Monday, May 31, 2010

Kaelah's Corner (May 2010):
Almost (Un)real

Ludwig and I recently talked about what our kinky alter egos mean to us. That has led me to a couple of different little topics I would like to discuss here on the blog. EmmaJane and Graham both wrote a post about the question of how open they are on their blogs and how much they show of themselves. I would like to look at that topic from a slightly different point of view. So, the question for today’s post is: How “real” are the kinky personas on the web? Obviously, there are different possible ways of dealing with one’s second identity, depending on one's type of person and what someone uses his or her kinky personality for.

On the one end of the scale there might be people who just need a protective shell allowing them to chat openly with strangers about their interest in spanking. They might not even see their kinky profile on the net as another identity, but just as a nickname under which they can write about intimate thoughts without the risk of someone using the knowledge about their sexual preferences against them. On the other end of the spectrum there might be those who create a complete new identity like in an online role play, a character enabling them to live a second life on the web which might be quite different from their offline life and personality.

The percentage of matching between the kinky character presented on the net and the real person behind it might vary a lot then, depending on the background for the kinky persona. And the character developments we see can either just reflect personal developments or be part of a planned character development path. I think that many kinky alter egos and their development might be a bit of both. And to my mind the quota of both parts might change depending on how long a second identity exists and how much it presents a public persona.

I’m of the opinion that most kinksters at first just need a nickname to take part in the online discussions and to chat with like-minded people. Those who then become more active members of the community by chatting a lot and/or meeting other spankos might start to think about what to tell about themselves in their profiles and whether they want to write comments rather from their own perspective or from the perspective of for example their favourite kinky role play character. It could also be a mixture, depending on the topic and type of discussion. For some people then comes another step, when they decide to write a blog and maybe also publish photos and spanking clips. I guess at least then the question of how much to show of oneself occurs, and quite literally. I can’t really imagine that there are bloggers out there who don’t ask themselves: “Is my writing and am I (or is my online character) interesting enough?”

Last but not least there is the group of kinky professional spanking models and others who work in the business. They might not even earn their livings with that job, but nonetheless they have to get people’s attention in order to sell their products. I don’t think that has to mean that professional models per se see their kinky identity as a kind of movie character rather than a reflection of their real personality. But to my mind working in a business that is supposed to sell dreams and fantasies and having a public persona in that business environment requires much more thinking about how to present oneself on the internet than being for example a kinky hobby blogger does.

So, how about Kaelah? First of all, I’m very happy I’m just a hobby blogger and don’t earn any money in the spanking business. Not because I have any moral objections against the production of spanking porn, not at all, but because it gives me the freedom to write and post only what I want, when I want and the way I want it without feeling any obligations. Given that spanking for me is something very intimate, personal and wonderful, being free of obligations and doing only what I really like to do and sharing only what I like to share is very important to me in that field.

The main reason for me to create a personal profile in the first place was that I wanted to chat with other kinky people. I chose a name telling something about my character and interests (being a trekkie and having a weakness for warriors), hoping that like-minded people would notice. My aim was to get a close, personal contact to others, not only touching the surface in the chats, but going deeper. It still is my main drive today. That’s why there isn’t much difference between the public persona Kaelah and my private persona. I think I actually write very openly about my thoughts, hopes, fears and my weaknesses.

But when I started writing for the blog, there was a second motivation – I love writing and not only entertaining people but also providing them with some thought-provoking fodder. If that leads to thoughtful responses and a dialogue that gives me new ideas, well that’s perfect! But I definitely have a kind of exhibitionistic streak especially in written communication. And in addition to that I always wanted Kaelah and Ludwig to reflect the eye-to-eye relationship the two of us have offline, which meant to me that I wanted to be accepted as Ludwig’s equal partner in the spanking community. That led of course to thoughts like: Which kind of topics would be interesting for the blog readers? Is my writing good enough for Ludwig’s blog? Will the readers and Ludwig’s friends in the community accept me? And: Should I publish pictures of myself and maybe also spanking clips, so that the readers would have a visual impression of me like they had of Ludwig?

As you know, I made the decision to post photos and Ludwig and I have also filmed two little clips which will hopefully be published this year (the editing requires a lot of work). Visually presenting myself like that might be the one thing that is much more a part of Kaelah than of the private me. First of all, that’s because Kaelah allows me to make experiments in that field which I wouldn’t exactly call one of my core competences. As a matter of fact I hadn’t felt very womanly or sexy before I started living out my kink. Secondly I don’t think it is a big surprise that an alter ego I use on an erotic blog is naturally more focused on sexual topics than I am in my normal all-day life.

But I don’t think I’ve created a “character”, meaning that Kaelah has personality streaks or opinions which I don’t have in private. And I don’t think that I’ve got a clear kind of development path in mind for Kaelah. After having done that very hard scene last December, I thought: Oh, now there won’t be any climax possible concerning the severity of the scenes I’m going to write about. And I hoped the readers wouldn’t be disappointed. But still I had done the scene when it felt right for me, not when it might have been more interesting for Kaelah’s “character development”.

I have to admit, though, that the thought of having the chance to blog about it afterwards makes certain private play sessions or personal developments more attractive, because I like the thought of sharing a special experience with others or presenting myself in a certain new way. One example is that I would like Ludwig to give me a training in topping and the handling of different implements. It’s something I would like to do, anyway, but the thought of using the training for a little series on the blog, showing me in a different position than usual, makes it all the more appealing.

So, in conclusion I would say: Yes, I do care how Kaelah is seen and accepted by the blog readers and the community. Yes, I think about the question whether something might be interesting for the blog readers when planning special private kinky activities. And yes, certain developments I would like to make are more attractive when they allow me to present another facet of me on the net. But, no, Kaelah isn’t a kind of online role play character and I’m not “playing” her. The thoughts, ideas and fears I write about are 100 per cent me. Kaelah is closer to being just a nickname than a second identity. When I want her to be accepted it translates into me wanting to be accepted. One thing I have decided to do, though, is not to show everything online that belongs to the private me. But that’ll be the topic of another rambling blog post...

So, how about you? How do you see your kinky internet persona? What is it good for? Have you maybe got more than one kinky online persona, using different identities for different purposes? How big is the difference between your online presentation and your offline personality? Has the way you’ve seen your kinky identity changed over time? All ideas and thoughts are welcome!


Ursus Lewis said...

Thank you Kaelah for your interesting thoughts. I thought back about the development of my kinky persona. It was actually very interesting to discover it during the last year.

First my nickname was only Ursus (as screen I used urs0us). But as I understood my kinky persona better with time, I needed to have a last name. Since I have a (small) bottom head space, I see myself as Ursus there and Mr. Lewis is my top persona.

Of course I can never be both at the same time, so most of the time I feel to be in kind of neutral gear able to shift up (to the top persona) or down (to the bottom one). Shifting to the top persona is easier for me and I can do that almost always I want to. Going into my bottom head space is much more difficult and I'm not always able to do so.

I'm still learning what it needs or which moods I need to be in to shift these gears. But both Ursus and Mr. Lewis are very close to my real self, not 100%, but almost.

Abel1234 said...

You always write such fascinating and thought-provoking posts.

For me, using a pseudonym - Abel - was born out of the need to protect my anonymity at a time when I was stuck in my first, vanilla marriage. And I pretty quickly introduce myself with my real name to people I meet in real life and to those I trust.

But it's no more than that - a privacy-respecting name. I don't think of "Abel" as a character with different, concocted traits.

If anything, Abel is actually the real me - able to be open about my interest in spanking - and Real Me is the 'character', having to behave at times in a way that has to be less honest about such an important facet of my life.

Take this week: I'm speaking at a big conference in the States during the week, then heading to Florida Moonshine on Friday. During the former, I have to be restrained in what I say, and not even mention the real reason behind the 'group of friends getting together in Tampa'. That's the 'character' - the real me can emerge at the weekend.

Like you, I'm an enthusiastic amateur - I sell a few books, but that's more for the pleasure of seeing my work in print and sharing it than it is to make money, as the revenues from that barely cover the costs of running our blog. But certainly some people do have 'characters' that differ according to their role in the scene. My darling wife, for example, is rather different in Haron mode on the Spanking Writers than she is when writing as Adele (i.e. as a successful spanking model). The 'characters' aren't contradictory: just some aspects of her character come out more strongly in one role, and others in the other.

Anyway, great post - hope it generates a long and interesting debate.

EmmaJane said...

Hi Kaelah

Great post! For me I do try to be as real to me as I can be. I'd like to think that people get a good sense of what my values are, my personality and of course my deep centred kink.

Yet at the same time I edit my identify for reasons of privacy. My careeer is important to me and I don't want to jeopardise it. So I am cautious of revealing those details.

Nor do I discuss the more intimate sexual acts I engage in - but that's just a personal preference and as much for my modesty as that of my partner's.

So I guess without revealing my identity I do hope I manage to reveal a lot of my deep self.

Peter8862 said...

What a fascinating blog, Kaelah, particularly when measured by the depth of the comments it has already provoked.

Are we all Jekyll and Hyde characters ? I think not, although a very few -- vanillas as well as kinks -- must be so if we are to find an explanation for this morning's news of a trigger happy massacre in the north of England.

I tend to agree with Abel1234 in that I am normally in a socially acceptable role, but occasionally kinking, however severely, solely for mutual enjoyment, and suppressing very successfully the ugliness, the cruelty and the waste hidden in my baser nature. I would have been a complete failure as a caveman.

Thank you Kaelah for one of the best yet!

Kaelah said...

@ Ursus:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic from the perspective of a switch. It definitely makes a lot of sense to use your kinky first name for your bottom and your kinky surname for your top side. If I switch one day, though, I guess I will still use just "Kaelah". It works for me very well in that special case because I still have the Klingon version of the name in the back of my head and Klingons don't have surnames (following the Klingon naming convention I could also be referred to as "Kaelah, daughter of xxx", but that would be too long for my taste)... ;-)

@ Abel:

That's a very interesting point of view you've mentioned. Having to play a role in the vanilla world and being able to be 100 per cent oneself in the kinky community! I guess that could be the next step of a live in the kinky world I forgot to mention in my post.

Although the problem you describe to my mind isn't something that has specifically to do with our kink. I guess in their all-day-lives most people usually don't show everything of themselves to others. There are places like our job-environment, social events and maybe also our friends and families where it doesn't seem to be appropriate to discuss certain intimate topics or points of view. That might not only be sexual things but also political positions, private interests, emotional states or maybe health topics.

What I think makes your observation very special in relation to our kink is the fact that you obviously feel like you can be 100 per cent yourself among other kinksters! I think that has to do with the fact that kinky friends already share very intimate knowledge about each other which might make it easier to share other personal thoughts as well.

@ EmmaJane:

I can understand your fear of spoiling your career very well! It's one of my biggest fears, too. The other one is that the blog might scare those among my friends and family who don't know about it in case they should find out by accident. That's why I have certain limits, too, and don't show everything of me on the blog. I think I'll write a separate post about that topic.

And like you I haven't written much about my sexual life aside from spanking so far. Since my spanking experiences are very closely connected to other forms of sex today in my relationship, I assume that this is going to change a bit in the future. But still I think I'm not going to write as detailed about other aspects of my sexual life than I usually write about my spanking experiences.

@ Peter:

You sure are right, there are obviously people suffering from bad pychological dysfunctions out there! And I have to admit that I believe that even most of the sane people can become dangerous to others under special circumstances which lead to a mental overload, like wartime, suffering from hunger and so on.

It is indeed also shocking how easily people can be manipulated and how willingly they do harm to others. I saw a documentation of a "Milgram experiment"( made in Germany many years ago and I was deeply shocked about how many of the participants were willing to torture and even kill another human being in the name of science!

But I think our kink doesn't make us dysfunctional at all. As you said, you only enjoy kinky play in case it is for mutual enjoyment and the bottom likes it as well. And you defintely wouldn't have been a good caveman, you're too much of a gentleman! :-)

Pandora Blake said...

I'm not sure that many of the models who blog use their model name as a "movie persona"! I'm incapable of maintaining that kind of fiction, anyway. I might be careful about identifying details, but the opinions, thoughts, fantasies and moods you get on my blog are all 100% me.

I've seen other people assuming that most model blogs are fictionalised. I'm sure that's not what you meant to imply, but I've got some hostile emails and comments along those lines, and it really winds me up. If anything it's the other way round - I share more of myself with the kinky community than I strictly should.

Kaelah said...

@ Pandora:

You're right, I definitely didn't want to imply that model blogs are fictionalised! But I think depending on the personality some models might see their blog rather as a part of their working environment and take that into consideration when choosing topics for their blog, deciding how much to show of themselves and their private life and so on. (Like most people do in their business environment. That doesn't mean that anything has to be faked!) Others of course, and I think you are one of them, are very open about their private life, thoughts and points of view.