- In the coronavirus crisis, the medical fetish site MedFetUK donated its supply of disposable medical scubs to a UK hospital. Its Twitter feed said, “When you see someone from the government saying the NHS [National Health Service] is getting what it needs, that is a LIE.”
- A photo essay on Istanbul’s BDSM community which continues to meet despite the pandemic.
- Many of the Decadent artists and writers of the late 19th century touched on sadomasochistic themes, such as Octave Mirbeau’s novel The Torture Garden. The 1889 lesbian novel Mephistophela by Catulle Mendes was only recently translated into English for the first time. The Bad Books for Bad People podcast explores this neglected work and what it says about late Victorian views of sexuality in general and lesbianism in particular, which includes scenes of torture and domination.
- In Teen Vogue, actress Emma Watson talks about her struggles with normative heterosexual partnering, and how she looks to other models, like BDSM. “I’ve also kind of become slightly fascinated by kink culture because they are the best communicators ever. They know all about consent.” Note her carefully hedged statement, with “kind of” and “slightly”. Still not a full-voiced endorsement of BDSM.
- Kerrang has a list of popular songs you didn’t know were about BDSM. (In some cases, it’s pretty obvious.)
- HonestErotica.com collects 19th and 20th century erotic art, mostly European, including kinky work such as Suzanne Ballivet’s 1954 illustrations for Venus in Furs, Eugène Klementieff’s 1937 illustrations for L’éducatrice passionnée, and Wighead’s 1934 illustrations for À genoux esclave.
Romance is a 1999 French drama film, written and directed by Catherine Breillat.
[Unless noted otherwise, all quotations are from the subtitles.]
Breillat is notorious for explicitly showing sexual acts in her films, as well as her unsentimental view of heterosexual relations. Sex between men and women is always a conflict in Breillat’s films, though who is winning isn’t always clear.
The protagonist is Marie (Caroline Ducey), a young woman who lives with her boyfriend Paul (Sagamore Stévenin), a model. In the first scene, Marie watches from a distance as Paul is posed as a matador in a photoshoot with another female model. The photographer instructs Paul and the model in performing proper masculinity and femininity.
They return to their apartment, where their clothes and the furnishings are all white and off-white. Instead of innocence, it suggests sterility and emptiness. Paul rejects Marie’s sexual advances again, in a reversal of the usual gender roles.
Paul’s passive-aggressive head game is that if he completely eliminates sexual desire in himself, he gains the upper hand in his relationship with Marie. Having her dance on the end of his string is more interesting to him than actually fucking her.
Love & Human Remains is a 1993 drama film. It tells several interwoven stories of people in the big city, while in the background a serial killer murders women. The main character is David (Thomas Gibson), a gay former actor who coasts through life as a waiter and nightclub regular.
Love definitely has some resemblance to Cruising: paranoid people in an urban environment, a serial killer who could be anybody, masculinity in crisis. We get glimpses of the killings on news shows, but the characters, too self-absorbed, skip past them.
Benita (Mia Kirshner) seems to vibe on that urban paranoia. She’s primarily a dominatrix, often telling classic urban legends (e.g. “the guy with the hook” or “the baby sitter and the extension cord”) during her sessions with men in her apartment.
Tomcats is a 2001 sex comedy.
Tomcats is a catalog of white heterosexual male anxieties at the turn of the millennium: castration, marriage, children, public humiliation, romantic and sexual rejection, unruly female bodies, being outperformed by women professionally, women turning into lesbians, and women who are too sexual. For the purposes of this project, the relevant scene has the same comedic premise as in Euro Trip: that even the horniest man can be overwhelmed by the most voracious woman.
The premise is that a group of male friends made a bet that whoever is the last unmarried gets all the money in a large mutual fund. Our protagonist, Michael (Jerry O’Connell), tries to impress a woman at a Vegas casino, ends up owing $50,000, and has to get his womanizing single friend, Kyle (Jake Busey) married by the end of the month so he gets the money.
Michael finds Natalie (Shannon Elizabeth), the one who got away for Kyle, who turns out to be a police detective. They set about seducing Kyle, while our protagonist starts falling for the woman. Natalie tells Michael that she’s falling for Kyle, prompting Michael to seduce the first woman he sees, which goes spectacularly awry.
Live Nude Girls is a 1995 comedy-drama film, about a group of women who gather for a bachelorette party and mostly talk about sex.
The film starts with women as tween girls having a slumber party in a tent with a poster of David Cassidy, the dawning of their sexuality. In the present, the women mostly talk about their early experiences in the 70s, like reading page 26 of The Godfather, or sneaking peeks at their fathers’ copies of Playboy. Some of these are acted out in fantasy sequences. These women have a complex tangle of desire, vanity, anxiety and shame in their past and present sexual lives.
Welcome to Elust 128–
The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #129? Start with the rules, come back April 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~
~ Featured Posts by our Guest Editor (Sweetgirl’s Picks) ~
I have selected this piece for two reasons; first of all I enjoyed it! I was captivated by the story and relationship between the characters from the start. She set the scene beautifully and I could feel the excitement as “something tangible passes between them, this husband and wife who are becoming something else.’ Missy captured this moment brilliantly. My final reason for selecting this is because I know Missy doubts her ability to write fiction, and this piece proves that is not the case.
This post from Brigit does an excellent job of telling people not to try and get your D/s to look exactly like someone else’s, “Fiction can be a springboard, but ultimately, it is our job to create our own recipe for D/s.” This is something I don’t think can be said enough. As Brigit reminds us, there is no right way, and no two dynamics are the same. Fiction can open the door to kink but it isn’t a blueprint and shouldn’t be used as one.
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!
Books and Movies
Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships
Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish
Desperate Housewives was a mystery/dramedy TV series concerning a group of four housewives in a suburban neighborhood who attempt to solve the mystery of the death of one of their friends. They also deal with various other challenges to their families.
One of the four wives, Bree (played by Marcia Cross), learns that her husband Rex (played by Steven Culp) has been cheating on her with another married woman, Maisy Gibbons (played by Sharon Lawrence), who is a sex worker and dominatrix. Maisy took this up for money when her husband lost his job.
- I haven’t seen Slave Play, a Broadway play about three interracial couples going through raceplay sexual scenarios as couples’ therapy, but this video essay/review considers this historically-charged form of sexuality.
- American Theatre magazine also has an in-depth interview with Slave Play’s author, Jeremy O. Harris.
- A 2012 review of an exhibition of Nancy Grossman’s sculptures of heads covered in black leather and straps.
- Euronews has a short piece and video on the history of “tart cards”, once used by sex workers to advertise in the UK, often posted in phone booths. These frequently offered sadomasochistic or fetishistic services.
- Dr. Justin Lehmiller discusses the prevalence of fantasies of “forced” sex and what they mean.
- On The Advocate, Alexander “Beastly” Cheves has a slideshow on what kinky gay men can teach the world about love, sex and relationships. E.g. “No one relationship is the “right” one.”, “When the pleasure stops or the learning ends, there’s no need to stay. “
- A Muslim woman writes about her sexuality while wearing a burka. “One friend said she often purposely initiated intimacy before her husband went to work. […] This was in stark contrast to when we women went out in public. We walked as smoothly as we could, so our hips wouldn’t evoke interest.”
- The Washington Post discusses how the TV series iZombie, about a woman who contracts an undead virus and solves murders by literally eating the brains of the victims, is better on issues of consent than most TV. “Widely, the conscientious monsters, creatures and spirits of contemporary fantasy and horror TV figure out how to navigate healthy sexual relationships with their mortal romantic counterparts.”
- How did the Marquis de Sade’s notorious 120 Days of Sodom, thought to be lost for more than a century, go from pornography to a Penguin Classic?
Criminal Minds S10E17 “Breath Play” First aired March 11, 2015 IMDB
The second episode of Criminal Minds to deal with BDSM (that I know of) is “Breath Play”.
“Breath Play” treads much of the same ground as the earlier episode “Limelight”, though at least in this case there are actual victims from the beginning. A serial killer is strangling women to death and leaving them tied to their beds. Somehow, the killer is welcomed into the homes of his victims.
Examining the bodies reveal that the victims were tied to their beds and strangled for hours before their deaths. Dr. Reid speculates, in one of the leaps of logic that seems typical of this series, that this is actually about erotic asphyxiation, or breath play.
Another crime scene leads of the discovery of an extremely popular erotic novel called Bare Reflections, a knock-off of Fifty Shades of Grey. All of the victims had the book, and the “saucy texts” found on the victim’s phone were direct quotes. However, if the book is that popular, it increases the likelihood that it’s just a coincidence and not the key clue.