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The Sessions

Posted at 00:25 on 20 Jun 2014 by Pandora / Blake

While I was on the plane on the way to the Feminist Porn Awards I watched The Sessions, a film based on the true story of a paralysed man who seeks the services of a sexual surrogate. A few of my sex worker friends were looking forward to this film when it came out, hoping that it might be a positive representation of sex work - something that is all too rare in film, where sensationalism and objectification are very much the norm.

Nine's Law. Source - @supernowoczesna (www.jinxremoving.org)

Compared to the usual treatments, then, The Sessions is a good start. It's not about how sex work is super harmful; it's about the positive benefit one sex worker had on one individual. But don't expect miracles. This is still pretty mainstream.

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Tags: films and TV, Politics, review, Sex worker rights


Spanking fanfiction

Posted at 16:06 on 12 Nov 2013 by Pandora / Blake

Remus writes fanfiction by corilefayLike many women with access to the internet in their teens and early twenties, I am a reader of fanfiction. For a few years of my life it was my primary source of porn - before I discovered how much awesome video porn is out there, anyway. Long before I was old enough, or confident enough to buy site memberships with a credit card, I could read freely available wank material written by fellow fans about characters I knew and loved. Fanfic is safe, it's created by likeminded fans, and best of all to a teenage girl, it's free.

In fact the fanfiction community has several points of overlap with the open source, FOSS and Creative Commons communities, and as a cultural phenomenon I think it's fascinating, and doesn't deserve the juvenile reputation it has in some circles. At its core, fanfiction is an outpouring of sexually explicit fantasy material by young women, written for each other, on their own terms, in their own language. It is a form of media without any commercial interests, undertaken for the love of it. Fanfiction is typically, but by no means exclusively, centred around male/male fantasies. A large, perhaps disproportionate amount of it is kinky. In my opinion it absolutely deserves to be included in the conversation about female gaze or feminist pornography.

I hadn't read much of it for years, spanking video having somewhat dominated my attention in the meantime. Until I noticed that the latest person to join Dreams of Spanking had an email address @ FicWriter.com. Intrigued, I had a look.

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Tags: Dreams of Spanking, F-M, fanfiction, Fantasies, Female gaze, films and TV, M-M


Big Bang Theory spanking

Posted at 16:00 on 7 Dec 2012 by Pandora / Blake

I don't watch the Big Bang Theory, but I still enjoyed watching this snippet of a mainstream TV spanking that seems to understand our kink, as well as playing it for laughs.

Tags: films and TV, Videos


Male subs on TV: Rick Castle

Posted at 14:40 on 25 Aug 2012 by Pandora / Blake

A couple of nights ago I watched the first few episodes of the TV show "Castle", which I'd been interested in ever since I discovered that it featured Nathan Fillion as a murder mystery writer playing poker with real life authors Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Stephen J. Cannell.

It's a silly, stylish, entertaining little show. The basic premise is that Rick Castle, a bad boy bestselling author played by Nathan Fillion, ends up helping hard-hitting, no-nonsense New York detective Kate Beckett to solve homicide cases. So far, so implausible. But it does have one very interesting theme running through it. Rick Castle is sexually submissive. In fact, he's a brat. From the very first episode, the sexual tension underpinning Castle and Beckett's relationship is full of kinky references.

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Tags: f-m, films and TV, gender politics, male submission


Masie Dee in Game of Thrones

Posted at 12:58 on 8 May 2012 by Pandora / Blake

A few days ago I finally sat down with Jacq and watched the latest Game of Thrones episodes, including the infamous beating scene. If you haven't seen it yet, this is a new scene written specially for season 2. (Spoiler alert! But the scene doesn't include any crucial plot points.)

Tyrion, after watching Joffrey abuse Sansa, wonders if part of the problem is sexual frustration, and sends him a couple of prostitutes, Ros and Daisy, to help alleviate it. Rather than going along with his uncle's plan, Joffrey forces Ros to beat Daisy so he can send her back to Tyrion all battered as a message.

Ros and Daisy are both characters unique to the TV show - they don't appear in the books. The up-market brothel outside the walls of Kings Landing which Tyrion frequents in the novels has been replaced by a whorehouse inside the walls. Rather than casting lots of different people as all the different prostitutes who appear in the books, they're consolidated into two or three recurring characters; Ros first appeared in season 1, and now manages the brothel. I think Daisy first appears at the start of season 2 as the whore Tyrion discovers Maester Pycelle in bed with, but I could be wrong.

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Tags: films and TV, Masie Dee, Performers and producers, Sound Punishment


Why the "Horrible Bosses" adverts make me jaw-grindingly angry

Posted at 11:20 on 26 Jul 2011 by Pandora / Blake

I've seen these adverts on the Tube recently (or very similar ones: the London version has the word "nympho" instead of "maneater".) They're for a film which will be showing soon in the UK, and the marketing campaign is aggressive. I'm even seeing promoted tweets about it turn up in my Twitter feed. So far, every ad I've seen has made me angry. My anger is half at the film itself (which is perhaps not fair to judge before I've watched it), and half at the way it's being marketed.

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Tags: consent, Female gaze, films and TV, Gender politics, other pictures, Politics, rant


Green Porno

Posted at 14:20 on 15 Feb 2011 by Pandora / Blake

Yesterday the lovely Penny and I celebrated Valentine's Day by going to the Sexual Nature exhibition at the Natural History Museum. It's good fun, and well worth the money, revealing lots of beautiful and gross details about the sexual habits of various animals, with a refreshing emphasis on the variety inherent in nature and the weird restrictiveness of human sexual morality. Did you know that homosexual orangutan sex is much more cuddly and affectionate than hetero encounters? Or that spinner dolphins mate in large orgies known as wuzzles? Bisexuality, homosexuality, transexuality, polyamory - the animal kingdom has it all.

The highlight of the exhibition was a selection of Green Porno videos by Isabella Rossellini, a charming series of shorts in which she dresses up and demonstrates the bizarre mating habits of different creatures. Such as this delightful take on sadomasochistic snails:

You can view the whole series online at the Sundance Channel's Green Porno page. Look out for lesbian lizards, necromantic praying mantises, and the decombobulating vaginas of ducks...

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Tags: films and TV, funny


That Bored to Death scene

Posted at 01:02 on 14 Dec 2010 by Pandora / Blake

Everyone and their dog has probably seen this already, but just in case you missed it on Chross' blog, here's the recent scene from HBO's "Bored to Death" which is being hailed as the most authentic spanking ever aired on mainstream TV:

According to the TV universe, spanking is still only acceptable if it's presented as comedy, but the comedy scenes are certainly getting kinkier! This scene isn't particularly believable, but it's not unsympathetic, either. I think you're meant to enjoy Nina's enthusiasm, despite her weird timing and laughable inconsistencies. Extra props for mention of safewords, the focus on the spankee's desires and Jonathan responding as if this happened to him every day.

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Tags: films and TV, Videos


Livilla and Sejanus

Posted at 21:28 on 20 Jan 2010 by Pandora / Blake

It's the time of year when Tom and I (along with our friends Ophelia and Feste) disappear off into the wilds of England for a long weekend of Shakespeare and feasting. This time last year I'd just come back from shooting with Pain 4 Fem; this year I have a couple of faint bruises from my double caning on Monday, but nothing so dramatic to attract comment in the sauna.

We'll be back next week. Until then, I shall leave you with some photos from the last theatrical readthrough Tom and I did with this crowd - I, Claudius by Robert Graves. We were lucky enough to be cast as Sejanus and Livilla, and it was just as hot as we'd hoped. Those of you who don't know the book (or the classic BBC adaptation with Patricia Quinn and Patrick Stewart) may find something to enjoy in this little scene:

SEJANUS: I'll divorce my wife and get married. [kissing her] And then I'll have you all to myself. No more lovers for you, then. You'll have to behave.

[LIVILLA sits on the bed. SEJANUS strips until he is bare chested]

LIVILLA: And if I don't?

SEJANUS: If you don't? Then I'll lock you in a room without any clothes, and I'll visit you three or four times a day.

LIVILLA: Perhaps you'll be too tired. Perhaps you'll only manage once.

SEJANUS: [undressing her] Then I'll send my guards to stand in for me.

LIVILLA: Would you really?


LIVILLA: How many?

SEJANUS: Three or four.

LIVILLA: I might not let them.

SEJANUS: You'll be forced.

LIVILLA: Against my will?


LIVILLA: While you were there?


LIVILLA: I'd struggle. And scream.

SEJANUS: But no use.

LIVILLA: You'd like that, wouldn't you?

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Tags: acting, films and TV, Photos, Thomas Cameron

1 comment

Sharpe's flogging

Posted at 01:03 on 12 Jan 2010 by Pandora / Blake

I've just started reading the first book of the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell - the ones that were made into a tasty TV BBC costume drama starring Sean Bean. The first book, Sharpe's Tiger, predates the first plotline of the TV show, presumably because it's set in India and they didn't have the budget.

The villain, Sergeant Hakeswill, is one that reappears in the TV episodes Sharpe's Company and Sharpe's Enemy, in which he gets Sharpe's friend Harper unjustly flogged. The whipping in the BBC version is somewhat anticlimactic Of course, a flogging with authentic blood and gore would be too much for the BBC (although inconsistently, they're happy enough to include a certain amount of blood and gore in the battle scenes).

I know that actual military floggings were far more horrific. Thanks to poor medical care (and a lack of will in carrying what knowledge they had out responsibly) a small sentence could be lethal due to the chance of infection; but even without that factor, a sentence of one or two hundred lashes could easily kill someone. The leather thongs tear the flesh away from the bones and the flesh is shredded to ribbons. I found the flogging scenes in Naomi Novik's Temeraire books far more realistic, and simultaneously more sensitive: 40 lashes is seen as a severe sentence which the captain is unwilling to give out; he forces himself to watch it, suffering all the while; and the miscreants stay in the sick bed for several weeks afterwards. By contrast, the scene in Sharpe's Tiger is extravagantly, sensationalistically, horrific: Cornwell's only aim is to heighten the anticipation and horror, and few of his characters show any humanity or sensitivity.

Anyway, I tucked into the first book delightedly, pleased to be able to read about characters I have long loved. I love Cornwell's other historical fiction and I had high hopes. But the first section of the book is all about how horrible it is to be flogged (and how horrible it is to be a soldier in every other way, but with a perverse fixation on the flogging) and then how horrible Hakeswill is, and how Hakeswill is definitely going to get Sharpe flogged and how horrible that's going to be. I knew Sharpe did get flogged in this book because I'd been spoilered by the TV show, but the sensationalistic anticipation about how awful it was going to be was so unbearable that I did something I very rarely do. I skipped ahead.

I skipped ahead, past all the other plotlines, past how Hakeswill achieves it, to the flogging itself. Which was, if anything, even more horrific and extreme and gory than I had imagined, partly because Sharpe is given a sentence which massively exceeds the maximum historical sentence of 1 200 lashes. Of course no-one could survive that, so of course he is saved by an even unlikelier sequence of events. The unrealistically excessive sentence and the equally unrealistic rescue were just as disappointing as the weedy, unbelievable flogging shown on screen in the TV show.

The more brutal tortures used as disciplinary methods in historical contexts are not always interesting to me: the naval horror stories are mildly fascinating, and their background presence adds tension to any naval scene, but I wouldn't want to read a detailled account of one actually being carried out; I certainly wouldn't want to read an account from the perspective of the victim. I was expecting Sharpe's flogging to be slightly sexy, and when the first anticipatory hints were dropped in the opening pages my heart definitely started racing. But my horror and dismay quickly overtook any erotic fear I was feeling, and the actual scene turned me right off.

British military floggings were horrific and gory and brutal, and often just a slow and agonising death sentence. In my fantasy life, they far more often appear as the-threat-which-is-never-carried-out, or as vague background texture which is never made explicit. I squirmed during the scene in the Temeraire series, but I think that level - 40 lashes viewed by sympathetic characters - represents the most extreme edge of my interest in actually imagining the experience of a flogging in any empathic detail. More than that and it's like any other torture porn - mildly fascinating in the abstract, but increasingly disgusting and upsetting as more detail is included, all the more if it's based on real events.

Am I just getting more sensitive as I age? Is it that the more real, historical brutality and gore I learn about, the less interested I am in including it in my fantasies? I'm not sure how much I was ever interested in scenarios this extreme. And while I get much more upset and angry about real-life rape and assault these days than I used to, I still fetishize similar acts in a consensual/fantasy setting. So I'm not sure that's it.

When I think about it, I've always shied away from reading about this sort of thing in detail - but when I was younger, that reticence was characterised by a squirmy, guilty, shameful excitement. I didn't read more because I was excited by the idea, and I was ashamed of being excited. These days, that shame isn't there: so I look deeper, at which point I discover that I lack the stomach for depictions of real atrocities carried out against real people, and often can't prevent myself from imagining the experience, which is upsetting and not particularly erotic. Any eroticism is in the hints, the anticipation, the subtlety; the breath-quickening idea rather than the blood-soaked reality.

Mostly, I think I'm disappointed that Sharpe's flogging was too over-the-top for me to take it seriously. I'd wanted to get really into it, feel his fear and then get all gooey over how brave and tough he was for enduring it. As it was, I felt my brain shutting down, and I skipped through the pages as fast as I could. But even if the scene had been more realistic, I still doubt I would enjoy immersing myself in an account of one of the more believable, but no less horrible or lethal floggings with sentences in the hundreds which were carried out in reality.

Your mileage may vary, though, so if backs flayed to the bone are your kind of thing, this book is definitely for you.

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Tags: films and TV, meta-analysis, other pictures


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