Aug 262015
 

I’ll admit, financial domination was a kink I didn’t really get, even intellectually. I just assumed it was something thought up by pro dommes for guys who were too anxious to meet them in person.

The interview with Mistress Harley on the People of Kink podcast opened my mind and showed me that financial domination and blackmail play is a kink with its own subtleties and intricacies. Money has its own fetishistic value, denoting power and potency, and to be deprived of it can affect some people as strongly as being deprived of the freedom of movement. A prodomme I know once told me about a man who wanted her to demolish his expensive car with a sledgehammer while he watched; she refused, not wanting to risk getting involved in an insurance investigation.

Even more interesting was when Mistress Harley talked about using applications like Teamviewer to remotely take control of her clients’ computers and phones. As technology increasingly becomes an extension of our selves, it makes sense that systems of remote surveillance and control would be fetishized as well. I am once again surprised at just how ingenious people are at coming up with new forms of sexuality.

Aug 252015
 

The first time I visited New York City in 1997, I had the time of my life visiting the Hellfire Club, the Vault, the Nutcracker Suite, and other historical landmarks of the kinky side of the city. The second time, in 2005, all of that was gone, leaving only Paddles and a rumoured club in Brooklyn I never got to go to. All thanks to rising rents and the efforts to make Manhattan “family friendly.”

Thankfully, someone is keeping that history alive. I salute photographer Efrain John Gonzalez for starting Hellfire Tours, his guided tour of the bygone world of New York City’s underground of clubs, bars, and houses of domination. If I were there, I’d sign up in a second.

Jul 112015
 

The Seduction of Venus blog digs into a 1977 Penthouse “love set”, with a Nazi theme. This was in the years following films like Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS, Salon Kitty and The Night Porter, when there was a kind of fascist chic in the mid-70s. This was one of the first SM-themed photoshoots in Penthouse, and the first involving a man, in full black SS uniform, no less.

Jun 242015
 

My apologies for addressing the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey so late. I obtained one copy of the film through admittedly dubious means (let’s just say the text messages are in Spanish), and another in which the subtitles were in originally in, I think, Thai, then covered up by another layer of subtitles in Spanish, and all the explicit sex was cut.

Beyond all that, I could only watch about five minutes at a time. Somebody asked me how I got through the film and I joked, “I kept a fifth of Scotch handy.”

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Apr 172015
 

An assortment of podcast episodes on the history or society and culture of consensual sadomasochism.

Masocast: Tara Indiana

An interview with a veteran professional female dominant, Tara Indiana, who talks about the changes in the New York prodomme scene since the 1990s.

CBC’s Ideas: Consent to Harm Part 1, Part 2

A two-part documentary on the idea of consenting to bodily harm, and the ramifications in BDSM as well as in sports and other realms. Includes an interview with Andrea Zanin of Sexgeek.

Stuff Your Mom Never Told You: The Professional Dominatrix

A short cultural history of professional female dominants.

On the Media: Safe Words

The second half of this episode is about the mobilization of the kink community in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.

 

 

Aug 142014
 
  • Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York blog has a post on the lost gay leather clubs of New York City, and what has replaced them. I was fortunate enough to visit Manhattan in 1997 and visit the Hellfire Club, the Vault, and a few other venues, all gone when I returned in 2005.
  • Researching William Seabrook, Man Ray and Lee Miller brought me to Silent Porn Star’s post on the psychosexual impact of the First World War, leading to masochism and even effeminization in the male psyche. You’d have to include the cult of Rudolf Valentino as a counter-movement towards a new masculinity.
  • Brian Donovan’s book White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887-1917 looks like an interesting account of woman-in-captivity fantasies.
  • More than 20 years ago, Wired ran a piece on then-obscure newsgroup alt.sex.bondage
  • A biography of Edith Kadivec (or Cadivec), flagellant, author and child molester in the early 20th century. This is one of those frustrating articles that presents a wealth of detailed information, but no sources or author.
  • Likewise, this history of the House of Milan, producer of bondage magazines and videos, lacks sources and attribution.
  • A mention of the 1980 sadomasochism-themed issue of the art magazine ZG brought me tantalizingly close to this lost artifact. One of the few references I could find:

    Its central theme-sadomasochism-would be interrogated through conflicting inquiries into “violent images of sexuality” as they manifested themselves in film, fashion, art, and music. To my sixteen-year-old eyes (and mind), ZG`s “sadomasochism” issue was incendiary. It opened with “Mistaken Identities,” Dick Hebdige`s account-interwoven with a textual collage of contemporary news reports-of the brutal and sordid death of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious`s muse and partner in crime, Nancy Spungen.

Mar 162014
 

Mileaf, Janine. Please Touch: Dada & Surrealist Objects After The Readymade. Dartmouth College Press, 2010

As I’ve observed before, there’s a relative lacuna in BDSM history, between the Victorians and the post-WWII era. The first half of the 20th century is relatively undocumented, though I have found a few exceptions.

Man Ray, Woman in Bondage, c1930

Man Ray, Woman in Bondage, c1930

Artist and photographer Man Ray made several sadomasochistic photos in his career in the 1920s and 1930s. He was also a devotee of the works of the Marquis de Sade, and made portraits of the Marquis. Man Ray was one of many artists of the time interested in “the primitive”, taking inspiration from aboriginal people around the world, and seeking truth through extreme mental and physical states.

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