IVAN IN THE DARKROOM: Spanner and the Camera

IVAN IN THE DARKROOM: Spanner and the Camera

from Recon News

14 January 2019

Ivan, also known as member candiflip, is an academic historian of sexuality. In an ongoing series, he's going to share some of his favourite fetish encounters (in a whole lot of detail), as well occasionally fill us in on the history of kink:

You tell me that you want to expose me to the world – that it is not enough to use me and debase me and push me to my limits for you own eyes, or those of the room. You want me captured forever in these feelings of ecstasy. You want to stop time. You want to see how I really am when you do these things to me. You don't want to look only where your cane lands, or your punches bruise – you want to sit back and regard me being brutalised. You want to use me for your entertainment. You want to film me while we fuck, so you can show me how I appear; so you can observe me with an objective distance that lets you process the way the pain moves through my body. So you can show your film to other people you want to fuck. You tell me afterwards how hot you find me, how you wanked watching what you did to me, reliving it. You want to know me more, to capture me in suspended animation, to see how I perform for you, over and over, dancing with every stroke of the cane. What can we learn about me by filming me being fucked up?

We all learn to play by watching – hunched over a computer, watching porn with cock in hand; looking at a scene unfolding at a party; sitting back in a threesome to watch him pound into me. I learn to see myself in a new light when you film me. You bring my attention to things I did not know about myself. You turn me into a creature that I am aroused by. You show me the pleasure I feel while you fill my body with pain. These narcissistic documents of pleasure help me to understand myself, to appreciate the experiences that you give me. It is an important part of how I grow, how we grow. Pornography is a real part of life.

* * *

You take my wrists, and tie my arms together, straight. You bend me over, and hoist my arms up, and tie me to a hook hanging from the ceiling. My legs are restrained open, spread with a pole that connects to my ankles. I am ready for you – to hit, to hurt, to fuck, to use how you wish. I am exposed. I have to concentrate to keep my balance. This amuses you – this is what you are filming, your camera ready to capture my discomfort, to enjoy it later when you don't have to care. You tell me, constantly, how I appear to you. How I will appear to whomever you show. This excites me. I want you to make me immortal.

You take a heavy flogger and start to hit me. I love the weight. I love the thud on my skin, waking me up, making me dance. You beat me wherever you like – on my back, on my legs, between them so my balls are crushed but my cock hard, and my knees double but I cannot fall. You laugh at me. You like the lack of dignity that I have to deal with. This is why you spit in my face. This is why you push my face into your arse, holding the back of my neck and using my tongue. This is where I become flesh for you to play with. This is what you will show me when you want me to see how you use me, when I am not coping with the pain, but when I can really watch. All I am doing is trying to keep up with what you want, giving you everything you wish to take. Offering you my body again and again to play with, to explore me.

When you cane me, I push my arse back to receive your blows, opening up my ribs to you to let you hit me anywhere. I want this so much. I want you to rip into my flesh and mark me with dark purple welts that are just below the brink of bleeding – so tender, it is like my skin would burst at the most delicate touch. I feel like my whole body is cumming. I always ask for 100; I always wish I had asked for 200. I always want you to take me too far, until we find exactly how far I could go. There must be a point where you can see me breaking. Today, maybe, I will see this point too when you put me back together and show me what I was. That is what I tell myself as you take up your whip and thrash your way into me, kissing me with red welts that wrap around my body, marking me as yours.

I know that you are recording all of this, holding your camera with one hand while you whip me with the other – your lens replacing your cock. I wonder what you want to fuck-record with your Dogma-styled cinematography of my pleasure and my pain and my body being changed. You have marked me all over already – I have tattoos from you, and scars from previous games run over my body like your long, continual touch, never able to let me go. Finally, I can see how these life-lines move over me as I writhe under your whip, when we hold each other and replay the scene again and again. I can start to see what you see and tell me you find beautiful. These games that we play ground me into you. This is why I celebrate it.

* * *

Note: the most significant legal investigation into BDSM practices was the Spanner Trial of 1990. In 1987, a TV repair man from the North of England handed a video he had retrieved from a broken player to the police. The video was of consensual gay BDSM scenes. It portrayed things like nails being put through existing Prince Albert piercing holes and hammered to the floor, caning, spanking, bondage, and other regular extreme BDSM practices*. The police launched an intensive investigation into what they believed were sadistic murder rituals, rather than understanding what was acceptable practice to one part of the community – and at the trials that followed BDSM was put under intense scrutiny, ultimately in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which upheld the Court of Appeal judgement that the men could not consent to these things happening to them, so the tops were charged and handed prison sentences for committing grievous bodily harm. It was clear that the law took a dim view of the personal freedom to experience whatever they wanted with their bodies, and limitations to what was acceptable were enunciated – no breaking the skin, no fisting too deeply, no pissing. They wanted us to be nice gays, even in private. They did not want us recording or celebrating our desires.

This harsh sentencing also involved significant discussion about the risks of BDSM practices for blood-borne infections – thinly disguised homophobia and serophobia from the bench. This case underlines the fact that we do not have absolute control over our own bodies – we cannot do whatever we like with our bodies after death, we cannot use prohibited substances, certain body modification practices are banned, we cannot circulate images or texts of certain sexual practices (pissing, deep fisting, BDSM where the skin is broken, so cutting and other ritualised practices that are acceptable within the community are prohibited). These men could not give consent to other people to treat them exactly how they had negotiated. The fact that they had safe words and had agreed in advance what would happen was of no interest to the law, which considered the men's judgment compromised because of impairment from drugs and alcohol, thus problematizing the concept of consent further. They were caught because they chose to record their play on video, and some of the judges feared that new people might learn about queer BDSM through such erotica. Reading about the trial gave an 18yo me an erotic shock that Recon has helped me realise.

Pornography can be a transgressive genre – when done at its political best, it is right up against the boundary of what is acceptable, edging the law, trying to push it to accept that what we do is ethical and valuable to us. I wanted to write about filming because I think the production of visual pornography is also an important part of community building. Leather men look the way they do because of the way it was first represented in visual porn, such as Tom of Finland. Plus there is something hot about being filmed doing extreme shit – re-watching it allows you to see so many extra details about yourself. Beware, though, that any videos may be used as evidence against you. "Wherever there is power, there is resistance."

* I first learnt about BDSM and sexual body modifications through reading a sensationalized account of the Spanner Trial in the Jevovah's Witness magazine, The Watchtower that I found in the recycling bin when I was 18. It was a formative moment in my life.