Strike a Pose

I took a vacation day off from my vacation today. After three days of being beaten and abused (in the best possible way) I relaxed and did touristy stuff. I did get to enjoy some instruction on wine from a very attractive sommelier wearing a short leather skirt and sporting a slash of dark red lipstick, but I’m going to consider that more a happy bonus than a part of my kinky trip.

The break also gave me chance to catch up on the world and write a post featuring the happy couple below. I generally steer clear of politics on this site. As much as I despise the current US administration, I don’t think readers comes here for my political opinions. However, the moment I saw the pictures below, I knew they’d end up as blog post. For anyone who missed the story, that’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with his wife Louise Linton. She’d already made a lot of new friends via twitter spat earlier this year,  and this photograph was just her latest PR success story.

The reason I feature it here is because it reminds me of so many images I see on my twitter feed. There’s an attractive lady staring down into the camera, brandishing a stack of bills, and offering a look that mixes sexy, smug and condescension . It’s a fin-domme classic. Normally – on my twitter feed at least – it’s accompanied by comments about everyone being pathetic losers and the need to drain their wallets, but I think with these two that context goes without saying. Louise even accessorized correctly with the fetishistic black leather gloves and skirt. Given Mnuchin is worth a fortune, I doubt she’ll need to start a new career as an online financial domme. But if he’s the first up against the wall in a revolution, she’ll at least have career options to fall back on.

Hanging with the stars

My Facebook feed is full of annoying people extolling the wonders of fall (autumn) in Seattle. They love the changing leaves, the misty mornings, the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of ski season. Call me Mr Grumpy, but I think they’re nuts. It’s damp, cold and the stupid slippery leaves make every hilly side street a twisted ankle waiting to happen.

There was only one thing for a chilly paltego to do – head south to somewhere warmer. Preferably a location that combines the sun with good food and much potential for kinky fun. Somewhere like Los Angeles. So that’s where I am for the rest of the week. I might have slightly overdone my scheduling of play sessions, so we’ll see if I can survive to the weekend. If I don’t make it, there are definitely worse ways to go out.

While I’m here I’ll keep an eye out for celebs. Although probably the only way I’ll know there’s one around is by other people pointing them out. These two would be the rare exception to that – Victoria and David Beckham.

This was shot by the photographer Steve Klein.

The Worm that Turned

The image below popped up via a retweet on my twitter feed the other day. It’s not the kind of thing I’d usually feature here. It’s more than a little silly. If there is a female led revolution, I doubt it’ll be done in uncomfortable and impractical fetish gear designed to appeal to men. However, there was something about that middle segment of the image that caught my eye and stirred some long dormant brain cells.

Many, many years ago there was a British comedy duo called The Two Ronnies. In the 70’s and 80’s they fronted a sketch show and at the time were probably the most famous comedy pairing in England. They often did short serial stories as part of their show, and the one they did in 1980 was called ‘The Worm that Turned‘. Obviously riffing on 70’s feminism and the first female Prime Minister, it was spoof sci-fi, set in 2012, that had women running the world and men in frocks staying home to do the housework. The secret police, enforcing this new world order, were the fetish clad women shown in this clip (@ 1:52) and in the image below.

I should make clear that all the detail above is not from memory, but from me researching it tonight. I was probably around 7 years old when I watched it, and I’m pretty certain I haven’t watched it again in the last 35 or so years. Some comedy from that era has aged well (e.g. Monty Python or The Young Ones), but this now looks terribly dated and sexist. That said, while I remembered almost nothing else about it, those black clad marching women obviously made a strong impression on the young paltego. Enough at least that I could jump back almost four decades from a fuzzy third of an image to the relevant youtube clip in just a few searches. I had zero idea about sex or kink as a kid, but clearly the wiring was already in place.

I wonder if the image creator was aware of the kind of source material he was drawing from? I’m guessing most of the twitter commentators on the image aren’t.

More bad news from D.C.

This report – US internet firms drop opposition and back bill to fight online sex trafficking – sounds like very bad news for sex workers of all types. On the face of it, with no additional context, it appears to have a laudable aim. After all, who could be in favor of sex trafficking? The problem is that government and law enforcement aren’t good at distinguishing between consensual and non-consensual sex work. And that’s putting the best possible spin on it. A more realistic view would be that they deliberately obfuscate regular sex work with sex trafficking.

The problem for the morality police (literal and figurative) is that sex work is a complex issue for many people. There are a lot of shades of grey and not a big majority for interfering with what consensual adults do in their own time. In contrast, attacking sex trafficking – which is by definition non-consensual – is always going to get a lot of support. So claim that all sex work is inherently trafficking and bingo, instant leverage to impose your morality regardless of reality.

The bill amends the Communications Decency Act to remove protection for online service providers if third parties us them to assist, facilitate or support sex trafficking. You don’t have to be Cassandra to see the chilling effect that might have. Given the tendency of law enforcement to define sex trafficking in the broadest possible terms, and given tech firms tendency to want to avoid any kind of sex related controversy, the pressure will be to remove any and all sex work related content. After all, how is Google to know that the pro-domme whose website they’re linking to hasn’t been trafficked? Or what about that pro-dommes web hosting company? Or how about the sites sex workers advertise on (e.g. Slixa or Eros)? It only needs one case that law enforcement can distort into a trafficking scenario and suddenly they’ll be potentially liable.

As you’d expect the Sex Workers Outreach Project is against it as is the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  If you’re a US citizen I’d encourage you to either contact your state representative about the bill or donate to organizations like SWOP or EFF to fight it.

I’ve no idea what image is appropriate for a piece like this, so I’ll leave you with a shot of a woman doing to a man what politicians do to the electorate. The difference being, he’s actually enjoying it.

This is by the artist Sheggy.

It’s all about the dick

Custom fit condoms are now a thing according to this article in the Old Gray Lady. Rather than the standard length range of 6.7 to 8.3 inches, you can get myONE Perfect Fit condoms in sizes of 4.9 to 9.4 inches, with a similar degree of variation available on width. They’ve obviously thought through the psychological aspects of getting men to report a penis measurement accurately…

The template that men are given to measure themselves does not include inches or centimeters, instead using randomly ordered letters and numbers. One man might be E99, another Z22.

Of course, given the fact that people can fetishize absolutely anything, if these take off, I’m sure that in 10 years time there will be SPH guys requesting roleplay dialog along the lines of…

You’re a dirty little C11, aren’t you? You’re barely filling that thing. More like a E77 as far as I can see, you nasty worm.

The image below doesn’t have any explicit reference to small penis humiliation. Or any humiliation at all, for that matter. Yet I challenge any male reader to look at those smirks and not feel that somewhere somebody is failing to measure up, and just maybe, it’s them. Hell, I’m not into humiliation at all, and I still get a slight frisson from this image.

This is from the Quality Control site.

Slutty Witch

It’s Halloween in the US, which means only one thing in the paltego household. I’m curled up with a bottle of red wine, safe in the knowledge that there’s a condo concierge, a key locked elevator and a thick door between me and the hordes of ravenous tiny people roaming the streets for candy. Nobody can accuse me of not getting into the festival spirit – namely because I steer clear of everyone on these kind of occasions. I am the E. Scrooge of Halloween, minus the annoying ghosts and the last minute change of heart.

The other thing Halloween means is lots of shots on twitter of professional kinksters wearing fetish gear to parties. That seems like cheating to me. It’d be like Superman turning up at a fancy dress party dressed as Superman. Sure, it’s an unusual outfit, but shouldn’t your costume be something different to what you normally wear? Although come to think of it, Clarke Kent dressing as Superman for the Daily Planet Halloween party would actually be a great costume.

Anyway, for those that do celebrate the festival, I hope you had a great time. I’ll leave you with this from the War and Peas comic series.

The one where I vent on a deeply stupid article

I’m happy that BDSM and kink are gradually getting more mainstream exposure. I know some people like the thrill of doing something somewhat illicit, or enjoy being in a secret club that is hard to join, but that never appealed to me. In a philosophical sense I’m a ‘more the merrier’ type  -while being a ‘get the hell out my face and leave me alone’ type in the literal day-to-day sense.

Unfortunately, the problem with more people being aware of kink is that more people are going to write stupid stuff about it. Even worse, they’re going to conflate it with abusive behavior and offer protective cover to assholes who treat people like shit. As a case in point I give you this Rolling Out article on R Kelly and his abusive relationship with Kitti Jones. It’s based on a Rolling Stone article that couldn’t be more cut and dried. It describes classic abuser behavior of isolation, degradation of self-worth, emotional manipulation, finding fault, jealousy, etc. It could be used as a case-study on abusive behavior. Yet somehow, from all that, Rolling Out magazine decides a great article title would be ‘Are women victims or willing BDSM submissives?

The articles final paragraph is jammed with so much stupid bullshit it’s hard to pick out a single quote. Perhaps this is the best, by which I mean absolute worst.

However, the description of Kelly and the multiple women he has been involved with seems to fall into what is known as domination and submission. Kelly can be considered a dom, in these relationships if the women are to be believed.

If the women are to believe, Kelly can be considered an abusive manipulative asshole. It’d be bad enough to try and connect his behavior to a consensual BDSM relationship based on his statements. To try and make that connection via what the women have said is insane.

I’ve no idea what the solution to this kind of journalism is, other than kinksters doing their best to educate people about the importance of negotiation and consent whenever they get the chance. I’ve also no idea what would a suitable image to accompany this kind of post. Maybe this one of a woman responding in the correct way to a man trying to pull off any stupid bullshit in a relationship?

Stupid Tumblr (updated)

Many thanks to everyone who responded to my previous post. Clearly, when it comes to browsing porn, passions – quite rightly – run high.

As far as I can tell there are actually two independent factors at work here. One is an adult (safe mode) setting and one is a privacy setting. Some tumblrs (like mine) have neither set and can be easily viewed without logging in. Some (like Femdom Style Counsel) have the adult flag flipped, which means you have to be logged in, but they can still be viewed normally in a web browser once you are. Some (like alternative femdom) have the privacy setting flipped on, which means it is only viewed in your dashboard and you always get a crappy browsing experience.

I’m not really sure why anyone anonymously reposting random porn pictures to their anonymous tumblr would flip the privacy flag, but apparently that’s what is going on. The good news is that the iOS app makes for a slightly better experience for tumblrs tagged as private. The bad news is none of the suggestions I received fixed the web browser issues. So please, if you run an awesome femdom tumblr, don’t flip the privacy setting. It makes zero sense to do so and it’ll give a crappy experience to your viewers.

This is Cate Blanchett from an image found on the aforementioned Femdom Style Counsel tumblr.

Movie Night

I went to watch the new Blade Runner movie tonight. Paltego’s hot take is that it’s a good movie, where the original was a great movie. Ryan Gosling is a perfectly fine actor, but watching this made me appreciate just how good Harrison Ford was in his prime. The original is packed with classic scenes, and while this version has a lot of emotional depths to mine, it never really manages to find them. There’s certainly nothing to match the “I want more life, fucker” or the ‘tears in the rain‘ speech.

From the femdom angle it did strike me that Joe’s electronic companion is the ultimate tease and denial. Beautiful, flirty and entirely untouchable. I also loved the sequence of the woman blowing shit up while getting her nails done. That was a lovely contrast of elegance and controlled brutality.

Who are you?

This Gizmodo story is likely to strike fear into the heart of anyone who tries to maintain multiple and distinct identities on social media. A sex worker named Leilia had two separate Facebook accounts, one for her private life and one for her job. Despite keeping them distinct, with separate email and phone numbers, her friends and family account suddenly started suggesting her work clients as “People You Might Know.” Obviously Facebook’s algorithms had managed to link the data in someway and decided it was all one big happy social network.

Facebook coming up with surprising and unnerving friend suggestions isn’t a new story. This article, posted a few months ago, describes how it figured out the authors great aunt, despite the fact his father had been adopted as child and had no contact with that branch of the family. With the algorithms getting smarter, the amount of data online constantly growing, and neither of them easy to monitor or understand, I’m sure issues like this are going proliferate.

As a software guy, I find the situation somewhat perverse. Traditionally academic computer systems had very strong notions of user identity, because they were shared systems, where personal computers had no concept of it, because they weren’t powerful enough to support it. Companies like Microsoft and Apple worked for years to bring proper identify management and user isolation to PCs. No sooner had they achieved that goal – Windows XP being a major milestone – than smart phones, tablets and social media software arrived and turned everything into a inter-connected soup with no good way to managed different identities.

For now I suspect the only way to handle the problem is to not use the same social media platform with two different identities you wish to keep distinct. So if you have a Facebook account for a friends/family identity, don’t have one for your kink/sex identity. And if you want a tumblr account to share kinky porn, don’t also create a second tumblr account to share holiday snaps with friends. Pick the product most useful to each identity and don’t assume you can keep two accounts on the same platform distinct.

Life was so much simpler before the internet. It used to be only necessary to slip on a masquerade mask and you could attend any fancy ball of your choice in total anonymity.

This is from a shoot for Marie Claire by Koray Parlak and features Nina Reijnders with Victoria Lipatova.