Empathy

In the past I’ve published posts on scientific studies when they had positive things to say about BDSM. For example, this one on flow and this one on psychological health. It seems only fair therefore to feature one that has a more troubling message.

The study in question looked at empathy in female submissives, and came to the conclusion that they have reduced empathy to other peoples suffering. As described in this article, the experiment was done by showing them photographs of people with neutral and ‘in pain’ expressions and watching what parts of the brain lit up. Apparently female submissives had unusually low responses to the ‘in pain’ photos in the parts of the brain normally associated with empathy.

I understand the methodology behind this approach. It reminds me of an anecdote from a doctor studying psychopaths who’d been jailed for violent crimes. He described showing an expression of a frighted man to one of his subjects and asked what he thought the man in the photograph was feeling. The prisoner laughed and said he didn’t know, but it reminded him of the looks on peoples faces just before he stabbed them. Clearly being able to relate expressions to internal emotions is a key part of empathizing with someone.

However, that said, while I understand the general approach here, it does seem flawed in this case. They’re starting from the premise that pain is a bad thing, and therefore seeing someone in pain should trigger empathy and concern. That’s true for most people but not for masochists. We have a much more complex relationship to pain. It’s an ambiguous sensation and therefore context is important. If I see someone stub their toe then I wince and feel bad for them. If I see someone tied up and caned in a BDSM movie I get excited and wish it was me. If I just see a pained expression alone, it’ll probably depend on my mood and what’s on my mind. Lacking context for the pain I’ll add my own, and that could generate all sorts of different emotional responses.

I think if you’re going to study empathy in kinky people, you really need to take into account their sexual wiring. For example, study their responses to happy or surprised faces rather than people in pain. Or put the pain into a suitable context. I’m sure non-kinky people would be disturbed by and empathize with the apparent pain of the man in the image below. As a masochist my reaction to the image is quite different, because I understand in this context the pain for him might be a sort of pleasure.

I’m afraid I’ve no idea who created this image. If you can help attribute it then please leave me a comment.

Bigly

Everyone knows of Rule 34.  No matter what you can think of, somebody, somewhere, has made porn of it. I’d like to propose a Rule 35. No matter what you can think of, somebody, somewhere, has tried to shove it up their ass.

The latest example of anal play gone spectacularly wrong comes from Italy, where a man (and it’s always a man) managed to lose a 23 inch toy in his colon. Getting it out proved to be quite a medical challenge, and involved a combination of medical wire and catheters.

I guess it’ll at least give him a good anecdote to use the next time he’s with his buddies and trading war stories of accidents and injuries. I can just picture the scene – “You think that’s bad? Did I ever tell you about the time the doctors had to invent an entirely new tool to go fishing in my asshole? It all started one night with a 2 foot sex toy and a industrial sized tub of lube…”

This is not (as far as I know) the sex toy in question. However, I do imagine that Miss Marilyn’s expression resembles the look on the doctors faces when they finally extracted the toy in question. You can see more of Miss Marilyn at her clips store. My thanks to Jim for the original link to the story.

Jacqueline Pearce

If you ask kinky people who grew up before the age of the internet, they’ll often have a character or actor from a mainstream show or film that first pushed their kinky buttons. Common examples that come up are Julie Newmar as catwoman, Diana Rigg as Emma Peel and Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp.

British sci-fiction fans might have another name to add to that list – Jacqueline Pearce as Supreme Commander Servalan. She was a character on the TV show Blake 7 and, to borrow from the Wikipedia description, she was ‘a cold, calculating, ruthless sociopath who is not above using her sex appeal and charm to get what she wants’. Just the kind of qualities that’ll make a male submissive sit up and pay attention.

Sadly, Jacqueline Pearce passed away over the weekend . As Toby Hadoke describes, she made the character ‘such a memorable villain – ruthless, sensual, damaged.’ You can see some clips of her in action here and here. According to the BBC, she originally trained with John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, retired from acting to care for orphan monkeys in Africa and liked a glass of champagne. So lets raise a glass to a life well lived and a classic character played with great style and power.

 

Arrogance: On some people it looks good.

To finish my trio of movie themed posts, a step back to the 1930’s with the iconic Marlene Dietrich. She was beautiful, intelligent, stylish, multi-talented, openly bisexual and fought Nazi’s. What’s not to love?

I particularly liked this anecdote (from here), featuring the Paris chief of police and his reaction on hearing she was sailing towards France in a pantsuit…

…he announced that if she wore trousers in Paris, she would be arrested.

Dietrich doubled down. For her arrival in Paris, after docking at Cherbourg, she she chose to wear a suit, men’s coat, beret and sunglasses.

“She walked off the train, grabs the chief of police by his arm, and walks him off the platform,”

If you don’t know much about Marlene Dietrich, then it’s worth at least reading her Wikipedia page. Famous as an early film star and great beauty, she was also awarded the Medal of Freedom and  the Légion d’honneur for her work in WWII. She boxed in 1920’s Germany, had affairs with a string of Hollywood stars and shared their love letters with her cuckolded husband.  An amazing woman.

I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.

While I’m on the topic of movies and dangerous women, as I just was, here’s a great film noir style artwork. This takes us back from the 70’s to the 40’s. I think its inspired by that point in the movie where the hero realizes he has been played for a patsy and the femme fatale has let her mask slip. You just know she’d kill him without a qualm, but if he got free and got the gun, she’d smile, whisper in his ear, and seduce him all over again.

Despite hunting around, I’ve failed to identify an artist for this. As always, if you can help identify him or her, I’d greatly appreciate it.

The post title comes, of course, from the great Raymond Chandler.

The Things

Here’s a fun music video featuring artists I’ve never heard of (Sharam Jey and Tommie Sunshine), created by a write and director (Dan Brophy) I’ve no idea about. So I can’t give much background context. However, it is full of hot models of both sexes in underwear and lots of light femdom shenanigans. Which is definitely a plus. The aforementioned Dan Brophy claims it was loosely inspired by the Italian film Salo. I can only assume he saw a different Salo to the one I did, because this is about as closely related as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is to SpongeBob SquarePants.

Still from the music video ‘The Things’.

Freedom of Pee

I’m not sure if this Donald Trump themed Pee Party counts as political protest, art project or just kinky fun. Possible it’s all three. Regardless of that,  my favorite bit in the story was Jeeves, Mistress Tara Indiana’s 80 year old personal chauffeur. I can only hope I’m still getting peed on by amazing dommes when (if) I reach that age. I wish him many wild and wet years to come.

I’m personally a little skeptical about the pee part of the Trump Russian story. I can totally believe he’d get involved in a sex sting operation. Everything we’ve seen suggests he’s impulsive, risk taking, doesn’t think long term, doesn’t believe the rules apply to him and is driven largely by the basic instincts of the  lizard brain. Those characteristics, besides matching those of a psychopath, also match someone who’d jump into bed with a gaggle of attractive Russian escorts if they knocked on his hotel door. However, watersports are pretty specific fetish. Given his personality, if he was into them, I think we’d have heard about it from other and earlier sources.

This artwork is by the Japanese artist Namio Harukawa. Judging by his portfolio, he was somebody very much into watersports.

Can’t argue with science

I’m generally not a fan of news stories that poke fun at scientific studies. You probably know the sort of article I mean. In between all the lifestyle pieces on how chocolate, red wine or sleep  is good or bad for your health, lifespan or sex life, there’ll be a mocking article on how money is being wasted on silly studies. Any scientist today wanting to study finch beaks, hot mud or mold in dirty lab equipment, better be prepared for the tabloids to attack them as out of touch boffins who waste tax payer money.

All that said, let me now mock this study of online dating. It discovered the ground breaking fact that attractive people are attractive. Apparently, people on dating sites tend to try and gets dates with people more attractive than they are. Given that good looking people are used to attract us more ordinary folks to movies, clothes, music and just about every service and product in the known world, it’s hard to see why anyone thought dating would be different. Did they think people be stupid enough to fall for hot models in commercials, but then suddenly get all realistic and pragmatic when it came to their own dating lives?

Other astonishing results included the fact that men tend to be more active about messaging women, and that women get a higher response rate from their messages to men. I assume there next area of study will be if women like being send dick pics or if pornography can lead to masturbation.

I’ll end the post with an image of someone who definitely qualifies as highly attractive, and I’m sure would happily ignore any number of messages from people like myself on a dating site. This is Adreena Angela, a UK based pro-domme and model.

Posture

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. This weekend marked the 50th birthday of one of my most sociable friends. That resulted in a lot of parties, drinking and, because we’re now all old, complaining about the amount of drinking that had happened the night before. Unfortunately all the complaining and/or drinking left very little blogging time. Normal service should be resumed in the next day or so.

In the meantime let me leave you with this image from the famed photographer Ellen Von Unwerth. I’m not sure if it’s strictly femdom, but it’s got a certain something about it. There’s a suggestion of power and control in the dynamic, with the lurking threat of punishment if certain standards are not maintained.

Jennifer and Vince

Here’s a final post in my short celebrity femdom sequence. I’m particularly happy about this one as it creates a sequence within a sequence. Jennifer Aniston, shown here with Vince Vaughn, was obviously a main character on the series Friends. Ditto for Matt LeBlanc from yesterday’s post. And while Ben Stiller (from this post) was never a regular on Friends, he did guest star as one of Rachel’s boyfriends in an episode called ‘The One with the Screamer‘. This is of course all totally meaningless to random readers looking for a dose of femdom hotness, but emergent patterns please my inner anal retentive dork.