Tips for the talented

Adult content on the internet is in kind of an odd space right now, at least from an economic perspective. At one extreme there’s a handful of premium content creators (like Kink, Femme Fatale Films, Femdom Empire, etc.) and at the other extreme there are countless free sites (blogs, tumblrs, instagrams, etc.), often packed with content from the premium creators. In between there really isn’t much. If you’re not making expensive movies, or making ad revenue by stealing other people’s expensive movies, then it’s hard to see how money can be made. That strikes me as an unhealthy situation to be in.

Of course this isn’t unique to the adult area – as newspaper, magazine and encyclopedia companies will tell you. It’s the classic micropayment problem. There’s no good way to make quick, easy and small financial transactions for online products. It gets even trickier in the adult realm however, thanks to the persistent discrimination by banks and credit card companies against sex related industries. Engadget published a very depressing and eye-opening article on that back in 2015, and the situation certainly hasn’t improved since then.

One possible solution to this is the Patreon model. I’ve written about this briefly in the past. It’s a system that allows you to set up just a single account with a credit card and then give just a few bucks a month to content creators you like. They aggregate the payments together (minimizing the hidden credit card fees) and users don’t need to enter credit card details anytime they want to tip a content creator.

It’s an approach that seems to be gaining some traction. For example, Bacchus at ErosBlog has set up one to support more in depth writing and deep dives on his site. Violet Blue has one to support her work on her Tiny Nibbles site. Erika Moen has one for her excellent Oh Joy Sex Toy comics, and so on.

The challenge can be finding the interesting stuff. So what I’ll try and do in the future is periodically put up a post with some femdom and kink related Patreon creators. That’ll point readers at fun new stuff and hopefully send a few dollars towards the people who actually create all this great art. For today’s post I’ll take the chance to (again) feature something by one of my favorite artists – Yumine Guo. Her Patreon account can be found here.

This image is from her Storyland tumblr.

When no means yes

Ferns left me an interesting comment to my previous post on the use (or not) of safewords. You can read the whole thing here, but to excerpt a relevant part…

When I played, I pushed him to fall over into that space where his voice was unfiltered and when he was like that, he would say ‘no’ or ‘please stop’ or ‘I’ve had enough’. It was visceral and instinctual and he couldn’t stop it coming out, but he also *didn’t mean it*. He wasn’t role playing, everything in him was saying ‘no’, but he didn’t want me to stop.

I do think it is super hot when you get into that kind of space (as Ferns says), and her comment makes an excellent point, but I don’t think it changes my underlying idea. The goal is good communication, however that is achieved. If you’re role playing, or the kind of submissive who says no when you mean yes, then safewords are definitely for you. If you think you communicate more clearly without them, then I personally wouldn’t impose them unnecessarily.

Of course, in some ways it’s impossible not to have a safeword. If someone starts yelling ‘red’, ‘safeword’ or ‘vomit’ in the middle of a scene, I don’t think it really matters what you negotiated beforehand. The message is pretty clear. So in some ways picking a safeword is less about acquiring a way to stop the scene and more about negotiating away possible ways to stop it. Which is a kind of weird way to think about it.

happycbtThis image has nothing to do with safewords. I just thought it was a hot and fun. I always love a happy domme. This is Miss Annalieza.

Priorities

A week or more back I put up a couple of posts on how to initially communicate with a dominant woman. Although strictly speaking I didn’t really do anything, other than posts some links to words from smarter people than myself. One post was on communication in a professional context and one was on initial communication in a lifestyle/regular context.

On the face of it the advice given in those two contexts is quite different. Much like an opening email to a doctor or a lawyer is very different to the opening email to a potential romantic partner. However, there was one commonality that struck me: In both cases kink and sex came a distant second. For a professional the first thing is figuring out are you a sane, reasonable person, with a sensible request, who isn’t going to waste the dommes time. For a lifestyle interaction, the first thing is much like regular dating. i.e. Will you add something positive to the domme’s life? What do you bring to the table? Are you interested in the her thoughts/opinions/feelings? Is their chemistry?

So I guess the lesson here is that if you want to get kinky with someone, start by deprioritizing kink. It’s a bit like wanting to have kids. That might be important to you, but if that’s the first and primary topic of conversation with any potential partner, most people are going to run the other way.

I’ve no idea what image best fits a post about not talking about kink. So here’s a somewhat random image I liked from the show The Americans.

americansI found this on the Submissive Proud tumblr.

Limits of consent

While writing yesterday’s post on the Folsom Street Fair, I came across this article on the issue of photographing participants in these kind of public events. I though the issues it raised and the article subsequent comments where interesting. The trigger for this was an Ask First campaign that wanted to raise awareness around consent. They used stickers to remind people to ask before touching or engaging with people. They also extended that to photographs. The first part sounds excellent to me, the last part I’m not so sure on.

Shared public spaces are for everyone to use. That means their for the kinky, the non-kinky and the occasionally curious. They shouldn’t be majority ruled or driven to the lowest common denominator of taste. As I’ve argued before, as long as the goal isn’t to piss people off, kinky people should be able to do their thing in public. However, at the same time, when the kinky people become the majority at somewhere like Folsom, they shouldn’t turn around and takes rights off others. It’s the photographers public space as much as theirs, and part of the social contract around public spaces is that you can be identified and photographed in them. That goes for the public, the police and the perverted. If being identified is such a big deal to you then either dress conventionally or wear some sort of mask or hood. You’re in a public space – that has consequences.

Of course if you want to combine photography with privacy, then the best way to go is the selfie. This lady seems to have mastered that pretty well, thanks to the help of a mirror and a handy doormat.

femdomselfieThere’s no watermark on this, but my domme sense tells me that’s Empress Jennifer who has filmed for sites such as Men are Slaves and Asian Cruelty.

Information leakage

The nightmarish situation I described in my previous post – a work presentation featuring porn of yours truly – is (hopefully) unlikely to happen in real life. I keep a religious separation between my work laptop and my personal one that I use for posts like this. I also maintain very separate email identities, including one for work, one for my personal life and one for this blog. However, despite all that, it can sometimes be difficult to stop all information leakage. Technology companies have a vested interested in gathering information about you and connecting it together. The greater the number of datapoints they can correlate the more valuable that information is. Information = power = $1bn IPO.

I think the biggest risk at present is smart phones. They’re a nexus where many different streams of identities can meet. People may differentiate between work and home computers, but they don’t always do the same thing for the computer in their pocket. Which means software on it can potentially access your location, all your email accounts, all your phone records, all your text messages and all your social media. It’s typically possible to configure it not to do that, but technology companies have a vested interest in the information, so configuration defaults tend to be permissive in the data they expose.

My scariest information leak was due to my phone. I’d been using it to snap session photographs. It had also been set-up to access my personal email account and, unbeknownst to me, that meant it would also automatically upload photographs to a private storage space in the cloud. Nobody could see them, so in theory no big deal, right up to the moment I added that email account to a new work laptop. I didn’t think there was any danger because it wasn’t an account I used for anything blog, porn or BDSM related. It was just for chatting to friends and shopping online. But now there was a path for information to leak along. The final step in that path was a screensaver on the laptop that would rotate through photographs from your online photo albums. You can probably imagine what happened next. Luckily I was just chatting to a couple of people in my office when naked me appeared on the screen. I had chance to quickly shut the lid before anyone spotted anything. If I’d been projecting onto a big screen in a meeting it could have been a career limiting moment.

I’ll leave you with a couple capturing their own personal moment via their phone. Hopefully the leakage of this photograph onto the net was intentional.

Selfie

Objectification (of the bad sort)

In the last week the British press has been full of a story featuring John Whittingdale – a politician and member of the government – and a dominatrix who worked under the title Mistress Kate. Almost universally the coverage of it has been terrible and depressing. The facts seem fairly straightforward: They met via match.com in late 2013 and dated for six months. He allegedly had no idea what work she did until someone tried to sell the story in early 2014. When he found he broke off the relationship. In 2015 he was appointed to a more senior goverment position, one related to press regulation, and in 2016 the story broke in the newspapers.

The depressing element in most of the coverage (for example this) is how they objectify the woman involved. She is made to seem entirely ‘other’. Given they dated for 6 months, and attended a number of events together, they presumably had made a connection. Their meeting on a conventional dating site suggests it was just two people looking for a partner and a relationship. Yet in the articles she’s reduced to a purely sexual persona based on her job. She’s a chance for papers to list some titillating details about her dungeon or services while pointing at him for being so stupid as to date such a person. It’s taken as read that obviously he’d break off the relationship when he found out. Everyone involved, both him and the journalists, seem to treat her a non-person once her role as a sex-worker was revealed. It’s a horrible thing to see.

Even the more positive writers seem to miss the point. Articles like this and this use the story to make the point that seeing a dominatrix is a perfectly fine thing to do. Obviously I agree with that general point, but it once again objectifies the woman by equating her with her job. She’s a sex worker, and a pro-domme. Emphasis on work and pro. Maybe she’s kinky in her private life but maybe not. And if she is kinky at home, she might be a domme, a switch or a submissive. They met on match.com, not on fetlife and there’s no indication I’ve seen that they had a D/s relationship. It’s a bit like hearing somebody is dating a professional chef and exclaiming ‘Wow, you must really love food!’ Well perhaps the chef cooks at home and a passion for food is one of the elements that brought them together. But maybe they’ve many other things beside that in common, or perhaps the chef doesn’t like to cook at home, or it might just be a job to the chef. We can separate people from their professions in almost all other cases, yet not it seems when it comes to sex workers.

Given this post has been all about the unpleasant kind of objectification, let’s finish with something more cheerful. This is the sexy and more literal kind of objectification.

Stool

Food for thought (cont)

After that brief interlude, I’m back with a couple of final thoughts on the case of Gilberto Valle. If you missed the previous post then go read it from a couple of days ago. I’m not going to repeat myself, damn it.

One thing that repeatedly came up in the documentary on him was a variation on the slippery slope argument. Several people, including one of the jurors, expressed the idea that he was inevitably building up to committing a crime. Having started looking at sexually violent images, and moved onto discussion and chat, he’d feel ultimately compelled to up the stakes for bigger and bigger thrills. It’s an argument I’ve heard before about kink and it always strikes me as ridiculous.

In non-sexual areas we never assume people will lose all reason and control when exploring their passions. Imagine someone who is keen on flying. They start with buying a few magazines and video games on the subject. Then they begin visiting airshows and hanging out on pilot forums. Eventually they decide to get their private pilot license and fly for fun at weekends. Nobody is going to argue that the inevitable next step will be to sneak onto an military airbase and steal a fighter jet. That would certainly be a bigger thriller (and one guy even did it once), but we don’t assume the desire to fly will rob someone of their rationality. We typically explore an interest till we reach some sane limit based on cost, availability, legality, risk, etc.

Yet when it comes to sex a lot of people seem to believe that either you have a stable list of kinks and interests, or that you’re on one long slide into the abyss of depravity and illegality. I think it’s because people can only imagine two options. Either you’re satisfied with what you’ve got, or are never fully satisfied, and must therefore seek out stronger and edgier thrills. They have difficulty imagining more fluid and variable sexual interests that aren’t simply a constant escalation of sensation. Of course the situation isn’t helped by some crazy people who do escalate and go on to do horribly depraved things. But exception cases are always that – exceptional. It’s possible to explore non-consensual fantasies without ending up a rapist or cannibal, much as it’s possible to enjoy fantasies of medieval battles without hacking people to death with a sword.

I’ve no idea what was going on in Gilberto Valle’s head when he was chatting online. They were disturbing conversations, and I don’t think it was wise or ethical to feature his wife and friends in the chats. But much like free speech, it’s easy to defend something you agree with, harder and yet far more important to defend it when you don’t. In drawing a line between conspiracy and fantasy, we should always err towards giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt.

cat_and_spider_mouse
This image is from vore fan comics on DeviantArt and entitled Cat and Spider Mouse. Vorarephilia, as described by wikipedia, is the erotic desire to be consumed by, or sometimes to personally consume, another person or creature. Vore fantasies are separated from sexual cannibalism because the living victim is normally swallowed whole. Apologies if anyone is disturbed by the image, but vore does occasionally show up in femdom artwork, and it seemed appropriate given the original subject matter.

Food for thought

A new year of femdom blogging is opening up before me. So what better way to get going than with some articles on a man who fantasies about killing and eating women? Not exactly femdom I know. If fact, about as far from femdom as you can get. However, the story does raise some important issues around fantasies and on-line behavior that are worth pondering.

The man in question is Gilberto Valle, a former NYC cop. He frequented fetish websites and chat rooms where he shared some very dark discussions around torture, murder and cannibalism. More problematically he used the names and photographs of his wife and female friends in these discussions. When his wife found out she was understandably horrified and told the police. He claimed the discussions were all fantasies. They claimed they were a conspiracy to commit a heinous crime. The jury believed the police and found him guilty. That conviction was then overturned by the judge who said he couldn’t be found guilty for a ‘thought crime’.

There’s a good article on the case, written just after his conviction, available from the New York Magazine. Slate has a follow-up interview with him after he was released. What prompted this post was a fascinating HBO documentary on the case called ‘Though Crimes’. I watched it last week and it raises some really interesting issues around how lines can be drawn between fantasy and reality. If you’re in the US and have HBO on-demand, it’s currently available there.

A key part of the goverment case centered on his Google searches. For a crime to take place there has to be intent – a substantial step taken towards committing it. In this case, lacking hard physical evidence, his searches were taken as evidence of intent. That’s a pretty scary jump to make. The barrier between having a thought and expressing it to a search engine is almost non-existent. How do you distinguish between the intent of someone trying to create a realistic fantasy and the intent to carry out that fantasy? How many of us would like to explain our search histories to the world? Or to defend them to a prosecutor trying to cast them in the worst possible light?

The law has evolved based on the physical world, where actions have costs in time/money/effort. That tells us more about intent. I don’t have much sympathy for the conviction of Chris Asch, one of the people involved in the online discussion, who amassed a very scary collection of tools. You don’t need to own a stun gun to write a good fantasy about using one. But the online would has essentially zero barrier to actions like searching, typing or clicking. One can only hope the law can evolve to incorporate this fact. An online search is much more like a thought than an action.

I generally think that incorporating real people into sexual or violent stories without their knowledge is pretty unpleasant and unethical. But if my opinion doesn’t sway you, and you write about dark non-consensual fantasies online, then keep this case in mind. If you end up as next weeks headlines, it might suck to be thought sick and weird, but that’s definitely better than adding dangerous and criminal into the mix.

I’ve a few more thoughts on this case to share, but this post is already long enough, so I’ll save them for tomorrow. I originally thought it’d be hard to find an image for this particular post, until I stumbled this highly appropriate photograph from the supremely talented Mistress Darcy.

Darcy
For anyone in the NYC region then you can find Mistress Darcy’s booking information here. And for anyone who understands the Dolcett reference in the image, you better hope the police don’t start checking your search history.

Incoming rant

I apologize in advance for this post. Not for the opinions it expresses, but because it’s light on femdom and mostly me ranting. However, I figure it’s my blog, and I’m entitled to the occasional self-indulgence now and again.

A couple of weeks ago I covered the story of Stoya and her accusation of rape against her former partner James Deen. Since then multiple other women have come forward with more accusations of consent violation (I believe 8 is the current count) and porn companies have cut their ties with him. In general the response has been very supportive of Stoya.

Unfortunately, there’s one particular comment that regularly gets trotted out in these conversations that drives me nuts. It’s the one that declares he’s innocent until proven guilty and that we shouldn’t be making a judgement until he has had his chance to defend himself in court. Phrases like ‘vigilante justice’ and ‘social media witch hunt’ often get cited. What’s particularly galling is that these people often seem to assume that they’re occupying the moral high ground. Everyone else is picking sides but they’re claiming a higher position and upholding the standards of justice and fairness that are the hallmarks of a civilized society. That attitude is, quite frankly, total horseshit.

In this situation there are only three possible positions. You can choose to disengage from the debate, skip the articles on it and venture no opinion. You can choose to believe James. You can choose to believe Stoya. That’s it. End of options. Saying that he is innocent until proven guilty is to say by default you believe him over Stoya (and all the other women). You could equally choose to believe Stoya until he can prove otherwise. The former position is not automatically a neutral or morally superior one. Yes, it sucks that it’s his word against hers (and hers and hers and…). It would be great to have solid irrefutable proof of what happened. But unfortunately life sometimes gives you shitty options to choose between. So suck it up.

Assuming innocence until proven otherwise is great if we’re talking about jailing someone, but it’s a hopeless way to try and navigate through life. If a friend comes to me and says his partner violated his consent I don’t get the luxury of saying – “Well I’m sorry to hear that. And maybe it’s true, but obviously it’s not proven. Why don’t we get 12 of our friends together and let’s see if you can prove it to them beyond reasonable doubt? Then I’ll be able to take it seriously.”

I’m not saying we should automatically believe all accusations regardless of context or the individuals involved. Or that Deen should be jailed based on a twitter poll. Or even that you have to believe Stoya (although that’s my position). Just don’t try and pretend that putting the burden of proof entirely on the accuser is the morally superior position. Life isn’t black and white, and isn’t conducted in a courtroom.

I’m not really sure what image should accompany this kind of post. I guess a powerful Amazonian warrior works as well as anything, so here you go. This is by SurenProPhotography.

Amazon

Being informed

I don’t feature Stoya very often on this blog, despite having a minor crush on her. She has a shining intelligence (clearly visible in her blog and tumblr), coupled with elegant and classically beautiful looks. Unfortunately, from the perspective of this blog at least, most of her films are either straight sex or skewed more towards a M/f dynamic. Hence, I rarely have an opportunity to post about her. Given the circumstances of this particular post, I really wish that could have continued to be the case.

She’s just published via her twitter account that her ex-boyfriend and occasional co-star James Deen had previously raped her. Given it’s just a couple of tweets there’s obviously limited detail, but she accuses him of physically assaulting her and ignoring her safeword. I’ve read negative comments about his attitude and approach to consent from other actresses in the past, but never anything quite as clear and unambiguous as this.

The reason I bring it up here is because I think it’s beholden to anyone who looks at pornography to be informed about how it’s made and who is involved. Some anti-porn people will claim that it can never be safely used, as you never know the circumstances in which it is made. That is, quite frankly, bullshit. I’ve no way of knowing about the person who made my shoes or stitched my shirt. Most things in life, from food through to electronics, come to us with very little background information. Occasionally there’s a scandal that makes the headlines, but most of us are blind to the source of 99% of what we consume.

Pornography, in contrast, is relatively easy to track. Actors and directors write blogs, post tweets, visit conventions and hold interviews. Some people visit sets and some companies conduct tours. That’s not to say all porn is made ethically and transparently. Like all part of life there are bad people doing bad things. But from a consumer point of view, it’s one of the easier industries to educate yourself about.

James Deen has made a lot of kinky porn over recent year, and has been featured regularly on the kink.com family of sites. Personally I’ll be avoiding any purchase that would potentially contribute to his bank account from now on. I can’t tell anyone else out there if they should follow suit. But at least if you’ve read this post you’ll be able to make a slightly more informed decision.

StoyaGiven the context of the post I didn’t want to feature a particularly sexually explicit image. This is Stoya modelling as Neil Gaiman’s Death character from the Sandman series.