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Custom spanking films and introducing a brand new performer!

This is a jam-packed double announcement post, so settle in with a cup of tea and let me get you excited.

It’s been almost a decade since I settled on the name Dreams of Spanking for this site. There were many reasons for the name - not least that it was somewhere where spanking dreams come to life. Over the years we have produced hundreds of films tapping into our deepest desires. Despite this, there are so many kinks and fantasies that we are yet to explore. There is no limit to the imagination of erotic desire.

The spanking fetish is all about the details. Sometimes when we watch a spanking porn film we're looking for something simple - just a lovely bottom, getting spanked. But sometimes we need everything to be just right. The position, the clothing, the language, the camera angles - if a spanking video doesn't get these details right, it can be a non-starter. That's why we're proud to offer to make you your very own custom spanking film, with you calling the shots from start to finish.

Custom spanking films by Dreams of Spanking - let us make your spanking dream a reality.

I am beyond excited to launch our new customs website. I've been making custom spanking videos, photo galleries and audio stories for long before this in a more informal capacity. Now, we want to open up the opportunity to all you lovely spankophiles to have your deepest desires turned into film.

At first I was thinking it would just be a page on this website, but then I realised that there was so much to talk about that it became its very own site. Visit our new custom spanking films website now, and let us make your spanking dream a reality.

But wait, there’s more...

New spanking performer debut

It is with great excitement that I introduce you to Lana Moon.

New spanking performer Lana Moon at Dreams of SpankingNew spanking performer Lana Moon at Dreams of Spanking

Lana and I go back a long way and we've been playing together for a while now. After I introduced her to the spanking scene we shared some fun duo sessions before I had my baby. She's always been interested in performing in spanking videos, but shy about showing her face. Well, now she is ready to have her debut, and her first ever spanking shoot will be with Dreams of Spanking!

Lana is a natural beauty and an enthusiastic switch, with a gorgeous toned bottom and a surprisingly crisp hand spank. Her infectious giggle has become renowned; those who have been lucky enough to play with her know that she just can't help giggling if you spank her bottom just so. She's full of creative ideas and I can't wait to make spanking magic with her on camera.

Our shoot is planned for Friday 20th November - in just over one week's time! We have some hot scenes planned, and we've set aside time to shoot a couple of custom spanking videos. We would love to fulfil your fantasy, so if you’ve had a kinky idea burning in your brain for some time, now is your chance to bring it to life!

Since Lana is new to most of you, we've made a short video so you can get to know her a little bit.

Isn't she adorable? Go to our new custom spanking film website, send us your scenario, and let Lana Moon and I realise your desires.

Dear Dreams of Spanking

Dear Dreams of Spanking,

You are the realisation of my hopes and dreams. You are the safe space I dreamed of creating for people to explore and express their spanking fantasies without shame; a community offering reassurance and support to likeminded kinksters. You are my proof that a spanking site bringing together all genders and sexual orientations can be a success. You model a way of publishing online porn that makes explicit the difference between fantasy and reality, and transparently reveals the enthusiastic consent of those taking part. You do all this while paying performers and contractors decent market rates, never exploiting unpaid labour, and paying me last, if at all. I am so proud of you I might burst.

Cynical people told me that this commitment to integrity would make you untenable as a business, but in 2015 you were a financial success. You had enough traffic and a high enough turnover to cover your costs, invest in exciting new productions, hire contractors to help with editing and marketing, and still have enough left over to pay me a reasonable wage for my time. Eventually, if you had been allowed to continue uninterrupted, I would have been able to train up trusted team members to do more of the production, post-production and marketing, until I could step back completely. I would have been able to keep earning income from you as the business owner, while I freed up time to move on to new porn projects. As a self-employed person I don't have much of a pension plan, but you were my nest egg.

If it hadn't been for ATVOD, we'd have pulled it off. You would still be flourishing and I'd be halfway through nursing your sister site to life. But that's not what happened.

ATVOD singled you out for censorship, investigating you while ignoring other UK spanking sites. I still don't know why this was, but I can guess: you became a target when I criticised the oppressive AVMS regulations in mainstream media. Or perhaps it was your queer and female-gaze depictions of masculine submission that singled you out as subversive. Either way, I regret nothing. Integrity and inclusivity are two of your core values, and I’m proud to have stood by your principles.

I endured the trauma of the investigation, the threat of being outed, and the bitterness of having to put you to sleep while you were in your prime. And then we won our appeal. We emerged victorious over ATVOD, gained the moral high ground and saw the whole organisation disbanded. Even better, we won the right to publish the content we had been prevented from publishing - and we've spent the last year doing just that.

So let’s talk about these last twelve months.

After ATVOD

When you re-opened after a ten month hiatus, you were in a state of financial precarity that put me in a triple bind. I’d hoped that if we generated enough press coverage around the appeal win it would boost sales enough to cover my losses, but since we re-opened you’ve never recovered your former success. I’ve been juggling three fulltime jobs: political campaigning against the Digital Economy Act, editing new content to keep you updated, and since neither of those things have been paying me enough to live on, I’ve had to somehow find time to do enough billable work to pay the rent. It’s been a tough year, and I’ve been able to give neither you nor the campaigning the attention you deserve. I’ve stubbornly persisted, because I love you and I don’t want to let go. But it’s time I accept that this isn’t working.

Since your hiatus, sales haven’t been high enough to afford to hire editing help, so my only option has been to cut back the amount of content I put out each week. In the good old days, we’d publish a complete new spanking video plus photoset, trailer, and behind the scenes video every week - and preparing and promoting all that is considerably more than a full time job for one person. So then I cut it back to a photoset one week, an audio story another, and started splitting longer videos over multiple updates. And I still haven’t been able to stay on top of it. There have been too many missed updates this year, and you and your members deserve better.

I’ve been so busy it’s been hard to take stock, but even so, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching since the appeal win. Throughout the autumn, with the Digital Economy Bill looming and the future uncertain, I started to entertain the idea of leaving you. But I’d made a commitment to complete what we’d started. When ATVOD ruled against you, the idea that we might never have the right to release the content we’d already shot was one of the most painful aspects of it. It was deeply frustrating that creative endeavours I’d invested time, imagination, money and effort into might be thwarted. Then we became free to finish them, to put them out into the world, and I’ve felt myself stubbornly determined to carry out that commitment. Giving up would have felt like admitting defeat - like letting the government bullies win.

Morally and legally, we beat them and I’m glad of it. But in a practical sense, they’d already won before I even filed my appeal. They cut you down in your prime, wiped out years of carefully accumulated momentum and traffic, and turned you from a growing small business to an expensive hobby I can’t afford to continue.

I’ve been mulling it over for months, trying to decide what to do. In December I decided to not shoot anything new - it seemed pointless with the Digital Economy Bill hanging over us - and just keep going until we ran out of content. Originally I had enough scenes in the can to last until April; then the new slower update schedule stretched it out until June, and now every missed update delays the finishing line. It’s started to feel like completion is impossible. I’m away for most of July, and I absolutely don’t have time to prepare a month’s worth of updates in advance around the other paid work I’m doing. I’d set my sights on getting to the end of the content already shot, but I’ve had to accept I won’t manage it before I go away.

Trying to keep things limping along is just letting the situation continue indefinitely without conclusion. It's in my power to step away. A shift of attitude is all that's needed.

Love and fear

We’ve been together a long time. It’s been six and a half years since you opened for business, and I was working and planning for two years before that. You are a labour of love, and before the ATVOD investigation, you were a pleasure. I was passionate about you and preferred you to any other project. But under the present circumstances the weight of obligation is growing increasingly heavy.

I have always wanted to do what I love, and love what I do. Years ago, I sat down to create a job for myself which paid the bills, was creatively fulfilling, self-expressive, and politically worthwhile. You were what I came up with, and you ticked all my boxes. Then ATVOD came calling. Since then, the political importance of this work has become more acute - but it is no longer financially rewarding, and the constant legal struggles have made it hard for me to enjoy the creative aspect of the work. I used to pour my heart and soul into every update. The ATVOD investigation, the threat of being outed, the unfavourable ruling, the helplessness of waiting to hear my appeal result, and now the Digital Economy Act - all these have tainted my enjoyment of you. Since the appeal win I’ve stubbornly persisted in the face of financial losses, legal uncertainty and competing priorities, but now I only have time to do the bare minimum each week, it’s much less rewarding.

Spanking is a core part of my identity. It's my original fetish, hard-wired; it’s been with me for as long as I can remember. I am deeply attached to it, and spanking is what has kept me attached to you. Our relationship has always been one of love, as well as business. Now I need to ensure that I don’t let that love distort my ability to make rational decisions.

When I had to take you offline I was badly burned out, and it took about six months to recover. Now I'm finding myself heading towards burnout again. I need to start re-assessing my priorities, and putting what truly matters first in my life.

The thing is, this pressure of obligation is self-imposed. I can free myself if I want to. If I reprioritise, perhaps I can create more space for relaxation and celebration, and be able to enjoy some of the rewards the last few years has brought me. There are opportunities opening up for me, and I want to be able to take advantage of them rather than being stuck in the same situation forever.

For a while now, I’ve sensed that the rational decision was to stop updating you. And yet each time I’ve thought about it, I’ve found myself refusing to make that choice. So what am I afraid of?

You have brought me so much. Creative and erotic satisfaction, the pleasure of connecting with likeminded fetishists who affirm my interest and make me feel less alone. You’ve given me peer recognition, a political voice, social status. Our legal battles have brought me a reputation as a campaigner who keeps on fighting rather than backing down. I’m scared of losing that. I’m scared of giving up too soon. I’m scared of letting them win; and I’m scared of making people think that I’ve let them win.

The thing is, although we’ve been in conflict with UK authorities, ultimately this struggle is not with an external enemy, but with my own fear of letting go. My inner enemy is the very stubbornness that has made me a successful activist. That reluctance to back down, to lose face, has served me as a campaigner. But it’s not serving me now. An opportunity opens up for liberation and change; a new period of my life can begin.

The impact of age verification

I had hoped that this new period would be one in which you were a going concern, a profitable and liberated enterprise which could financially support me while giving me a space to express my authentic erotic self. But that’s not the world we find ourselves in. Thanks to the ATVOD hiatus and the Digital Economy Act, the economics are stacked too high against us.

Just for a second, let’s consider the possibility that I might want to keep updating you. I’d have to stop doing paid work and borrow money to free up time to build you back up to the successful business you used to be. It would mean going back to start-up mode, spending another couple of years accumulating debt and working for free. Realistically, to have a chance of being successful I’d also have to stop spending time on political activism, end my Patreon campaign and turn away from the chance to make a difference. But even if I wanted to do this - and I don’t - the new age verification rules would make it an impossible endeavour.

The mandatory age verification in the Digital Economy Bill leaves me three choices. To maintain my current level of page views, I’d have to pay several orders of magnitude more than your turnover each day to age verify every viewer. This is obviously not possible. To avoid having to age verify non-paying viewers, I would have to completely reorganise the site - months of unpaid work - and put everything classifiable as 18 or higher behind a paywall. I’d no longer be able to use any of the preview images, trailers, or explicit promotional materials I’ve spent years making. We’d make fewer sales as a result of not being able to publically promote the scenes in the archive, unless I spent yet more time creating new PG-13 promo materials for all the old scenes. Not only would this be a colossal waste of my time, it would lose the transparency which was always one of our core missions.

The third option is to geo-block all UK site visitors - 40% of your paying customers - and suffer a corresponding loss of sales. You’re already barely covering your costs, and I’m not getting paid enough to keep updating you. None of the available options are going to improve that situation.

The conclusion is clear. It’s time for me to step away. In fact, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t updated you for several weeks already. It was late April when the emotional reality of this situation hit home. In early May I went into hospital for an operation, and ended my twelve year relationship with D. It’s been a hard month, and I’ve had a lot to deal with. But even without those unusual circumstances, this would still have been the right decision.

It’s taken me a while to put this into words. I fear what your members will think; I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want them to feel disappointed, resentful or betrayed. I don’t want people to think that I’m weak, that I’m giving up too soon. But in the end, I shouldn’t be led by fear of what others might think.

For a few years, you were the reason I got up in the morning. I was gutted when ATVOD stopped us from doing the work we had set out to do. Now, a year after your triumphant re-opening, I’ve finally reached the point where I feel ready to step away.

Yes, I mourn the injustice that saw you cut down at your height. But what's happened has had a silver lining too. My campaigning against the AVMS 2014 and, more recently, the Digital Economy Act 2017, has given me the opportunity to challenge the criminalisation and stigma of sex work, and advocate for the right to enjoy consensual BDSM. My political work has taken me to places I’d never been before - from lobbying the House of Lords to leading the discussion on age verification at the Adult Provider's Network tech demo. I’ve built up a successful Patreon to support my ongoing political activism, and I'm finding myself increasingly drawn to this sort of work. I have you to thank for that, but ATVOD played their part in getting me fired up, too.

After the time I’ve spent with you, I know I can bring my dreams to life. I’ve learned how to build a successful enterprise, innovate, and take risks that pay off. You’ve given me confidence that any new venture I turn my hand to will yield results.

You have fulfilled your purpose, and it’s now time for me to move on. One of the hardest wisdoms of the heart is knowing when to leave a situation and let go. Our natural tendency is to want to have, to hold and to keep - letting go can seem a rejection of important values such as commitment, dedication and responsibility. But there is a season and a cycle to all things. Something that has served us at one time may now no longer do so. And I’m starting to realise that stepping away is not a rejection of one thing, but an embracing of another.

There is no need to blame anyone or anything in the past for my decision. I’m not bitter about ATVOD or the Digital Economy Act. These experiences have shaped me, given me skills and experience and connections, helped me step into my power. I see the future calling to me as I give thanks for the experiences of the past. Now, it’s time for me to take a break to recharge and rededicate myself to what I sense is the core purpose of my life.

So what does this mean in practice?

The Digital Economy Act has a one year window before enforcement will begin; we’re already a couple of months into that. So whatever changes I make to the site in response to the age verification requirement, they must be complete by next March, or earlier to be safe.

To avoid having to pay for age verification, I’ll have to geoblock UK IP addresses. This will mean that if you’re visiting the site from the UK and you aren’t using a VPN or onion router, you’ll be redirected to a PG-13 page which doesn’t contain any content that would be classified 18 or higher. Users from the rest of the world will still be able to view the site and buy access to scenes.

There won't be new weekly site updates. Current members will continue to have access to the archive. Members who bought subscriptions before this change was announced will be given extensions to their memberships to compensate them for the lack of new updates. If someone doesn’t have a membership yet and wants to be able to watch films in the archive, they will still be able to buy a subscription, but it won't entitle them to new content each week.

I still have several photo galleries, videos and audio stories which have not yet been published. I’d like to put them up at some point, but I’m not committing to any particular schedule. I’ll do it when I feel like it, if I feel like it. I suspect I’ll need to take a break for a while to recover my enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to this being a pleasure again; to sharing new spanking scenes for the joy of it, not because I’m tied to a neverending weekly obligation. Those with memberships will have access to new material when it comes out, and I might even give members a heads up when I’m working on something new - but I won’t be holding myself to any deadlines.

I’m planning a redesign. I’ve been meaning to do one for years, I even started work on it, but ATVOD et al got in the way. I’d like to set up more powerful video on demand functionality, with individual films available to stream or download without needing a membership. I’m not intending to walk away from you entirely; but I won’t have time to implement these changes while still struggling to edit new content every week.

What does the future hold?

Well. I still have so many porn ideas. New projects, new enterprises, new films. I doubt I’ll be gone for good. And without being tied down to a membership site, my time will be freed up to work on the new projects that excite me.

But in the short term, I think I’ll be taking a bit of a sabbatical. I’ve spent far too much time since 2009 editing porn and campaigning around porn politics, and not enough time with my loved ones, enjoying hobbies, or campaigning on any of the other social justice issues I care about. I have a book I want to write. I have plans that require money, and non-porn opportunities to earn it.

You can stay informed of what I’m up to by adding my blog pandorablake.com to your feed reader, and by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. If you want regular newsletters and sneak previews of my latest work in porn and out of it, you could consider becoming one of my supporters on Patreon.

So this is farewell, of a sort. Thanks, Dreams of Spanking. You’ve changed my life for the better. And I like to think that the two of us, in some small way, have changed spanking porn for the better, too. This has been the best job of my life, and now I find that I've reached a point where I am complete with it. Looking forward, the opportunities feel infinite. I’m excited about what I might do next.

Uncertainty

When you run a business, the conventional wisdom is to present a front of certainty at all times. If you're feeling ambivalent, the theory goes, don't let on; potential customers will pick up on it, and it might make them feel ambivalent too. It's better to hide your doubts, and manifest confidence and certainty that your product is the best there is. So the theory goes.

The problem is that if you're genuinely feeling ambivalent, it's hard to sound positive without it feeling fake. And if your business is founded on principles of authenticity, transparency and genuine self-expression, that fake feeling can amplify any feelings of ambivalence that already exist. It's a negative spiral. And if I'm truly honest, this is where I'm at right now with Dreams of Spanking.

Stopping and starting

When ATVOD first started investigating us, the site was going from strength to strength. Girl on the Net, AJ and I were working together as a solid team; we were earning international recognition and winning awards at film festivals. For the first time since we launched in 2011, I'd managed to get my own workload down to a manageable level. We were earning enough that everyone was getting paid - even me, and I've always made a point of paying everyone else before I take anything for myself.

After three years investing time, energy and money into the project, it was genuinely starting to pay off. I could even envisage a time when I might be able to hand over the video editing to a trusted colleague, and move onto new pastures while continuing to earn a little passive income from the project into which I had poured so much. Pensions are a tricky business for self-employed sex workers, but Dreams of Spanking was my first real chance at a nest egg. I didn't pay myself for most of the work I did nursing it to life in the beginning, but I was hoping that eventually, it would all work out.

Then ATVOD came to call, and after a gruelling investigation the site was forced offline for ten months. From a business perspective, this was a massive blow. Never mind that we were politically and morally vindicated in the end; we eventually won our appeal and earned the right to relaunch. My protestations that the AVMS regulations were unjust, and ATVOD was enforcing them unjustly, were eventually proved right when my appeal was upheld; but never mind that. The damage was done.

It's hard for any business to recover from an enforced hiatus. It's not just the loss of traffic and search engine rank; it's the human aspect too. Fans, promoters and affiliates get bored waiting and look elsewhere. If I'm honest, after my initial grief at ATVOD's verdict, my own focus has shifted too. During those ten months I was able to pursue other interests for the first time since I launched Dreams of Spanking. I travelled, exercised, got therapy, re-invested in friendships and relationships. I engaged with other forms of rewarding work. I made time for play. When I first heard the verdict I felt like my life had been taken away; but in some ways, the hiatus gave me my life back.

More pressingly, while the site was offline, the press attention surrounding the ATVOD verdict gave me the platform to to raise awareness about issues I cared about. I renewed my political activism, and launched a Patreon campaign to crowdfund the work I'm doing to challenge sex work criminalisation and promote sexual freedom. In the midst of trauma and loss from seeing the biggest creative project of my life destroyed, I was able to find a renewed sense of purpose.

Then it all got complicated again. Privately, I was told that I'd won my appeal - but that I couldn't announce it yet. I felt conflicted. I was happy to have won - but increasingly frustrated at having the rules of this game dictated to me; at not being free to express myself. The practicalities were stressful, too. I knew I would at some point be able to re-open the site, but that I wouldn't know when until much nearer the time. That not-knowing was hard. It was impossible to make plans; I didn't know if I could start new projects, or if I would suddenly have put everything else on hold to relaunch the site at short notice. When I launched Dreams of Spanking in 2011 I had created a fulltime job for myself. In 2015 that was taken away without my consent; and now it was being thrust back on me, and in some ways, I felt just as powerless. It felt like whatever steps I took to build a fulfilling, self-actualised life for myself, the government would stick their oar in and mess up my plans.

Of course I'm happy Dreams of Spanking won our appeal. Ofcom made the right decision; ATVOD should never have ruled against us, and the law and the whole investigation was unjust from the start. But the disruption was devastating both financially and personally, and picking up the pieces and trying to rebuild it didn't make the whole thing right again. After winning the appeal, it wasn't like the investigation had never happened.

So we co-ordinated the announcement of the appeal win, and in June I finally re-opened the site. But I was permitted a mere four weeks to enjoy our victory before the next cloud appeared on the horizon.

And now, after so many ups and downs, the future of Dreams of Spanking is still depressingly precarious.

The costs of age verification

The Digital Economy Bill is currently going through Parliament, and has just come to the end of its committee stage. The section of the Bill introducing compulsory age verification for all adult sites accessible from the UK will have a serious impact on Dreams of Spanking, and on many other adult websites.

Complying with this legislation will be difficult, if not impossible. First of all, I'll have to overhaul the whole site structure of Dreams of Spanking. Any content that would be classified as "18" or higher will be illegal to publish publicly, on the open internet. So video, images and audio that contain any nudity, bums or spanking will need to go behind intrusive, privacy-violating age checks.

To prove you're over 18, you'll have to type in sensitive personal details such as your legal name, credit card details, date of birth, address or phone number. That data will be visible not to me, but to whatever age verification system I install - private companies that are free to operate unregulated, and without having to safeguard the security and privacy of your personal data.

Not only is this terrible for you, it's terrible for me. Every age check will cost me money - estimates range from £0.05 to £1.50 per check. Dreams of Spanking currently receives over two thousand visitors a day (under half the traffic we had before ATVOD forced us offline), so the cost of checking the age of every site visitor would add up to significantly more than the site's total revenue - and that's before we take into account existing costs such as production, paying my team members, and bandwidth. In other words, complying with the age verification law will immediately put the site out of business.

Even if I can somehow persuade enough of those two thousand visitors to buy memberships that I can afford to verify all their ages, the site will never be the same. This law will mean no more public previews. No free trailers, no preview images, no free hosted galleries, no birthday spanking giveaways, no Creative Commons projects and no charity caning films. No more getting around CCBill's content restrictions by giving material away.

No more transparency, and no more free porn.

The value of giving things away

When I launched the site, it was hugely important to me that I didn't follow the standard paysite model. You know the one: some garish tour pages with flashing banners and fleshy montages, with all the actual scene previews, video trailers and so on behind a paywall. It's a scarcity based business model; the only way you can get to see the good stuff is by paying. I personally believe that's one reason why piracy has been such a problem for the porn industry - people resent having the content they want to see withheld, and it motivates them to buck the system by filesharing.

Instead, I wanted something closer to a loyalty model. Rather than trying to force a situation where buying a membership is the only way you can see Dreams of Spanking films (which is impossible when filesharing is so common), I wanted to make it so that people wanted to support the project. The idea of the model I came up with is that I give lots away, and you trust you know what you're getting if you do decide to pay. The brand gets more visibility; you feel more included. Everyone wins.

I have no desire for my porn to pop up in the browsers of young children who won't know how to assess what they're seeing, and might be distressed by it. But I don't use popup advertising, and Dreams of Spanking doesn't have high enough search rank for children to "accidentally" stumble across it. Even if a child did somehow find the link to the homepage, they'd have to click through the content warning page, scroll down, and click again on a link to an individual scene in order to see anything other than tiny thumbnails. 

It is, I admit, possible that older teens, who are already interested in exploring their sexuality - and who may well be over the age of consent for sexual intercourse - might look for erotic content online, and find Dreams of Spanking. Realistically, this is unlikely to happen unless they're explicitly searching for "spanking". And if curious young people - perhaps wrestling, as I did, with the fear that because they fantasise about spanking there's something wrong with them - type "spanking" into a search engine and end up here, then at least they'll see a site that prioritises consent. They'll see interviews, behind the scenes videos, comments, and respectful copy that celebrates the whole personhood of our performers. They'll see body positivity, queer inclusivity, and gender equality.

If sexually curious teenagers are going to look for porn, I'd rather they found my porn than some of the other stuff that's out there, because at least then they'll be receiving healthy, positive messages about negotiation, communication, body image, gender, and consent.

Free previews are valuable to adult viewers too. I want kinky queer people, kinky fat people, and kinky people of colour to be able to see people in porn who look like them. No-one with a spanking fetish deserves to feel shame about their kink. I want as much of the site as possible to be public, because I want as many people as possible to become resilient to the sex-shaming and kink-shaming that are so prevalent in our culture - regardless of whether or not they can afford a membership.

If I was independently wealthy and could operate Dreams of Spanking as a free site, believe me, I would. Even as it is, the total pay I've drawn from the business over five years adds up to way less than a living wage.

So these core principles of transparency, visibility, and open dialogue about kink, diversity and consent, are absolutely fundamental to the Dreams of Spanking manifesto. And now, the age verification law will make it impossible for us to uphold them. Everything will be locked down, hidden away.

The legislation applies to audio and still images as well as video, so those won't be exempt. This blog will cease to be publically visible; all the discourse I have engaged in over the years about how to make porn in an ethical and feminist way will cease to be findable via Google. Years of careful tagging to make our scenes show up in searches will be destroyed in a single blow: you won't be able to find Dreams of Spanking via a search engine any more. It will be like a return to the secret libraries of Victorian England: only accessible to the wealthy, to those in the know, those with the privilege to not have anything to lose by sharing their identity or risking their privacy

One of the many ways in which the internet has been a positive force for change is that it has opened up the discourse about sex and sexuality; made the topic more visible, invited more people to share experiences and insights, and helped all of us feel less alone. Now, just as we are really starting to see the benefits - in terms of better social understanding and acceptance of sex and gender diversity than ever before in our history - this law is going to shut that discourse down. Sex will become taboo again. You shouldn't talk about it, not in public spaces. It's dirty. You should be ashamed. Think of the children.

Actually, I do think of the children. I know that societies with more open attitudes towards porn have lower rates of sexual violence, STI transmission and teen pregnancy. I know that children growing up with marginalised sexualities - whether queer or kinky - often feel isolated, especially in rural communities. I know that this isolation can cause severe mental health issues, and even lead to suicide.

I know that young people need better sex education which is based around consent, pleasure and how to stay safe, provided by parents and teachers who aren't propagating their own sexual shame.

I know that humans are often sexual and often curious about it, and that if we don't talk to young people about porn they'll find it anyway, whether or not they have the resources or resilience to critically interpret what they're seeing. I know that shutting porn in a locked room and only giving keys to the rich is not the answer. It will not help our culture be healthier, or better informed, or more accepting or responsible about sex.

Prohibited content

That's bad enough. But the problems with the Digital Economy Bill go deeper than that.

Even if I somehow manage to fully comply with the legislation: hide everything spanking-themed on the site behind age checks; find the money to check the ID of every non-paying visitor who wants to browse my free previews; survive the loss of traffic and Googleability - even if I can stomach the disappearing of this blog, the behind the scenes videos, the performer interviews, and the discourse about ethics and consent - the site still can't survive, because every scene that was criminalised by the AVMS regulations will be recriminalised by the Digital Economy Bill.

ATVOD found us in breach because they ruled that some of our videos depict corporal punishment that leaves 'lasting' marks. We won our appeal on the basis that the principle purpose of the site is not commercial, and it is not in competetition with mainstream broadcast media. That victory won us an exemption to the AVMS Regulations 2014. But the AVMS didn't invent the rules around what content is banned; it drew them from existing classification guidelines used by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for films and TV.

The guidelines prohibit any depiction of pain play that leaves marks on the body beyond those deemed "transient and trifling" from classification even as R18, the highest classification category in the UK. Basically, under the current rules you can't show any act which would constitute assault or actual bodily harm, or any act which would risk injury to the viewer if it were imitated. So no caning, no belting, no welts, no bruises - and that's before we get into the bans on things like facesitting, breath play, fisting, squirting, watersports and "full" bondage, defined as the restraint of all four limbs plus a gag.

The AVMS regulations were the first instrument of UK law to apply those classification guidelines to material published on the internet. We've enjoyed a heady few months of official exemption from them: but now the Digital Economy Bill uses those same guidelines to control what can and can't be published online. If the Bill is passed it will be illegal to publish any 'prohibited content' even behind age checks. Let that sink in: even age-verified, consenting adults who have handed over their real names and addresses to prove their age won't be allowed to look at spanking videos that show marks.

So we're about to be recriminalised. And I can only assume that every other UK law affecting online pornography from now on will use the same prohibited content guidelines. If this law passes next March, as I'm told it will, then our victorious relaunch will barely have lasted longer than the enforced hiatus that preceded it.

What are our options? One thing is certain: stubbornly refusing to comply, incurring the wrath of the regulator, going through another investigation, another hiatus, another appeal - it's not an option. Either for me personally at an emotional level, or financially, from a business perspective.

I could try to comply with the age verification requirements: swallow my pride, compromise my core principles of transparency and visibility, and hope that I get away with there being prohibited content behind the age check. But it seems like a doomed proposition - even if I could afford age verification in practice, which seems unlikely. My public profile is too high, my reputation as a troublemaker too entrenched, for me to avoid scrutiny. And there's no way to avoid publishing prohibited content: under the current guidelines, nearly all our content is banned.

Moving the site overseas might seem my best remaining option - but the Digital Economy Bill applies to overseas sites as well as UK ones. The only way I could do it would be to install IP checks that made the site totally inaccessible from the UK. In effect, I would no longer legally be able to view my own website. I might be able to continue working for the site in some capacity, but I would no longer be able to own it, control it, or in fact see it. 

As far as I can see, my best option is to challenge the problem at source, and push for a review of the classification guidelines - specifically the ceiling for R18 content - and of UK obscenity law more generally. So for the last couple of months I've been working with Backlash, Myles Jackman and other political allies towards this goal. We are challenging the Digital Economy Bill and pushing for a comprehensive review of the laws surrounding porn and BDSM in the UK.

If you want to support these efforts, you can pledge a dollar or whatever you can afford on Patreon, to help me pay my rent while I do this political work. You can sign and share the petition for personal privacy and sexual freedom. And if you can buy a site membership from time to time, even better.

But a comprehensive review of obscenity law is a long-term goal; and in the meantime, I have to accept that it's unlikely I'll be able to change the law in time to save Dreams of Spanking from being outlawed next spring.

The hard questions

All this has been going around my head since the Digital Economy Bill was published on the 5th July. Here are some hard truths, which I have come to admit only grudgingly:

  • At best, no matter what I do, it's unlikely I can keep Dreams of Spanking open beyond the end of 2017.
  • My political campaigning via Patreon, particularly my efforts to challenge UK obscenity law, is the most important and fullfilling work I am doing at present. Realistically, activism takes precedence over creating new Dreams of Spanking content for me right now, both emotionally (political work feels more urgent at the moment than making spanking videos) and strategically (Dreams of Spanking doesn't have a future unless I do this work, and do it well enough to succeed). 
  • After staff costs, bandwidth costs and other expenses, since relaunching Dreams of Spanking has only been able to pay me minimum wage for the time I've spent on it. It is therefore not possible for me to work fulltime on Dreams of Spanking at this point in my life: it doesn't pay me enough to live on, and my political work is both more urgent, and more important. 

All these add up to a strong argument for putting the site on ice now; gracefully retiring Dreams of Spanking to focus on other goals, rather than suffering the humiliation of clinging on to the last possible moment before it's wrenched away again. But I haven't done this, and I don't intend to.

Perhaps it's just stubbornness - it wouldn't be the first time that attribute had made my life more difficult than necessary. But to counter the above, I have good, valid reasons for keeping going.

The first is, quite simply, closure. The worst aspect of the ATVOD verdict was not being able to publish the content I had already filmed; it was a brutal disruption of my creative process. Winning my appeal was a victory for my right to express myself. I've won the right to publish that content, and I want to damn well publish it. Not just because I can, but because appealing that verdict was a 'fuck you' to unjust laws and a prejudicial regulator. I held fast to my principles, I fought, and I won. I intend to continue in that spirit.

Giving up now would be letting them win after all; it would betray everything I've fought for. Not getting that closure would leave me feeling unsatisfied and incomplete. I'm willing to accept that it doesn't make sense to shoot much new content now, given I may not get a chance to publish it. But the work I've already done was created as a true self-expression, and my intention was always to share it with the world. I want closure on that creative process before I move on to the next phase. I want to finish what I've started.

Secondly, this decision doesn't only affect me. Another dreadful consequence of the ATVOD decision was that it wasn't just me who was affected - my team members lost out too, and with even less control over the situation than I had. I was prepared to pay the price for my stubbornness, but it also impacted everyone who works for me. I try my hardest to be a good boss, and that means not making my whole team redundant if I don't have to. Doing so mere months after giving them their jobs back would be particularly cruel.

I feel too ambivalent, too uncertain, and too conflicted to be confident about quitting when it won't just affect me, but will also directly affect the financial stability and wellbeing of people I care about. The Dreams of Spanking project is a complex ecosystem; my own self-care isn't the only relevant factor.

But it's an incredibly difficult situation. Do I continue updating Dreams of Spanking while I still can, try to make the best of it, promote it enough to cover costs while I keep it ticking over - all at the same time as trying to campaign against the laws that will otherwise inevitably kill it? Or do I stop spending time editing and promoting new videos, put the project back on ice, and free up more time for activism, to give myself the best possible chance of defeating this terrible law?

This question isn't going to go away. And it's an impossible bind.

I can tell you this much: for now, I've decided to keep Dreams of Spanking running. I have a content schedule mapped out until March next year. Before then, I'm going to run out of male submissive scenes, and at that point I need to decide whether to re-invest in a project that is already barely covering costs, and risk ending up with more content I can't publish; or whether to compromise another the core principle of the site, and stop maintaining the gender diversity of new updates.

I don't know the answer to that question. And even not changing my plan, continuing to reflect while maintaining the status quo, is a decision that has consequences. Every month I keep the site running, I'm spending time on Dreams of Spanking that I'm not spending challenging the law.

I've been trying to balance these conflicting priorities for five months already. You have probably noticed that the content going out each week is different than it used to be. To free up time for the political campaigning I'm doing, I've been publishing shorter updates, more solo videos, POV scenes, audio stories and photosets. There has been a new update every week, but I'm no longer committed to a new spanking video plus performer interview plus behind the scenes video plus photoset every week, because maintaining that schedule is a fulltime job, and if Dreams is my fulltime job, I'm not doing the political work that is its only chance of longterm survival.

Deciding how much time to spend on the site, how much to delegate, is an open question; one I revisit every week. So far, I've been feeling my way through these thorny issues as best I can, with a heart full of uncertainty.

I've tried to be open and transparent with the rest of the Dreams of Spanking team throughout the process, but when I sent them the draft of this blogpost it was the first time most of them fully realised how precarious the future of the site really is. And now you know, too.

Where do we go from here?

I wish I could end this post on a positive note. It would, perhaps, be good business practice to reassure you that for now I'm committed to keeping the site alive (I am), that we have hot new content lined up for this week (we do), and that I won't stop updating the site without giving all of you a decent amount of notice (I won't). I could urge you to join now while you still can. I could sing the praises of our archive, which is bursting at the seams with high-quality spanking films available for all members to both stream and download.

But the truth is, this is hard, and no amount of positivity or spin will make it less hard.

So instead I invite you to stand with me, in this undeniably difficult and demoralising situation.  I invite you to understand, perhaps, why not every site update at the moment is as substantial as I would like it to be. And I invite you to share my anger at the injustice of criminalising consensual adult activities that do no harm and bring pleasure to so many. Your empathy and shared outrage has kept me going before, and it is always welcome. 

I can promise you new erotic content every week: always spanking themed, always ethically produced, always the authentic expression of my kinky sexuality. I can promise you at least one fully-realised, action-packed spanking film every month, with a behind the scenes video and a photoset - and that if it is ever possible for me to publish more than one, I will. I can promise that I will continue to fight these terrible laws that tell us we should be ashamed of our kink. I can promise to devote as much time and energy as possible to political campaigning, lobbying and activism, challenging porn criminalisation and promoting sexual freedom.

And I can promise to be honest, genuine and heartfelt in my work on Dreams of Spanking - always.

We're back. Did you miss us?

Sing, Muse - a visual poem, a spell woven in ink on skin.

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.

The start of an evening of hedonistic delights at the Morpheus Club...

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.

Champagne time with Tai and Pandora! Will you join us in celebrating?

Champagne time with Tai and Pandora! Will you join us in celebrating?

When the axe falls

Well, it's happened.

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

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

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

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

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

Why I refuse to comply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what happens next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get angry.

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

Let's fight together too.

Shooting in a cinematic style - the story behind our new film 'Houseboy'

Our new film Houseboy is a departure from the usual videos on Dreams of Spanking - and most other spanking sites. This is our first attempt at a cinematic short film, aiming for a higher standard of cinematography and storytelling than we are usually able to achieve. I wasn't planning to shoot this way from the start - it came about from a convergence of factors that created the perfect opportunity to try something new.

Casting Tai Crimson

It started last year, when I met an enthusiastically kinky and ridiculously cute young person from San Francisco. He was gorgeous, he loved spanking - he could certainly take it - and he expressed an interest in shooting for Dreams of Spanking. He wasn't old enough at that point to perform in porn, but I said that once he turned 18 I'd be very happy to work with him. We made plans to shoot together when he was next in the UK - which happened to be May 2015, less than a week after his eighteenth birthday. How's that for a coming-of-age celebration?

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

I normally prefer to work with kinksters who are a little older, simply because I value emotional maturity and experience in the people I shoot with. I think the common fetish for "barely 18" performers in porn is partly based on the idea that young performers are vulnerable, and so it's easier to take advantage of them and push their limits. I find this sleazy and totally unethical, and I'd always much rather work with older players who know their own minds and are able to look after themselves. It's important to me that the performers I hire can take responsibility for their own limits and communication, are experienced enough players to know their bodies and their preferences, and are secure in their decision to appear in fetish porn - because once you've done it, there's no going back.

When I met Tai, however, he exploded all of my preconceptions. Although a teenager, he has a rock solid sense of his kinky identity, and he's been exploring his interest in private for years. He is calm, confident, intelligent, self-reliant, and very emotionally mature. So at eighteen and a few days, Tai officially beats Talia Lane to the position of youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking - and yes, we do have his ID on file to prove it!

We put a date in the diary, and meanwhile Tai and I exchanged emails discussing his interests and preferences. But by March this year, when I needed to start firming up plans, I already knew that ATVOD were investigating Dreams of Spanking and that I was likely to have to stop updating the site for a duration of several months while my appeal was underway. I had lots of scenes already shot starring Fauni, Mike, Talia and David and others which I wasn't going to be able to publish, so there was absolutely no point spending money and energy shooting more material that might never see the light of day.

Towards a cinematic style

Meanwhile, I'd attended the British Fetish Film Festival in February and the Berlin Porn Film Festival last October, and I'd been thinking an awful lot about shooting styles, production values, and the budget and time constraints under which I was shooting.

Over five years I have developed a shoot style that produces one 10-15 minute spanking film per hour, in a remarkably stress free environment, with plenty of breaks. This is based on improvised scenes filmed live by one or two handheld camera operators, with perhaps some close-ups or cutaways to enhance anticipation in the build up to the spanking scenes, but otherwise shot with as few cuts as possible - unless the performers themselves need to cut. Lightweight, consumer-grade cameras make handheld shooting manageable without the camera operators getting too tired, and using auto-focus allows us to get visual variety by roaming around the scene shooting different angles, rather than stopping the action to reset each shot.

This non-disruptive shooting style allows the performers to get into an immersive scene space and stay in character, which helps the roleplay flow more smoothly, and also helps the bottom stay in their headspace and makes the spanking itself easier to take. It's a system that Nimue and I have got down to a fine art, and I was pleased that we'd reached a point where we could create nice-looking films within budget, while maintaining a relaxed and fun shoot environment for everyone involved.

The downside of this low-key shooting style is that the resulting films would never achieve the cinematic quality that I was seeing at the film festivals I was going to. I'd had a couple of films rejected from international festivals, presumably because the videography, audio quality and storytelling wasn't up to scratch. I found myself wanting to level up, and see if with a bit more money, time and effort, I could raise my production values and put Dreams of Spanking on the map as a credible producer of cinema-quality films.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

So rather than hire Tai for a day shooting a number of improvised ten minute website updates, I decided to use him to do something different. I booked amazing boudoir photographer Matt Christie to help out with the videography - he'd expressed an interest in shooting video last time we shot together, he has a commercial-grade camera and he also had access to an amazing location perfect for the scenario I had in mind.

I started penning ideas for a single 10-15 minute short film. Not five films, or six films, or seven. Just one.

Developing the story

With Tai, I had an articulate and gorgeous masculine-of-center performer with a submissive streak a mile wide, who loved being spanked. I thought about the films I was seeing at festivals, and the lack of beautifully-shot female/male BDSM films shot from a female perspective, with a male submissive who is both beautiful and interesting, and not just a cipher propping up a sexually objectified female dominant. Instead of this I wanted to make Tai the lust object and protagonist of the film, focussing both the lens on his body, and the story on his character's journey.

I started with a fairly traditional plot - a young man applying for a submissive role in the household of an established mistress. I brainstormed ideas for visual storytelling, thinking about ways to focus the storyline on the tension and anticipation Tai's character feels before he takes the plunge towards fulfilling his submissive desires. I considered ways to create an interesting power dynamic between his character and mine. I quickly realised that I'd need a third performer, another submissive serving the mistress - someone to make his arrival at the house feel more formal and more intimidating.

I'd already talked to my friend Eliza Grey about having her on set as a shoot assistant, helping out behind the camera (she had planned to be with us on our shoot in November, but had sadly been unable to make it). I realised she'd be perfect for the role of a bitchy receptionist, enhancing Tai's nerves before his interview with the Madame... and once I'd cast Eliza, the rest of the story fell into place. 

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

Writing the script

Ten days before the shoot, I was hurrying to finish the script on my laptop on the train. I'd never written lines for characters to say before, and I was finding it surprisingly difficult. I'd write a line, then agonise over it. What if Tai doesn't feel comfortable saying that? What if that's not what Eliza would say? I've always made a political point of not putting words in my performers' mouths, and suddenly that was what I was literally doing. At the same time I was all-too-aware that they were going to need to memorise their lines, and time was running out.

I closed my eyes, wrote some lines telling myself they were only placeholders, and sent it off with an apologetic email saying this was a very rough draft, and inviting them to make any changes they wanted. But my anxiety proved unfounded. In the end, bar one wording change, that script was the one we used - and Tai and Eliza rocked it.

Working with a storyboard

A week before the shoot I was on D's sofa after a fetish party, scribbling a 'storyboard' in biro on A4 paper from his printer while my friends chatted around me. After writing the screenplay I had a strong visual image in my mind's eye of what most of the shots would look like - now it was just a case of creating a visual reference so I could communicate my ideas to Matt on the day. I'd visited Matt's location a week ago, so the rooms were fresh in my mind. It was a useful exercise to think through camera angles and compose the shots, but I'm pretty sure it was the crappiest storyboard anyone has ever worked from. The most hilarious of my terrible stick figure drawings was this sketch of Eliza being spanked over my knee and feeling sad about it:

Professional production all round, innit.

The day of the shoot

The shoot day approached. I bought food and props, looked up travel options, packed suitcases, selected implements, printed scripts and release forms. Shortly before the day I realised that I'd inadvertently booked our shoot on the same day as the London Marathon, and the location we were using was only one block away from the route. That meant that not only would transport potentially be disrupted, but the exterior shots would all have a huge amount of background noise. Still, at this late stage there was nothing to be done about it. I booked an 8am taxi, the traffic at that hour was fine, and I was on set at 9am. Matt and I drank coffee and looked through the storyboard, then Tai and Eliza arrived - and it was all go.

Shooting from a script was a totally new experience for me, and a steep learning curve. I'd worked out the best shooting order, shooting the story in as close to chronological order as possible while minimising room and lighting changes. After that it was just a question of staying calm, following the callsheet and taking it one shot at a time.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

I was using an external mic for the first time, and was grateful to have Eliza helping out and sharing the responsibility for making sure the mic was a) close enough, b) not in shot, and c) recording each time. She was also an absolute star helping out with moving lights, checking camera batteries and memory cards, making tea and tidying up behind us. A+++, would work with again. Plus it turned out she could seriously act...

It was a full day, perhaps a bit too full - nerves started to fray after a few hours, and everyone was feeling tired by mid-afternoon. The shoot would definitely have been easier with more camera crew or fewer scenes to fit in. After a few hours, Matt noticed a round smudge in the middle of the lens, and wiped it off - but of course there wasn't time to go back and re-shoot the shots we'd already done. By the time we came to shoot the confrontation between Tai and Eliza in the kitchen, everyone was so tired that that scene took about seven takes. Some of the shots ended up out of focus, and we got through so many cans of tonic that I was worried we'd run out!

Editing the film

Still, despite all that, when I came to look at the footage I was pleased to discover that most of it looked how I'd expected. There were a few surprises in the edit - such as that moment when I realised the reverse shot in one dialogue scene crossed the line and was therefore unusable, and was suddenly grateful that we'd shot three angles of that particular scene, even though at the time it felt like overkill. It was a monster of an edit, but satisfying too, sorting through all the footage, plugging it into place, and seeing how the scenes I'd envisioned in my mind played out on camera. 

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

Choosing the music was another daunting prospect - I knew I wanted to avoid re-using the same creative commons soundtracks that you hear time and time again in indie porn, and that meant spending money. But how to start looking? First I worked out where music was needed - in the intro sequence, the montage, and the closing credits, which meant I needed two or three pieces in total. Then I did a rough edit of those sequences so I had a vague idea of how long the music would need to be. After that, I set a day aside to browse SoundDogs, typing in different keywords and playing pieces with my eyes closed, visualing the film, until I hit on a genre that felt right. I realised that for this story my usual taste in piano and cello-dominated classical and film score music wouldn't work - Tai's character needed something moody and masculine, guitar-led, energetic and driving. Finally I whittled down a selection, downloaded some samples and started laying them over the edit to see what worked.

Primarily, this film was intended to be screened at film festivals - which meant that the narrative would have a different structure than standard spanking films. In a film intended for someone to watch while having a wank, you need a carefully paced build-up and pay-off that sustains uninterrupted shots of climactic spanking action for long enough for the viewer to reach orgasm. In a longer film, there might be two of three of these build-ups and climaxes, separated by character-driven story. But at a film festival, the audience are watching to have their minds stimulated, not their genitals. Fast-paced editing is preferable, providing lots of new visual information with every shot. Explicit sequences need to be edited down to the bare minimum necessary to develop the characters and progress the story. So that was a new challenge: cutting the 15 minutes of high quality spanking action in, for instance, Tai's audition scene, down to the three minutes earmarked for it in the festival edit. The only way I was able to do it was by promising myself that I'd release the full, uncut scene as an extended edition on Dreams of Spanking later. But meanwhile the deadline for the Berlin Porn Film Festival was June 30th, so I had to get the shorter edit finished first...

In the end, thankfully, it was finished in time to submit to Berlin, and I'm hopeful that they'll accept it. I'll be submitting it to various other film festivals over the summer as well. I'm really happy with the finished film, and completely honoured to have been trusted with Tai and Eliza's porn debuts - and thrilled that they had a good time.

Houseboy - a new cinematic short fetish film by Dreams of Spanking

And that's a wrap!

It was a really long shoot day. We finished the scheduled shots around 7pm, 10 hours after I'd arrived on set. But then we cracked open the champagne and ended up chatting and buzzing on a total high, which led to another two hours shooting performer interviews, and even a behind the scenes caning for Tai when he confessed he still didn't think he'd been spanked enough...

By the time we finally turned the cameras off, sat down for some supper and tidied everything away, the sun had gone down - and it was 11pm before I finally got into a cab. Matt and I had been on set for fourteen hours, Tai and Eliza for thirteen. I am so grateful to the three of them for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism. It was a long fucking shoot and everyone put in so much energy and creativity it was kind of overwhelming. Overall, this production cost ten times as much as an average Dreams of Spanking video, but even so I still came away feeling like I hadn't paid people enough for the amount of work they'd put in.

In conclusion

Overall, this was a very satisfying project, and I'm really happy to have it under my belt. But it also taught me a lot about the trade-off that arises when you move towards a more cinematic shooting style. My previous method gave my performers more breaks, less stress and a much more satisfying kink experience. Shooting Houseboy, we did the bare minimum of spanking needed to get the shots I wanted - and stopping to move the camera, check the focus and lighting, consult the storyboard every few seconds made it hard to get immersed into a satisfying spanking headspace. I'm glad I hadn't scripted any particularly hard spanking scenes, because I think severe corporal punishment would be much more emotionally and physically challenging to take in this context.

I hadn't realised it before, but shooting in a more amateur style results in a much more rewarding experience for the performers - with more opportunity for top and bottom to develop an in-scene chemistry, focus on each other rather than the camera, and time for the bottom to sink into a yummy submissive headspace, without constant distractions.

So what can I take away from this? Well, I've learned that shooting in a cinematic style is something I can do, and that's good to know. I've learned that it's hard work, at least ten times as expensive as my usual shooting style, and considerably more time-consuming to produce and edit. It's also exhilarating, exhausting, and very creatively satisfying. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a go, and I'm hopeful that the finished film will be screened in Berlin this year. But I've also learned that I don't want to start shooting this way every time. Perhaps I might be able to put out one cinematic film a year, but this experiment has restored my faith in my usual low-key way of shooting, which it turns out is preferable experience for me and my performers - and a much better environment to ask people to take hard spankings in. Our standard Dreams of Spanking shoots emphasise process over product, and trying something new has re-affirmed my faith in that process.

You can watch the long-play trailer for Houseboy below - and if you're a site member, please watch the full film and tell me what you think - and make sure you also check out the extended editions of Tai's and Eliza's spanking scenes, performer interviews and Tai's off-the-cuff behind the scenes caning.

We won a Feminist Porn Award!

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.

Click to view trailer for Instructed

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:

Feminist Porn Award Winners 2015

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

Honourable Mentions

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

Honoured Websites

BrightDesire.com
Queerporn.tv
Xconfessions.com

5 day membership - limited time only

At the moment, Dreams of Spanking does something that other sites don't - we offer 5 day memberships. For just ten pounds, you can have five days to access every single hot spanking video and photoset in our archives.

Romantic dominance and submission at Dreams of Spanking

When I launched the site, I wanted to give as many people as possible a chance to see what I had to offer. Dreams of Spanking has now been up and running for over three years, and we give away more free previews than any other spanking site. There are now so many corporal punishment films, behind the scenes videos and photos in our archive – not to mention free trailers, preview pictures and performer interviews for non-members - that I think the time is right to finally phase out the 5 day memberships.

So here's my proposal. If you're currently not sure whether a full month's subscription is for you, 5 day memberships to Dreams of Spanking will be available for a limited time only - until 15th February. Visit the site, download our films and photosets – hell, take a couple of days off work and spend them watching everything in our archive if you want to. Your 5 day membership will give you access to everything – canings, spankings, explicit photosets, out-take videos, beautiful spankees, consensual kink and edgy fantasies.

Hard punishment caning at Dreams of Spanking

Once you've done that, you'll know exactly what we've got to offer - and when we stop selling our 5 day memberships on 15th Feb, you'll know whether a 30 day subscription is good value.

Our super-cheap 5 day subscription is available for another two weeks - don't miss out!

Best Spanking Site 2014!

Dreams of Spanking - Best Spanking Site 2014

So here's a piece of good news - the results are in, and I was absolutely gobsmacked to discover that Dreams of Spanking was voted the Best Spanking Site 2014 in SpankingBlogg's Spanking Awards! The site and our performers qualified in multiple categories, but site of the year was the title I really cared about, and after all our hard work this year I'm overjoyed that to have been awarded it.

Winning an award like this has been a dream of mine since before I launched Dreams of Spanking. I know that with our radical politics and independent way of doing things, we do fall outside the usual porn categories. As a feminist spanking porn site, we're not like any other spanking sites - but we're not like any other feminist porn site either. It can be a little lonely, and it's so validating to know that although we're different, the spanking community appreciates our unique way of doing things. Thank you so much to everyone who voted - we couldn't have reached this point without our wonderful fans, and honestly Dreams of Spanking viewers are one of the best bunch of people on the internet. Thank you all.

So with three years of weekly film and photo updates and a sought-after web award under our belt, and a whopping 236 spanking scenes in our archive, it's time to look back at our top scenes from 2014. It seems that we must have been doing something right. Here are my twelve favourite spanking films and photogalleries from the year in which we were officially the Best Spanking Site:

January: The Whipped Maid

One of my all-time top fantasies: a hapless Victorian maid punished with a double caning by the Master and Mistress of the household. 50 hard strokes, straight on the bare.

Victorian maid receives a severe caning at Dreams of Spanking

Feb: Tangled with You

For Valentine's Day, a highly erotic photoset featuring me and my lover D. More than anything else we've ever shot, these photos express the intimacy and sexual chemistry between us. Definitely the most explicit images on Dreams of Spanking!

Intimate hardcore photography and real couple sex at Dreams of Spanking

March: An Unorthodox Tutorial

One of our most popular M/M scenes ever, Alexander Knight's debut made an impression. As the tousle-headed innocent student who is curious about spanking, he contrasted perfectly with fair-minded disciplinarian Dr Barton. With educated, well-spoken scene players who understand the psychology of punishment, it's easy to see why this pairing was a hit. Alex's sensitive, peachy bottom was the icing on the cake.

An old-fashioned over the knee spanking for a wayward student at Dreams of Spanking

April: Victorian Spanking Trilogy

Can I cheat and have a trilogy for April? This storyline started life as a single scene, but quickly evolved as the performers got their teeth into it. Alexander Knight plays the wilful young son of strict Victorian pater familias Dr Barton - and Molly Malone the young wife who quickly turns into Alex's wicked stepmother. A compelling period drama crammed full of domestic discipline, over the knee spanking and unfair punishment.

Young man spanked over his stepmother's knee - Victorian Spanking at Dreams of Spanking

May: The Honey Trap

Filmed at the feminist porn awards last year, this was a fantasy of FTM porn star James Darling. A hot and filthy femdom scene with lots of sexy domination, spanking, strapping and belting, foot worship, breath play and dirty talk.

FTM porn star James Darling spanked and dominated by Pandora Blake at Dreams of Spanking

June: Intervention

I really didn't expect how popular this scene would turn out to be. We wanted to shoot a three-way scene in which we played adults, not young girls, and came up with a scenario in which Caroline and I play the resentful colleagues who team up to confront their badly behaved colleague Amelia. Two wooden hairbrushes wielded by two angry ladies - ouch!

Double wooden hairbrush spanking for Amelia Jane Rutherford at Dreams of Spanking

July: Instructed

One of our most cinematic films to date, and one of the sexiest too. Instructed tells a story of dominance and submission, long-distance romance, and shows the real-life love, trust and connection between me and my partner D - even though he wasn't present on the shoot. Plus explicit solo masturbation, a cracking orgasm, and my favourite - butt play. Hot!

Instructed - remote dominance and sexy submission at Dreams of Spanking

August: Day Ten of Her Training

An atmospheric vignette starring Thomas Cameron as the predatory, self-contained master and Leia-Ann Woods as his poised, graceful submissive. She remains obedient as he pushes her mental and physical limits, finding fault with her efforts to please him, tightening her corset, and making her bend over and touch her toes in high stiletto heels for the cane.

Submissive secretary Leia-Ann Woods bends over for a cold caning from her exacting boss at Dreams of Spanking

September: Donna Draper's Secretary

A queer twist on Mad Men, with me playing the masculine, domineering boss and Vix Vixxxen my smart-mouthed secretary. Struggling against the confines of her social situation, Vix rebells - and pays the penalty.

Sassy secretary Vix Vixxxen bends over for the cane from her strict boss at Dreams of Spanking

October: The Workaholic

Finally I got a chance to work with spanking star Erica Scott, and it was so worth the wait. Erica plays the demanding neglected wife - Paul Kennedy the stressed husband. Sparks fly, and Erica's bottom glows bright red as she provokes Paul into taking her over the knee.

A hard strapping for spanked wife Erica Scott in sexy lingerie at Dreams of Spanking

November: The Other School

A schoolgirl caning extravaganza about a group of friends from two different schools - one modern and relaxed, the other strict and old-fashioned. After getting Alex and Pandora into trouble, Christy and Maddy sneak into the other school to see what's going to happen to them - and end up getting involved in the punishment that follows.

The Other School - four schoolgirls caned at Dreams of Spanking

December: Behind the Bike Sheds

Last but not least, we returned to our roots with one of our most distinctive types of scene - a naughty girl and boy punished together by a strict disciplinarian. Real life couple Talia Lane and David Weston hold hands and flirt as their teacher gives them a stern telling-off and over the knee spanking. This was Talia's debut on the site, and we can look forward to seeing a lot more of her in 2015!

Naughty girl and boy spanked together by strict teacher Pandora Blake at Dreams of Spanking

It wasn't easy picking just twelve - there was some stiff competition in May and September particularly. Did I miss out any of your favourites? Let me know what you most enjoyed watching in 2014 - and what you'd like to see more of in 2015.

What changed in 2014?

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.

Girl on the Net: Dreams of Spanking, Marketing Manager

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.

AJ Levi: Dreams of Spanking, Images and Communications Manager

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.

Thomas Cameron - The Storyteller, at Dreams of Spanking

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.

Behind the scenes on an ethical porn set at Dreams of Spanking

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.

FTM queer porn star James Darling spanked by Pandora Blake at Dreams of Spanking FTM queer porn star Ron Beastly spanked by Pandora Blake at Dreams of Spanking

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.

Lola Marie spanked in bloomers by her strict Victorian headmistress at Dreams of Spanking Introducing male spankee David Weston to Dreams of Spanking

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!

Female Spankee of 2014

Winner: Alex Reynolds

1st alex1st

 

Runner Up: Amelia Jane Rutherford

2nd 2ndamelia

3rd: Pandora Blake

3rd pandora3rd

Full results can be seen HERE

Female Spanker of 2014

Winner – Sarah Gregory

1st 1stsarahtop
Sarah has topped at many sites but check out her own at SarahGregorySpanking.com

Runner Up – Dana Kane

2nd 2nddanakane
Dana has topped at many sites but check out her own at DanaKaneSpanks.com

& 2nd (very close) Runner Up – Pandora Blake

3rd 3rdpandoratop
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!

Vote for Dreams of Spanking in the Spanking Awards 2014!

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