been here for years. With the annual membership, you can pay for the entire year in one go and know that you’re set up to enjoy my content without interruption. Not only that, but the annual membership option saves you money! It’s available for every tier, and you get a 16% discount on your membership.  So it’s cheaper, more convenient and entails less work - a win all round!
 

It would be remiss to suggest that the benefits are all on your side. There are also advantages for me as a creator. The first benefit is financial security; by securing funding for the year, I can invest in longer-term projects in the knowledge that the money is there, rather than planning in the short-term. The second is cashflow. As a wise person once said, money now is always better than money later. 
 

Keep reading »

Tags: Patreon, rewards

0 comments

Celebrating 500 Patreon Posts!

Posted at 15:00 on 24 Nov 2020 by Pandora / Blake

It’s hard to believe it, but I now have over 500 on my Patreon! I actually hit this milestone a few weeks ago and in all the chaos of life it passed me by. To be precise, this will be my 512th post to Patreon since I started in April 2016. We’ve been on a rollercoaster of activist causes, legal battles and kinky fun, and I don't intend to stop any time soon. Here’s a highlight reel of some of my favourite moments over the last four years.
 

April 2016 - Did a week of research and sent a ten thousand word response to the Government consultation on age verification - as long as my MPhil thesis!
 

June 2016 - Gave interviews to dozens of publications including The Guardian and The Independent about winning my legal appeal, and Ofcom’s ruling to allow my porn site Dreams of Spanking, to reopen after being criminalised the previous year.
 

Keep reading »

Tags: book, campaigning, media, Patreon, round-up

4 comments

Three Reasons To Become A Patron

Posted at 15:25 on 2 Nov 2020 by eilidh

If you are a patron of my writing and activism, thank you for your support. This post isn't for you. You're welcome to stay and read on, but today I'm talking to non-patrons.
 

Hello, reader who is not a patron! I hope you've enjoyed my public posts. Perhaps you've come here from pandorablake.com, or maybe from my Twitter or a recommendation from a friend. Either way, you're here reading this post and I appreciate it! I'd like to tell you a little bit more about what's going on here on my Patreon. Why do people subscribe, what brings them here, and what keeps them here?
 

1. Be part of something
 

Keep reading »

Tags: activism, Patreon, patron, support, writing

1 comment

A Special Announcement

Posted at 15:00 on 25 Oct 2020 by Pandora / Blake

I'm so excited about this news I'm jiggling in my seat! Hold onto your hats (or whatever other part you want) because I've got a very special announcement to make.
As I've been unpacking my stuff in the new house, I've found a box of sexy postcards featuring some of my favourite photography prints from my work over the last decade.  I want to send them to my favourite people - you!
I'm immensely grateful for your belief in my work, your support for my activism and for all the writing I've been able to do this year thanks to you. I want to treat all my Patrons with a handwritten personalised postcard to say thanks!
I'm offering this for a limited time only, from now until Friday 6th November. Anyone who is a patron pledging $5 or more on 6th November will receive a postcard in the mail written by me personally, tucked into a discreet plain envelope.
This is also a super exciting moment though, because I've just got some lovely designs made for a t-shirt. I've been thinking about this all year and I'm thrilled that it's finally happening. I wanted to create a design expressing my political values that I can wear when I'm out and about, and that you can wear too! It's been fun thinking of possible slogans, and I've settled on a Love Heart style design with the words SHAME LESS. 
It's available in three colourways - they're based on the Kink Pride (red, purple and black), Bi Pride (pink, purple and blue) and Trans Pride (blue, white and pink) flags. They're subtle enough that you won't be outing yourself if you don't want to, and they're suitable for shameless allies to wear too! As well as choosing your SHAME LESS colour palette, you also get to choose the size and colour of the t-shirt, produced ethically and responsibly from 185gsm cotton.
Patrons who are at Advocate level (or above) will not only receive a post card, but will also get one of these new t-shirts. Become a cheerleader for yourself and others, supporting my activism against shame culture!

Keep reading »

Tags: Patreon, reward, shame resilience, special offer, t-shirt

0 comments

View all content tagged 'Patreon'

« Older      

Want to read more? Join my Patreon community
Become a Patron!

Find Pandora online

Feminist porn

Spanking porn

Spanking blogs

Sex and Politics blogs

Toplists & directories