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Free-range porn

There have been some changes to Dreams of Spanking over the last month. You may have noticed them, you may not. I haven't been able to write about it here for reasons that will become obvious, but now things are more or less resolved, I can briefly describe what's happened. 

It started with a site review by our credit card processor CCBill, requesting some minor (if baffling) wording changes, mostly to blogposts and scene pages. CCBill's Acceptable Usage Policy has vague wording describing the sort of content they are happy to process billing for, and we went through a similar review process with them when preparing the site for launch. The interpretation of their policy seems to subjectively depend on which employee is handling your case; and so some things they had required before launch weren't required now, whereas other things that had been missed then were now flagged for removal.

For technical reasons, the review also required us to set up a new subaccount with them, a process which triggered yet another review, from yet another policy advisor, and this is where things got interesting. The short version is that a lot of content which hadn't been picked up on a week earlier was now flagged for deletion. They specifically picked out three scenes featuring sword-fighting or severe caning. These films were fine a week ago, but now, suddenly, they had to go.

I didn't really have a choice about complying with CCBill's demands. I can't run this site without a billing provider, and other producers informed me that a lot of these regulations are handed down from Visa and other financial institutions, and that all credit card processors have similarly inconsistent requirements. As one producer said, "the policies of such organizations are capricious, arbitrary, defy logic and present an unpredictable moving target". Most billing agents deliberately word their policies to be vague, to give them scope for flexibility. This vagueness means no producer can guarantee they’ll be safe with one billing agent or another.  Besides which, changing credit card processor is a lengthy, complex, expensive process which I simply couldn't afford.

I make spanking videos for the love of it, and in hope of reaching out to others who share my fantasies. I hope that my films might turn you on, fire your imagination, or perhaps help you discover that you are not alone, and that spanking fantasies can be a healthy part of a vibrant sexuality. I firmly believe that it is not harmful for consenting adults to act out these sorts of fantasies, or to share the resulting images with likeminded kinksters.

The key is consent. If all participants consented and had fun making it, there is nothing wrong with enjoying any kind of porn, however weird or extreme.

I therefore decided that the best possible response to CCBill's removal requests was to give away the deleted scenes for free. As I wrote at the time:

So these requirements are handed down to CCBill from Visa; all other billing agents are the same? Fuck capitalism: I’ll give it all away. Full length video downloads, image galleries, behind the scenes documentaries, associated writings, everything. Plus the comments, the blog posts, the performer bios, all the surrounding context that demonstrates the ethical production and enthusiastic content that went into the making of those scenes, because without that, it’s not representative of what I’m doing.

Free range porn, released into the wild! It’s an exhilarating, liberating prospect. Free economics: the last line of defence against the capitalist censors. If I’m not charging, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.

The free download site has now been launched, and is called Darker Dreams.

Darker Dreams: free-range spanking porn

When I was in the middle of dealing with this issue the urge to rebel against CCBill was a strong one, but that wasn't my only reason for deciding to make the deleted content available for free. The more I thought about it, the better an idea it seemed.

One of the films flagged for removal was Ludwig and Kaelah's film The Final Test. They wrote the film themselves as a positive representation of their severe caning kink, which is often considered controversial. They were tired of arguing their corner against people who insisted anyone who liked that sort of thing was “sick”, and decided to make a film complete with a behind the scenes documentary to show how it can be conducted in a healthy, consensual, and empowering way. Both of them refused to allow me to pay them for the shoot: they insisted that they were doing this for love, not money. As soon as The Final Test was singled out for removal, giving this film away seemed like the best way to honour the spirit in which it was created

Additionally, I come to production from the open source community, and have long been fascinated by free economics and the future of commercial media distribution in the age of file-sharing. I’m interested in exploring alternative business models that exploit the economics of abundance offered by digital media – for instance, I have a “pay what you like” porn site in the pipeline. This seemed like a good opportunity to road-test one possible alternative business model (giving content away and inviting donations from those who enjoy it) in a relatively risk-free way. After all, the content had already earned its keep on Dreams of Spanking; I could make the experiment without having to invest more money producing brand-new content.

A separate mini-site was also the most achievable solution. A free site is easier, quicker and cheaper to build than a separate site using a new billing agent; or than changing the billing agent for Dreams of Spanking. This option allowed me to make the content available as quickly as possible after I was required to take it offline.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if content is deemed dangerous or offensive by anyone, controlling corporations or governments alike, the best way to prove that it isn’t is to make it publically available.

Many commenters have remarked on how tame the scenes CCBill objected to are compared to porn you can find elsewhere on the web. Our silly sword-fighting scenes, for instance, all use fake weapons, such as rubber toy swords or capped fencil foils - and yet CCBill still found the "threat to life" implied by these duelling scenes too "realistic" to be allowed.

Fear and myths still abound about kinky people and practices, and fear is fuelled by ignorance. Most campaigners against "violent porn" (and there is a campaign against simulated rape pornography raging as I write this) have sat down and watched very little of it. Openness and transparency are our best defence against censorship and fear.

Hence, Darker Dreams.

Thanks to all who helped donate to make this site happen.

Thanks also to the following bloggers for covering this issue and linking to the free site:

Check out Darker Dreams to see The Final Test, The Pirates of the Jolly Kraken and The Avenger's Return. If you want to support this project, donations are always appreciated, however small. Or of course you can buy a membership to Dreams of Spanking and access our archive of 123 uncensored spanking scenes.

The Final Test

At the weekend our first severe caning film was released.  We've had hard canings before, of course - Caning Merit Badge and Caned in Jodhpurs spring to mind - but "severe caning" is pretty much a genre in itself, usually referring to judicial strength cold canings of 30, 40, 50 strokes or more. It seems to be particularly common amongst the Eastern European producers such as Lupus (whom Adele Haze has worked with), Mood Pictures and  Pain4fem (which is the studio with whom I filmed my only judicial level caning to date).

It's a controversial genre, with a lot of anxiety and misinformation about both the consent of the spankees and the wisdom and health concerns of this level of physical severity. Most professional spanking performers only indulge in this sort of scene occasionally, due to the healing time required afterwards, and the fact that very few people have the desire to play at this level frequently - for most of us it's an occasional adventure, not a regular thing.

German spanking bloggers Ludwig and Kaelah have more direct experience with the severe caning genre than most. Ludwig has topped for both Lupus and Mood, and is well known for his detailed shoot reports, dispelling the myths and horror stories with his matter of fact honesty about the realities of production. Ludwig's partner Kaelah does not share his kink for this level of severity, but nonetheless she was deeply curious about the experience. She decided to confront her fears and undergo such a caning herself, so that she could have an informed opinion about what it was like for the performers she had seen in other films.

The pair had previously shot a homemade film of Kaelah taking a severe 50 stroke caning, but Kaelah was not entirely satisfied with the results. She wanted to revisit the theme with a professional producer, to create a film she could be truly proud of.

Click to view trailer for The%20Final%20Test

Together they conceived the idea of a martial arts student ready to progress to the next level of her training, about to go on a life-changing journey to study with new, stricter teachers. She chooses to participate in a final inurement practice to prove to herself and others that she has the strength of character to endure such rigorous training. This test is not mandatory; rather she volunteers to undertake it, for her own reasons.

Kaelah and I both love the concept of severe corporal punishment undertaken consensually, with honour and self-discipline. As an experienced tai chi practitioner Kaelah was able to bring her physical skill and grace to the screen with a breathtaking performance that underpins her courage and self-control during the caning itself.

The resulting film, The Final Test, is strongly performer-driven. Two behind the scenes documentaries supplement the main feature, and both Kaelah and Ludwig have written in-depth blogposts about the experience of creating the film in their own words. Kaelah wrote, "I have seldom been as happy with a scene as I was and am with this one." You can read more about Kaelah's decision to embark upon this journey in her blog posts Healthy Severity, The Final Test: Preparations and The Final Test: Shoot Report.

The Final Test is focussed on the rite of passage of Kaelah's character, and the way she draws on her training and inner strength to endure the experience. Fifty full force cane strokes delivered straight from cold are not for the faint-hearted. But as you will see, Kaelah is anything but.

Kaelah displaying her marks after shooting severe caning film The Final Test for Dreams of SpankingPhysically, it's the most severe scene to be published on this site to date. This photo was taken a few hours after the shoot, by which point the deep bruising is already visible. The welts are dramatic and beautiful, a must-see for marks fetishists, but perhaps beyond the comfort zone of many spanking enthusiasts.

This physical severity is why the consensual storyline, the emphasis on Kaelah's strength of will, and the behind the scenes material in which she explains her motivation for doing the shoot are all so important to me.

The Final Test achieves a lot of the goals I had in mind when creating Dreams of Spanking, and I am very proud of it. The things I love about this film are many, but here are just some of them:

  • The severity. This is actually the level of corporal punishment I fantasise about most of them time, although it's not practical to indulge in real life very often. Despite the asexual nature of the scene, and my cerebral focus on the technicalities of editing, I found myself physically aroused at the end of each working day while I was working on this film. Hey, I guess I must have some sort of corporal punishment fetish.
  • The strength of will shown by Kaelah's character. She's not submissive; she's totally in control of herself and of her situation throughout the film. It's inspiring for those of us who aren't straightforwardly submissive but still enjoy hard corporal punishment.

  • The focus on the performer's desires and motivations. Ludwig and Kaelah were closely engaged at every stage of the process. They wrote the storyline, which draws on Kaelah's tai chi skills in a highly personal, non-verbal and intimate way. The production as a whole is about Kaelah's emotional journey - both her character's rite of passage, and, in a way, her own in realising her ambition to have positive memories of shooting a consensual severe scene. The behind the scenes documentaries describe her motivations, reactions, thoughts and feelings throughout. I would love to see other severe producers picking up on this and releasing similar behind the scenes material with their films - when creating edgy, extreme or uncomfortable porn there are few better ways of facilitating transparency and trust.
  • Speaking of Kaelah's motivations, I found them complex and interesting. Her reasons for acting out this scene herself were not sexual; the shoot wasn't an erotic experience for her. Her vision for the film was informed by what she finds erotic to watch (ie. consensual scenarios, restrained reactions) but in bringing this idea to life her motivations were creative, not hedonistic. The sensations, extreme as they were, were simply a means to an end. I can identify with this to some extent, and I think it makes her perspective really unusual; her joy and satisfaction in this scene are not those of a thrill-seeker, but someone enduring physical suffering for the sake of long-term emotional gratification. Rather like her character!

  • Kaelah and Ludwig are both very much on the same page as me when it comes to transparency in ethical porn. They favour informed, enthusiastic consent and scenes in which the performers are expressing something true and heartfelt about themselves. They are thoughtful and articulate in their advocacy of these ideas, and the accompanying behind the scenes documentaries really benefit from their ability to express themselves clearly (in a second language, no less!). As you will see, the couple took a lot of care to construct the scene so as to create the genuinely severe film they wanted, without compromising Kaelah's emotional wellbeing or causing needless physical damage.
  • Finally, I am entranced by the beauty, grace and skill Kaelah shows in her tai chi sequences. She moves with the fluency and control that comes from years of experience. It's a joy to watch. (It's also very sexy - physical skill and grace both being extremely attractive!) Compare her movements and breathing during the tai chi katas with the way she uses her breath during the caning, using her exhales to ride the pain and retain absolute self-control throughout. The result is an awe-inspiring demonstration of physical discipline and inner strength.

I was a bit nervous about including the meditative tai chi cutaways during the caning scene, but I felt the caning was somehow too plain without it. I wanted to find a way to raise it to another level. It was a bit of a risk to interpolate martial arts shots into a corporal punishment scene, but I think it paid off. One reviewer has already said he appreciated the breaks from the intensely harsh caning. Personally, I find the tai chi sequences make the caning more intense by calling attention to the level of meditative focus required to endure it, and by creating a greater emotional engagement and empathy with Kaelah's character. They also provide a concentration break which renews your appreciation for the severity, the change of scene preventing you from getting used to the force of the strokes. 

The Final Test is released with two behind the scenes documentaries. In Part 1, 'Preparations', Kaelah discusses her motivations for embarking on her second severe 50 stroke caning film (her first with a professional producer). She and Ludwig talk about their thoughts and feelings prior to the shoot, where their idea for the storyline came from, and what they hope to achieve by creating this film. The couple also describe the medical precautions they are taking prior to the caning, and share their decision-making processes regarding the table, cane and position selected for the whipping. Kaelah and Tom practice some tai chi katas prior to the shooting of Kaelah's solo fan sequence. 

In Part 2, 'Making Of', Kaelah and Ludwig talk about their feelings immediately before filming commences, and we share intimate out-takes and behind the scenes footage from the severe caning sequence itself. Kaelah controls the pace of the scene and takes the pauses she needs, and even laughs and jokes between shots. Afterwards, Kaelah and Ludwig give a final interview describing their immediate reactions to the scene. Part 2 ends with out-takes from Kaelah's solo tai chi katas, and a closer look at the sword form. 

It was an honour to be chosen to make Kaelah and Ludwig's dream a reality. The Final Test has already been reviewed by The Blog of Fred and Nimue Allen. I'm thrilled with the finished film and by the positive reception so far. Here's to more fairtrade severe caning films!

Spanked with the flat of a sword

I have long been fascinated with the idea of being beaten with the flat of a sword. When I realised I was shooting with two fencers, one of whom was experienced in professional fight choreography, the opportunity was too good to pass up. Sword-fighting and spanking go brilliantly together in my opinion (Drama! Action! Adventure! Swishy arm motions! Victory through physical dominance!) and I couldn't resist the chance to take advantage of Amelia Rutherford's expertise to include a wee duel in a spanking video.

In my fantasies, this sort of thing usually takes place in a historical or piratical sort of setting, so that would have been my first preference. But the swords we had access to were fencing foils and bokken, and we didn't have enough budget for full historical costume, so Tom came up with the idea of doing a comic book style superhero story instead. The Avenger's Return was born!

This 15-minute scene offers a window into a universe where superheroes are real and their training includes both martial arts and spanking. I play a naive and rather vain trainee who is being mentored by a combat-experienced superhero called the Highwayman. I'm more focussed on my shiny latex costume and complaining that I can't fly yet than my training, which earns me a series of punishments. First a hand spanking, delivered by the Highwayman while standing with me dangling over his knee, and then 8 firm strokes with the riding crop, all over my tight latex ballgown. (Latex doesn't lessen the pain of a spanking, but it alters it. It's a very interesting sensation; I recommend you try it sometime.)

My lesson is interrupted by the arrival of my nemesis, the Highwayman's infamous former protegée: the Avenger. I've heard all about how talented and brilliant she is but have never met her in person. She and the Highwayman cross swords and sharp words as they struggle for dominance.

I really enjoyed the chance to indulge my enthusiasm for watching beautiful people practice swordplay, and was very impressed by Amelia's fortitude as Tom striped her bottom with his steel fencing foil. A real sword is a heavy thing to hit someone with. 

Click to view the free trailer:

Click to view trailer for The%20Avenger's%20Return

The marks were actually rather dramatic, red stripes visible even through her shiny black leggings. I wish we'd taken a photo of them, as they don't show up as well on video as they did in the flesh. 

I'm very grateful to Amelia Jane Rutherford for her generous help choreographing the sword fight behind the scenes, as well as her outstanding performance as the Avenger; and to her fiancé Hywel Phillips for his work as cameraman, lighting tech and director. Their assistance was invaluable, and this scene couldn't have happened without them.

We had a lot of fun making it, as you can tell from the behind the scenes video. I hope it will appeal to anyone who likes comic books, sci-fi and fantasy, action and adventure, light-hearted spoofs and shiny latex outfits.

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