In January, to protest the ridiculous and damaging new UK porn laws that were brought in on 1 December 2014, making it illegal for anyone in the UK to distribute videos online which would not be classifiable with an R18 rating by the BBFC, I ran a fundraising campaign. To generate cash for Backlash, the UK organisation dedicated to defending our sexual freedoms and providing legal support for those affected by laws like this, I pledged to take one hard cane stroke for every £10 raised.
The fundraiser was a runaway success, and even with Nimue Allen standing with me, we quickly reached our self-imposed maximum of 50 hard cane strokes each and had to recruit additional bottoms to help us out. Luckily, I know quite a few people willing to bend over and take a caning for a good cause.
Our team of brave volunteers included Ariel Anderssen, better known in the spanking scene as Amelia Jane Rutherford. She pledged up to 25 strokes - which were sponsored within hours! - and she and her husband Hywel Phillips also offered to donate a free caning video as a stretch goal reward. Ariel's Judicial Caning was produced as a custom film, and they were planning to release it as exclusive members-only content on their glamour bondage site Restrained Elegance. To support the cause, they promised to publish it free online instead if the fundraiser reached its target.
Alongside Dreams of Spanking and Nimue's World, Restrained Elegance is also hit hard by the new laws - when and if the law is enforced, they will have to take down substantial amounts of content featuring full bondage of both hands and feet with a gag, or perhaps stop trading entirely. Hywel and Ariel's site is an authentic depiction of their erotic and romantic lives, and all their films are safely and consensually produced by experienced bondage enthusiasts. It's a crying shame that this sort of positive, couple-oriented adult content stands to be taken offline in the name of "protecting children", when fetish porn can provide such a necessary role in helping young people with marginalised sexualities feel less desperate and alone.
The good news is that thanks to a surge of support from the kinky community, our fundraiser raised more than we ever expected - the final figure was £3836. As promised, Ariel's Judicial Caning was released last week. It's beautifully shot by Hywel on high-end cameras, and the film really captures the anticipation and tension of a severe caning, particularly Ariel's nervous body language as she strips for punishment. The marks are gorgeous, too.
As if that wasn't enough, we've been proud to host another guest update this week, too: Knowing by Michael Stamp and Zoe Page.
Mike and Zoe are a real life kinky couple, and for years they worked together on Mike's membership site Bars and Stripes, a female-submissive spanking series set in a women's prison. Bars was one of the first sites I worked for when I started out as a porn performer and along with their good friends Northern Spanking, with whom they often shared shoots, they set the gold standard for ethical production and taking care of their performers. When I worked for Bars, I was given the opportunity to write my own character, contribute scene ideas, and the shoots were tremendously good fun, with lots of cameraderie on set, yummy food and drink and post-shoot evening parties. Playing a recurring character allowed me to get really immersed in the roleplay, which made for a more satisfying shoot experience - and allowed us to go deeper and further in terms of the intensity than if we were less invested in the narrative. Working with tops who would quickly become close friends, including Mike, Northern Spanking founders Paul Kennedy and Lucy McLean, and later Zoe Page when she joined the project, made everything that much more enjoyable.
So I was really sad to learn that, as a direct consequence of the new UK laws, Mike had sold Bars and Stripes overseas, along with all his unedited content. Northern Spanking have done the same thing, and are now based in California. This is happening everywhere I look: producers selling up, relinquishing control of UK projects that had a hugely positive effect on the UK porn industry. When the shining examples of ethical, performer-driven production shut up shop or move overseas, where does that leave UK porn?
I'm getting increasing numbers of enquiries from porn performers looking for fetish or spanking work in the UK and wanting to shoot with safe, ethical producers. More and more sites are moving their production overseas, and there are fewer and fewer producers I am able to recommend to new performers.
Not to mention that UK sites closing down or selling up will reduce the amount of good content available to UK viewers, and the influence ethically produced fetish porn can have within the UK fetish scene. If ATVOD go ahead with their long-term plan to ban all overseas content that doesn't comply with their regulations from being viewed from within the UK, by blocking it using the UK internet filter, then eventually people in the UK won't be able to view this sort of content at all.
Which is why, when Mike and Zoe produced a new sort of spanking film, which premiered at the British Fetish Film Festival last month, they wanted to help our fundraiser any way they could. Mike no longer has editorial control of Bars and Stripes, so he couldn't donate any site memberships or members-only films as stretch goal rewards. But he did offer us this film.
Knowing is a short study in the anticipation a submissive feels when they know they are about to be punished. Created by husband-and-wife team Michael Stamp and Zoe Page, this shows a side of the normally dominant Zoe that we have never seen before. It's a beautiful piece of film-making, and I love the way sound is used to heighten the emotional tension. There's also something thrilling and teasing about the way that it ends just as a normal spanking film would be about to get started. I think it's beautiful, and I'm very grateful to Mike and Zoe for releasing it.
I hope you enjoy Ariel's Judicial Caning and Knowing. I've posted them as guest updates this week because all my time and energy at the moment is going to producing and editing the sponsored caning videos which we pledged in our fundraiser. I'm also doing a lot of activism, organising and media appearances - to raise awareness of the new laws, and fight for the right of porn performers, producers, and all sex workers to do the work they choose without being criminalised and stigmatised. The Backlash sponsored caning films will all be released on Dreams of Spanking as soon as they're ready - the first one shows me caning Amelia Jane Rutherford, and will go online this Friday.
Meanwhile, thanks again to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser - the money will be invaluable in helping Backlash support producers who are targeted by ATVOD and forced to comply with the new regulations. You can still donate to Backlash here if you missed your chance before - and legal fees are expensive, so please give as much as you can afford.
While I'm focussing so much energy on the campaign, I could also use your support. Please help me continue to do this important work by joining Dreams of Spanking. For only £20 you can own our extensive archive of exclusive, members-only scenes - which are all available for you to download and re-watch as often as you wish. Behind the scenes videos, out-takes and performer interviews are also included in the same price (an idea I can credit to Northern Spanking). Please help us keep UK spanking porn alive and thriving, despite the efforts of the government to shut us down.