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.
  • 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
Mar 162020
Feb 172020
  • Kinkstarter discusses the 1997 kinky-romance-comedy film Preaching to the Perverted.
  • The Columbia Chronicle profiles Chicago’s Leather Archive & Museum.
  • The BBC covers the diary of a Yorkshire farmer in 1810, who discussed a famous case of a naval surgeon who engaged in homosexual affairs. The diarist, Matthew Tomlinson, argued that homosexuality could be an inborn character trait, and should not be punished. “…it must then be considered as natural, otherwise as a defect in nature – and if natural, or a defect in nature; it seems cruel to punish that defect with death”. This throws off the usual view that homosexuality wasn’t conceived of as a fixed psychological trait (i.e. “born this way”) until later in the 19th century, with the writings of Krafft-Ebing.
  • Future of Sex reviews Hard Times in Hornstown, “a free text-based sandbox fetish porn game”, which puts the player into a variety of sexual encounters, included fetishes and kinks.
  • In the UK, the activist group We Can’t Consent to This has documented an alarming increase in the “rough sex” defense in homicide cases. “We Can’t Consent to This has documented 59 cases of the “rough sex” defense. Among those instances, there are many cases of horrific bodily injury that rationally preclude the possibility of consensual sex: a fractured spine, skull, or ribs. Notably absent in these cases: panicked calls to 911 in hopes of resuscitation.” The article goes on to consider the rise of choking and “rough sex” in mainstream sex, while still being considered edgeplay in the BDSM community.
  • Pride Source discusses how anti-kink prejudice in wider society may keep kinky people from seeking help from legal and medical institutions.
  • Hypebeast explores how leather chest harnesses, once only seen in gay male leather clubs, have spread to streetwear. (I’ve seen them worn by straight men in BDSM/fetish venues too.) Acceptance or commodification?
  • In The Washington Examiner, Brad Polumbo wrote an editorial describing how “normal” his life and the lives of other LGBTQ people were, then complained about how “D.C.’s degenerate gay community was busy celebrating “leather weekend” — giving us all a bad name and annihilating what progress we’ve made.” The writer was at pains to separate his idea of homosexuality from any deviance. “The bigger problem, though, is the way these people conflate their sexual deviancy with homosexuality. There is, in reality, nothing about “leather,” “kink,” or “fetishes” that is at all related to homosexuality. I would argue that these people are no different from heterosexuals with similar perversions, so why the exhibitionism?” This editorial sparked opposition on Twitter, and an editorial in The Advocate said “…my husband and I didn’t slam those who opted against wearing latex suits with detachable butt plugs as being any less a part of the LGBTQ community.”
Jan 162020
Dec 172019
  • Is BDSM as a culture losing its trangressive edge? When Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP is selling a $1,350 bondage set, just in time for Christmas, one has to wonder. (CNN, Daily Beast)
  • Fashion magazine has a short overview of back-and-forth between the BDSM fringe and the mainstream of fashion and culture.
  • The Sexing History podcast has an extended interview with Marabel Morgan, author of The Total Woman in 1973, which might have influenced some ideas on maledom-femsub relationships.
  • Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud Podcast has an interview with Pup Amp, host of the Watts the Safeword Youtube channel. He talks about trying to do sex positive education on Youtube while struggling with the platform’s arbitrary and opaque system for regulating sexual content.
  • Likewise, the Tom of Finland Foundation has been struggling Instagram and Facebook for posting about erotic art, says LA Weekly.
  • There’s always a sadomasochistic subtext to the original James Bond novels, often attributed to young Ian Fleming’s experiences in the flagellant culture of Eton. This is further supported by a collection of intimate letters between Ian Fleming and his wife Ann, says the Irish Times. “‘I long for you even if you whip me because I love being hurt by you and kissed afterwards,’ Ann once wrote to Ian.” (We should be careful about reading such statements too literally.)
  • Vox has a roundtable review of the controversial Slave Play, a stage drama that references raceplay and BDSM in the context of race and history.
  • Honi Soit asks some difficult questions about sex positivity and edgeplay. “…sex acts that involve scenarios in which women are degraded and abused are widely free from criticism within the framework of sex-positivity; we would be quick to condemn people who expressed bigoted views, but yet we give bigotry accolades when it is eroticised.”
Nov 152019
Sep 292019
Aug 192019
  • Vice has a photo essay on the latex dominatrixes and fetishists of Russia.
  • The deceased alleged child molester Jeffrey Epstein purchased multiple books on BDSM slavery via Amazon, including SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude by Guy Baldwin, SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman, and Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners by Christina Abernathy. (Rolling Stone, The Cut) Once again, we kinksters have to explain that just because abusers claim some link to consensual BDSM, it doesn’t indict BDSM as a whole.
  • A female dominant describes how she sees herself reflected in porn and mainstream media, and it’s not flattering. “What I gleaned from this and pornography is that femdomming was a very specific thing based on coercion, humiliation, and exploitation.” Medium
  • Slate has an article on the Chinese bondage community, and its struggles in a deeply conservative and heavily surveilled state. “BDSM and bondage are not illegal per se, but China’s laws are vague, and wording like ‘public promiscuity’ in Section 301 of the criminal code can be interpreted in many ways.”
  • Andrea Zanin, aka SexGeek, wrote an essay on a kind of internalized respectability politics among kinksters, with scene players being suspicious towards lifestylers. “…over the decades of kink’s further mainstreaming, what’s happened is that kink hobbyists have drastically multiplied, and perhaps because of those numbers, many of them now see themselves as safer, saner and more consensual than full-timers because of what they perceive as built-in healthy limits on what they do.”
  • Cools magazine has an interview with model Kimberly Mae that covers how latex fetishism has moved from Fetlife to Instagram. “Around five years ago an online migration in the fetish community began. Due to data breaches and other reasons, many visual fetishists (think rubber, leather, shibari, etc.) moved away from the Fetlife platform and on to Instagram. I think because we have so much more visibility on Instagram, particularly the latex style is becoming more and more mainstream.”