The adage, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ came to mind for me while watching He Wouldn’t Spank Me because I absolutely relate to the plight of needing a sound spanking and not having someone to give it to me. Pandora’s monologue that opens the video plays out as a tell-all of a dud of a weekend with an underwhelming spanko. Where he has failed, Pandora ultimately triumphs by administering an impressive self-spanking, complete with hairbrush and wooden ruler to round out the variety of sensations, sounds and marks.
I myself have self-spanked on many occasions when feeling dire and desirous of that certain sort of sting, when nothing else will do, when simply touching and thinking are not enough. I personally enjoy it and find it very different than being spanked by a partner. It’s a bit of a mind fuck to strike yourself in pleasure, more so even than being struck by someone else. I suppose it’s the dual sensation of one’s bottom warming and burning with each strike, in combination with one’s hand getting more and more fatigued.
Here are 5 things to consider if you want to try a successful self-spanking:
Nothing is less sexy than getting interrupted or having to stop playing because you don’t have the right toys or tools at hand. If you’re experimenting with self-spanking, plan ahead so that you have the privacy (if desired) and comfort, as well as implements, that you want and need.
If you’re new to self-spanking, consider it like any other private pleasure activity: it will be better if you’re good and ready for it. Do whatever you need to get in the mood, whether that’s watching hot spanking porn like He Wouldn’t Spank Me, or any of your other favourite Dreams of Spanking pieces, a sensual bubble bath, or getting turned on with your favourite toy(s).
Take it slow
A good spanking requires some warm up, so start with small swats and taps on top of underpants or light pajamas, playing with the speed, intensity and frequency. It’s not a race, and you needn’t have a goal in mind, simply try different things and pay attention to how everything feels. Once your skin is warm to the touch, try again on bare skin.
Variety is the spice of spanking
There are so many options with spanking: under or over clothes, barehanded or with implements, hard and punishing or soft and sensual. Barehanded, with a ruler or hairbrush, like Pandora used in He Wouldn’t Spank Me or a light shoe or slipper are great household items to try. Self-spanking is a great way to explore what excites you about spanking but stick to the meaty spots like thighs and buttocks. Avoid bony places like ribs and joints, your lower back and kidneys and your spine. Self-spanking is not for everyone, so if you try it and it’s not quite right for you, that’s okay too!
After Care is Self Care
Impact play, even if it wasn’t too physically taxing, should be followed up by after care, and if you’re self-spanking that means taking time to cool down and rest a bit when you’re finished. Cool compresses and lotion can be very soothing to spanked bottoms and a cup of tea or other warm drink can help you relax and unwind.
Although entirely different, without the ritualised connection of someone else spanking you, self-spanking can be a wonderful way to experiment with your limits in spanking, both giving and receiving. Much like masturbation can help us learn about our body’s pleasure at our own pace, self-spanking can be a great way to safely learn what about spanking you like or need. As with any pain or physical play, start small and work your way up to a pleasurable level of intensity, respecting your limits and playing within them.
There’s always something endearing about behind-the-scenes material. I’m rather fond of that photograph of Robert Powell taken during the filming of Jesus of Nazareth: the actor, strapped to his cross, is wrapped in a blanket and being given a drink and a cigarette by a crew member between takes, which deliciously demystifies the whole thing. There are some similar enjoyably fourth-wall-breaking moments in this excellent look at the making of Mrs Smith’s Method: Pandora strolling into shot in modern t-shirt and knickers to give a bit of directorial advice; the discussions over how to achieve the impression of an utterly frenzied birching of Amelia Jane’s bare arse without going beyond what would be safe, sane and consensual for the actor.
Mrs Smith's Method, released a couple of years ago, is one of the more ambitious and elaborate Dreams of Spanking productions. It pushes many buttons: sly pokes at Victorian moralizing, hypocrisy and weirdness, especially via Molly Malone’s fabulous portrayal of a thrashing-obsessed, for-your-own-good religious loon; the ritualistic elements involved in hardcore discipline, such as kissing the implement and thanking your chastiser, and the closing blissed-out, yielding contrition. However, seeing the cast interact between takes as themselves is endearing and a good reminder that, no matter how dark the scene you want to play out might be, it can still be enjoyable fun entered into with full knowledge and great enthusiasm.
I’ve recently been dabbling in spanking shoots again myself and, along with the indisputable fun it is to yell at a cute girl and spank her pert bum till it’s glowing and hot, the laughs and hugs and the reassurance afterwards that she enjoyed it, that it was fun working together, and that we’re all good, are as important a part of the experience as the actual scene.
Severe punishment, the sort that comes with a few darker overtones of wretched humiliation and the crushing of a free spirit, may not be to everyone’s taste, though it’s definitely hotter than hot for a lot of people. I’d have to admit that my own preferences run more to the knockabout comedy end of the spanking scene, so I probably like this making-of version slightly more than the original. It’s also a good way of showing just how much work goes into the making of a porn film that’s a little bit more ambitious than most, and would be just as helpful as a masterclass in making your own historical romp, should you be so inclined. Mrs Smith Behind The Scenes is certainly a terrific companion piece to Mrs Smith’s Method: watch them back to back, if you have a free afternoon. As to whether you prefer to tantalise yourself with the making-of and then watch the film proper, or enjoy the feature first and then go back and see how it was all done, that’s entirely up to you.
Welcome Violet, who has recently joined the Dreams of Spanking team as a copywriter. She regularly posts erotic photography and writing and her blog Love, Violet.
It’s an interesting thing to look at porn that is “not my thing” and try to see it objectively. Not surprisingly, this isn’t an easy thing to do. It makes sense that we process stimuli we find pleasing more readily and more directly than stimuli that doesn’t quite float our boat. However, the photo gallery In Big Trouble is beautifully made and has enough artistic merit to stand alone, regardless of one’s personal tastes.
Porn is a faction of the overall canon of contemporary art, in my opinion, and I say that as someone whose education is in fine art and critical theory. Many people would disagree, but when the crafting and production of pornography is as considered as its themes and narrative, like the films and photos here on Dreams of Spanking, I’d be hard pressed to dismiss it as too low-brow to be art. In Big Trouble is a beautiful example of visual storytelling that is highly narrative, emotionally demonstrative and visually satisfying to the viewer.
I’m not privy to the details of the creative process or art direction behind a scene like In Big Trouble, but it’s clearly well considered with captivating details. The inspiration for this custom hard spanking photo story came from a client with a particular vision, based on tales of his ex lover’s accounts of hard caning and OTK spanking conducted at home in her younger years. He said,
“Her stories to me of being punished were always the most engaging when she was describing the more ritualistic preparations of being led to the living room, being made to assume the position, being told to lift her dress, being instructed to lower her panties, and then later being ordered to lay down over his knees."
So much of what is described and desired in this scene is internally felt; both by the client as he relives his response to his lover’s stories, as well as the actual scene as it unfolds, grippingly portrayed by Pandora Blake and Mike Pain. Nuanced focus, attention to detail, and the rich storytelling of photography allows the viewer to be transported to the dining room, where paternal hand and rattan cane befall Pandora's tender bottom over and over. I found myself holding my breath as I moved through the images, struck a bit dumb by the intensity and anxious discomfort I felt as the story unfurled. I could feel the heat of the welts, the humiliation of her bottom being bared, and the potion of fear and obedience she must have felt to be able to resist flinching, kicking or squirming.
The artistry of these photos is, for me, in the discomfort that they elicited in me. Not all art is pretty or comfortable. These images are striking (ooops, what a pun!) even though they are not what I turn to for visual titillation. How then, did they resonate so deeply for me? I understand the client’s desire to have that tension highlighted: to experience, indirectly, his lover's humiliation and fear, as well as the unquestioned power and authority of her disciplinarian. These are potent archetypes and themes, because of the power dynamics of the domestic relationship and the ritualised experience of punishment.
This photo gallery made me pause, examine and interrogate my responses. It made me reflect on the nature of the relationships and fetishes depicted and the powerful emotions they provoke. In short, it got me thinking, and it made me feel something. Although that is not the same as being turned on, I was certainly stimulated. And that, folks, is what both porn and art are meant to do.
After a quiet year, I have some big news.
I’m stretching my creative wings again with some new queer porn collaborations. Last weekend I filmed a scene with Courtney Trouble and Chelsea Poe with me and Chelsea performing together, which was a dream come true. I have a massive porn crush on Chelsea and we had so much fun. Our scene was (of course!) very kinky and involved butch/femme dynamics, spanking, flogging, makeouts, Chelsea making me squirt everywhere with her fingers and tongue (she kept asking me to cum on her tits, which I’ve never done before - it was very horny) and me sitting on and fucking her face with my cock until we were both drenched in jizz. Chelsea had to hop in the shower afterwards to rinse my cum out of her hair. It was so great to connect with her and I hope we get to work together again.
Courtney, who was our videographer, was so great to work with and made everything super easy. They were warm, sweet and welcoming, delightfully enthusiastic about my gender expression, and helped me get over my nerves. I stopped getting regular pre-shoot anxiety ages ago, but it was a bit scary shooting with two porn icons whom I’ve admired from afar for years. I’m so so glad to have worked with them both and can’t wait to release the finished scene, which is a collaboration and will be distributed through QueerPorn.tv, Dreams of Spanking and other channels.
It's coming. And so are we...
We are thrilled to have sex blogger HornyGeekGirl, an erotica author and self-proclaimed spanking enthusiast, as a new contributor to this blog. Please give her a warm welcome!
I love wax play. Delivering it, I love the feeling of joy at every little squeak and wiggle your partner makes. I especially love dripping hot wax onto a freshly spanked, flogged or caned bottom. Receiving it, there's the split-second sting of the heat as it hits, that lovely warming feeling as more is added, and then the sheer pleasure of it being picked, peeled or scraped off. It’s delicious.
Hot Wax starring Tai Crimson and Pandora Blake really captures the deliciousness of wax play. Right from the first photo, we see Tai’s smile of anticipation ... which turns to slight trepidation when Pandora pulls back her hair to whisper in her ear. Then there's the small smile on Pandora’s face as she lights the first candle. You can really feel the tension as Tai awaits that first droplet of hot wax.
For me that anticipation is half the fun of wax play, and this image shows that perfectly. It’s the deep breath before the first stinging drip falls. I like the symmetry of being able to see a profile of each performer’s face. They both seem to focus on the candle, even though I know Tai probably can’t really see it.
Tai's face is a study in this photo gallery. There is something almost blissful in Tai’s expression as Pandora drips the first trail of colour from higher up, which changes to lip-biting pain as the wax - and the heat - get closer to her skin, until the wax leaves pink heat marks on her upper back.
I love the dynamic between the two of them. The comfortable ease expressed in Pandora’s gleeful enjoyment of Tai’s pain, and the total trust Tai shows even when wax is being dripped in very intimate places. Which brings me to the other hot thing about this photo gallery. After all that build up, the pay off is a sequence of incredibly naughty photos as Pandora teases apart Tai's bottom checks, tantalising her with the idea of hot wax being dripped into that most sensitive spot... and then lands drop after fat drop right onto her exposed hole. That range of photos made me wince and wiggle, and witnessing Tai’s pleasure at the pain really appealed to the domme side of me that likes to hurt people just the way they like it.
The final two images in the set are the perfect finish. It's lovely to see the two performers basking in the afterglow of the scene they’ve just shared - and it's clear from their faces that they loved every minute.
Our new film Houseboy is a departure from the usual videos on Dreams of Spanking - and most other spanking sites. This is our first attempt at a cinematic short film, aiming for a higher standard of cinematography and storytelling than we are usually able to achieve. I wasn't planning to shoot this way from the start - it came about from a convergence of factors that created the perfect opportunity to try something new.
Casting Tai Crimson
It started last year, when I met an enthusiastically kinky and ridiculously cute young person from San Francisco. He was gorgeous, he loved spanking - he could certainly take it - and he expressed an interest in shooting for Dreams of Spanking. He wasn't old enough at that point to perform in porn, but I said that once he turned 18 I'd be very happy to work with him. We made plans to shoot together when he was next in the UK - which happened to be May 2015, less than a week after his eighteenth birthday. How's that for a coming-of-age celebration?
I normally prefer to work with kinksters who are a little older, simply because I value emotional maturity and experience in the people I shoot with. I think the common fetish for "barely 18" performers in porn is partly based on the idea that young performers are vulnerable, and so it's easier to take advantage of them and push their limits. I find this sleazy and totally unethical, and I'd always much rather work with older players who know their own minds and are able to look after themselves. It's important to me that the performers I hire can take responsibility for their own limits and communication, are experienced enough players to know their bodies and their preferences, and are secure in their decision to appear in fetish porn - because once you've done it, there's no going back.
When I met Tai, however, he exploded all of my preconceptions. Although a teenager, he has a rock solid sense of his kinky identity, and he's been exploring his interest in private for years. He is calm, confident, intelligent, self-reliant, and very emotionally mature. So at eighteen and a few days, Tai officially beats Talia Lane to the position of youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking - and yes, we do have his ID on file to prove it!
We put a date in the diary, and meanwhile Tai and I exchanged emails discussing his interests and preferences. But by March this year, when I needed to start firming up plans, I already knew that ATVOD were investigating Dreams of Spanking and that I was likely to have to stop updating the site for a duration of several months while my appeal was underway. I had lots of scenes already shot starring Fauni, Mike, Talia and David and others which I wasn't going to be able to publish, so there was absolutely no point spending money and energy shooting more material that might never see the light of day.
Towards a cinematic style
Meanwhile, I'd attended the British Fetish Film Festival in February and the Berlin Porn Film Festival last October, and I'd been thinking an awful lot about shooting styles, production values, and the budget and time constraints under which I was shooting.
Over five years I have developed a shoot style that produces one 10-15 minute spanking film per hour, in a remarkably stress free environment, with plenty of breaks. This is based on improvised scenes filmed live by one or two handheld camera operators, with perhaps some close-ups or cutaways to enhance anticipation in the build up to the spanking scenes, but otherwise shot with as few cuts as possible - unless the performers themselves need to cut. Lightweight, consumer-grade cameras make handheld shooting manageable without the camera operators getting too tired, and using auto-focus allows us to get visual variety by roaming around the scene shooting different angles, rather than stopping the action to reset each shot.
This non-disruptive shooting style allows the performers to get into an immersive scene space and stay in character, which helps the roleplay flow more smoothly, and also helps the bottom stay in their headspace and makes the spanking itself easier to take. It's a system that Nimue and I have got down to a fine art, and I was pleased that we'd reached a point where we could create nice-looking films within budget, while maintaining a relaxed and fun shoot environment for everyone involved.
The downside of this low-key shooting style is that the resulting films would never achieve the cinematic quality that I was seeing at the film festivals I was going to. I'd had a couple of films rejected from international festivals, presumably because the videography, audio quality and storytelling wasn't up to scratch. I found myself wanting to level up, and see if with a bit more money, time and effort, I could raise my production values and put Dreams of Spanking on the map as a credible producer of cinema-quality films.
So rather than hire Tai for a day shooting a number of improvised ten minute website updates, I decided to use him to do something different. I booked amazing boudoir photographer Matt Christie to help out with the videography - he'd expressed an interest in shooting video last time we shot together, he has a commercial-grade camera and he also had access to an amazing location perfect for the scenario I had in mind.
I started penning ideas for a single 10-15 minute short film. Not five films, or six films, or seven. Just one.
Developing the story
With Tai, I had an articulate and gorgeous masculine-of-center performer with a submissive streak a mile wide, who loved being spanked. I thought about the films I was seeing at festivals, and the lack of beautifully-shot female/male BDSM films shot from a female perspective, with a male submissive who is both beautiful and interesting, and not just a cipher propping up a sexually objectified female dominant. Instead of this I wanted to make Tai the lust object and protagonist of the film, focussing both the lens on his body, and the story on his character's journey.
I started with a fairly traditional plot - a young man applying for a submissive role in the household of an established mistress. I brainstormed ideas for visual storytelling, thinking about ways to focus the storyline on the tension and anticipation Tai's character feels before he takes the plunge towards fulfilling his submissive desires. I considered ways to create an interesting power dynamic between his character and mine. I quickly realised that I'd need a third performer, another submissive serving the mistress - someone to make his arrival at the house feel more formal and more intimidating.
I'd already talked to my friend Eliza Grey about having her on set as a shoot assistant, helping out behind the camera (she had planned to be with us on our shoot in November, but had sadly been unable to make it). I realised she'd be perfect for the role of a bitchy receptionist, enhancing Tai's nerves before his interview with the Madame... and once I'd cast Eliza, the rest of the story fell into place.
Writing the script
Ten days before the shoot, I was hurrying to finish the script on my laptop on the train. I'd never written lines for characters to say before, and I was finding it surprisingly difficult. I'd write a line, then agonise over it. What if Tai doesn't feel comfortable saying that? What if that's not what Eliza would say? I've always made a political point of not putting words in my performers' mouths, and suddenly that was what I was literally doing. At the same time I was all-too-aware that they were going to need to memorise their lines, and time was running out.
I closed my eyes, wrote some lines telling myself they were only placeholders, and sent it off with an apologetic email saying this was a very rough draft, and inviting them to make any changes they wanted. But my anxiety proved unfounded. In the end, bar one wording change, that script was the one we used - and Tai and Eliza rocked it.
Working with a storyboard
A week before the shoot I was on D's sofa after a fetish party, scribbling a 'storyboard' in biro on A4 paper from his printer while my friends chatted around me. After writing the screenplay I had a strong visual image in my mind's eye of what most of the shots would look like - now it was just a case of creating a visual reference so I could communicate my ideas to Matt on the day. I'd visited Matt's location a week ago, so the rooms were fresh in my mind. It was a useful exercise to think through camera angles and compose the shots, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappiest storyboard anyone has ever worked from. The most hilarious of my terrible stick figure drawings was this sketch of Eliza being spanked over my knee and feeling sad about it:
Professional production all round, innit.
The day of the shoot
The shoot day approached. I bought food and props, looked up travel options, packed suitcases, selected implements, printed scripts and release forms. Shortly before the day I realised that I'd inadvertently booked our shoot on the same day as the London Marathon, and the location we were using was only one block away from the route. That meant that not only would transport potentially be disrupted, but the exterior shots would all have a huge amount of background noise. Still, at this late stage there was nothing to be done about it. I booked an 8am taxi, the traffic at that hour was fine, and I was on set at 9am. Matt and I drank coffee and looked through the storyboard, then Tai and Eliza arrived - and it was all go.
Shooting from a script was a totally new experience for me, and a steep learning curve. I'd worked out the best shooting order, shooting the story in as close to chronological order as possible while minimising room and lighting changes. After that it was just a question of staying calm, following the callsheet and taking it one shot at a time.
I was using an external mic for the first time, and was grateful to have Eliza helping out and sharing the responsibility for making sure the mic was a) close enough, b) not in shot, and c) recording each time. She was also an absolute star helping out with moving lights, checking camera batteries and memory cards, making tea and tidying up behind us. A+++, would work with again. Plus it turned out she could seriously act...
It was a full day, perhaps a bit too full - nerves started to fray after a few hours, and everyone was feeling tired by mid-afternoon. The shoot would definitely have been easier with more camera crew or fewer scenes to fit in. After a few hours, Matt noticed a round smudge in the middle of the lens, and wiped it off - but of course there wasn't time to go back and re-shoot the shots we'd already done. By the time we came to shoot the confrontation between Tai and Eliza in the kitchen, everyone was so tired that that scene took about seven takes. Some of the shots ended up out of focus, and we got through so many cans of tonic that I was worried we'd run out!
Editing the film
Still, despite all that, when I came to look at the footage I was pleased to discover that most of it looked how I'd expected. There were a few surprises in the edit - such as that moment when I realised the reverse shot in one dialogue scene crossed the line and was therefore unusable, and was suddenly grateful that we'd shot three angles of that particular scene, even though at the time it felt like overkill. It was a monster of an edit, but satisfying too, sorting through all the footage, plugging it into place, and seeing how the scenes I'd envisioned in my mind played out on camera.
Choosing the music was another daunting prospect - I knew I wanted to avoid re-using the same creative commons soundtracks that you hear time and time again in indie porn, and that meant spending money. But how to start looking? First I worked out where music was needed - in the intro sequence, the montage, and the closing credits, which meant I needed two or three pieces in total. Then I did a rough edit of those sequences so I had a vague idea of how long the music would need to be. After that, I set a day aside to browse SoundDogs, typing in different keywords and playing pieces with my eyes closed, visualing the film, until I hit on a genre that felt right. I realised that for this story my usual taste in piano and cello-dominated classical and film score music wouldn't work - Tai's character needed something moody and masculine, guitar-led, energetic and driving. Finally I whittled down a selection, downloaded some samples and started laying them over the edit to see what worked.
Primarily, this film was intended to be screened at film festivals - which meant that the narrative would have a different structure than standard spanking films. In a film intended for someone to watch while having a wank, you need a carefully paced build-up and pay-off that sustains uninterrupted shots of climactic spanking action for long enough for the viewer to reach orgasm. In a longer film, there might be two of three of these build-ups and climaxes, separated by character-driven story. But at a film festival, the audience are watching to have their minds stimulated, not their genitals. Fast-paced editing is preferable, providing lots of new visual information with every shot. Explicit sequences need to be edited down to the bare minimum necessary to develop the characters and progress the story. So that was a new challenge: cutting the 15 minutes of high quality spanking action in, for instance, Tai's audition scene, down to the three minutes earmarked for it in the festival edit. The only way I was able to do it was by promising myself that I'd release the full, uncut scene as an extended edition on Dreams of Spanking later. But meanwhile the deadline for the Berlin Porn Film Festival was June 30th, so I had to get the shorter edit finished first...
In the end, thankfully, it was finished in time to submit to Berlin, and I'm hopeful that they'll accept it. I'll be submitting it to various other film festivals over the summer as well. I'm really happy with the finished film, and completely honoured to have been trusted with Tai and Eliza's porn debuts - and thrilled that they had a good time.
And that's a wrap!
It was a really long shoot day. We finished the scheduled shots around 7pm, 10 hours after I'd arrived on set. But then we cracked open the champagne and ended up chatting and buzzing on a total high, which led to another two hours shooting performer interviews, and even a behind the scenes caning for Tai when he confessed he still didn't think he'd been spanked enough...
By the time we finally turned the cameras off, sat down for some supper and tidied everything away, the sun had gone down - and it was 11pm before I finally got into a cab. Matt and I had been on set for fourteen hours, Tai and Eliza for thirteen. I am so grateful to the three of them for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism. It was a long fucking shoot and everyone put in so much energy and creativity it was kind of overwhelming. Overall, this production cost ten times as much as an average Dreams of Spanking video, but even so I still came away feeling like I hadn't paid people enough for the amount of work they'd put in.
Overall, this was a very satisfying project, and I'm really happy to have it under my belt. But it also taught me a lot about the trade-off that arises when you move towards a more cinematic shooting style. My previous method gave my performers more breaks, less stress and a much more satisfying kink experience. Shooting Houseboy, we did the bare minimum of spanking needed to get the shots I wanted - and stopping to move the camera, check the focus and lighting, consult the storyboard every few seconds made it hard to get immersed into a satisfying spanking headspace. I'm glad I hadn't scripted any particularly hard spanking scenes, because I think severe corporal punishment would be much more emotionally and physically challenging to take in this context.
I hadn't realised it before, but shooting in a more amateur style results in a much more rewarding experience for the performers - with more opportunity for top and bottom to develop an in-scene chemistry, focus on each other rather than the camera, and time for the bottom to sink into a yummy submissive headspace, without constant distractions.
So what can I take away from this? Well, I've learned that shooting in a cinematic style is something I can do, and that's good to know. I've learned that it's hard work, at least ten times as expensive as my usual shooting style, and considerably more time-consuming to produce and edit. It's also exhilarating, exhausting, and very creatively satisfying. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a go, and I'm hopeful that the finished film will be screened in Berlin this year. But I've also learned that I don't want to start shooting this way every time. Perhaps I might be able to put out one cinematic film a year, but this experiment has restored my faith in my usual low-key way of shooting, which it turns out is preferable experience for me and my performers - and a much better environment to ask people to take hard spankings in. Our standard Dreams of Spanking shoots emphasise process over product, and trying something new has re-affirmed my faith in that process.
You can watch the long-play trailer for Houseboy below - and if you're a site member, please watch the full film and tell me what you think - and make sure you also check out the extended editions of Tai's and Eliza's spanking scenes, performer interviews and Tai's off-the-cuff behind the scenes caning.
Michelle Knight is a bondage fan and activist against porn censorship. Despite not being a fan of corporal punishment, she volunteered to take fifty hard cane strokes in protest against ATVOD. Why? Well, as Michelle explains:
“I'm doing this not for my own pleasure, but to help raise the money to take them to court.”
Bravely, Michelle bends over the sofa and calmly takes every single stroke – her first caning on camera. Her reasons for doing so are more complicated than you might think, and her pre-shoot interview gives some fascinating background on the history of UK porn censorship, as well as her personal reasons for taking on this challenge.
Reason 1: Show the truth, not the fiction
“There's a lot of fiction out there,” explains Michelle. She's spent the last twenty years educating people on issues to do with sexuality – running bondage website RealBondage.co.uk and writing books, as well as taking part in support groups for trans people. “There's a lot of fiction out there, and people are making decisions based on that.”
Her website and books are aimed telling the truth about bondage for people who are curious. Michelle explains that, when not given the right information, people are reliant on a fiction about BDSM and sexuality that encourages them to 'panic, panic, panic!'
What better way to challenge that fiction than by showing a real-life caning scene, complete with discussion, negotiation, and occasional breaks for tea and banana cake?
Reason 2: It's not the first time
Protesting the UK porn laws is not new to Michelle, who confesses that “ever since 2008 I've been a thorn in the side of the CPS, Home Office, Lords, my MP – oh boy!”
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act in 2008 (often referred to as the 'Extreme Porn Law') sought to ban 'extreme' porn, and as you might have guessed, the word 'extreme' includes plenty of bondage, spanking, other forms of BDSM – things which kinksters engage in safely and consensually all the time.
The latest furore, with ATVOD, could see sites like Dreams of Spanking under the jurisdiction of a censor which hates any but the most gentle form of spanking. But it's certainly not the first - just the latest in a long line of attacks on kinky porn.
Reason 3: They haven't done the proper research
That 'Extreme Porn Law' – in 2008 – was subject to a rapid impact assessment before being passed. The key word here is 'rapid' - as Michelle explains, the organisation responsible for reviewing it mentioned that it did not have enough time to do a proper job.
This is a criticism that comes up frequently when looking at how the government makes changes which impact pornography and sexuality – lack of consultation with people whose lives will be affected by changes means that those making decisions rarely – if ever - get the full picture.
Reason 4: It's undemocratic
These are not policies which have been put forward in manifestos, or offered publicly for debate. In the case of the 'Extreme Porn Law', it was buried in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which tackled a whole range of other topics completely unrelated to porn.
The recent changes are no different – they are primarily being made by ATVOD and the BBFC: statutory bodies which hold no direct democratic accountability.
Michelle explains: “They are operating as a law unto themselves – they are not fit as a body. They're making it up as they go along.” She adds that, from the government's point of view, this is almost certainly not an accident: “They don't want discussion on this. They want to oppress us. That's one of the major things I'm against.”
Reason 5: This is the only way to do this
There are lots of ways you can protest against democratic changes – you can stand in the street with a placard, or write to your MP. And while these things may help raise awareness of the changes, ultimately Michelle believes that the solution is more drastic:
“It looks like the only way we're going to be able to do this is to drag them through the courts.”
If you've been following this site for a while, you might have noticed something missing. Although the archive is crammed with hot spanking videos, and many of them show me playing with real life partners and lovers (particularly my top of ten years, Thomas), one person has been conspicuous by their absence: my long-term boyfriend and dominant, D.
D and I have created plenty of photosets together, but he's never topped me on video. As a dominant he is relaxed and spontaneous, and the idea of following a script, playing a character and pretending to scold and punish me isn't really him. He's an exhibitionist, but unlike me, he doesn't enjoy performing.
It's a point of principle for me as a director not to pressure anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable with. So we've always stayed within D's comfort zone, shooting occasional photosets that didn't make him feel like he was acting. Until now.
Now, there is a spanking video starring me and D on Dreams of Spanking - and with a 50 stroke cold caning, he certainly knows how to make an entrance.
When I set up my fundraising campaign to raise money to help non-profit organisation Backlash challenge the new UK porn laws, D was behind me every step of the way. Our shared political values are one of the fundamentals of our relationship, and we've both always been active in politics in different ways. When I told him I needed someone to beat me on video to fight internet censorship, he was happy to step forward - no acting necessary.
This was the longest, hardest caning D has ever given me. Dishing out fifty hard cane strokes on film purely for the sake of it was never going to be his cup of tea - but as an act of political protest? Sure.
Speaking of cups of tea, one of my favourite moments in this free caning film is jjust before stroke sixteen, when I insist on pausing the caning so I can finish my half-drunk cuppa. It turns out that taking fifteen hard cane strokes on the bare bottom is the perfect way to pass the time while you wait for your tea to cool to the ideal drinking temperature. What better pick-me-up to boost my spirits for the remaining strokes? This is a protest film about the new UK porn laws, after all - and I don't think there's any combination more British than tea and caning.
I love the playfulness and affection between D and me in this video. We were both being ourselves, no roleplay, no characters, and watching it back the dynamic feels very true to our relationship. He doesn't usually watch my spanking videos, but he watched this one and chuckled his way through it at our banter and in-jokes. "It feels very us," he told me. "We're adorkable."
If you've ever looked at my steamy photosets with D and felt curious about our relationship, and wanted to meet the man behind the pictures, watch this film. It's about as honest a portrait of the two of us as you can get.
Apart from the caning, of course. That bit's completely out of character.
In this blogpost I want to talk about intimacy. There are a million different ways you can establish intimacy with a partner, but establishing intimacy in art is a much trickier thing. How do you invite the viewer into a particular book, play or, in this case, porn scene?
Well, Pandora does just that in this week's video – she literally invites people in.
Lodger Wanted is a POV femdom tease – Pandora Blake plays the sexy landlady who invites you, the viewer, into her home. From the beginning you're placed directly into the scene, with the camera showing your first-person perspective as you follow her from room. Pandora also gives you some pretty intimate instructions - “I think there might be a stain on the back of my skirt, can you have a look?" - and some angry words if you're caught peeking.
The concept of viewer involvement in porn is pretty fascinating - it wasn't until very recently that POV porn has been possible. For most of human history pornographic material was necessarily something you'd see remotely – in paintings or drawings or woodblock prints. I'm not aware of any of this material taking a 'point of view' angle – although I'd be interested to know if it ever has. Are there woodblock prints drawn from the point of view of someone receiving oral sex? I suspect it wouldn't have occurred to the artist to do it. Perhaps those who were rich enough could afford live performances, but most people could only be as close to the performers as pen and ink would allow.
I tried to find out when the first POV porn was made, and it looks like – as withmany porn innovations – it first appeared in Japan. In the late 1980s it started as a niche concept, then gradually took off.
Now, though, there are a number of ways in which porn producers and performers share intimacy with their audience. From camming to blog comments, twitter and video blogs, many performers speak directly to their viewers, sometimes as recorded messages and sometimes as live interaction. The internet is an interactive medium, and now more than ever porn consumers are able to collaborate in the porn they watch - make suggestions, request customs, and submit ideas that can be turned into hot new films. Lodger Wanted is one of a growing number of viewer requested scenes on Dreams of Spanking - others include Bathtime and The Stableboy.
Then there's POV porn – like this femdom tease video which invites the viewer to play the part of the prospective lodger, shown around Pandora's home while she flirts and teases, sashaying through the house and deliberately bending over to show off the way the tight skirt hugs her round bottom, and eventually removing her stockings and suspenders, before lounging naked on the bed and scolding you for watching her.
I like the idea of POV porn for a whole heap of different reasons. Firstly, it's pretty inclusive when you think about it – in this scene the "lodger" could be anyone, of any gender or body type. Secondly, there's an extra-sexy thrill from the feeling that the performer is addressing you directly. You're not a voyeur, you're a participant - the main character (in this case Pandora's coquettish landlady) is flirting with you.
A long time ago, playing Grand Theft Auto with a partner (I know, I know, it's not exactly the most PC of video games) we ended up in a discussion about strip clubs in games versus stripping at the cinema. Obviously there are some mainstream films with stripping scenes that are intensely hot – Salma Hayek performing a striptease with a live python in From Dusk Til Dawn, for instance – but there was something about visiting the strip club in Grand Theft Auto that both of us found more arousing. Even though it was repetitive, unrealistic, and nothing like a real strip club, it was happening to us in a way that film stripteases we'd seen had struggled to capture.
Part of it came from our involvement - we'd pressed the buttons to get our character into the club in the first place - but another significant factor was the fact that it was shot from our point of view. We were looking directly through our character's eyes, and having what felt like a more immediate interaction.
The same is true of other video games I've played. I'm not a fan of running around shooting things to collect random points, but give me a game like Mass Effect, where you build relationships with other characters and – if you're charming enough – eventually have sex with them? I'm sold.
I'm not the only one either – games developers and designers are currently working on innovative ways to use virtual reality to make our porn dreams come true. From simple POV sex videos to full-on interactive games, virtual reality hardware like the Oculus Rift means that a few years down the line, there'll be even more ways for producers to conjure the same feeling of intimacy.
Although sometimes it's good to sit back and watch, safe and sound behind a fourth wall that performers never break, there's something hot about putting yourself directly in the picture.
And if you agree, well, go and knock on Pandora's door – she's very welcoming.
My personal favourite, however, was the third photoset of the afternoon. Two topless girls in long skirts, velvet, mood lighting. Old books and ink, hand-lettered typography, words on skin. Adele and I have this kink in common. I copied out the first six lines of the Iliad onto her back in the original Homeric Greek, and it was the most peaceful, zen experience I have ever had on a spanking shoot. As the minutes ticked by, no-one spoke a word, PWP moved around us quietly snapping photos, I think she and I both entered a kind of subspace. There was an element of psychological bondage to it; she had to stay perfectly still, or the work would be ruined. And I entered a trance-like state as I lost all my awareness of the camera, and focussed on finishing the calligraphy as quickly and neatly as possible.
I don't know what story these images might tell. Perhaps we are lovers, or witches; perhaps I'm an artist decorating her for some sort of show, or perhaps she's my submissive and I've set her the challenge of stillness and obedience. Perhaps we are students in some strange alternate universe where punishment lines are written not on paper, but on skin.
When AJ sent me the edited photos to look at, my jaw dropped. They are heartbreakingly gorgeous, just as dreamlike and evocative as I had hoped. PWP did an amazing job with these photos, and AJ more than did them justice in post. As I emailed Girl on the Net to let her know they were ready for copywriting, the scenario started to take shape in my head.
This gallery is a visual poem; a lyrical, abstract dream sequence exploring the sensuality of ink on skin. Inasmuch as there's a plot behind them, it's this: Adele must lie still while I write the text on her. Maybe she's my lover and I just like setting challenges for her. Maybe I'm a witch using body-writing to cast a spell. Maybe writing lines on her is my punishment. I wasn't sure, but one thing was clear: if Adele moved, smudging the lettering, she would get a cane stroke for every error.
Girl on the Net took this idea and ran with it. I love the scene description she came up with.
Two topless women are engaged in a sensual game: one plays the canvas and the other the artist. Adele Haze lies on cushions, exposing her breasts and bare back - and it's the latter that her lover will write on. Pandora Blake uses black ink and a brush to adorn Adele with intricate Greek lettering.
As Pandora's calligraphy winds around Adele's gorgeous curves, Adele must stay completely still, hardly breathing to avoid nudging Pandora as she writes her lines. In a Victorian school, ink smudges would mean a punishment for the writer. Here, the responsibility to avoid error falls on the writing surface. Pandora weaves her spell in words, and the magic of the moment mustn't be broken. For each smudge, Adele will get a stroke of the cane.
When the text is complete – the first few lines of Homer's 'Iliad' – Pandora carefully examines her work, stripping Adele naked so she can admire the slick black script that covers her body. Afterwards Adele bends naked over the punishment bench in the Scriptorium, exposing every inch of her bare skin. Pandora's found some smudges, and every error earns Adele a hard cane stroke.
Each cold cane stroke makes Adele yelp, biting her thumb to hold back her cries. But after three strokes the punishment is over, and Pandora can step back to admire her work – the neat black lines of text curving round Adele's beautiful body, and the vivid red welts left by the cane.