Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kaelah's Corner (Apr 2011):
Healthy Severity

A while ago when I wrote about the topic of trust from the bottom as well as the top perspective, an interesting discussion developed in the comment section about trust, especially in combination with more severe scenes and health problems. Annapurna shared his experience with serious health problems that occurred unexpectedly after a more severe session and how this had affected his play with his wife.

The discussion reminded me of the severe 50 strokes caning which I had experienced with Ludwig back in December 2009. At that time I was still struggling with severe scenes in videos, Ludwig's fondness for severity and the severe canings which he had administered as a top, especially at Mood Pictures. I finally decided that I needed to have an informed opinion about how such a caning felt. I wanted to be reassured that one could be okay after such a scene and I wanted to be able to join in the discussions about severity which popped up from time to time and in which Ludwig was often attacked for having participated in a Mood Pictures shoot. To my mind, the only way to form such an informed opinion was to take a Mood-style 50 strokes caning myself.

There were additional reasons that led to my final decision to try it for real. First of all, Ludwig had shared this special part of his kink with others but not with me. I had told him that I wasn't into that level of severity and he didn't want to force me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. But being his girlfriend I wanted to share this special experience with my mate at least once. Secondly, I had always been quite jealous when I had read Ludwig's film reviews and his reports about his shoots in which he had expressed his admiration for the women who were brave enough to take the challenge of playing that hard. I wanted him to be proud of me and I wanted to do one scene on video with and for him, one that would be at least as sexy from his point of view as the ones he had written about. But this wasn't only about Ludwig, it was about me as well. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do such a severe scene and I wanted to live in the knowledge that I had tried it at least once.

The main problem was that I put myself under extreme pressure. This was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event (I was quite sure that I wouldn't ever want to repeat the experience again) and everything had to be just perfect on the first and only attempt. But I knew myself well enough already to be quite sure that I wouldn't be able to deal with the cold caning the way I wanted to. And I was aware that my mindset wasn't a very positive one, despite of having embedded the scene into an experimental setting which I liked very much. The caning was simply connected with too many fears and negative images in my head. In conclusion, this wasn't so much about actually wanting to try a severe scene, it was much more about getting it over with in order to be able to tick off that  box and go on with other things.

You can read here how the scene unfolded if you like. It wasn't as bad as I had feared, but when I looked back at the experience during that recent discussion with Annapurna, it became clear to me that I still had regrets about the scene. First of all, the experience of hyperventilating during the first set of 25 strokes was a very scary one. So, every time I watched the scene on video, the negative feelings which I had had during the first half of the caning came back to my mind. Secondly, hyperventilating isn't a reaction which I (or Ludwig) find sexy, so I had the feeling of having screwed up and of not having created the sexy scene I had been longing for. The main regret I had, though, was my impression that I hadn't taken enough care of my health and hadn't respected my own limits the way I should have.

On the other hand, there were several positive aspects about the scene as well. I had proven to myself that I could do such a scene and go through it without safewording. Even though the experience of hyperventilating during the first half of the caning had scared me, I had found out that my body was able to recover very quickly from the experience. The second half of the caning had even been exactly the way I had dreamt of, there had been no panicking and I had been able to show only the restrained reactions which I like the most. I even found that part sexy on video! The experience also helped me to have an informed opinion when the discussion about severe scenes flared up again only a short time after I had done the scene because Mood Pictures had been raided by the police. Last but not least, the aftercare which Ludwig and I had applied had proven to be very effective. Most of the marks had faded after only two weeks and the last remaining shadows on my skin were gone after four to six months.

Still, the regrets remained. Suddenly, when I discussed the topic of health and severity with Annapurna, an idea formed in my mind: I wanted to do it again! A bit more than one year after the scene, I felt much more relaxed about severe spankings and I had the feeling of knowing myself, my needs and my reactions much better than I did back in 2009. The pressure of doing a severe scene in order to share something special with Ludwig had diminished. What we shared together in our relationship was so special and precious that no film scene or film-making experience could threaten it and I knew that Ludwig was absolutely serious when he said that I didn't have to prove anything to him.

But that old task was still open. And this time I wanted to do it for myself! I wanted to do MY dream scenario, a severe scene which I would find sexy. Plus, I wanted to do it my way. I had recently read about some very severe scenes which for example Emma Jane and Leia-Ann had done and I had come to realise that I would have to do my scene differently than they did theirs. As far as I know most of the spankees who do severe scenes love the feeling of surviving. They don't expect to feel good during the scene, but they know that they will fly afterwards. That approach doesn't work for me. I have to feel like I can cope with the spanking during the scene, otherwise I don't feel good about the scene afterwards, either. A friend put it beautifully, making me smile when we talked about the topic. She shook her head and said something along the lines of: “You know, you are even stranger than most of us, you really want to enjoy such a severe caning!” Yep, strange but true...

So, a plan formed in my mind. There was that consensual, empowering and very aesthetical scenario which I had dreamt about and this scenario could easily be connected with a severe caning. I decided that I wanted to bring this scene to life, on camera, and with my trusted mate Ludwig on the administering end of the cane. There would be two major goals which I wanted to achieve: 1) Creating a scene that I would find sexy as a viewer and 2) taking good care of myself during the whole process.

The former meant that I had to find someone who was willing to shoot a consensual martial-arts scenario with Ludwig and me and that the action scene had to be shot in a way that allowed me to only show the restrained kind of reactions which I like very much in combination with severe scenes. The latter meant that I needed someone who could provide me with a safe environment, who would accept my limits, who would be willing to provide the aftercare I needed and who would grant me the one thing which I had decided was the most important condition in order to avoid any form of panic during the action scene: enough breaks between smaller sets of strokes. Luckily, Ludwig was already in the process of planning a shoot with the producer who fulfilled all these requirements – Pandora Blake!

So, I discussed my thoughts with Ludwig and wrote Pandora about them. I told her about my idea and the beautiful images that were on my mind, but I also openly mentioned my limits to her and the things which I needed in order to make this a good experience. Luckily, Pandora liked the idea! And since ethic porn for her is not just a marketing slogan, but something she really believes in, she took my concerns seriously and was very fond of the idea of doing a severe scene which was planned by the spankee and was connected with the desire to make this a positive and healthy experience. The plan was to do a severe 30 strokes caning with an option to increase the number of strokes, but no pressure to do so.

And that is exactly what we did! Actually, I did increase the number of strokes to 50 strokes in total. It was an absolutely positive and wonderful experience! I felt safe the whole time and there were no negative images on my mind. It was challenging and painful, but I always had the feeling of playing within my personal limits. I never panicked during the caning and I took the breaks which I needed. And while I haven't seen any of the results yet, I'm quite sure that this time I made that special once-in-a-lifetime video scene which I already wanted to create in 2009.

With that in mind, the regrets which were connected with that previous scene have also started to fade. Because now, even the negative experiences which I made in 2009 have finally led to something overall positive. Without that 50 strokes caning I wouldn't have been able to do that second severe scene the way I did. My first experience showed me that I could do it, that I could even find the result erotic and that I didn't have to be afraid about any lasting marks. It also showed me what I needed to make it work for me and what I should avoid. Since I had a chance to learn from my mistakes for my second try, there is no reason to bemoan them any more.

Funnily, two thoughts about the new scene keep me thinking, though: The cane we used this time was obviously a bit lighter than the one from the last scene (the old one is broken, so we had to get a new one). I don't think that it hurt any less, but it didn't draw any blood (since my bottom is a bit rounder than those of many of the Mood Pictures girls, I don't bleed that easily, anyway). So, there is a little voice in my mind that asks: Can a caning without any blood count as a very severe caning?

In addition to that I strangely feel a bit like a cheater because of the breaks which I took. I mean, I don't in any way pretend that I did the scene in one shot. There will even be a behind-the-scenes report on Pandora's site that shows the breaks! I know that I needed the breaks for my health and I know that the strokes didn't hurt any less just because they mostly came in sets of six (except for the fact that my body had some more time to get used to the pain at the beginning). It is also no secret that most of the severe scenes are filmed with breaks. But Rita Goord, one of the women whom Ludwig caned at Mood Pictures, had taken all 50 strokes in one take.

I know that my natural reactions (which are also the reactions that I desire in combination with a severe scene) are more restrained than Rita's and I know about the risk of hyperventilating that results from my teeth-gritting reactions. So, when I look at it from a rational point of view I'm sure that I have done exactly the right thing: A hard scene that suited my personal fantasies and limits and therefore not only led to a beautiful result (at least according to my personal taste) which was captured on video but also to a good and healthy experience for me. It is something I'm very proud of and it is also a kinky approach which I want to stand for. But even though I know that worrying about that question is bullshit, there is still that little voice inside me asking whether people will call me a cheater because I wouldn't have been able to go through the scene the way I did without having taken those healthy breaks...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sense and Futility of Online Debates

As Kaelah pointed out in Kink, Discussions and Emotions, we had a fair number of online debates in the spanking community in recent months. A few more than normal perhaps - is it the time of year for that, or just coincidence? Today, I would like to share with you my personal views about the matter of online debates in general.

There is, of course, the famous dictum that arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics: even if you win, you are still retarded. I don't entirely agree with that. You can find discussions on the internet that are intelligent, informative and respectful. Most, however, are not, and that is where the saying comes from. It all depends on who is doing the discussing. If you have a bunch of people who are classy and mature enough so that they are not looking to "win" every argument, your chances for an intelligent debate are good. Indy, Mija, Kaelah, Paul and I managed a debate like that recently, about Spanking Tube's policy of keeping M/M content separate. Even though we had to agree to disagree in the end (Kaelah and I didn't think Spanking Tube was worthy of as much condemnation as the others gave it), it was always friendly and a very interesting discussion overall.

Should one ever debate with people who are not classy, but obviously stupid and / or mean-spirited? That is another question entirely. Is that worth it, if nothing else, to publicly counter their misguided ideas? Or is it always a complete waste of time? Dan of Spanking Blog thinks it is the latter. Here is what he had to say in a recent comment he made here:

"I start from the premise that the internet is full of sexually broken people and ethically broken people. This, in most of ten years of moderating blog comments, I am convinced is the case. [...] I just don't think there's much point in engaging with broken people. They never change their opinions, it leads to flame wars, and I'm not sure it does a lot of good with the mass of silent readers, either. Ultimately this isn't a 'you shouldn't' claim on my part; it's just a 'I generally don't, because it strikes me as a waste of time.' There's a saying attributed to Robert Heinlein: 'Never try to teach a pig to sing ... it wastes your time and annoys the pig.'"

Kaelah, on the other hand, is of the opinion that it is necessary to engage with strange and / or stupid people, because if you don't, you abandon the field to them. So if you care about the subject that is being discussed, you have an obligation to speak up. My own position on this lies somewhere between Dan and Kaelah. I am going to recount how I arrived at it emotionally. That requires me to go back a few years in time:

The most emotionally draining debate I have ever been involved in, in the spanking community, happened in early 2009. I had recently made my first "professional" spanking film, as a guest top for Mood Pictures. I had written an extensive behind-the-scenes report on the blog and I also mentioned it on the British Spanking Forum. One poster there was evidently so shocked by looking at Mood's site that she wrote a long (2.000 words), rambling, furious post condemning them and myself. Most of it was just a rant about how horrified she was to discover that such videos even existed, how no adjective could describe her disgust, how she felt the urge to format her hard drive after just looking at some trailers. The one argument she used, if you can call it that, was that any model willing to do such a video surely had to be mentally ill, that therefore, the videos were not consensual "since the people involved are not fully mentally healthy", and that anyone watching such stuff had to have an even worse mental illness.

I had seen similar rants before, but this one was even dumber and more vicious than the norm. The poster freely admitted that she was "not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or even remotely associated with the mental health profession", but insisted that her assertions had to be right because they were based on "common sense". It really was pathetically stupid. A whole bunch of me-too-sheep quickly jumped on to express their full agreement with the original poster, and before long, the thread was ablaze with all the usual urban legends about the exploitation of starving, drugged Eastern European girls...

I knew it probably would not do any good, but since I had been called out by name, I replied to the thread. I  did so in a consciously polite and diplomatic manner, saying that I could understand how not everyone likes severe caning videos and how some people might be totally turned off by them, but that this was a matter of taste and that the assertions which had been made about the moral aspects were unfounded. The videos were, in fact, fully consensual, there was no exploitation of desperate poverty involved, most models were people who wanted rather than needed extra money, they knew what they were doing and they were treated respectfully on the set. In light of this, I concluded, the OP's theory about all the models being mentally ill did simply not have any basis in fact. Neither did her theory that only a sociopath could enjoy such videos. Many kinky people play hard and like hard videos, and they are nice, caring people. Anyone who knows me in person will tell you that consent, decency and respect for the spankees are of the utmost importance for me.

But, as expected, it really did not do much good. In fact, the personal attacks from the OP and others intensified, calling me a "psychopath", a "sick, sick man" and (my favourite) a "true Teutonic demagogue". Some accused me of just being on an advertising mission for Mood, as if I got a profit from every video they sold (I obviously don't). My arguments were largely ignored or misrepresented. Because I was obviously a bad guy, I was not worth listening to. They did not feel like they had to reply to the content of my posts or even read them. Eventually, after wasting far too much time repeating myself and trying to explain myself, I resigned myself to the fact that it was futile and I just gave up on the discussion.

It wasn't all bad. I received a good deal of support as well, posters agreeing with my point of view, saying that they found the generalisations of the OP judgmental and offensive. In the end, it was probably a fifty-fifty split, pretty remarkable for a forum that did not usually cater to "severe" tastes. I also received messages in private, encouraging me to not be bothered by the people attacking me, who were apparently known for being insufferable, anyway. I would have been even more thankful if the private messengers had come out into the open, but I could understand that not everyone wanted to make themselves a target.

On balance, though, it was a very hurtful and draining experience for me. Not so much because of the personal attacks per se. Actually, I regretted that some of the most colourful insults (like the "true Teutonic demagogue") were deleted by the moderators. I would have been happy to see them remaining as a testament to who was really behaving psychotically here. No, what really hurt me was simply the stupidity of it all, the disappointment on a human level. The fact that a whole mob of people - spankos, who should have known a little bit about the dangers of prejudice and the merits of tolerance - was willing to jump on me based on totally faulty assumptions, without even listening to what I had to say for myself. When so many people are behaving in such a painfully stupid, painfully judgmental way, it just bothers me. I mean, it just undermines your faith in democracy, doesn't it? Makes you wonder whether universal suffrage is really such a good idea.

I can brush off name-calling, but what infuriates me a great deal is when people just keep ignoring or misrepresenting what I write. I don't expect anyone to agree with my point of view. But if you are going to reply to me, you might at least do me the courtesy of reading, and trying to understand, what I actually write. I remember how, in another discussion about severe play, I probably explained five or six separate times how my own moral position was that 1) all participants in BDSM have to be consenting adults, and 2) no permanent physical damage must be inflicted. And still, several pages into the thread, people kept going: "But OMG, what about mutilation and murder? WE HAVE TO DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE!" So I resigned myself to the fact that I was talking to idiots, and I gave up on that discussion, too.

What helped me to put everything into perspective, and to put it all behind me emotionally, was the realisation that going through a series of painful, frustrating discussions is an experience which most performers in spanking videos make almost as soon as they appear on the scene. It almost seems like an initiation ritual of sorts. In chapter seven of her autobiography Dances With Werewolves, Niki Flynn recounts how she had just made her first film The Exchange Student and started chatting about it on online forums: "Most of the members were friendly and welcoming and many were interested in hearing about the shoot. I loved reliving the experience, so I was happy to talk about it. What I wasn't prepared for were the attacks." Some people would confront Niki with all kinds of wild claims and accusations. How her fantasies were sick and how the films she made promoted violence towards women. How the canings in Lupus videos were all fake, anyway, just make-up. How she was not really a spanko at all, but just a publicity whore making videos for the fame and money. Et cetera.

Other performers in spanking videos talked to me about similar experiences of theirs. It always seems to be the same arc. You make your first film. You are still brimming from the experience and start talking about it on forums or in chats. Most people are friendly, asking you about the shoot and wanting to know more. A few attack you, though, and there is always at least one who writes a lengthy diatribe about how you are a psychopath, a whore or generally the scum of the earth. That takes you by surprise, it hurts, and for a while, you focus only on the negative stuff. Eventually, you put it into perspective and you just divorce yourself from it emotionally.

With hindsight, it occurred to me that the OP and the others attacking me at British Spanking had not really been talking about me at all. They had a certain preconceived notion of what someone who watches severe caning videos (or, even worse, participates in them!) must be like, and that preconceived notion was impossible to shake. I had to be a psychopath, could not possibly be anything else. No matter what I said or did, there was nothing that would have changed their opinion. In their minds, liking these videos and being a nice guy were simply irreconcilable. It was beyond the horizon of their imagination.

Once I realised that, any sense of anger or hurt that I still carried inside of me after the discussion just evaporated. I felt a sense of pity for these people (honest, non-condescending pity) because they were so limited. But I did not feel any anger towards them anymore. Moreover, my impulse to publicly confront their claims evaporated as well.

When I had replied to threads which claimed that severe caning videos were immoral, or exploitative, or fake, I had never done so because I honestly expected to convince the people who started such threads. I had replied to them because I feared that, if I did not, their nonsensical ideas would spread and other people would believe them. So I addressed every such post, every false claim made in them, every flawed argument... It took me a while to realise what an overkill it was. The point is, people are going to believe what they believe. Some people are going to have an informed opinion, others are going to believe nonsense. It is not my job to correct all the latter or to address every single nonsensical claim that is made somewhere on the web.

If people want to inform themselves about Eastern European CP videos, they can read my behind-the-scenes reports and those of other performers who have worked there, like Adele Haze or the aforementioned Miss Flynn. If people want to find out whether I am a psychopath or not, they can read my blog where I have written a ton of stuff over the past three years about who I am, what I do, my thoughts and feelings. It's all on the record for those who are interested. And if some people, on the other hand, choose to persist with chatter about evil / mentally deranged / fake caning videos, that is their prerogative. I can't be bothered with it and I honestly don't care about it anymore.

So, these days, I just ignore blatantly stupid opinions. I only respond to them when they are voiced by a commenter on my blog (which happens extremely rarely, because I have an intelligent audience here) or if they are voiced by a commenter in my immediate "neighbourhood", on the blogs which I visit regularly (also very rare, because the blogs I like have generally intelligent audiences as well). I care about the intellectual environment in my neighbourhood. As for the big wide web, a lot of nonsense is being talked there in many places, and will forever be talked there in many places. Not my concern, not my job to dispel it. Leave it to the people who live there.

Anyway, that's my take on it. If you like, share your personal views about the whole subject. Did you ever get stressed out by one discussion you were involved in in particular? Did you emotionally divorce yourself from it, and if so, how? Do you still get involved in weirdo debates, or can't you be bothered with them anymore? Let us know your thoughts and experiences.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Toppy Dress

This is the “counterpart” to the E-Card for Ludwig which I shared with you recently. Normally, I don't wear dresses because with my body shape it is very hard to find one that fits me properly. But when I saw this one I knew it was the toppy dress I had been looking for! I simply love the Chinese clothing style. I just hope that Ludwig will appreciate my toppy outfit as well, once he finds himself tied to the whipping bench and watches me taking off my gloves in preparation for the administration of a sound caning...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Metal Musings

I was reading the autobiography of Dave Mustaine the other day (a bit of lighter reading instead of the verbose intellectual wankery I usually spend my time with). If you are into heavy metal, you certainly already know who Dave Mustaine is, and if you are not, then you probably don't care. So I'll keep it short: Mustaine is one of the founding fathers of thrash / speed metal, a very influential guitarist and songwriter in that genre. He was one of the original members of Metallica, but they kicked him out because of his drug use, his volatile behaviour and simmering band leadership issues. He then built his own "perfect beast", the band Megadeth, and has been very successful with them ever since. Although the fact that he was never quite as successful as Metallica caused him to go through extended periods of drug use and self-destruction, until he finally cleaned up and became a committed Christian (thankfully, he is not nearly as annoying with the "I found religion!" thing as one might fear).

I listened to a lot of metal as a teenager, and it is still a genre of music I like (I listen to a lot of stuff, from classical music to Nine Inch Nails). I am also one of the people who prefer Megadeth over Metallica, because I find their guitar work more interesting. So Mustaine's autobiography was a book I had been looking forward to, my first pure "leisure" read in a while. And it turns out to be a pretty good book. Many rockstar autobiographies are third-rate hack jobs, but this one is decently written (with a journalist named Joe Layden), suspenseful, and provides quite an in-depth look at Mustaine as a personality.

Here is an anecdote I want to share with you, because it raises an interesting point which, in a way, concerns our kinky community as well. In 1998, Megadeth were in the process of breaking up with their then-drummer Nick Menza. He had been part of their most successful line-up, the one which recorded their two favourite albums of mine, Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. But by the late 90s, things just weren't working out anymore. They did not get along on a personal level anymore. Mustaine claimed that Menza was no longer focused on his job, that his drumming suffered. There were issues about money. All the usual non-sense.

Part of the problem seems to have been that Menza also operated an online porn site at the time. Mustaine writes:

"He should have abandoned all the side projects after we told him to narrow his focus and start taking his job more seriously. God only knows what Nick was thinking when he said he started an Internet business called NiXXXpix, featuring exactly the sort of content you might imagine. The World Wide Web was still the Wild West at this time, and I'm sure Nick saw dollar signs with this venture. I'm not averse to making money. I'm not even necessarily opposed to musicians banging strippers and porn stars on the road. But I do know one thing: I don't want to be associated with porno. Toss morality out the window for a moment, and consider it purely from a business and professional standpoint. Porn is the ultimate dead end for an artist. The public is more forgiving of drug addicts and criminals than it is of those in the sex trade. Career-wise, you just don't come back from it. When you go down that road, you don't ever go mainstream again. End of story."

The sad thing is, I think Mustaine is exactly right about the public being more forgiving of drug addicts and criminals than of those in the sex trade. If you are a rockstar, it is accepted, even expected of you to party hard, drink excessively, sleep with lots of groupies and smash hotel rooms. But if you have a business share in porn, that is crossing the line. If you are a celebrity going into rehab for the fifteenth time, or driving under the influence, or beating up your spouse and screaming at your kids, the mainstream media will eagerly follow your every move as if it was the most important news of the month. The Paris Hiltons, Charlie Sheens and Mel Gibsons have become the court jesters of our age, their antics looked on with sympathy and morbid curiosity rather than genuine outrage. But if you make BDSM videos, it means that you promote immoral debauchery and violence towards women, so you are an Evil Person! Even if you happen to be someone like Kaelah or me, living in a very loving, stable relationship, never taking any drugs and never recklessly endangering the lives of others with drunk driving.

Society has a strange set of priorities. Or, as the immortal George Carlin used to say: "People are fucking dumb!"

I guess one thing which made Nick Menza's situation even worse is the fact that he not only owned a porn site, he owned a gay porn site. This really is a no-no in the notoriously homophobic metal community (here's an addendum for our recent homophobia discussion). I guess there are also cultural differences, the divide between mainstream and porn being bigger in the US than it is in Europe. In Germany, an actress like Sibel Kekilli is still taken seriously as an artist and even receives prestigious film prizes after it was revealed that she once acted in pornographic films under the name "Dilara". This would be considerably more difficult in the US, I think. Former pornstars can be mainstream celebrities there, like Jenna Jameson, but they can't be serious artists. (On that note, if you are in the mood for a good foreign film, watch Gegen die Wand with Sibel Kekilli, English title Head-On.)

Personally, I have never subscribed to the dogma that there is an irreconcilable contradiction between pornography and art. I do not believe that a picture or film could not possibly have any artistic merits simply because it is designed to arouse. I think it is entirely possible to mix the two, and to balance them in different ways. There is artful porn, and there is trite porn. Most porn being produced is trite and only designed to make easy money. But this doesn't mean that it always has to be that way.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kink, Discussions and Emotions

I participated in another very emotional discussion during the past few days, this time about the discrimination against M/M spanking play and porn. The discussion took place on Mija's and on Indy's blog. While we basically all agreed upon the fact that we want M/M spanking play and porn to be treated equally, we judged certain forms of discrimination differently.

Mija, Paul and Indy argued that Spanking Tube is worse than many others because they feature M/M clips and make money with M/M affiliate links, but treat M/M enthusiasts as second class people by not showing their clips on the main page and not including them in many of their most popular search functions. While I basically agreed that I find the approach discriminating, my argument was that I feel much less welcome on many other sites which refuse to feature any M/M topics at all because it might scare people away, and that I don't like the thought that they get away as being less discriminating than Spanking Tube.

The discussion was mainly between Mija, Paul, Indy, Ludwig and me. While being emotional, it never became disrespectful or personal, even though we finally had to agree to disagree because we just looked at the topic from very different stances. We all explained them carefully, but we didn't force our opinions on each other and respected each other's decision to stand by their point of view. Afterwards Mija wrote a wonderful post on the importance of fair discussions and the acceptance of disagreements that resonated very much with my thoughts and made it easier for me to let go.

But many discussions on spanking blogs and forums aren't like that. Often people become very personal and disrespectful and try to hurt others. One example was the recent discussion with Bill who was very aggressive and said some very disrespectful and insulting things not only to Ludwig and me but also about spanking models.

Some time earlier there was another discussion on The Spanking Spot triggered by a tongue-in-cheek comment about a model that could easily be interpreted as having a racist undertone. This time it was the other way round. Brushstrokes, who had made this comment, was harshly attacked as being racist and disrespectful against models. While I saw why his comment could be misleading, I decided to support Brushstrokes against the already quite big number of people who were attacking him, so that he would at least have a chance to say what he really meant and to modify his statement. I'm usually on the side of those who are in the minority or who are harshly attacked, which doesn't make these discussions much easier for me...

Luckily, the discussion really cooled down after a while. But one participant, a spanking model named Scarlett, was very aggressive during the whole discussion. Before she finally left the discussion, her rants culminated in the following comment in reply to another participant: “You’ve got no idea who I am… I don’t really care what you think about me, but FYI, I’m the kind of girl who features in spanking videos, rather than the kind of sad old perver who wanks over them ‘cos he can’t get any real life action. So I’ll settle for that, actually.”

When Ludwig and I talked on the phone, he pointed out these two examples and wondered if they could be taken as a sign that many of the spanking porn viewers secretly have a good deal of contempt for the models and vice versa. I thought about it for a moment and then told him that my theory was a different one. From what I have learned, aggressive comments tend to say much more about the fears, insecurities and bad experiences of the ones who make these comments than they say about the ones who get addressed by these comments. And I think that our kink is a very personal topic and people can easily be hurt or become scared. The aggression is just a sign of that. Let's have a look at the different examples and I will show you what I mean.

Bill wrote a lot about the spanking industry and their professionals who, according to him, always interfere with every discussion about video customers' preferences and want to tell him, a video customer but not an active member of the scene, what kind of spanking he should or shouldn't like and how thankful he has to be to the industry and to the famous spanking models who want his money but refuse to fulfil his fantasies. At least that is the compressed short-version of his rant. Looking at that, all of his other comments make a lot more sense.

Obviously Bill is frustrated because he spends a lot of money on spanking porn but usually doesn't find clips that suit his taste. For some reasons, he also seems to feel like a spanko second class because he isn't (or, as he mentioned very often, doesn't want to be) an active member of the scene and a part of the spanking industry. And then two people turn up and tell him that his suggestion to make models cry whether they like it or not is disrespectful and that people have different limits which should be respected and that he would maybe understand this a bit better had he ever participated in a spanking shoot as a spankee himself. Do I have to say anything more?

What about Scarlett? Well, I assume that many spanking models who are real enthusiasts are scared from time to time that the consumers might objectify them, treat them disrespectfully, consider them to be somehow "available" or think that they have the right to expect certain things from them just because they are models. I'm not a professional model, but from time to time the thought of being objectified by someone I don't know (maybe someone I wouldn't even like) or of seeming "available" because I'm participating in spanking clips scares me as well. Maybe that is a typical female fear, I don't know.

But when you look at Scarlett's reaction from this point of view, it becomes clear that Brushstrokes's comment must have touched one of her core fears. And then others (mostly male readers plus me) joined in and told her that her aggressive reaction was completely off the mark and at least as disrespectful as Brushstrokes's initial comment. Obviously, she finally did not know what to do any more, except for making that very aggressive and completely stupid comment.

Ludwig had another very interesting forum discussion in 2009, shortly after having topped for Mood Pictures. It was about severe spanking videos, and especially one woman in the discussion called him a psycho and completely sick. Again, the source for these kinds of reactions to my mind are insecurities about and issues with one's own kink. The question “Am I sick and am I doing something wrong?” leads to the following answer: “No, what I am doing is still okay. But everything that is more extreme is sick and rightfully scares people. So, if I fight those sickos, others won't be scared by my kink and won't attack me.”

And why did Ludwig get so involved in the discussion? Well, first of all his experience with Mood Pictures was quite fresh, he had personally been attacked and no one else had spoken up for his point of view. But, more importantly than that, our relationship was very new at that time and I was still struggling with watching severe scenes myself. That's why Ludwig reacted much more emotionally to the topic in 2009 than he would today.

And what about me? I think it is quite simple: I am very scared that people might get something that I say or do wrong and that a big group of them might attack me. That's why I interfered with the discussion on The Spanking Spot and defended Brushstrokes. When Bill made his disrespectful comments towards spanking models, I had just made that shoot for Pandora's site. One of my biggest fears is that people think that they have any right to expect more and more from me, or things I'm not comfortable with, just because I'm showing a lot of me on the blog and in pictures and films. And I'm afraid that people could treat me disrespectfully. Bill's comments fed exactly those fears. Later he attacked not only me but also Ludwig personally, and that is something that I can hardly stand, either [note from Ludwig: a great oak is not bothered when the dogs bark at it]. In the discussion about M/M discrimination I had the feeling that Spanking Tube, where I find at least some of the clips that make me happy and where I feel more welcome than on many other sites, was singled out for their "homophobic" policy while others got away with their complete avoidance of M/M.

Well, what can we learn? I don't know whether my theory helps a lot, but at least it makes it a bit easier for me to understand why others are so aggressive sometimes and why this doesn't say anything about me. Furthermore, it also helps me to understand why I sometimes feel so deeply hurt by certain comments.

The problem is that it doesn't help me much to deal better with these kinds of discussions. A few days ago the dispute on Zille's blog flared up again with some rather negative consequences for my energy levels, so yesterday I finally decided to unsubscribe from the blog entry. Today I'm already feeling better, but I'm still behind with my vanilla work and duties. 

That's why I have finally decided to take a hiatus. I might write the one or other blog post, but I won't read a lot on other blogs and I definitely won't participate in any discussions.

Quite frankly, at the moment I don't feel like I really belong to the mainstream spanking community, anyway. Don't get me wrong: I've met very lovely people here, I very much appreciate all the kind comments I get, I enjoy all the thoughtful discussions, I like to see how spanking works for different people and I love writing and participating in aesthetic projects like making photos or clips.

But it happens very rarely that I find posts, stories, pictures or clips on other sites that work for me on an erotic level. I usually don't meet any people whose kink is very similar to mine or who are in similar situations concerning their relationship, blogging experiences, play preferences, film preferences, photo- and clip-making experiences and so on. So, there are people whom I like very much on a personal level, and there are very interesting things to explore on an intellectual level. But I don't find much in the online community that provides me with new ideas that fit to my own kink and touch me on an erotic level.

And so, right now, it all seems to cost me more energy than I get back. I'm sure that'll change again soon, once I am completely recovered and have caught up with my vanilla work. But until then I will take it more slowly. Have a wonderful Sunday everyone, take care and see you all soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

An E-Card For My Mate

The last days have been an emotional roller coaster for me, because the discussion about ethics and porn as well as the realization how little most of the things that I find over and over in the online spanking community appeal to me affected my health much more than it should have. I haven't written much about my feelings so far because I didn't want them to interfere with the moral discussion. Luckily, I'm already a bit better now and I've also gained more weight again (three days ago my scale showed an all-time low, at least since I became an adult).

Ludwig was incredibly supportive during the last days. Because he talked to me on the phone for hours, but he didn't tell me how to feel or what to do. Instead, he took me seriously, despite of my emotional state, he discussed his point of view with me and he was at my side in the online discussion. I'm very glad to have him as my mate! I know that many people tend to offer solutions when they talk to someone who is in a state of insecurity, and are upset if their advice isn't followed. And that doesn't work for me. Of course Ludwig also came up with ideas, but he left the decision-making to me.

On Saturday I went to my local sex shop to look for hand- and legcuffs which I knew they had on sale. I took a box from the shelf, went to the pay desk and handed it over to the sales assistant. “Could we open the package so that I can try them on, please?” - “Yes, of course, I would have opened it anyway.” She unpacked the cuffs and helped me to try the handcuffs on. They were incredibly soft and small enough to fit my wrists. I decided to buy them and also handed her a gift coupon for fruit gums. “Do you want boobs or willies?” she asked. “Hmm, if I want to share them with my boyfriend, it might be better to choose boobs?” I mused. But then I decided that I was in the mood for willies. “Right decision”, the shop assistant exclaimed, “these are your fruit gums then.” I smiled: “Luckily, my boyfriend isn't one of those guys who would be scared by fruit gum willies”. Yes, I'm really a lucky woman!

My little shopping tour had made me feel stronger and sexier again, so I decided to shoot some pics with my new toys. I fetched the camera and tripod, searched for a good place, activated the automatic release function and started to try different poses. I didn't use any artificial light, only the sunlight. I shifted back and forth between activating the camera, going into position, checking the result (pose, light, angle), adjusting the camera position if necessary and trying again. And all that with the hand- and legcuffs! Had anyone seen me, it would surely have been a funny sight... But finally I nailed it. Amelia-Jane Rutherford wrote a wonderful post about the beauty of subtlety and that's exactly how I wanted the photo to be. I loaded the pictures onto my PC and edited the photo I liked best, until I had the result which you can see above. Actually, I didn't have to do a lot of editing. I just cut out the relevant detail perspective and retouched a bag that had unfortunately partially been in the picture. The light and everything else was fine with me as it was.

I sent Ludwig the picture and I was so happy with it that I started thinking about posting it here. Now, this part of Ludwig's and my play is something about which I usually don't write much here on the blog. Why? First of all, because it is the most sexual form of play we have. The master – slave scenario that we have created is purely about sex. And, since I'm monogamous, this is something which I usually only share with my mate. And secondly, because I'm always afraid that people might get pictures like this one wrong and mistake me for someone who I am not and my kink for something which has no appeal for me.

When I am in the role of the sex slave, it doesn't make me feel small, it makes me feel womanly and  desirable. When Ludwig ties me up and blindfolds me, it's not the feeling of being helpless that I enjoy. Instead being tied up and blindfolded makes me feel free, it gives me the freedom to concentrate on Ludwig's touch and on my fantasies. Pandora wrote a wonderful piece called Communicating by touch which is about the effects of sensory deprivation and resonates very much with my thoughts, although I'm not ready for trying ear plugs as well... However, I am indeed submissive in that kind of role play and enjoy being dominated by Ludwig, because what he does to me brings me a lot of pleasure! But I am only what Bogey aptly called a bedroom submissive, going back into alpha mode as soon as the scene is over. And I can only enjoy it because I know that this is only a fantasy universe and my real partnership with Ludwig is an equal one.

Interestingly the same is true for Ludwig. He always said that he enjoys the sadistic side of topping but isn't much into control and power play. It was only when I came up with the idea for a master – slave scenario that he developed very strong dominant fantasies as well. But he can only enjoy and explore them when I'm in a strong mood. Because to him these fantasies only have an appeal with a strong partner who isn't dependent in real life.

So, I finally decided to create an e-card for Ludwig out of the picture - and to share it with you. The ones who get it wrong won't take the time to look up my name, anyway. And the rest is going to understand that this is a gift for a wonderful mate. It also is for all those who are still looking for the one to share their fantasies and pleasures with and for those who have already found that special someone! Hope you like it. One final remark: The marks on my bottom are the last remainders of my severe scene at the video shoot with Pandora. They look much more like cane stripes now than they did on the day after the scene, right? 

By the way, today I received another item for our kinky play. It's the “counterpart” of the cuffs, so to speak: a toppy dress which I purchased some weeks ago. I've created an e-card picture with me wearing that dress as well. Anyone interested in me posting it?