Jun 192016
 

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Elliot and Ahsley continue their relationship, now into vanilla sex. This scene is fully in the conventions of softcore porn, with soft lighting and rich textiles in Elliot’s bedroom, instead of the hard lighting and concrete walls of his dungeon. He even makes her breakfast the next morning. While it’s competently done, it’s pretty standard, instead of the kink we were promised. I have nothing against romance, but you can get that everywhere.

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Jun 162016
 

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Episode 3

This episode starts off with another soft-core BDSM scene in Nolan’s dungeon. It’s competently shot, with implied cunnilingus and male butt exposure, but doesn’t go into the characters at all, except for hinting that Dylan is getting jealous of the women she brings to him.

Most of this episode revolves around a party. Borrowing Linda Williams’ observation in Hard Core that sex serves the function in porn that singing and dancing does in musicals, this provides a premise for various subplots and couplings. Such as Elliot getting Ashley in his sights. She fascinates him more than Dylan’s latest acquisition for him, who promises “nothing is off limit”.

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Jun 152016
 

 

Jun 072016
 

Lying somewhere on the boundary between affectionate fetishism and domestic violence, spankings between lovers or would-be lovers were a staple of Hollywood romance movies. Jezebel has a pictorial and essay on the subject, by Andrew Heisel. This was reflected in real-life practices of the time, when husbands were expected to treat their lives like children.

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May 272016
 

According to the New Yorker, the Van Dykes were a microculture of nomadic lesbian separatists who roved around the US in vans (hence the collective and individual names) in the late 1970s. They were on a quest of sorts to explore the new frontier of lesbian culture. Interestingly, when the mainstream of lesbian feminists were building an orthodoxy position that female sexuality was inherently domestic, monogamous, and without power dynamics, the Van Dykes went in the opposite direction, developing a new sexual culture of what would today be called polyamory and sadomasochism.

During yet another fight among the Van Dykes over who was sleeping with whom, Heather recalls, Judith left in a huff and caught a ride to San Francisco. There she met the sex radicals Pat Califia and Gayle Rubin, who had started a lesbian sadomasochist group that they called Samois, for the house of torture in “The Story of O.” “She hooked up with those women and when she came back she said, ‘You’re going to love this,’ “ Van Dyke remembers. Judith was not mistaken: tofu quickly gave way to leather in the vans. The Van Dykes loved the drama of sadomasochism, the way it gave them license to play power games—which, really, they had been engaged in all along. For Heather Van Dyke, who had been a kind of lesbian Joseph Smith, driving around the continent looking for the promised land with a band of wives and ex-wives and future wives in tow, the idea of being explicitly dominant—a top, in the parlance of sadomasochism—was particularly appealing.

[…]

Lesbianism in the seventies had been configured as a loving sisterhood in which sex was less important than consciousness-raising. For many gay women, sadomasochism was an antidote to this tepid formulation. It was permission to focus on what turned them on, rather than what was politically correct, a way of appropriating the lust and power hunger that feminist doctrine had deemed male. “We’d been being egalitarian,” Lamar Van Dyke told me. “And suddenly we were over it.”

The Van Dykes even gave a SM workshop at the 1979 Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which in later years would be the site of many conflicts over the presence and visibility of BDSM.

May 152016
 

One way to view the Internet is as a vast sorting system, in which individuals can curate collections of material that might never be allowed to come together otherwise. I found the Fraulein Swastika Tumblr recently, a collection of erotic images of women with fascist elements. What’s interesting is that the images seem to come from at least three different discourses.

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May 132016
 

Linden, Robin Ruth. 1982. Against sadomasochism: a radical feminist analysis. East Palo Alto, Calif: Frog in the Well. Amazon

I’ve already gone into the history of the lesbian sex wars over BDSM. This post covers one of the major incidents in this struggle, the anthology Against Sadomasochism: a radical feminist analysis. It was published in 1982, the same year as the infamous Barnard Conference incident (in which anti-SM lesbian-feminists harassed and picketed a women’s sexuality conference, in which SM was just one of many topics discussed). Sado-masochism was described as, at worst, patriarchal false consciousness and, at best, an immature holdover from less enlightened times. Witness Vivienne Walker-Crawford’s “The Saga of Sadie O. Massey” [Pg.147], in which sadomasochism is discussed through the metaphor of a woman who is overly attached to a pair of thick wool socks. Instead of being a primitive form of psychological development, it was a primitive form of political consciousness.i See also “Smokers Protest Healthism” by “Paula Tiklicorrect”.[Pg. 164]

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Apr 152016
 
  • The Alternative Sexualities Health Research Alliance (TASHRA), a San Francisco non-profit community research organization, launched the first ever national survey to examine the impact of kink sexuality on health and healthcare usage: Survey
  • The KinkyCast has an interview with Nancy Ava Miller, founded of PEP and instigator of many American BDSM organizations in the 1980s and 1990s. In the pre-Internet era, she used the medium of dial up phone communication for counselling and for entertainment.
  • Salon discusses Robert Mapplethorpe’s domestication as an artist, from his posthumous demonization in the late 1980s by cultural conservatives to his high-art gallery displays today. The article suggests that the culture wars have shifted, and North Americans are more comfortable with homosexuality and sexually explicit imagery now. Today’s flashpoints are things like transgender issues. I would argue that the sexually explicit images are still contested, but the discourse has shifted from a sin model to an addiction model.
  • The Other has a short history of John Sutcliffe’s Atomage fetish magazine/catalog.
  • A French blog has scans of a Japanese bondage magazine, Uramado (meaning “rear window”), a competition to the older Kitan Club. The excerpts run from 1958 to 1964. Uramado included bondage, but also just straightforward nudes, unlike Kitan Club.
  • Gloria Brame asks on her blog whether Internet anonymity is a good thing for the BDSM culture anymore. I would say that a major factor in the development of the BDSM culture was the anonymity of the Internet in the 1980s and 1990s. The Internet has changed since then, becoming far more of a real of surveillance for both governmental and commercial agencies. There is transparency, of the people but definitely not by or for the people. Online communities in which identity is known and fixed still suffer from the problems of harassment and trolling and so on, while the lack of privacy may inhibit people from self-expression in the way they used to. While I would like to see more BDSM people come out of the closet, it should not be forced upon anyone.
  • Ralphus.net has a collection of 1960s men’s adventure magazine stories, not just the scanned covers but the complete transcribed stories as well. IMHO the entertainment value of these artifacts is largely in the lurid art and the hyperbolic headlines (e.g. “1,000 Naked Beauties for the Chamber of Horror”). The actual story will almost certainly be a disappointment.