It’s all change at the moment: our lives are changing, this website is changing, everything’s on the move. I thought this might be a good time to have a quick glance back at last year - those halcyon days when we could still do weird exotic things like “go to the pub” and “have coffee with a mate” and “film in-person multi-performer spanking shoots” - for a nostalgic look at some of my personal highlights of 2019. This is entirely for that reason and not at all because I didn’t get round to it in January, of course.
#1: Even Teachers Make Mistakes
I may have been in this game a while now, but some of the real classics never grow old - and teacher/pupil is one of them. This take on the traditional school theme is an especial favourite of mine because it comes with a bit of a twist! I'm a bit proud of this still from the film. Mike’s aim is fantastic, and I love how clear and precise those six sharp stripes are.
#2: Behind The Scenes At ‘Mrs Smith’s Method’
We shot Mrs. Smith’s Method back in 2017, and it’s the most ambitious film we’ve ever made - I’m still extremely proud of it. Releasing this behind-the-scenes shoot last year made me proud too, though; of how much fun we all have on set, of the way we keep our ethics front and centre in the work we do and of the efforts we make to prioritise mutual care before, during and after. The combination of cheeky grins and a bare bum in this candid through-the-window snap is a little snapshot of that and it always makes me smile.
#3: In Big Trouble
We’re doing more filmed work than ever these days, but I still love putting together a gallery shoot. This one tells a story in a surprisingly moving way; there’s a lot of detail in every shot. My favourite is one that really has it all - you can see on our faces just what’s going through our minds, and this is a delightfully expressive photo.
#4: He Wouldn’t Spank Me
In this scene I played a disappointed sub whose promised weekend of naughtiness had ended in frustration - at least until I took matters into my own hands! Looking back on this was a lovely reminder of how much fun solo work can be, and also of how much I liked that characterisation; there was a coy, playful mischievousness to it that I think this photo sums up perfectly.
#5: Pandora’s Birthday Caning
For all I love playing characters, there’s something to be said for a scene that’s real - and this one was exactly that. Sarah and I had a great time making this, and getting to put out some content featuring me as myself is always a highlight for me. There’s a candid feeling to this photo; you can see that we’re both having such a great time we’ve half-forgotten the cameras are even there, and it’s a reminder that spanking is ultimately about fun and pleasure - as well as the roles we often take on around that.
#6: Carpe Posterium
We took a trip back in time for this Etonian-style scene. Much of my work features me at the femme-ier end of my range, so it was fantastic to embody something rather more masc in this shoot - plus, you know, silly Latin jokes. One of the great things about a tawse is the way your whole posterior lights up from it, and this photo is a lovely example of that!
Thank you to everyone who came through 2019 with us, and thank you again to all of you here for 2020 - and what a wild ride it’s turning out to be. We're not going anywhere - I mentioned in my previous post that I have plenty of shoots in the can for now, and we all love a bit of DIY solo action too - so we can keep the content coming right through the lockdown.
I love having a chat with viewers and site members, so please do leave a comment below - what were your favourite Dreams of Spanking updates from last year? And what are you looking forward to seeing more of in 2020 and beyond?
Welcome Violet, who has recently joined the Dreams of Spanking team as a copywriter. She regularly posts erotic photography and writing and her blog Love, Violet.
It’s an interesting thing to look at porn that is “not my thing” and try to see it objectively. Not surprisingly, this isn’t an easy thing to do. It makes sense that we process stimuli we find pleasing more readily and more directly than stimuli that doesn’t quite float our boat. However, the photo gallery In Big Trouble is beautifully made and has enough artistic merit to stand alone, regardless of one’s personal tastes.
Porn is a faction of the overall canon of contemporary art, in my opinion, and I say that as someone whose education is in fine art and critical theory. Many people would disagree, but when the crafting and production of pornography is as considered as its themes and narrative, like the films and photos here on Dreams of Spanking, I’d be hard pressed to dismiss it as too low-brow to be art. In Big Trouble is a beautiful example of visual storytelling that is highly narrative, emotionally demonstrative and visually satisfying to the viewer.
I’m not privy to the details of the creative process or art direction behind a scene like In Big Trouble, but it’s clearly well considered with captivating details. The inspiration for this custom hard spanking photo story came from a client with a particular vision, based on tales of his ex lover’s accounts of hard caning and OTK spanking conducted at home in her younger years. He said,
“Her stories to me of being punished were always the most engaging when she was describing the more ritualistic preparations of being led to the living room, being made to assume the position, being told to lift her dress, being instructed to lower her panties, and then later being ordered to lay down over his knees."
So much of what is described and desired in this scene is internally felt; both by the client as he relives his response to his lover’s stories, as well as the actual scene as it unfolds, grippingly portrayed by Pandora Blake and Mike Pain. Nuanced focus, attention to detail, and the rich storytelling of photography allows the viewer to be transported to the dining room, where paternal hand and rattan cane befall Pandora's tender bottom over and over. I found myself holding my breath as I moved through the images, struck a bit dumb by the intensity and anxious discomfort I felt as the story unfurled. I could feel the heat of the welts, the humiliation of her bottom being bared, and the potion of fear and obedience she must have felt to be able to resist flinching, kicking or squirming.
The artistry of these photos is, for me, in the discomfort that they elicited in me. Not all art is pretty or comfortable. These images are striking (ooops, what a pun!) even though they are not what I turn to for visual titillation. How then, did they resonate so deeply for me? I understand the client’s desire to have that tension highlighted: to experience, indirectly, his lover's humiliation and fear, as well as the unquestioned power and authority of her disciplinarian. These are potent archetypes and themes, because of the power dynamics of the domestic relationship and the ritualised experience of punishment.
This photo gallery made me pause, examine and interrogate my responses. It made me reflect on the nature of the relationships and fetishes depicted and the powerful emotions they provoke. In short, it got me thinking, and it made me feel something. Although that is not the same as being turned on, I was certainly stimulated. And that, folks, is what both porn and art are meant to do.
I wasn’t sure how I would get on with audio porn. As a writer, part of me loves the idea because I’m all about the sexy words - but I know I can be quite fussy about audiobooks. It’s all about the person reading them, the voice giving you the words. The wrong tone and the story is ruined. With the right voice though, it can be a wonderful experience. Audio porn allows you to use your imagination while listening, and it can be a great way to really put yourself in the scene, especially with the intimacy of earphones.
I shouldn’t have worried though. Pandora Blake, who narrates most of the audio stories on Dreams of Spanking, has a lovely voice that seems perfect for audio porn. Head Girl, written by Rosie Bower, is a smart sexy story that gives a twist to traditional school punishment scenes. Head Girl Julie learns she has to punish her friends for various misdemeanours. When her friends refuse to take the threat of her punishment seriously she finds herself getting angry, and decides to make them respect her authority as Head Girl.
The anger she feels gives Julie confidence in what she is doing, and she takes total control of the situation, forcing her friends' obedience to her will. What I really like about this spanking audio story is the way Rosie Bower shows us the thoughts of each person in the scene. It gives us an insight into what makes each character tick, and delves deep into their embarrassment, humiliation, indignation and other feelings about being punished by Julie.
My favourite punishment in this story was Liam’s, the cool guy who thinks he can get away with doing whatever he wants. The story takes on an extra dimension of hotness when it's revealed that despite himself, the humiliation of the situation is arousing him. His helplessness in the face of his body's betrayal and the way Julie uses it to embarrass him further is really hot. I adored Julie’s glee when she learns how much she enjoys administering punishment. There's a moment when she has to mentally remind herself that this exercise is about teaching Liam an effective lesson, and not about her pleasure. It's delightful - and it made me think that actually it seems very much about both.
As a whole, this story is equal parts hot and discomforting. A school story in which some cool, rebellious kids have to resentfully submit to punishment from their teachers' pet friend is one that many of us might be able to put ourselves into, one way or another. The fact that this is an unwanted punishment, which they still find arousing even as they hate it, creates a delicious tension. It also raises fascinating questions for me about about the psychology of punishment and humiliation.
I have to admit that the character I find myself identifying with the most was Julie. I love the way that she reflects on past resentments and jealousies to fuel her determination to carry the punishment through to its conclusion. And of course, I love dishing out a spanking and decorating a bare bum with marks that will leave a reminder to re-enforce the lesson - and the idea of doing so to my squirming friends who thoroughly deserve it is very appealing.
So my verdict on audio porn? I found this story super hot, and I enjoyed the process of listening to it more than I expected. I enjoyed imagining the scenario and Rosie Bower creates some enticing images that will stay with me. I loved was the image of the two girls bent over the desk, and of Liam bending over clutching his ankles, naked, embarrassed and unable to constrain his erection. So sexy.
This post is illustrated with pictures from Head Girl spanking video A Taste of Their Own Medicine, starring Zoe Montana, Jimmy Holloway and Pandora Blake.
Despite containing nakedness, over the knee spanking and hard caning, there is something almost innocent in these images. Maybe it's the Victorian setting, or Pandora's white flouncy underskirt. Whatever it is, it really gives this scene a romantic air that I love. It's a sort of nostalgia for a time I only know from books and films.
The Victorian Brothel starring Pandora Blake and Thomas Cameron is a gorgeous sepia photoset that manages to perfectly capture a sort of mentor/protegee experience. I think the slightly cheeky but nervous smile on Pandora's face as she looks up at him is one of the things that make me think of the asymmetrical power dynamic between a strict teacher and student who is eager to impress.
There is an innocence in the photos of Pandora as a Victorian wench getting ready to meet (and please) her new client. I love the image of her kneeling at his feet; the way her hands are tucked under her bottom, and she is looking at the floor but still turned towards him, and the smile on his face as he sits relaxed. It holds possibility; his hand resting on his knee looks like all he has to do is lift a finger and he will be touching her breast. It’s powerful; charged with sensual tension but not overtly erotic…and despite not being submissive, I find I can’t decide if I want to be on the floor or in the chair.
The sequence of photographs where Pandora is showing herself off for Thomas is fascinating. There is an air of confidence but also uncertainty. It conveys the feeling that she is proud of her body but not quite sure if the person she is showing off for approves. Even when she is laid over his knee she seems confused by his lack of apparent response to her charms - which makes her reaction to the first spank so delightful...
I love the careful way Thomas explores her; lifting her skirt, parting her white bloomers, stroking her bum, and skimming past her more delicate area before teasing with a finger, as if he is testing her readiness. The way he lines up the paddle while Pandora tenses, her face crunched as she prepares for the first impact of leather.
I think my favourite image in this set is the one of the cane impacting on Pandora’s bare bottom. The pose, composition, the way the heels lift her bare bottom, and the stocking tops frame the ‘impact zone’. I love how the cane is pressing into her flesh, bending slightly with the force of the stroke. Plus, it is a very lovely bottom, especially with that pattern of bruised stripes across it. It’s an image I have gone back to more than once.
Finally her punishment is over, and Thomas gathers Pandora on his knee. There is something really sexy about the way Pandora bites her lip as Thomas bites her nipple. The way he has her arms pinned behind her back just adds to the feeling. This is a really hot image, that gave me all the right kind of shivers. The film that goes with this photoset has just been released, and I can't wait to watch it because I think it will be hot hot hot.
The last image in the set reminds me of those collectable cards you used to get in cigarette packet, of the sexy ladies in their underwear. It has that air about it, Victorian pin-up perfection.
This is an elegant, evocative photoset with so many beautiful images in it. Which is your favourite?
One of the things I've occasionally thought about, as a feminist who runs a spanking site, is content warnings. Fundamentally, the idea behind these is that if something might include content likely to trigger someone recovering from serious trauma, it's respectful to give notice in advance that the topic is likely to come up, so anyone who needs to can prepare themselves and isn't caught off guard.
I think it's a really great way of making material more inclusive. Yet I've never gone ahead and instituted content warnings on Dreams of Spanking, at least not overtly. What I do instead is to make the content of each scene very explicit in the tags and copy surrounding the film. I try not to spoiler plot twists, but I do often remove the element of surprise from how the story of a film unfolds, in the interests of pre-warning viewers what they can expect - both to catch the attention of people with particular niche tastes, and to pre-warn people who might find certain content distasteful or upsetting. So far, I've been happy with that system. But if any film on Dreams of Spanking has made me wonder if it should include a content warning, it's our latest film starring Tai Crimson.
When I was editing Caned at Home, I found parts of it so extreme - both in terms of the severity of the physical punishment and the nastiness of the verbal degradation and emotional abuse - that it made me feel uncomfortable. The whole scene was shot in a single take, so I didn't see any out-of-character interactions to break the tension and reassure me that Tai was okay with what was happening until the scene was over. However, I needn't have worried. The moment "cut" is called, Tai bounces up and enthusiastically tells me that she could have taken double the number of strokes. In fact, she almost seems disappointed that the scene hadn't been harder.
So I decided to reuse a film format that I trialled during our ATVOD investigation (and which may have played a part in our successful appeal win, although it's hard to be sure); showing snippets of out-of-character performer interviews or behind the scenes interaction both before and after the main film, to contextualise the fantasy in the real-world context of the performers' tastes and desires. Since we won our appeal, I hadn't particularly felt the need to do this - especially with films where the fantasy shows pleasure spankings and explicit consent. But Caned at Home is definitely not one of these.
If edgy domestic scenarios showing the disproportionately severe punishment of a helpless girl aren't a turn-off for you, Caned at Home has much to recommend it. In particular, the sequences of hard and fast cane strokes falling one after the other without a break are some of the most convincingly severe thrashing I've ever seen on a UK spanking site. Tai has a high tolerance, and this was the third time we'd played together; she'd asked me to push her to tears, and this was our last scene of the day, so there was no reason to hold back. As it turned out, even the nastiest verbal abuse I could come up with - and one of the hardest canings I've ever delivered on camera - weren't quite enough to break her.
Perhaps you love severe caning and verbal degradation as much as Tai does, in which case Caned at Home will be right up your street. But if, like me, you prefer to know for sure that the performers were into it before watching a scene of this intensity, I recommend watching the performer interview and behind the scenes video first, to reassure yourself that no only was Tai unharmed by the making of these scene, but actively enjoyed it. It's lovely to work with a young woman who is so in touch with her kinky sexuality, and so articulate at expressing her fantasies and fetishes.
Besides, severe canings that leave livid welts are most definitely not BBFC-compliant. Dreams of Spanking is currently the only UK spanking site where you can watch material like this, and we will remain so until the Digital Economy Bill means we have to stop, too. So enjoy it while you can.
The reason Dreams of Spanking is called dreams is that one of the core concepts of the site is to clarify the boundary between fantasy and reality. This is important to me because my fantasies are often fucking twisted.
I get off to thinking about being bound, violated, totally helpless, and punished against my will. This does not mean I endorse or desire non-consensual acts in real life: far from it, my edgy fantasies make me more invested in enacting and promoting good consent and communication, and in making sure I don't ever take advantage of anyone, or let myself be taken advantage of. Those of us with dark sexual psyches have good reason to think hard about the ethics of erotic power, and how to play with these ideas in a safe, securely-contained space that doesn't impinge on the real world. Actually doing something to someone against their will might be fine to dream about, but it's totally off-limits in reality.
So exploring that boundary line, where dreams end and reality begins, is one of the ideas behind this site: that's why we never publish an edgy non-consent fantasy without accompanying it with behind the scenes videos, out-takes and performer interviews, to show you that fantasy is just fantasy, and make visible the reality behind it. It's also become a policy of mine to not write non-consent scenarios for performers. If I come up with a film idea that is really dark and twisted, I'll either play the submissive role myself, or assign it to another performer only after they've raised the idea of shooting something similar; in that case, I'll run the script past them and amend it to suit their taste before we shoot. But my preference is to work with spankees who have a strongly-developed sense of their own kinky sexuality, and who come to the shoot with scenario ideas of their own.
That's one of the many, many reasons why Tai Crimson was such a pleasure to work with.
You're not a true trans ally unless you're choking me while beating my ass till it's a deep purple. Sorry, I don't make the rules.— Tai Crimson (@TaiCrimson) April 21, 2016
When we were making plans for our second shoot with her - the first since she came out as transgender - she sent me the link to her sex menu, and invited me to peruse it before coming up with scenario ideas. Reading it, I learned two things: firstly, that Tai is the most self-assured teenage pervert I have ever met, and secondly, that she is even filthier than I am. A lot of the stuff on Tai's sex menu already takes me out of my comfort zone - for instance, her fetish for "swirlies", which is when a bully shoves your head in the toilet and flushes it. Luckily, I'm relatively practised at navigating discomfort, and perfectly happy to up the ante and add further twists and intensity until the scenario comes back into the realm of my own twisted imagination. Sometimes two wrongs really do make a right. For instance, one of the scene negotiations went like this:
me: (reads Tai's sex menu) How about a school bully scene including slapping, spanking, wedgies and (maybe) swirling, with Nimue topping Tai?
Tai: Oh gosh, yes! Struggling/roughhousing that leads to being facesat on & taunted might be a nice addition as well. Plenty of fun bully stuff to toss in as well - like, say, having armpits shoved in my face. (My ass, thighs, and tits are also open for punching!)
me: Awesome! How about having you be cousins, or even foster siblings in a shared home, and it be an after-school type thing with both of you still in uniform? With Nimue threatening to get you in trouble if you don't do what she says - actually having you both be in care would make this EXTRA edgy, as she could threaten to get you kicked out. If that's too dark, I will totally understand :)
Tai: Personally, it's dark enough that it just made me wet. Which is a resounding yes.
It's tough writing porn planning emails when you keep having to stop to jerk off to the fucked up ideas you're brainstorming!— Tai Crimson (@TaiCrimson) July 22, 2016
The shoot was at my place, and we were together for two days and two nights. The first day was spent shooting trade content for Nimue's World, and Tai's forthcoming Amateur Porn studio. I got to witness the filthy hotness that is Tai first hand, viewing some incredibly hot scenes from behind the camera. Tai and Nimue have great chemistry, and I really enjoyed watching it develop over the course of the day. For Nimue's site we shot a bathroom control scene, an introductory striptease, a tit torture photoset and a queer sex scene; and for Tai's clip store it got even kinkier, with a figging and anal ice cube scene, a bondage and tickling scene, a super-edgy interrogation scene, and a forced intoxication/breath play scene where Tai was forced to smoke weed and hold it in, only breathing when Nimue permitted her to. I have to admit that it's unusual for me to feel like the least kinky person in the room, but there's no denying that Tai and Nimue are way ahead of me.
So by day two, shooting four videos and two photosets for Dreams of Spanking, we were all warmed up and ready to roll. Last time we shot with her, we didn't get the chance to shoot an introductory photoset with Tai, as the day was already over-full getting all the shots we needed for our cinematic production Houseboy. So this time, we kicked things off with a cutesy photoset of Tai as an adorable schoolgirl, showing off her new girly look, her spankable bottom, and her puffy, newly developing breasts.
I quickly discovered that shooting an innocent photoset with Tai is pretty much impossible. She loves being looked at, and as she removed her clothes the evidence of her arousal became more and more visible. This gallery is going live on the site this week, so you don't have to wait much longer to see how horny she got...
Throughout the shoot, Tai was taking selfies and updating her Twitter - which I thoroughly recommend following. I love this behind the scenes shot of her spread-eagled on the bed before our next scene, posting to the internet while she waited for me to be ready:
The next scene was another photoset - this time a domme/sub scenario with me using Tai's body as a pretty canvas for colourful hot wax. I bought these coloured play candles from Kink Craft at Eroticon earlier this year - they're lovely people, and I highly recommend their toys! I've played with wax before in private, but never brought it into a shoot. Tai was the perfect model, whimpering (and getting more and more turned on) as the wax dripped on her body - including in her most intimate places.
I really enjoyed covering her in colours to match my bedspread, making her wriggle and squirm, and seeking out all her sensitive spots. We also learned that the wax that burned hottest was the black one - and it left Tai with some lovely pink marks, as well as the beautiful decoration of the wax itself.
Once Tai had brushed all the wax off (and we'd shaken out the sheets!) we stayed in the bedroom for our first video - a more sexually explicit scene than the usual fare on Dreams of Spanking. When I first shot with Tai, she mentioned how much she loved anal play and big butt plugs. These are two of my favourite things too, and initially the Houseboy script had an extra femdom BDSM scene where I tormented Tai in all sorts of delicious, sexy ways. Sadly, we had to cut it due to lack of time, so when I planned to shoot with her again I was even more eager to make sure we got the chance to indulge in some butt play.
Tai is infamous for her love of anal CP - that is, smacking the butthole itself, rather than the buttocks as in traditional spanking. It's more exposing, more humiliating, more intimate and much more vulnerable. It's one of my big kinks too, and I was thrilled to have the chance to explore it on camera with a fellow queer femme who gets it.
you know, if you took a carbon fiber rod and left welts/bruises all around my asshole, I bet it'd *really* hurt to get fucked.— Tai Crimson (@TaiCrimson) August 9, 2016
Finally, once I'd warmed up Tai's hole, her cheeks and her thighs with smacks of my hand and my whippiest implements, the scene culminated with a strap-on fucking with my biggest dildo. This isn't the first time I've done this on camera, but it is the first time on Dreams of Spanking. Tai took it beautifully, and the scene was very real, very powerful, and very hot. It was an honour to explore something new together on film, and I can't wait to share the results with you.
After lunch, we moved to the lounge for the foster home bullying scene mentioned above. I got to take a break from performing, and it was gorgeous watching Nimue and Tai work their magic, with Tai as the new kid in the home, and Nimue as the boss bitch who smacks her around. This scene was straight out of Tai's filthy imagination, combining forced undressing, some tit and face slapping, lots of super edgy degradation and verbal abuse, over the knee spanking, wedgies and - last but not least - the ultimate humiliation: shoving Tai's face in the toilet, and flushing it.
I would never have written this scene if Tai hadn't listed all of these acts in such glowing, horny terms in her sex menu. Watching this scene unfold from behind the camera was a real treat. It's lovely to know that after ten years in porn, things can still surprise me - and I can discover the appeal of acts I never thought of as hot before. I'm grateful to Tai for being so authentic, so utterly open about her filthiest fantasies, and for trusting us to realise them for her. Even if wedgies and swirlies aren't your bag, I think Tai's total immersion and submission in this scene makes it really watchable - you can tell how into it she is, and it was wonderful to see her face light up when she talked about it in the post-scene interview!
This is the face of a girl who just had her clothes ripped off & head flushed in the toilet. Because she likes it. pic.twitter.com/S1bHfaDuNV— Tai Crimson (@TaiCrimson) July 27, 2016
I'd love to say that after the toilet-flushing everything got lighter and fluffier, but I'm afraid that it just escalated from there. The last two scenes of the day were, if anything, even more intense.
Although Tai had received lots of pain and domination so far, she hadn't been spanked with much other than the hand. That was about to change: our penultimate scene, lifted straight out of her sex menu, featured me as a no good, very bad therapist, and Tai as my vulnerable young client who confides her kinky fantasies to me. I shame her for having them, tell them that they're disgusting and wrong, and then take sadistic advantage of the situation and coerce her to take 'corrective punishment' from me.
It's interesting to note that even describing this scene to you now, I'm feeling a flutter of nervousness and vulnerability that you'll think I'm a terrible, terrible person for having this scene on my site. It's a fantasy that goes so strongly against the core principles of my morality - that there's nothing wrong with being kinky, that you shouldn't be ashamed about what turns you on - that I'm shy even about telling you we filmed it, even though you already know it was Tai's idea, not mine. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this being a fantasy of Tai's, either. That would be pretty ironic.
But I can tell you that I struggled to shoot this scene. I had to call cut at some point, just because I knew that my toppy dialogue sucked and I was totally failing to be the nasty, shaming abuser that Tai's fantasy required. Tai patiently fed me the script - "Tell me I'm a perverted freak, that there's something wrong with me, that no respectable or normal girl would be into stuff like this, that I deserve everything I get" - and I nodded and took some breaths, and we got back into character and tried again. I think we got there in the end.
It was pretty humbling, though. It's not often that the top is the one that has to safeword: and it renewed my admiration for Tai's strong sense of self; how aware and assured and accepting she is of her sexuality, that she can take ownership of her own shame scripts in this sort of consensual play. I hope the scene turned out well enough to do her wholeheartedness justice, despite my hesitance in the role of the kink-shaming authority figure.
I can attest that she took a pretty hard beating with some wickedly painful implements, including my much-hated stingy bathbrush, and the senior tawse. By the end of this scene Tai's bottom was ... well, crimson.
Then it was time for the final scene of the day; the caning Tai had been dreaming of since before she first shot for us.
Let's take a moment to appreciate the canings I've gotten in my life, and recognize how many more I utterly need! ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ pic.twitter.com/u5cQYcsKwy— Tai Crimson (@TaiCrimson) July 16, 2016
By this point, you won't be surprised to hear that the plot involves unfair punishment and excessive severity. Tai plays her character from the bullying scene with Nimue; Nimue tattled that Tai was smoking and selling weed, and I play their overly strict caregiver who believes everything Nimue says, and punishes Tai with a hard caning. Luckily, I am 100% secure in my confidence that hard caning is something Tai loves and craves, and so it was easier for me this time to get into character and bring it to life.
It also helped that giving hard canings is one of my favourite things to do - I love the craft of it, lining up perfectly parallel lines and judging the accuracy and power just right. Tai took it beautifully, and I'm delighted with this scene, and everything else we shot that day. I very much hope that she was satisfied with the results!
It was a pleasure and a privilege to host Tai's first shoot as a female spankee, and to assist one more trans girl in the valiant mission of queering up the spanking scene. It certainly needs it. All I can say is, those spanking sites that won't shoot trans performers are totally missing out. Tai is a treasure, and I can't wait to share her scenes with you all.
When I was eighteen, I'd have described myself as a sexual enthusiast, although probably in a hushed voice and with a fair degree of nervous shaking. As I grew into my kinks I learned more about what I liked and didn't, but it took a long time to swallow the courage to have an open discussion about it. It was rare for eighteen-year-old me to have conversations with others in my age group about navigating things such as polyamory, spanking, and kinky sex, and as a result I think it took a long time for me to work out exactly what I liked, and why.
If I'd met someone like Eliza Grey – the stunning transgender woman who plays Pandora's established housegirl – or Tai Crimson – who plays the queer, confident new arrival – then I suspect I'd have reached that place a lot sooner.
I'd have loved to have even half the confidence and sexual understanding of Tai, who has just shot his first porn film at the age of eighteen. Tai describes himself as a (gender)queer pansexual polyamorous switch – a bit of a mouthful perhaps, but utterly perfect to describe someone so enthusiastic about exploring every corner of his multi-faceted sexuality.
Eliza Grey, who plays opposite him, is equally confident in herself and her sexuality – a proud transgender woman who radiates delight in her body and her kinks in her post-shoot interview. As she explains candidly that “You should never be afraid of who you are,” I can't help but think that a younger version of me would have benefited greatly from knowing more people like Eliza.
In fact, both Eliza and Tai are amazing ambassadors for queer, kinky sexuality, and their post-shoot interviews are the perfect demonstration of why behind the scenes material, and candid discussions with performers, are so important to ethical porn.
As Eliza says in her interview, porn can play a vital role in sex education – giving people an insight into sex, gender, and desire. Many of the topics that are brushed over (or downright ignored) in the mainstream media come to the fore in porn, where people put some of their most intimate kinks and fantasies out there for others to share. There's a whole world of difference between watching something that's formulaically created to fit mainstream ideas of what's sexy, and porn that's an expression and exploration of people's authentic desires.
At just-turned-eighteen, Tai is the youngest performer on Dreams of Spanking. When I watched his interview, the expression 'kid in a sweet shop' came to mind: he's got exactly the kind of gleeful enthusiasm for sex and kink that I would have loved to express at his age. His profile page gives an insight into the wide range of things he enjoys, including big butt plugs, bondage and prostate milking, and he's clearly a big fan of marks too. During his post-shoot interview his eyes light up at the mention of cane tramlines, and he requests a hard caning so he can go home with a few welts as a souvenir.
When I was Tai's age, the idea of having those exciting discussions would have been completely alien to me – a combination of societal shame, a lack of internet access (I didn't get proper broadband until university, so access to porn meant dodging parents and sweating over dial-up), and just plain shyness I guess. I certainly didn't have positive, proud role models like Tai and Eliza.
Please do go and watch the post-shoot interviews that accompany Pandora's cinematic new spanking film Houseboy. Not only are Tai and Eliza both so lovely that I couldn't help grinning all the way through their interviews, I think they're also fantastically eloquent ambassadors for BDSM.
It's ironic (OK, more than that – frustrating? Appalling? Fuck-off-worthy?) that one of the reasons ATVOD targeted Dreams of Spanking for censorship was that the films were deemed too 'TV-like', because they included interviews with performers and behind the scenes material. Leaving aside the fact that it's rare for a TV programme to include this kind of stuff, to my mind backstage video is vital to any porn that wants to be taken seriously. Not only does it give you a chance to meet the performers, satisfy yourself about their consent, and find out more about their kinks, it also opens up the discussion. When it comes to sex one of our greatest mistakes is our failure to talk candidly about it. If I could go back in time, one of the things I'd like to tell my younger self is this:
“There are other people out there like you.”
At its best, getting this message out to those who most need to hear it is exactly what porn can do.
What was your experience of kink when you were younger? Have you met people during your kinky life who've given you the same kind of positive messages as Eliza and Tai in their interviews?
Sometimes if we want progress, all we need to do is hvae a conversation – and I can think of no better people to start it than fantastic, kinky ambassadors like Eliza, Tai, and the other amazing performers who feature on Dreams of Spanking.
Sometimes protesters wear scowls a clear expression of anger against an unjust system. Sometimes, though, they wear defiant grins – as Adele Haze does in her sponsored caning.
Nimue Allen wields the cane, and in between strokes Adele flashes cheeky smiles at the camera, and occasionally asks for some even harder strokes. She curls her toes with each crack of the cane, and by the end her gorgeous bare bottom is covered in neat red welts.
This scene is the final in our series of sponsored canings, and Adele clearly wants to make the most of it – insisting that the caning be more than 'transient and trifling', as a real act of resistance against the UK porn censors.
Our sponsored caning climax
In case you've missed it, here's a quick recap: in December new rules came into force that meant that many porn websites (including Dreams of Spanking) would be scrutinised by ATVOD – the Association for TV On Demand. This organisation – not democratically accountable, by the way - objects to a whole host of sexual things, from facesitting and squirting through to pain play that leaves any marks beyond 'transient and trifling'. Hence Adele's request.
ATVOD has already made its move on Dreams of Spanking, and as a result the site is under threat of censorship so irrational and strict that it would potentially force Pandora to shut the site down. In response, she and Nimue Allen set up a kickstarter with the aim of raising money to mount a legal challenge against the new regulations. The idea was simple: they'd take one hard cane stroke for each £10 donated, and release the resulting films for free online. They anticipated a maximum of £1000... but they got so much more.
The final total of over £3,800 meant they had to recruit more bottoms to take the extra cane strokes, with the result that there are now ten free caning videos online, each starring a different brave volunteer.
Let's take a trip down the sponsored caning memory lane...
It's a fitting climax – Adele's combination of seditious glee, rage against the 'ridiculous nonsense' of the new porn rules, and eagerness to take harder strokes on the bare bottom – all of these sum up perfectly what our sponsored caning fundraiser is all about.
Adele explains that she tumbled onto the spanking scene as soon as she discovered it existed – in the late 90s, when internet groups started taking off. Initially focused on bottoming, she now mostly plays as a top, as well as doing and other work as a fetish performer. This free caning film marks her first time bottoming in well over a year, a mark of how important it was for to her to join in with the UK porn protests:
“I'm not personally affected because I don't make my own material.... although pretty much any work I've done that's on the stricter side would fail the ATVOD test,” she explains. But this sounds, Adele says, like corporate censorship – by cutting off the ability to make a living from kinky porn, you're essentially trying to wipe it out. She highlights the fact that ATVOD's jurisdiction only falls upon studios that they deem to be suitably 'TV-like' – which often comes down to production decisions such as including opening and closing credits, scripts and music. “So if I did want to start a studio, the only way to go around the criteria that you are TV-like is to make really terrible porn.”
Please go and watch all of the sponsored caning videos – every single one is available for free on Dreams of Spanking, and licensed under Creative Commons (so share them around if you can!). In protest against porn censorship, a lot of people were willing to put their bottoms on the line and make unique, personal, caning scenes that reflect their own frustrations about porn censorship.
From Adele's seditious smile to the curl of her toes as she accepts a hard cane stroke, from the bright red marks on her bottom to the gasp of breath when she takes stroke thirty eight, this caning film is the perfect finale to the sponsored caning series. Three hundred and eighty three cane strokes in total, and each and every one sends a clear message to ATVOD: We might get beaten, but you'll never beat us.
I spent all of May anticipating a letter from ATVOD, and by the time I went on holiday at the end of the month, none had arrived. I met with Ms Tytania (who successfully appealed to Ofcom regarding ATVOD's Determination against her site the Urban Chick Supremacy Cell in 2014) for coffee, and she gave me some more info on the appeal process. For instance, I learned that while her appeal was underway, she took her members section offline, but left her site and blog up. She also suggested that it might be months until ATVOD issued me with their Preliminary View (that is, their first report on the site and whether it is in breach of their guidelines) - they are pursuing lots of cases at the moment and in the case of UCSC, they sometimes kept her waiting a long time for a reply.
I came back from holiday feeling refreshed, and got stuck back into work on Dreams of Spanking with enthusiasm. The detachment and depression I'd felt after I first learned of ATVOD's investigation felt like a thing of the past. For a couple of weeks, I took pleasure in editing videos and promotiing the site.
Then on Monday I received a letter from ATVOD enclosing their Preliminary View on Dreams of Spanking.
The PV took the form of a summary PDF signed by CEO Peter Johnson, and three documents - the first one (7 pages) declaring that I was in breach of Rules 1 and 4 for failing to notify them that I was running a Video on Demand service and for failing to volunteer to pay their annual registration fee, the second (8 pages) a description of the ways in which the site is in breach of Rule 11 for making 'restricted material' available to view without age verification e.g. having to enter credit card details, and the third document (5 pages) declared that the site was in breach of rule 14 for including 'prohibited material' - that is, content which is too 'extreme' to be classified as R18 according to the British Board of Film Classification.;
At first read it makes for effective psychodrama. The first document goes into excruciating, pre-emptively defensive detail about why exactly ATVOD consider Dreams of Spanking to be a Video on Demand service by their definition, with particular emphasis on the reasons they feel the films are "TV-like". I admit I briefly felt intimidated - particularly by the all-caps, all-bold REAL NAME YOU ARE IN BREACH OF RULE BLAH BLAH statement at the end of each document - but then it struck me as trying too hard, ridiculous. For fully effective scare tactics they might as well has gone the whole hog and had it red and dripping blood, too. No government agency which was secure in its authority would resort to such puffed-up posturing.
The level of detail they've gone into is surreal. As I paged through the documents, reading chapter and verse on all the ways they consider my work to be a) under their authority and b) unacceptable, mixed feelings arose. On one level it was kind of gratifying to have my indulgent little porn site taken so seriously by a commercial regulator - I mean, I think they're coming at it all wrong, but at least they've done some research. On another, more irrational, level it felt somewhat violating. I guess when you publish niche fetish material online there's an implicit assumption that only likeminded folks will pay close attention. I know rationally that there's no guarantee of that, and if you'd asked me I'd have said it was a silly expectation to have. But still, I can't deny it felt uncomfortable to have my personal porn project dissected by hostile outsiders.
But I also couldn't help seeing the funny side. I mean, the sheer time and effort it must have taken to compile ... surely the no doubt skilled professionals who wrote these documents could be spending their time in a more productive way than poking their nose into other people's erotic lives online? And then there was how seriously they were taking it all - and the cost...
These people are paid (no doubt handsome) salaries to watch niche porn and methodically tear it apart - all funded by the fees they extract from other niche pornographers. As Ben Yates wrote for XBiz in March, "If they were the mafia, their fees would be termed protection money and their business model would be extortion."
So what do ATVOD have to say about Dreams of Spanking?
How's that for a cover quote? This paragraph tickled me so much that I've temporarily made it our Twitter cover picture - perhaps I should add ATVOD's review to the ones on our splash page.
Also, as Hywel pointed out,
@DreamofSpanking Go us. "Do not have the appearance of having been with consumer grade camera". ATVOD technically clueless as well, then.— Restrained Elegance (@RElegance) June 8, 2015
The cameras I use to shoot video for Dreams of Spanking are this one and this one. I bought the HF200 from Amazon for about £500 back in 2010, and the HF306 for £200 a couple of years later. Hardly commercial grade, and you can tell: the image is often grainy, with no manual focus or shallow depth of field, and responds badly to low lighting. I colour grade the best I can in Premiere, but when it comes to film-making I'm self-taught and operating on a miniscule budget. Are ATVOD really so clueless that they can't tell the difference betweeh this and commercial broadcast media?
As Nimue Allen pointed out, it's particularly weird of them to cite behind the scenes material as an example of something that makes our videos "TV-like", when you don't get behind the scenes out-takes and interviews on TV - it's a DVD extras thing.
And then there's this:
Don't even get me started on the problems inherent with using appropriate credits, behind the scenes materials showing consent, and "high production values" as evidence that our videos should be censored. What's that meant to do - encourage people to attempt to avoid regulation by making terrible porn?
@DreamofSpanking "Why pick Dreams, ATVOD?" "it was the credits, m'lud. Only TV programmes EVER credit their performers" =\— Girl on the Net (@girlonthenet) June 8, 2015
I've heard it argued that the AVMS 2014 (the Statutory Instrument that came into effect last December granting ATVOD these new powers) is aimed at bringing down the free tube sites, but based on these criteria, which exclude most of the offerings on tube sites - they usually don't include narrative, credits or out-of-character expressions of consent - I really don't understand how.
As if this ridiculousness wasn't enough, the document contained a number of typing errors.
Could do better, ATVOD. See me after class.
But the most ludicrous of their claims is in the document on Rule 14, in which they cite two scenes as examples of "prohibited material". One is "Slight Damage to the Rear End", which isn't surprising as the only reason that scene (which depicts caning hard enough to draw blood) is still on the site is that CCBill haven't noticed it yet. But the other is "Ariel's Sponsored Caning", the first of our free protest videos as part of our fundraiser for Backlash. The irony of them picking a video which was explicitly created to challenge the AVMS guidelines and ATVOD's authority is incredible. I can only hope that they paid close attention to the interviews at the start - it's funny to imagine them watching them and fuming.
"Lasting physical harm" - really? Let's revisit the scene in question. This is probably the clearest image of Ariel's welts by the end of the caning:
Now I don't know about you, but to me those look like fairly moderate cane welts. A little raising of the skin, but for the most part they're pink rather than dark red or purple, with only one darker line on the crease. Even compared with the rest of the sponsored caning videos - which are all free to view - these stripes are relatively mild, which makes it doubly weird that they picked out this one.
Here's what Ariel had to say about ATVOD's interpretation of her caning as "lasting physical harm":
@DreamofSpanking Jeez. They lasted for 1 week. Almost exactly. My bottom is *back to normal* Because we aren't insane. WTF.— Ariel Anderssen (@ArielAnderssen) June 8, 2015
Are marks that heal up within a few days really "lasting harm"? It's ludicrous that a group of people who know almost nothing about BDSM should attempt this sort of external, ill-informed assessment of which acts "might cause lasting harm". If the level of damage is the deciding factor, how on earth can they tell from the images shot on the day how long the marks took to heal? Everyone has different rates of healing, and I've had marks like this which disappeared overnight. Is that still "lasting harm"?
Then there's the arrogance of ATVOD deciding how "harmed" a performer was, or might have been, without paying any attention to the testimony of that performer. (In this instance, Ariel's smiles and hugs at the end of the film clearly show that neither of us was harmed during the filming of this video.) But why make assumptions? Since they were apparently so dedicated to their "research", how hard would it have been for ATVOD to contact Ariel and ask her themselves? Her email address is right there on her user profile.
That's the thing about feminist porn: the performers are real people, with online presence and social media profiles, and you can follow the links and find out for yourself how they felt about a given scene and how long it took them to recover. But it seems ATVOD would rather stand in judgement of porn performers than actually talk to them.
Re-reading it now, I'm actually confused about how to read that wording - This constitutes material which “involves the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated”. The infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm? Is it possible that they aren't citing Ariel's caned bottom as evidence of lasting physical harm after all, but simply as evidence of "the infliction of pain"? But that makes no sense, because the guidelines allegedly allow for "moderate" pain play which leaves transient marks such as reddening of the skin. So if infliction of pain is permissible in some contexts, that by itself can't be grounds for censorship. In this instance therefore I think ATVOD must be referring to "acts which may cause lasting physical harm", and not just "the infliction of pain".
I love this idea. ATVOD have given me 10 working days to make legal representations to defend myself - perhaps we should append a lengthy collection of "before" and "after" bottom photos to prove that none of the material on Dreams of Spanking caused lasting physical harm to the performers.
The other thing that's particularly messed up about legislating BDSM material based on the perceived severity of the resulting marks is that marking is so very variable. Any player will tell you that some people mark more than others, and how much each of us marks depends on how much we've been playing lately, how well warmed up we are in a given scene, how well we take care of our skin with soothing lotion, moisturiser, aloe vera etc, and myriad other factors. Is it really the case that (for instance) a 25 stroke caning delivered after a lengthy warm-up session with hand, leather paddle and strap, resulting in a rosy red glow but no visible welts, would be permissible, but the same caning (or even a lighter one) delivered straight from cold, would be prohibited? How does that make sense?
Not to mention the fact that banning heavy marking discriminates against less-experienced bottoms - which disproportionately targets amateur porn and studios working with new performers rather than those who only work with experienced bottoms.
@DreamofSpanking Frankly, I've had pimples on my bum that hung around longer than any DoS marks.
— Adele Haze (@AdeleHaze) June 8, 2015
Finally, there's the fact that these criteria are only applied to "pornographic works", created "primarily for the purposes of sexual arousal". But eroticism is in the eyes of the viewer. You only need to take one look at the Clips4Sale categories list to realise that things you always thought were perfectly mundane are, for some people, the height of sexual excitement. So who gets to decide what is "pornographic", and why are we allowed to publish video of acts that may cause lasting physical harm in some contexts, but not in others?
I've had worse marks from Medieval re-enactment, and that's 100% legal.— Restrained Elegance (@RElegance) June 8, 2015
Here are some examples of "lasting physical harm" I have had that lasted longer than Ariel's cane marks:
All these these activities were undertaken deliberately and with full awareness of the risks involved. Should video of people swimming, doing parkour, hula hooping, or attacking their cats' fluffy bellies be illegal to distribute too?
The thing that really bites is that as a feminist porn producer I go out of my way to ensure the consent and wellbeing of the performers I work with. These guidelines make absolutely no provision for consent, for whether the acts are undertaken in a safe and responsible way, for the health and happiness of the performers, or for the production ethics, transparency and accountability of the service in question.
Under these guidelines, you can publish a four-boy, one-girl hardcore porn scene that includes double penetration and lots of gagging on cock, and you're absolutely fine provided it's shot with shoddy production values with no storyline, no performer interviews or behind the scenes, and no credits. But if you go out of your way to create something better, if you strive to be ethical and responsible, and if you dare to authentically express a kinky sexuality in a consensual, thoughtful and critical way - that's obviously "harmful", and they'll come after you and shut you down.
Michelle Knight is a bondage fan and activist against porn censorship. Despite not being a fan of corporal punishment, she volunteered to take fifty hard cane strokes in protest against ATVOD. Why? Well, as Michelle explains:
“I'm doing this not for my own pleasure, but to help raise the money to take them to court.”
Bravely, Michelle bends over the sofa and calmly takes every single stroke – her first caning on camera. Her reasons for doing so are more complicated than you might think, and her pre-shoot interview gives some fascinating background on the history of UK porn censorship, as well as her personal reasons for taking on this challenge.
Reason 1: Show the truth, not the fiction
“There's a lot of fiction out there,” explains Michelle. She's spent the last twenty years educating people on issues to do with sexuality – running bondage website RealBondage.co.uk and writing books, as well as taking part in support groups for trans people. “There's a lot of fiction out there, and people are making decisions based on that.”
Her website and books are aimed telling the truth about bondage for people who are curious. Michelle explains that, when not given the right information, people are reliant on a fiction about BDSM and sexuality that encourages them to 'panic, panic, panic!'
What better way to challenge that fiction than by showing a real-life caning scene, complete with discussion, negotiation, and occasional breaks for tea and banana cake?
Reason 2: It's not the first time
Protesting the UK porn laws is not new to Michelle, who confesses that “ever since 2008 I've been a thorn in the side of the CPS, Home Office, Lords, my MP – oh boy!”
The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act in 2008 (often referred to as the 'Extreme Porn Law') sought to ban 'extreme' porn, and as you might have guessed, the word 'extreme' includes plenty of bondage, spanking, other forms of BDSM – things which kinksters engage in safely and consensually all the time.
The latest furore, with ATVOD, could see sites like Dreams of Spanking under the jurisdiction of a censor which hates any but the most gentle form of spanking. But it's certainly not the first - just the latest in a long line of attacks on kinky porn.
Reason 3: They haven't done the proper research
That 'Extreme Porn Law' – in 2008 – was subject to a rapid impact assessment before being passed. The key word here is 'rapid' - as Michelle explains, the organisation responsible for reviewing it mentioned that it did not have enough time to do a proper job.
This is a criticism that comes up frequently when looking at how the government makes changes which impact pornography and sexuality – lack of consultation with people whose lives will be affected by changes means that those making decisions rarely – if ever - get the full picture.
Reason 4: It's undemocratic
These are not policies which have been put forward in manifestos, or offered publicly for debate. In the case of the 'Extreme Porn Law', it was buried in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which tackled a whole range of other topics completely unrelated to porn.
The recent changes are no different – they are primarily being made by ATVOD and the BBFC: statutory bodies which hold no direct democratic accountability.
Michelle explains: “They are operating as a law unto themselves – they are not fit as a body. They're making it up as they go along.” She adds that, from the government's point of view, this is almost certainly not an accident: “They don't want discussion on this. They want to oppress us. That's one of the major things I'm against.”
Reason 5: This is the only way to do this
There are lots of ways you can protest against democratic changes – you can stand in the street with a placard, or write to your MP. And while these things may help raise awareness of the changes, ultimately Michelle believes that the solution is more drastic:
“It looks like the only way we're going to be able to do this is to drag them through the courts.”