We’ve been keeping you up to date with Vikram Bhatt’s new online series Maaya which allegedly features a BDSM narrative. The first few episodes are out and the reviews are already sounding less than favorable. This article (though poorly written) highlights some of the series’ short comings. Looks like we’ll have to take a look and weigh in ourselves very soon!
In a surprising article form the Santa Monica Observer, author Kat Thomas weighs in on some of the best adult toys from the AVN Expo! We were delighted to see our friend Danny from Leather by Danny on the head photo! We were sad to miss the event this year, but this article makes sure to fill us in on any tidbits.
Several news outlets reported on this story; Fetlife is under scrutiny for deleting many of their “questionable” or taboo fetishes and groups in order to satisfy some of their merchant providers. Apparently they were unable to process credit card payments due to one of their merchants questioning the ethical and moral implication of some of these fetishes. What do you all think? Should Fetlife have held strong or are they just being smart business people?
The Guardian has this great read on the recent news that Kink.com will be vacating their Armory space to make room for a performance venue. Many past Kink.com actors and actresses are devastated about this news saying it will change the landscape of San Francisco for good.
With the news this week it seems we’ve lost a little bit of footing in progressing kink and BDSM acceptance. We do however have champions in the lifestyle such as Ernest Greene and his wife Nina Hartley featured in an interview this issue. We also have you, our readers who are a constant support and proof that the community at large is always trying to learn more and educate themselves! Thanks for the support!
It is troubling to know about the Digital Economy Bill in the UK and its implications in regards to the rights of human expression- most of the acts targeted are female which suggests to me there is a one sided perspective, mainly from those who do not understand bdsm and its idiosyncrasies.
This strikes me as being a heavy handed measure which fails to address the underlying problem of child safety. I could go one step further and postulate that child safety is being used as a pretext to remove the non-conventional. Or maybe there is a degree of gynophobia?
“Recent months have seen a concerted attack on the global kink community…Trump’s choice for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, wants to revive the defunct Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and attack adult pornographers with Orwellian verve and McCarthy-era vigor. It seems that FetLife has been caught up in a global anti-kink morality panic.”
This raises questions. What would count as ‘obscene’ in this measure? Literature? Art? Perhaps this would be set according to personal squeamishness of the person setting the rules. One study of interest shows that a person’s sensitivity to disgust can be directly correlated to their political inclination with the more conservative people being the most sensitive. An excerpt is below:
“For the study, Smith, UNL political scientist John Hibbing and their colleagues selected 50 individuals from a random sample in order to have an equal number of people who were politically right- and left-leaning, as well as those who avoided politics altogether. Participants had an average age of 41, split fairly evenly between males and females, and had an average annual income between $40,000 and $60,000.
As the participants looked at a series of 38 images that ranged from pleasant to unpleasant, their skin conductance was measured, which is a gauge of the level of activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that activates the automatic “fight or flight” response in surprising situations.
Five of the images had been rated as “disgusting” by an independent group, and included: a man in the process of eating a mouthful of writhing worms; a horribly emaciated but alive body; human excrement floating in a toilet; a bloody wound; and an open sore with maggots in it. [Read: The 10 Most Diabolical and Disgusting Parasites]
The participants also answered questions to gauge their political views. The results showed, as predicted, that those who indicated conservative political views responded to the icky pictures with much more intense disgust than did liberals.”
In terms of what I consider obscene, naturally any non-consensual act, erotophonophilia (sexual satisfaction attained by the death of a human being) or anything to do with animals or children should indeed be considered obscene as should anything else in which another is harmed.
But to set arbitrary parameters on consensual acts not on the basis of any health risks but solely on the basis of personal dislike/abhorrence does seem slightly unfair.
In regards to pornography, more should be done in regards to encourage sites to impose verification checks on their viewers. In addition, there should be educational measures in place to advise adults (parents, teachers) of online safety in this regard as well as education to children in order to make them aware of the risks.
Also, there should be protections in place to ensure that only willing participants participate in any actions in this regard.
The worst thing is when someone states that they want to respect human sexual autonomy in this regard, the immortal straw man is used: would you rather the porn industry be completely unregulated?
To answer that question, I would simply say that this logic can be applied to any other medium of human expression. If there is actual harm (not consensual sadomasochism) being committed to one or more parties then there are some questions to be asked; on the other hand, if both parties have agreed to whatever they plan to do.
Or, worse of all, the complainant could be labelled as a ‘degenerate’ by one of those tedious Daily Mail reader types. Of interest to note that degenerate derives from generis, which loosely translates into ‘of the ancestors’. Who is to say that the sexual fantasies and proclivities of our ancestors were any different to our own?
On a side note I would recommend John DuPret’s Dark Sex and his other book Sirens, both of which are good examples of early 20th Century fetish photography.
Likewise, I could go on to say that flagellation was popular in Victorian erotica with something like 50% of the erotica of that time consisting of flagellation and there were a lot of flagellation brothels (1,2) (most notable one was owned by the 19th Century dominatrix Theresa Berkley (3)) . Also, there were a few gay sex workers called “park whores”- people who you could pick up in the night and have sex with openly in a park (2).
Perhaps it is the case that we are simply more open in terms of expressing them.
I think Fetlife did what it had to do for the long term good.
The problem is the underlying issue of the bank’s ability to dictate how private individuals run their lives and business. I’ve boycotted Paypal for years because of their aversion to “adult” transactions.
Something needs to be done to take away the power these institutions have to dictate consensual business
Ernest Greene says
I am no great fan of FetLife, which I consider a cess-pit of bullying and bigotry. Nevertheless, it ill-behooves any of us to embrace censorship by bank. There is no constitutional protection against private companies engaging in censorship and that means what happened to FetLife could happen to any of us for any reason. There is no appeal from it either. Under Bush this was common practice and a number of small, specialized and often very nice BDSM sites were put out of business, including one operated by a woman friend of ours who had a total of 67 members! And silencing, like cancer, spreads wherever it can. Today FetLife, tomorrow anything our new dictatorship cares to pressure banks about. Whatever you think of FetLife, this is bad news for all of us. I have often criticized FetLife management for encouraging bullying and operating a game preserve for sexual predators but these are problems they could have addressed themselves and should have. What gets posted should not be the business of either government or the banking industry, neither of which could be considered sex-positive or supportive of free expression.
Kelli Provocateur says
As a adult performer for Kink at the Armory so many wonderful memories and my last shoot next month will be devastating..
It really is the end of an era *tear*