What are the sartorial origins of the black-clad dominatrix? I will skip the more familiar examples from recent years and try to find the earlier examples.
Certainly everyone will remember Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel (“Miss SM Appeal”) in the UK spy TV series The Avengers. Her most overtly kinky costumes were features in the episodes “A Touch of Brimstone” and “Death at Bargain Prices.”
A Lover’s Pinch launches in July, at least according to Amazon, but I’ll really get into promoting in August. So far, I’ve booked three events.
Sneak preview launch: August 4, 2018
You can get an early signed copy in the lobby at the Maritime Labour Centre at 1880 Triumph St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1K3, from 8PM to 10PM, during the monthly Vancouver Dungeon play party, presented by Metro Vancouver Kink.
Official launch party: August 8, 2018
This will be at The Art of Loving at 369 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P8, at 7:30 PM, August 8, 2018. This will feature a reading, books for sale, author Q&A and a prize draw, held at Vancouver’s premier adult store.
Book reading and signing: August 16, 2018
I’ll be holding a reading and signing at Little Sister’s LGBT bookstore (1238 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N3) at 7PM on August 16, 2018. Little Sister’s is a Vancouver institution with a long history.
- I had only known the Renaissance writer Pico dela Mirandola was the author of the first known discussion of masochistic flagellation is non-spiritual terms, but in fact his influence and accomplishments extended far beyond that. He was perhaps best known as the author of the early humanist Oration on the Dignity of Man, which contained 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, alchemy, astrology and magic. And he did this before he was 25 years old. The History Unplugged podcast has an in-depth exploration of his life, though it doesn’t touch on his writing on flagellation.
- There’s an Indiegogo fundraiser for a documentary on the Sixty Nine Group, the oldest gay leatherman organization in Europe, founded in 1965.
- Susan Wright of the NCSF talks to the New York Times about the boundary between BDSM and abuse. One of the few good things to come out of these recent cases of BDSM excused as abuse is that even mainstream publications are willing to explore the distinction.
- The riding crop has become one of the most common symbols of kink. It has an odd and complicated history, according to this Kink Academy essay. Like other tools intended for handling animals, like buggy whips, it isn’t intended to inflict pain, just get the animal’s attention. The article suggests this steams from a confusion in Venus in Furs, as Wanda is often described as going riding, and then cracking a whip; creating a link between the equestrian woman and the dominant woman. It was also a common decorative element for rulers and military officers.
- Psychology Today has an interview about a study of kinky people and how they form their kinky identities, comparing it to developing a homosexual identity. “Kinky people also reported much less of a desire to ‘come out’ that we see in gay and lesbian populations, likely because it is much easier to hide an interest in kink in a relationship than it is to hide a relationship with someone of the same gender.”
- Messy Nessy Chic has a collection of John Coutts’ (aka John Willie) bondage and fetish photography from the 1940s and 1950s.
- Has bondage, specifically Japanese-influenced rope bondage, become so popular that it has lost all sexuality? Ayzad asks the hard questions.
- Alexis Lykiard’s essay claims the antebellum-slavery-themed erotic novel Memoirs of Dolly Morton was obscure French man of letters Georges Grassal, a literary author who fell on hard times and wrote prolifically in both French and English, under many pseudonyms. The author also wrote an introduction to another Victorian erotic classic, Man with a Maid, and a biography of another French author of flagellation erotica, Pierre Dumarchey, aka “Pierre Mac Orlan”.
- CVLT Nation talks about the impact of SESTA/FOSTA on Fetlife and other segments of the kinky internet. “It’s puzzling that a bill that could shut down the search for a sugar daddy might make it across the desk of a man [I.e. Donald Trump] who is the sugar daddy to his own wife and couldn’t get laid by porn stars or otherwise if you took his bank account out of the equation. I suspect this has nothing to do with a moral witch hunt, and everything to do with money.”
- Generations ago, the gay male leather scene was revolutionary, a post-WWII antidote to the effeminate, “nelly” stereotype, showing that gay men could be masculine. Now, masculinity is in deep crisis, with the excesses of the privileged revealed by the #MeToo movement, and the incel subculture spewing toxic misogyny and violence. Do gay leathermen need to re-evaluate what masculine means, and should they open their doors to a more diverse range of bodies, sexes, genders, and gender expressions? Slate has an essay.
Nicholas Tanek interviewed me for the Your Kinky Friends video stream/podcast, where I got to talk about A Lover’s Pinch, BDSM history, and my personal journey through the kink world. There are a lot of other interesting interviews and essays, including a series on the heroes of the kink community. There’s even a video chat with Susan Wright of NCSF.
- Goreans are an insular bunch. Vice got a few self-described “kajirae” (female slaves) to talk about their lives.
- The Dig History podcast has an episode on the culture of sex work in 19th century America. As far as I can tell, sexual flagellation was not popular in American pornography or sex work, and what little there was was produced overseas and imported. The podcast does include an intriguing reference to sex workers who provided “ropes and braces” (18:29), likely some form of bondage. Another common practice was living tableaus (26:40), in which women would adopt a pose and costume based on popular paintings or sculptures, one of which was Hiram Powers’ The Greek Slave. I suspect there were a lot of themes of capture and bondage in these displays.
- Another Dig History podcast episode spotlights that “hero in evil”, the Marquis de Sade.
- Jean Genet, a French playwright, included many queer and kinky themes in his works. The Balcony, one of his plays written in 1956, was one of a series of dramatic works produced for TV broadcast in a joint project between the Open University and the BBC between 1977 and 1981. This shortened version of The Balcony never made it to TV broadcast. The linked essay isn’t clear if the film survives in any form, other than a few stills, though a comment says that a brief clip appears in a documentary on Genet.
- A short essay on the meaning and history of the Phyllis riding Aristotle trope.
- The myth of “secret European kink training houses” has been around for a long time, even before the publication of Story of O. There’s never been, to my knowledge, credible evidence of them. That’s why I’m highly suspicious of this interview with Ernest Greene and Nina Hartley about Greene’s forthcoming book, The Truth about O, which claims that these elite, secretive organizations do exist.
- Episode 222 of the Kinkycast interviews Tori and Jeff of the Leather History Preservation Foundation. Leather history doesn’t preserve itself, you know.
- Speaking of preserving history, San Francisco will designate part of the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood to be a “Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.” It’s home to the Folsom Street Fair and many gay and kink bars and shops. The Washington Post says, “It will give the cultural district negotiating rights in future development and access to public money.”
- Dame magazine has a feature on the particular issues of kink for Orthodox Jews.
- D/s sometimes awkwardly rubs elbows with the Christian domestic discipline subculture. The Sexing History podcast has an episode on Evangelical Christian marriage manuals, and their efforts to expand the sexual opportunities within conservative marriage.
- In an echo of the Jian Ghomeshi incident from 2014, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman has defended himself from accusations of abuse of women by claiming he had “engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” within “the privacy of intimate relationships.” It is painful but necessary to again educate people on the basics of consent, and fortunately even mainstream publications like Lifehacker and the BBC have taken part in this education.
- The American anti-sex-trafficking legislations SESTA and FOSTA may have a profound effect on the sexual subcultures on the Internet. This is the latest in 8 years of anti-sex lawmaking. The primary targets are sex workers, forcing sites like Backpage.com to shut down, but this may also have an effect on sites like Fetlife.com or even Reddit.com if they have anything to do with sex work. See more from TIME.com and EFF.org.
- As I’ve noted before, accusations of sexual deviance are frequently linked with accusations of religious and/or political deviance. This includes both Protestant views of Catholics and Catholic views of Protestants. This essay covers accusations of alleged Protestant orgies. “Most of the time this is plainly prurient, hyperventilating scaremongering. It’s linked to the blood libel (the claim that Protestants secretly murdered and ate babies, just as witches, Jews and early Christians had been accused of doing): after all, orgies are hungry work.”
- Possibly the closest thing to the Laura Antoniou‘s Marketplace we’ll ever get in real life, the Other World Kingdom gets an in-depth article.
- Bitch magazine has an essay on the particular issues of Muslim people (or people from a Muslim background) being into BDSM.
- Found a video essay on Youtube on the history of latex fetishism.
- BDSM has always been closely linked to technology, and this article describes how technologies like remote access, smart houses, and cryptocurrencies are being used in kink.
- There’s a surprisingly large amount of rape and abduction in classical art. How do we talk about this in a post-#MeToo era?
- Ever wonder what a Dionysian orgy in ancient Greece was actually like? Now you can know.
I just found out that you can pre-order A Lover’s Pinch in hardback. It probably won’t arrive until August of this year, but advance orders help. Order from the publisher’s site.
- The Splinter blog has an essay on the particular problems of black people being into BDSM.
- NYC’s Museum of Sex will have a retrospective on the 50-year career of Japanese erotica and bondage photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.
- MEL Magazine has an essay on neo-Nazi porn.
- Gloria Brame writes about the recent coverage of a serial killer preying on the BDSM scene in the TV series Web of Lies. “…arguably the single biggest danger in the BDSM Community are non-BDSMers who prey on us. They don’t share our values, they don’t believe in consent, they exploit us because they think submissive people are easy marks. They are not us. They never will be. The minute you violate the concept of mutual consent and safety, you are not a BDSMer, just a morally bankrupt predator or a straight-up violent sadist.”
- Academia.edu has a paper (in French, alas for me) about the historiography of BDSM and particularly Michel Foucault’s view of gay BDSM as subversive.
- A profile of Australian musician, practicing sadomasochist, and noted eccentric (and raving racist) Percy Grainger.