Jacques Biederer, Vintage Kink

Below are a few choice snaps by photographer Jacques Biederer, 1887-1942. As well as conventional artistic nudes, his revolutionary BDSM portraits paved the way for fetish photographers, filmmakers and artists of the 20th Century. For more photos and information at Dangerous Minds, click here.

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Patients

Below is part of a long and interesting article from Quartz, which is well worth a read - “50 SHADES OF CARE, Why doctors need to pay more attention to their kinky patients,” by Christy Duan, Medical student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

‘…I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between a consensual, negotiated kink relationship and abuse. It’s abuse if there is no explicit consent, which includes situations where someone is afraid to impose limits because of potential consequences.

“If you’ve had no reason to familiarize yourself with kink…it can be very easy for healthcare providers to assume that they know what’s going on with a patient when they may have no idea,” Dr. Keely Kolmes, a San Francisco-based psychologist in private practice who works with kink-oriented clients, told Quartz. “Clinicians can do a great deal of harm if they’re misinformed.”

As mandatory reporters, healthcare providers are responsible for reporting injuries caused by specific weapons, such as guns and knives. They must also report suspected abuse of vulnerable patients, which can include children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. However, in the US laws differ from state to state, and can be difficult to interpret.

In my training, I learned that healthcare providers are not required to report suspected abuse between adults in most states. But many “doctors have no idea what the law is. They just know that they’re supposed to report violence,” Waldura said. “We have very little training in it. So what happens is a fear response.”

Despite conferring with lawyers and risk management about this issue, Waldura said that no one has a definitive answer.

Ham Mason, a queer submissive activist and person of color who has been practicing kink for 20 years, said that there also needs to be more awareness of diversity in the community.

“When you think about the face of BDSM, it’s usually either a gay man or straight people and usually the face is white,” she told Quartz. Because of this stereotype, healthcare providers may assume that people of color aren’t kinksters and think that disclosures of kink activity may be a “cover story” for abuse, Mason said. “It could be a matter of having your children taken away or not.”

Her concerns are not unfounded. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Incident Reporting and Response said it received 178 requests for legal assistance from kink-oriented clients in 2014. These requests involved 73 criminal, 33 child custody, and 15 discrimination issues.

In addition to becoming more kink aware, providers should “assume the potential for abuse exists in all patients” regardless of their social identity or sexual behavior, and screen appropriately, said Lewis.

Kolmes has worked with submissive/bottom clients who have been in abusive kinky relationships and struggle with whether it was the play or partner that was bad for them. Dominant/top clients also have concerns about crossing boundaries and being a good partner, Kolmes said. Despite these concerns, she doesn’t recommend avoiding kink altogether.

“We see a lot of clients who have been abused or sexually assaulted in the past. We don’t tell them to avoid love and romance and sexual relationships. We work with them on actually figuring out what their boundaries are, helping them stay present and not dissociate, and to learn how to have healthy, loving relationships,” Kolmes said. “Telling someone to avoid kink would be like telling a non-kinky person to avoid love and sex…’

Full article here.

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Erotic World Book Day

Tomorrow is Erotic World Book Day, and some rather exciting things will be happening. Here’s what Cliterati.co.uk has to say:

“…World Book Day has long celebrated the way in which books can educate, entertain and open up new worlds to explore. That got us thinking: erotica can also educate and entertain. Erotic readers and writers are likely to support sex ed. Sex ed is desperately needed and often still woefully inadequate. So why not use March 5 as a chance to raise money for sexual health and well-being organisation, Brook, while celebrating and promoting the diversity of erotica with a fund-raising erotic ebook? Well, it seemed obvious to us…

While EL James has certainly propelled erotica into the mainstream, there are a lot more than 50 Shades of erotic writing out there to enjoy. We will be showcasing the astounding range of desires that are catered for through erotica. From men in love to women in charge, first time fetish to loving passion, myriad themes are explored – and erotica can be so much more than a one handed read. Erotic literature didn’t begin and end with Anais Nin and the Marquis de Sade – and over 200 erotic writers who have joined us to celebrate erotica will prove it…”

Find the Facebook event for the party you can attend from home here, read a Go Deeper interview about the event with Cliterati’s Emily Dubberly here, and donate to Brook here.

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‘Fifty Shades': A W**k Fantasy That Got a Bit Out of Hand

Here’s an article I’ve written about the dreaded “50 Shades”, cross-published at Huffington Post under my – ahem – other name:

‘Fifty Shades': A W**k Fantasy That Got a Bit Out of Hand

 

Watching this film as a professional dominatrix, I was highly aware of the criticisms raised. Many people have found both the book and film of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey problematic. At the entrance to a bleak Croydon retail complex, I joined the line of cars as couples queued for Ikea and Sunday afternoon screenings, and braced myself.

BDSM is not abuse. That’s a given, and so a person might expect me to defend Fifty Shades against all allegations, but that isn’t quite the case. There is certainly abuse depicted, but not in the way many believe. Columnists, bloggers and internet commentators have been making the distinction between physical and emotional abuse this week and covered it thoroughly, yet it led me to question the concept of how we police our own fantasies.

Natalie Collins, who leads the “Fifty Shades is Domestic Abuse” campaign, made various accusations against those involved in the film. When told of this on BBC Newsbeat, its star Jamie Dornan swayed a little, made a strange face, then answered thus:

“There’s consent there. Every single time, before there’s a red room scene or anything – I mean, the first time he shows her, he says ‘I will remind you that you can leave at any time and the helicopter is waiting to take you whenever you want to go…’ there’s safewords in place to stop it at whatever time it goes over a certain level so, um, I don’t really understand what she means to be honest.”

As many have, he missed the point entirely. Everything but the sex was uncomfortable. The kink, despite being disappointingly tame, was consensual throughout. In every intimate encounter, Mr Grey sought verbal agreement. From the binding of wrists to the sensual stroking and anticlimactic, foreplay-free, penis-in-vagina sex that always followed, the female protagonist vocalised permission.

What Anastasia Steele didn’t consent to, however, was every other kind of invasion: him selling her car and replacing it with a new one without even asking; stalking her via GPS from the moment they met, long before there was any romantic connection; bombarding her with expensive gifts that she repeatedly refused in order to flaunt his financial dominance; isolating her from friends and family under the guise of unwarranted jealousy and a legally dubious “non-disclosure agreement” that she didn’t read before signing; regulating her clothing, diet, alcohol intake and birth control methods; jizzing his neoliberal altruism all over her University graduation day to make it all about him instead and, in a similar vein, turning up uninvited whenever an occasion didn’t involve him as its central focus.

“I’m incapable of leaving you alone,” said Christian Grey. “What are you doing to me?”

There was a “contract” she never signed, despite his constant pressure. If a dominatrix in the raucous cinema audience is heckling that the sub needs legal counsel, it isn’t exactly a consensual arrangement.

To give E.L. James a little slack though, it was never meant to be an accurate portrayal of a functioning BDSM relationship. Fifty Shades began as a Twilight fanfic wank fantasy, then became popular very quickly and everything got a bit out of hand. And as a fantasy, it works. Much as many people can fantasise about rape and other such horrors and be aware of the vast gulf between that and its reality, Fifty Shades is not representative of BDSM, nor was it ever really intended to be.

It’s the fantasy aspect that made the book popular with women who have never read much good erotica. In masturbatory terms, we see a handsome billionaire and brooding pianist who showers a woman with expensive gifts and exciting sex (that doesn’t seem to involve her doing anything to him, but be a passive and responsive receptor of the sensations he provides). Grey is emotionally complicated, detached enough to be desirable, yet obsessed enough to keep her feeling fully desired.

“I want you unashamed of your nakedness,” he says flatteringly.

Yet outside of sexual fantasy, Mr Grey would simply be a privileged man-baby with mother issues and no sense of humour. The tired and long-debunked trope of the person whose kinks stem from childhood trauma is played out to its ultimate conclusion. The film then ends abruptly with Anastasia Steele getting dressed and sodding off in a lift – especially jarring for anyone who doesn’t realise it’s the first of a trilogy.

Of course, one’s sexual fantasies should not go unexamined. We all have dark inner-frissons that contradict our real-life socio-political selves, yet most of us are perfectly aware that such things would be deeply unpleasant or harmful outside of fantasy, fiction and consenting adult role-play. The book was never intended to be this big, or to have its story’s implications this thoroughly picked over. It’s a masturbatory aid for some, but little more.

Many people and organisations have highlighted the bondage, spanking and other such shenanigans as examples of the glamorisation of domestic abuse, but actually the kink scenes are the only tender, respectful, consensually-aware moments depicted. If you take the entire story as a sexual fantasy, it helps to pretend that Ana and Christian are an adventurous couple acting out a floral-print virgin vs corporate douchebag role-play scene throughout.

Yes, the film is full of abuse, of course, yet the BDSM isn’t it. For some, both the kink scenes and the gross power imbalance between the characters are the fantasy. Yet fantasy is all Fifty Shades of Grey is, or ever was.

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