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Pardon me, but my straight privilege is showing

Author’s Note:
I’m going to do something I try to never do when I write: I’m going to preface this article. I wouldn’t usually, but the material is personal and incomplete and may seem a bit rambling and disconnected. However, I suspect that I’m not alone in the questions and conclusions that I’m mulling over, so please bear with me and hopefully there’s a kernel or two that resonates or contributes to a bigger conversation. 

When I set out to watch Fetish Fvckdolls 2 (which if you haven’t watched it, I’d encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience) I wasn't expecting it to be a big deal. I’ve blogged here before about how watching porn that’s “not your usual taste” or incongruent with your own desires is interesting and can be enlightening. I was pretty sure that a collaboration by queer and trans performers like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 would be just that: interesting, but not my cup of tea. 

Why? Well, I’m a straight-identifying, dominant-leaning cisgender woman who almost exclusively watches gay male chastity porn. Specific? Yup. And really kind of a world away from transfemme submission, which is the overarching  main theme running through the four vignettes in Fetish Fvckdolls 2. You can see then how I might have thought that my interest in the film would be purely academic. Interestingly, it was not.   

River Enza at the mercy of Goddess Kyaa and Dominic Rystan at Dreams of Spanking

Now, I’m not here to say that this film changed me, nor should the incomplete epiphanies on sexuality that I’m sharing here be mistaken for me jumping on a bandwagon. Neither of those are true. What does feel true, is that I’m feeling really aware of my straight privilege after watching this film. 

If you’re a straight person and that term makes you uncomfortable … I feel you. But it should make you uncomfortable. Privilege is a pervasive and dangerous thing when not acknowledged. Honestly, how two-dimensional of me to discount a film like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 as something that couldn’t touch me, something that I wouldn’t be able to identify with! How ridiculous and heteronormative of me to presume that I wouldn’t relate to these scenes. If it was mainstream lesbian porn (you know, the kind performed by cis women for the straight male gaze) would I have been so dismissive? Probably not, because I’m a straight woman who has had sex with other straight women and I’m blisteringly aware of the weight of the male gaze. But I presumed that I wouldn’t relate, or be aroused, by this. 

Confused and intrigued, I discussed my bias with my husband, who has recently (or in his words: finally) self-identified as asexual. He watched part of Fetish Fvckdolls 2 with me and commented immediately that he hadn’t even noticed that the performers were trans until the fourth vignette because he was witnessing them as human beings, rather than sexual fantasies. I was surprised by that, because for me transfemme visibility is the point of the project. He asked what would make a film like Fetish Fvckdolls 2 more “my kind of porno”. I didn’t have an answer because I was processing that actually, this is my kind of porn.  

Confused? Me too. 

Chelsea Poe sucks Pandora Blake's strap-on at Dreams of Spanking

How could I think that gay male chastity porn is more relatable to me than porn that has trans women at the heart of it? Am I secretly kind of a bigot? But I know and love so many queer and trans people! Am I not as straight as I thought? Maybe, but that’s not the primary concern for me. The concern is that even though I think I know so much about sexuality, it turns out I don't know as much as I thought. 

Yes, yes, we like what we like. The heart/loins want what they want. But it’s becoming evident to me now that the shackles of straight privilege (ie: never having to consider your sexuality or have it challenged, because it’s the cultural default setting) are just that: shackles. 

What Fetish Fvckdolls 2 taught me about myself is that heteronormative thinking is limiting because the definitions are so static. “Straight” doesn’t leave much room for variety. Any “exploration” within straight sexuality is expected to be episodic, or at the most, a phase. So when, as a “straight” person, I watched this film, it was a bit dizzying to not see the performers as fantasy objects, and to relate to them on a human level. It revealed to me things I hadn't known before about how objectifying my gaze tends to be.

Fetish Fvckdolls 2 is radical and fresh. It puts trans women at the center of each encounter. Not only are they the subjects of their own experience, they are shown in willing and delighted submission. Not here the degrading porn tropes that cast trans women as exotic freaks with hard cocks, or strip them of autonomy - no, the trans women in Fetish Fvckdolls 2 are very clearly represented as the people they are. Full stop.

Cookie Cosmos submits to Rae Cosmos at Dreams of Spanking

I learned that my erotic appetite, regardless of whom I choose to get frisky with, is essentially about the treatment and experience of the people involved, not the combination of bodies I see on the screen. I began to reflect on what turns me on and what turns me off in adult entertainment: it’s not the bodies at all. It’s the dynamics. I haven’t ignored trans porn in the past because it was trans. I've ignored it because when it’s badly done, it’s so likely to be dehumanising.

Fetish Fvckdolls 2 has been made with such smart and mindful intentions by everyone involved that the sexiness absolutely transcends all notions of genre and the limitations of what I thought I could be into. I  watched the film three times. It’s 90 minutes long. It took me almost 5 hours of watching this film and then more time processing the experience for me to begin to get my head around these personal biases and blindspots. 

What I have learned from Fetish Fvckdolls 2, what I’m so glad to begin to understand about myself, is that I like porn because I watching people fuck. Not just men, not just straight people, not just cishet couples. What I don’t like in porn is mindless and narrowly conceived narratives, and hegemonic control of my gaze. I’m not comfortable knowing that I have been a contributor to that mindlessness, a cog in the wheel of a cultural and artistic system that holds people back, misrepresents them and strips them of humanity, no matter how subtle the effect seems to be. 

Having realised that, I want to do better. I know that I won’t always get it right, but only good can come from growth and empathy. And besides, if nothing else, a whole new world of porn just opened up to me, so if you’ll forgive me, I have some catching up to do … 

A Victorian cold caning

As you'll know if you read my posts after the shoot, our latest film was a big deal for me. Dreams of Spanking had already published one severe caning scene courtesy of Kaelah and Ludwig - now relocated at Darker Dreams. The last (and only) severe caning I had filmed with myself as the bottom, however, was with another producer. Since then I've known that my next full-force, judicial strength cold caning film would be for Dreams of Spanking.

Click to view trailer for The%20Whipped%20Maid

The Whipped Maid

Things are awry below stairs. A stolen coin has been found in the room of Blake, one of the maids. When confronted she pleads family trouble, and begs for mercy.

She has served the house well, so her employers hear her out. But they are stern in the face of her pleading: order must be maintained, after all. They would prefer not to take this to the authorities, and she is therefore offered a private punishment to suit the severity of her crime. Even family circumstances won't save her from 50 cold strokes of the cane.

I'll be honest with you: the premise of this one didn't take as much thought as some of our storylines. I knew I wanted to do a judicial strength, severe caning; and when I discussed it with Leia-Ann one sunny, boozy, scene-plotting afternoon last summer, it occurred to me that a double caning from Leia and Tom would be super hot. After that, it was just a question of what would make sense within the venue. I knew I wanted it to be historical; the location suggested a domestic setting. Victorian upstairs/downstairs power dynamics have always been a core part of my kink, and so it was that the idea of the whipped maid came to the fore. Hardly original, but every spankee deserves to have a go at each of the classics at least once, I think.

The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers

The plot emerged from a gift by a friend in the scene - a gold pound coin dating from Victoria's reign. It was too good not to use as a prop. 

The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers

However, I hate the image of the low, thieving maid who deserves everything she gets - it reeks of out-dated class stereotypes, and as you all know, I prefer my spankee characters to be sympathetic.

So the theft became one that, perhaps, might be understandable... and Leia and Tom played the Master and Mistress as far more compassionate than my character had any right to expect. Rather than being summarily dismissed without a reference - or, worse, arrested - she is granted the chance to atone privately, and keep her position.

The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers

This film was shot with two 8mm canes; one kooboo (Tom) and one smoked dragon (Leia). If you watch the behind the scenes video you'll see me commenting that Leia's cane feels much nicer, to my taste; and that Tom's is almost too light to be used accurately at full force. (Denser canes are easier to aim; I've found that myself when in top mode).

My taste is for thud, and the hard canings I've taken have historically been with dense dragon canes, 10-12mm in thickness. The problem was that on this shoot we only had one cane that matched that description, and with its modern purple handle it didn't look Victorian. 

I didn't want to receive a lopsided caning, and I didn't want the implements themselves to be anachronistic. So we opted for the matched pair of lighter canes.

I realised early on in this punishment that it wasn't going to be as intense as I'd envisaged. I promised myself there and then that the next time I did a severe caning scene as a bottom (and trust me, there will be a next time, and it will be for Dreams of Spanking) I'd make sure I had two 12mm dragon canes that looked the part.

Some commenters have said they find this scene overly brutal. For my tastes, and I know this might be weird, it was almost not brutal enough. When I envisaged doing another severe caning scene I imagined struggling, tears, violence, vivid welts. Not only was the atmosphere of this beating incredibly restrained and quiet, each character regretfully doing their duty while maintaining as much dignity as they could, but even my poor, over-spanked bottom didn't mark as much as I'd hoped.

I'd been playing hard without a break for a long time by the time this scene was filmed, and despite the pain, the welts don't look as dramatic as the other canings of similar severity I've seen other spankees take. I know it's not a competition. But I'm only going to do a few of these in my life, and you know me well enough by now to know I care about the look of the thing.

Still. In all other respects, this scene went out without a hitch. Leia and Tom were perfect, the caning was laser precise, and I managed to stay in control of myself throughout - which was just what I'd wanted. I love the maid's uniform I wore, and I love the finished film. I hope you do, too.

The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers

For what it's worth: since this shoot last September, I've been giving my skin a break and have barely taken any CP beyond the occasional hand spanking, professionally or privately. The next time I shoot, I expect both the marks and my reactions to be more dramatic. 

The maid is severely punished for stealing from her employers

Corporate Intimidation and The Loose Hem

I'm halfway through telling you about our location shoot the week before last, but in the meantime I've got a bit behind on sharing our recent videos. Here's the lowdown on our latest two scenes.

Click to view trailer for Corporate%20Intimidation

Corporate Intimidation

A young reporter is visited by her ex-bosses who know she's been working undercover to blow the whistle on their corrupt organisation. 50 strokes of the tawse should ensure her silence. 

Alex Reynolds thrashed with the tawse at Dreams of Spanking

We were coming up to the end of Alex's shoot with us, and we wanted to make it a big deal. I'd talked to her earlier in the week about scene ideas and proposed ending on a nastier, edgier scene than we'd done previously, with Tom and I playing the bullies who gang up on and intimidate her. Everyone in the UK was talking about Murdoch's phone hacking scandal at the time, and so a whistle-blowing scenario seemed like a good place to start.

"I'm not sure," said Alex, "I don't generally enjoy playing scenarios where my character is defeated or silenced."

"Okay, that makes sense. But would you feel the same way if your character won in the end? Not just morally, I mean, but in terms of actually getting the better of the bad guys?"

"Hrm," she said. "Let me think about that."

So she did, and we talked some more, and on the day, she said she was good to go ahead. We were all nervous going into it, and the dialogue proved tricky for all of us (look out for the forthcoming behind the scenes video to watch all our many, many flubs). While we were cut between takes of the opening conversation, Alex asked, "When you get started, are you guys going to use physical force? Because that would be hot."

Yes. Yes we were.

Alex Reynolds thrashed with the tawse at Dreams of Spanking Alex Reynolds thrashed with the tawse at Dreams of Spanking

The resulting scene turned out far more intense than I had anticipated. Tom's and my characters are just relentlessly nasty, in a horribly smug, self-satisfied way. We hadn't planned a total number of strokes, and I was shocked when I came to count them and realised that Alex had taken a brutal 50 strokes with my two most severe leather tawses. No wonder she was shedding real tears by the end.

This is an edgy, forceful intimidation scene that will appeal to fans of hard thrashings, unfair punishments and strong submissives. Our heroine is in the right, and she will beat the bad guys in the end - but sadly, meanwhile it won't save her skin. 

Alex Reynolds thrashed with the tawse at Dreams of Spanking

Alex Reynolds is an incredible talent, and her courage and conviction make her a perfect match for the role of the idealistic, determined whistleblower. Corporate Intimidation is one of my darker films to date, and I only cast performers I trust completely in this sort of edgy scenario. Alex played it with a combination of sympathetic vulnerability and inner strength that blew me away. 

At the other end of the spectrum, our latest F/M film is a flirty, playful domestic storyline sent in to us by viewer joolstheman. We filmed it in August on our shoot with Zoe Montana, Molly Malone and new male spankee Vincent Brennan.

Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem

I still need to share the rest of the previews from that day, but meanwhile this is a great little scene to introduce Vincent. He's 39, new to spanking, relatively inexperienced (you can tell from how beautifully he marks!) but extremely enthusiastic, and with a high tolerance.

Before shooting The Loose Hem, we'd filmed a severe caning film with Vincent (my first one with a male spankee - I'm excited to share it). That served a double purpose in providing some beautiful cane welts for this scene. Here's the trailer for The Loose Hem:

Click to view trailer for The%20Loose%20Hem

The Loose Hem

Vincent visits his wife's younger sister, Molly, with a skirt that needs hemming. Molly has always been a tease, and now she insists that Vincent model the skirt for her to help her make the adjustments. Her flirting puts him in a compromising position as she discovers his secret: black silk stockings under his trousers, and a set of vivid cane stripes on his bottom, covered thinly by lacy ladies knickers. It turns out that Vincent's wife and her sister have some interests in common! 

Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem

This is a subversive, nostalgic, erotic short film. It encompasses cross-dressing, sensual domination, teasing, embarrassment, the revelation of slender Vincent's bottom and legs clad in black silk stockings and white satin ladies' knickers - and the further revelation of his cane striped bottom. The step-sister relationship gives it a naughty semi-incestuous twist, and Molly is perfect as the flirty, sexually powerful woman who is perhaps a bit jealous of her older sister's submissive hubby!

Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem

Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem

Plus of course there is some good old fashioned over the knee spanking with Molly's famously hard hand, and too many strokes to count with a wicked wooden ruler. Members can watch the full video to see Vincent's lovely reactions over the knee, and Molly's naughty storytelling of spankings she and Zoe's characters got as children!

Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem Cross-dressing, teasing and cane welts in flirty femdom spanking film The Loose Hem

I've posted the full text of the story joolstheman sent me to the scene page for The Loose Hem, so click through to have a read if that's of interest. Jools has sent me various other scenarios which I'd love to shoot in 2014. If you like this film, I know he'd love to hear any feedback you may have.

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