Peter Tupper

Sep 162018
  • You’ve probably heard the bit about how Victorian doctors would use vibrators to administer orgasms to female patients. Turns out that is not backed up by the historical evidence, and the idea stemmed from one author willfully mispresenting primary sources.
  • The Kinsey Institute at the University of Bloomington, Indiana, used to be one of the foremost organizations studying sex in the world. Now its leadership is being handed over to people who come from animal studies, not sexology or psychology, to de-emphasize the study of human sexuality.
  • When we kinksters talk about raceplay, ageplay or other forms of “cultural trauma” play, we like to claim that the roles within the scene have nothing to do racism, sexism, ageism, etc in the outside world. But that’s not truth. In the porn business, interracial porn depends on the taboo of black men and white women being sexual together, but white female performers routinely charge higher rates for scenes with black men. Broadly has the story on this and other forms of institutionalized racism and sexism behind the porn camera.
Aug 192018
  • Divine Deviance is a forthcoming documentary film series about the kink culture. I will be participating in a panel discussion affiliated with it, alongside Race Bannon and Gayle Rubin, on September 28th in San Francisco, a couple of days before the Folsom Street Fair.
  • has a profile of pre-WWII Polish writer and artist Bruno Schulz who did a lot of female-dominant, male-submissive images. Interesting to consider if there are links between Schulz and Sacher-Masoch.
  • Femdom-Resource considers the etymology of the word “dominatrix”. It goes back to the 16th century, but apparently the word used to refer to a sexually dominant woman only goes back to 1967.
  • Fakir Musafar, a major pioneer in the BDSM and modern primitive cultures, has passed on. RIP.
  • The Porno Cultures podcast has an interview with Lynn Comella, author of Vibrator Nation, about how feminist adult stores grew and changed in the USA. This indirectly ties to another angle of BDSM history I haven’t explored yet, the growth of kink business and their products, and their acceptability in middle-class contexts.
  • Buzzfeed has an interested feature on Orthodox Jews in kink.
  • Dangerous Minds profiles Michael’s Thing, a post-Stonewall, pre-Internet print guide to NYC’s queer life, often with leatherman imagery on the cover.
Jul 152018
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual rules the mental health landscape in the USA, but in the rest of the world, the keystone reference is the ICD, administered by the World Health Organization. The WHO recently took consensual sexual minorities out of the ICD-11 revision, following the work of many Nordic countries.
  • The Japanese culture/tradition of BDSM is a separate thing from the European/American tradition that I haven’t delved into as much as I’d like. (Hopefully to be covered in future works.) I don’t understand any language other than English, which forces me to rely on secondary sources. Most of them are shallow or suspect. However, the Tokyo Bound blog has a couple of translated interviews with bondage grandmaster Akechi Denki, one from 1997 and another from circa 1976. They give an interesting glimpse of Akechi’s life in post-war Japan, his many brushes with death, and his involvement in the underground of SM performances and magazines.
  • Speaking of shibari, is it cultural appropriation?
  • Notches has an essay on the peculiar relationship between the early fascist movement in Germany and the nascent homosexuality movement of the same time. Ernst Röhm, the head of the SA stormtroopers, saw homosexuality, or a particular definition of it, as fully compatible with German fascism, and distinguished from the perceived effeminacy and decadence of other forms of homosexuality. “Röhm’s queer fascism was identical to the Nazi Party’s ideology in almost all respects, save on questions of male-male eroticism.” An anonymous stormtrooper wrote, “the hand of a Nazi militia man ‘can strike a blow but also caress.’ The blows being struck by those hands were against Jews, Social Democrats, Communists, and homosexuals.” I should emphasize that we should not fall into the “Nazis were gay” trope; Röhm was eliminated during the “night of the long knives” when Hitler decided he was no longer an asset.
  • Another review of Katharine Gates’ Deviant Desires.
  • An essay on the fetish classic Satan in High Heels (1962).
  • An essay on the original Hellraiser (1987) film, strongly influenced by the gay SM subculture and the industrial music subculture of the early 1980s.
Jun 182018

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.”

Woman in black leather suit with zippers

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers, wearing the leather jumpsuit costume from “Death at Bargain Prices”

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