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The Spankee's Gaze

There are lots of videos out there with camera angles that depict the spanker's point of view; just as there are lots of videos that portray the top's fantasy, and images of spankees representing the dominant gaze. Our latest film captures the intimacy of an over-the-knee spanking through shots that portray the spankee's point of view.¹

In Alex's POV you can watch Tom's face as he tells Alex Reynolds what's about to happen; you can look back at him over Alex's shoulder, and see the reflection of herself she glimpses in the mirror.

Click to view trailer for Alex's%20POV

When Alex admits to feeling bad about flouting her D/S rules during her time in the UK, Tom suggests a spanking might help her feel better. She lies over his knee on the edge of the bed, feeling his strong thighs support her hips. Looking back over her shoulder, she meets his gaze as his hand rises and falls... and in the mirror, she can see her bottom bouncing under the smacks.

Tom used to have a cupboard with glass doors in his bedroom, and the glimpses I caught of my own bottom being spanked, reflected in the glass, were very exciting. During a punishment I often find it erotic to look back at my spanker and watch them preparing to deliver a stroke.

I started to wonder what a spanking video would look like shot from the spankee's perspective, with camera angles representing their point of view. Of course, ten minutes of a square of carpet would be boring. But what about an over-the-shoulder shot as the top tells them what's about to happen? Or, over the knee, looking back over their shoulder, meeting their top's gaze, seeing the hand rise and fall? What about glimpsing their own reflection in a mirror, just as I had?

This film is an experiment in, quite literally, the spankee's gaze. I think the subtle glimpses and reflections are quite exciting, and more suggestive and provocative than a direct view. In the end, however, we wondered if it would be a waste of what ended up be a very hard, thorough spanking not to show you any shots of Alex's bottom at all, so we compromised by introducing some more traditional camera angles towards the end of the spanking.

My hope is that by putting the viewer into Alex's shoes, this video captures the intimacy of an over-the-knee spanking, and will resonate with fellow spankees. Perhaps it will also prove of interest to spankers curious about seeing a spanking from the bottom's perspective. Does it work for you? Let us know what you think.

1. The femdom genre has some point-of-view videos that show a female top addressing the presumed male submissive viewer via the camera - Dana Kane has some excellent examples - but as far as I know, this has never been done with a male top. Perhaps the innovative thing about this film is not that it portrays a spankee's gaze, but a female one.

Shoot previews - Alex Reynolds

Alex Reynolds has moved on to the next leg of her UK tour, and is now in the safekeeping of Lucy and Paul of Northern Spanking. I miss her already! Fatface on the other hand is sleeping the blissful sleep of the undisturbed for the first time in ten days, and isn't being picked up or bothered any more than usual. I think she's much happier than I am that we have the flat to ourselves again.

Still, the nice thing about shooting spanking porn is that I can stave off the Alex-deprivation by looking at the awesome photos and videos we shot together. I went through the stills and some of the footage last night and I'm really excited about the scenes we filmed.

Tom was our top for the day, and I topped Alex in some scenes, and got into trouble with her in others. (Switches have the most fun.) Able fellow producer Nimue Allen was helping me behind the camera as usual. Tom, Nimue and I have shared a lot of shoots together over the last year and we work together well; the vibe between is increasingly efficient and relaxed.

We were shooting at my flat, which has both advantages and disadvantages. In some ways it's more relaxed, as we don't have to worry about packing bags, remembering everything we might need, travelling to a venue, carrying heavy things and so on. Wardrobe becomes particularly easy, as we can just pick out our outfits before each scene without having to think about it much in advance. And of course shooting at home is cheaper, too.

The flipside is that a room you're shooting in needs to contain a lot less stuff than a room you live in, and I own quite a lot of stuff. Each time you're setting up to shoot in a room, you need to move most of the portable clutter and furniture out to create more space to set up lights and so on. My flat doesn't have an empty room to move all of this stuff into, so if I want to shoot, say, some scenes in the bedroom and some in the lounge, the day becomes a game of furniture tetris, continually shuffling things out of shot and stacking armchairs and storage crates in the hallway and kitchen.

This process does occasionally have unexpected advantages. In one scene we moved the bed around 90 degrees so that we could get a better camera angle, and I liked the new room layout so much that I've kept it.

Overall, I would say that filming at home is a more relaxed way of shooting. And although you're limited to domestic scenarios, in some ways it allows you to be more creative. I don't think we'd have got away with shooting a cat-hiding scene or building a sofa fort in a studio!

We filmed five spanking videos with Alex, and one photoset. First of all we were bad girls staying up too late talking and giggling over the covers, until an angry, sleep-deprived Tom came in and told us we'd both be punished in the morning. The next day we're spanked and strapped side by side on the bed.

This scenario was basically inspired by Alex's and my behaviour the first night she arrived, when our constant attempts to sleep were stymied by finding ever more fascinating things to talk about. We weren't spanked for it, but maybe we should have been.

The second scenario was a new experiment in point-of-view filming. In standard porn jargon "POV" means someone addressing the camera - ie the camera represents the viewer's point of view - but in feminist porn, the phrase is being used by projects such as The Woman's POV to show the viewer the perspective of one of the performers. For instant, if a woman in a sex scene holds the camera herself, the shot puts the viewer into her shoes, which results a strangely intimate experience. With women (and, in spanking porn, spankees) usually cast as the object of a porn film, it's both refreshing and radical to make them the subject.

With this in mind, I'd wanted for a while to have a go at shooting a spanking from the spankee's point of view, using shots which show you how things look from over the knee. A directly cinematographic interpretation of the idea of the spankee's gaze, if you will. We used a mirror and two cameras to capture Tom spanking Alex from different angles.

As the spanking became more serious, we varied the shots to include a couple of more traditional camera angles that showed her bottom more directly. But the indirect view was the most exciting, in my opinion; the glimpses she gets over her shoulder and in the mirror of Tom's hand rising and falling created a suggestive, subtle impression which I found tantalising and hot.

I think this "spankee's POV" film might be the first scene from the day to be published. I'm very interested to find out what people make of it.

We also shot a pagan photoset called "The Rites of Spring", in which Tom and Alex celebrate Beltane with ritual and birching. I basically heart everything about this scene.


The next scene was darker and more violent, with Alex playing a valiant journalist about to blow the whistle on corporate corruption and misconduct. She is visited at home by two of the executives and menaced into keeping silent.


  

Little do the evil capitalists know, however, that Alex was secretly filming the whole thing, and they have just given her a far better story than she ever expected.

You've already seen one preview from the next scene (based on an incident from my own life) in which Alex is a tenant keeping a cat without permission, who is caught and punished by her landlady.


In real life I wasn't punished - in fact my landlord didn't seem inclined to make a fuss about it - but I felt so guilty about getting caught mid-deception that I really should have been.

Finally, the last scene of the day revisited the cutesy, semi-age-play characters from the sleepover scene, this time building a sofa fort in the living room on an evening when guests are due to arrive. Alex's character had already been punished earlier that day for hitting people with her bear (true story!), and I gave her another spanking in the fort when the bear-hitting continued.

When Tom arrived, he did acknowledge that it might be the best sofa fort ever, but we still got spanked for causing chaos with guests about to come round. Sad face! He bent each of us over the sofa fort and spanked us with hand and wooden hairbrush. I don't know what it was about that hairbrushing but it felt ridiculously, excessively painful, and there was lots of howling and kicking from each of us, especially me.

We left the sofa fort up, though, after we finished shooting, and the day ended off-camera with Nimue, Alex and I hanging out in the fort drinking cider and eating crisps, and talking about all manner of things.

Later that night we turned the cameras back on to film a video blog, by which point we may have been somewhat giggly.

As you can see, we hate our work and never have any fun at all on a spanking shoot!

If you haven't already, do add Alex's blog to your bookmarks. She updates it regularly about a range of fascinating topics relating to spanking and D/S, with a highly readable, entertaining writing style. In my opinion it's the best spanking model blog currently online - and I'm not the only one that thinks so, as it was voted Best Creative Spanking Blog in the 2012 Spanking Awards. Do check it out to keep abreast of Alex's many adventures in spankingland.

Feminist porn awards 2013

I heart feminist pornDreams of Spanking has been nominated for a Feminist Porn Award! We are in the running for the Best Website Category, alongside some stellar company. Here's the full list of nominated websites:

Most of these sites are relatively new; I think the award is more about recognising newcomers to the field of feminist porn production than celebrating the established companies who have been doing good work for years (although check out our links page if you're curious to see some of these).

Some of the nominated sites I was already aware of, such as gender-hacking fuckfest Queer Porn, and the joyful real couples site Bright Desire. Others are new to me - such as Gentleman Handling, which looks so hot and well put together that I'm considering buying a subscription for some post-shoot viewing tomorrow with Alex and Nimue.

You can find consensual couple spanking as part of kinky sex scenes on some of the other nominated sites, but Dreams of Spanking is the only pure spanking site, and the only site which significantly features punishment and non-consent fantasies. Fantasies like this lie at the heart of many people's spanking kink, and I think it's important to include them in any discussion of feminist porn.

I've put a lot of thought into how to create and present non-consensual fantasies, especially fantasies in which a woman is punished by a man, in a feminist way. I could write essays on the political nuances involved and the myriad ways in which I am attempting to bring my submissive fantasies to life in as ethical and empowering a way as possible. But here's what I think it boils down to.

For me, feminist spanking porn is about enthusiastic consent behind the scenes; treating my performers well and involving them in the creative process; fair pay; diversity; sex positivity; switch and queer visibility; and producing material that caters to the fantasies of bottoms and female-identified people.

Feminist spanking porn is about a gender egalitarian outlook in which dominance and submission are not gendered, and neither sex is portrayed as innately more submissive, more spankable or more sexually desirable.

It's about writing stories in which the narrative sympathy is with the spankee, and they are the hero, not the villain; and it's about openly, transparently distinguishing between the non-consensual fantasy on screen and the consensual reality on set. That means marketing copy that is respectful to the performers, emphasising their personhood and professionalism every way I can, and making behind the scenes footage available and publicly visible as a matter of course. It also means shooting edgy, non-consensual fantasies only with the full, informed and explicit consent of my spankee performers, and only exploring truly dark, violent or severe themes when a performer suggests it themselves.

Most feminist porn is occupied with representing openly consensual, joyful, positive sex between people who have genuine trust and chemistry. This is something I fully support. Dreams of Spanking also features a wide range of joyful, consensual spanking scenarios between people of different genders, and I only shoot kissing or sex when that is an honest representation of the performers' relationship. 

Through Dreams of Spanking, I'm proud to represent spanking porn to the feminist community, and show that edgy, non-consensual punishment fantasies can be feminist too.

New blog: Holloway's Road

Male spanking star Jimmy Holloway has just announced the launch of his very own blog. This is exciting news. Not only is it rare to find bloggers writing on kink from a male submissive/switch perspective within our spanking niche, but I know Jimmy to be a remarkably insightful, perceptive person, with a valuable contribution to make to the world of sex blogging.

Despite being brand new, Holloway's Road already has some excellent writing to offer. Check out his thoughts on sexuality and kink, feminist porn and the female gaze, male submission, polyamory and pegging. But this isn't just a kink blog - it's also a showcase for his original BDSM art, which illustrates many of his posts.

He also, of course, offers a fresh, male spankee gaze perspective on filming for this site, as with today's very personal post, Crying On-Set: A New Dreams of Spanking Shoot.

As good as the first scene was, and it really was, it was the second which really blew my mind. Although we had played with some of my favourite themes – chivalry, martyrdom, victim substitution – in ‘As You Will’, we had really run riot with them when it came to plotting out what turned out to be the last scene of the day. I was playing a young man, a servant of the house, who had used to be Adele’s character’s whipping boy. They had known each other since forever, were obviously becoming inappropriately fond of one another, and had allegedly been involved in various kinds of unacceptably political behaviour. The governess, played by Zoe Montana, is called, and after some back-and-forth it transpires that my character is to be punished for the young lady’s misdeeds, even though it hasn’t been done that way for years. At first, after the deeply ingrained deference of the first character, I was finding it difficult to be as mouthy and outraged as the scenario dictated, but eventually managed to get deeply enough into the head-space that it was all coming naturally, before we even got to the CP.

Incidentally, I should mention at this point that we were running with two video cameras, each of them being operated by a different cameraperson, and a separate stills photographer, so we were able to get the whole thing done with as few cuts and changes as possible, which only helped to get deeply into character, which perhaps explains what happened next.

When we were through the hand-spanking, which – as SnowdropExplodes has commented [in this review of Taking the Blame] – Zoe is particularly fierce with, and into the paddling, when Zoe chipped in with the notion that we would have to stop seeing each other completely, although if we were particularly good she would arrange for us to see one another roughly annually. Until that point, I had been taking the beating as stoically as I could, which is pretty damn stoically even if I say so myself, but when she came up with that I just burst into tears, and couldn’t stop myself until quite some time after we had stopped filming. I think it was because we were so deeply in character, or because I was concentrating so hard on withstanding the physical aspect, but it completely blind-sided me and I just couldn’t bear the thought of it, in fact there are tears coming to my eyes now even as I am writing this. By the end, Adele and I were just clutching at each other, wide eyed, and nearly unable to speak. I have rarely been through such an intense scene in the bedroom, let alone on film. 

Click here to read the rest of the post »

I think Holloway's Road is going to be a blog to watch in 2012, and you'd be mad not to add it to your feeds. Perhaps you might also leave a welcoming comment - all new bloggers love feedback. I'm greatly looking forward to reading more of what Jimmy has to say.

Women making porn

When I first started spanking modelling in 2006, it was pretty hard to find studios to work for that were run by women. Most hobbyist and professional erotic photographers are male, and in the UK, there were very few spanking sites which were solely owned by a woman - in fact, there still aren't many. (Off the top of my head, I can only think of Sam Johnson's Diaries and Strictly Miss Brown, although there are probably others. I expect that several of the F/M sites are run by their female star, but having not worked for any of them I'm less well informed. The F/M sites I do have accurate information about are run by a man behind the scenes.)

As a female model, it was immediately noticable that all the people hiring me were male. It's interesting to speculate why this might be. Some of it can be put down to the patriarchal history of porn in general - but there are surely other factors, too. One that occurs to me is that women who wish to make a living from kink have the option of offering private sessions, doing parties, or performing for stills or video. There are fewer opportunities for men to earn money doing work of this sort, so if they want to blend business and pleasure they must needs be photographers, technicians or site owners.

As our culture shifts towards more women wanting to watch porn and seeking porn which caters to their desires, not only will more women start filling this gap in the market, but as they provide more hiring opportunities for male models, men who would prefer to work as kinky performers for other people will have more option of doing so.

What you can see in the UK, at present, is spanking sites run jointly by a man and a woman. Of these Northern Spanking was of course the first, and one of the reasons they are so groundbreaking is that in general Lucy is in charge of the the filming side of things, with Paul handling the web side of the business. Lucy McLean was the first female producer/director I shot with, and any female producers creating spanking porn in the UK will to some extent be following in her footsteps.

Bars and Stripes, another spanking site that breaks the mould (with the same warm, caring, friendly vibe behind the scenes as NSI, and the unusual step of an ongoing story arc with recurring characters) was co-founded by a male/female team, although since Leia Ann Woods left the project it has been run solely by Michael Stamp. Lady Sonia's sites are also co-run by her and her husband. Partly because of Sonia's close involvement behind the scenes, working for them had a different atmosphere to the sites solely run by older, dominant men.

Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with men running spanking sites. Most of the gents I've worked for have been lovely people, have taken good care of me and some of them have become real friends. But I think that the lack of diversity at the producer/director/owner level is one of the reasons that many people feel that a lot of spanking porn, especially traditional English M/F which belongs to the heritage of the classic early magazines, has become "samey" over the last few years. If most of the /F sites are owned by straight, toppy white men of a certain age then that is surely a factor in the tendency of the industry as a whole to follow certain trends.

Nor are women a magic fix. I like variety in porn, and I think it's healthy for any creative industry to be shaken up every so often, by new ideas and new approaches. For instance, I'd like to see more bisexual men running sites outside the gay niche, and more people of colour working in spanking porn at the producer/director level; and I think male switches could broaden the horizons of /F porn as well. After all, porn viewers include women, switches, bisexuals, people of colour - why not porn makers, too?

If you don't agree with my premise that diversity in cultures is a positive thing in general, you may not see the need for more equality in this or any other industry. But I do, at a fundamental level, think it's good for us as humans to encounter a variety of ideas and perspectives on the world, and that our philosophy and creativity will be improved as a result. At the same time, I think that consumers of creative arts are more likely to find personal meaning and relevance in works created by people similar to them, so in order to appeal to a diverse consumer base you need diversity among producers. And given the sexist history of gender politics and pornography in this country until quite recently, I think greater equality at the producer level will improve the experience of both male and female performers.

The good news is that over the last decade, more and more women have started making the porn they want to see. This is particularly evident in the US, where the spanking scene includes not only male/female teams like Eve and Tony of Shadowlane, Chelsea and Larry of Good Spanking (I've always admired Chelsea's outspokenly affirming and kink-positive mission) and David and Pixie of Punished Brats, but also women running sites independently. Clare Fonda has probably been going the longest, but more recently we've seen Dana Specht join the ranks of female tops running their own websites, and Audrey Knight is currently preparing to launch her own spanking venture after starring in a collection of sites owned by the Spanking Digest.

Over the last three years, female bottoms (and bottom-leaning switches) are starting to come into their own as site owners, too. Sarah Gregory's site has been going for a year now and I am a big fan of her varied, in-depth, believable storylines, and the range of moods you can find in her scenarios, from edgy punishments to consensual erotic spanking and light-hearted comedy scenes. Speaking of erotic spanking, Sinn Sage and Amber Dawn have both put themselves on the map with their consistently sexy explicit spanking, and although I don't know for sure how much control they have behind the scenes, both performers trade on the fact that the scenarios represent their personal fantasies and desires.

As more women get involved in production/direction, we're seeing increasing numbers of real couples explore their sexuality on camera: Ten Amorette has just launched her own clips for sale store in which she takes hard punishment from her partner, and kinky couple Maggie and Ned Mayhem have just launched their hardcore nerd sex site. Beyond pure CP, we're seeing kinky performers like Penny Barber follow in the footsteps of Zille Defeu in producing BDSM porn catering to their own fetishes; and the queer/dyke porn movement has had women at the top from the very beginning, from Courtney Trouble to Shine Louise Houston, Madison Young and Tristan Taormino.

Anna Span led the way twelve years ago as the first English woman to launch her own successful porn brand, following in the footsteps of Candida Royalle and Annie Sprinkle in the US. In Europe Petra Joy, Maria Beatty and Erika Lust have all made their mark, as have other directors across the world, such as Louise Lush in Australia. But in terms of women making adult films without a man running things behind the scenes, the UK still doesn't boast as many big names. Surely there must be women making porn in the UK, running clips stores and small-scale productions - and please do send me links to any you know of, as I'd love to fill the gaps in my knowledge! But if so, not many of them have made the news, and very few of them seem to be in spanking.

One exception is the female star of SpankingSarah. She doesn't run the site herself; it's produced by the Red Stripe/English Spankers team, headed by Peter Kaye. But I think it's telling that Peter decided to make his latest venture so personality-driven, with Sarah having a prominent voice on the site and taking a leading role in the writing and promotion, and no doubt being involved behind the scenes as well. It's good to see that some male producers are starting to recognise the appeal and value of woman-led porn. But the most exciting up-and-coming female kink producer in the UK, in my opinion, is Nimue Allen.

Nimue is currently preparing her own site, Nimue's World, for launch, and having filmed for it I can't wait to see the finished product. Like me, Nimue is poly, bisexual, into dominance/submission, and her kinks span the boundary of CP/spanking and BDSM. She's a switch, which gives her even more potential for variety. Nimue has taken the step from performing for other people to producing the sort of kinky porn she wants to see, with an inclusive ethos that deliberately merges the spanking and BDSM genres. I'm really excited about the launch of Nimue's World, and hope that rather than competing, our two sites can promote and help each other along the way.

It takes a bit of research to discover the rich history female-produced porn has across the globe, and quite how many female producers/directors there are out there; but once you do, you realise that this is a great time to be a woman making porn. I'm proud to be part of this exciting legacy, and to follow in the footsteps of these groundbreaking, courageous sex-positive and kinky businesswomen. The US spanking industry already has no shortage of woman-owned sites, and given time I have every confidence that the gender balance will become truly equal.

Given spanking has such a strong association with the UK as "the English vice", and such an active CP scene in which so many women take leading roles as event organisers and hosts, it's high time that our web and film industry caught up.

Female gaze, spankee gaze

Well, the Dreams of Spanking concept has now been released into the wild, and the pre-launch page is open to the public. I've been thrilled by the positive response so far. Thanks so much to all who have signed up to our mailing list, followed us on twitter, left positive comments on photos and written emails. It's been great to see others sharing my excitement about this project. Thanks also to those who have sent constructive criticism and feedback which has enabled us to improve aspects of the site, especially our introductory text on the homepage.

If you haven't signed up to the mailing list yet, please consider doing so - I'll be sending out chatty, fortnightly updates on site progress, and the newsletter will be the first place I'll post the link to free preview galleries as I make them. There's a sign up form on the homepage and at the bottom of most other site pages.

I've wanted to post these vintage photo montages since I first saw them on Chross' blog, but they fit the Dreams of Spanking idea so perfectly I've been holding off until the URL was made public. Check these out:

Aren't they wonderful? I love the facial expressions of the daydreamer, and the contrast between her lustful body language on the bench, and her submissive postures in the daydream. I'm seriously tempted to recreate this series as a full photoset for the site :)

But the most exciting thing about these images, to me, is that they represent an early example of female gaze spanking erotica. Not only female gaze, in fact - but spankee gaze.

Feminism is only a small part of my politics. Yes, I think porn in general would be improved if it represented more women's fantasies, and included more things women tend to like (such as intense psychological situations, or intimacy, or male bodies for women who like men). But in the specific case of kink and spanking, I think there is just as much a need for the spankee's gaze (or submissive gaze, or bottom gaze, or whatever language you prefer), both male and female.

So many kinky porn sites have been made by tops, and for tops, that tops' fantasies see the most representation. As a bottom, I much prefer to watch porn made by bottoms, because I find it more accurately reflects my own desires. That's not a gender thing - I am just as interested in watching F/M and M/M spanking scenarios written by male bottoms as I am in watching material written by female bottoms.

Of course, this is personal as well as political: I'm a woman and a bottom, and there's nothing I can do about that, so it's inevitable that in making films and images of my own fantasies I will be representing female and spankee desires. But it's also a conscious choice - in response to what I see as a cultural imbalance - to accurately represent my own desires, my own fantasies, even if I'm told that's a poor business decision.

Well, the internet is full of people making porn catering to what they think men want, and porn catering to what they think tops want. I've always felt that the best porn was that which accurately reflected the desires of the pornographer. You write what you know, and it's easier to get it right if you share the fantasy you're creating. I think that lots of people - women, bottoms, men, tops - would enjoy watching things from a different perspective, and I'm not the first or only person to think that.

Here's to all the women, to bottoms, to spankees and submissives making kinky porn that reflects a complementary side of The Thing We Do. I'm really excited to be part of this movement towards greater diversity in porn, and I hope that some people share my ideas about what makes spanking scenes worth watching.

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