Saturday, May 15, 2010

Website Review: Paingate


Paingate is not really about spanking, it's about whipping. While purists will bemoan this state of affairs, those whose fascination with corporal punishment extends to more than schoolgirls-and-canes scenarios should love the site, because it is one of the best of its kind on the net today - arguably the best whipping site in existence, that is, and one of the premier CP sites overall. Among all the sites I've reviewed so far, Paingate is perhaps the ultimate guilty pleasure.

It was started in 1998 by a group of Germans who had met while living out their kinky fantasies in private. At first, they only starred in the videos themselves, then other like-minded individuals joined their circle, and as the site grew over the years, dozens of new models were attracted by word of mouth. Paingate have a reputation of doing relaxed shoots where everyone is having fun, including the victims. When they found that they were able and willing to shoot ever larger amounts of content, they opened a sister site called Whipped Women to make the costs worthwhile (Whipped Women was, not without reason, the first site I reviewed on this blog). The type of content is virtually the same and the concept behind both sites is simple. In the words of one of the producers to me: "The focus is on the whipping of, without exception, beautiful young women in various scenarios, with and without bondage."

Indeed, the main strength of Paingate in my view is the... ahem... quality of the models. I once wrote in my critique of Spanking Server that theirs was one of the most consistently attractive sites "in terms of pure, unapologetic eye candy", but I now have to say that the real prize in that category belongs to Paingate. At the time of this writing, they own the most exquisite candy store of all. Which is not to say that other CP sites don't have beautiful models - any site starring Pandora Blake, Irelynn Logeen or Amelia-Jane Rutherford certainly does. But the key word here is consistency: I believe that, in terms of how good the "average" model looks, a case can be made that Paingate are ahead of everyone else. Tastes vary, of course, and judgments about physical attractiveness are even more subjective than anything else in these reviews. But when I observe how incredibly popular Paingate are with the (almost exclusively male) video freak faction on the net, I note that I don't seem to be alone with my sentiments.

One thing I especially like about Paingate is that the models look like women, not like cute little dolls. That is one key difference distinguishing them from other eye candy sites like Spanking Server. Another is that the people running Paingate are themselves genuine CP enthusiasts who do what they do because they like it, whereas the commercial aspect is secondary. This seems to apply to many of the models as well - while the site has its share of "hired hands" like most others, the on-camera demeanour and the interviews accompayning some clips suggest that there is a fair share of full-blooded kinksters among the victims.

The members section is divided into several "gates" with different themes. The "Top Gate" features the most recent updates while the "Favourite Gate" brings back popular older videos. The "Extreme Gate" has some of the hardest and / or longest thrashings on the site. You can imagine what the "Prison Gate" and the "History Gate" are all about. The latter showcases some nice costumes and wigs. Last but not least, there is an "Amateur Gate" with some very old clips from the early days. The video quality ranges from tiny Real Media clips for the most ancient releases to .wmv files with a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels for the more recent years. The camerawork and lighting are good. They usually do a nice job of showing off their female talent and capturing the effects of the beatings, marks as well as reactions. For each video, there is also a large gallery of photographs.


Paingate do not have their entire back catalogue online on their servers. As they add new content, they periodically take down some of the older clips, which will then reappear one day in the "Favourite Gate" or some other section. Even though the amount of content available at any given time is still immense (I counted 108 individual scenes when I did the review), this is a drawback compared to sites that offer their entire back catalogue. My other, and very minor, point of criticism is that the older video scenes could do with some cleanup. While all the new videos are available in one single file, the old ones are split into several parts, often averaging 2 MB in size. That really isn't up to date anymore. They should be joined and re-uploaded as single files.

Such nitpicking aside, the content itself is marvelous. I already went on about how hot the models are. Many of them can also take an impressive beating. Even though Paingate do not approach the severity of the Eastern European companies (which will be a good thing in the eyes of many), these are serious, no-nonsense thrashings that produce ample marks and genuinely pained reactions. As well as that, they tend to go on for a while: scenes frequently show over a hundred strokes. The buttocks are only one target zone among others. The victims' backs, breasts, bellies, legs and genitalia also get their share of attention, sometimes two or three of these areas in a scene, sometimes all of them. Full nudity is the norm rather than the exception. The most common implement is the whip in various forms, but I also saw floggers, crops, canes and switches in action. Paddles and hand spankings seem to be non-existent - as stated previously, this is not a classical spanking site. The majority of videos is between 15 and 20 minutes long, a bit longer perhaps than the industry standard.

Most of the action is M/F. The site's two main tops go by the nicknames Machine and Stiker. They often appear together. Various other male tops have contributed to Paingate over the years, some with masks over their faces to protect their identity. There is also F/F action from "the Instructrice", a native English speaker (all the dialogue is in English). One feature that sets Paingate apart from most other CP sites is that they have an unusually large amount of videos with more than two participants. Many involve several tops and / or victims. Numerous scenes have an entire on-set audience - of models, tops or simply "guests" - sitting around and gleefully watching the whippings. As an avowed fan of the "audience in the video" concept, I enjoy this a great deal. It's fascinating to observe all the different parties, their reactions and interactions, from your "fly on the wall" perspective.

There are those producers whose clips are "mini-dramas" in their own right, where the thrashing is only one segment between an exposition and an aftermath. Most Paingate videos are about the thrasing alone. When they have an exposition, it is often one showing off a model's body while she is stripping, dancing or taking a bath. However, while they don't film elaborate stories, it is clear that Paingate try to put some creativity into their videos. Aside from scenarios that simply involve a "master" and a "slave", there are historical scenes ("The Guillotine", "Pain Castle Horror"), prison scenes ("The Escape"), military scenes ("Paingate Boot Camp"), interrogation scenes ("East German Inquisitor"), and so forth. Some of the scenarios are quite unique - where else can you watch a "Bullwhip Duel" where two models are chained to each other and hitting each other? The variety of settings and punishment positions is impressive: stockades, whipping posts, "wheels of torture", hanging bondage, cells, factory halls, outdoor scenes, you name it.

Moreover, these are not mute, mechanical beatings. While Paingate certainly focus on the essentials, they do have a fair amount of dialogue and top / victim interaction. And while they don't produce mini-dramas, they have an undeniable knack for erotic, inspiring setups that tickle the imagination. It's obvious that this is a labour of passion by people who are into the kink, and that is what makes Paingate truly interesting, beyond the fine-looking models and the gorgeous whip marks. The site is a guilty pleasure alright, but one that has a soul.

20 comments:

Jack said...

Their is no pain administered at Paingate. A complete sham.

Ludwig said...

@ Jack: Why are you saying that?

Are you claiming that the whippings are not painful? Have you tried one yourself by any chance, hmm?

Jack said...

You must really enjoy Clare Fonda. Better yet, try Punished Brats!

Ludwig said...

@ Jack: I see. You're one of 'em tough guys, eh? *grins*

In case you haven't noticed, about half the movies I review on this blog are from Lupus Pictures and Mood Pictures, who produce some of the most severe CP movies ever made. I have also shot movies with both. There are those who would say that my tastes go towards the severe end of the spectrum (others would say I'm a sociopath, and they are of course right, too).

However, my tastes are not limited to just one thing, all the time, every time. I'm a big fan of Northern Spanking, for instance. Haven't tried Punished Brats yet, but I daresay I might like it, too. Variety as the spice of life, you know?

As for Paingate / Whipped Women, they are not as hard as the Eastern Europeans, but they aren't kidding around, either. On average, they are harder than the majority of CP sites on the net today. Watch "Lexa's Bloody Whipping", which indeed draws a bit of blood, as an example of one of their harder videos.

And if you then still stand by your opinion that it is all "a complete sham", then I suggest you make your own video and upload it to the internet so you can show all of us how macho you are while you are getting whipped. My girlfriend Kaelah would love to see some M/M action (but F/M is okay, too, if you are more comfortable with that).

Redhead said...

@Ludwig. Interesting report. I’d only add a “folks-at-home” caveat: that anyone who is not experienced and sharing a single-tailing should always wear eye protection.

A similar caveat for whips. If they are not balanced and well braided from top quality leather, the thongs, lashes, falls and crackers, they can wound nastily.

Simply because at such high velocity with little mass, they can deliver so much intensity on the skin’s surface ,which is inherently designed to recover rapidly from superficial wounds, the signal whips and Tom Cats that Victor Tella and Happy Tails have made for me are my favourite implements. There are other crafts-people but I like to know who's making my whips. They can be much less damaging than canes or paddles and because the skin heals and recovers quicker, so the time between sessions can be less. But it took me nearly a year of practice whacking myself. LOL then splitting leaves etc. before I went anywhere near a friend’s body. And during that year, I really learned the meaning of 'back lash'.

@Jack I’ve taken canings from several friends, one or two of whom Ludwig knows to be no slouches, and I can tell you, a whip lash in terms of sting is as breath-taking as any cane stroke.

Also, my partner has spent some time with Claire Fonda while she’s been spanking, so we *know* that neither pain experience is a sham. I don't know why you would say that.

But maybe you’d like to try a single-tailing yourself. But tread carefully - in the hands of a practiced wielder, you might be in for a self-revealing shock.

I’ve posted the following before Ludwig, but I don’t think you’ll mind me adding it here.

A few years back a group of us were relaxing in a San Francisco SM bar after work. We were enjoying watching a very small-statured girlfriend “whip kissing” her girlfriend’s back – that’s my expression for the technique of cracking the whip fractionally before it hits. It still hurts, but interspersed with the occasional deep lash, it’s a wonderful way to push psychological limits.

An irritating know-it-all bar-jock sidled up, and interrupting the 160cm (abt. 5’ 3”) whipper, scoffed she was too delicate hit properly. She looked at him for what seemed like ages, smiled and softly asked if he really wanted to remove his shirt and put his back where his mouth was! In no time his bravura and buddies had his hands strapped to the X-Frame. She said she would not crack the whip on him and would be more “delicate” than she had been with her girlfriend. We knew exactly what was about to happen. Noticeably slower to him, but all the energy in her stroke was transferred to cocky guy’s back (evil grin). The fall and cracker just sank and lingered there. His stoicism took flight on a loud howl after the second “delicate” lash. After five, and almost unmarked, he screamed and begged to be released and blubbered off in search of his dissipated pride. The girlfriend sauntered back to the frame and our diminutive friend resumed our lesson. I don't remember what happened to his undrunk beer.


I’ve not been at the shoots L describes, but I can assure you the tissue displacement and marks are consistent with what I’ve inflicted. Wan’t to try?

R

Morgrim said...

I've debated looking at Paingate before, but from what I'd seen was wondering if it was a bit -too- severe for my tastes (marks are nice, Mood tends to go too far). Maybe I'll have to take a poke now.

I have to echo Redhead's comments about whip safety. I've never experienced one in a kinky sense but I know how to use a stock whip, for varying whip cracking patterns. I've caught myself while learning and gotten too close to others, and the tip can cut like a knife. Especially if you catch it on the leg and the end wraps... *shudders*

I'm also jealous of you Redhead; paddles do nothing for me, canes are interesting, but I really want to sample a nice back whipping. >.>

frants said...

I have been thinking about re-joining for a while. But the way one of the guys keeps saying 'ooh yeeeah' all the time drives me crazy. So, does he still do that?

Adrian Hardhand said...

Hello Ludwig

I agree with you, Paingate has really attractive young women. My favourites: Sandy (Madeleine), Lisa (far too few shoots!), Nicole, Mia.

Yrs in pervery, Adrian

Ludwig said...

@ Redhead: Thank you for your folks-at-home caveat. I believe - or I hope, at least! - that most of my readers would be smart enough to exercise proper caution when wielding devious implements like the single tail whip.

I have never practised with a single tail myself yet, but it is an implement which I love to see in action and definitely on my to do-list. I hope to add it to my areas of expertise sometime in the future, when I have the time and the opportunity for it. In the meantime, I'm focusing on perfecting my caning technique, which is already pretty damn good.

I enjoyed your San Francisco SM bar story.

@ Morgrim: Funny, isn't it? Jack complains that the site is too soft for his taste (although I don't believe that he really knows what he is talking about), you worry that it might be too severe for yours... Goes to show you once again that different people like different things.

@ Frants: I've watched a whole lot of Paingate videos, in the past and once again for the purpose of this review, but I never noticed that one of the tops says "Oh yeah!" particularly often. Does he really? If he does, I don't seem to mind it as much as you do.

Pandora Blake said...

Interesting. I considered working for Paingate/Whipped Women way back when - like you, attracted by the drama, the focus on whips rather than "trad" CP, and the penchant for medieval/dungeon scenarios which weren't as sexed up as the Kink.com franchise. I emailled a couple of models asking for advice and they all told me not to work for them. Word on the scene is that they aren't safe or fun to work with - I can't remember the details, and I think that inbox got wiped in a server crash, but I seem to remember hearing that they were overly keen on genital whipping and disinclined to take "no" for an answer. I /think/ Niki was one of the people who said this, but I don't know if you ever spoke to her about it and I'm loathe to put words into her mouth when she's not here to challenge me!

I was disappointed to hear this, but knew enough to leave well alone. What evidence do you have to contest that report? You say in your review that the models all have fun, and obviously I'm hoping you're right, so I'd be interested to hear any information that disproves what I was told.

Ludwig said...

@ Pandora: I based my statement about the good working atmosphere at Paingate mostly on the word of a friend of mine, a German BDSM photographer, whom I consider very reliable. He never worked with Paingate himself, but he had done shoots of his own with several of their models (I believe Sonja was one of them), so he had their testimony to go on. He had also met the Paingate producer in person and described him as a very nice guy.

That, plus my own impressions from my long email correspondence with Paingate, which were also positive, plus the fact that I had never (up to your comment) heard anything negative about them from anyone, was the basis of what I wrote in the review.

As for Niki: I once spoke to her about Paingate. What she told me was that she had considered working with them, but decided against it because they only focus on the CP in their videos and don't do much in the way of story. She wasn't interested in that kind of shoot (at least not anymore at the stage in her career when we talked about Paingate, which was in mid-2008 if I remember it correctly).

To me, Niki never mentioned hearing anything about Paingate being unsafe or unpleasant to work with. I am pretty sure that she would have mentioned it if she had heard something. So I don't think that she is part of the "word on the scene" you mention.

I would welcome it if you could try to dig out who, exactly, sent you these negative comments (in private if you prefer). If there is any truth to them, then I would like to get to the bottom of it, obviously. But as long as I don't have a name for the source, I can't rate it as anything more than hearsay.

Ludwig said...

I sent an email to the Paingate producer and asked him if he wanted to comment on what Pandora had written. He said that I was welcome to use his email reply and quote it here.

The email was German, the translation is mine:

"It is sad to read the comment by Pandora Blake. She seems to love rumours. I have no idea why she is doing that. We never worked with Nikki [sic] Flynn or with any other British model."

"It shall not matter to me what the rumour mill is milling. As anyone can see on our sites, most of our models work with us on a regular basis. And we have many [different] models. How could this be if shootings with us were unsafe? This is illogical. The work is fun for all of us. That is the only reason why we are still producing at all [despite the widespread piracy]. And it is the reason why the models are coming back."

"It is also nonsense to say that we are overly focused on genital whippings. It is only one variant among many."

Pandora Blake said...

Gosh, that's a bit snide - I don't love rumours, I'm just concerned with safety and references between models are the only way to ensure that. I apologise that I misremembered who gave me the reference, and accept that my perspective isn't worth much given that I can't name my source, but I don't think it's appropriate for them to be rude! Surely we're all just trying to create a safe culture to work in? There's nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, before I read that email, I was commenting to say that I have spoken to the BDSM photographer Ludwig mentioned a few times, and his word always seemed reliable, so if he has a good reference for Paingate I'm disinclined to doubt it. Perhaps whoever warned me away from them didn't know what they were talking about - but as I say, I don't think there's any harm in taking care about such things. Word of mouth is the best reference there is.

Ludwig said...

No, there certainly is nothing wrong with being concerned about safety. If people have heard negative things about one video producers or another, I would rather want to see them out in the open so that they can be discussed, even if they should in the end turn out to be unfounded.

I for one know that you don't love rumours and that you are not the kind of person who gossips lightly about others. I pointed that out to the Paingate producer when I wrote to him as well.

Still, I think it's understandable that he is a bit snide in his reaction. If he made assumptions in public about you being unsafe to work with, based on something he heard once but could not remember the source of, I suppose you would not be amused, either.

Implacable said...

Ludwig,

Thanks for an extensive and comprehensive review. I'd be grateful if you could expand on the difference between Whipped Women and Pain Gate? They seem to have similar content from their previews and I've been considering joining one or the other, so I'd be interested to hear your views as to why Pain Gate would be the better of the two.

It is also fascinating to see the dialogue that has unfolded from your review.

Ludwig said...

Belated reply @ Implacable: In terms of content, there really isn't much of a difference between Whipped Women and Paingate. Both sites feature the same models, the same kinds of scenarios and the same main implement (obviously, whips of various kinds). Basically, Paingate was the original and Whipped Women was a "sister site" of sorts which they opened once they found that they were able to produce enough content for two sites. In the age of rampant filesharing, it is increasingly difficult to make money with kinky videos, so producers have to try what they can to even bring back their production costs.

I believe that Paingate has more content online than Whipped Women, but given that it has been some time since I reviewed Whipped Women (March 2008), I could be wrong about that. Paingate also seems to have a bit more variety. In any case, since it is the original site, you should probably subscribe to Paingate first. And if you find that you really, really like their type of content, then you can consider checking out Whipped Women as well.

Anonymous said...

I come back to the beginning. paingate is soft whipping, with soft leather singletails. only a few clips are harder with real good marks leaving. the setting is allways the same totally naked girl gets whipped all over the body especially between her legs.

Ludwig said...

@ Anonymous: Paingate are not as hard as the Eastern European producers, but they are still fairly hard compared to the majority of spanking / corporal punishment video producers in general.

I don't know if you have any practical experience with CP yourself. I find that many movie viewers do not, especially the ones who complain about lack of severity.

If you have any experience with CP, you should know that marks are not necessarily a reliable indicator of how hard or soft a thrashing has been. For instance, I have a flogger among my implements that hurts like hell, but leaves very little marking, even when you hit hard. It is a wicked little implement. Very deceptive.

So, to make a truly informed judgment about a Paingate-style whipping, I feel that one would need more than photographic evidence. One would have to try out an actual whipping oneself.

I suggest you do that and then report back to us.

Anonymous said...

Teddyb

Could you please bring back the blond Angie clipes you had. Also the blond you had at the Christmas season a couple of years back. I think it was called Enjoy The Pain she was stripped to her waist in a long red gown. All these clips were well balanced with full body and facial portions . Not the fanny and torso stuff that dominates now.

I see you band me from member Comments which shows you cannot handle crticism. That' rather small of you.

Ludwig said...

You are in the wrong place. I have no affiliation with Paingate and no influence on what clips they produce or recycle in their archives. I merely wrote a review of Paingate (as of May 2010), just like with other spanking and CP paysites which I reviewed here on my blog.

If you want to get the attention of the guys at Paingate, you need to contact them at the email address given on their site. In my experience (from what email correspondence I had with them), they are nice and reasonable people. I am sure that they will listen to criticism when it is constructive and politely worded.