This is the first time I've updated the Dreams of Spanking blog for ten months - almost exactly. I've been staring at the empty page for a while wondering where to start. There's too much to say; and no way I can adequately express it.
We won our appeal.
Ten months of silence, of grief, of waiting, of nothing. And now all of a sudden this news that we won. We fought the law, and the law lost. It's pretty immense. It's huge, actually.
I want to do a proper post about the appeal at some point - there's the appeal document itself, which I'm pretty proud of and have permission to show you, and I can talk about the process, share Ofcom's determination, explain what arguments we made and what they accepted and why. But that's not this post. This post is just me wanting to make a start - wanting the most recent blogpost on the site not to be from ten months ago, what now feels like ancient history. This is just me feeling how good it is to be back.
I wrote last week, after the news had broken but before I was able to re-open the site (I was a bit overwhelmed by it all and didn't think of submitting a support request to CCBill to reactivate our billing account until the day before the public announcement, and then CCBill dragged their heels and didn't approve the account until Friday) about how my feelings were more complicated than pure jubilation. That's still true. I feel lots of things that aren't straightforward bouncing-up-and-down-for-joy: I feel exhausted, and overwhelmed, and worried that I'm not going to be able to manage the additional (if welcome) workload that re-launching Dreams of Spanking implies. I'm concerned not to let this development distract me from the political work that I've been doing recently, and which has been very generously sponsored by some of you on Patreon. I'm committed to that process, just as I'm committed to this one, and there'll be a period of adaptation while I learn how to juggle both.
Luckily, they are both part of the same thing, when it comes down to it; the same world work that I am ultimately engaged in. That of creating meaningful art about fetish sexuality (slash fetish porn, slash erotica - whatever definition floats your boat) that helps people overcome shame, accept their erotic selves and enjoy their kinky fantasies without guilt. That of opening a conversation about ethical porn; porn that breaks out of the gender binary and subverts stereotypes; porn that serves the sexual desires of a broader audience, in terms of both gender and sexuality, than just the typified heterosexual male. It's about making porn production - especially BDSM porn production - more transparent, making the differences between the fantasies expressed through fiction and the realities of sex work on set more visible, making the line between real consent and fictionalised non-consent more easily understood. It's talking about working conditions on porn sets and helping move the industry towards a more transparent, more accountable set of working practices. It's about empowering performers, offering them equal pay, creative control, and freedom to do what they want on film, with the people they choose. It's about fighting for our right to freedom of speech, our creative, sexual and civil liberties. It's about improving consent culture in wider society; modelling healthy relationships, negotiation, safer sex and best practice in porn, making it sexy. And of course it's about sex education, reducing stigma, and working towards better labour rights and decriminalisation for all workers in the adult industry.
Dreams of Spanking has a part to play in all of this. It's my working model of how to make BDSM porn as ethically as possible, my playground for trying out ideas. I can't say I always get it right, but I can honestly say that I hold myself accountable when I get it wrong, and am always trying to improve.
It's weird, clicking through these pages after nearly a year away. A few times I've got sucked in to reading old blog posts. Coming to the site fresh I'm struck by the sheer quantity - and, if I say so myself, the qualtity - of content here, accumulated over three and a half very active, enthusiastic years. There's so much great material to explore in the archive. Of course, perfectionist as I am, I'm already making a mental list of tweaks I want to make to the site, and am starting to think about a redesign to celebrate this new chapter of the site's life. But that's a job for later.
Now, it's time to enjoy what we have; to rediscover forgotten gems, to share favourite scenes with your friends you think might like them. For ten months, I've been talking to people about Dreams of Spanking who were gutted that they missed the chance to join before it was taken down. Let's get those people on board and show them what all the fuss is about. I'm looking forward to welcoming old members and new back to the community; there's already been lots of comment activity since the site re-opened last Friday, and I'd love to see that continue.
Community, ultimately, was what won us the appeal - the argument that the "Principle Purpose" of Dreams of Spanking is not that of a commercial porn movie site, but a community of interest, a multimedia site where likeminded enthusiasts can discuss their mutual interest, look at photos, listen to audio stories, read blogposts, comment, update their profile photos, and do all the other things you do in an online forum.
We're indebted to Myles Jackman and Backlash for all the help they've provided over the last year and a half - Myles in particular has been an absolute legend, and I'd like to urge you to pledge a couple of dollars to his Patreon if you can afford it. He lives on coffee, can't provide legal support without it, so buying him a virtual one would be a really lovely way to thank him for the invaluable role he's played in getting Dreams of Spanking back online. But most of all, I feel as if you, the Dreams of Spanking community, are really what's saved us. Without your engagement, your enthusiasm, your spirited comment threads, Ofcom might not have agreed with our argument that this site first and foremost a community of spanking fans, not a commercial video-on-demand site. And on a more personal level, without the support you've given me during this painful hiatus, I don't know if I'd have had the strength to keep fighting. Thank you.
We won this together. I couldn't have done it without you. Join me in celebrating - it's a landmark victory for kink acceptance, for feminist porn and for freedom of expression.
But more than that, it just feels good to be back. It feels right. I'm so very, very, glad that we're allowed our community again. I've missed it, and I've missed you.
Another year has gone by, and on 23rd December 2014 Dreams of Spanking celebrated its third birthday. Three years is a coming of age for a new business - the point at which you stop being a start-up and become established. If you haven't made it by the end of year three, you aren't going to make it. Happily, after our profitable first year, sales have been steadily increasing and we're going from strength to strength. It's time to look back on the year just gone and take stock. Here are ten ways in which Dreams of Spanking changed and improved in 2014.
1. Saying hello to Girl on the Net
In March we added sex blogger Girl on the Net to our team, and since then she has been writing all the copy for our spanking scenes and free hosted galleries, as well as being a regular contributor to this blog and our twitter stream. She puts up with me sending her pieces at the last possible minute, and is remarkably patient about working around my irregular schedule - while always staying friendly, cheerful and professional. It's a pleasure to work with her, and her advice on marketing, advertising and SEO has been incredibly useful. She's become an invaluable presence behind the scenes.
I commented a while ago that I would gladly pay Girl on the Net just to write nice things about my work and send them to me every week. Not only do I get the ego boost of a writer I admire providing regular positive feedback on my creations, it also means I'm freed from the emotionally exhausting labour of marketing my own porn. I hadn't realised how much it was costing me until I stopped. I think most creatives resent having to sell their work, and would much rather spend their energy making more art instead. Since hiring Girl on the Net, I have had more creative energy to spend on film-making, editing, business development and activism - and my quality of life, wellbeing and business success have been all the better for it.
2. Handing over photo editing to AJ Levi
Around the same time, I started handing over photo editing duties to my amazing executive assistant AJ Levi. It was a wrench - I'm a massive control freak, which isn't a great trait in a manager, but AJ has handled the transition with grace and skill. She has edited every photoset published since her debut gallery Introducing Alexander - 44 in total by my count. Over the last few months, as she's proved that I can trust her with the all-important visual imagery on the site, she has taken on more and more of the work. She now selects which photos from any given shoot will be published, edits them (including the behind the scenes photos), chooses preview images, creates thumbnails, handles the data entry in the CMS and creates new free hosted galleries for our affiliates. Not only that, but AJ has just started handling our updates on Clips4Sale and Spanking Library.
Add in her regular responsibilities with tech support, processing payments, answering emails and keeping the site organised and it's an impressive list. AJ has an amazing eye, and you only need to look at her recent galleries (such as Sing, Muse) to see that she is an artist when it comes to photo editing. She is consistent, dependable and continues to surprise me with her technical and creative skill. Hiring her was a coming-of-age moment for the business, and now I honestly don't know what I'd do without her.
3. Saying goodbye to Thomas Cameron
I haven't written about this yet publically, but in March 2014, with regret, I ended my romantic relationship with Thomas Cameron. We had been together for nearly a decade. It was my decision in the end, and not one I made lightly. Times change, and our lives had been moving in different directions for several years. I eventually found the courage to accept that it was time to move on.
The break-up was amicable, and afterwards Tom continued working for Dreams of Spanking behind the scenes, updating the clips stores and affiliate galleries. It was only a few weeks ago that, looking at the finances and the logistics of liaising with three different freelancers on a tight weekly update schedule, I made the decision to hand over his duties to AJ in order to keep things more streamlined.
Thomas was a huge presence in my early adult life and in the development of this website, and I can honestly say that Dreams of Spanking would not exist without him. He provided inspiration, support, enormous stage presence and acting skill, and a huge number of scene ideas - from the first embryonic inkling that I wanted to produce my own content, to the launch of the site three years ago. He was instrumental in launching my career as a spanking model, and in encouraging me to start producing my own films. He was my dominant, spanker and top for many years. My spanking kink was greatly influenced by his taste and personality.
Tom let me move in above the real ale pub he managed in 2010 and 2011, refurbish it with decor that would look good in spanking films, and trade work for his business for a place to live, work and shoot. The scenes we shot together were a core part of this site's launch content, and the work we did together that year made launching this site possible. Tom's skills as a performer, top, scene writer and consulting historian raised the bar of the UK spanking industry and made an indelible impression on the development of my style. I will always be grateful to Tom for his contributions to my personal life, my spanking career and to Dreams of Spanking.
4. More behind the scenes content
A direct consequence of bringing AJ and Girl on the Net on board is that 2014 was the year I had time to edit more behind the scenes content. In the first two years of the business, struggling to keep on top of all these responsibilities single-handedly, I simply didn't have time to do everything. Editing behind the scenes videos was a job that often got dropped in busy weeks, and I never had time to go back and catch up.
In the last year behind the scenes content has been a priority, and more scenes than ever now feature candid making-of videos, hilarious out-takes, performer interviews and behind the scenes image galleries. Not only do the image gallery feature candid photos taken on set, but I've also started adding hand-picked screengrabs from the behind the scenes videos. If you like to reassure yourself that an edgy spanking video was produced ethically and consensually, look no further.
5. HTML5 video
2014 was the year that we upgraded our streaming video player from a Flash popup streaming .flv files to embedded HTML5 video streaming MP4 files. Better video quality, better usability, better cross-browser and cross-device compatibility. Better for everyone.
In theory, HTML5 video should even work on mobiles and tablets, although I've had reports from some users that it's not playing for them. Following on from this development, I've made a personal commitment that 2015 is going to be the year we finally get our website and streaming video player fully operational across all mobile devices.
6. Recurring memberships and Mastercard payments
In January, D extended our back-end code so we could offer you the option of recurring memberships for the first time - a real milestone. And in June, a year after CCBill slapped an extortionate annual fee onto porn sites that wanted to accept Mastercard payments, I decided we could afford it, and we started accepting Mastercard payments again - making it easier for you to support ethical porn by buying a site membership. Finally!
7. More transgender performers
2014 was the year we added two new out-and-proud transgender performers to our cast - world famous queer porn star James Darling, and budding UK newcomer Ron Beastly. In the past, trans porn performers often kept quiet about it for fear that being open about their gender history would make their work less popular or make them targets for abuse. Although transgender people still suffer from appalling and unacceptable stigma and violence worldwide, it's wonderful to see an attitude change start to ripple across the online community which is more accepting of non-binry identities and transgender bodies. This is no small part thanks to queer porn, which has centered trans bodies from the beginning.
The next step is for us to make a pro-active effort to expand our cast to include some hot transgender women. I've already had exciting talks with a number of suitable performers. The only limiting factor is that a number of them are in the US or Canada, and so shooting will have to fit around my international travel schedule.
8. More performers of colour
In 2014 we uploaded three new scenes starring stunning UK porn star Lola Marie, and we shot not once but twice with brand new spankee David Weston, who is (as far as I know) the first ever black male spankee to make a name for himself in the UK. Mind you, given how few fetish sites name or celebrate their male sub performers, he hasn't had much competition.
Of course, we still have a long way to go - two exceptions to a mostly white cast is nowhere near enough, and we're looking forward to making new connections and improving the chromatic and gender diversity of our cast further in 2015.
9. Consent, consent, consent
2014 was the year the conversation about ethical porn and showing consent behind the scenes started to take off - from my talk on establishing consent in kinky porn at the Feminist Porn Conference in April to Zoe Williams' guardian article in November. It was also the year that UK legislators showed just how out of touch they are by making a whole swathe of consensual acts illegal to depict in UK-produced online porn.
The Sword of Damocles is still hanging over our heads, in that at any time in 2015 we might receive an initial letter from ATVOD demanding us to comply with these regulations - which we intend to refuse to do, thereby kicking off a lengthy and expensive court battle. But in the meantime we have no intention of stopping producing, and we won't be limited by these regulations and self-censor when filming new content in 2015. What we can do is take additional steps to demonstrate the consent and well-being of performers on all our shoots. Previously, consent was established in contextual behind the scenes materials and links surrounding the main fantasy film. Since these regulations came into force at the start of December, we have brought some of this context into the main feature, so that even if a particular film is watched in isolation, outside the context in which it was originally published, performer consent will still be explicit.
Five weeks into this new system, I'm increasingly seeing the positive side of this method of publishing feminist kinky porn. It centres performer consent in every production, sends a strong message about ethical porn, and as an added bonus, it brings the behind the scenes content to the front of my editing process, making it even easier to get out-takes videos and performer interviews ready for publication alongside every spanking film.
10. Best Spanking Site 2014?
Dreams of Spanking collected some impressive kudos in 2014, including this glowing review by My Sex Porn and lots of love during sex blogger spanking month. It was a good year for our mainstream press profile, too: as well as the Guardian feature on ethical porn, we were mentioned in The Sun and BBC News.
The Loose Hem was nominated for a Feminist Porn Award, and we were in the running for Honoured Website second year running. Also in 2014, My Inner Little Girl was screened at Cinekink film festival, and Instructed, our collaborative film with Ms Naughty, was screened at the Berlin Porn Film Festival.
We've taken a lot of runner-up prizes in the Spanking Awards 2014 hosted by SpankingBlogg, with this blog coming second in the News Blog category, my personal blog Spanked, Not Silenced coming second in the Creative Blog category, and me coming in third as Best Female Spanker and Best Female Spankee 2014. I was the only person to qualify in both categories, so I guess that makes me a jill of all trades. I'm happy with that!
Winner: Alex Reynolds
Runner Up: Amelia Jane Rutherford
3rd: Pandora Blake
Full results can be seen HERE
Winner – Sarah Gregory
Sarah has topped at many sites but check out her own at SarahGregorySpanking.com
Runner Up – Dana Kane
Dana has topped at many sites but check out her own at DanaKaneSpanks.com
& 2nd (very close) Runner Up – Pandora Blake
Pandora features at many sites but check out her own DreamsofSpanking.com
Congrats to Alex Reynolds, Amelia Jane Rutherford, Sarah Gregory and Dana Kane on their wins - you deserve it, and I couldn't be in better company!
The award I really care about though is Best Spanking Site 2014 - and I'm thrilled that Dreams of Spanking is in the running. After all our performers' hard work in this last year it would mean a lot if we could get the top spot, so please do head to their page and vote for us!
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.
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!
I know I say this every week... but wow, it's been a busy couple of weeks. To be honest with you I'm still reeling from editing The Clone's Training. That was a challenge - and a steep learning curve. But although it took twice as long as I was expecting, I feel like I learned a lot. And then, because we all know I'm a masochist, I went straight from that into a marathon, sleepless, three-day edit of a privately commissioned feature film, which felt like another giant step in my editing career. It's like I can feel my brain expanding - I look back over the last year and I can really see how far I've come. I know I've still got a lot to learn, and I'm excited!
Like most pornographers I think, I'm totally self-taught when it comes to film-making. It's an interesting career path -learning your trade solo, reading online tutorials, messing around with software, watching films at festivals with your jaw on the floor and making mental notes about awesome techniques to try for yourself.
Running a paysite is not always an ideal environment for improvement. Putting out a new film every week is a brutal commitment, and it can be hard to find time for the play and experimentation that really help you grow. Sometimes it can feel like hammering out weekly films on a budget is in danger of becoming a rut that I'm stuck in, without the leisure to explore new ideas, or craft and perfect a piece until I'm completely happy with it. But that's why it feels so amazing to I take a risk and get away with it - like with The Clone's Training, a concept so ambitious, so convoluted and psychological, that I wasn't sure we could pull it off. But David pulled out all the stops with his acting, and his courage and dedication in playing two identical roles and taking his first ever judicial-level cold caning - on his first ever spanking shoot, no less - inspired me to rise to the occasion and give it all I had.
Films like this might seem like whims to some people - the vegetables on the side of the plate next to the meat of good old traditional punishment scenarios, perhaps. But believe me, it's the experimental films, the creative risks, the over-ambitious challenges, that keep pornographers interested. Putting that much effort in every week wouldn't pay the rent, but once in a while, it is so worth doing.
Anyway, I didn't come online to blather on about video editing. I've been made to blush a few times lately by the kind things people have said, and I wanted to share the love.
I met Lucie Blush at the Feminist Porn Awards - she's an up and coming young French director and all-round cutie. She also loves spanking, as she admits in a recent post on her ethical porn blog "We love good sex". And she mentioned my spanking scene with Zahra Stardust! Thank you Lucie!
We love Lola Marie - and so does the Cherry Red Report, which has collated a pictorial tribute to the spanking scenes of one of the UK's hottest porn performers. It was lovely to see three different Dreams of Spanking scenes included - but then, Lola really did pull out all the stops for her shoot with us. I'm impatient to work with her again!
I mentioned Lady Laid Bare's amazing multi-part review of Dreams of Spanking before, but I didn't share the best part - the climax - the list of her top five spanking films. I was chatting to a viewer only yesterday about how his favourites change frequently. How much foes Lady Laid Bare's list have in common with yours?
Last but not least, I was tickled pink by the new review of Dreams of Spanking by My Sex Porn. Want to make me blush? Write things like this:
The site offers aesthetically appealing and sensually rewarding spanking episodes with the whole package, the story, the costumes – and of course the incredibly sexy spanking.
Dreams of Spanking has this warm, welcoming atmosphere. The young lady explains her passions and her project in a lot of detail – and you can preview a lot of stuff as well. The thing about Dreams of Spanking, it’s so decadent, so Victorian, so English, and so breathtaking you will want to get inside and just keep watching – right away.
Dreams of Spanking has this wonderful homely feel, like it’s the ultimate destination for any spanking erotica fan. You are finally in the place where you belong, and this place cares for you.
With their terrific collection of very original exclusive content with super extensive categorization by just about anything which may be of interest to a spanking erotica aficionado, Dreams of Spanking is your dreams of spanking made very real. And very enjoyable, too! Traditional English punishment, intelligent attitude, great performances and high definition content all together!
Dreams of Spanking has to be the finest spanking erotica hotspot we have ever seen. Combining the English tradition of corporal punishment with conscious, intelligent attitude and breathtaking episodes with great storylines and intense spanking action, Dreams of Spanking leaves nothing to be desired. If you have even the smallest thing for hot bratty girls getting spanked, punished and disciplined, we just can’t let you miss this one. This is the king, the masterpiece of kinky yet honest, heartfelt spanking erotica.
(And hot bratty boys, too - don't forget the hot bratty boys!)
Seriously, though, thank you, MySexPorn. I am blushing all over again. You guys. ♥
I'm never quite sure whether summer is a good time to be selling porn or not - a lot of people are on holiday enjoying good clean fun (or perhaps indulging in some real-world kink or sex), and far be it from me to try to lure people back indoors out of the sunshine to watch a screen. Still, school is long behind us and we don't all get to take the whole summer off any more- more's the pity! - so I guess there is still a need for erotic spanking entertainment to amuse discerning adults on summer evenings. (And perhaps afternoons. And maybe even mornings, if you're keen...)
So I've been surprised at how many mentions I've seen of our films around different corners of the web this month. Do people still watch spanking video and write blogposts when it's 30° centigrade outside? Apparently so - and here are the reviews to prove it.
I don't know the person behind Femdom Resource, but I was delighted to hear them pick out Dreams of Spanking in a discussion on ethical and fairtrade porn. They particularly like our mix of male and female spankees, illustrating the post with a photo from male-female switch spanking scene Corporal Punishment: "There’s a variety of gender combinations which I think makes for a pleasant change. Personally I can admire all manner of well reddened bottoms."
I'm a huge fan of Molly and Nimue's first scene together, and it seems that so is the Spanking Blog. In Bridezilla, Molly plays the perfect truculent bride brought to tearful humility by her mistreated maid of honour. The chemistry between the two performers absolutely crackles, the acting is fantastic and the spankings are well delivered. And Molly's classic beauty as she bends over for the cane in bridal lingerie doesn't hurt, either.
Apparently it's spanking month in certain corners of the sex blogosphere, and several bloggers are celebrating with spanking-themed posts. I'm very honoured that some have chosen to include reviews of Dreams of Spanking. Lady Laid Bare has written a number of posts so far, each focussing on particular scenes, and I particularly enjoyed the second, in which she takes a close look at our rollicking Napoleonic War series Havelock's Campaign.
Like me, Lady Laid Bare has an appreciative eye for both male and female spankees, and her reviews take a balanced look across the board of our gender categories. I loved reading how much she'd enjoyed both the M/F and the M/M punishment in Havelock's Campaign - she writes, "One of the best kinds of porn is the kind that makes you feel things you didn’t know you wanted to feel. And this scene did exactly that – it made me feel joy."
Check out the rest of her posts too - in The big Dreams of Spanking review - part one she watches Lady Godiva; part three looks at wet spankings, namely Bathtime and The Waterfight; and her fourth and most recent review focuses on strict governesses, particularly Zoe Montana in The Whipping Boy and me in David's Strict Governess.
Lady Laid Bare took a close look at some individual scenes, following the tag trail back through our archive. Another sex blogger joining in with spanking month is Bawdy Bloke, who has produced a comprehensive review of the site as a whole. He seemed to like what he saw, and particularly praised the production values, the site navigation and keyword search page, and the behind the scenes videos that show just how much fun the performers have on set. Thank you Bawdy Bloke!
Even more excitingly, he is also offering a free Dreams of Spanking membership in a prize draw - click here and enter your name to be in with a change of winning a thirty day subscription.
It seems we're not the only ones who love art nude erotica featuring tattoos, hair pulling, and real couples with sizzling sexual chemistry. Our tumblr post sharing a photo from Tangled has been reblogged 3,534 times and counting. That's a lot of reblogs!
So far this has been a good year for Dreams of Spanking in the media. We've had a few mentions - even if the promised Guardian article which we spent ages chatting to Zoe Williams for never actually made it to press.
First there was this mention in the Sun newspaper:
I can't link to the full article as it's pay-walled, but interviewee and journalist Nichi Hodgson has reposted the full text here.
Pandora Blake has a brilliant spanking website which shows you how to do it. Women like these more educational porn sites, so they can put it into practice in real life and let fantasy bleed into reality. Men tend to use porn in isolation, women want the porn experience to enrich sex with their partners.
I do have some issues with the gendered generalisations in that paragraph, which I explain in more detail here. But it was good to see a positive take on ethical porn for women, even in a conservative right-wing paper. And I'm glad our instructional videos are getting attention! We have two so far, both with Molly Malone - one on how to use the cane, and the other on effective communication and negotiation in spanking scenes. Let us know if you have any requests for future demos!
The second press mention was even more exciting - in a piece for BBC News Magazine on the Feminist Porn Awards this year, by Daniel Nasaw. It's a very positive article about the awards and the feminist porn movement, which mentions Dreams of Spanking performers Zahra Stardust and James Darling as well as the submissive solo shoot with Ms Naughty which Daniel sat in on.
"The internet has democratised porn in a big way,” says Blake, who that morning shot a solo spanking scene with Ms Naughty, the Australian founder of BrightDesire.com. “It’s empowered a lot of performers to produce their own content – it’s empowering performers, which means its empowering women."
Finally, Dreams of Spanking and feminist porn are the topics of conversation in the latest spanking podcast, or "spankocast" by This Week In Spanking. Joe and I talked over Skype for an hour about the feminist porn awards, sexuality, queerness, diversity, my video with James Darling, the spanking scene, the new hardcore project I'm working on with Nimue Allen, and more. You can listen to the whole interview on This Week In Spanking. Enjoy!
In a few short days I will be in Toronto for the Feminist Porn Awards and Feminist Porn Conference. It's a dream come true, and my chance to finally put spanking porn on the global map of feminist, ethical porn. As a feminist spanking pornographer I'm on the crossover between two parts of the industry that don't ever talk to each other, although they have more in common in some ways than they might realise. My aim is to foster dialogue and mutual understanding, as well as demonstrating the ways I try to make spanking porn that is female gaze, gender egalitarian, feminist and fairtrade. It's an honour to be able to represent the genre I've always preferred personally, to the movement I'm proud to support politically.
With perfect timing I've just come down with flu, but preparations were already underway and hopefully after a couple of rest days, I'll be well enough to pack and catch my flight on Wednesday.
Dreams of Spanking has been nominated for the Honoured Website award for the second year running. I'd be thrilled to get a mention this year.
It's hard to know what might be considered eligible for a feminist porn award, but I wanted to include a mixture of male/female spankee scenes, and a mixture of enthusiastic consent scenarios (eg Puppy Play) with non-consent scenarios (Belt Whipping Fantasy), as well as films with feminist or empowering themes (My Inner Little Girl, The Galleristas) and live, on-screen negotiation (Kinky). I don't know what I was expecting but when the nominations were announced I was surprised - and delighted - that the film selected for inclusion was The Loose Hem.
It seems that when it comes to the feminist porn awards, live negotiation or spanking as a healthy, empowering fantasy are less interesting than cross-dressing and female dominance. I'm not sure I agree that this is the most feminist film of the bunch, but it's interesting to get a sense of what the judges might be looking for. The Loose Hem certainly benefits from an intriguing, well-woven storyline that includes a number of twists, courtesy of script writer joolstheman, and superb performances from Vincent Brennan and Molly Malone. Both stars well deserve the nomination, and I hope they are as excited as I am about having their film screened at an international awards ceremony!
It's going to be a whirlwind few days, attending not only the awards but also the Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto, where I'll be speaking on a couple of panels and attending lots more.
I arrive in Toronto on Wednesday night, and I've got a room booked at the Holiday Inn, sharing with @ChrisLowrance and @RiseUpOpossums. Thursday morning I've booked a content share shoot with the super hot Zahra Stardust, who is keen to shoot a spanking film after being inspired by a demo given by Molly Malone in Melbourne last week (that girl gets everywhere!). We've booked Ms Naughty and her partner Luke to film the scene, and I'll also be shooting a solo content share scene with Ms Naughty the following morning for her site Bright Desire.
But even without shooting, there'll be plenty to keep me occupied. On Thursday there's pre-screening cocktails followed by Public.Provocative.Porn: The Year’s Best in Feminist Porn, at which I will probably be found at the back, making critical notes on all the offerings - and hiding behind a cushion while my film is played. Afterwards I'll be able to drown my sorrows and swap notes with all the other filmographers at The Official FPA Screening After Party.
On Friday I've signed up to take part in a press conference after my shoot with Ms Naughty, talking to the media about feminist porn and the work I do. Then Friday evening is a "VIP pre-party" followed by the 9th Annual Feminist Porn Awards and Gala.
The Feminist Porn Conference opens on Saturday - and this is the real reason I'm going. I've been invited to participate in two sessions, the first alongside Sophie Delancey, Gala Vanting and Madison Young:
Consent & Authenticity: Interrogating Two Feminist Porn Tenets
Non-consent fantasies pose problems for ethical pornographers. How do viewers differentiate between non-consensual fantasy and consensual reality? How can producers make this distinction more explicit, and reassure viewers that non-consent scenarios are produced safely, ethically and consensually? When performer consent cannot be portrayed within the text, the onus is on the producer to show it in contextualising materials. As a creator of spanking/punishment films, my methodology employs not only performer interviews, but also behind the scenes videos, out-takes, marketing copy, blog posts, links, comments and social media – particularly contributions written by performers in their own words, and own time.
That was the presentation I submitted, and is obviously one very close to the mission of this site. Check out this blogpost for a preview of some of the material I'll be covering, among other things.
Pornographers Without Borders
Jennifer Lyon Bell, Pandora Blake, Ms. Naughty, Ovidie
Although feminist porn in North America has gained a lot of media attention in the last few years, it is growing and thriving in Europe and Australia as well. This panel features filmmakers who live and work in France, the Netherlands, the UK, and Australia. Panelists will explore how their aesthetics, agendas, and challenges overlap with and differ from American and Canadian feminist porn; they will also address how their work is received by international audiences. They will discuss distribution channels and strategies with an eye toward growing a global feminist porn movement.
This panel was a last-minute addition and I was pleased to be included. I do sometimes feel like an outsider as one of the few UK pornographers who is explicitly engaging with feminist politics, and the feminist porn community can sometimes seem irritatingly US-centric. If nothing else I'm completely thrilled to be sharing a panel with three superstar feminist porn directors, all personal role models of mine.
There are afterparties and play parties every night, but I'm not sure how many I'll get to; on the Friday and Saturday evenings at least I might well choose to get early nights. I have no desire to be exhausted or hungover when giving my presentations!
However, it's pleasant to discover I'm not particularly nervous. I've had a little more practice at public speaking over the last twelve months and I've discovered it's something I genuinely enjoy. I guess that means I really am an exhibitionist at heart.
Since hiring AJ I've had more time to devote to promoting Dreams of Spanking and the campaign for ethical porn, and all of a sudden life has become very interesting. So far this year I've appeared in an FHM feature on woman-friendly porn, a forthcoming Guardian article, and a TV shoot last week for a BBC3 documentary on young people and porn, alongside Nichi Hodgson of the Ethical Porn Partnership, with which I'm also getting involved.
As if all that wasn't enough, I've accepted invitations to speak at Eroticon 2014 in Bristol in March, and - most exciting of all - the Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto in April. I'm a bit overwhelmed by this news, as I'll be presenting alongside some of my idols, pioneers of feminist porn including Shine Louise Houston, Ms Naughty and Courtney Trouble. I'm also getting a bit starstruck at the idea of meeting queer porn superstars like Jiz Lee, on whom I defy any individual with a heartbeat not to have a crush.
The Feminist Porn Conference takes place in conjunction with the Feminist Porn Awards. In 2013, to my delight, Dreams of Spanking was nominated for best website, and I've submitted us to that category this year as well. A bit more scarily, I've also submitted six films for individual consideration to the main awards. This would be less nerve-wracking if I wasn't planning to be there, but the idea of having to watch one of my films screened amongst that illustrious company of established producers is frankly terrifying!
Despite my nerves, I've also submitted two films to the sex-positive kinky film festival in New York, Cinekink. This was an interesting experience; the submission process was geared towards mainstream, high budget productions, and I had to fill out pages and pages of a form asking me to name all different sorts of crew, technicians and other members of a normal Hollywood style production team. Our films are on a radically different scale, and there are usually only 3-6 people involved in the creation of any one video. I found myself entering my own name dozens of times, and feeling more amateur by the second!
The films I submitted were My Inner Little Girl and Pandora's Belt Whipping Fantasy, retitled "Dreaming of Daddy". (I would have called it that originally, were CCBill less stringent about the words we're allowed to use.) I was asked to write a covering letter accompanying each submission, and finding the words to articulate my reasons behind creating each of these films was another interesting experience. Here's what I wrote.
My Inner Little GirlI've been wanting to make a film like this for years. My adult paysite is named "Dreams of Spanking", and right from its inception in 2011 I knew I wanted to make films about sex and masturbation that showed the fantasies of performers. In my case, those fantasies almost always involve spanking.
As a director and business owner, my sexual submissiveness creates a potent paradox. I might fantasise about being helpless, but in real life, I couldn't be more in control. But this isn't a senseless contradiction. My submissive fantasies provide escape and relief from the pressures and responsibilities of adult life. The more successful my career, the more satisfaction I receive from letting go in fantasy.
I love being spanked. It's not just a sexy idea for me - it's solace, therapy, meditation, both as a fantasy to enjoy on my own, and an activity to enjoy consensually with my chosen partners.
This is my first ever real solo masturbation scene on video, and my first orgasm on camera too. I'm nervous and excited to share it. This film expresses something true about my life and my sexuality, and my hope is that other women who share my fantasies will see it and relate to it - and perhaps feel affirmed that it is possible to enjoy fantasies of submission without it compromising our power and independence.
For the other film, I found I had even more to say.
Dreaming of Daddy
In a candid interview, Pandora confesses one of her edgiest fantasies: a dark domestic punishment that involves age play, struggling and resistance, and a severe whipping of over 100 very hard strokes of the leather belt.
Together, she and Thomas, her long-term romantic partner in real life, collaborate to make her fantasy reality. They negotiate, and discuss details of the scene they are about to enact. Pandora expresses concerns that Thomas might be uncomfortable with her calling him "daddy". They talk, and finally agree.
The following roleplay is violent and intense, and the remorseless whipping of Pandora's bare bottom and thighs raises vivid welts, and brings her to real, cathartic tears. Afterwards, we see the lovers reconciled as they discuss the extreme experience they have just shared. This is what happens when dreams come true...
Statement by Pandora Blake:
I recently had the opportunity to realise a huge personal fantasy - a particularly edgy domestic discipline scenario. The key element of the fantasy is severe, perhaps excessive punishment from an angry paternal figure; I might kick, struggle, cry, say I'm sorry and beg him no, but the whipping continues regardless. In my fantasies the punishment takes various forms, but when I had to choose one to immortalise in video I opted for a severe belt whipping of at least 100 strokes, delivered nearly full force without a warm-up.
This scene includes lots of kicking, struggling, and begging, and the whipping proceeds regardless. It continued past the point where I was saying "please, no", and past the point where it broke down my resistance and I started to cry. This was a hugely cathartic and satisfying experience for me.
The floodgates opened about three quarters of the way through. I'd stopped trying to struggle and fight back, and had reached that point in the whipping where I was just knuckling down and trying to get through it. Even though I'd surrendered, even though I was sorry, nonetheless Tom aimed a particularly hard stroke low on my thighs. Rather than feeling indignant at the unfairness of it, it just tipped me over the edge. I accepted the pain without argument. It enhanced my awareness of my own helplessness. I broke out in genuine, gulping sobs, and tears poured down my face. The punishment continued remorselessly, which is of course exactly how I wanted it.
I know that this sort of edgy scenario can be problematic for viewers. I find the idea of helplessness, severity and punishments that aren't necessarily fair or consensual incredibly hot, but as a viewer of adult films I struggle to enjoy videos telling this sort of story unless I have absolute, cast-iron certainty that the spankee was privately enjoying the experience. One of my main aims with this website is to solve the problem of how viewers can tell that a dark, severe or edgy fantasy video was produced by performers who not only consented, but did so enthusiastically, and had fun with it.
Behind the scenes videos are one way of showing this, as are blogposts and comments from the performers. There has been some debate about portraying rape fantasies in porn in the UK this year, and one criticism was that if videos are taken out of context, it can be very hard to tell the difference between good acting, and a shoot that was genuinely unpleasant for the submissive. I had the idea of bringing some of the behind the scenes material into the video itself, so that as well as seeing the fantasy, you also see some of the making-of before and after.
As an adult filmmaker I'm very much in favour of showing real negotiation of kinky scenes, including communication before and after, as a way to make production more transparent, and perhaps provide some examples of healthy communication in kinky relationships.
From my personal experience I can testify that it is absolutely possible to realise a severe, edgy, violent and boundary-pushing fantasy in a safe, responsible and enjoyable way - but a lot goes into it beyond the roleplay itself. There's preparation and talking beforehand, choosing positions and implements, negotiating limits and details. There's breaks, if necessary, during the scene; and there's aftercare and cuddles once it's over.
I like watching videos of rather nasty things happening to consenting people, and as a pornographer I think it's important to produce them in a way that's empowering for the "victim". I'm interested in showing that part of the process as well as the fantasy itself.
This film opens with me talking about this scene beforehand, what makes it hot for me, and how I feel going into it. We then videoed my chat with Tom in which I told him about the scene - I hadn't shared some of the details with him until this conversation and I wanted to show the negotiation, and his responses, live as they happened. We agree various specifics, and then go straight into the roleplay. Later, after the punishment sequence is complete, the camera keeps rolling as we drop out of character and react to the scene.
Personally, when dabbling in extreme kinky fantasies, I'm much more comfortable if it's an experience that's led and initiated by the submissive rather than imposed on them. In my films you can guarantee that any scene in which I am spanked is one I sought out for myself; and since launching my adult paysite Dreams of Spanking I've enacted more of my fantasies than I ever imagined. Films like this one provide a safe space for me to explore my darkest fantasies; and hopefully a safe space for others to enjoy them, too.
Further to my post about our Rabbits Review last week, we've been reviewed by some other porn rating sites lately who had very positive things to say.
Honest Porn Reviews made some glowing comments about our ethical stance, diversity and user interface:
Although you would like to presume that all porn produced within physically demanding fetishes such as spanking is ethically produced and with the full consent of everyone involved, occasionally you do wonder if that is always the case. So it was certainly interesting of Dreams Of Spanking to come out and push that side of their site. A good idea, too, because I think it does help most people to enjoy a site more knowing that it was produced in a happy and conducive atmosphere.
Although conceived by a lady, this site does not just focus on the women doling out the punishment. Far from it. This is an equal opportunities site in every single way and that is why it is a cut above most other spanking fetish sites that I have seen. The performers are all professional spanking fetish experts, all of whom know exactly what they are doing and perform specific roles. I was also taken by just how much variety they have within their scenarios and the such like.
This is a beautifully presented site that does almost everything right. I think the best part of the user interface on this site was the section dedicated to the cast - all performers have a full bio including links to their own official pages and sites.
Update information is absolutely excellent and keeps you full informed about the recent additions to the site, plus there are also lots of options on the videos to keep you happy. The design of the site is ideal for this kind of content as well.
Honest Porn Reviews have awarded us an overall score of 8.9/10 - second only to Whipped Ass in their list of spanking sites. Not bad for a site that's only 18 months old! I'm really chuffed by this review, and delighted that Honest Porn Reviews found so much to like.
Another review site, Porn Inspector, awarded us a total score of 4.5/5, and seemed particularly impressed by our tour transparency:
Dreams Of Spanking has some of the finest tour transparency out there. Instead of showing you those bright red, freshly caned asses in a mishmash of random teaser images, they've decided to kill two birds with one stone and just let everyone see their entire members area instead. You can browse the site, even download trailers for each episode.
The scenes themselves well shot and, by porno standards at least, feature fine acting. In fact, one of the great things about this site is that the content has such a unique feel. Their movies have a cinematic style to them that makes you feel like you're watching watching a perverse inde film created by some eccentric director with a knack for casting exceptionally beautiful actors. I actually just finished a horror flick-esque caning scene that was, from beginning-to-end, positively oozing with creepy atmosphere. My favorite part was the shift to P.O.V. shots from the villain's perspective. Watching those girls wake up from a sound sleep to the, no doubt, excruciatingly painful sensation of that surprise bare buttocks caning — trust me, this guy didn't hold back! — must have been terrifying ... not to mention disorienting. And, scripted or not, the sobbing and shrieks were totally legit. Ouch!
That would be A Ghost Story - one of my favourite films in the archive. Lovely to see it given special mention!
Porn Inspector also appreciated our gender egalitarian approach and HD film quality:
Another point that was made, and one that I think it bears repeating, is that kissing and sexual contact is not encouraged between the models. So, if you should happen to see any hanky-panky accompanying the usual corporal punishment, you can rest assured that it's %100 authentic. There's 18 models, so far, six of which are male. But the boys aren't just relegated to the roles of spanker or spankee. No, there's actually a few solo bondage scenes featuring the fellas, too, making this a pretty diverse archive.
I was pleasantly surprised to find their latest updates are available in a great looking 1080p HD. Not surprisingly, play-back quality was superb. Even the file marked "low quality" was clear and crisp, and very watchable.
Constructive criticism from this review included the photo resolution, which is mostly at 1200x800px, and the download speeds. When I can, these days, I do upload photo galleries at 1200 x 1800px - for instance, Bath Bubbles, Bridezilla and Kinky. I started doing this at the end of last year - I think the first photo gallery uploaded at this resolution was The Captain and the Tavern Wench.
Unfortunately not all our photographs are high enough quality for it to be worth increasing the resolution, and so as we publish material we have already shot, there will still be some photo sets at the smaller resolution.
Is 1800x1200px enough, or would you like to see images in even higher resolution?
Regarding download speed, this is something Honest Porn Reviews picked up on as well, and it was definitely a problem with our old server. Happily, since moving to our new server last month, loading times and download speeds have been much better, so I hopefully I can tick off that issue as "resolved" :)
Overall, thanks Porn Inspector for a very positive review!
Finally, my friend Motley Wanderer recently treated themselves to a 5 day membership after following us with interest since our launch, and wrote a lovely blogpost in the wake of my article about not being exploited by performing in porn:
For me to want to watch it, porn needs to be made by feminists, it needs to have women involved in the production end of things as well as starring, it needs to value the contribution of people of all genders (i.e., paying the men!), it needs to be made for more than just a cis, hetero, male gaze, it needs to feature a reasonable variety of body types. And if it’s kink, I want to get my switch on – one of the things I love about Dreams of Spanking is that it has any number of combinations of tops and bottoms, and the majority of the performers are switches who aren’t just interested in playing one role with one gender. As a queer switch, it is totally up my street.
It needs to be made with absolute respect for the performers, respecting their boundaries absolutely, creating a fun working atmosphere
Above all, it needs to be made by people who genuinely love what they are doing, and aren’t just faking that enjoyment.
Dreams of Spanking is very explicit about offering all of that, including lots of behind the scenes footage so it’s really clear exactly how much fun is being had, even (especially?) when shooting dark and edgy material.
Thanks Motley Wanderer, I'm really glad the content ticked your boxes, and I'm even more pleased to hear that it inspired some spanking fun of your own!
That's definitely the best kind of review :)