The Adult Provider Network discusses problems with the Digital Economy Bill

Posted at 12:29 on 28 Sep 2016 by Pandora Blake

The Adult Provider Network

Last month I attended the second meeting of the newly reinstated Adult Provider Network - an adult industry trade association formed last month to co-ordinate responses to the Digital Economy Bill. It was an absolutely fascinating meeting, and I learned a lot. Read on to discover how this will actually affect your business if you run a UK porn site, why the bill potentially discriminates against the visually impaired, and how the bill risks creating a new trade barrier between UK industry and overseas.

Who are the Adult Provider Network?

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Tags: Adult Provider Network, age verification, ATVOD, AV consultation, AVMS, BBFC, BBFC guidelines, censorship, child safety, civil liberties, Digital Economy Bill, digital rights, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, health and disability, MindGeek, obscenity, Ofcom, politics, porn, privacy, sex education, surveillance, technology, young people

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Spanking and sciatica

Posted at 00:11 on 20 Sep 2013 by Pandora Blake

I got an email today from a client who wanted to book a second spanking session with me, but was concerned about his recent problems with sciatica. He wondered if I knew whether CP affects the sciatic nerve, as he hoped his health issues wouldn't impede his ability to play.

I am not a doctor, but I do know a number of kinksters who suffer from chronic health conditions, so I thought I would crowd source the question.

Pandora Blake @pandorablake Client with sciatica concerned about whether he can safely enjoy spanking. Anyone got any experience with this?
3:35 PM - 19 Sep 13

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Tags: Body positivity, health and disability, kink, Politics

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Storing emotions in the body

Posted at 12:35 on 18 Sep 2011 by Pandora Blake

A little while ago some friends of mine were talking about their experiences during yoga classes. One asked if she was the only one to experience panic and anxiety during savasana (corpse pose, a relaxation position). It turned out she wasn't, and several people added their own experiences of uncontrollable weeping or a surging of emotion while doing poses which were billed as "relaxing".

Shortly after her boyfriends death, Amanda Coggin, a San Francisco-based writer, was in a small, intimate yoga class. While in the class, she listened to the teacher, who encouraged the participants to breathe deeply and try to clear their minds. As Amanda positioned herself in an asana, she felt an immense release. Suddenly, she said, the tears just came.

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Tags: health and disability, kink, meta-analysis, other pictures, otk spanking

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Your body is not the enemy

Posted at 20:46 on 12 May 2011 by Pandora Blake

My new exercise regime this year has been a wholly positive experience. I've felt less back pain since I started, and my physio tells me that my back problems have lessened. I've gained strength and energy - and there have been stimulating knock-on effects where my partners are involved.

For years, my back pain was a monster in my attic. Thinking about it made me ashamed and frightened. I didn't know how to confront it, or how to think about it. Since I became sexually active at about the same time as my back problems started to develop, in all that time, kink and sex have been my primary route to body positivity. It's only this year that that's changed.

I note now that I am coming to this from a position of able-bodied privilege. Not everyone's body plays by the rules; not everyone can benefit from exercise. My chronic back pain doesn't count as a disability (although if I'd left it untreated it probably would have eventually, once I developed RSI). I am lucky to have had a condition which was fixable, lucky to have had the means and the encouragement to start fixing it before it was too late. I empathise with people who aren't able to negotiate successfully with their bodies, and who don't have a clear path to improving their situation.

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Tags: Body positivity, health and disability, Kink activism, learning curves, meta-analysis

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His hand; my mouth

Posted at 23:09 on 23 Feb 2011 by Pandora Blake

So last night I was sitting down to write my #ladypornday blogpost, feeling kind of achy and creaky and grumpy about the idea of sitting at my desk when my back already hurt. I know, I thought, I'll have a drink, that'll ease the aches and help the words come forth. Except I was due a teetotal day. So I didn't have one, I went and bothered Tom instead.

He's been poorly again this week (after that brief sunlit ray of health) - just a cold, but enough to frustrate us both all over again. But he was very sweet. We cuddled, and he asked if I wanted a backrub. I regretfully turned him down - I didn't really have time for a massage AND writing a blogpost before dinner, plus I'd feel guilty getting him to look after me when he's the one who's sick. But it occurred to me, sitting on his lap enjoying a cuddle, that I could perhaps ask for a spanking.

So I did.

We started with him sitting on the edge of the bed and me over one knee, but that made my tummy ache, so after a little bit I asked if I could go over both knees instead. He spanked me carefully, with restraint, not wanting to push too hard but knowing that if I was going to get the endorphins-as-painkillers I was after I would need to be pushed a bit. Even over my knickers, even at a fraction of the strength I know he's capable of, I couldn't take it. I owwed and winced and sucked in my breath and tried to be brave and knew full well I was being a total wimp. I hung on, waiting for my body to catch on and start to mellow out, but the switch didn't flip.

Tom reads me well. He knew that it wasn't quite getting where I needed it to, so he put a pillow on the floor and got me to kneel on it, bending over the side of the bed. This was more comfortable - but it made my bare bottom all the more vulnerable, the skin seeming even more sensitive. For whole sequences of smacks I managed to be brave and not yelp, face screwed up and hands tightly squeezing the bedding, but it never got to the point of actually feeling good. He layered the smacks so cautiously and thoroughly, interspersing them with such tender rubs, that surely I must have been properly warmed up - but the harder smacks, when they came, just made me yell "OW!" in a tone of voice that was more annoyed than anything else.

I was too stubborn to want him to stop, but I didn't know why this wasn't working for me. Was I too tired? He paused to rub my back again. I instantly relaxed into the bed, grateful noises muffled by the duvet. He stroked me and kissed the back of my neck. "This isn't really helping you much at all, is it, love?"

"Mmmmmf." I didn't want him to stop stroking.

He didn't stop; but his other hand did move within reach of my lips, so I kissed his fingers and his palm. He rubbed a particularly achy spot between my shoulders, and I leaned forward, mouth pressing against his hand. He kept it resting lightly over my mouth and I felt myself softening, mellowing. There was something intensely, tenderly vulnerable about it. It made me feel sort of little, but not really in the "little girl" sense, just suspended between those two strong, clever hands. My awareness focussed in on these points of contact; one hand on my back, one gently resting against my lips. I suddenly knew that if he were to start spanking me again now, it would be lovely, and I waited to see if he would; but he was still being careful. So in the spirit of enthusiastic consent, I murmured, "if you wanted to spank me again, that might be nice."

He did. And it was suddenly perfect, everything I'd needed it to be. He spanked me hard, slow, fully, and I breathed deep and my body filled up with sensations. Everything slowed right down and the pain washed over me. His hand wasn't stopping my mouth, but the light touch of his fingerpads against my lips was deeply arousing. When the pain got intense I focused on that sensation, his hand over my mouth, and it was enough. He gave me big, powerful spanks and I gratefully kissed his fingers.

Such a tiny thing; such a huge impact.



Afterwards I knelt on the pillow between his knees and we clung to each other, all filled up with love. Then I took my laptop through to the lounge and sat my spanked bottom on the sofa, to write my blogpost in comfort.

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Tags: dominance and submission, health and disability, kink, other pictures, Thomas Cameron

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A long-awaited scene

Posted at 13:52 on 14 Feb 2011 by Pandora Blake

I've noted before that positive sexual energy seems to flow through my polycule; when I have fun with one partner, it can precipitate unexpected good times with the others.

It felt a bit like that last Wednesday. Even while D was still at mine, I was stealing occasional kisses and cuddles from Tom which held far more promise than I've been able to expect of him since his health worsened last November. On Wednesday evening, after D headed home, Tom caught me in an unexpected embrace. From the way he kissed me my hopes that he might be feeling a bit more like his usual self started to soar; and as I drew back enough to look into his eyes I discovered to my delight that his domly twinkle had returned.

It's a tough balancing act, a relationship with chronic health problems. The person who isn't ill has the job of not putting any pressure on their partner to do more than they're capable of, and reassure them that it's totally okay and they should take whatever time they need - even though you desperately miss being physically close to them, would kind of like some physical reassurance, and want to show your partner that they're wanted. Likewise, the person who is ill has to be honest about their limitations, clearly express their boundaries and reassure themselves that they aren't a failure for being ill (probably while feeling humiliated, guilty or angry or a mix of all three), at the same time as reassuring their partner that the issue isn't lack of desire or interest. It's tough.

We've been getting better at it, I think, although initially I was so keen to reassure Tom that I wanted him lots and lots and lots that I ended up making him feel even worse about not being able to give me what I wanted. Poly helps; having other partners I can turn to has enabled me to put less pressure on Tom, and having a nice time with another partner gives me an energy boost which I can then feed back into my relationship with him.

Over the winter I got used to not expecting Tom to be well enough for the sort of play I knew we both wanted, and I was happy to put those desires to one side and simply enjoy his company and closeness until he told me otherwise. So when that twinkle reappeared in his eyes, I wasn't expecting it - and my surprise made it all the sweeter.

It was the first time we'd played for weeks, so he was understandably cautious. I on the other hand was in high spirits, and being as cheeky and flirtatious as I thought I could get away with. The combination turned out to be remarkably successful.

Over his knee, I peeked over my shoulder every chance I got, and encouraged him as he started out with gentle warm-up smacks. He set a leisurely pace and I had no desire to rush him; I just wanted to let him know it was all good with me. As he slowly stepped up the power I found my joy at being back in this beloved, familiar situation bubbling over. Every time he elicited an "oww" from me I couldn't help laughing. I loved the strength of his thighs bearing me up, loved the warmth and promising pressure between them, loved the rough smoothness of his big work-hardened hands. I didn't go wanting for rubs and caresses, and when he made me yelp with his trademark strong, full-bodied, fleshy smacks - and, next, with the hairbrush - rather than feeling fear I found myself giggling with delight.

It was a joyful, positive vibe. I kept making eye contact with him and grinning. As I lay down over pillows in the middle of the bed I knew this was going to be an extended session, a making-up-for-lost-time sort of scene, and my heart was singing.

I'd been slowly, methodically warmed up with hand and hairbrush, Tom taking care to colour my bottom evenly from thighs to dimples. So I was more than ready for his belt; felt not a jolt of terror as it increased in force; watched the shadow of his arm lifting on the wall in front of me with lip-biting anticipation. The razor strop was next, broader and heavier but old, old leather, and I lifted my arse and groaned gratefully at each impact. He used the wooden ruler almost full force and I sighed into the pillows. I was eating up everything he could give me. My masochism light had been turned up as bright as it goes, and I couldn't get enough.

At some point - just after the strop, I think - I flashed a smile at him and asked if he was taking requests. Why, what did I have in mind? I mentioned that all the canes in our collection were in my room, apart from one, which was in his. I was referring to the Master cane, the 12mm dragon I bought him for his 30th birthday. He made no promises, and when the ruler came out I complained, laughing. Next, though, he picked up one of our favourite medium-strength canes, and I knew he'd get to where I wanted, in his own sweet time.

Two canings. I think he made me count the first one, but did the honours himself for the second, harder one. I have the number 24 in my head but I can't remember if that was one or both. I just remember my hunger, my voracious appetite for impact.



I wish I could predict what will put me in that mood. The warm up helped, as did the long build-up since our last play session, but neither of those factors can be relied on; just as love, submission and desire alone aren't always enough. I do think that poly can play a part - I was feeling loved and rejuvenated from a happy two days in D's company, which meant I didn't need comforting or looking after by Tom, I was coming to him from a place of strength and happiness.

The warm up had another effect, which was purely physical. After a long session of hard impact play I woke up the next morning without a mark on me. (Despite the fact I have a kink for being marked, I was glad - I've just spent the weekend with D and am seeing Penny tonight and tomorrow, and it seems politer not to be pre-battered when I visit them.) Tom warmed me up so thoroughly that I barely even welted at the time, even though the final caning alone would have left me seriously bruised had it been given cold. The weirdness of this fact continues to fascinate me. Aren't bodies wonderful?

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Tags: featured photos, health and disability, kink, Photos, Thomas Cameron

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Asking for the cane

Posted at 23:04 on 18 Oct 2010 by Pandora Blake

Saturday: I'm looking through an audio story a reader has sent me, so I can give them a quote for recording it. It's rather good. A first person narrative describing the protagonist's first memories and experiences of corporal punishment. It's restrained, believable; no florid, extended descriptions of unrealistically severe discipline. Instead, it describes all the context and relationships, anticipation, build-up and aftermath surrounding a few tiny events - each episode only involving one or two whacks - so trivial in the course of things, but to the protagonist (and the author ... and me) glowing with deep personal significance. The caning sequence in particular is so well-evoked that I find myself responding as I read it. This appeals to my tastes, alright. After I've replied to the email I have to nip off to bed for a few minutes to indulge the fantasy now crowding my head.

Later that night: Tom emerges from his room, over-worked and exhausted-looking. We collide over the kettle and I give him a hug. He's sleepy and bearlike, nuzzling and pawing affectionately as if I'd disturbed his hibernation. I hug him back tightly. "Do you know what I've been thinking about all day?" I murmur into his hair.

"Mmmm?"

"Being caned by you."

"Mm." He kisses me. "I'm getting there, slowly. It won't be too much longer now. I do have a bit more energy these days than I did."

"I know, I know, it wasn't a demand. I just wanted to let you know you were in my thoughts."

His health this summer has taught me a bit about patience, although it's still hardly my strong point. But I find it helpful to check in with him, to reassure each other we are still interested, still think of each other in kinky terms, even if playing isn't currently on the cards. It's positive reinforcement, and it helped keep me going during the months when even a spanking was too much to ask. I thought that getting a quick bottom rub in bed as he told me I was spankable would have made me acutely aware of what I was missing, but even that level of interaction eased the ache a little. Sometimes, when you really miss it, the tiniest spark of kinky interest can be enough.

--

Sunday: We're spending a lazy evening together, recovering from another mad, full working week. Lots of snuggling. It's good. I'm really not expecting anything, and so the surprise is all the nicer when I discover that he's feeling playful. I sit astride his lap in my pyjamas, cradled in his arms as we kiss; my top is pulled up, exposing my breasts to his big, rough hands.

Once over his lap I'm relieved when the spanking is slow, giving me time to unwrap the caning fantasy from the day before, hold it gently in my mind. I remember how much the idea of those few, harsh strokes turned me on, and the firm spanks warming my rear become easier to take. I breathe deeply and let the sensations wash over me.

It's a perfect nice spanking - right up until the end, when he makes me squirm and beg with a series of very slow, very hard smacks that crash into my arse so hard I can't think. When he finally stops I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself. But he makes it up to me: a lovely, light switching which lights up my tail and re-ignites my interest. When he lays down a few harder, stinging strokes with the whippy little switch the bite of them is a tantalising foretaste of the deeper sensation I've been craving.

Next, a satisfyingly solid, slow twelve with the leather paddle which I don't have to count - bliss. When he stops I crane back over my shoulder to see what he'll pick up next, willing it to be the cane. I'm eager and thoroughly warmed up. I earn myself a sharp glance for peeking, but to my delight we're on the same page. He's picked up one of the shorter, denser straight handled canes, medium thickness. He asks me to count.

"How many am I going to get, sir?" I venture.

"I haven't decided yet."

The first six whet my appetite. The next six fulfil it. Thirteen to eighteen, therefore, are a challenge, and I'm proud when I get through them. Each stroke is getting harder. Nineteen to twenty-four are hard, self-indulgently miserable, making me arch my back and half-jump up as I struggle to process the pain, count the heartbeats until I manage to bite out my thankyou.

Afterwards he's all warmth and praise. I'm not able to speak yet. I curl on my side in the crook of his arm, and he holds me close as I re-surface.

I don't get what I ask for every time, but when I do, I appreciate it all the more.

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Tags: dominance and submission, health and disability, kink, Thomas Cameron

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breaking the seal

Posted at 21:55 on 3 Jun 2010 by Pandora Blake

Funny how the longer you go without blogging, the harder it is to start again. I've got a few ideas for posts lined up, none of which I quite have the energy to write just now, but I reckon it'll be easier to write one of those next if I write something tonight, just to say hi, start getting back into the swing of things. I haven't been reading any spanking blogs, either - once I find time for that you can bet I'll start writing again, you guys do tend to inspire me.

It's been a hectic few weeks. Legal wrangling over contracts, LOTS of stress and waiting around, then a working holiday which involved 7am-1am days. (So yeah, the word 'holiday' is a bit inaccurate. It was an intensive build for a cool project, and while builds are definitely work, they're also outside the real world in the same way that a film or theatre production are; I find being physical and working with my hands energising and refreshing, and the change of scene from desk work means they count as a 'break' in my head. But yeah, the categories are kind of blurred.) Like the special snowflake I am, I managed to badly injure my ankle on day 2 of the build, so I got to sulk and do skilled sedentary work (painting, mostly) for the rest of the week, while everyone else bustled around me being useful and active. So, er, not that much of a break after all, except perhaps in the morbidly literal sense.

This was especially ironic since I'd just been enjoying being all butch and reconstructed during stage one of the housemove - I was all, hey, I'm actually relatively fit these days, I can totally lift that box/bed/wardrobe/sofa! A novel experience, and one I revelled in. I ended up covered in bruises and absolutely loving it, gallumphing up and down stairs, full of energy. There is nothing that makes me hate myself faster than playing the weak and feeble girly who needs to get big strong men to do her DIY/IT/heavy lifting. It's a cultural trope I try to avoid at all costs, so it felt good to have the energy, confidence and physical strength be one of the people that others were asking for help.

And then I had my accident and suddenly I was an invalid, under stern instructions to not put weight on my damaged leg or do ANYTHING physical, my hard-won self-reliance whisked out from under me. I coped with it pretty badly. I mean the pain was bad, for a start - I pride myself on a high pain tolerance, but wow, this was WAY off the scale of anything I've taken for the sake of kink. But it was the psychological stuff that really got me. I hate asking for help - I hate being dependent on others for anything - and I'm chronically busy and impatient. I am, in fact, a shit cripple, and it's my good fortune (and a privilege for which I'm grateful) that the situation was only temporary. I'd like to say that the experience taught me a bit of zen and built character, but mostly I just angsted until I was well enough to gallumph around on crutches and earn stern glares from those with my best interests at heart.

("Can I use a stepladd - ?"

"NO.")

Then we moved house, and now we're here, exhausted from the build, from all the stress and heavy lifting of the move, from having basically been camping for the last ten days - and that's on top of the long-term fatigue I've been accumulating since before the election campaign. We haven't unpacked much of our stuff yet, but Tom's back at work now setting up his new business, and I'm forcing myself to take some time off before I go haring off into the next big project. So we'll be living out of boxes a bit longer, I think. And no, Tom hasn't had the energy yet to make good on his intention to spank me every day, but that's okay.

In fact, he's only spanked me once since I left my London flat two and a half weeks ago, and that was on the build. I was necking cocodamol and ibuprofen to try and manage the pain in my foot, but it was still getting me down, and I found myself worn out emotionally and physically. I hadn't got laid since before we'd left London, and although my sex drive was at a low ebb, I was pretty sure that endorphins would be able to help where pharmaceutical analgesics failed.

So, while enjoying a brief post-lunch cuddle, I asked Tom if he would do the honours. He was doubtful at first - aware of both our fragile emotional states and not wanting to take the risk, and also genuinely wondering if he was too tired to cope with a scene - but I think he sensed how much I needed it, and agreed to oblige.

At the time, I thought my very low pain threshold as he started to spank me was the result of my injured ankle - as if all my tolerance was being used up on that, and there was no extra pain stamina to spend on the spanking. But perhaps the explicit therapeutic dynamic of him doing it for my sake rather than his own desire was a factor - I do find CP much easier to take if I'm doing it for someone other than myself, if they really want to do it and I really want to please them.

Anyway, he started patty-cake lightly, and I, spaced out on unsexy pain and not having been spanked for weeks, squirmed and gasped and clenched my teeth and tried really, really hard not to freak out at how much it stung. I mean, seriously! He was barely tapping me, but it was a huge struggle for me. Still, the body's pain responses are not objective, and after a few minutes even that light smacking was enough to get my blood moving, my cheeks flushed and that warm sensation spreading slowly over my limbs. Before too long I found that I was murmuring languidly rather than hissing through my teeth. He stretched out that part for a few minutes, letting me enjoy the buzz. My ankle wasn't hurting for the first time in days, and the relief was so enormous my whole body felt giddy.

My beloved stepped up the pace just enough to make me feel like I'd been pushed, but as soon as my involuntary kicks started to threaten the safety of my damaged limb, he switched to a warm rub and let me up. I was tousled and spaced out, and nuzzled him with a grin that lasted for the next three minutes, right up until the endorphins wore off and I landed back to earth with a bang.

Still, even once my ankle started hurting again, the fuzzy warm sensation lasted the rest of the day. One of my (kink-friendly) friends commented when I rejoined the group that I was smiling for the first time in ages. When I told her why, she wasn't at all surprised.

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Tags: health and disability, kink

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spanking as pain relief

Posted at 18:09 on 20 Feb 2010 by Pandora Blake

Work this week has been hellish. I've been trying to line up enough paid work for the next few weeks that I can cope with losing a regular source of income unexpectedly last week; at the same time, I've had unpaid commitments to get out of the way, and I've been trying to soldier on with preparations for my new site. It's not been easy. At the moment I'm worried about being able to pay the rent, let alone having time/capital to invest in a new business.

Still, there have been upsides. Working for myself full-time again has been a joy, despite the attendant stresses. I really am a strange, proud, intensely independent creature and nothing suits me so well as being my own boss and working in my own space. Plus, I got my first film clip (custom job for a private client) finished this week, which involved learning how to do all sorts of exciting things, including audio editing and mixing. I even had a go at mixing a title theme for these clips. It's not good enough to use for my site, but it was fun to do. (I'm considering commissioning something from a musician friend, but I'm going to look at what's available to license online as well.)

My partners have absolutely shone this week. D. has been on IRC most days, fielding my stress with apparently limitless patience, providing encouragement and support and practical help where he can. He's taken time out of his own schedule to give me server-side help when it turned out the clip was too big for my client to access. (I've learned how to compress it more effectively this afternoon; another useful thing to know). He's jogged me to start work when I was procrastinating, kept me company, kept me sane and kept me motivated.

On Thursday, drowning in work and utterly overwhelmed, I called Tom to let him know I'd have to work late that evening and wouldn't be able to see him. My chronic back pain was flaring up that day - an inevitable result of stress and sleep-deprivation, combined with a non-ideal desk setup at home. (It's currently the best it can be without space for a proper desk; I'm going to sort something more ergonomic out when I move, which will hopefully be soon.) I knew I'd need to work until midnight or even later, so I was fully prepared for him to suggest it made more sense for him to stay at home. Instead, he offered to come round at the end of the night, just to sleep - or earlier, if I wanted, so he could give me a massage and keep me company while I worked.

I jumped at the latter option - being in pain never helps anyone's productivity, and Tom's a good enough amateur masseur to provide relief when my back is unhappy. By the time he arrived at 8pm I'd been doing solid work for a while, and was feeling much calmer. It was good to see him - there was some quite serious hugging when he first got in.

As soon as I'd finished my tea I joined him upstairs. The massage really helped; I could feel the tension start to drain out of me. I'd been thinking all afternoon that a spanking would cap it off perfectly. Being in non-erotic pain lowers my threshold for erotic pain significantly, but if I'm in safe hands and can struggle through it, endorphins are so much better at pain relief than any pharmaceutical alternative.

I hinted as much to Tom, and (although he was feeling pretty rough himself) he agreed. He gets as much out of this kind of therapeutic/practical CP as I do. I think both of us enjoy the everyday aspect to it - the idea that this is a quick, effective solution to certain problems in life - and is honoured to be asked to intervene in that way, and trusted with the task of working with my body while it's this fragile.

I lay over his knee. He pulled my knickers down straight away, and the first few spanks were hard enough to knock the breath out of me. I yelped, and he pulled back a bit, switching to light stinging taps that enabled me to start relaxing. It felt good, but it was tough to take. I was really jumpy, and the problem was that every time I tossed my head or started jumping up, it would strain my back. After a while I mentioned this to Tom. He rested his left hand on the small of my back - his touch was warm and reassuring. The spanks continued hard, but I tried to let his hand calm and ground my body. I think for the next few I just sort of tensed up and groaned, but he stroked me between spanks and murmured "keep breathing deeply, darling" and I felt myself start to physically relax. I took deep breaths, trying to release each shock of pain vocally rather than physically. If I cried out it made it easier to stay still. A few moments later I realised something had shifted in me. I was lying limp over his lap, and although each smack stung like anything, the impact wasn't making my body jerk in response. I whimpered helplessly under the onslaught, but my body stayed still. It was as if the energy of each spank was pooling in me, rather than making a splash.

Afterwards he gathered me up, glowing with pride. I felt pretty good myself. My whole body was relaxed, and the endorphins were buzzing in me, cleansing me. I'd needed it to be hard; a lighter spanking wouldn't have pushed me through the pain into that place of acceptance. For about an hour afterwards my back didn't hurt at all, and it noticably eased things for the rest of the day.

I practically bounced back to work, feeling refreshed and energised. Tom and I both agreed that my life would be so much easier once we're sharing a house, and I can ask for some spanking and time-out whenever I need it (or, if he sees myself working myself up into a big stressy panic, he can intervene).

There are few things more empowering than running my own business. But having supportive, sympathetic, firm Doms on hand to help when it all gets too much certainly makes it easier, and I am very grateful.

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Tags: D, dominance and submission, health and disability, kink, Thomas Cameron

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newsflash: disabled people have sexualities too

Posted at 18:51 on 30 Oct 2009 by Pandora Blake

I recently discovered the Feminists with Disabilities blog, who have a lot of good stuff to say on body politics, accessibility and identity issues, class politics, mental health and suchlike. Ophelia and a few other queer, kinky, disabled friends and I have long talked about a website project about kink and disability, with tips for sex activities that suit limited mobility or low energy, articles about managing chronic pain, fantasies that include disabled and ill people, book recommendations and general solidarity about having a body that doesn't work properly. I'm able-bodied, but neither of my partners are, so this is close to my heart, and I think I'd be able to contribute usefully. It's still something I'm keen to do if I ever find time.

Feminists with Disabilities definitely have their heads screwed on right. I was nodding all the way through their recent introductory post on disability and sexuality:

Disabled people, like non-disabled people, have all sorts of sexualities that can change throughout life. We can be queer and straight, poly and mono, kinky and vanilla (which is not to say that all of those are exclusively sexual identities, either). Not everyone is into or can have PIV intercourse, and all kinds of sexual activity are as legitimate as the participants consider them to be.

Most of the comments on the post were pleasingly kink-aware as well, and raised some important issues:

As a kinky queer person with disabilities, I have to say that one of the big challenges I face is playing with able bodied people who are afraid of breaking me or who think that I dont know my limits. And I definitely understand that fear, but it kind of plays into the whole people with disabilities are fragile trope which can sometimes be a huge barrier to sexuality, especially alternative sexuality. And it can be really disempowering to be told that someone else knows my body and my limits better than I do.

I have a fairly visible disability in that Im totally blind (I prefer visually impaired but no TABs [Temporarily Able Bodied people] seem to know what it means so Im forced to only use it in PWD friendly spaces to avoid having to explain all the time) anyway, this combined with the fact that Im quite petite used to mean I got harrassed all the time at college by guys who seemed to be turned on by my apparent vulnerability, this was very creepy and also incredibly frustrating as theyd pretty much reduced me to my disability. Im not special and I dont need rescuing and Im definitely not playing the damsel in distress to fulfil anyones fantasy. The problem seems to be that if youre blind then youre allowed to have a sexuality as long as its passive so you just become an object for somebody elses fantasies. Well, Im sexually dominant and bi (predominantly interested in women) so where does my sexuality fit in this?

The kink community, of course, has its pros and cons:

I dont like the BDSM community trope that leather sex is better and Im part of the BDSM community. Im less active in it these days and dont volunteer for stuff or go to meetings and events, but Im definitely oriented that way and have been since I can remember having sexual thoughts (like when I was six or seven). So Im cranky about the attitude because I run across it all the time.

That said, I very much like the BDSM communitys inclusion of people with disabilities[1], fat people, older folks. The sort of people who shouldnt be running around naked do and its excellent. Most events Ive been to recently have at least one workshop on disability sexuality issues and there are lots of folks with assistive technologies; sign interpretation is provided to make events accessible to Deaf people.

[1] Though one of the few Dallas hotels thats willing to host our events and is big enough is not accessible; the only elevator that goes to the meeting space floors (there are four levels of them) is a service elevator in the kitchen. Seethe.

I remember my own rage at the lack of disabled access at the venue chosen for Night of the Senses last year - appalling given it was a fundraiser for a charity promoting inclusivity and access!

I think the kink community is more inclusive of imperfect bodies than is normal in our society. And I love the way it's so normal for us to talk about boundaries and limits that it's easy to extend that conversation to people with disabilities. But the kinky porn industry is far from perfect. Not only are disabled models never featured (unless it's a special-interest fetishising a particular disability, and that sort of niche is not only objectifying and offensive, it's also not really part of spanking/BDSM), but the websites tend to fail at accessibility for the hearing and vision impaired. And there are the ongoing problems with access at meetups and events. There's still work to do.

If you're interested in this topic, keep an eye on the FWD blog: it's got some good stuff on it. You might also enjoy The Deal with Disability. The author is Eva, a queer twenty-something who channels her frustration at being treated as if she wasn't an adult woman into a funny, smart, informative blog. Reading it, I feel as if I would be far less good-natured about the ways people mess up, if I were in her position. But it's a great way of learning how to mess up less when interacting with people with severe mobility or communication issues.

Eva talked about her sexuality in an interview with Lesbilicious this summer:

Many of your videos show people treating you like youre invisible because you have a disability. Do you feel invisible as a queer person too? If so do you think the two are connected?

Well I think people dont believe that disabled people can have sexual identities. So I guarantee not many people realise Im queer (even though I have a button on my backpack that says I heart vaginas).

And its not like when you go out to do errands you announce to the world Im queer! I am on the butch side, so the main encounter I run into is that people often mistake me for an 8 year old boy.

How do people react when you tell them youre queer? Do you think you get a different reaction to non-disabled queer people? If so why?

Again, I dont tell random people that Im queer, but in general I believe most people dont think about disabled people as having sexual identities. Its like were made to be asexual.

So when I do tell people I get a lot of TMI questions. For example, strangers have asked how I have sex. Often, I ask them the same question. That usually shuts them up.

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Tags: Body positivity, Gender politics, health and disability, Politics

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