Ogle Therapy

CircleI’ve been thinking a lot about this whole “how to maintain your sexual self-esteem when you’re a short, chubby, middle-aged woman” thing that I was talking about in The Aging Slut. It’s such a complicated circle — thinking that you’re hot and being confident in your hotness makes you hotter, thinking that you’re dumpy and being insecure about your looks makes you dumpier… but then how do you break out of the dumpiness/ insecurity circle and break into the confidence/ heat one?

I was re-reading what I wrote in Woman Eats Brownies, Gets Laid:

Jennifer_hudson… what I wind up doing is seeking sexual affirmation, not by looking in the mirror, but by looking at other women who look like me. When I catch myself drooling over some hot babe with a nice meaty body that I’d really like to get my hands on, I remind myself that other people — especially other women — probably feel the same way about me.

Camryn_manheimAnd so lately I’ve been doing something I’m calling Ogle Therapy. When I see an attractive woman who looks something like me — forties, chunky, strong muscles, big tits and ass — I make a point of taking a moment to look at her. And I mean really look at her. I try not to be obvious and obnoxious about it, but I take a moment to enjoy the view, to luxuriate in her hotness and really take it in… and to remind myself that if I can look at this woman in this way, then chances are at least some other people are looking at me the same way.

I realize this isn’t much help to the heterosexually-inclined. But I had an opposite-sex version of this experience the other day — and it gave me a whole new perspective on this question.

Weight_benchI was at the gym, getting ready to use the bench press (my favorite weight set — it’s so fucking hot). Both benches were being used, so I waited… and while I waited, I watched the guys who were benching.

Rock_hudsonOne was a very short, skinny, wiry guy in a Picasso T-shirt, in I’m guessing his late thirties or early forties, benching about 85 pounds. The other was a tallish, youngish (early 20s), well-muscled guy in a college sports team tank top, conventionally handsome in a frat-boy/ Tom Cruise/ Rock Hudson sort of way, benching about 150 or 175.

PicassoAnd if a fairy godmother had appeared to me at that moment and said, “You can have sex with either of these two men — pick one,” I would have picked the short, skinny, Picasso guy in a heartbeat.

He just looked… I don’t know. Interesting. Smart. A character, a guy with a mind of his own. Like someone I could relax and have a conversation with. Like someone with potentially interesting ideas about sex. The other guy looked… bland. Not bad or anything, but just kind of boring.

Beauty_mythBut it occurred to me: It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that the short, scrawny guy was insecure about his looks. Every bit as insecure as I can be. The beauty myth doesn’t just hit women, after all. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he was comparing himself unfavorably to the big, beefy guys at the gym, just like I compare myself to the slender young women.

And yet here I was, thinking he was the hottest thing in the weight room.

And I realized: If I’m hot for the wiry little slip of a guy in the Picasso T-shirt, chances are someone at that gym has looked at the tough, chubby, forty-something dyke with the scary Jabberwock tattoo and thought, “Yeah, I’d do her.”

And for the rest of the evening, I was back on the confident/hot circle.

So at least sometimes, it works. What works for y’all?

Sex Crazed Sex Goddesses of Sex: Women Who Like Sex, and the Men Who Don’t Appreciate Them

Id_rather_eat_chocolateDan Savage (of the Savage Love sex advice column) did this very clever thing recently. He ran a column pretending to agree with the proposition that women across the board simply aren’t as interested in sex as men… and then waited for the letters to pour in, from legions of outraged women with high libidos insisting that they, you know, existed. (I almost wrote him one myself.)

But what struck me about these letters wasn’t so much the raw fact of them. It wasn’t that plenty of women do have high libidos, or that the problem of differing libidos in relationships cuts across gender lines. Like, duh.

Women_who_love_sexWhat really struck me about these letters was how many of these horny women got insulted and jeered at by their male partners for being horny. Women who love sex, and who’ve had male partners who didn’t want sex as often as they did, wrote to Dan saying they’d been called nympho, whore, a dog in heat.

Real_men_dont_eat_quicheIt’s hard to know what exactly is going on with these guys. Is this some macho thing — the men get freaked out because men are supposed to be the sex-crazed ones who want it all the time, and if your woman wants it more than you do then that somehow makes you less of a man? Is it just a generic “blame your partner for your problems and differences” reaction — you know, the classic “we want different things, I’m perfect, therefore my partner must be fucked-up” logic? Is it something else entirely?

I really don’t know. I’ve never encountered this exact phenomenon. I’ve never had a sex partner of either gender insult me for wanting lots of sex. I’ve never had a sex partner call me a slut or a whore or a nympho or a dog in heat — except in a good way.

Casual_sexBut I have encountered something similar. Back when I was (a) screwing around a lot and (b) at least sometimes screwing around with men, I ran into this scene a fair amount: Men who said they wanted casual, no strings-attached sex — but then got totally weird once we’d had it. (“Weird” meaning avoiding eye contact, being distant or jumpy when they’d been friendly and relaxed, doing the approach/ avoidance dance, and just being generally, you know, weird.) This wasn’t true across the board… but it happened often enough for me to go, “Hm.”

GraduateI’m not quite sure what that was about. Maybe these men thought they wanted casual sex… but really wanted some sort of love and commitment. Maybe they really did want casual sex, but didn’t want me to want it as much as they did — like the fact that I was so okay with it was a blow to their pride, I wasn’t supposed to be able to walk away from their sweet, sweet loving so easily. Maybe the sex stirred up feelings and emotions for them — not necessarily true love, but some sort of tenderness or vulnerability — and my freewheeling, sang-froid attitude was actually making me an insensitive jerk. (Like I wrote in my 1996 piece Being Single, “There are times when I feel like a caricature of a straight man, and an asshole straight man at that.”)

Get_laid_nowAnd maybe any or all of this was true, for any or all of these men — but because men are supposed to be the ones who want casual sex, when it turned out that they didn’t want it as much as they thought they did, it made them feel less manly.

Just like not wanting sex as much as the woman in their life might make some men feel less manly.

ThinkerBut maybe not. Maybe I’m talking out of my ass. Thoughts? Men — have you ever been involved with a woman who wanted sex more than you did, or who wanted sex to be casual when you weren’t sure about that? If so, what was that like? And women — have you ever been with guys who wanted it less than you did, or who didn’t want something casual when you did? And what was that like? And if you’re gay or lesbian, has this ever been an issue — have you had these kinds of differences with partners, and how did they play out? And if you’re bi, how does that play out differently? Nosy minds want to know.

Credibility and the Duke Rape Case Fiasco

DukeI was going to chime in on the weird fucked-up-edness of the whole Duke University rape case fiasco. But the SmackDog Chronicles already said pretty much what I wanted to say about it. So I’m just going to point you to his blog instead. The quotes that really struck me:

But what really saddens and angers me about this case is that it simply reimposes all the usual memes and biases about sexually proactive women and women who do sex work voluntarily; in effect, if you are overtly sexual and happen to be violated in any way, you can expect to have no support or sympathy from the general public and damn near little or no support from the “feminist community”
especially if you happen to be a person of color, poor, or a sex worker or sex entertainer. And especially if your perpetrator just so happens to be either White or a person of privilege who has the full weight of his privilege behind him.

and

All of this makes my duty as a sex radical, a radical Black man, a feminist sympathizer/supporter, and a sex-positive activist that much tougher
but also that much more important. If there ever was a time for a sex-positive Left perspective, it is now.

Rainbow_fistAll this is reminding me of the Lynn Griffiths case. (I tried to find a link about it, but it happened in the pre-Internet days, and I couldn’t find anything on the Web.) Back in the ’90s in San Francisco, there was a very public, all-over-the-news incident of a lesbian named Lynn Griffiths who had been badly queer-bashed. The gay community and the gay press was all over it, in a “See, this is what homophobia looks like, this is what we have to be afraid of” way. And when the police started commenting that there were holes in her story, the community got irate about police insensitivity.

CrazypersonExcept it turned out that there were holes in her story. Because it didn’t happen. She turned out to be kind of a nutjob — she injured herself, and claimed she was gay-bashed to get attention. When the holes in her story started getting impossible to ignore, she actually did the same thing a second time — and then, in the face of increasing anger and incredulity, fled the state.

Which just made it harder for everybody. Because it’s not as if queer-bashing didn’t — doesn’t — happen. But after this incident, everyone who really did get queer-bashed — or who fought against anti-gay violence — suddenly found themselves a little less credible.

And it’s not as if African-American women, and sex workers, and African-American sex workers, don’t get raped by privileged white guys. But now the ones who do are going to have a much harder time of it. There are thousands of times that this happens, and it never makes the papers — but this is the case that people are going to remember.

But… oh, just go read the piece on the SmackDog blog. He says it better than I can. And it’s a really good blog generally, and worth checking out.

“She Loved…” An Excerpt from “Bending”

ThreekindsAnd now, a dirty story.

I’m going to be away from my blog for a few days while I take care of some other stuff. So instead of starting another big heavy discussion topic, I thought I’d give you a nice dirty story to tide you over for a few days. (Family members and others who don’t want to read my porn: Now would be a good time to stop reading.)

This is an excerpt from my erotic novella “Bending,” part of the three-novella collection Three Kinds of Asking For It edited by Susie Bright. FYI: While I usually illustrate my blog posts with lots of pictures, I’m not going to do that here. I want you to be able to picture the characters yourself, the way you imagine them, so I’m leaving this one picture-less. Have fun, and I’ll be back blogging next week!

*****

Bending
Copyright 2005 Greta Christina

She loved being bent over. More than any fiddling that might precede it, more than any fumbling sex act that might follow. The moment of being bent over was like a sex act to Dallas, like foreplay and climax blended into one swooning, too-short moment. A hand on her neck, pressing gently but firmly downward, felt like a tongue on her clit; a voice in her ear, telling her calmly and reasonably to bend over and pull down her pants, felt like a cock in her cunt.

She always masturbated in that position. She sometimes masturbated by getting in that position and then doing nothing else. She would stand by the arm of her sofa, by the side of the bed, at the edge of the kitchen table; and she would bare her ass, slowly, and slowly bend herself over… and then she would stand there, bent over, hands on her hips or behind the small of her back, thinking. Thinking about what she looked like, thinking about what she felt like. Thinking about the feel of the air on the skin of her exposed ass. Thinking about hands on her thighs, paddles on her bottom, dicks and dildos in her asshole and her cunt. Thinking about what a dirty hungry girl she was. Thinking, until she came.

The furnishings that crowded Dallas’s apartment would be a dead giveaway to anyone who knew what to look for. Sofas and armchairs with wide, firm backs and arms; tables and dressers that were all waist height; a small but varied collection of hairbrushes, vintage and modern. A padded table she had had made for her, its height easily adjustable so her head and torso could be raised or lowered as the mood required. It could pass for a sewing or card table. She called it the bending table. She tried not to use it too often, for fear of using up all the magic.

It was hard sometimes. She saw a video once, where a man bent a woman over a toilet and shoved her head in it while he fucked her in the ass. She thought she would pass out. She watched the scene ten times, pale, wet between her legs, a shaking hand on the remote. She watched it ten times, and then took the video back to the rental place and never watched it again. It made her stomach hurt, the thought that this act had happened — literally, physically, factually happened — to someone who wasn’t her.

She did have lovers. Many of them over the years. Dozens if you counted them all, more if you counted very carefully. More than one of these lovers had accused Dallas of being a black hole, an accusation she felt was deeply unfair, not to mention inaccurate. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to give anything. She simply felt that what she did have to give was sufficient. Her pain, her submission, her ass in the air presented like a jewel on a satin pillow, her willingness to do almost anything a person could do in that position… Dallas felt that all of this was a tremendous gift. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to give anything. It was that she had yet to find a lover who wanted what she had to give. She found this tremendously annoying. Hurtful, too, for sure, and frustrating at times to the point of despair, but mostly just annoying as hell.

And the accusation that “you only like to do one thing” completely baffled her. It wasn’t one thing, she argued to herself on her way home from a particularly frustrating squabble. It wasn’t one thing, any more than so-called regular sex was one thing. Being bent over was a whole field of things, an entire genus, with a zillion details that could vary. Wriggling and weeping versus serene submission; being gently guided to the edge of the bed versus being shoved onto the floor; jeans and cotton panties yanked down to her knees versus a flimsy skirt slowly pulled up to reveal her sluttily un-pantied bottom… these were distinct sex acts, obviously and self-evidently, as different as, say, intercourse and oral sex seemed to be for the rest of the world. The portion of the world that she’d been fucking, anyway.

Certain details about her lovers didn’t much matter to her. Male, female, neither or both, any of these were fine. Age, race, height, weight, occupation or lack thereof, smoking habits, voting habits, all those things that kept showing up in the personal ads; none of them made much difference to Dallas. Lately, it was beginning to make less and less difference whether she even found them attractive. It was beginning to matter only whether they were willing.

For example.

There was Daria, the photographer. Daria loved seducing people into taking things a little too far, loved getting them to sign the release and then leading them, step by gentle step, from a tasteful, soft-focus nude session into something she’d have to take to Amsterdam to get published. She loved the blush, the not-so-reluctant reluctance, the shame and relief on her subjects’ faces at being exposed at last. She was good, and she got what she wanted a lot. And God knows she got good pictures out of Dallas. She got a whole book’s worth of pictures out of Dallas, a book she’d have been hard-pressed to get published even in Amsterdam. But she never got the blush. She had Dallas doing things that almost made her own bad self blush, and she talked to Dallas in a low voice about how many people were going to see these pictures and know her dirty secret, and through it all Dallas just smiled, a beatific half-smile like she was gazing on the face of the Holy Virgin. Daria even got out the video camera, a last resort if there ever was one, and she told Dallas about all the filthy leering perverts she was going to sell the tape to on the Internet, and Dallas just spread her asshole wider, and smiled wider. Daria did finally get the photos published, some of them anyway, and she sent Dallas five copies of the book, and Dallas sent back a very sweet thank-you note with an order for ten more copies at the twenty percent discount agreed on in their contract.

There was Jack. That was good for a while. Jack liked a lot of different things, but he was happy to oblige Dallas as long as she was happy to oblige him back. It was pretty damn fun, actually; he knew where she lived, so he could keep her on the hook for hours, groveling on the floor begging for his cock, smacking herself in the pussy and calling herself a cheap whore, bound on her back with his Jockeys in her mouth while he jerked off in her face and told her what a good girl she was. As long as he held out the promise of bending her over and doing things to her from behind, she’d do just about anything for him, and do it with a song in her heart. But he knew her heart wasn’t in it. He knew that all she really wanted was the bending over part, and someone who craved it as much as she did. And he didn’t. It was perfectly fine, but he didn’t have that sort of dedication to the one fetish. His fetish was variety. And ultimately, what he wanted was someone who wanted him, someone desperate for his particular cock, his Jockeys in their mouth, someone who wasn’t just lending him their mouth as a trade-off for his hands on their ass. So the two of them broke it off. They were still friends, though, and they still did it sometimes, when her ads were running dry and his boyfriend had other plans.

There was B.J., a butch top who’d call herself that to anyone who would listen. She loved having cute girls bend over for her, loved to beat them until they cried prettily and begged her to stop. But Dallas never would. Oh, she’d cry alright; she’d cry and whimper, scream and wriggle, yank frantically against her ropes or beat her fists on the bed. But she never asked B.J. to stop. Not once. B.J. would beat her until the welts ran together; but when she dropped the belt and sneered, “Had enough?” Dallas would inevitably draw a breath and say, “No, sir. I can take more.” Like it was a fucking gift or something. B.J. didn’t think it was a fucking gift. She thought it was a challenge, or a mockery even. The last time Dallas said it, B.J. shrugged in disgust, tossed her paddle into her bag, and said “Fine. You win.” She picked up her bag and her motorcycle jacket without another word, while Dallas stayed in position, bent over with one foot on the floor and the other splayed out on the bed, looking over her shoulder with a puzzled expression. B.J. gave Dallas one last withering look and slammed out the front door — and hovered in the hallway, waiting for Dallas to run out and call after her. She stayed long enough to hear Dallas make herself come, quickly and loudly. She didn’t stay long enough to hear Dallas pick up the phone and call Jack for a lengthy gripe-fest about asshole tricks who thought sex was a competition.

There was Jeffrey — Jeff, Jeffrey, he didn’t care — who met her through her ad online. He couldn’t believe his luck; they’d been talking in the coffeeshop for maybe five minutes when she looked him up and down and said calmly, “So if I take you back to my place now, will you bend me over and fuck me in the ass?” At first he thought it was a scam, thought her boyfriend would jump out from behind her door and mug him or something; but she sighed impatiently and said “Fine. Your place, my place. A motel. Whatever,” and he dropped a twenty on the coffeeshop table and took her to a motel down the block. And then he really couldn’t believe his luck. The door shut behind them, and she tossed her purse in the corner, jerked up her skirt, flopped over the dresser, spread her ass cheeks apart with her hands, and started begging him to stick it in. She didn’t have to beg him twice. He scrambled out of his pants, shoved a condom onto his dick, and hastily guided himself into her open, gentle asshole. He fucked her slow and sweet until she squirmed and bucked and whimpered for him to fuck her hard and fast, and then he slammed her, five or six good slams before he came. But then she started getting weird on him. She stayed bent over the dresser even after he pulled out, and she started talking about him putting things into her ass. She had some things in her purse, she said. When he went silent she started sweet-talking, saying they could do it anywhere he wanted, on the floor, against the wall, in the bathroom over the toilet seat. Her voice trembled a bit when she mentioned the toilet seat. When he stayed silent, she looked abashed, said she knew she was hard to deal with sometimes, said she could see why he might be angry, said if he felt like he had to punish her she’d understand. At which point he remembered an urgent appointment, scrambled back into his pants, and made the most graceful thirty-second exit he could muster. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he saw her reaching for her purse as he closed the door.

There was Betsy.

Threekinds_2Most of the rest of the story concerns Dallas and Betsy. If you want to find out what happens next, you’ll have to buy the book.

Does The Cage Disappear?

PleasurepainWe saw this play about S/M at the Magic Theater on Friday, called “Pleasure + Pain.” Despite the somewhat obvious title, it wasn’t half bad; at times on the obvious and overwritten side, and definitely in the “plea for understanding” vein… but with complicated and nuanced characters, and some genuinely interesting ideas.

And one of the most interesting ideas was one that wound up bugging me the most at the end… and it’s what I want to talk about here. (Warning: Big time “giving away the whole dramatic ending” spoiler alert.)

Pleasurepain_cage_2The device I found so interesting was this: To represent the fantasy life of the main character Peggy, they had a hunky man in a cage, with whom she was playing in various kinky ways. Or at least, he was in the cage at the beginning of the play. As her fantasy life began intruding more and more into her real life, the man in the cage escaped, and kept showing up at inopportune moments, refusing to go quietly back into the cage and trying to get her to come into the cage with him… and he switched from being a submissive to an increasingly insistent top. It was a surprisingly effective way to express the experience of having your fantasies becoming harder to ignore, and more demanding of your attention — to have them made into a physical presence, both in the form of the man and the form of the cage itself.

And now comes the spoiler. At the end of the play, Peggy finally allows herself to experience and explore her submissive fantasies. At the end of this scene, she finally steps into the cage — and the bars of the cage dramatically fly apart, and go clang in pieces on the floor.

Broken_chainNow, this bugged me for two reasons. Partly, I thought it was just really bad theater. So obvious, so heavy-handed, so unoriginal. Yes, yes, when you finally allow yourself to be who you are, the bars of the prison fly open and you’re free. Thank you for sharing.

But what really bugged me wasn’t that the symbolism was so obvious.

What bugged me was that it was wrong.

CageIf the cage represents the place that her sexual fantasies have in her life… well, you know, when you come out in some sexual way, it’s not as if the divide between fantasy and reality disappears. It’s not as if your fantasies suddenly become reality. One of the hardest, most complicated lessons that adults have to learn is that acting out fantasies is NEVER the same as the fantasy itself. Sometimes the acting out is disappointing; sometimes it wildly exceeds your expectations; sometimes it goes off in some totally other direction that you would never in a million years have expected.

HarlequinBut it’s not the same. When you come out — as queer or kinky or a fetishist or whatever, but let’s say kinky for the moment — you still have the cage in the corner, with all your fantasy characters in it. You still have the cage, with the adoring and perfectly compliant submissive beauty… or the cruel but loving master/mistress who’s completely fascinated with you and always knows exactly how much you can take… or the cruel and heartless tyrant who doesn’t give a damn how much you can take… or the wide-eyed innocent weeping and struggling over their defilement… or the wide-eyed innocent gasping with joy over their defilement…

Snape(Or Alan Rickman as Snape. Boy, folks, that one is just not going away…)

And you still have your life, and your partner or partners, who have their own cages with their own characters that hopefully overlap yours… not 100%, but enough.

The bars of the cage don’t fly apart. They just get tangled up in your life: sometimes in a complicated and beautiful weave, sometimes in a hopeless mess, and hopefully in a way that’s interesting and fulfilling and satisfying. But the cage in the corner of your life — and the people in it — are not going anywhere.

I Got Yer Intelligent Design Right Here, Baby…

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. (And it’s about both sex and atheism, which makes it an extra-special treat.)

No, it’s not the video. Although the video is hilarious, in an appalling “Holy crap, do people really believe this?” sort of way. But you have to watch the video to get the joke. (It’s only about a minute, and it really is quite entertaining. Video below the fold.)

[Read more…]

Come For the Atheism, Stay For the Sex! (Or Come For the Sex, Stay For the Atheism!)

FishnetsGod_delusion_2Or come for the atheism AND the sex, and stay for the politics! Or the weird dreams, or the pop culture analysis, or the arcane discussion of the finer points of grammar, or the recipe for grilled peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwiches

We were talking about my blog at a party a couple of weeks ago, and someone suggested that I split my blog up into two blogs: one about atheism, and one about sex. They said that single-issue blogs are easier to market and publicize, and that I might get more traffic and keep more readers if I had different blogs devoted to my different interests.

Religious_symbolsEcstasy1It’s an idea I’ve considered before. I sometimes worry that people who find my blog through the porn reviews and blowjob discussions get put off by the lengthy faith/evidence conversations. And vice versa.

But I also think this blog’s eclecticism is one of its strengths. I personally enjoy blogs that are largely focused on one or two topics I’m interested in — sex and politics, politics and literature, science and culture — but that also surprise me with facts and ideas and news stories I might not have run into.

WritingAnd even from a purely marketing/publicity standpoint, I think keeping it all together might be a good idea. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as just a sex writer, or just an atheism writer, or just an anything writer. I’d like to be recognized as, you know, a writer, who can get her brain and her fingers around a wide variety of topics.

Besides, if I split this into a Sex blog and an Atheism blog, where would I put the political rants? The movie reviews? The dream journal? The grammar debates? The recipes?

Dirty_found_1Julia_sweeney_2So I’m taking a reader poll. Not that it’s necessarily going to affect what I do — I’m probably just going to keep on doing what I want to do — but I’m curious. What do y’all think? Do you think this blog would be better if it were two blogs, one on Sex and some other stuff and one on Atheism and some other stuff? Or do you like it better the way it is? Inquiring minds want to know.

When Art Porn Works: “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926”

Ecstasy1Once again, I’m trying to inject a little sex into this increasingly less sex-oriented sex writer’s blog, and am posting one of my Adult FriendFinder magazine porn reviews. This is one of my rare straight-up raves — and as is so often the case with my porn reviews, it’s simultaneously a review and an analysis of what makes porn work. Enjoy!

*****

Ecstasy in Berlin 1926, DVD
Produced, directed, and edited by Maria Beatty
Available at Bleu Productions and at Last Gasp.

Yes. Oh, dear Lord, yes. This is what I’ve been waiting for, what I’m always waiting for and so rarely get. “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926” is art porn that’s actually both artistic and pornographic. It’s smut that’s exquisitely framed and impeccably timed and created with a passionate creative vision… and that is, at the same time, filthy and nasty and explicit, catering to my most perverted and degenerate voyeuristic lusts.

Ecstasy2The movie is set in Berlin in 1926. A blonde beauty, sensual and delicate and a bit like Jean Harlow, injects herself with an unnamed drug, and slips into a fantasy about a dashing brunette woman who appears from nowhere and kisses her passionately, a gloved hand at her throat. The fantasy lover takes control with an increasingly firm hand, slicing the blonde’s lingerie off with a straight razor, and caressing her breasts with a touch that’s both sensual and sadistic.

Ecstasy3As the blonde woman sinks deeper into the drug, the fantasy changes scene. Her lover is now clad in a corset and severely high laced leather boots — boots for the blonde to grovel at and worship with her lovely mouth. At this point, the fantasies become increasingly intense and perverse, as the submissive girl is bound with ropes, flogged, spanked, paddled, caned, whipped, chained up, and more — all flawlessly pictured in her mind’s eye.

Black_gloveThe film is the love child of Maria Beatty. Beatty has produced and directed a number of erotic videos for her company Bleu Productions: most of them featuring lesbian SM, and many of them quite extreme. I’ve been a fan of Beatty’s for years, and her kink videos The Black Glove and The Elegant Spanking are among my favorites. She has an eye for the perfect moment, the pose that perfectly captures the moment of submission or pain or taking control. “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926” is a beautiful example. When the blonde is bent over her mistress’s lap, or on all fours in front of a mirror, or on her knees with her face on the floor and her ass in the air, the position is always classic, an iconic example of that pose, perfectly blocked and framed to make a delicious picture for the viewer.

Ecstasy4But unlike many other “perfect moment, perfectly framed” porn directors (like, oh, say, Andrew Blake), the performers in Beatty’s movies aren’t merely standing and modeling. They seem like they’re really there. The tongue on the boot, the paddle on the bottom, the lash on the back, the look of concentration on the dominant’s face, the look of fear and bliss on the submissive’s — all of these feel genuine. The performers aren’t thrashing and screaming, to be sure, but they seem very much intent on what they’re doing, and deeply satisfied by it. Maria Beatty is herself a lifestyle submissive, and she’s clearly devoted to making videos that capture both the intensity of her fantasies and the truth of real SM play. And when she’s at her best, her videos are an exceptional blend of artistry and authenticity.

Metropolis2And “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926” is definitely one of her best. Filmed mostly in black-and-white and sepia-tone with only occasional color, the movie’s perverse pleasures are expertly filmed and deftly framed, giving it an air of luxurious decadence. Watching it made me feel like a wealthy sybarite in an elegant bordello, with lovely and expensive girls performing a series of degenerate sex acts carefully staged for my benefit. It looks like a German art film of the 1920s, like a dirty movie by Murnau or Fritz Lang, or like vintage porn photographs come to life. (“Ecstasy in Berlin 1926” was, in fact, inspired by a series of vintage girl-girl kink photos, and one of the extras on the DVD is a gallery of those photos.)

Ecstasy5There are a few things you need to be prepared for. One of them is the slow pace of the film, the long, lingering buildup before you get to the “good parts.” Personally, I think this is one of the movie’s strong points: I think foreplay and teasing and excruciating anticipation are “good parts,” some of the yummiest good parts, and one of my biggest complaints about mainstream porn is that it rushes straight to the fucking or the whipping without giving me time to get excited about it. But even if you do get impatient with the teasy buildup (which you can, of course, fast-forward through), I think you’ll appreciate the movie’s patience. Because once it gets to the juicy bits, it stays with them. It doesn’t jump from fetish to fetish or from shot to shot like a music video on speed; it finds a groove and stays with it, letting your eyes linger on the leather boots being lovingly tongued, the chains being carefully wrapped around the naked torso, the bare bottom being paddled again and again. When you come to a bit that you really like, you can relax and trust that you’ll be able to watch it for a little while.

Ecstasy6You also need to be prepared for the complete lack of dialog. The movie is silent: there’s music, but no conversation at all. Again, I personally think this is a huge plus; most porn actors can’t act for beans, and most porn dialog makes me want to crawl under the sofa and die from embarrassment. In “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926,” there are no awkward, wooden, ineptly written, clumsily memorized speeches to distract you — the focus is entirely on the image. If what you like in an adult video is the image, this movie will come as a huge relief — but if you’re a fan of dirty talk, it may be a bit disappointing.

Ecstasy7Finally, you should be prepared for the somewhat abrupt finish. This is my only actual complaint about the film. The blonde girl’s fantasy scenes follow on one another with grace and heat, expertly edited and overlaid, building from firm but gentle dominance to increasingly intense scenarios of blissful pain and submission. But then they just kind of stop. There’s nothing to mark the last scene as the last scene — nothing but the credits. I don’t insist on a classic Big Porn Finish, a final orgy scene with six guys shooting on the star’s face and boobs. But I do like some sense of closure, something to give shape and context to all those beautiful dirty images, something that tells me to breathe again, or to come. This video doesn’t have it, and it’s a bit… well, anticlimactic.

Ecstasy1_1But this is a minor nitpick, really, like ragging on Dickens for having a spelling error. I love this film, and I recommend it passionately. “Ecstasy in Berlin 1926” is that rarest of all rare creatures: art porn that works, where the filthiness makes the art more beautiful, and the art makes the sex more hot.

Copyright 2005 Greta Christina. Originally published in Adult FriendFinder magazine.