Dreams of Spanking: fairtrade spanking, corporal punishment and discipline fantasies by Pandora Blake. Join us »


When the axe falls

Well, it's happened.

Last week, I was away on holiday. I charged my phone in the pub on the way home on Monday, and saw an email from ATVOD with the subject "Dreams of Spanking - Final Determination". It was sent on Friday 31 July, so had been waiting in my inbox for three days. I'm glad I didn't turn my phone on while I was away - that would have been a surefire way to ruin the last few days of my trip.

As it was, I wept all the way home. I've known this was coming for a while - in fact I've been anticipating it since I received the first letter from ATVOD in February. With this hanging over me it's been a ridiculously tense six months, and I thought that when the axe finally fell it would be a relief of sorts. But when it came, it just made the loss more real.

I've known it was coming, but I'm still in bits. I feel like I built a beautiful sustainable house to live in, of my own design, which was legal to build at the time - but now, just as I've finally perfected all the finishing touches, paid off my investment, decorated it and was settling down to live in it and enjoy it for many years to come, I've been told that the law has been changed, and it's being demolished. That's the closest analogy I can think of. I designed this project to perfectly suit my needs - creatively, erotically, financially. I spent five years working on it as a labour of love, and just as all that effort was starting to pay off, it's being taken away.

I built this site so I would have something that was completely my own. This is the project that was meant to save me from having to compromise myself, my alternative to spending the best years of my life working for other people. Dreams of Spanking represents my creative independence, my sexual self-acceptance, and my financial stability. It's mine, I made it, it works, it was the biggest thing I'd ever done - and just as it started to pay me a wage, it's being taken away from me.

I knew this was coming, but the grief is still fierce. Whenever I let myself feel it, I can't help crying. I am losing the best thing I've ever made, and there's nothing I can do about it. I've never felt so powerless.

Why I refuse to comply

As anticipated by their Preliminary View, the Determination finds me in breach of Rules 1 (notify them that I'm running a service), 4 (pay them to censor me), 11 (lock everything 'adult' behind a credit card paywall) and 14 (no content 'prohibited' by the BBFC guidelines, even behind the paywall). I have 20 working days from the date of the Determination - which was sent on 31 July but dated 30 July - to comply.

As I see it, I don't have any choice but to appeal ATVOD's decision. There's no way I can comply with their demands without compromising the core principles of the site. ATVOD are demanding we register with them and pay them protection money - which not only funds their extortion efforts, it also officially submits to their control and gives them the right to censor us.

They demand that we put all adult content (ie anything comparable to the '18' BBFC classification, defined as anything containing nudity or strong fetish content) behind a credit card paywall. That means no more free preview images, image blogposts, free protest videos, Creative Commons spanking films, birthday freebies or free trailers. It also means credit cards would be the only way anyone could access any of our material - no debit cards, and no alternative payment options such as gift cards or cash.

Not only that, but from its inception Dreams of Spanking was intended to be a new kind of porn site, one that didn't rely on the standard, scarcity-based structure of infrequently-updated tour pages and hidden-away members areas. Coming from a digital rights background, I wanted to see what would happen if I built a porn site that was as transparent and as accessible as possible. I wanted everyone to see what I had to offer - and I wanted to give away as much free content as possible, trusting that if you liked it, you would choose to support us by paying for your porn. The gamble paid off, and the Dreams of Spanking business model has been turning a profit since the first year. I am fiercely proud of our members for their support and loyalty, and happy to have a site which is open to all - a site that teaches everyone about the ethics and consent of feminist porn, and what safe, positive spanking play looks like, whether or not they can afford a site membership. It is galling that after four years of successfully proving this concept, regressive legislation is trying to force me back into the closeted porn world of the 1990s, in which nothing is visible, and only those with the economic privilege to own a credit card are allowed into the club.

ATVOD also demand that we take down any content which doesn't comply with the ridiculous AVMS guidelines. These prohibit acts including hard spanking or caning that leaves marks, welts or bruises, adults roleplaying as under-18s, full bondage with gags, and a whole raft of other activities that are perfectly valid parts of many people's kinky sexualities. It would gut the site: I estimate well over half of our content, and possibly three quarters of it, falls foul of ATVOD's Rule 14. Not only would complying with this rule strip Dreams of Spanking back to a pitiful, sanitised shadow of its former self, it would be contrary to the most basic tenet of feminist pornography - that of authenticity.

The acts that are banned under the new regulations are a core part of my own sexuality. I didn't ask to be someone who was turned on by the idea of hard spanking that leaves marks, beltings, canings, strappings, riding crop thrashings and all the rest. But since I was six years old, this has been a part of me. I've tried to ignore it, to repress it - but not only does the attempt make me miserable, it doesn't work; trying to control these fantasies just makes them more potent. If, like me, you are turned on by sexual fantasies of hard corporal punishment, the best way to respond is by loving and accepting these fantasies as a true part of your sexuality. Since learning to accept my kink, I have been happier and more fulfilled than ever - and I have not only been lucky enough to act out my fantasies in more ways than I ever imagined, I have found an amazing community of likeminded people who share my enthusiasm.

If I were to pretend that these fantasies aren't a part of me, I would be undoing all that positive work of self-acceptance. It would be like pretending I was straight because it was illegal to be queer. If I were to remove these authentic depictions of my erotic life from Dreams of Spanking, I would be being fake. It is impossible for me comply with ATVOD's demands and still be true to myself; it is impossible for me to comply and still produce feminist porn. Expressing an authentic sexuality is one of the first principles of feminist porn. I don't want to become a fake porn star - and I refuse to lie about who I am.

So what happens next?

On Monday evening, as soon as I got home, I removed the CCBill signup link from our Join page. I'm afraid it's no longer possible to buy a membership to Dreams of Spanking - if you are not a member, I'm very sorry that you've missed your chance. Existing members will be able to access our members-only scenes until 27 August (20 working days after the date of the Determination).

With the help of the legal team at Backlash, I will be appealing to Ofcom (that's the UK Office of Communications, the government body for which ATVOD, a private company, act as unelected bailiffs). But while the appeal is underway, I still need to jump through various hoops if I don't want to jeopardise the process. All our spanking films and photos have to go offline on 27 August, and will remain offline until - unless - we win the appeal.

I don't know how long the appeal will take - a year, maybe more. Hopefully we will be able to announce a triumphant re-launch sometime in 2016 or 2017.

On the 27th, all remaining memberships will be frozen, and all our spanking films and photos will be taken offline.

I'm sorry. But I'm also angry: and I am going to fight.

This isn't the end of Dreams of Spanking - it's the beginning of a long journey to defend our freedom, and fight for the right to kinky self-expression in the UK. We're not the first to be targeted by ATVOD, and we certainly won't be the last. If you want to support the fight, please write to your MP, donate to Backlash, and tell everyone you know what's happening.

Get angry.

Although this site was created to document my personal journey of kinky discovery, it grew into a community - a warm, welcoming, non-judgemental place where we could enjoy our kinks together.

Let's fight together too.


I'm so very sorry.

I wish that there was something that I could say or do to make this awful nightmare go away. Hang in there. Easier said then done i know. (Sigh) :(

Justice's post pretty much sums up my view. :( I'll just have to wait and see how things pan out.

We are so very sorry to hear what is happening in the UK and to all you've built for yourself and generously, bravely shared with the world. What's happening to your amazing site and work is shocking and deeply unfortunate. We know you will fight the good fight, and if there is any justice you shall prevail. Thanks for being a stand for everyone's freedom. You will be in our thoughts. Sending our support from across the pond, Danielle & Mar

Hypocritical Draconianism

Pandora, I am so sorry this has happened. Hang in there, you have my email if you wish to contact, there is an avenue which I may try but no promises or guaranties . Please let me know how I can contact if I come over perhaps next year. All the best.

Hi Pandora

I'm so sorry that this is the outcome. I've been a secret lurker on your site for a good few years now, and it makes me really sad to think that it will be going offline. I've felt that you have been my little insight to the world that I keep quite hidden within myself, if that makes any sense.

I've never really let that side of me properly out, but reading your posts and watching your films made me feel like I could be comfortable in my desires and fantasies. I find it really hard to find porn that I enjoy, both aesthetically and conceptually, so it makes me really genuinely sad that yours won't be around soon.

I'm really hopeful that this will change in the future (hopefully very, very soon!). Maybe there will be another surge in press that will help a new decision to be made? You've created a wonderful site here and I know that it has helped me to accept and explore my kink. I wish you all the best.

Axe fall

This sucks! While a lot of your content is not my cuppa. Your high production values filmed or still are the best and your feminist point of view are rare.
Success with your appeal.

Lurker and occasional payer.
Lou Fr33

Any and all to help.

While I do not currently have the funds that I would love to have to aid you, Pandora. I have very large mouth, both on and offline. The word is being spread wherever I can. The hope is that somewhere, someone will be able to put a proper foot into the ATVOD's arse and end this attack on all of you.

This is absurd in this day and age to do this to adults. These people are hypocrites and more than likely closet kinks as well.

The complete best of wishes and good will for your battle. And remember that you are not alone.

I am very sorry that this has happened. I hope that you win your appeal, and well done for staying and fighting.

Really sorry to hear this has happened. When I joined the site you were so welcoming and I love what i've seen here.

I sincerely hope you win this and get the site back online!

Sad and indignant

Kaelah and I have been following the news about your struggle against ATVOD over the past half year. Needless to say, we are sad and indignant to hear that you are forced to take your site offline. We are happy with and proud of the videos we shot for Dreams of Spanking, and we are among the many performers who can attest from personal experience that it was always great fun to film with you.

These regulations are so ill-conceived and so inconsistent that they boggle the mind. Why is it illegal to publish erotica of sexual acts which are perfectly legal to do at home in your own bedroom? Why are videos of female ejaculation forbidden, but not of male ejaculation? What is so terrible about adult consensual CP when mainstream thrillers and horror films regularly show things that are infinitely more brutal than a bunch of cane welts? Most importantly, how can this puritanical censorship nonsense go on in a society that dares to call itself enlightened?

Actually, it would be comical, in a "Look at this farce!" sort of way, if it wasn't so harmful to small, indie producers like you and, by extension, to all people who are into BDSM, whose sexuality is once again stigmatised.

Kaelah and I wish you the best of luck with your appeal, and we're sending some hugs and good vibes your way, small consolation as that may be. Hang in there!

This sucks big time. Not only do you love what you do but you obviously want to make sure your performers are happy too . As a viewer this is imperative to my enjoyment especially after watching spanking films in the past that blatantly don't give a shit. But instead of celebrating the fact you have 'behind the scenes' clips showing important things like consent and lovely relationships ATVOD are actually using this as an excuse to try and shut you down. The freaking bastards!!

I'm angry too, I love this site. I haven't got much dosh but I'll certainly be sending backlash a tenner.

Good luck with your appeal and well done on sticking your head above the parapet and drawing so many peoples attention to these outrageous new guidelines. If there is anything else I can do please do let me know. Xxx

As personally as I take this ATVOD decision, I guess I take heart knowing that many people disagree with it. Pandora has showed me how well she can confront people on the issue of pornography. I feel that if more people can argue as intelligently as her there's a real chance that things will have to change. I mean like Pandora said, it will take time, but who knows maybe at the end of fighting people will have more respect for consensual spanking than they ever have had.

George Orwell's Vision of A Totalitarian Britain May Soon Be A Reality

this ghastly government won't be satisfied until it has robbed us all of our hard-won freedoms!what a corrupt,hypocritical,self-righteous bunch of crypto-fascists!i hope the british people wake up before george orwell's vision of a totalitarian britain becomes a reality-where enjoyment of sex is something which is forbidden!but i fear we may all ready be to late!

You have to be logged in to comment. Click here to login to your account. If you don't have a username yet, it's free to create one - click here to register.

Enter a name and URL to leave a comment:

« Back to recent posts

View all scenes »