Jan 182021
  • I’ve talked before about the role of kinky people in the culture wars, and how kinksters get dragged into conflicts whether they want to be involved or not. Case in point: Blaire White is an alt-right Youtuber who, despite being a transwoman herself, posts a lot of videos criticizing other trans people for not being the right kind of trans. She’s extended this criticism to other people with non-normative sexualities. On December 15, 2020, White posted a video titled “‘I Identify as a Dog’..Okay, Bro.” This was a ten-minute clip of her commenting and criticizing on a Snapchat video documentary about a transman who does puppyplay. White is using this as a vehicle to push the “I identify as a helicopter” anti-trans canard, making it sound like if we recognize gender diversity, we will have to accept all kinds of bizarre identities. This is despite the fact that the transman in the video never says he “identifies” as a dog, or thinks of himself as “really” a dog. White also insinuated that the couple in the video are also committing bestiality because they own real dogs. This might seem to be a tempest in a teapot, but White has over 900,000 subscribers on YouTube, and this particular video got over 200,000 views. Once again, kinksters have been used for shock value.
  • Kinky Youtubers Kat Blaque and Evie Lupine have posted videos countering Blaire White’s misrepresentations.
  • A short piece on the history of the iconic Muir cap or leatherman’s cap. I’m curious when and how this particular item of fetish fashion began to appear on female dominants.
  • The Elephant in the Hot Tub blog has its own take on the history of fetishes.
  • Another piece on how the kink scene is adapting to the pandemic.
  • A Psychology Today article says that kink education is necessary, especially for clinicians. It cited a 2012 study which found that 25 per cent of clinicians automatically pathologized kink.
  • Meanwhile, another study debunks the idea that kink is the result of childhood trauma.
  • The Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISEA) is another clumsy, moral-panic-based piece of legislation that would do more harm than good to sex workers and content creators.
  • The People’s Story Project has an essay by Bakang Akoonyatse on growing up black, queer and kinky in Botswana, which also talks about the sexual revolution in South Africa and Nigeria, instigated by performers and educators.
Dec 172020
Nov 222020
  • Like many other events, the CineKink BDSM film festival is going virtual this year, with streaming offerings December 2-6. According to the Pinklabel.tv FAQ, these streams can be viewed anywhere their website can be viewed.
  • Westworld magazine profiles Elle, proprietor of the Mile High Dungeon in Denver, Colorado, who is struggling to keep her venue and her pro domme business afloat under COVID. The quasi-legal status of businesses like hers makes it difficult to get relief loans and grants.
  • Future of Sex profiles the r/ToyControl sub-Reddit, in which users allow anonymous strangers around the world to control their sex toys remotely. “One of the appeals of remote connections was the ability to meet new people without shame, embarrassment, or the usual complications that social discourse and interactions sometimes bring with them.”
  • Bound (not to be confused with the Asylum’s film Bound) is a forthcoming French documentary film about Japanese rope bondage, particularly focused on women in the dominant role, instead of the usual male-dominant/female-submissive pairing.
  • CVLTNation has a complete scan of a 1973 underground comic called Tales from the Leather Nun, which includes work by Robert Crumb and other noted comics artists, combining sex and anti-Catholicism.
  • The BBC has a short documentary on a Swedish bodyworker who uses Japanese-style bondage and suspension for therapeutic purposes.
  • How and why fetishes are born and grow remains a mystery, but VICE covers the genesis of one in detail, known as “fedlegs”. The originator, for whatever reason, locked onto women with bare legs painted yellow, and retroactively fabricated as rationale a dystopian story about a mad scientist punishing immodest women by painting their legs as a mark of public shame. Perhaps by chance, this caught on with other people in the fertile medium of the Internet, and people are making fedleg fetish niche porn.
Oct 152020
  • My attempts to learn more about the history and tradition of Japanese sadomasochism has been hampered by the language barrier. The Kinbakunomicon and its accompanying podcast by Faviola Llervu are goldmines for English-speakers wishing to learn more, including English translations of Japanese articles going as far back as 1920. One of the many interesting elements was learning that even among Japanese practitioners, there is little agreement about the “right” way to do shibari/kinbaku. More reason to be suspicious of anyone claiming to know the “one true way” about anything. (Llervu also edits the Nawapedia wiki on Japanese BDSM.)
  • CvltNation has a piece on influential fetish artist and photographer John “Willie” Coutts and his model/muse/wife Holly Anna Faram.
  • While many BDSM and swinger events have had to shut down because of COVID-19, the Club Passion swingers event in Abbotsford, BC, has reopened. The operators say they are taking precautions by taking the temperatures of people entering, and requiring that people who meet outside of their six-person “bubble” wear masks.
  • TASHRA also talks about the many BDSM parties and social gatherings that have had to close down under the pandemic.
  • ExpensiveHoe.com has scanned a pictorial and an autobiography of early 80s bondage model Sarah Foster Tate.
  • The Boot Fetishist explores the extreme high heel shoe and boot culture of the pre-WWII era, publicized through magazines like London Life and centered on the products from National Shoe Stores and Regent Shoe Stores, both based in London’s Wardour Street.
Sep 192020
Aug 152020
  • Here’s a 2007 interview with Tim Woodward, founder of Skin Two magazine, in which he talks about Operation Spanner among other topics.
  • I’ve often commented on the use of eroticism within propaganda, and I found a prime example in the Honest Erotica page on Austrian artist Gottfried Sieben. After traveling through Eastern Europe, at the time dominated by the Austro-Hungarian empire and threatened by the Turkish empire, he self-published illustration portfolios showing fez-wearing Turkish soldiers capturing and raping shapely, nude white women.
  • The Loose sex history podcast has a great episode on brothel culture in the Storeyville district of New Orleans at the turn of the century. Inspired by the recent world’s fair, sex workers leaned heavily into performing the sexual stereotypes of nations of the world, and certain sexual kinks were coded into certain nations. E.g. “French” women provided oral, and the supposedly savage “Viennese” (i.e. German) women would eat raw meat or make a fake cow out of cloth and tear it to shreds before onlookers.
  • It looks like COVID-19 will be an issue for another year, at least, and that affects the kink culture like everything else. In Germany, a Berlin bondage club and erotic massage club, Quälgeist (“Tormenting Spirit”) won a court case to reopen. However, the court decided that both customers and employees must keep their faces covered. The state-sanctioned brothels, by comparison, must stay closed, as BDSM sex work is deemed safer than other forms of sex. (New York Daily News, Irish Times)
  • London After Dark was a 1954 British paperback written by Robert Fabian, who worked as a police constable and detective. His book included a chapter titled “The Problem of Perverts” which described a sex worker known as “Red Katy” who specialized in humiliating male clients. “They pay her hundreds of pounds per week, to the accompaniment of a stream of vituperation and abuse from her—and they like it!” Fabian also described the “queer” districts where men posted personals like “Female impersonator (amateur) wants instruction in escapology,” and claimed that sadistic men would invariably escalate to the murder of children.
  • Vice looks into the history of leather chaps as fashion and fetish. They began as a practical item to protect horse riders from heavy bushes, and were linked to the swaggering outlaw machismo of bikers in the 1950s, and therefore to gay men. This eventually led to Christina Aguilera’s leather chaps in her infamous 2002 “Dirrty” video.
Jul 182020
Jun 152020
  • Andrea Zanin has posted a list of books on kink/BDSM by black and POC authors.
  • The Kinkycast podcast episode 331 has interviews with three veteran elders of the gay kink/leather world, Guy Baldwin, Hardy Haberman, and Race Bannon, with personal leather histories reaching back as far as 1965.
  • American Sex Podcast interviews erotica publisher and author Cecilia Tan (who published my first short story in her S/M Futures anthology, way back in the day) who talks about alt.sex.bondage and the crossover of the nerd and kink communities in the early 90s.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on any sort of in-person sexual contact. Boing Boing says the New York Health Department has published advice on staying safe by shifting to non-contact forms of sex, including streaming chat parties, sexting and what kind of sound like glory holes. “‘Make it a little kinky,’ the memo states. ‘Be creative with sexual positions and physical barriers, like walls, that allow sexual contact while preventing close face to face contact.'”
  • Madison Young is launching a travel docuseries, Submission Possible “The Revry show explores ‘the queer sexual underground’ of international destinations, including an inside look at a locale’s kink, fetish, and BDSM culture.” It will launch on the LGBTQ+ streaming service Revry TV on June 19th.
May 172020
  • Tina Horn’s Why Are People Into That podcast has a two-part discussion of the erotics of fascism. Part 1, Part 2
  • The Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast has an episode on the original Hellraiser film and the short story it was based on, Clive Barker’s “The Hellbound Heart”. It includes a lot of discussion on the relationship of pleasure and pain.
  • The Risk podcast has Mollena Lee Williams-Hass telling her story about her childhood influences of eroticized slavery and her development as an African-American woman in the kink world.
  • DominaFiles.com profiles Belle Du Jour, arguably the foremost prodomme in NYC in the 1970s and 1980s. “Belle was introduced to B&D back in the late ’60s/early ’70s by a man she was seeing. She owned a cosmetology business at the time. Keeping that business running, she branched out into professional dominance and it wasn’t long before she was New York’s most successful SM entrepreneur.”
  • One of the oldest cliches of “damsel in distress” bondage is the woman tied to the railway tracks before an onrushing train. Atlas Obscura probes into this and says it was actually very rare in the silent film rare. The earliest known instance was “an 1867 Victorian stage melodrama called Under The Gaslight,” in which a man is tied to the train tracks and saved by the leading lady. The evidence suggests that this trope was far more used as parody than in earnest.
  • Flaunt has an interview with Rick Castro, a gay fetish and BDSM photographer from the 80s who also worked in mainstream fashion photography, where he brought in kink influences. “I would sneak it in, sneaking more each time until eventually I had Veronica Webb in full rubber – Versatile Fashions From Anaheim which did all the kink- from top to bottom.”
  • Kink, like everything else, changes with changing technologies and changing conditions. Some sex workers have adapted to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic by moving online. One non-binary pro dominant uses the Nintendo Switch cute-animal game Animal Cross: New Horizons to connect with their clients. “Winter advertises their services through Twitter, and in the game they force clients to water their flowers and pay them bells, the Animal Crossing currency.”
  • Astrid Ovalles, maker of the new lesbian BDSM drama Road of Bygones, writes in the Advocate of the poor depiction of kink in mainstream media. She completely dismisses Fifty Shades (“let us erase the Fifty Shades debacle from our tainted memories”) and asks for better representation. “Presently, there are few kinky shows that exist. Regrettably, they give in to representing kinksters as victims of abuse….”
  • Race Bannon writes in the Bay Area Reporter on the tearing down of the once-rigid divides in the kink/queer world. “It seems to me that as each day passes we live in a greyer sex and eros world, less confined by entrenched black and white thinking.”
Apr 152020