Saturday, April 4, 2009

Part IV of the Hostel Trilogy: Communion

(This is the fourth and final part of my behind-the-scenes report on Mood Pictures. The others were The Hungarian Hostel, Hostel II: The Revelations of Guard #3 and Hostel III: Preparing for the Mood.)


(Download the HQ version of the "Inmates - Part 2" trailer here)

Mood Pictures have released the second part of "Inmates", and this time, you can really see me in action. Not only does the movie contain my only spoken line (a cordial "Fuck you!" after I get splashed by a prisoner), it also shows 155 strokes of the cane, 100 of which I administered. Plus, there is a hard strapping scene to round out the proceedings. I just watched the whole thing for the first time and I am reasonably content. It's a nice "caged women" flick with lots of CP action and a dark, gritty, pleasantly claustrophobic look. While Mood aren't interested in writing stories, the feel and atmosphere they create is often quite fabulous, in a "torture porn" sort of way. I think my performance as a top was okay, too.

It's exciting to finally see the finished product after all the prehistory. The caning practice at home, the travelling to Budapest, the shoot and the anecdotes behind the scenes, the blog entries. To at last watch oneself on film and find out quite how cringe-inducing it is! In this case, my self-assessment is less destructive than usual. Obviously, there are some things I'm unhappy with, but by and large, I'd rate it as a respectable professional debut - neither Pavel Stastny material nor outright bad. Moreover, I made it in the right kind of video, with the right people, at the right time. It was great to work with the mysterious Hungarian sociopaths, who share my taste in proper sadism, and to be the first to write a report about them. The story surrounding the film is what made the experience special for me.

Appropriately, I saved the best part of my account for last - the spanking scenes were not only the obvious highlight of the shoot, they were also at the very end chronologically. It's interesting to know that most of the thrashings you see in Mood's videos, like a typical secret police interrogation, happen very late at night. "Inmates" was a big production and took even longer than usual - when everything else was done, it was past midnight and we still had five canings and two strappings ahead of us. Clearly, we wouldn't be finished until early morning. I asked Lady Jessica if the models were okay with staying that long? She nodded benignly: "Sure they stay! They want money very badly."

A common question on spanking forums is how the girls feel during a super-severe Eastern European shoot like this. Their mindset is a source of considerable speculation, especially since most of them are vanillas. As often, the reality is less dramatic than the rumours. Yes, there is visible nervousness and apprehension, but the spankees aren't out of their minds with fear - if they were, they wouldn't be doing this. They have all made their decision to sign up for a CP film some time beforehand, and when the day comes, the dominant vibe is a quiet resolve to go through with it. Actually, I believe that some of them are probably less scared than a kinky person might be in the same situation - the shoot is just a job for them, so they don't think about it as much and they don't build it up as this big life-altering epiphany. It's simply something they have to do to go on holiday in the Mediterranean.


A few of the girls were reserved and kept more to themselves, like Mood starlet Victoria Young, who had done her back whipping earlier because she had to leave. The majority appeared fairly cheerful, though, smiling and chatting a lot. They were horsing around between takes, especially during the scene where a new inmate was taken to her cell and the others had to tease her ("Hello baby!"). I got the impression that some of them quite enjoyed the adventure of being on the set and making a movie, even though they weren't into the spankings at all. Perhaps their attitude is best described as: "If I'm going to do this, I might as well try to have fun along the way..."

Gallows humour is one good way of keeping your mind off the inevitable terrifying finale, the part that definitely isn't fun. As the punishment scenes approached, I could feel everyone tensing up, including the crew and the other tops. The air, already hot and dry from the lighting equipment, was thick with anticipation. I had a minor attack of stage fright myself, but it turned to pleasant restlessness while I watched Lady Jessica and the two novice dommes dish out the first caning. The victim, a cute redhead, was tied up in the diaper position and apparently so amused by it that she broke into giggles during the preparations. Then she screamed the roof down for five minutes, and when it was all over, she was giggling again after a brief recovery period - tough girl, good for her!

The Hungarian for "It hurts!" is "Fáj!", pronounced "faay". You hear it a lot in Mood films. In the early days, the models could use a safeword to call for an interruption: "nagyon fáj", "it hurts so much". But Pedro felt that "they used the safeword too often." So nowadays, Mood just try to record the beatings in one go and without coded signals. The scene is interrupted only if a girl screams something obviously out of character (“Stop the camera!”), or if Mood themselves decide that she needs a break.

With a thrashing this severe, going through it in one fell swoop is usually easier on the spankee than pausing and restarting constantly. The models know that they are in safe hands. The medical nurse and assistant director Max Lomp, who is himself an experienced player, keep a very close eye on things. If either of them feels that a girl is well and truly at the end of her tether, they step in. In practice, there is an average one or two breaks per thrashing, less for the experienced victims, more for the newbies.


Victoria Young and the redhead had both survived their ordeals without too much fuss. The third spankee was a veteran who had done several movies already, Rita Goord - and I would be caning her. Originally, I had chosen another girl named Myriam, who played the new inmate at the prison. But after Maximilian's instruction of the tops in the afternoon, rumours spread about my vicious strokes and Myriam said "no thanks". Pedro grinned at me: "Everybody is afraid of you!" Eventually, brave Rita volunteered to face the Horrible Hun. She had been the "dummy target girl", so it probably served her right, for shooting her mouth off...

Like her predecessor, Miss Goord was tied to the wooden whipping bench, but in the more classical position I preferred, on all fours. She is a tiny girl, barely over five feet with a small frame and ass - great, I thought, my first professional scene as a top, and here I am doing advanced target practice! At half past twelve in the night, in front of three cameras and a room full of people. I told myself that I had trained hard enough and that I would blow my audience away no matter what the conditions. The nurse applied a thick transparent cream to Rita's bottom, the usual Mood procedure - you can see it glister slightly on video. Obviously, it doesn't reduce the impact or the pain in any way, but it softens the skin and prevents it from breaking too much. In the meantime, I asked one of the crew to move a lighting umbrella back somewhat so I would have more space for my arm.

Pablo signalled the start of the action from his director's chair. I began with a couple of medium strokes, mostly with the flick of the wrist, to find my aim. I placed them in the lower area of the buttocks, not upwards near the tailbone. The aim was okay (in the back of my mind, I registered Rita moaning and counting aloud in Hungarian). After five or six, I gradually used my arm and shoulder more - a little earlier than I had planned, but I quickly felt comfortable (Rita is getting more vocal).

One goal I had privately set myself before going to Budapest was that I would put one stroke - a proper stroke! - right beneath the girl's tailbone. You need confidence for that, and nothing is more pleasing than a bottom fully covered with marks. Some ten swishes had passed when I tried it. It went high, but not too high - just where I wanted it. No limits to what one can do with relentless exercise and a bit of luck! Seeing that stripe exactly on target was the final trigger I needed. I just went for it from there - full arm strokes with no restraint and no reserve of strength unused, literally as hard as I could hit (Rita's screams are echoing off the walls).

I can't actually count in Hungarian, but I understand the numbers when I hear them. I was half listening to Rita, half keeping track of them myself. Somewhere in the high twenties, I fired off a particularly insane swing (blood-curdling wail!), then slowed down a little as by my original plan. I interjected some lighter, more accurate strokes to fill out the remaining gaps. Rita's ass was glowing with dark, purple welts by now, but there was one virginal spot in the upper third that annoyed me. After a few attempts, I nailed it. Back to the full arm, the finishing stretch, no holding back now (Rita is getting hoarse from hollering and sobbing uncontrollably). I noticed that we were in the forties and started paying closer attention to the numbers. Rita shrieked "Öööt-veeeeen!" at the top of her lungs. Fifty! There. It was over.


It all sounds awfully clinical, but these were my exact thoughts at the time. I wasn't enjoying myself one bit, and I wasn't supposed to - I was there to do a job for Mood Pictures. There would be plenty of sadistic fun watching the video afterwards! But I didn't allow myself any indulgence while we were filming it. I was much too focused to feel anything at all - it was like doing an important exam, where you only realise how good or bad you've probably been doing once you walk out of there and come back to your senses.

After half a dozen cane strokes, I went into a trance. I forgot the cameras, the people, the room around me. My universe consisted of me, Rita, my aim, the last stroke and the next. Even her screams were mere indicators of how hard I was hitting, disembodied, not fully there. Max and the nurse were vaguely present in my consciousness as well, in case they gave me a signal. But they never did - of all the victims, Rita was the only one to make it through in one single take. She was a real trooper.

There was a round of applause. Max Lomp walked over to me, gave me a firm handshake and said "Congratulations!" in English. I mumbled: "Thank you..." My mind was still somewhere else (wait a minute, I think the scene is over). The room came alive again, the crew finishing everything up. I had to pose for the stills photographer. With that done, I took a good long look at Rita's bottom for the first time. Welts all over, some of them bleeding, some perhaps wrapped a bit too far around the right cheek - but no actual miss-hits, none at all. I looked at the cane and there was quite a bit of blood on it, too. It was an immensely satisfying sight. I kept the implement as a souvenir and retired it. The dried splatter is now dark brown on the lighter brown wood.

While the nurse untied Rita, I stood on the other side of the whipping bench and gently touched my victim's left shoulder to get her attention, see if she is okay. Rita turned her head to me. Her eyes and face were soaking wet with tears. She looked up, saw that it was me - and broke into a big happy smile. Visibly dazed, but beaming with relief and a kind of strange primordial gratitude. So pure, overwhelming, contagious. I had a vision of David Cronenberg's Crash. It is precisely what Mood Pictures girls look like after the CP - people who have just been in a major car accident and slowly realise that they are still alive... And that all limbs are working!

I'm convinced that we were thinking the exact same thing: "Wow, it's really over, isn't it?" Each of us had been in a trance, Rita lost in the pain, I in my total concentration. Reemerging, we met at this crossroad and shared a brief, but powerful moment of communion. Vanilla girl, kinky top, it didn't matter - for an instant, our radically different motives for being here were drowned out by a universal feeling of numbness and gladness. I feasted upon the unexpected connection for as long as it held. Then, finally untied, Rita got a bathrobe and a pair of warm slippers like the others before her. Taking her by the hand, the nurse lead her to the medical room for aftercare. We chatted later and she seemed truly fine. I liked Rita, she was one of the more sociable models. I was happy that she had been my first Mood victim.


I sat down again to watch Myriam get thrashed by the three dommes. Lady Jessica went especially hard on her - I think she was trying to make a statement after seeing me. The caning was just as severe, but far less accurate, leaving Myriam with bleeding welts all over her ass and the back of her legs. I felt sorry for her, but couldn't suppress a bit of spitefulness - see, this is what she gets for not wanting to work with me. Silly girl! The same thought seemed to have occurred to Pedro, who nudged me afterwards: "Not a good choice, huh?”

Another caning in the diaper position was supposed to come next, but the girl quit after only five (relatively tame) strokes. She was so obviously out of her depth that they didn't even try to persuade her to continue. The aborted thrashing still ended up in the second video, though, with a fadeout. I had been sitting next to Pablo. He looked glum, so I threw in a bit of sarcasm to cheer him up: "Well, that was a fizzle! You know what a 'fizzle' is?" He didn't, so I explained that it's a slang term for a nuclear bomb which fails to meet its expected yield.

The subsequent pair of strapping scenes was more successful - while both girls needed a couple of breaks, they made it through to the end. I was offered to take part, but declined and left the task to the dommes again. I had never used a prison strap before and, even though it's a fairly simple instrument, I felt that a movie shoot was the wrong environment for such experiments. I preferred to do another caning. After my earlier performance, Pedro and Pablo were more than happy to hand me a second victim, a tall dark-haired girl going by the name Tammy Lange. She played the inmate who attacked me, so it was fitting that I would punish her myself.

It was the eighth CP scene overall and the last one of the shoot. I looked at my watch while they were tying Tammy to the bench - half past three. I had been up for roughly nineteen hours. Even the excitement of making a film with Mood wasn't quite enough to keep the tiredness at bay anymore. I psyched myself up for one final, all-out effort. Once the cameras were recording, I got the expected rush of adrenalin.

Tammy was a new girl and didn't take the caning nearly as well as Rita. She held up during the first couple of strokes, but when I started using my full arm, her composure quickly crumbled amidst cries of "Elég! Elég!" ("Enough! Enough!"). Before we got to twenty, Tammy "safeworded" for the first time, launching into a frantic conversation with Pablo. They calmed her down and she decided to continue after a minute. A handful of swishes later, she needed another break. Pedro asked me if I could aim for the back of her legs instead of her ass where she already had marks - it was Tammy's own request. I dislike cane stripes on the legs and knew that it wouldn't actually hurt any less, but I agreed: "Whatever makes her happy."


Faring a bit better now and gritting her teeth, Tammy seemed determined to reach the end. I caned her legs, then her bottom again, gradually increasing the force of the strokes. By number forty-something, she was at her limit again, banging her hands on the wooden bench and screaming: "Stop, stop, stop...!" Max Lomp signalled to me that I should go on, and I did. We were nearly at the finish line - by this point, simply getting it over with was easier on the girl than another interruption. I gave her the last half dozen quite hard, for the memories.

It was difficult to find a rhythm between the breaks, and with the poor girl constantly on the verge of quitting, I had gone softer on her compared to Rita. Pedro teased me afterwards for being "a shy guy" and I teased him back for "bad casting" – but seriously, it was better to have a slightly less severe scene than none at all. Tammy survived it well, too. When the still photographs were done, I gave her a gentle pat on the back. She nodded her head and smiled, indicating that she was okay. Watching her caning on video today, I consider it the more enjoyable of the two in terms of reactions, while Rita's is better technically.

And that was it - the end of the "Inmates" shoot. It took another hour to pack everything up. I got out of the guard uniform and collected my things, including the two "trophy" canes. The models, also back in their street clothes, looked tired but happy. The reddish blonde girl who had done one of the strapping scenes went to lie on an X-shaped cross in the corner of the studio, just for fun. I walked over and jokingly asked her if she wanted an encore. She grinned cheerfully, pointed at the cross and remarked in accent-free German: "Das ist viel gemütlicher!" ("This one's much more comfy!")

After saying goodbye and thank you, everybody left for home. In the car, Pedro looked quietly content with the work done, and so was I: "Well, that was a nice day..." We shook hands and I got out at the hotel. Staggering into my room at precisely 5 AM, I was struck by the deafening silence. It felt strange to be suddenly by myself again, without cameras or other observers. I blankly stared at my reflection in the big wardrobe mirror for a minute, letting the events of the past 24 hours sink in. Amazingly, they were real and no longer just a dream. My first spanking movie! Wow. Allowing myself a moment of silly joy, I punched the air with both fists.


The constant Hostel comparisons were getting tedious, but there was one more scene that came to my mind. I couldn't help it. It was the one where Paxton arrives at the torture factory, thinking it's an art gallery, and meets a Japanese businessman in the parking lot (a cameo by film director Takashi Miike). Paxton asks: "How is it in there?" The man replies: "Be careful. You could spend... all your money... in there!"

Of course, the analogy wasn't quite valid. I was not a paying torture club customer. My predicament was far worse - I got to thrash the girls for free. And there was no denying that the addiction was already beginning to take hold. I closed my eyes and saw Rita Goord's tear-soaked face before me. The blood splatter on the cane. I knew that I was lost. Only then, too late, did I realise what topping for Mood Pictures really means. It is not just another kinky adventure. Nor is it strictly a professional job. It is, in truth, a vile, sinister, corrupting influence on one's immortal soul.

I can't wait to do it again.

47 comments:

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Wow Ludwig, what a spectacular piece of gonzo journalism -- talk about putting yourself into the story.

I like your sensitivity to the emotional undercurrents and your descriptions of how it was for the girls, not to mention your speculations on the deeper meaning of it all.

If I wasn't a fan before, I would be after reading this.

Graham said...

"I gave her the last half dozen quite hard, for the memories."

Sweet of you, Ludwig. Is that what's meant by "affectionate sadism," then?

Niki Flynn said...

Whoa... I'm exhausted just reading this! And I think the Hostel analogy is pretty apt.
You are damned, mein Herr.
Doomed to the pit for all eternity.
Where all the cool stuff happens.

;-)

Thanks for your fascinating reports behind the mysterious Hungarians. I look forward to your further adventures. When do they make you a proper Cenobite?

Anonymous said...

That was a fascinating in-depth account of your experience in Budapest, which I read in conjunction with your earlier scholarly essay on "severity". It is interesting that in neither do you refer to any erotic effect produced by wielding the cane to such gory effect. Does that only come later when viewing the finished film? If the sexual effect is minimal or absent, what I wonder is the moral justification for a film of such severity. Just cash ?

On a lighter note, you really should experience the same intensity of caning from Niki as you dealt out to these girls. It will enhance your authority as a premier commentator on the subject if you personally have suffered fifty full-arm cutting strokes on the bare.

Please keep up the good work !

Peter 8862

Ludwig said...

Graham: "Sweet of you, Ludwig. Is that what's meant by 'affectionate sadism,' then?"

I think that was just "sadism", period.

Seriously, though, I'd say it was very much "affectionate", in the sense that applies to this kind of kinky tormentor / victim relationship. You have to "like" your victim, to be "fond of her" - and not, mind you, as a dehumanised object of play, but as a person. There has to be this human connection and affection, otherwise, it isn't fun!

Kinky sadism, for me and probably for most other kinky sadists, is deeply and intrinsically connected to empathy, and it is something that enobles the victim, actually. It really is an expression of affection. It is not at all destructive, degrading or dehumanising, and therein lies the fundamental difference to what is variously called pathological sadism, sociopathy or antisocial / dissocial personality disorder.

I plan to explore the subject of "affectionate sadism" in depth in a future post of mine, hopefully sometime in the next couple of months.

As for the last six, hard strokes in Tammy's caning ("for the memories"), the main reason for the severity was artistic, really: the last couple of strokes are suposed to be the hardest, as a kind of natural climax of the film scene, and moreover, I had previously gone quite a bit softer on Tammy than on Rita, so I felt that I should "make up for it" somewhat towards the end.

Niki: "When do they make you a proper Cenobite?"

I don't know, I haven't asked Pedro and Pablo about that yet, actually. I think it's a good idea, though - instead of Hostel, I could use Hellraiser as the tongue-in-cheek reference point for my next misnamed trilogy of reports!

Thank you for the inspiration.

Ludwig said...

Peter: "It is interesting that in neither [of your posts] do you refer to any erotic effect produced by wielding the cane to such gory effect."

There is an erotic effect, and I do refer to it, just not with these explicit words. Maybe that is why you missed the "immensely satisfying sight" of the blood on the cane, or the whole extended passage about the "moment of communion" with Rita after the scene, or all the stuff in the other parts of my behind-the-scenes report (choosing the girl, sensing their nervousness, etc.).

Or maybe you missed it because that simply isn't your kind of kink. But the erotic effect is very much there, both during the live situation and in my description of it, and I think fellow kinky sadists will have no trouble noticing it.

"Does that only come later when viewing the finished film?"

Watching the finished film is a very big part of it for me, but not the only one (see above). It's true that the erotic effect is absent, or at least very much in the background, while the cameras are running, during the actual filming of the scene - because you are so utterly concentrated on your aim, on getting the scene right, on making a good film. But it isn't entirely absent from the shoot, obviously! Far from it.

"If the sexual effect is minimal or absent, what I wonder is the moral justification for a film of such severity?"

There are several points I need to make in response to this question, because I disagree with pretty much everything you imply with it.

First off, the sexual effect is there, and it is substantial - we've established that already. It is there for me during the shoot, it's there when I watch the video, and it's obviously there for the Mood Pictures fans who also watch the video (otherwise, they wouldn't buy it). There is no sexual effect for the (vanilla) models, true, but they're not after that - they are after the money, and they get paid very well.

Secondly, I don't know what you mean by "moral justification" - or rather, I probably do know, but I disagree. In the first place, I don't believe that art, regardless of whether it's music, literature, sculpture or spanking porn, needs a "moral justification" of any kind. All it needs to be - if it wants to be good art, that is! - is interesting. The notion that art has to be "morally uplifting" began to go out of fashion centuries ago, and it is generally regarded as an outdated concept today.

What is the "moral justification" behind Alban Berg's String Quartet, Op. 3? I don't see any, and it doesn't need one. People listen to it and find it beautiful, haunting, interesting, stimulating, fascinating, inspirational etc. - but that has nothing to do with morals, really. Unless you want to claim that listening to a piece of instrumental music improves one's moral character somehow, which is doubtful.

So much for the "justification" of art (including porn) in general. Now, what you really seem to be implying with your question is that Mood Pictures-type videos, because they are so severe, perhaps need some kind of "special justification". But again, I don't think they do - the only justification they need is that people want to make them, and that other people want to see them. Preferably both!

I don't think there is anything morally problematic about "gory" spanking videos - if I did, I wouldn't be taking part in them. As long as all the participants are there as the result of a truly free choice (that is, there is no coercion, no desperate poverty involved), and as long as no permanent damage is done, I find it hard to see what should be objectionable about it.

Obviously, not everyone enjoys these kinds of videos. But that is a different matter entirely - a question of taste, not morals.

"On a lighter note, you really should experience the same intensity of caning from Niki as you dealt out to these girls. It will enhance your authority as a premier commentator on the subject if you personally have suffered fifty full-arm cutting strokes on the bare."

Actually, Peter, I have experienced Mood Pictures-type thrashings. Just not from Niki. (She is quite a skilled caner, but not an outright severity freak - the last couple of strokes in the "Ludwig's Comeuppance" video are about as hard as she can, or wants to, hit.)

The hardest caning of my life was at the hands of a pro domme in Hamburg, some four years ago. She had a reputation for being extremely skilled and severe, so I travelled there to find out for myself, out of a morbid curiosity to really test my limits this time.

She gave me about 120 strokes (100 which I counted aloud, plus extra). Most of them with the full arm. I was bleeding a lot, I was literally unable to sit down (or lie on my back) for days afterwards, and faint marks from the ordeal were still visible some ten months later. I have a private video of the caning (wasn't going to get thrashed like that without immortalising it on film!), and trust me, it easily is on the Mood / Lupus level of severity.

In other words, no, I don't think I have anything to prove when it comes to that subject - I've experienced both sides quite thoroughly, and whatever I do to my victims as a top, I've suffered the same type of thrashing (or worse) myself.

Greg said...

Ludwig- outstanding piece- you are a master!
Some questions: As a health care provider I am curious as to what actual medical care the models received.
Were they given analgesics before or after the ordeal? If so, which? What local care was provided to the skin? What happens if for example an infection developes and they need to see a doctor or ER? Would there be an investigation of the cause of the welts for abuse/domestic violence etc.? Would there have to be a report made to the authorities by the medical personel? Or do those dapper Hungarians just take it in stride!!
- Greg
PS how do I get the job caring for the welted rumps?!!!!

Andi Switch said...

I haven't looked at Mood for some time now as I disapproved with them caning on the back. My introduction to CP was watching Mood Pictures and playing myself at the top end. Lord only knows why the top end of CP is such a turn on. And why do I always want to be one of those girls in excruciating pain but I JUST DO.........hmmm........

Your account is FASCINATING and EXCELLENT accurate caning on the BOTTOM! Thanks!

Rainer said...

Wenn Du einen Oscar bekommst gibst aber hoffentlich einen aus ^^

Schöner Beitrag gefällt mir gut!

K'Ehleyr said...

Like usual the severity of the CP-scenes in „Inmates“ has brought up the question on justification and morality. So I’ve finally made the decision to write a comment about my personal thoughts on that topic. It’s something that has deeply moved and absorbed me for the last couple of days.

Starting from a rational point of view the answer is very easy and clear: A film like “Inmates” involves several participants and the viewers (economically: the customers). The producers generate profit with their product, the customers seem to get good value for money (otherwise they wouldn’t buy the films), the spankees earn a lot of money for one day of work and without any permanent damage and sadistic tops like you, Ludwig, have an unique experience which you even share with your blog-readers. For me as a business economist this is a classical win-win-situation without any losers. That means, from the rational point of view the case is closed.

But why then did the trailer seriously unsettle me, made me cry and conjured up a deep feeling of “This is wrong.” ? Obviously I am not the only person who has those feelings. But why?

I analysed the situation and developed the following ideas: My negative emotions are obviously not triggered by the film itself but by the context with which it becomes linked in my mind. First of all the setting of the film is quite far away from my erotic fantasies. That’s why the pictures don’t combine with positive fantasies in my head. Instead, they become linked with thoughts on real abuse of people who are in the mercy of an oppressive system. The knowledge, that the CP-scenes and the reactions of the women are real, makes it mentally impossible for me to separate the fiction from the realistic pictures in my head while watching the trailers. But, it is the real existing oppressive systems that are immoral - not the film itself.

“Inmates” seems to push some more red buttons in my mind which explains my extremely emotional response on the trailers. I don’t really see the element of persiflage in the way the scenario is presented. Given the fact, that the film is intended to arouse the viewers of the CP-scenes, this conjures up the idea that the film glorifies the real abuse to which the pictures are connected in my mind. The thought has raised a fear inside me, that kinky sadists might also enjoy that real abuse. But that thought is based on the wrong assumption that those people who like the film are wired like me. Ludwig, we already discussed that thought. You explained to me that you always keep the knowledge, that the women signed up for the trip and no permanent damage is done, in the back of your head. As you told me, that’s why the film can be erotic while real abuse would never turn you on and makes you feel as sad as it makes me feel.

The next thing causing negative feelings inside me are the extreme reactions of the women and the blood. The extremely loud screaming irritates me. Furthermore I don’t like the sight of extreme welts and blood. There seems to be an acceptable limit in my mind which is exceeded by these bloody thrashings. Interestingly, what also seems to play a role is the fact that the women are doing it for the money. Obviously there is an ethical rule in my mind telling me that one shouldn’t treat one’s body like that just for the money (personal experiences one is longing for seems to be valuated differently). Again, this doesn’t say anything about the film. It just says something about my personal attitude on how to treat my body.

The imbalance of the women only doing the job for the money and the viewers (and some tops and producers) enjoying the pain and the reactions also causes a bad feeling inside me. This has to do with a very personal limit. I would suffer a mental damage if I signed up for a situation like that because I would feel abused and like I sold myself. But of course it is stupid to assume that the spankees in the film feel the same way (they wouldn’t do it then).

Last but not least the scenes involving Lady Jessica are the most awful ones for me because I have a strong feeling that she doesn’t care about the health of her victims at all. But again, the women giving themselves into her hands know about her way of caning. And so far no permanent damage has been caused…

So, in conclusion it can be said that my feeling of “This is wrong and immoral” obviously doesn’t say much about the film itself. It tells much more about the way I am wired, about my personal limits and the way my mind links things together. I am of the opinion that this is also the case for many of those people who condemn Mood Pictures-style films unconsidered. The only thing I can to is to accept that I better should not watch those films - obviously I don’t belong to the target group.

One problem is unsolved, though. I haven’t got any problem to accept that not everything others like is also my taste and part of my fantasies. But I would have liked to watch your professional debut, Ludwig. But I’m afraid that I would harm myself watching the film given my strong emotional and almost physical reactions and that I might connect the negative feelings in my mind with you as a person and that it might be difficult to delete that connection later. The fact that, despite of all rational arguments, I feel such a strong repulsion watching the trailers makes me sad because I would rather like to share your enthusiasm, Ludwig. But like the people who enjoy the film are simply wired in a certain way, I guess I have to accept that I’m wired differently. The fact, that this means that I have those strong negative feelings towards something in which you put so much love and effort is what is really making me feel very sad… :-(


K’Ehleyr

Caroline Grey said...

I was hissing to myself and squirming in fear and loathing just reading that. Whew! Powerfully written, Ludwig.

I find this comment thread fascinating. It's a high level of communication, thoughtfulness and honesty going on that's rare to find in any conversation around topics like this. I myself am wired pretty much in the same way that K’Ehleyr describes herself--for that reason I probably won't even watch the trailers, although, like K’Ehleyr, I'd love to see your debut and share in the enthusiasm you so obviously have around this project!

This kind of film hurts my brain a bit, but I defend its right to exist, as long as nobody was harmed. Of course, we can't be sure 100% that no one is suffering mental harm from this, but everyone involved is fully adult and responsible for their own mental safety. As far as moral problems go, there is a side of me that ponders the risk/benefit ratio and pauses, but that's a choice and judgment I have a right to make for myself, and I'd protest and meet with disgust any government assuming to make that judgment on my behalf.

Anyway, wow! As Karl said, riveting journalism.

Ludwig said...

Greg: I don't know all the details about the medical care. I did not ask about them specifically, and needless to say, I was too discreet to just waltz into the medical room while the girls were receiving aftercare (I was usually pretty busy with other things, anyway).

From what I could gather on the side, and from what I have seen in the behind-the-scenes segments of other Mood Pictures videos, I'm pretty sure that the care includes the following:

a) before the canings, a thick transparent cream is applied to the girls' bottoms to soften the skin a little and prevent it from breaking too much

b) afterwards, the welts are treated with disinfectant

c) I believe that sometimes, ice packs are used to reduce the swelling (and the pain) in the immediate aftermath

d) anti-inflammatory and anti-septic liniments are used on the skin, probably arnica or something quite similar, to again minimise the risk of infection and help the skin repair

e) bandages are applied

What I'm definitely sure about is that the girls don't receive any pain killers. That would be a form of faking in a CP movie, and contrary to the claims of a handful of conspiracy theorists, Mood Pictures pride themselves on filming one hundred percent real (and "unmitigated") thrashings. Obviously, from a sadistic point of view, you want pure, natural reactions, not the reactions of someone who is drugged!

Also, while I'm no medical expert myself, I think it is probably a bad idea to severely cane (and thereby "excite") someone who is on pain killers or any other kind of drug. I'd be worried about side effects the drug might have on a person's circulation, response to stress etc. I do know that the girls have to take a mandatory drug test before the shoot - it's one of the details Pedro mentioned to me.

I'm also quite sure that they don't get analgesics afterwards. Once the thrashing is over, the pain is not all that excruciating - sure the welts hurt, but unless you try to sit down, it is quite bearable. You just bandage up and try to spend the next couple of days standing upright or lying on your stomach. I know, because I've done it myself.

What if an infection developed and they had to see a doctor afterwards? It's a hypothetical scenario and hasn't ever happened to my knowledge, but I'm pretty sure that there wouldn't be a report to the authorities - why would there be? It's not like Mood Pictures are doing anything illegal.

In most European jurisdictions (the UK is actually a rare exception to this), you can legally consent to bodily harm in the context of BDSM, provided that no grave injuries or lethal risks are involved. While hacking someone's arm off, for example, would always be considered a crime regardless of consent, the kind of thrashing Mood Pictures do, even including severe welts and blood, is no problem at all.

Hostel jokes notwithstanding, Mood Pictures are not some sinister undergound operation. They are out in the open (and have been for over five years), with their own business, website, advertisements... If there was anything legally objectionable about what they are doing, don't you think they would have gotten in trouble long ago?

As well as that, you have to keep in mind that the injuries we are talking about here are actually pretty light. Cane welts and minor lacerations are not deep, dangerous wounds. The girls are all young and healthy adults, they receive good aftercare (more than with any other producer I know), and Mood Pictures are quite safety-conscious when it comes to infections (as the "Do not take the cane to the land" anecdote from part three of my report illustrates).

Freak accidents can happen in almost any kind of activity, including BDSM. Hell, you could probably die from a hematoma after a particularly hard thrashing, because a blood clot could get loose and block a critical artery! I heard about one such story once, even though I'm not sure that it wasn't just an urban legend. But barring such "one in a billion" incidents, the health risks associated with a hard caning or strapping are quite limited, and probably lower than those in many kinds of sports.

Just passing through said...

Much of what K'Ehleyr said resonated with me. I found your report - and the trailer, especially - extremely disturbing. This is wrong. It may be consensual, in that the women are being paid for their time: but it is still exploitative, and panders to disturbing and potentially dangerous emotions. This is not about reciprocal sexual pleasure, about exploring boundaries: it is about abuse, pure, plain and simple abuse; about human beings being subjected to savage assaults for the delectation of sick-minded individuals.

And that scream was truly distressing. Whatever consent forms she had signed, however happy she was to receive her check, nothing gives you the right to inflict such torture on another human being.

Ludwig said...

K'Ehleyr, Caroline: I can understand that some people feel disturbed after watching the trailers and pictures - as I wrote in the beginning of the first part of my report, Mood Pictures certainly aren't for everyone's taste. I can even understand why someone might get the feeling that "This stuff is morally wrong!" - obviously, I don't agree with that sentiment, or I wouldn't take part in the films. But I can see why someone might, instinctively and without further reflection, feel this way.

I think the root of it is a failure, emotionally, to distinguish between taste and morals, and to distinguish between the real and the fictional elements of the "abuse" shown in these films. Combined with a worry (often resulting from personal inexperience with this level of kinky play) about the well-being of the participants. What it comes down to is some combination of the following factors (most of which K'Ehleyr has already described):

a) the setting (CP in prison) and the sheer severity squick some viewers

b) the setting, which is obviously fictional, shows a situation that is morally objectionable

c) the beatings, which are just as obviously real, are extremely severe

d) there is a worry that people who enjoy the fictional setting might also enjoy real, i.e. non-consensual abuse

e) most of the models are vanillas and only in the video for the money

When you look at these points one by one, isolated from each other, most of us probably wouldn't regard them as a major issue. But when you get many or all of them together, they can produce a pretty strong feeling of discomfort. That is why Mood videos are such a powerful "cocktail".

Not all of us like prison scenarios or severe canings (point a). This is a matter of taste, not morals - as long as kinky play is between consenting adults and no permanent damage is done, it's hard to see what should be objectionable about it.

But it can be quite easy to confuse, emotionally, the discomfort (i.e. distaste) we feel when something goes totally against our own erotic fantasies with the discomfort (i.e. moral outrage) we feel when something is morally wrong. I think it's this conflation of the two senses of "This feels wrong!" - "distasteful" versus "morally wrong" - that lies at the heart of the issue.

Then there's the conflation of the real and the fictional "abuse", of points b and c. Because the beatings and the girls' reactions are very much real, and because they are so extreme, it's easy to forget that the setting obviously isn't real - that these are models who have signed up for this kind of film, rather than real prisoners who don't have a choice.

Again, it's an emotional reaction to this kind of setting and severity. When you look at it rationally, "Inmates" isn't any more "immoral" than your average schoolgirl spanking video. Both are settings which, if they were real, would be abusive and morally objectionable - okay, most school canings aren't this long or hard, but does that really make them any better? It's the lack of consent that makes real abuse abusive, not the degree of severity.

Furthermore, both "Inmates" and the schoolgirl caning video feature real beatings - while Mood beatings are quite a bit harder than the average spanking video, again, that doesn't make them any more immoral, provided that it is all consensual. Lastly, both videos are meant to arouse the viewer. If this means that the prison video "glorifies real abuse", then so does the schoolgirl video.

Needless to say, I don't think it glorifies anything - regardless of whether they're spankos or not, most people have no difficulty in telling right from wrong, and telling the difference between erotic fantasy / kinky play and real life. They're not going to watch a Mood Pictures video and go: "Oh, hey, I think beating up prisoners is a great thing! Those guards at Abu Ghraib were pretty cool!" Just like the average spanko who fantasises about schoolgirl canings isn't going to support the reintroduction of CP in real schools.

Which brings us to point d. I may enjoy a higher level of severity than many other spankos, but that doesn't make me a sociopath. The idea that I might enjoy inflicting real, non-consensual abuse on real prisoners is just as far-fetched as the idea that someone who reads Mary Catherine spanking stories would enjoy beating real schoolgirls.

One can find various pictures, even videos, of real abuse on the net - Abu Ghraib, judicial canings in Malaysia, floggings of women according to Sharia law etc. I don't find them the least bit erotic. The knowledge that these pictures show non-consensual situations precludes that.

As spankos, most of us draw inspiration from certain real scearios and practices, historical or contemporary. But these scenarios are only the starting point for a thorough process of "fictionalisation" - we take certain elements which we find hot, we filter out others, we add some things which we simply made up, and we end up with an exciting erotic fantasy. But seeing pictures of real, non-consensual abuse is a different thing altogether, and it isn't as a rule perceived as enjoyable.

Frankly, I find spanking films like "Inmates" much too schlocky (in a deligthful way) and unrealistic to associate them with any real life context, anyway. Cute, 20-year-old girls as inmates? Dommes with oversized "prison guard jackets" and high heel shoes as the torturers, plus one dorky-looking Bavarian guy? It's patently ridiculous! When I see that, I don't think of Abu Ghraib, I think of cheesy sexploitation films like Caged Heat. "Inmates" has infinitely more in common with them (including the subtle fact that its production was consensual!) than with any real-life scenario.

So what we are left with is the extreme level of severity and the fact that most of the models are vanilla girls - points c and e. I think this is what bothers some people more than anything else, especially the combination between the two. Like I said, each point taken separately wouldn't be much of an issue - if kinky people want to play this hard, fine, and if some vanillas want to make money by starring in a spanking film, fine. It's the two together that seem to be objectionable in the eyes of some.

I counter by saying that free adults are free to make their own choices, that point e (the girls only doing it for the money) is true for most pornography, and that Mood Pictues isn't any more immoral or exploitative than mainstream porn - it isn't even any more dangerous, from a medical point of view.

Actually, a Mood-type thrashing entails a lower risk of injury than some practices which you frequently see in mainstream porn, such as double anal penetrations. Not to mention the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. And whether it's hard canings, DAP's or good old-fashioned vaginal intercourse: at the end of the day, we as individuals have to decide for ourselves what we would or wouldn't do for money, and what risks we would or wouldn't take.

As long as there is no blackmail and no exploitation of poverty involved - in other words, as long as these choices are truly free -, there is nothing objectionable about sex for money, double anal penetrations for money or hard canings for money. What I find objectionable is when some people try to restrict my freedom to make my own choices about what I am willing or not willing to do. I'm very much with Caroline on that point.

The Mood Pictures girls are not poor and starving. They are free adults making their own decisions, they know exactly what they are signing up for, and no serious harm is done to them. Cane welts and a bit of broken skin are a very survivable ordeal. I know what I'm talking about because I've experienced it all myself. Actually, I've been caned worse than this - and when I was, I didn't have a professional nurse on hand for aftercare (the domme gave me disinfectant and bandages, though).

Of course, Caroline is right in pointing out that "we can't be sure 100% that no one is suffering mental harm from this". But the same goes for mainstream porn, mainstream fashion modelling (anorexia, anyone?) or any number of other activities, where we also can't be "100% sure".

Therefore, Caroline is equally right in pointing out that people are responsible for their own mental safety. From what I saw of the girls before, during and after the "torture", they certainly didn't look traumatised for life. On the contrary, I got the impression that they were all rather happy - except maybe for the model who quit after five strokes, and only got a small paycheque.

Personally, I believe that the likelihood of having a bad, damaging experience isn't really tied to how many cane welts you get or if there is blood - it's tied to how people treat you on the set. At Mood Pictures, the models are treated in a very nice, courteous manner by the team, which is why many them keep coming back for more films. At the same time, you can easily have a totally rotten experience on the set of a regular "vanilla sex" shoot, provided that the director treats you like crap.

All of these are thoughts which I went through in detail and at length, as you can undoubtedly see. In principle, I made my decisions about taking part in severe CP films, thrashing vanilla girls etc. long ago, and the actual experience of the shoot has only reinforced my conviction that they are right. I don't find anything immoral about it, or obviously, I wouldn't be doing it. And I have yet to see a single good argument in support of the claim that it is, somehow, morally objectionable.

When it comes to taste, rather than morals, I realise just as clearly that these videos aren't for everyone. And that's alright! I wouldn't presume to force my personal taste on anyone, and I think it would be horribly boring if we all liked exactly the same things. Obviously, there's no need to feel sorry for not sharing my enthusiasm. And I'm not all about relentless Mood-type severity myself - I do enjoy lighter, more playful videos, too. You are welcome to like those instead.

Ludwig said...

In reply to 'Just passing through':

"Much of what K'Ehleyr said resonated with me. I found your report - and the trailer, especially - extremely disturbing."

If you actually took the time to understand what she wrote, though, you will realise that she comes to very different conclusions. In fact, your opinion is a good example of what K'Ehleyr called "unconsidered condemnation" - coupled with what I would call a good deal of pompous, annoying self-righteousness.

"This is wrong. It may be consensual, in that the women are being paid for their time: but it is still exploitative..."

If it is wrong because women do it for the money, then so is mainstream pornography, prostitution, striptease dancing... Pretty much every kind of sex work, really. In all of these fields, you frequently see women who are only in it for the money without actually enjoying themselves.

Does that make it exploitative? Only if the choice of the woman isn't really free - for instance, if she is desperately poor and has no other means to support herself or her family, if she is being blackmailed, or if she is forced into her line of work work by an abusive boyfriend, pimp or some such person.

If, on the other hand, the choice is truly free, then it is hard to see what should be "exploitative" about it. Or to put it another way: free adults are free to let themselves be exploited! I wouldn't presume to take that freedom away from them.

The Mood Pictures models aren't poor, starving girls, they are people who want extra money - rather than really needing it. Victoria Young, who has done some ten (!) videos by now, uses hers to go on holiday and buy expensive designer clothes. Good for her, I say. Personally, I wouldn't do a video simply for the money. But I'm not going to tell her how to run her life.

In this regard, it's an interesting question who is exploiting whom. I don't think what Mood Pictures do is exploitative - see above. But let's call it so for the sake of the argument. If that is so, then the exploitation goes both ways - the models are getting a very solid sum of money from Mood, and by extension from the viewers, for one day of work and five minutes of severe pain which doesn't do any lasting harm. A fairly good deal, methinks.

"...and panders to disturbing and potentially dangerous emotions."

If that is why "this is wrong", then so are various kinds of horror films and thrillers - which also "pander to disturbing emotions". You may not like it and you may even find it deeply distasteful, but that doesn't make it immoral. Sure, as opposed to what you see in the average horror film, the beatings in CP videos are real - but that doesn't make them immoral, either, provided that they are consensual.

As for the "potentially dangerous" emotions, it has never been demonstrated that watching kinky porn or horror films causes real violence. That propaganda is only floated by prudes and scaremongers.

"This is not about reciprocal sexual pleasure, about exploring boundaries: it is about abuse, pure, plain and simple abuse; about human beings being subjected to savage assaults for the delectation of sick-minded individuals."

No, it's not about reciprocal sexual pleasure. It is about kinky sadism for the viewers (or masochism, depending on which side you identify with). For the models, it's about the money. None of which is immoral.

If you think that a severe caning constitutes a "savage assault" ("assault" is a word which implies lack of consent, by the way), then I would be interested to hear your thoughts on heavyweight boxing - where grown men punch each other in the face, with fists, until one of them passes out, to the "delectation" of the viewers?

The frequent results are concussions and heavy lacerations, sometimes even broken bones, permanent brain or eye damage, or other serious injuries. But that's okay because they are big strong men and it's a sport, right? Oh well.

Mind you, I have nothing against heavyweight boxing. If people want to do it, that's great as far as I'm concerned. My point is merely that as long as boxing is widely viewed as unobjectionable and even as a noble sport, I can't take anyone seriously who tries to tell me that a couple of welts on one's ass are "savage" and "pure, simple abuse". They are, in fact, very survivable - I know, because I've felt canings like these myself, and harder ones.

So, I have little time for your hysteria and hyperbolic language, and even less for your judgmental assertion (again, without any basis in fact) that people who enjoy these videos are "sick-minded individuals". One would expect a fellow kinky person to be a little more tolerant and broad-minded towards others. But, apparently not. The zealots who call all of us spankos "sick" will read it with delight!

"And that scream was truly distressing. Whatever consent forms she had signed, however happy she was to receive her check, nothing gives you the right to inflict such torture on another human being."

I suppose you are referring to the scream at the end of the trailer, from the red-haired girl in the diaper position. Yeah, she was a great screamer. She was also perfectly fine and happy afterwards.

When the scene ended, she was giggling already while they were untying her, then smiling and horsing around in her bathrobe before she was out the door. Of all the spankees during the shoot, she probably had the easiest reaction and the quickest recovery period - she just shrugged it off, basically. And no, it wasn't an act. She was truly okay. I think I can tell the difference, thanks very much!

So, when you say "nothing gives you the right to inflict such torture on another human being", I counter by saying: first, it isn't really "torture", because it isn't non-consensual. That is your hyperbolic language again.

Secondly, nothing gives you the right, my friend, to take away that girl's freedom, or mine, to make our own choices. Both of us are grown-up, law-abiding citizens. Just because we're doing something that goes beyond your personal taste or beyond your limited imagation doesn't mean that we need to be patronised.

If the "abuse", the "torture" and the "savage assaults" were half as horrible as you make them out to be, do you think any of the girls would be coming back for more films? Do you think Mood Pictures would have any luck finding girls at all, newbies or veterans? Or are we back to the "They have no choice, they are starving!" theory again?

In conclusion, I don't have anything to add that I haven't already said in my reply to K'Ehleyr and Caroline. It is getting redundant. If you want to argue that what I do is immoral, you will have to come up with more than hysteria and thinly veiled prejudices.

I can't say I'm not enjoying the conversation, though. If nothing else, the fact that the "Inmates" trailer elicits such a strong emotional reponse from some is proof that we must have been doing something right, artistically speaking.

Niki Flynn said...

Looks like it's someone else's turn to take over the "no they aren't abused, no they aren't starving" argument! :-)

And dear oh dear but you've got the "moral outrage" to face down too. You're doing a much better job of it than I did, though. I have no time for the narrow-minded hysteria either and the One True Way judgments just make me shake my head in dismay.

Still, the vast majority of commenters here are intelligent, articulate and open-minded, so don't let the odd rotten apple spoil the strudel. ;-)

K'Ehleyr said...

@ Just passing through: You obviously really got me completely wrong. I just hope that this says more about your way of reading my comment than about my way of writing it. I am not a native speaker, so I might sometimes use the wrong vocabulary, but I’ve been quite convinced that my thoughts and conclusions can easily be followed and understood?! Just in case I have been wrong - here the two main results: I am of the opinion that “Inmates” is NOT morally wrong. I just found out that my fantasies and personal limits are different.

@ Caroline: I’m very happy that you obviously understood my comment the way I meant it. And it’s good to know that I am not the only one who is struggling with the clash between rational arguments and one's emotional reactions.

@ Ludwig: I hope that my comment told you that - despite the fact that the film isn’t my taste - I completely support your opinion that there is nothing morally wrong with participating or watching a film like “Inmates”. My intention was to have a look at the topic from the point of view of someone, who is wired differently. I thought that it might be easier for those people who condemn films like “Inmates” to get some new insights by reading the thoughts of someone, who isn’t defending the films because he/she likes them, but despite the fact of having a different taste. Maybe it doesn’t work? Of course you are right, saying that real spankings of schoolgirls are as immoral as real abuse in prisons. The fact, that I haven’t got any negative feelings when reading the stories of Mary Catherine (as you know, I love them), just fits to my argument, that scenarios which are close to my fantasies get linked to those positive fantasies, while other scenarios sometimes seem to get connected to pictures of real-life abuse in my head. By the way - that’s why I’m very happy that I have written my comment, although it obviously wasn’t that helpful concerning the discussion on morality: Writing down all of my thoughts reduced the negative feelings I have towards the film. So maybe after a while I might be able to watch your debut without too many negative feelings and strange pictures in my mind...?! Preferably with a kinky friend at my side who is taking care of me. And of course I know that you also enjoy lighter and playful scenarios, too. As I already told you once, one of your lighter films is the reason why I started reading your blog last year! :-)

K’Ehleyr

Ernest said...

This has been a very interesting discussion. I find Ludwig's analysis - particularly the one at 4pm on 8th - very thought-provoking. But his criticism (e) is really the crux, isn't it - that most of the models are vanillas who get no pleasure themselves from the activity.

I must say I would feel happier about enjoying a film like this if I knew that they were all people like Niki who - however uncomfortable it may be - do get a challenge and a thrill from it.

Sure, no one has to do a particular activity to pay for their foreign holiday - or even to earn a basic living - unless they want to. And I'm prepared to believe what Ludwig tells us about the care taken of the girls, and even the feeling of off-camera cameraderie. That's fine.

And yet ... and yet ... we're not all equal in the face of the market, are we? A given sum of money wouldn't mean as much to Bill Gates as it would to me ... and it would mean a lot more to a young woman grown up in Hungary than it would to either of us. If the word 'exploitative' is hard to shake off, that is the reason. And that's the reason that I wish you could tell us that they were all westerners who share our kink and simply take it a bit further....

But, if this is not inconsistent, I do appreciate both your fascinating accounts of your experiences and your thoughtful analysis of what lies behind them. And especially the tales of Niki and Adele and Pandora and any others who tell us how these things work out for westerners who dare to experience these things. (And of course those ladies I've met who experience something much milder ... but that's another story!)

Ernest

Anonymous said...

Ludwig, that was surely the blog to end all blogs! Thank you for a most explicit reply.

So the two curbs on your severity fetish are those of consensuality and no permanent injury. Would these be all you would apply in the case of a "naff" film I wonder ? Is there any scenario in which you would refuse to play a part (assuming you were competent to do so) provided it observed these two conditions ? Legality, of course, must be a constraint and also any desire to present a certain image in your relationship with the bottom and others involved. The question is whether there is, or should be, some ethical consideration such as a need to do unto others as you would that they do unto you. This surely must be the distinguishing mark of a civilised society.

David Aaronovitch, writing in the Times, is reported as saying "Every wicked pleasure requires a pious justification". I wouldn't associate piety with either of us but an ethical justification for those bloody cane welts is even more difficult to conceive.

I'm all for good healthy strokes on bare buttocks Niki-style but there are ways in which variety and greater eroticism can be obtained, other than by increased severity, by introducing associated fetishes such as satin gladrags and bondage.

Even "Stripping4whipping" dare I suggest ?

Thank you Ludwig for a most stimulating debate on a very important aspect of our pet subject. Most helpful.

Peter

Caroline Grey said...

Ludwig, thanks so much for engaging our comments with such a deep level of seriousness and detail. I really appreciate it.

I am a little tipsy, on my third glass of wine, and the comments are already so long and numerous that I am loathe to add to them too much. But there is one thing that struck me when I read:

Combined with a worry (often resulting from personal inexperience with this level of kinky play) about the well-being of the participants.

something went "DING DING DING" in my mind when I read that. I read with great interest Pandora's account of her severe pain4fem shoot. It was obviously so intense and frightening and horrifying at the time. It was her kinkiness and the triumph of having gotten through it, and how that was hot to her, as a kinky girl, that seemed to redeem the experience and raise it to the level of art, and to something I would applaud and envy. Even though it was an amazing and formative experience for her, she did describe herself as "traumatized" and she had "only" 35 strokes, of which "only" 3 were of the "very hard" classification.

And I wonder, if a vanilla girl didn't have the kind of inner reserve someone like Pandora has, how would she deal?

My own cowardice could play a part in my reaction. I'm a hard player by most standards, and I go a little pale thinking of that level of play.


I guess since I am not the least bit vanilla, I may be overestimating how "horrific" it would be to be a vanilla girl getting that kind of beating. I think "damn, I'm kinky as hell, and I don't know if I could deal, imagine how unbearably horrific it would be if you were vanilla!"

I haven't taken into account that there's more than one kind of vanilla girl, just like there's more than one kind of kinky girl.

Now I'm going to go drink more wine and think about that.

Caroline Grey said...

@K'Ehleyr:

I meant to say that it's a long and difficult process, working through the "clash between rational arguments and one's emotional reactions." but I think it's a fight worth having. I was really inspired by your painful emotions and and open-mindedness co-existing as they did in your comment. I struggle with this all the time in many contexts. It's so easy to choose one of the other options:
a.)
disappear up your own butt with your scary emotions and let on it doesn't bother you,

or

b.)resort to blanket condemnations of anything that makes you uncomfortable.

I have to say I choose option a.) more often than I'd like to admit, but your comment confronted me on that and sent me off in an interesting and rewarding examination of my own reactions that I might otherwise have avoided. Thank you.

Pandora said...

Fantastic, and fascinating, post and discussion, Ludwig - bravo!

I guess since I am not the least bit vanilla, I may be overestimating how "horrific" it would be to be a vanilla girl getting that kind of beating. I think "damn, I'm kinky as hell, and I don't know if I could deal, imagine how unbearably horrific it would be if you were vanilla!"

Caroline - I wonder if being kinky makes it more horrific, because we are more emotionally engaged in the whole experience? Perhaps it is more acute for us because it's more meaningful?

People voluntarily undergo excrutiating pain all the time - medical procedures, tattoos and body modifications, child birth. I think that physical suffering is something humans are actually remarkably well-equipped to endure.

Mental suffering - now, that's the horror, and that's why the kinds of scenarios that Mood explore are so unsettling. Actually being trapped in a situation like that? Actually having your freedom and humanity denied, being brutalised and mistreated? Appalling! But the physical sensation of being hit for five minutes, while extreme, is not the only thing that would make a real non-consensual experience like this traumatic, and arguably the mental aspects are far, far worse.

Remove the mental and emotional abuse from the situation, and you have some independent adults choosing to experience isolated physical suffering, without any of the mental trauma that would surround it if it were real. I don't want to trivialise or downplay the physical suffering, but the thing about pain is that it stops you thinking. It stops your perception of time. Mental trauma is only possible when you're given time to dwell on things, to activate your imagination. Extreme physical pain without any accompanying mental trauma is not horrifying it doesn't have time to be. It's just very very painful.

Have you ever had truly awful stomach pains, gastroenteritis or anything like that? That's the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life, mostly because it went on for nearly three days, during which I had no sense of my own self or identity because I couldn't think above the pain. Three days, and people suffer far worse illnesses every day without experiencing lasting mental trauma. Five minutes, and then you don't have to work for the next month? Why should that be any more traumatic than the suffering that humans undergo all the time, without being paid, without choosing it, simply because bodies are fallible and fragile?

I think as kinky people we're sometimes in danger of demonising physical pain, making it THE worst thing anyone can possibly undergo, because we care about it and fetishise it and imbue it with meaning. But think about the non-kinky types of pain you've experienced, and how traumatised you were by them. Think about the hundreds of reasons people have for putting themselves through non-emotionally-abusive pain, like cauterising a wound. You take a deep breath and grit your teeth and get it over with, and you'll be glad afterwards.

What interests me is why in Eastern Europe it occurs to vanilla people to seek out something like this. Are they approached by agencies? Is there a culture of awareness that this is an option if you're tough enough? Why do vanilla girls in the UK not do spanking modelling? Is it because our privilege as a nation - mostly not being beaten as children, having access to good healthcare - has sensitised us to physical suffering more than in other cultures? Is it because the "English Vice" is something even vanillas are aware about at a level which makes them uneasy?

Personally, I think as a culture we are far more inclined to put ourselves through emotional and mental suffering for money. Bullying bosses. Mind-numbing office jobs. Factory jobs. Long commutes, jobs in a different city from your family... Vanilla or not, I think a caning is far less traumatic than some of the things people regularly put themselves through to earn a living.

Graham said...

Right. I feel ten kinds of ridiculous adding to this very verbose comment section, but this just needled me:

"A given sum of money wouldn't mean as much to Bill Gates as it would to me ... and it would mean a lot more to a young woman grown up in Hungary than it would to either of us. If the word 'exploitative' is hard to shake off, that is the reason. And that's the reason that I wish you could tell us that they were all westerners who share our kink and simply take it a bit further...."

Okay — so your problem isn't so much that the models are vanilla, but that they're not "western"? Ludwig's made it quite clear that these models aren't impoverished or in dire financial straits. They weren't trafficked, they were hired for a job, and they knew what they signed up for. (Ludwig even pointed out that one of the women realized it wasn't for her at all, and backed out — which shows that this was based entirely on consent.) And honestly, Hungary's not a third-world country, and not everyone in Eastern Europe is poor or ignorant or otherwise benighted. (Nor is everyone in "the west" financially secure and sexually liberated, for that matter...) I don't like the insinuation that because these models are Hungarian, they're not empowered to make their own choices.

That is, in my scholarly opinion, mad backwards.

Pandora said...

Graham - You are absolutely right, of course, and if I implied in my penultimate paragraph that Hungary is a third world country then I was being unthinkingly prejudiced. My bad.

The truth is I have no idea why this happens there and not here. Maybe if it was legal to produce brutal caning videos in the UK and producers were willing to pay decent money, vanilla models would make exactly the same decision here, as well. Who can tell?

Graham said...

Pandora - No worries! I actually wrote my little rant before I saw your comment, so none of that was directed at you.

I also wonder how the models find out about these shoots, and why Eastern Europe is the world capital of hardcore CP cinema. You make a good point about the legal issues in the UK. And not to hate on my native land, but I can't help but thinking there are plenty of Americans who'll do all kindsa crazy shit for money. Think of shows like "Fear Factor" and "Survivor," where people do all manner of physically/psychologically traumatizing things for hope of a cash reward. And that's perfectly legal and airs on network TV. Huh. Now I'm just baffled as to why hardcore CP filmmaking hasn't become popular there...

Anonymous said...

I have read the full story and the comments. It is worth for me reading about the behind the scenes. I have some questions about the shot.

How many days or weeks need the models to fully heal up after a caning like that you gave to your girls? After how many days or weeks they are able to shoot again? You told Victoria had been beaten ten times.

Thanks in advance.

Ernest said...

Graham:

"Okay — so your problem isn't so much that the models are vanilla, but that they're not 'western'?"

It's not so much that they're not western, as that while I can imagine a western vanilla model making the decision to take part on an economic 'level playing field', I am not quite sure how level the playing field is between a Hungarian vanilla model and a western film viewer. If you think I'm being unnecessarily protective of the Hungarians (especially if you know more about Hungary than I do) then I apologise. You do seem to imply that if Hungary WERE a Third World country then I might have a point.

I do think Pandora's point about the physical pain that people put themselves through for non-kinky reasons is very important - tatooing, childbirth, cauterising a wound. Sport, she might have added. Why should we feel uncomfortable about this activity as a career move when we know that in some societies putting yourself in the boxingring for the heavy-weight champion to knock the stuffing out of you may equally be the way to fame and fortune!

BTW, don't apologise for adding to the large number of comments - the fact that we've got up to such a large number simply shows the importance, as well as the interest, of the topics raised.

Ernest

abby williams said...

Having just finished reading your post, I have but one thought:

"I can't breathe."

I think that is partially because I might have been holding my breath during the second half, but also, I was also imagining my husband in your situation, not so much on film with other girls, but the mindset, the viciousness, the determination. What I want and can take is so tame, comparatively. I think he is darker than he seems, and I pale in comparison. But I found myself wanting to see one of our own canes colored as yours was. If only to see it once. If only to feel that much more alive when it ends.

(It seems there was a lively discussion in the comments, but I am still catching my breath and will have to read everyone else's thoughts (debates?) later on.)

bripuk said...

One of the best canings I've seen. All strokes administered on the correct place.

Caroline Grey said...

Pandora: very very very good point. And Graham, I've wondered about the reality-show thing, too. I mean, I'd take a caning like this before I'd eat a live tarantula. Probably also a dead one.

K'Ehleyr said...

@ Caroline (in reply to your comment from 04/10):

I can understand your choice to often avoid the examination of your scary emotions very well. It took me a long time to learn that these strong emotions aren’t something bad and that trying to understand them helps me to learn a lot about myself and others. And the cool thing is, examining one’s reactions and emotions also makes them less scary. As my first comment on the topic shows, I still sometimes tend to think that I shouldn’t have such strong emotions and be more rational (being an INTJ I’m very rational most of the time, anyway). But strong emotions are something wonderful - they tell us a lot about our values and limits and help us to protect ourselves and take good care of us. And in my opinion being able to take good care of oneself is the basis for treating others well, too.

Writing down my thoughts and feelings on a blog like this has another fantastic effect for me: Your replies and all the other comments on the topic inspired me and helped me to look at the topic from different views. To my mind getting the chance to learn something from others is one of the greatest gifts this world has to offer. So, thanks a lot! :-)

K’Ehleyr

Ludwig said...

Ernest: "[A given sum of money] would mean a lot more to a young woman grown up in Hungary than it would to either of us. If the word 'exploitative' is hard to shake off, that is the reason. And that's the reason that I wish you could tell us that they were all westerners who share our kink..."

"While I can imagine a western vanilla model making the decision to take part on an economic 'level playing field', I am not quite sure how level the playing field is between a Hungarian vanilla model and a western film viewer..."

I appreciate your comment, Ernest, but I had hoped that after everything I wrote, people would see that the "poor Eastern European girls" theory doesn't hold any water. If your cause for concern is that the models are Hungarian, rather than the fact that they're vanilla, then I can lay that concern to rest.

It's true that Hungary isn't as rich as, say, Germany or the UK. But neither is it as poor as you seem to imply. It is a EU member since 2004, and one of the strongest economies among former East Bloc countries. The income per capita, the standard of living, the rule of law, it's all pretty decent.

If we were talking about a Third World nation like Burma or Ethiopia, it would be a different story (as Graham implied). I've always emphasised this myself: if people do porn out of desperate poverty, I argued, then their choices aren't free and the whole thing is exploitative. But the point is, Hungary is not a Third World nation, and the Mood girls are not starving. They do have an actual, free choice between doing the video and not doing the video. Which is why this isn't exploitation.

If it is ("minor exploitation", perhaps?), then so is virtually every other exchange in our society. You talk about a "level economic playing field" as if such a thing existed. But it doesn't. Not for the Polish construction guy or the cleaning lady who work here in the West. Neither does it exist anywhere between us, in the West - because people have different income classes around here, too.

As Graham also pointed out, Westerners aren't all rich, just like Eastern Europeans aren't all poor. Millions of UK or German citizens live below the official poverty line, many others have low incomes. The fact that the girls in a spanking film are "Western" doesn't guarantee that no one is being exploited.

Therefore, instead of looking at "Eastern Europe", "Western Europe" and "playing fields", I think we need to look at the individual cases - the actual people involved. As long as we can say that their choices are free, according to any reasonable definition of the word, it's hard to argue that the exchange of x for money is exploitative. At the least, it's hard to argue why porn should be more exploitative than flipping hamburgers or working at the factory.

Simply because it's porn? Often, that seems to be the sole argument. But I read an interview with a vanilla pornstar once (a German one, for that matter), who said that before shooting videos, she had cleaned toilets and taken out other peoples' trash for a living. She had a very clear opinion about which of the two jobs she considered degrading and uncomfortable (hint: it wasn't the porn videos!).

Again, what it comes down to, I think, is that different people will do different things for money. As long as it is a free choice and they are comfortable with the result, there is nothing wrong with it. Me, I may not be willing to fuck on camera for money. But if someone else is, fine.

I think it's also fair to assume that the people who argue that porn is, somehow, inherently "exploitative" - the usual unholy alliance of religious rightwingers, orthodox feminists and populist conservative politicians - aren't really concerned with the economic situation at all, or with distinguishing between different cases. They are concerned with the fact that Wicked Sexual Acts are taking place, and this is the true source of their outrage!

Coming back to the Mood models, the individual cases we are talking about here: I know a bit about what jobs they have, from what Pedro mentioned to me and from chatting with them myself. I'm not at liberty to go into details, for reasons of privacy. But I can tell you that you can find all sorts of typical middle class backgrounds there - banks, offices, university students, et cetera.

In closing, I agree with you that videos with genuinely kinky girls like Niki, Pandora or Caroline are more interesting in many ways - the psychology, the creative collaboration... I wrote about that in my report, too. But they are no more "moral" than those with vanilla girls. And besides, as I also wrote: a Mood Pictures shoot isn't without a psychological fascination of its own...

Ludwig said...

Peter: "So the two curbs on your severity fetish are those of consensuality and no permanent injury. Would these be all you would apply in the case of a 'naff' film I wonder ? Is there any scenario in which you would refuse to play a part (assuming you were competent to do so) provided it observed these two conditions?"

Consensuality is one obvious and indispensable condition. This goes without saying, I think, and it goes for all kinky play.

Of course, in severe kinky play, there are cases like Mood Pictures where the spankees don't have a safeword option during the beating. Where they are fully "in the top's hands", so to speak. But as long as this is agreed on beforehand, and as long as the top is experienced enough to know what to do and what not to do, it's perfectly alright. Some spankees really get off on it, too!

Point two, permanent damage: regarding morality, I think there are some cases where permanent damage is actually morally unobjectionable - provided that it is consensual and that the damage is relatively minor (i.e. not disabling). For example, a bottom who wants a "love scar" or a burn mark from the top. It's extreme, but if those two people want to do it and if they are prepared to live with the permanent result, I won't stop them.

On the other hand, I would argue that inflicting permanent damage which is also disabling in some way (such as cutting off fingers) is always immoral, regardless of consensuality. So is "consensual cannibalism" etc.

In any case, even the "minor" permanent damage of scars goes beyond my personal kink. I wouldn't inflict a scar even if someone asked me to, because it goes against my sense of taste. And I wouldn't cut off fingers, because it goes against my moral code. Note the difference - the former is alright for others to do as far as I'm concerned, the latter isn't.

Point three: are there any scenarios in which I would refuse to take part, even if they are consensual and don't cause permanent damage? Yes, there are a few - because they go against my sense of taste, not because I consider them immoral. Again, this is an important distinction. I wouldn't take part in a
Nazi death camp scenario, for example. Or in a scenario where adults role-play "child abuse". Other people can do do that for all I care, as long as they are consenting adults. But these are two scenarios I wouldn't take part in, because I find them entirely unerotic myself.

"The question is whether there is, or should be, some ethical consideration such as a need to do unto others as you would that they do unto you. This surely must be the distinguishing mark of a civilised society."

I wholeheartedly agree, and I don't see how this is not the case at a Mood Pictures shoot. I treat the models just how I would like to be treated myself.

I wouldn't like to have anything forced onto me against my will, and the Mood models aren't forced into anything. I would like the freedom to make my own choices in life, and this is what the models are doing. I would like to be treated in a nice and civil manner on the movie set, and this is how the models are treated.

So, where is the reason for the moral concern which I sense in your comment? Again, it seems that your discomfort simply comes from the fact that this isn't quite your kind of video, as far as personal taste is concerned.

"David Aaronovitch, writing in the Times, is reported as saying 'Every wicked pleasure requires a pious justification'."

Since you presumably read my reply to your first comment, you already know that I don't agree with this. I don't believe that art - which is what CP porn is, erotic art - needs any kind of moral justification. All it needs is people wanting to produce it and other people wanting to see it.

The "moral justification of art" is, in my view, an outdated idea, and replacing the word "moral" with "pious" doesn't change anything about this. Again, I would ask you: what is the "pious justification" behind a piece of instrumental music like Alban Berg's String Quartet, Op. 3?

"I wouldn't associate piety with either of us but an ethical justification for those bloody cane welts is even more difficult to conceive."

Mood Pictures want to produce this kind of video, other people want to see it. The models are making a free choice to take part, they are paid well, and no permanent harm is done to anyone. As far as I can see, there is nothing immoral in any of this - so why do we need some mythical, extra-special justification for it? "Moral", "pious" or otherwise?

If heavyweight boxing can be justified, or eating live spiders on "reality TV", then surely Mood Pictures can be justified as well!

"I'm all for good healthy strokes on bare buttocks Niki-style but there are ways in which variety and greater eroticism can be obtained, other than by increased severity, by introducing associated fetishes such as satin gladrags and bondage. Even 'Stripping4whipping' dare I suggest?"

And why are "good healthy strokes, Niki-style" any more pious or moral than what you see at Mood Pictures? They aren't. For fear of repeating myself: it is all a matter of taste, not morals. Some people like the severity, others don't. Some people like "stripping4whipping", others don't.

(Besides, Niki has certainly made her share of videos with bloody cane welts. Take a look at her movies with Lupus Pictures, in particular at "Red Reformatory: Old Friends" - screenshots here and here.)

Of course, there are many things that can contribute to the eroticism of a spanking video and enhance it. I agree with you, and I have emphasised this point in my Severity!post, actually. But obviously, this doesn't mean that severity can't be one of these things, or that severe videos shouldn't be made.

Thanks for your comment, Peter. I hope my reply was helpful in further illustrating my point of view.

Ludwig said...

Caroline: "I guess since I am not the least bit vanilla, I may be overestimating how 'horrific' it would be to be a vanilla girl getting that kind of beating. I think 'damn, I'm kinky as hell, and I don't know if I could deal, imagine how unbearably horrific it would be if you were vanilla!'"

"I haven't taken into account that there's more than one kind of vanilla girl, just like there's more than one kind of kinky girl."

I think you summed it up very nicely, and you gave yourself a good answer to your own questions. It's a point Pandora also made, and I tried to make in my report when I wrote:

"Actually, I believe that some of [the vanilla models] are probably less scared than a kinky person might be in the same situation - the shoot is just a job for them, so they don't think about it as much and they don't build it up as this big life-altering epiphany."

Honestly, this is what I believe. Because they are vanilla, and because it is only a job, they don't dwell on everything like a kinky person would. They don't immerse themselves in the delightfully disturbing emotions of fear and powerlessness the way Niki or you or I might. They don't get "in character" as prisoners and victims of torture. You only have to look at them horsing around between takes to know that!

As Pandora pointed out, this, the psychological side, the mental suffering, is what truly makes the role of the "victim" scary. It's where the appeal lies for some of us in kinky role-play. But that is role-play, not reality - and the vanilla girls don't even get into the role-played form of it.

When you take that away, only the physical pain remains. Now, of course, the pain is scary, too - nothing to be underestimated. Looking at the Mood girls, there is visible nervousness before the CP scenes, and visible anticipation. For a sadist, it's wicked fun to watch, too! But the girls aren't going out of their minds with fear.

And while the pain during the actual caning is severe indeed, I find it hard to believe that it should be traumatising for life. Yes, the girls are a bit shaky and shellshocked in the minutes right after the thrashings, some more, some less. By the end of the shoot, though, they simply look relieved and content.

As I wrote before, I think you are much more likely to suffer trauma by being treated badly, i.e. rudely and condescendingly, by the people around you. This can happen in any kind of porn - or in any other kind of work, for that matter. You can suffer trauma by being mobbed in school or at the workplace.

"I meant to say that it's a long and difficult process, working through the 'clash between rational arguments and one's emotional reactions.' but I think it's a fight worth having."

It certainly is a fight worth having, and I had it, too. If it sounds easy today from where I am sitting, it's simply because I probably started with it a bit longer ago. But of course, I thought about the issues myself, I looked at all the arguments and I formed my opinions over time.

While I reject the claim that there is something immoral or exploitative about this kind of video today, I didn't reject it out of hand. I took my time examining the arguments. In my view, they didn't withstand the scrutiny. You can reconstruct a large part of that process by looking at my comments in this thread.

As well as that, what probably helped was the fact that I switch, and that I experienced some pretty hard canings myself. Any remaining inhibitions I might have had disappeared after that day in Hamburg, in particular... You just go: "Yes, it bleeds. Yes, it is bloody painful. It's not something you want to do very often. But it doesn't kill you!"

Still, while I find nothing morally objectionable about a video like "Inmates", and while I've suffered similar thrashings myself, it remains strong stuff emotionally - it does press buttons and push boundaries! It even "panders to disturbing emotions", as one alarmed commenter observed (just like a good horror film should).

Personally, to be honest, I find all of this terribly exciting! I think it's something that deserves our human interest and our curiosity. But that's just me, and you don't have to agree with it.

In any case, it certainly doesn't deserve condemnation and moral outrage. Contrary to the theories of some people, we have no evidence that kinky people (or horror film fans) are roaming the streets as raping, murdering, pillaging mobs...

Ludwig said...

Pandora: "People voluntarily undergo excrutiating pain all the time - medical procedures, tattoos and body modifications, child birth..."

"Mental suffering - now, that's the horror, and that's why the kinds of scenarios that Mood explore are so unsettling... Remove the mental and emotional abuse from the situation, and you have some independent adults choosing to experience isolated physical suffering, without any of the mental trauma that would surround it if it were real."

Precisely. I think it's this conflation, emotionally, of the (real) physical pain and the (fictional) mental, emotional pain, that lies at the heart of a lot of the concern here - the conflation of points b and c, as I called them in my comment a week ago. It's an easy thing to do, too, given how severe the videos are and what emotional reaction they are able to produce.

Of course, the physical pain is nothing to be scoffed at - it is severe, it is excruciating. As well as that, being tied up and whipped arguably brings with it its own share of (voluntary, minor) mental suffering. But it's doubtful that it should be traumatising in any way. Non-consensual suffering, the feeling of total helplessness, isolation, violation surrounding it - that is what traumatises people.

"Have you ever had truly awful stomach pains, gastroenteritis or anything like that? That's the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life, mostly because it went on for nearly three days, during which I had no sense of my own self or identity because I couldn't think above the pain."

The worst pain I ever had in my life was during a bad inflammation of the middle ear. The entire left side of my head felt like it was going to explode any second. Even the pain after having my third molars extracted was mild in comparison. I was snivelling like a baby. If I had to face the choice between repeating either that middle ear inflammation or the hardest caning of my life, I know what I would do. I doubt that my choice would be any different even if I was vanilla.

"What interests me is why in Eastern Europe it occurs to vanilla people to seek out something like this. Are they approached by agencies? Is there a culture of awareness that this is an option if you're tough enough? Why do vanilla girls in the UK not do spanking modelling?"

To my knowledge, there are vanilla girls in the UK who do spanking modelling, and in other Western countries like the US. You can find them on sites like Firm Hand. The percentage is lower than at Mood Pictures, but they certainly exist.

As for the culture of awareness, Mood put out advertisements, and there also seems to be word of mouth among the various adult modelling agencies in Budapest. In the interviews in the Mood Castings videos, most of the girls say that they heard about it "on the internet" or "from a friend".

"Is it because our privilege as a nation - mostly not being beaten as children, having access to good healthcare - has sensitised us to physical suffering more than in other cultures?"

I think there are several reasons for why vanilla models doing CP are more numerous in Eastern Europe, and why they are willing to undergo such severe thrashings.

The economic situation undoubtedly is one of the reasons, but in my view, it isn't nearly as big and central as is sometimes assumed. While Hungary, the Czech Republic or Slovakia aren't as rich as the West, they are not all that far behind. These girls aren't starving, and moreoever, poverty also exists in Germany or the UK. We already talked about all this.

I think the culture and the mentality are a much bigger factor in explaining the difference than the sheer economic data. Ironically perhaps, the post-Communist societies of today are a lot more materialistic than "the West" of today. Luxury goods like expensive clothes, jewelry, watches etc. are even more of a status symbol. People are mad about them, especially young people.

Cynics say that the peoples of Eastern Europe didn't rebel against communism because they wanted democracy, they rebelled because they wanted Western cigarettes, cars and video recorders. They were less interested in the freedom to vote for the political party of their choice than in the freedom to get rich and go on holiday wherever they want. Cynical or not, there is certainly a lot of truth in that point of view.

I don't look down on them because of it, I honestly don't. It's easy to scoff at "lowly consumerism" and extoil the noble, but relatively abstract virtues of fine art, classical education and "Save the seals!" idealism when you are a Westerner who already has good cigarettes, cars and video recorders! The Eastern European societies aren't there yet, though, so their craving for luxury and leisure is quite understandable.

Having said that, there is plenty of consumerism in the West, too - after all, we invented it. So we still haven't explained why people do these videos. Personally, I think there is a third, important difference between the East and the West, in that the East didn't have the social / cultural upheavals we had in the 1960's and 1970's.

Needless to say, these upheaveals caused a lot of good changes: a more liberal society, more equality between the genders and races, the sexual revolution, gay rights, environmentalism... We kinky people benefit from it, too.

But on the downside, we also got political correctness, orthodox "All porn is evil!" feminism and the hysterical therapeutic society we have today - where children aren't allowed to play tag because "it encourages victimisation", and where adults aren't allowed to watch "violent porn" because it might turn them into monsters...

The Eastern Europeans, with their history and their circumstances, aren't as prone to luxury debates about "violent porn" or "violent computer games" as we are. They aren't wired that way, and they would rather spend their time trying to get rich.

So when it comes to a subject like severe CP videos, they are a lot more pragmatic and down-to-earth. You get producers who just film them without worrying much about it, and you get models who just star in them for money, again, without worrying about it. In my view, frankly, they are less decadent than we are, and it's an attitude I find very refreshing.

Ludwig said...

Abby: "I was also imagining my husband in your situation, not so much on film with other girls, but the mindset, the viciousness, the determination. What I want and can take is so tame, comparatively. I think he is darker than he seems, and I pale in comparison. But I found myself wanting to see one of our own canes colored as yours was. If only to see it once. If only to feel that much more alive when it ends."

Thank you, I'm glad that you found my little travel report inspirational. Given the needed desire and preparation, I also see no reason why your own fantasies shouldn't become reality one day. But when it comes to very severe CP play, there are many things that have to go into it to make sure that the reality meets the expectations.

You need to be sure that you - both of you! - want to do it, and that you want it badly. I don't think that wanting to please someone, even your husband, is enough. The inherent desire has to be in you, too. When you are sure that it is, the next issue you have to think about is safety, caning technique, aftercare, all the practical things.

Then you can give The Big Vicious Thrashing a try. Maybe several tries - not because it is too hard or too soft the first time around, but because some other thing, some other detail, isn't right.

It may be ironic, but I think it is more difficult to produce a "successful" kinky experience involving kinky players than to make a successful severe CP film. The vanilla models at Mood are sure to get what they want, i.e. the money. The sadistic viewers also get the main thing they want, i.e. pretty girls thrashed very hard. If the details and the other ingredients aren't as desired, they can always buy another video.

In your private kinky play, on the other hand, you and your husband might not get the perfect fantasy fulfillment you want. Unlike the vanilla girls, you care about that - the kinky details. And unlike the movie audience, you don't have a huge number of "attempts" limited only by your budget.

I'm not trying to discourage you. All I'm saying is that in my experience, severe CP play has its subtle sides, too, which need to be right to make it fulfilling. And it requires great determination, great desire, from both sides. Not to mention the practical stuff, i.e. safety.

The driving, genuine desire is the most important thing, I think. It has to come from within, not out of some notion that you have to prove "how much you can take" or "how merciless you can dish out". I suppose that most kinky sadists and masochists have their showy side somewhere. But it shouldn't be the primary motive. The primary motive should be that you want to do it, for yourself. Period.

Finally, I can only repeat that, in my view, hard CP is purely a matter of personal taste. Some of us are into it, others aren't, and that's alright - no right or wrong here. I have no time for those who argue that bloody welts are morally wrong. I have even less time for the pseudo "tough guys" (and gals) who seem to think that CP is a competition of some kind. It isn't.

If you are into bloody canings, it doesn't make you cool. Neither does it make you a wimp if you only like it soft. It simply means that you have your own preferences. You are entitled to them. And besides: from a sadistic point of view, I find it much more interesting to test how willing a girl is to go to her personal limits, however high or low these limits are. The objective amount, "how much she can take" (compared to someone else), is secondary.

Anyway, enough pompous sagacious advice! The bottom line is, if the desire is there, and if you are sure it is the right kind, go for it - bend over for the caning of your life! *grins* Just take good care of yourself.

Ludwig said...

Anonymous: "How many days or weeks need the models to fully heal up after a caning like that you gave to your girls? After how many days or weeks they are able to shoot again? You told Victoria had been beaten ten times."

It varies from person to person, of course, but given that the Mood girls are young, healthy adults, that they receive good aftercare at the shoot and that they don't get thrashed in private play, the healing time for the skin is quicker than one might think.

From what I hear, and from what also fits into my own experience, the worst is gone after one to three weeks. Faint marks might last longer, but after a couple of months, you probably won't see a thing.

K'Ehleyr: Thanks a lot for your comments, in particular. Not only is it great if they help you to analyse and interpret your own feelings, they also gave rise to a very interesting discussion.

Except for the lone comment by "Just passing through", which was self-righteous and quite dumb, frankly, I thought that all the contributions were well-reasoned and well worth reading. Hopefully, the discussion will offer much food for thought for others to form their own opinions!

Indy said...

I've been away from blogs for a couple weeks and have just managed to catch up with this post and the ensuing discussion. Both were very interesting and thought-provoking. I especially enjoyed the discussion among Caroline, K'Ehleyr, Pandora, and Ludwig.

As is well documented in comment sections elsewhere on this blog, I'm not a big fan of severe spanking films-- or of boxing or horror movies, for that matter. So I guess I am admirably consistent in my tastes :-).

I agree that a lack of experience with harder play makes these films more off-putting. Although I don't think I'll ever like severe films, I do find them less troubling for having acquired my own marks and bruises along the way, and for not having particularly minded.

When it comes to the vanilla v. kinky model debate, though, I much prefer kinky spanking models, whatever the level of severity of the film. Vanilla models are just boring, for the most part, probably because of the lack of intensity you and Pandora describe.

It's interesting, too, how much it helps to have a behind-the-scenes report. I definitely agree that the key moral factors are that the models, vanilla or otherwise, freely consent to their roles and are treated with respect and dignity by the producers. As I've said elsewhere, if a film somehow manages to push all my buttons, but the models were pressured to go beyond their limits by the producers, I don't want to see it, even if it's mild.

Ludwig said...

Good to see you back, Indy. I thought that you'd be one of the readers who thoroughly enjoy this discussion.

As for vanilla models being "just boring, for the most part": I agree that, at the end of the day, it's more intriguing and satisfying all around to work with fellow kinky enthusiasts. I wrote this in my report, too - the special mental connection, the creative collaboration etc. is something you don't get with a vanilla girl, obviously. However, caning the Mood girls turned out to be not only loads of wicked sadistic fun, but also more intriguing, psychologically, than I thought it would be. As documented in the report, that was something of a revelation for me.

It is very much a matter of taste, though. I think it's easier to appreciate vanilla models when you are into sadism, pain and marks, obviously, as I am. It's probably also easier when you are a top rather than a bottom, and when you look at things from that point of view.

In a severe caning like this, the "wicked sadistic fun" is always there - both for the top and for the viewers - regardless of whether the victim is kinky or vanilla. The vivid marks, the reactions, the writhing, the gasping and yelping...

From a sadistic top's point of view, I suppose it's the kinky equivalent of "having great sex with someone you don't love". Something very important - arguably, the most important thing of all! - is missing, but it can still be a highly enjoyable experience on a more primordial level. Depending on the mindset of the people involved, there can even be a certain affection or "deeper meaning" involved for either or both of them.

I had always expected this, but what surprised me was how intriguing some of the events surrounding the actual beatings felt: choosing the girl, sensing their nervousness, the "moment of communion" with Rita after I caned her... With hindsight, perhaps I should have expected that as well, because there are obvious sadistic impulses at work here, too. In any case, it was certainly memorable.

One intriguing question is whether there are actually some things that "work better" with vanilla girls than with kinky ones. I remember a conversation with a friend from the UK. He is a male top like me, but not at all a sadistic one or a severity freak. Corporal punishment is all about role-playing, authority and control for him. So it was all the more surprising when he, of all people, remarked: "You know, there is one interesting thing about Lupus [Pictures] - the [vanilla] girls are experiencing the CP exactly the way they are supposed to..." Maybe there is a grain of truth in that, hence a certain fascination.

Or maybe a different theory is correct, one I've come up with and toyed with myself: tbat there are certain "universal" sadistic and masochistic traits in all of us, and that the difference between "kinky" and "vanilla" is much more gradual than fundamental. Hence, you can share certain kinky experiences - like a brief "moment of communion" - even with someone who is vanilla. Just like people who aren't in love, who maybe don't even know each other very well, can still, in theory, share moments of loving connectedness.

For the record, I'm not sure about either of these theories. I'm actually rather doubtful! But I can't reject them out of hand. In any case, these are interesting questions.

I guess what I'm trying to say is simply that the psychology at work here is very complex, and that generalisations are difficult. A kinky experience with someone who is vanilla needn't always be boring, or lacking intensity, just like play between two kinky people isn't always perfect and exciting.

On the spanking movie front, I could name at least one or two models who are as kinky as they come, from what I've heard, and who have also taken some very severe thrashings on camera, which should delight my inner sadist. But it doesn't, because their reactions are stoic, as is their role-playing, and there just isn't any presence about them during the spankings, before or afterwards. In that case, frankly, I'd rather watch Victoria Young - at least she screams nicely.

So, my point is that a lot depends on the individual circumstances, on the people involved (including, in the case of a spanking movie, the viewers), and on what they are able to get out of the experience. I agree that, "for the most part", as you phrased it, vanilla victims are less exciting than kinky ones. But depending on our personal kink and on what we desire above all other things in kinky play, the distinction may be less clear-cut for some of us than for others. It certainly is less clear-cut for me today than what I once thought it was.

Anyway, as I said - it's great to see you again, Indy.

K'Ehleyr said...

@ Indy: I'm glad you are back! :-) Your comments are always very interesting to read and often a lot of fun, too.

@ Ludwig: So, caning a vanilla girl in a Mood Pictures film for you is like "having great sex with someone you don't love"?! A very interesting definition… Is caning a kinky girl who shows the desired reactions just like having great sex then? Okay, I guess maybe I’m taking your comment a little bit too literally… ;-)

K'Ehleyr

Ludwig said...

K'Ehleyr: It certainly shouldn't be taken too literally. Comparing "thrashing a vanilla girl" with "great sex with someone you don't love" was simply the best non-kinky analogy I could find (or perhaps the least worst one!).

As for me, I never had sex (great or otherwise) with anyone I didn't love, so I don't even know how it feels like from first-hand experience! Sex is a much more private thing for me than spanking, and I'm not nearly as obsessed or adventurous with it as I am with spanking. However, as a theoretical analogy, it seemed to fit well enough.

My point, in reply to Indy, was simply that even though something very important is missing (the personal connection), it can still be a satisfying, worthwhile, even "meaningful" experience.

Caroline Grey said...

I am catching up with all this as I was otherwise engaged while the conversation moved on without me! There's so much here I'd love to respond to but I think I'll limit myself to replying just to the things that were addressed to me, otherwise I'll never get off the computer!

K’Ehleyr: I tend to think by writing. There's so much going on in my head at any given time that it can be hard to sort out the important threads and follow them to their conclusions. In live conversation it's even worse! But writing things out and having a written conversation slows everything down and really helps me articulate what I'm thinking and feeling. I remember reading a quote once: "How do I know what I think until I read what I write?" and it is so so true for me. Blogs like this one that start such interesting and reflective conversations are really important to me. You're so right that "examining one’s reactions and emotions also makes them less scary." I've been thinking about that in lots of contexts, lately, particularly in facing up to some of my own "darker" desires that I have kept at arms length, so far, and I find it to be very true. I'm glad I ran into you on here, whoever you may be. )

Ludwig, you said:

"Honestly, this is what I believe. Because they are vanilla, and because it is only a job, they don't dwell on everything like a kinky person would. They don't immerse themselves in the delightfully disturbing emotions of fear and powerlessness the way Niki or you or I might. They don't get "in character" as prisoners and victims of torture. You only have to look at them horsing around between takes to know that!

As Pandora pointed out, this, the psychological side, the mental suffering, is what truly makes the role of the "victim" scary. It's where the appeal lies for some of us in kinky role-play. But that is role-play, not reality - and the vanilla girls don't even get into the role-played form of it."

You and Pandora have shed so much light on this for me, to the point where my feelings around the subject have evolved rapidly in a short period of time. When I really thought about it I realized that it wasn't the physical brutality of the beatings that was actually disturbing me: it was what a beating that brutal would mean. Because I am so kinky myself I found myself imagining unending corridors of deep and frightening mental experiences. Because I'm kinky I'd find those disturbing corridors fascinating. I had been imagining that a vanilla girl would go to those places but without any frame of context. I really can see now how that is probably not the case!

I still don't think I'd get anything out of watching vanilla girls get this severity of caning. I really really got what you were saying about the particular sadistic appeal of it for you. What's funny though is that now I actually want to go and watch the ones Niki made (Partly because of this thread, and partly because of reading Dances with Werewolves.) That's something I was too afraid to do before, even though I knew she was into it. Now I'm just excited and fascinated. :)

And Indy, I can't watch boxing, either! LOL

tinaslut said...

What an exciting story! I just found your blog and I really like it. Great reviews and very inspiring texts. As for the cane, this is one of my favourites, too... although I love to be at the receiving end :-)

frants said...

Ludwig! Dear fellow, you write so much it takes more than one sitting to read it all.
Now just a comment to the money motivation: if an Hungarian Mood canee receives 1000 or 2000 euros, I dont know, yet. But no matter what exactly the pay is, one must consider the value of that sum in Hungary compared to the UK, Norway or Germany. I recently discussed prices of apratments in Hungary, and salaries there, with an Hungarian skilled tile layer (bathrooms) working in Oslo. I really got tempted to take my money and buy a fine Budapest apartment. And I understood why the guy chose to work far away from wife and kid for periods.
If a UK vanilla should be tempted by the money to get a Mood thrashing, you must multiply the sum by 4 or 5. Or what?

(@ Pandora: what was that pain4fem film you were in?)

frants said...

Ludwig, this dialogue has so many interesting topics now - some opened by yourself, such as the question of beating the vanilla girls - that it is getting to be book material. Do save it all on a cd backup. Then when we get the voices of Victoria Young, Lara D etc etc, it can become a unique study. Much thanks to your willingness and ability to go deep into all aspects and questions.
I mean it. You can make your 'Hungarian Dances' book. Here are so many things that even depraved caners and customers like me need to explore. You are a good pioneer.

Masokissed said...

Sounds like Mood got what was coming to them then if they were ignoring safewords.

That's not kink or play, that's assault. Shame on them for perpetuating the bad name we kinky folk have.

Good riddance.

Ludwig said...

@ Masokissed: There was a model who claimed that during a shoot in early 2010, her pleas to stop a scene were ignored. Mood Pictures were subsequently raided by the police. However, it turned out that the accusation had been false - the police watched the tape(s) in question and determined that the model had in fact been cooperative during the shoot. She had made the abuse story up, perhaps to placate an enraged husband or boyfriend who had found out about her doing the video. The assault charges against Mood were subsequently dropped.

Last I heard, there was still going to be a trial about a new charge, revolving around the question of whether it is legal to make such hard BDSM videos in Hungary, even if they are consensual. Apparently, there is a grey area there, and the authorities seem determined to get some kind of conviction. I will make a blog post about the current state of affairs if I hear more.

When I guest starred in a Mood video in early 2009, the shoot I write about here, the models were treated very nicely and professionally off-camera, and when one requested a break during a CP scene, she got it.

There was one situation at the end of Tammy Lange's caning scene that could have been handled better. But even that one, I believe, sounds far worse from the condensed description I gave it here than it really was. Basically, there was a moment of uncertainty about whether Tammy really wanted a break or not. As a reaction to a stroke, she yelled "Stop, stop, stop...!", but then did not say or do anything else to indicate that she really wanted a break, as she had done on earlier occasions. Instead, she braced herself again and seemed to be awaiting the next stroke. The Mood team and I were looking at her, and at each other. We believed she wanted to continue. After a moment's pause Max Lomp signalled me to go on. I gave Tammy the last half dozen strokes, the scene was over, and she had no complaints afterwards.

With hindsight, I should have done this differently. I should have interrupted the scene, asked Tammy explicitly to clear up the confusion ("Do you want a break? Do you not want a break?"), just to make sure, and then we would have gone on.

That situation was the only problematic one I witnessed during my shoot. It was a product of confusion, not malice, and as it turned out, it did not cause any harm. Tammy Lange did another Mood video afterwards, so she obviously trusted the producer and was willing to work with them again.