If you read the UK left-wing newspapers, you may already have seen yesterday's article by Zoe Williams on ethical porn. If you haven't, go read it - it's positive, intelligent, and rather prominently features Dreams of Spanking.
Journalist Zoe Williams contacted me about a year ago to ask if I'd be willing to be interviewed. She came over for tea, and we set up a mic on the coffee table and sat in the lounge, talking for about an hour. She really wanted to come along to a shoot and talk to cast and crew, but I didn't have any shoots planned soon - and besides, inviting a journalist along is hardly the best way to provide a safe, comfortable space for your performers on set. (One of those instances where convincing the media you are an ethical pornographer and actually being one tend to clash.) Instead, I suggested that she come along to the start of the Dreams of Spanking cast and crew party, and invited a select few who are closely involved in the site to arrive earlier if they wanted to chat to her. Nimue, AJ and D all sat down and answered questions, and as ever I was impressed with how articulate and politically aware my friends and co-workers are. Nimue has already blogged about the interview and her take on the porn she makes here.
When the article didn't come out in January as intended, I thought it had been axed - but I got an email from Zoe on Monday to tell me that it was coming out this weekend. I was delighted to discover how positive it is - and how heavily Dreams of Spanking is featured.
Zoe isn't writing for people who are already guilt-free porn fans - or for people who are firmly convinced that all porn is inherently exploitative. She's writing for people like herself: educated, open-minded people who support gender equality and have always got the vague impression that that meant disliking porn, but doesn't really watch it and doesn't have an informed opinion. As such, she acknowledges and responds to some of the classic reservations about porn - that it is inherently male gaze, artificial, bad sex education, and that it promotes male violence - and ends up agreeing with the feminist porn principle that the answer is not no porn, but better porn.
I cannot agree with deciding women are being exploited unless they say they are. And, much more trenchantly, I cannot agree with adjudicating what someone else gets off on. Even if she is turned on by a fantasy that traduces your political beliefs (and her own), sexual fantasy is a sacred thing; you can’t argue it away, and nor should you want to. And the key argument, that it causes male violence, I don’t buy; what we watch might influence the way we behave, but not in obvious ways that you can map.
The article contrasts Dreams of Spanking with the sort of porn the audience might already be aware of in a number of ways, but the primary quality it picks out is "realness". The fact that I, and the other feminist pornographers mentioned in the article - including Ms Naughty, Nimue Allen and Madison Young - are expressing our own authentic sexuality through our work; the absence of gymnastic sex positions that afford the camera a better view; even the low-budget aesthetic - are all mentioned as desirable traits. The fact that my fantasies include some extreme BDSM and corporal punishment didn't seem to faze her - in fact that partly makes my work seem more credible, as I'm clearly pursuing my own sexual interests rather than trying to be "mainstream".
Makers of ethical porn believe you can have a violent fantasy, of any kind, and that can be a legitimate part of your sexual identity, one that you have a right to explore. This is the point at which anti-porn campaigners stick. There is a chasm here, between people who think that all violence in sex is the result of a patriarchal culture and will lead to violence in real life, and should be stamped out; and people who think that all fantasy is legitimate, and almost all of it can be legitimately met by porn.
I love that CrashPad Series was mentioned, and I love that my comment about the Clips4Sale categories list was kept in:
There is an interesting side point, about what happens to porn when it is democratised, how instantly it explodes into a thousand different kinks. “As an exercise,” Blake says, “look at a Clips 4 Sale list. [...] They’ve got 500 categories. You have no idea of the beautiful variety of human sexuality until you’ve cast your eye over this list. Eyeball licking… snot” (the only time I was too squeamish to hit “enter” was the subheading “Cats”). It’s interesting because that site was originally conceived to host regular user-made porn, and just got colonised incredibly fast. It seems that the more the sex industry tries to hammer us into one sexual identity, the more we rebel with riotous weirdness.
I don't love the headline, which I suspect was added by an editor (I'm so over headlines asking if porn can be ethical/if porn could appeal to women/if porn can be feminist - yes, yes, yes, it can, and a lot of it has been, for nearly twenty years in fact. Stop dismissing the existence of the radical work being done to revolutionise the porn industry, and do your research!) but overall, I'm delighted. It's amazing to see the Guardian finally offering a counterpoint to the sex-negativity of a lot of their feminist opinion pieces over the last few years. I had no idea Dreams of Spanking would be featured so heavily, and I'm very grateful to Zoe Williams for approaching a thorny topic with sensitivity and nuance.
The site has seen a lot more traffic than usual this weekend - if you are a new visitor, welcome! There's been a nice little boost in sales too, including a higher proportion of female members than usual, which is wonderful.
If you want to read more about my take on ethical porn, here are a few blogposts that might be of interest:
Thanks to Zoe Williams for writing such a positive article about my work, and to the Guardian for having the gumption to print it. There are 768 comments already (I haven't read them) so hopefully the editors will be reassured that this is a topic they can get away with tackling. And with any luck, the article will get people thinking, and perhaps spread the idea that yes, porn can be ethical, and a lot of it even is - even porn about dominance, submission, punishment and spanking!
It feels like I've done a lot of travelling this year - a month in the US in April; two festivals over the summer, one of which was a whole week away; a long weekend in Spain and a week in Berlin. Girl on the Net and AJ have done fantastic work keeping things ticking over tidily behind the scenes, and for the most part I've not done badly at getting hot new spanking films edited and uploaded in time to keep to our regular update schedule - even while I'm away. I'm proud to say that in the nearly-three years I've been running Dreams of Spanking, I've never missed an update.
However, a full fictional spanking film with actors and costumes and a plot and everything isn't the quickest thing in the world to make, and sometimes it's better not to rush it. Which is why, while I was in Berlin, I uploaded a video diary instead, dishing all the gossip about the kinky fun I had two weeks earlier at the World Spain Party.
But it wasn't just a video blog: it contained some spanking too.
I mentioned before that the London Tanner asked me to participate in a sunset strapping outside the villa on the last evening of the party, to create some fun images he could use to promote the event. I was keen. What I didn't expect was that as well as the gallery of 26 beautiful photos taken by Only Real Princess and Mr Stern, bathed in gorgeous golden light, Only Real Princess also recorded a couple of minutes of video.
It's admittedly rather short, and very blurry (and I actually made some bits of it more blurry on purpose, to protect the identities of partygoers) but for me it's a wonderful reminder of the warmth, fun and relaxed atmosphere of the Spanish party, and of a lovely scene with my friend Ian.
Both the video and the photos are available to watch absolutely free, so even if you aren't currently a member of Dreams of Spanking, head on over and feast your eyes on what happened when my bottom met the London Tanner's razor strop.
An in-depth look at the process of shooting David's first spanking video. David muses on how surreal it is to finally be on a spanking set after watching so many films online. He and Pandora negotiate the scenario - and Pandora takes rather a lot of enjoyment in having him over her knee! David: "I think I can honestly say this is the first time it's taken two people to adjust my underwear." Plus some bustle-wiggling as Pandora plays with her petticoats... Pandora briefs David and tells him he can cut any time. During the scene she stops regularly to check in on him, and David reveals that the hardest thing is trying not to smile!
I loved putting together my Victorian governess costume for this scene - especially improvising a bustle with a net petticoat under my skirt. I love that the Victorians loved bums so much that they invented the bustle to make them look bigger!
This behind the scenes video is worth watching if you're interested in how someone reacts to shooting their first ever spanking scene on film - and how Nimue and I help David through it. My favourite moment in this is at 7:30, when David confesses he's enjoying the spanking so much it's an effort to keep a straight face...
If there's one thing I know about studying witchcraft and wizardry it's that you should never ever piss off the potions master. Ron Beastly lands himself in hot water in our latest film, along with fellow student Nimue Allen, when the pair experiment with a hair growth potion that gets a bit out of hand.
When Ron Beastly made his début on Dreams of Spanking, I couldn't help but compare him to his wizard namesake: ginger hair, a cheeky smile, and a certain kind of twinkle in his eye. So I'm delighted that Pandora and the team have put together a funny, playful spanking scene set in a school for trainee witches and wizards...
Pandora tells me that Ron was really keen to do a scene that played off his name, and what better time to release it than on Halloween?
In researching this blog post (because I am a consummate professional, even though my 'professional' work too often falls into the 'fun' category), I discovered that there's a fair market out there for Halloween porn. In an average month, Google registers around 12,000 monthly searches – from the UK and the US. That number skyrockets in October when everyone's getting into the 'spirit' of things (sorry – I'm crap at puns).
Whether those people are looking for Halloween porn that is playful and fun, or videos that combine terror and arousal to create a genuine porn horror story, I like the fact that people are hunting down unique and interesting scenes.
Rule 34 of the internet states that 'if you can think of it, someone has made porn about it.' Well, I can assure you that it works the other way around too: if you work on a porn site, you'll realise that no matter what you dream up, there are already people looking for it.
And I have to say, if you're looking for something unusual and imaginative, you can't beat a spanking from the potions master after a backfiring hair-growth potion now, can you?
I hope you all had a happy Halloween - and now that the dressing-up is over, why don't you spend some time with this playful scene of Ron Beastly and Nimue Allen getting a bare bottom spanking from potions professor Seani Love? Bending over the teacher's desk to receive a hand spanking is probably nothing compared to what the Dark Lord can dish out, but it certainly pretty humiliating for this pair of magic students.
And if you're in the mood for something more chilling, last year's Halloween-themed caning might suffice - Amelia-Jane Rutherford dreaming of Victorian girls in nightdresses being tormented by the cane.
How hard is too hard when you're slippering a student? And what happens if the first, over-the-uniform spanking you dish out isn't enough? Amelia Jane Rutherford is interestingly tentative as she explores this key part of her new teaching role.
Seeking advice from her more experienced friend Caroline Grey, she shyly confesses that she's unsure about one element of her new job: the discipline regime. She's never administered corporal punishment before, and wants to make sure that when she uses the slipper on one of her students, it has the intended effect. Not too hard, not too gentle - exactly how painful is a slippering supposed to be?
There's a really natural rapport between Caroline and Amelia, which you'll know if you've seen them work together before - whether it's as excited friends hiring a hot male stripper, or defiant young ladies punished by their governess.
In 'Teaching Experience' they discuss corporal punishment like old friends, with nervous giggles and shy smiles. Asking for advice, Amelia edges ever so gently towards what we all hope is coming: a request that Caroline use the slipper on her so she can experience the sensation first-hand.
I've been trying to put my finger on what makes this scene so special, and I think it all comes down to the stream of consciousness from Amelia while she processes the experience of a slippering. From her initial comment that “it stings, doesn't it?” to, later, “Gosh, okay - that really does hurt quite a lot more,” she assesses the punishment in the same way as a teacher would grade your answers on a test paper.
The punishment gradually builds, from initial whacks over the skirt to a painful bare bottom spanking, but at each escalation there's a nervousness and embarrassment – from both Caroline and Amelia – that gives the scene an added tension. Amelia's clearly intent on getting the full experience, for the sake of her own integrity as well as her natural curiosity. She is the one that drives the scene, asking for extra at each stage until eventually she's lifting her skirt, pulling her own knickers down and explaining 'I know this is weird, but...'
It's an unusual combination of reluctance and determination: reluctance because the situation is humiliating, and you feel that neither woman wants to appear overly keen given that this is, after all, only happening in the name of professionalism. But determination because they both want to show how professional they are: Amelia genuinely wants to discover what it feels like so she can learn how to administer corporal punishment effectively, which will be a valuable skill in her new job; and I get the impression that Caroline is keen to share her skills with the slipper, and teach her old friend new tricks.
As well as our behind the scenes videos and blooper reels, we also like to upload candid photos which capture out of character moments and give you a glimpse into the atmosphere on set. Here are a few of the behind the scenes photos we have uploaded recently:
The full size versions of all these photos - and more - are available for members to view if you click through to the individual scene page.
When Girl on the Net started to help with the blogposts about our new scenes, I immediately felt like a weight had been lifted. I didn't realise how draining it was to promote my own films - particularly the ones I was in - until I no longer had to do it. But sometimes it turns out I still have something to say, and our latest film, The Other School, is one such case. I liked what Girl on the Net had to say about it - but I hope she doesn't mind if I add my own comments, too.
Girl on the Net: Ouch, ouch, ouch. I winced at every single cane stroke in this video (and there are plenty of them to wince about!). After sneaking out of school, naughty schoolgirls Pandora Blake and Alex Reynolds are in serious trouble. Not only do they both have to bend over for a cold caning, but each girl is made to stand and watch while the other is punished. I felt a certain solidarity in wincing at Alex's cane strokes, because Pandora, standing in the background, was wincing right along with me.
Pandora Blake: I certainly was! Alex already had a very sore bottom by the time we came to film this scene, and this was definitely one of those instances where my director self felt guilty for being responsible for my friend getting punished. Just like Maddy and Christy in this film, in fact. They play the two schoolgirls from the more modern, relaxed school, who get away with only detention after encouraging me and Alex to play truant with them.
Girl on the Net: ;It's not just Pandora and Alex who are in for a beating - this video has four totally gorgeous spankees, all in some way responsible, and all in for a share of the punishment. Maddy Marks and Christy Cutie play the troublesome friends whose bad influence tempted the other girls to play truant, and the always excellent Paul Kennedy plays the firm but fair teacher.
Pandora Blake: I loved the idea of a story based on four schoolgirls from two different schools: one regular high school, where Maddy and Christy are allowed to wear cute uniforms, short skirts, hair bows and heels - and the much stricter school across the park, where discipline is still severe and old-fashioned, with corporal punishment administered to naughty schoolgirls behind closed doors. For me, the hottest thing about school punishment is the horror of it - the idea that it's the worst thing that could possibly happen, and so humiliating that you would never talk about it in front of your friends from a more lenient school. Which is why Maddy and Christy don't realise how much trouble they're causing until it's too late...
Girl on the Net: When they see how harshly their friends are being dealt with, Maddy and Christy intervene, and request that they receive a share of the punishment. Missing the last lesson of the day to go and have fun was their idea, after all - so it's only fair.
Their selflessness is admirable, and headmaster Paul Kennedy is impressed by their honesty and courage. He agrees to split the punishment between all four schoolgirls. After each girl has received her punishment, she steps back to the wall – bare bottom still on show, of course – and the others gather round to hold hands and comfort her.
I'm not sure, personally, what I would prefer: twelve cane strokes over my knickers in front of an audience of just one, or six cane strokes on my bare bottom but in front of three of my friends. What do you think? I like the idea of crowding together after a shared caning, comparing marks and comforting each other, but at the same time I think in front of others I tend to try and muffle my squeals, and act far more stoic than I'm feeling inside.
Pandora Blake: There's certainly a difference between Alex's full-blooded squeals when it's only me watching, and her more restrained reactions once Christy and Maddy are present. To be honest, I don't know if I'd feel guilty or grateful if my friends decided to rescue me by volunteering to share my punishment. Fewer strokes sounds good - but if I went to a very strict school and my friends went to a more relaxed one, I'm not sure I'd want them to see what went on behind closed doors. It would be embarrassing enough to have to bend over and bare my bottom for a caning – never mind doing so in front of my friends who weren't used to this method of discipline.
Girl on the Net: So did Christy and Maddy do the right thing? Pandora and Alex seemed pretty grateful. At the end of the scene there's a gorgeous shot of all the girls' bottoms lined up in a row – cane marks burning bright red against their pale skin. The marks look painful, but it's hard to forget that the punishment would have been twice as bad if it weren't for their friends' intervention.
Headmaster Paul Kennedy makes it clear that he's proud of Christy and Maddy for taking responsibility and owning up to their part in the mischief. But what would you do in that situation? I confess tend to shrink from the cane – it terrifies me in a way most implements don't – so I suspect I'd have kept schtum, maybe buying my mates a drink later to say sorry for their sore bottoms. On the other hand, I do have a pretty sizeable crush on Paul Kennedy, so perhaps I'd be tempted to sneak into the gym and see if I could take six hard cane strokes from him. How about you?
A week after last year's big location shoot, Nimue Allen and I are back on location in another picturesque cottage. This one is bigger, more modern and - crucially - warmer than the last one, but just as isolated in an unpopulated bit of the English countryside. Peace and quiet is one of the most important things when it comes to shooting spanking porn. After all, we wouldn't want our scenes to be disrupted by noisy neighbours - and we wouldn't want anyone to find out what we were up to.
The cottage comes with a friendly cat - and best of all, a hot tub!
We're actually here for a week, although only two of those days will be shooting for Dreams of Spanking. We've also spent a day shooting for Nimue's World, and three days shooting for an exciting new porn project which is Nimue's and my new brainchild. There have been some teasers on Twitter already, but for now I'll just say that it's kinky, queer, filthy and absolutely, explicitly hardcore. We'll be releasing more details in due course, so watch this space!
This evening we were joined by our performers for the next two days - one day for the new project, and one for Dreams of Spanking. Those performers are David Weston and his real-life girlfriend, Talia Lane.
Talia is a gorgeous, geeky and very kinky young lady, who loves spanking (among an entertaining assortment of other fetishes). She's David's top, but she also switches, and is keen to have a go at shooting spanking video in both roles. I met her for the first time a couple of months ago over coffee. We'll be shooting a mixture of F/M, F/F and male/female switch scenes, with both David and Talia playing spanker and spankee at different times.
The pair brought plenty of scene ideas to the table, and between us we came up with some seriously hot scenarios. One of them in particular is incredibly dark and wrong - and you have David and Talia to thank for that! I love shooting real couples - it's such a privilege to be able to capture the genuine kinky chemistry between lovers on camera.
David and Talia arrived at the cottage this evening, and after dinner we've spent a relaxed evening sitting on the sofa on our laptops - it's nice to have people in the house who also consider this perfectly normal behaviour, rather than thinking me and Nimue are terribly antisocial...
After David and Talia, we have another new performer arriving - another male switch. Mike Pain is an experienced scene player as both spanker and spankee. He's known for his collection of naughty phone booth cards, and I met him - and was spanked by him - shooting a comedy spanking scene for the TV show Sexorama a few years ago.
Mike contacted me on Fetlife to offer his bottom, and had some great suggestions for scenes. I'm looking forward to seeing him again, and to spanking him - and being spanked in return. Since it will be the last shoot day of the week, I won't have to worry about marks, so I'm very much looking forward to enjoying some suitably climactic spankings, strappings and canings!