- A blog of vintage damsel in distress images.
- Whipping as a treatment for depression. (Take this one with a whole shaker of salt.)
- Interview with Steve English, founder of Amsterdam-based DeMask.
Once you start to explore the history and deeper ideas of sexuality, you inevitably come across the topic of the fetish, and the particularly gendered origin of the concept. For a long time, it was assumed that women simply did not have fetishes, and that they were a particularly male malady, much like masochism, tied into Freudian ideas of compensation of female castration. When women exhibited behaviour that could be seen as fetishistic, like kleptomania, it was explained away as something else.
More recent, feminist thought about sexuality has suggested that female fetishism does exist, but it hides in plain sight. One of the ideas of female fetishism is attraction to injured or wounded men.
I will give my “Cultural History of BDSM” presentation on Sunday, January 29th, 2017, in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, BC. This will be a part of West Coast Bound, the three-day conference presented by Metro Vancouver Kink, an organization I helped found. It’s an excellent conference, with top-level presenters like Fetish Diva Midori, Laura Antoniou, Lew Rubens, Allena Gabosch, Morpheus, and Topologist, as well as the usual vendors and parties.
- The Kinkycast has an interview with Colin Rowntree of Wasteland.com, one of the earliest BDSM-oriented websites and porn producers, dating back to 1994.
- The Advocate has a photo tour of NYC’s kinky gay world.
- Glamour magazine says BDSM people are “consent experts“.
- The Geek Anthropologist on Fifty Shades of Grey, Consumerism and BDSM: Selling Subversive Identities
Dressing For Pleasure is a 1977 25-minute documentary directed by John Samson, who made a career out of films about outsider topics (e.g. tattoos, competitive darts, the sexual lives of disabled people).
- Debunking the Myth that “Fifty Shades” caused a BDSM revolution
- Lee Harrington’s Passion and Soul podcast has an interesting discussion of various models and methods of consent, including the familiar SSC, RACK, and PRICK, but also the “cruising” model as practice by gay men, in which consent is negotiated by breaking norms of eye contact.
- Sex negative Amendment 2 coming in Georgia, by which any group discussing sexuality, such as BDSM educational or social groups, might have to pay “assessments” to the state.
- Kink.com and other adult producers are protesting the condom-mandating Proposition 60 in California
- Photographers upset by “Ask First” stickers at Folsom Street Fair
- The podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You had a trilogy of episodes on kink: the Many Lives of Bettie Page, BDSM 101, and The Professional Dominatrix. Also a blog post on historical whipping women.
- Back in 2012, Catherine Scott began a lengthy series of blog posts on BDSM from a feminist perspective in Bitch magazine.
HBO’s Westworld TV series postulates a fantasy world where guests interact with non-human “hosts” in a simulated Wild West setting. The narrative, much like the previously discussed Dollhouse, explores the issue of what happens when people are removed from their usual social restrictions and are able to act on their fantasies and desires.
(Note: spoilers ahead)
I sat astride his chest, ‘It’s just a thrill,’ he said,
As he relaxed on the dark, dark bed, ‘it’s just breath control.’
He whispered ‘Hold me here’ and I did and his head fell back.
He whispered ‘Press harder’ and I did and his eyes rolled back.
It’s just breath control. Just breath control.Read more: Recoil – Breath Control Lyrics | MetroLyrics
One of the insights I had into the overall historical arc of BDSM is the issue of safety, who decides what is safe, and how, and how is that knowledge distributed. My thoughts on this crystallized after a recent weekend workshop on rough play, which included a discussion on edgeplay and the risks involved in thinks like choking and other forms of breathplay.
Some of the legal discourse about BDSM, notably in the Operation Spanner case, has compared BDSM to sports, in terms of consensual activities with a risk of injury or death. Historically, pursuits like boxing, wrestling, gridiron football, etc, have gone through a process of “taming”, with the developments of rules that specify required protective gear, proscribed conduct in play, and the like.
- Belier Press is publishing Possibilities, a massive collection of the photography of John Coutts, better known as John Willie, publisher of the classic Bizarre magazine. “Informative Text, including additional Biographical Information about the Photographer, Copious Notes, and Valuable Advice for Serious Collectors”
- For those men whose sexual coming-of-age occurred before the Internet era, there was a certain rite of passage involving going to adult bookstores. “I bought a Swedish nudes magazine to show my friends, but I also bought three BDSM magazines that day.” gives us a taste of what that vanished era was like, especially for the kinky.
- During my first time in New York City, my hosts and I talked about going to La Nouvelle Justine, a BDSM-themed restaurant, but didn’t go. I don’t know how long that lasted, but there was a SM-themed supper club in NYC a few years later, La Maison de Sade, which lasted from c.1999 to 2001. The site also has a review of a 1998 party, SMack.
- My approach to BDSM comes from the humanities, but the STEM fields do their own valuable work. The Science of BDSM has an extensive bibliography on books and journal articles.
- Macho Sluts, an anthology of lesbian BDSM stories by Patrick Califia (then known as Pat), was a groundbreaking work. Carolyn Bronstein’s essay “The Political Uses of Lesbian Romance Fiction: Reading Patrick Califia’s Macho Sluts as a Response to 1980s Anti-Pornography Feminism” provides historical context.
- Rebel Circus has a slide show and short history of Bettie Page.