At face value the proliferation of BDSM and fetish-themed websites appears to be a boon for webmasters, but getting into the pain game requires a lot more than slapping down some rough content.
Webmasters looking to cash in on what seems to be an ever-increasing interest in BDSM sites may be in for a bit of a shock.
Although the market is humming with new sites, blogs and conferences popping up regularly – thanks to the ad nauseum popularity of the “Fifty Shades” phenom that shows no signs of ending anytime soon — it’s not enough to simply gather some bondage content and watch the fetish folks beat a path to the door.
The BDSM niche today requires some keen massaging. Sites like DDF Network’s HouseOfTaboo.com has added a glamour model angle, while Crygasm.com — that claims it approaches extreme topics in a safe way — drills down into a micro niche that operator Stewart explains at first blush might seem to be very extreme pain based content, but in fact it is porn for women aimed at showing the sexual catharsis many women feel when using the power of an orgasm to overcome feelings of self-doubt, stress or other negativity. “The result is a site that appeals to both hardcore BDSM extremists and very casual softcore porn curiosity seekers as well,” he said.
This kind of laser focus is essential in the burgeoning yet restrictive market segment that’s being embraced more and more with fans worn out by over-saturated vanilla and free Internet porn.
Even the big guns need to dance to the tune of change. Kink.com founder Peter Acworth told XBIZ that revenue from BDSM recorded content on the Internet is slowly decreasing for the fetish giant, a trend that started a few years ago despite the company’s efforts to revive sales and reduce costs. “The profit margins are not what they used to be,” Acworth said.
But Kink has a plan that involves “re-platforming” Kink.com to reinvigorate sales by including the ability to bundle content arbitrarily (via performer, via tag, etc.) so it will be possible to subscribe or “follow” a performer and receive all of his/her content. Kink will also be tagging all of its content with BDSM toys used, and will be entering the novelty market in a more serious way (i.e. fans will be able to buy items used in shoots), according to Acworth.
And although the knee-jerk reaction by those new to the genre would be to push the limits of content to new extremes in order to titillate new paying customers, Acworth said in fact his company may be “retiring” some of its most extreme lines in favor of appealing to a more mainstream audience.
Kink’s also investing time and effort in KinkLive.com, which he said is growing nicely and is expected to continue over the next few years.
Another Internet giant and genre pioneer, Wastleland.com’s Colin Rowntree agrees that the current marketplace for BDSM continues to be strong, but it’s "different" than it was just a few years ago.
“Due to a lot of ever-evolving restrictions by the credit card associations on what can and cannot be shown in an S&M film, a lot of the ‘extreme’ content producers found it very difficult to create realistic and compelling BDSM content and moved over into simply "rough sex" genres,” Rowntree explained. The change in some ways has actually decreased competition and has, “thankfully” taken BDSM film making back towards its roots of "safe, sane and consensual,” according to Rowntree.
But some companies are still pushing the envelope — perhaps to get the edge others don’t want to touch. And terms like "slave,' tortured," "humilated," "brutal" and more are often bandied about on a site to lure in customers. ...
When I checked my email that Monday afternoon and saw the message titled “Kardinal Kink—New Group Approval,” I froze and stared at my screen as if it were a bomb and that email was its timer.
“New Group Approval?”
No, that doesn’t mean anything by itself, I reasoned. It probably means “new group decision” or something. I was too scared to assume we had made it—that Kardinal Kink was now an official student group—and my staring match with this message quickly turned into an episode rivaling my showdown with Stanford’s admission email.
With that in mind, when I finally opened the email and saw the word “congratulations!” in bolded font, I practically started sobbing at my desk.
We did it.
Kardinal Kink’s journey to VSO status was a long one, and definitely a loud one in the last few months. For those involved in our community, kink was a thing we were continually thinking and rethinking to understand better the culture of consent, body-positivity and trust that we took part in—but for Kardinal Kink to become official, we had to get Stanford to understand us. And at first, that requirement towered over our heads.
Kardinal Kink began as a place for kinky Stanford students to meet each other in real life. It didn’t have a formal structure or strong advocacy goals—but it was a haven for those first few members. Kink hadn’t ever been an integral part of the Stanford community, and having a safe space to meet, chat, and talk about their lives without fear of judgment or repercussions was incredibly important for the first few members of the young group.
But why did we have to meet in secret? Why was this an underground group? Why couldn’t we have filed for VSO status in the very beginning?
The truth of the matter is that kink was (and still is) very much misunderstood. The sensationalized media representations of dominatrices, naked politicians, latex and leather—BDSM porn, essentially—are the most accessible representations of kink for most people, and this is troublesome because it leaves out the most important parts of what makes kink kink. People know the safewords but not the negotiations that set them up; people know the floggers and whips but not the people who they are used by and on; people know the ropes and collars but not the complicated interactions and communication that goes on in-scene around bondage and everything else.
That is, people see kink as actions and not as a community or a culture—and when your identity is reduced to just a handful of actions, it makes coming out even harder. What does coming out about kink even look like?
When your best friend tells you “I’m gay,” they’re telling you a lot more than who they want to have sex with. (Shoutout to queer asexual people!) Most of the time “gay” is just a specific way of talking about love, attraction, desire—and it has its own culture attached to it as well, whether or not people want to become involved with it.But when your best friend tells you they’re kinky, that culture and community don’t immediately come to mind.
“You like to hit people?” or “I don’t understand why you needed to tell me details of your personal life,” someone might say in disgust. But in the same way that being gay is about more than sex, kink is more than kinky acts.
Kardinal Kink’s mission statement defines kink as the following:
A community looking to build on the historical cultures of BDSM, Leather culture and sex-positivity towards a modern movement celebrating consent, sexual and sensual freedom, and the identities and communities centered on these ideas. We define kink as being broader than just specific acts or identities, focusing more on ways of understanding cultures of consensual intimacy unexplained by the prevailing narrative of “sex.”
Kink is about consent—about trust.
But that idea wasn’t too out there, especially not to Stanford students who only knew kink through media. Who knows what would happen if they met an actually kinky person,right?
There was a pretty big reason for Kardinal Kink members to stay anonymous –to not out themselves. Public opinions on kink are incredibly unaccepting, reflected in the fact that fetishism, cross-dressing and BDSM were only just taken out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013. Last year. On campus, there were hardly any resources for students with questions about BDSM, polyamory or so on, let alone a community of peers. Coming out as kinky on campus for many people meant and still means shooting their careers in the foot. ...
A jury has found an Indianapolis man accused of drugging and then raping his ex-wife while she's asleep guilty of rape and criminal deviate charges.
The verdict was reached at around 3 a.m. today after two days of trial and hours of deliberation. David Wise, 52, was charged in 2011 after the woman told police she found three sex videos of her in her ex-husband's cellphone. The woman, 36, said she has no memory of the sex, of consenting to it and of the videos being taken.
The Indianapolis Star is not identifying the woman because it typically does not identify people who are or may have been victims of sexual assault.
In a testimony Monday, the woman said there had been times during her marriage to Wise when she woke up feeling like her body had been "messed with." She also said she had woken up without any underwear on and without any memory of taking it off. She told detectives Wise had been drugging her since 2005 and she, at one point, woke up in the middle of the night with a pill dissolving in her mouth, according to court documents.
"We felt very confident that he was guilty of all counts," Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Courtney Curtis said. "We felt strongly about (the woman's) testimony."
Deliberation began shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday night and took nearly six hours, Curtis said.
She said the woman is pleased with the jury's decision.
"(She) has a lot of emotions. Obviously, she feels relieved," Curtis said. "She is sad because this was her husband and the father of her two children. But she feels vindicated that what she went through was worth it."
Since the case began three years ago, defense has questioned the authenticity of the videos.
"Is the video actually what the state says it is? Can you trust this video footage?" Wise's attorney, Indianapolis defense lawyer Elizabeth Milliken asked the jury during her opening statement Monday. "Is David Wise actually the perpetrator?" ...
Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of a New Hampshire man who prosecutors say raped and killed a 19-year-old college student lured to his apartment by his former girlfriend. Seven jurors have been chosen so far in the first-degree murder trial of Seth Mazzaglia, 31, of Dover, according to court officials. Authorities say he strangled University of New Hampshire sophomore Elizabeth ‘‘Lizzi’’ Marriott on Oct. 9, 2012 at the Dover apartment he shared with his girlfriend at the time, Kathryn McDonough. Prospective jurors were warned at the start of jury selection in Strafford County Superior Court last week that they are likely to hear graphic testimony about sex acts, including sadomasochism and bondage and discipline.
Accepting this assignment for NCSF has been a difficult time, but not for reasons you may assume. One of the members of our poly family has been ill and in and out of the hospitals locally, and time has been precious more so than normally.
I’ve known that I was poly before the word existed while I was going through puberty. During my dating years, I was at one point going “steady” with four different girls at four different high schools. So what does it mean to be poly in a vanilla world? If I were to bring it down to the most concise phrase I could, it would be “emotional juggling,” and if you think you desire it, you’d better be ready for it. Only those to whom it comes naturally seem to be able to do it consistently.
Our poly family right now is four and growing, with one under consideration and a number of others who may be asked if they want to be under consideration. The problem is whether they are ready for it and are poly by nature or have another agenda.
But let me go back to the topic of living in a vanilla world. At best, it is difficult. The national culture is not ready to accept polyamorous or polygamous relationships in the open. The result is that most alternate lifestylers are forced to lie in order to live the life they feel they need. Psychologically, that is not healthy. It also means that only the best liars are the ones that can survive without being outed.
I was a very good liar for many years, something I am not proud of. I was able to maintain vanilla relationships, while letting the needs I have play out. But it hurt others in the process. I have good relationships with my kids for the most part, but they were raised in such a manner that they knew who I was and why I had to live as I did. I have a close group of lifelong friends and most of them know about me, but some live very conservative lives and this is not something to wear on your sleeve and throw it in the faces of others.
A few years ago, I made the decision not to lie any more. For the most part, I’ve been able to hold true, but there are still times that cannot be helped. For instance, one of the members of our poly family was in the hospital and in order to get information about her condition and make good with the nursing staff and doctors, we needed to say we were part of her family, so she instantly became a sister-in-law to me. Sigh. As a result, we have now put an Advance Directive (Living Will) together and are working on more legal documents that long–term will allow us some legal rights. Again, it is difficult at best.
For me, there has been lots of conflict throughout my life for having to use personal skills and talents to be in the closet about swinging early on and polyamory in the later years when swinging was no longer providing satisfaction. I yearn to have multiple relationships and the variety it brings and I make a good partner, one who enables my partners and friends to be the best people they can be without being intimidating physically or emotionally. But for now, I am living a reasonable relaxed life, something I was never sure would happen.
Residents of a three-story Brooklyn building don’t worry about catching their lovers in bed with someone else — they expect it.
A Bushwick brownstone is being gutted and repurposed as a haven for the “sex-positive community,” according to Open Love NY, a group dedicated to the polyamory community, which encourages consensual romantic relationships with multiple partners.
The “Hacienda Villa” is a 15-bedroom apartment building only open to those that defy the “one-true-love philosophy.”
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all relationship style like monogamy, where you get one partner,” said Mischa Lin, who co-founded Open Love NY in 2009. “With polyamory, it’s all about how much you can handle.”
Each floor of the sex haven boasts multiple bedrooms ranging from $750 to $1,500, depending on size and if there is a private bathroom attached.
“It’s very important to us that anyone that considers living there is accepting of other people’s lifestyles,” said Leon Feingold, the realty agent of the Troutman Street building and co-founder of Open Love NY.
Feingold has already secured six tenants for the building, and they moved in this week.
As of now, all the renters are just friends — but that could change with the “anything goes” mentality of the community.
“It’s not like a reality show where everyone is hooking up,” Feingold said. “It’s just going to be home for most of the people.”
There are no rules in the polyamory community besides being respectful of others’ boundaries, no matter how crazy their fantasies are.
“The key to polyamory is compersion,” Feingold said. “It’s when you derive happiness from the happiness of those you love, even if they get that happiness from someone else.”
Kink.com is fighting back against proposed legislation that would require condoms in all adult film productions in California. The local BDSM company partnered with the Free Speech Coalition, and porn industry trade association, to launch a campaign against California Assembly Bill 1576.
The campaign, dubbed "Stop AB1576," calls on adult performers to speak up against the bill by contacting members of the California Assembly's Appropriations Committee, which is slated to vote on the bill in an as-yet unscheduled meeting.
"Stop AB1576" also asks performers and other opponents of the bill to sign a Change.org petition.
The effort to block the bill comes after an increased crackdown on Kink and other adult film companies in the Bay Area for their refusal to use condoms in all their productions. Kink was fined $78,710 by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration in February and is currently appealing the fines. Two other local companies, Treasure Island Media and Factory Videos, were respectively fined $8,670 and $44,940 by Cal-OSHA. The current industry standard is to allow adult performers the option to use condoms, but to not require their use.
Kink CEO Peter Acworth has stated that he will move his business from S.F. if the fines against his company are upheld and has filed paperwork with the city's planning department to convert Kink's studios at the Armory into office space.
In an open letter to AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, who has funded AB 1576, Acworth writes, "I am reaching out to you and AHF in the hopes of a day where we may sit across the table from one another and agree on common goals and strategy on protecting performers, as opposed to continuing this battle."
Acworth also recently hosted a fundraiser for CA Assembly candidate David Campos, although Campos told SF Weekly he was unaware of the condom bill and would support condom use.
"This is a producer-opposed bill, a performer-opposed bill, a fan-opposed bill," Kink spokesperson Mike Stabile says. "This is the third time [AHF] has tried to push this bill. I think it's a political winner for them, but I think it does actually make things less safe. If AHF is interested in protecting performers, they need to work with performers."
We have reached out to AHF for comment and will update when we hear back.
Pagan leader Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart reportedly died on May 13 surrounded by friends and family, according to updates on her Facebook page and other social media sites.
A priestess of the pagan Church of All Worlds, Morning Glory is considered by many to be a backbone of the pagan and Wiccan communities in the U.S.
Born Diana Moore in Long Beach, California on May 27, 1948, Morning Glory found her way to witchcraft and paganism as a late teen and initiated herself in a three-week vigil in Big Sur. It wasn't until 1974, after meeting her husband and life parter Oberon Zell, that she received formal priestess training and became a leader in Zell's Church of All Worlds (incorporated as a church in 1968.)
In Feburary Morning Glory and Oberon published a book on their lives with co-author John C. Sulak entitled The Wizard and the Witch: Seven Decades of Counterculture, Magick & Paganism.
In addition to speaking and writing on religion, witchcraft and mythology, Morning Glory is often attributed with popularizing the term "polyamory" in a 1990 article entitled, "A Bouquet of Lovers: Strategies for Responsible Open Relationships." She and Oberon had an open marriage throughout the years and in her article, Zell stated:
I feel that this whole polyamorous lifestyle is the avante garde of the 21st Century. Expanded families will become a pattern with wider acceptance as the monogamous nuclear family system breaks apart under the impact of serial divorces. In many ways, polyamorous extended relationships mimic the old multi-generational families before the Industrial Revolution, but they are better because the ties are voluntary and are, by necessity, rooted in honesty, fairness, friendship and mutual interests. Eros is, after all, the primary force that binds the universe together; so we must be creative in the ways we use that force to evolve new and appropriate ways to solve our problems and to make each other and ourselves happy.
The magic words are still, after all: Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. ...