Last weekend I woke up to some unexpectedly good news - I won a Feminist Porn Award!
Ms Naughty and I were awarded Best BDSM Scene for our collaborative film Instructed! We shot it in Toronto last year - just before the 2014 Feminist Porn Awards, as it happens. A BBC journalist covered the shoot - you can read the resulting article here.
The idea for Instructed was one I'd had several years ago, but it was Ms Naughty and Luke's experrise as cinematographers that turned it from a cute idea into a visually gorgeous short film. Not to mention the unexpectedly intimate contribution of my boyfriend D, who surprised me by sending a real, honest-to-goodness set of dominant instructions for me to read and follow live on camera. He contributed his sexy voice to the voiceover as well.
This is technically a solo film, as I'm the only performer who appears on camera, but Ms Naughty has said in the past that it could equally be described as a couple film, because both D and I are present in the story (D represented by his voice, his words and the object of the letter) and it's all about the trust and intimacy that holds us together, even when we're apart.
Speaking of being apart, it's a bit weird to receive a Feminist Porn Award in absentia. When I attended for the first time last year, I didn't expect to win anything - I just wanted to meet people and soak up the ambience. I was planning to come back in 2015, but what with everything that's been going on over the last few months, travel has been the last thing I've been thinking about.
The moment I found out the Feminist Porn Awards existed, I've daydreamed about winning one. It became a life goal of sorts to raise my production values and ethical standards to the point where I could achieve international recognition from this influential and game-changing feminist porn institution, which is now in its tenth year. That doesn't mean I expected to do so any time soon.
I learned last year that the sort of immersive spanking fantasy film I make doesn't really have a place in the Feminist Porn Awards, which centres consensual, erotic, real-world experiences. I'm also well aware that I'm a self-taught film-maker producing web clips on cheap cameras, doing all my own lighting and editing. I produce a film a week and when I shoot, we can knock out six or seven films a day. Cinematic production values this ain't. There simply isn't time to go to town on each of them, and until I started going to film festivals, I didn't try.
The shoot with Ms Naughty was a bit different. Since we were sharing the content between Dreams of Spanking and Bright Desire, it had to include explicit sexual acts as well as spanking - including a female orgasm. We spent three hours shooting a ten minute short - and it shows. I directed the story and the action, and Ms Naughty directed the videography. It worked well, and I enjoyed working with her - it was a very calm, relaxed set, with all of us focussed on making the best film we could, even if we were shooting off the cuff in an ugly hotel room.
It turned into a genuinely hot study in female kinky sexuality and romantic dominance and submission - and since we released it last year, Instructed has been screened at the Berlin Porn Film Festival 2014, the Pornotopia Film Festival in Albuquerque, and the British Fetish Film Festival and Cinekink NY 2015. I'm absolutely thrilled to add Best BDSM Scene 2015 to its list of successes!
Even in these unhappy times, with independent UK porn beset on all sides by government and financial institutions as well as by fundamentalist feminism, it's wonderful to know that radical, pleasure-centric, woman-centric UK porn is being recognised by the global community. I'm proud to represent my country at the Feminist Porn Awards and show that UK porn can be smart, ethical, and feminist.
Having my work recognised by the international feminist porn community has been an ambition of mine since I first began. Even if ATVOD succeed in getting Dreams of Spanking shut down, we'll end on a high note.
Ms Naughty has written a blogpost about the awards - her site Bright Desire also won a coveted Honoured Website award, which was well deserved. Ms Naughty also live-blogged the live stream of the awards ceremony. Here's the full list of winners:
Sexiest Short Wall of Fire - Lisa Ganser and Pachisi - The Madame
Smutty School Teacher Award for Sex Education Jessica Drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Plus Size - Jessica Drake and Kelly Shibari
Sexiest Star Feature JL + DD: Jiz Lee and Danni Daniels - Jiz Lee and Danni Daniels
Most Tantalizing Trans Film BIODILDO 2.0 - Christian Slaughter
Hottest Newcomer Evie Eliot
Hottest Kink Film Love Hard - Gala Vanting
Heartthrob of the Year Morgana Muses
Golden Beaver Award for Canadian Content Queen Bee Empire - Samuel Shanahoy
Hottest Trans Vignette Trans Lesbians - Courtney Trouble
Hottest Straight Vignette Xconfessions Vol. 2 - Erika Lust
Steamiest Straight Movie The Sexual Liberation of Anna Lee - Jacky St. James
Hottest Lesbian Vignette Lesbian Curves 3: Soft Girls and Strap Ons - Courtney Trouble
Most Dazzling Docu-Porn Bound By Borders - Tobi-Hill Meyer
Best Direction Pulsion - Ovidie
Best Boygasm Heavenly Spire Volume 1 - Shine Louise Houston
Best BDSM Scene Instructed - Pandora Blake and Ms. Naughty
Movie of the Year Marriage 2.0 - Paul Deeb
Alias and Knives - John Bee
Homance - Ajapop Films, Maxine Holloway, and Siouxsie Q
Fuck Dolls - Zahra Stardust and Emerald
Hello Titty - Skyler Braeden Fox and Idan Sagiv Richter
What do female ejaculation, full bondage with gags, face-sitting and spanking that leaves marks all have in common? They're all now banned in UK porn according to new laws that went into effect last week, the Audiovisial Media Services Regulations 2014.
These regulations apply the existing BBFC guidelines (controlling what can and can't be sold on DVD) to the world of online porn. In other words, an out-of-date set of restrictions to a medium few porn customers bother with anymore are, rather than being brought up to date, now being applied to the internet - the last bastion of freedom of expression for British porn.
The guidelines disproportionately affect acts of female dominance and female sexual pleasure, as well as banning all spanking and BDSM content that produces marks beyond those deemed "transient and trifling". This will affect every spanking site in the UK, and countless more British fetish and feminist porn sites besides.
Dreams of Spanking performer and independent Australian feminist porn director Zahra Stardust is writing her PhD on the legal regulation of pornography. She says, “Those of us who are making queer, feminist, and kinky porn are doing so as an act of civil disobedience, because we know from lived experience that the cost of censorship in our communities is too high. These laws actively produce a heterosexist, misogynist sexuality as ‘normal’, whilst pathologising and closeting practices that are actually life-affirming, consensual and meaningful."
These laws apply to publication, not possession. UK consumers can still legally still access porn produced and published overseas - for now (although expert obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman thinks this is the beginning of a sinister attempt to block foreign sites as well). Meanwhile hundreds of independent British porn producers are being criminalised, including every UK spanking site you can name. We, and many of our fellow fetish porn producers, stand to be closed down if we let this go unchallenged.
You can read more about exactly what's banned and how this will affect UK porn in my post Online porn: the canary in the coalmine, and I've also posted link round-ups tracking the international outcry against these new restrictions.
How does this affect us?
If Dreams of Spanking were to comply with these new regulations, we would have to take over half our scenes offline. Our future production would be heavily censored: we would never be able to film any spanking, caning, birching, belting or tawsing again - anything that resulted in welts or bruises. We would not be able to show any bondage with all four limbs bound as well as a gag. We would not be able to use any outdoor locations which someone might possibly have overlooked. Age play and school uniforms are problematic if there is any suggestion that the actor is playing a character under eighteen. Wrestling is problematic. And on and on.
Here are a select handful of scenes that we would have to delete if we chose to comply:
Drunk and Disorderly - Vincent's cane marks definitely go beyond "transient and trifling" in this judicial police caning scene.
Pandora's Belt Whipping Fantasy also fall foul of the new restrictions - never mind that the film explicitly shows my enthusiastic consent.
Our comic "hammer horror" parody Doctor of Pain features four-limb bondage with a gag - which according to the AVMS means that I, the director, was unable to signal my consent, despite the fact that a) I had written the scene, b) I could still waggle my fingers and bang my hands and feet, and c) I could in fact have spit the gag out and wriggled out of the rope if I'd wanted to - but I didn't.
The whipping Nimue orders her manservant to give her in My Lady's Pleasure is definitely banned - even though she is in control of the scene the whole time and telling him to go harder.
If these regulations are enforced, the only spanking scenes any UK producer will be able to make will be light hand spanking leading to a mild pinkness. No caning, no implements, no bruises, no welts.
Hywel Phillips, who runs UK glamour bondage site Restrained Elegance with his wife Ariel Anderssen (known to spanking fans as Amelia Jane Rutherford) thinks this sort of paternalistic censorship dismisses and denies the consent of porn performers. "The idea that the people who do this for pleasure, or for a living, cannot possibly know better than the father figure censor what is acceptable, what is safe practice, what they want to do and what they want to have done to them. This is called denying their agency- telling them that they cannot possibly know their own mind or make their own minds up."
Another potential casualty of these new regulations is free preview content. The censors want all adult content to be behind a paywall, so that children can't accidentally click through to it. If they start to take a close look at spanking sites, they will demand that we take down all our free video trailers and preview pictures that show spanking or nudity.
So what are we going to do?
First of all, we refuse to censor ourselves. Dreams of Spanking will continue doing business for as long as possible. We won't take half our archive offline pre-emptively, and we won't stop shooting the hot spanking scenes we want to - welts and all. If we are contacted by the censors with a demand to comply with the new regulations, we intend to challenge it.
We have always prioritised performer consent in our films, and you only have to take one look at our blog, performer interviews or behind the scenes videos to see that our films are made with love. All our cast members are genuine spanking enthusiasts, and our top priority on set is that everyone should be well looked after and have fun. We think it is ludicrous to ban depictions of consensual adult spanking, and we don't intend to go down without a fight.
However, we have taken legal advice and we're up for trying one or two things which might help our case. For instance, we've been advised that it might be a good idea to include performer consent in the spanking film itself, as well as in the surrounding contextual materials. So from now on, as well as publishing full-length out-take videos and performer interviews alongside each spanking film, we'll cut some edited highlights from the out-takes and interviews into the scene itself, so you'll get to see an introduction to our lovely performers before and after the in-character scene. Our latest two films, Provocative Housework and Curious Pleasures, are both examples of this new format.
This idea fits in to our existing ethos of being transparent and honest about where fantasy ends and reality begins, so we're happy to make this change if it will help viewers understand without a doubt that all our performers are consenting, kinky adults.
In refusing to self-censor, we aren't standing alone. A number of the Dreams of Spanking cast and crew have joined the outcry against these ridiculous new laws:
Is that it?
Far from it. This is only the beginning. These regulations are a worrying step on the path to total state censorship of the internet in the UK, and we need to work together to get them repealed - and prevent this harmful, worrying censorship of free expression from going any further.
Julian Huppert MP has tabled an early day motion requesting a debate on this issue - only two other MPs have signed it so far. The more MPs sign, the more likely this will be debated in the Commons. We think that if this issue is debated then we are likely to see change. The AVMS regulations were decided undemocratically by an unelected quango, and all the UK media coverage so far has been highly critical of the new law. We need to lobby our MPs to add their names to the motion in order to have a hope of getting this overturned.
So what can you do? Well, if you're resident in the UK, you can:
And if you aren't in the UK? Well, this will still affect you, as if British fetish porn producers are forced to comply with these regulations, you won't be able to watch our films any more.
You don't have to be in the UK to submit a complaint to ATVOD using their own complaints form. This form is intended to be used to complain about "inappropriate" TV content, which just makes re-appropriating it funnier. Let's spam them with complaints about their own regulations.
We at Dreams of Spanking believe that it is perfectly possible for adults to give informed consent to hard BDSM and spanking play, and to ethically create films depicting it. Our films are ethical, consensual, and an authentic expression of adult consensual kink. We refuse to be complicit in the state censorship of the porn we love, and we won't take anything down before we absolutely have to.
The only way we can keep on making the films you want to see is if we get these regulations overturned before we attract the notice of the censors. And we can't do it alone. Whether you are a Dreams of Spanking member or not, we need your help.
If you love kinky porn please share this blogpost, sign the petition, turn up to the protest, complain to ATVOD, write letters, talk to the press, and kick up as much of a fuss about this as possible. And please keep supporting your favourite porn sites by buying a membership - while you still can.
After a busy summer involving lots of travelling while back home my workload stacked ever higher, I was ready for an autumn of quiet industry in London, battening down the hatches and tackling the backlog. I was even looking forward to it. But the universe had other ideas.
I got an email from Ms Naughty telling us that our collaborative feminist porn film Instructed - her edit of which she had submitted to the Berlin Porn Film Festival - had been accepted, and would be shown on the big screen in front of a cinema full of people!
I realised that out of four festivals my films have been submitted to so far - Bikesmut in 2012, the Feminist Porn Awards and Cinekink in 2014, and now Berlin - the only one where none of my work was screened was also the only one I've been to. Bikesmut and Cinekink, as US festivals, were a little harder for me to get to. But Berlin is only a train ride away. Really, there was no excuse.
So it was that I found myself emailing the organisers to find out that I would be granted a free filmmakers entry to the festival... and started the somewhat intimidating process of sorting out accommodation and transport with only a month's notice.
I feel intimidated, delighted and a bit overwhelmed by the havoc this will wreak on my carefully-worked-out October budget. (If anyone feels moved to help me get there, please consider booking a 121 spanking session - or ask me for my Playpal address...) But mostly I'm excited. It will be wonderful to see all the friends I made at the Feminist Porn Awards this year again - all the queer porn stars, Zahra Stardust and Ms Naughty, Jennifer Lyon Bell and another feminist porn director whom I was overjoyed to meet when she visited London this summer, Gala Vanting.
It's also going to be a totally new experience to watch my work on the big screen... particularly given that Instructed is my most explicit film to date. If watching you finger yourself at the cinema in high-definition closeup isn't a porn performer's baptism of fire, I don't know what is. I don't know if I'm going to be surprised, embarrassed or hiding behind my program, but I think it will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime excuse for a selfie!
A part of me is sad that I missed the deadline to submit any of my own film productions to Berlin this year. Ms Naughty was kind enough to list me as a co-director and collaborator on her edit of Instructed, but it's still her version of the film - and the only reason hers is being included rather than mine is that I didn't send them anything. I had the deadline in my calendar, but I would have wanted to edit a tighter, shorter cut of anything I submitted, and I simply didn't have time. Which makes me all the more determined to manage to submit my own freshly edited work to Cinekink and the FPA next year, as well as the other 2015 porn festivals. But it's also, perhaps, a good thing that my work as a video editor won't be up for scrutiny this year. Appearing on on screen as the solo performer is, perhaps, exposure enough without the vulnerability of being judged on my editing technique as well. There is always time for me to take that particular plunge later...
So I'm going to Berlin - and so is Dreams of Spanking. I'm not currently planning any shoots there - I don't have the space in my budget - but perhaps if some more trade or collaboration opportunities present themselves, I might fit something in. As a method of working, it seems to have been pretty successful so far!
If you’ve read Pandora’s updates from the Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto, you’ll already know a bit about Zahra Stardust. Sexual activist, champion pole dancer, and scorchingly hot porn star, Zahra’s been making waves all across the world. This year, she won ‘Heart Throb of the Year’ at the Feminist Porn Awards (very shortly after this shooting this scene, in fact!) and it’s clearly well deserved, because having been introduced to her through this orgasmic spanking film I have a massive crush on her myself.
Zahra Stardust is utterly gorgeous, with beautiful piercings, tattoos, hot pink hair and a delightfully filthy grin - dressed in sheer knickers and a pink latex microskirt, I can see why Pandora was so excited to take her over the knee.
She's not just a pretty face, but an exceptional activist too - she’s run for parliament three times in her home country of Australia, and is currently doing a PhD on pornography.
Zahra's mission is to change the world, one orgasm at a time. Through artistic porn depicting authentic queer sexuality and female pleasure, her work celebrates consent, bruises and bodily fluids, and self-deterministic representation. And in this spanking video, with a firm helping hand from Pandora, some slow and hard strokes with the strap, and her Hitachi Magic Wand, she does just that.
I think one of the things I love most about Zahra is that when you watch her you get these amazing hot kicks of lust at each moment when she expresses pleasure. She’s never stoic or silent: she gasps and sighs with arousal, gripping the pillows tightly as the strap bites into her flesh, with blissful smiles and happy moans when she’s being pleasured in just the right way.
This scene isn’t just a spanking (although of course there are plenty of opportunities to admire Zahra’s gorgeous bum as she gets spanked through sheer knickers and in just a tantalising pearl thong), it’s the build-up to an explicit and delicious orgasm. We get to watch Pandora squeeze and touch Zahra all over, see what she loves and how she reacts to the spanking sensations she was so curious about. And for those who - like me - enjoy a bit of consensual choking and breath play, the climax to Spanking Zahra Stardust is off the end of the hotness scale.
I had a very pleasant surprise the other day when Girl on the Net sent me this link - Check Out The Trailer For "Instructed" With Pandora Blake.
To say I am stoked to be featured on Fleshbot is an understatement. This is one of those career-defining moments - something I never thought would happen to a performer working in a very niche, kinky corner of the porn industry. I don't think it would have happened if I hadn't been collaborating with a famous feminist porn pioneer. Thank you Ms Naughty!
Speaking of Instructed, the behind the scenes videos are now online. There are three in total - pre-shoot and post-shoot interviews, plus the outtakes from filming. A BBC journalist was present on this shoot, and this is your chance to see what he saw and go behind the scenes on the filming of a feminist porn film. To show you just how much fun I was having, I've made some exclusive Dreams of Spanking screengrabs from our behind the scenes videos. Enjoy!
I'm still a bit in love with "Instructed", and I think this collaborative feminist porn film is my best work to date. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch it now and let me know what you think!
A long time ago I had a partner who would tell me to do scary things. Not 'jumping off a bridge' scary things, but sexually scary things – stuff I'd never have thought to do on my own.
“Bend over. Spread yourself. Wait there.”
Those were just his words, though. What he was actually saying was “do you trust me? If you trust me I can do things you've never even thought about before.”
I'd wait, shaking with anticipation and delight, with no clue what he was going to do next. When he came back, with ice, or ginger, or something deviously sadistic with which to torment me, I'd shiver with pleasure – glad that I waited, glad I stayed still. Glad that I'd trusted him.
It's a rare and delicious treat to watch this dynamic played out elsewhere – couples who can experiment within that safety net of trust, and let you in on some of the incredibly hot, filthy games that they play.
'Instructed' is all about that. Not only is it Pandora's most explicit film to date (I don't want to spoil it for you, but think anal play and a phenomenally hot on-camera orgasm), it's also a genuinely gorgeous film that lets us in on one of those trust games of dominance and submission.
If you're a regular reader, you'll know the concept already – we've been so excited about this scene we've been trailing it for a while. Pandora is in a hotel, with written instructions from D. He can't be with her til later that evening, so meanwhile he sets wheels in motion to dominate her from afar – sending a letter that orders her to strip, fondle her breasts while she watches herself in the mirror, and administer a self-spanking with a heavy wooden clothesbrush. The rest? Well, I'll let you see for yourself...
The gorgeous thing about this short film (apart from Pandora – in stockings and fetish heels, on all fours on the bed, she looks filthily hot) is that it so perfectly captures the chemistry between D and Pandora. D doesn't appear in the film, but listening to his instructions in voiceover – calm, quietly growling tones which had me squirming in my seat – you can feel Pandora's anticipation and excitement about following his every command. As Pandora herself explained, you should watch this “if you like gravelly-voiced dominant men with London accents telling you to do filthy, filthy things.” I suspect I'm not the only one for whom that instantly appeals.
But the best thing by far is the demonstration of how achingly, stickily arousing that level of trust can be. This film was genuinely spontaneous on Pandora's part. She knew the outline – that she'd be given instructions to follow – but she had no idea what would be in D's letter until the moment she opened it in front of the camera. He'd clearly thought long and hard about what she'd enjoy, what he'd like to see, and the best way to build her arousal to a stunning, unique, and boundary-testing experience.
He said 'do you trust me?' and she answered with a wholehearted 'yes.' The results are spectacular.
Additional: if you enjoyed this film please do share the scene page with like-minded others! If you share it on Twitter before midnight tonight, you can win one month's membership to Dreams of Spanking.
I'm incredibly excited about the film I've been editing this week, the submissive solo scene I shot in collaboration with Bright Desire at the Feminist Porn Awards. Thanks to Ms Naughty 'Instructed' has been submitted to the Berlin Porn Film Festival this year, and it will be released on both our sites this Saturday, 5th July.
This film is a big deal for me. I'm totally stoked to have collaborated with award-winning feminist pornographer Ms Naughty, a female gaze porn pioneer who continues to produce cutting-edge porn eroticising male bodies for a female audience. Not only that, but this shoot was featured on BBC News - bringing her innovative work (and mine!) to a wider, more mainstream audience.
I had no idea what D would tell me to do until I opened his letter live on camera. On the day of the shoot I was nervous and excited to find out what dirty acts lay in store for me - and the anticipation definitely added a certain something to the experience.
Although I didn't know it beforehand, D's instructions led to some of my most explicit acts on film to date. I've masturbated to orgasm before on Dreams of Spanking - in My Inner Little Girl - but this is... well. You'll see.
The idea of my dominant sending me orders from afar is one I've played with in private - as has anyone, I imagine, who has been in a long-distance dom/sub relationship. But I've not seen it explored in porn before. Travelling Canada and the US on my own, I felt very touched that D would contribute creatively to a shoot experience from half the world away - and very loved.
He didn't only tell me what to do (and oh, the things he told me to do!), he also recorded himself reading the letter out loud to me, to use in the film as voiceover. His full appearance in a video, visually as well as aurally, is still something I've got to look forward to, but in the meantime if you like gravelly-voiced dominant men with London accents telling you to do filthy, filthy things, you will like his instructions as much as I did.
So I'm excited about this one, and I would love if it you wanted to share the link to the film when it's up. If you're excited too, leave a comment on this post and I'll make sure you're one of the first to know when it goes out!