Thursday, 7 December 2017

THE PRISON OF THE ANGELS by Janine Ashbless


I Didn’t Know She’d Be So Kinky!
Janine Ashbless

You know that thing where characters get away from you while you’re writing, and do something you aren’t expecting?

That happened for me with Milja, the heroine of my Book of the Watchers trilogy. When I started the first book, Cover Him with Darkness, I thought she was going to be sort of vanilla. A bit sheltered due to an isolated childhood, a bit geeky, longing for passionate love but not in any knowing way.

Then she freed a fallen angel who became her demon lover, and because Azazel is necessarily a strong, even overwhelming personality, I figured Milja would have to be fairly happy to let him take the lead in bed. “She’s a bit submissive,” I told myself.
But Azazel isn’t just dominant, he’s wicked and seriously lacking in social boundaries. He likes to show her off, getting her naked and having sex in public. “That makes sense,” I reassured myself. “She’s always been the invisible girl: now she gets off on everyone watching her and her gorgeous bloke.”

But by the second volume of the series, In Bonds of the Earth, Milja’s deep in a not-really-platonic affair of frustration with a man, Egan Kansky, too. Is she so drawn to him because he’s the stable, kindly, human partner she can’t find in Azazel? Is she hell — her relationship with Egan has turned out to be even kinkier than her passion for Azazel!  Milja spent a childhood with an angel chained in the cellar, and it’s affected her deepest fantasies. She likes her strong, dominant masculine guys all tied up and helpless and suffering. Azazel won’t indulge her – he doesn’t have a submissive bone in his body – so she can’t help getting the hots for Egan and his admirable capacity for, ahem, soaking up damage…

By book three, The Prison of the Angels, the three-way relationship has left vanilla far behind. There’s a long and elaborate scene in which all three of them … well, that would be telling! Suffice it to say that Egan has all his boundaries pushed to the max and Milja has her most shameful fantasies exposed and fulfilled.
I wasn’t expecting to write this when I started. I thought I’d just stick to romance, mostly. Oh well ;-) Milja – sub, exhibitionist, shamefaced sadist – has turned out to be a bit of a shock for her poor writer!

Excerpt:
Egan’s got his eyes screwed shut, his head flung back, his throat stretched taut. Azazel looks down critically at his victim and slaps his still-pulsing cock hard enough to swing it.
“Again,” he says. “Harder.”
Somehow, Egan’s flesh stiffens obediently. That’s when I see the deadly little tethers snap and writhe loose from the bed. They stay knotted around his cock and balls like bizarre Christmas streamers, but at least he is free from the iron ring.
“Get further up the bed.”
Egan opens his eyes. He seems to realize slowly that he’s no longer tied down, but when he does he shuffles on his back away from Azazel with pitiful alacrity, as if he somehow thinks he can escape that long reach. He casts me a wild, shamed look.
“That’ll do,” Azazel decides. “You’d like to ride that now, wouldn’t you Milja? His rod and his staff will comfort you…here in the Valley of the Shadow.”
Ride that? Yes, always.
What is he planning?
I climb back onto the bed, nervous. Egan is looking from me to Azazel and back again as if we are conspiring assassins. His lips are swollen.
And I will fasten him as a peg in a firm place; and he shall be for a glorious throne,” quotes Azazel, wandering around to slap my ass in encouragement. “Get up on your throne, little harlot.”




I thought I was a good girl. I thought that no matter what others did for my sake, I could stay innocent. I thought that as long as I acted out of love, I’d be blameless.

I was wrong, wasn’t I?


Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.

Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether - torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost. But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja. Both of her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.

Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.

This time, the choices she make will change everything.

This time it’s the End of the World.

The Prison of the Angels
by Janine Ashbless

The Prison of the Angels, the final novel in the Book of the Watchers trilogy, and the story of a young woman who releases a fallen angel from centuries of imprisonment, is now available from Sinful Press.
“When there’s war in Heaven, on which side will you stand?”
Genres: Hot M/F/M Romance, Thriller, Supernatural
Pages:  388

Prison of the Angels is available at 

Sinful Press  Amazon UK  Amazon US  Google Play and Kobo





Janine's Photo, by David Woolfall









Thursday, 16 November 2017

Vampires, Witches, Fairy Tales and Sexual Initiation.





Anne Rice is perhaps best known for her vampire tales; tales which have a certain erotic frisson. She amazes me with her creative energy, creating not one, but two lengthy sagas. The vampire tales reach back into the dawn of time, building on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and creating a new mythology around the very beginnings of vampire evolution.

Someone correct me please if I am wrong, but I think that Anne Rice was the first to make vampires sexy, with their dark brooding erotic intentions.

Then there is the saga of the Mayfairs. A wealthy and powerful family of witches, breeding and mutating over the generations. Incestuous, charismatic -- a blip in their DNA produces a strain of monsters, the Taltos.

Anne Rice brings the two sagas together in her final novel; “Blood Canticle.”

What is not so well known, is that Anne Rice also has written erotica under the name of A.N. Roquelaure. Her “Sleeping Beauty” trilogy is loosely based on the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty. It is an allegory of sexual adolescence, sexual desire and finally, sexual maturity. The three books are: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty”, “Beauty’s Punishment” and “Beauty’s Release”.

They are erotic BDSM novels dealing with a wide spectrum of fetish and fantasy. They describe the sexual adventures of the female protagonist Beauty in a medieval fantasy world. Anne Rice doesn’t stop at Male/Dom and Fem/Dom, she covers fetish as diverse as anal fisting and pony play. There is rape as a fantasy; she also touches on bestiality. They were first published in America in the 1980’s.

In the familiar fairy tale, the beautiful sleeping princess is awakened by a kiss from a handsome prince. In Anne Rice’s version, the prince wakes the princess with a violent rape.

Anne Rice's retelling of the Beauty story probes the unspoken implications of this suggestive tale by exploring its undeniable connection to sexual desire. Here the Prince reawakens Beauty, not with a kiss, but with sexual initiation. His reward for ending the hundred years of enchantment is Beauty's complete and total enslavement to him as Anne Rice explores the world of erotic yearning and fantasy in a classic that becomes a compelling experience.

About the same time that Anne Rice published the Beauty trilogy in America, the writer and Academic, Angela Carter published her collection of tales in “The Bloody Chamber.”

Angela Carter says of her collection:
“My intention was not to do 'versions' or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, 'adult' fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories.”


Both writers are talking about the hidden side of our psychology. The side, that in the cold light of day we dare not own.

The tales from both writers give us permission to fantasise and even act upon our darkest dreams. The stories liberate us and set us free from guilt, fear and shame.

Freud talked about the Id. Here is what he says:


"It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the Dreamwork and of the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations.... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle."


“The id is the unorganised part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The id acts according to the "pleasure principle", seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not 'displeasure') aroused by increases in instinctual tension”

WIKI

“The mind of a newborn child is regarded as completely "id-ridden", in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and needs immediate satisfaction, a view which equates a newborn child with an id-ridden individual.”

Jungian psychoanalysis talks about “the Shadow”.

"Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. It may be (in part) one's link to more primitive animal instincts which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.”


Jung also believed that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.";so that for some, it may be, 'the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow...represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar.

Some of these ideas here are my own...I have also drawn from sources from the Web.

Friday, 20 October 2017

LOVE, LUST, PASSION. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?




Love's Philosophy:

THE fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle—
Why not I with thine?



Sorry, Percy Bysshe Shelley, it ain’t gonna happen.

Forget it. If that special something is missing, she won’t want to kiss you. Your lips will repel her. Your breath will disgust her. She won’t fall into your arms -- no matter how much you weave your magic with those wonderful words -- it’s just not going to work.

Am I talking about love? Lust? Sexual Attraction? Infatuation? Passion? I don’t know. Probably I’m talking about all of them.

Love -- unrequited love. Thousands and thousands of words have been written about it, by pens far more graceful and elegant than mine.

And the songs. We all have our favourites. Beautiful words, melodies, rhythms and harmonies, that remind us of that one time that special something happened. Makes us yearn for it to happen again.

Thousands of Romance writers, re-write the same story, over and over again. He’s a bastard. She falls in love with him, despite herself. The reader is in love with him too. The reader is addicted to the re-telling of the story. The reader believes in that elusive something.

Nobody can bottle it for sure; that thing that makes it happen. Perfume distillers with all their ancient skills have tried to capture it for centuries. It cannot be done.

If that something is missing, then it can’t be found.

A friend of mine, Lucy had a guy doing some building work in her house. They got talking -- she touched his hand…

Within a second they were in each other’s arms. Within another second their tongues were down each others’ throats -- it happened, just like that. No need to analyse it; there’d be no point anyway. That mysterious, elusive thing had happened.

Time stood still. The overworked phrase suddenly made sense.

What was it? Raw lust? I don’t know; neither does Lucy.

Lucy and her builder are still together, two years later.

But it can hit you at anytime. I do believe it. Eyes meet across a crowded room/restaurant/rock festival. And he/she is there. The one. It may only last for an hour, or days. For some it can last a lifetime.

But what is IT? Where is IT? Why does one person make our juices flow, cocks stand to attention? Another person, leaves us, well…flaccid and dry?

So I guess I have ended up talking about lust. Does lust come first? (pun intended).

Sometimes it smoulders, long and low. Think of all those office Christmas parties. Folk who have barely spared a glance for each other, all through the long year, are suddenly together. Alcohol lowers the inhibitions, and it hits you.

That happened to me, long ago. It took twenty years to burn itself out.

Then months ago, I was convinced it was going to happen again. A guy I knew from a long while back. But when we kissed there was nothing. Nada. Rien.

I felt sad, cheated, disappointed.

So did he…

Friday, 29 September 2017

A life of submission & dedication to her Master.




I wonder how many of you know my friend Oatmeal Girl? I’m using the word ‘know’ reservedly – as far as it is possible to know someone in this, rather desolate at times, cyber landscape. I’ve never met Oatmeal Girl – we only really became aware of each other when we both had stories published in 2010, in Logical Lust’s ‘Best S & M III’.




I know that she follows my blog – silently – very, very occasionally leaving me an astute, thoughtful comment…I know from those comments that I am communicating with a refined intellect…a lover of words, finding the right word…the perfect word following the perfect word.




But most of what I know about Oatmeal Girl comes from her blog – ‘Submission and Metaphor’. From her intriguing poems and poetic prose I learn that she is a submissive woman in a compelling relationship. Oatmeal Girl speaks exquisitely of how she willingly relinquishes control bowing humbly to the man whom she loves and adores, her Master. She refers to him as ‘the Sadist,’ sometimes as ‘the Fiend. The Sadist knows what is best for her – the tasks he sets her are acts born of love, just as Oatmeal Girl’s dedication to the tasks are a demonstration of her love and devotion for him.




Yes, they love -- but let’s not be shy about this daunting, haunting relationship -- Oatmeal Girl tells of butt plugs, caning, chains, collars, floggings, masochism, masturbation, orgasm denial and spankings. These are the things that inform their love for one another. It must be an exhausting relationship at times and not just for the submissive who time after time submits to the ordeal. The Dominant has to plan, organise, take care of his submissive and take care of himself – keep himself physically fit, emotionally fit too.



At this point it seems appropriate to give Oatmeal Girl the opportunity to read what I’m saying about her, so I forwarded my ramblings to her. Here is her response – as you will read – in some ways I am right – in others I fall way off the mark.


“What intrigues me is the impression you have of the relationship from the glimpses I've given into some of my emotional reactions to it. What you (and many others) mainly see at this point - because that's what it seems I've been describing - is the love part of it. Which is only part of the foundation of the relationship. As the fiend reminds me periodically - and as I know deep down inside - the CORE of the relationship, which we must never stray from, is that he really IS my Master. I really do belong to him. Oh, not in some sort of slave registry thing. But in a very real internal sense. He really does see into my soul, he knows me, he freed me, his dominance isn't based on tearing me down but on building me up and teaching me to treasure myself the way he treasures me. We don't just "draw heavily on S&M." The power exchange is the foundation for it all. And it was only after years of training, with catastrophes along the way, that the BDSM side of it was solid enough that it became safe for him to connect with me - at times - as a lover and as a friend.

Which is obviously something I haven't made clear enough on the blog.

It is certainly fine for you to speak about us as you have, based on what you have gleaned from my writing. And, in fact, now it really is a love relationship. Now and then, speaking to him, I'll refer to "all the different ways we are together", referring to my being his mistress, his pet, his submissive, his slave, and his own little girl. But eventually that makes him uneasy, and he'll repeat that if we lost sight of the core, we will lose our way and get into trouble.
And he's right.

BDSM isn't something we just DO.
It is not a game.
This is what we are.
Deep inside, in truth, this is what we are.

But there's nothing you've written that reveals anything that should not be revealed. So that's fine.

Where you call him my "Dominant Master" I would just say he's my Master.

What you say about planning and organizing is absolutely true. He does work things out in a very detailed way before each visit and has a long-range plan as well."





Recently, a fellow tweeter told me that the stories that I write are disgraceful. Apparently, I write of sex without love; I write of pain, degradation and cruelty – She hasn’t actually read any of my stories, she just somehow ‘knows’ what they’re like. If I could be bothered to have a dialogue with her, which I cannot do because she has blocked me on all social media, I would argue that my stories are about people who are very much in love – they just happen to have ‘kinks’ and it is how those kinks inform their relationship -- that is what I find interesting.


And that is why I am intrigued by Oatmeal Girl – despite the S&M, her poems and poetic prose are a dedication of her love for the ‘Sadist’, the man she adores – the man who adores her. She is in an all-consuming love affair with the Sadist – without him, she is nothing – without him she would shrivel and die, like the autumn leaves on my magnolia tree -- exquisitely scarlet when they fall, only to turn muddy brown, found in the spring, as thin and fragile as finest tissue paper in their skeletal remains.


You can visit Oatmeal Girl’s blog “Submission and Metaphor” here.

Follow Oatmeal Girl on Twitter. @oatmeal_girl

Friday, 15 September 2017

AGE PLAY, RELINQUISHING CONTROL.





Melly is a character within the dynamic of an Age Play relationship – Melly is her ‘little girl' name. In real life Melly is an adult – I don’t know her real name. Melly is a Daddy’s little girl.


i’ve slept with a teddy bear all my life. this may seem insignificant, but it’s really not,. i had my teddy bear with me when i moved in with Master. i held him every night, and was tucked in with him when Master sent me to bed. When i was moved into a kennel for sleeping, the bear moved with me. This was the jumping off point for my D/g relationship with Master. When reaching for my bear one night, i felt especially “small”. i whined in a very little-girl-like manner. And looking up at Master, i felt comforted in a way that piqued something in me.


Later, i expressed to Master my little girl inside. i’ve always been child-like in my wonder and expression of joy and sadness, and Master had told me it was one of the things that endeared me to Him. He had me write an essay about being little, about wanting a Daddy. i poured out my feelings, and when He had me read my assignment aloud to Him, i was in tears. i blushed and was embarrassed at my desire to be little. i was shy about my connection to the little inside me. i was worried that He might reject that part of me, and be unwilling to be my daddy.


All those worries were very much in vain. i first called Him “Daddy” when He was tending to a wound on my hand (a splinter, gone infected.), cleaning it because it was awkward for me to reach. the alcohol burned, and i was shocked at my own self to hear a gasped “Daddy!!” leave my lips. He didn’t even blink. He just kissed my forehead, and told me, “Daddy doesn’t like hurting you like this. it’ll be over soon.” He was right, of course. The pain subsided, and the wound healed over the next few days, but i wrestled with that word, that place. Master, however, was already settling into His role, and later, when i asked Him if it was okay that i had called Him “Daddy”, he smiled gently, and hugged me close. No other answer was needed.


Over the past two years, my little and Master’s Daddy have grown into each other. And the two of us have settled deeply into those places with each other. i read to Him from my Nick Jr. subscription. He laughs and traces the mazes when i tell Him i can’t find the path. i can see His pleasure when i am excited and giggle. i put my arms around His waist, and He holds me and tells me i’m a good girl. and i am. inside our D/g dynamic, i have an innocence, a simplicity, that can’t be had elsewhere. i have an excitement and a wonder that is unsurpassed. i have a trust that can’t be broken. and Master takes all these things, and gives me the counterparts. He is the strong Daddy. He is the comforting hand. He is the responsibility that i can’t handle.


Ageplay, for some, is a separate activity from their everyday selves. Sometimes, i am more or less little, but i have not engaged in separate roleplay style “ageplay” for quite some time. Why? Well, because at some point, i stopped separating my little and my grown up selves. i embraced my little, even in the midst of being grown-up melly. My Master/Daddy understands this. We shifted into that gradually. Initially, i would put on a special t-shirt, put my hair up in braids. Turn on the TV to cartoons. It would take me a bit of time to “get into” being little. Now, it’s natural, and an inclusive part of my behavior. i don’t dress a particular way, or do anything special to send me into little space, though sometimes, i’ll pull my sippy cup down, and i often color to relieve stress and gain a sense of achievement from Master by showing Daddy my pretty pictures.


The D/g dynamic has vastly improved our relationship, because of the behaviors inherent in being little. trust, often fostered over a long period of time, came quickly. Fears were lost in the face of the wide-eyed wonder of a child. Communication flows freely between little melly and her Daddy, and she never has to worry about being judged. Even in the BDSM sense, things that grown-up melly might feel shame for become innocent in light of a child’s sense of exploration. Fears are only fears, and can be overcome. When i AM afraid, i can be comforted, and allowed to cry.


Emotionally, i am more stable when i am able to actively engage my little on a continuous basis. Mentally, i am more whole when i can allow this part of me to not only come out, but be ever-present. It IS who i am. i can no more erase her than i can erase my hand. Even if i remove it, there will be a stump, and something will be missing.
Just tonight, i asked Master, “Why do you like being my Daddy?” His response: “I don’t know… there’s just something about it. something .. important.” Indeed. Something very important. To us, having this dynamic is a closeness and a comfort. Master has never been a Daddy before. i’ve never been able to integrate my little into myself as fully as i have. Actually, i think i am about as fully integrated as i can get. And i think that’s very very good, for both of us.


i do realize that not all people do it like we do. It is perfectly fine to put on your hair ribbons and ageplay a single scene every few weeks. That’s just not what we do. i’m a 24-7 little girl, just like i’m a 24-7 slave. Sometimes, it’s more overt, sometimes, more subdued, but it is a very real and very important part of who i am. i am growing into BOTH of those identities more fully every day, learning more about myself in the process. i honestly hope i never stop!


Every night, i tell Master, “You’re the best Daddy in the whole world…” and true to His form, He replies, “i’m really glad you think so.” He IS the best Daddy for me. And i am the best little girl for Him. it’s now integral to our relationship, not added on. it’s who WE Are.

Submissive Guide

This blog post has been compiled using sources from the Web.

Friday, 1 September 2017

PORN & EROTICA; ART & ARTSTS


I think a lot about pornography. I’ve written about it too; you’ll probably be familiar with my tweets regaling the powers that be that writers and artists have no clear guidelines on what exactly is pornographic. But am I being fair? One girl’s porn is another girl’s erotica. There is stuff that disturbs me profoundly, but may not affect you one teensy weensy little bit.




Let me say right away that I am not talking about “hard core” porn here. I wish that there were not those horrible images of children on the Web. I wish that the sites could be shut down as soon as they pop up. “Snuff” films too. Sites where people can get off on death and torture; that is not what I am talking
about.


A while back I looked at Aubrey Beardsley’s beautiful pornographic art. Beardsley’s lovely pen, ink and brushwork. His images are graceful; elegant. Yet they do convey humiliation; disgrace and depravity. Tiny naked men with massive erections being farted on by huge women. The image of lascivious Salome speaking lovingly to the severed head of John the Baptist hints at necrophilia. And even more tiny men are dwarfed by their own massive erections.




I get the idea that Aubrey Beardsley was not comfortable in Victorian society. That the Victorians were sexually repressed has been well documented. Aubrey Beardsley delights in showing the hypocrisy of the Victorian era; he made people think, then and now, by poking fun at society and its values. And that made me think again. What about social context? Different eras have different values and standards about what is acceptable and not. So does social context justify pornography? Does Aubrey Beardsley’s clever satirization of Victorian sensibilities and values make pornography okay?


How about the Art of Hans Bellmer?



Die Puppe series 1932


Hans Bellmer was born in the city of Kattowitz in 1902. Kattowitz was then part of the German Empire (it is now Katowice, Poland) Until 1926 he’d been working as a draughtsman for his own advertising company. He initiated his doll project to oppose the fascism of the Nazi Party by declaring that he would make no work that would support the new German state. Represented by mutated forms and unconventional poses, his dolls were directed specifically at the cult of the perfect body then prominent in Germany.




He produced the first doll in Berlin in 1933. Long since lost, the assemblage can be described thanks to photographs that Bellmer took at the time of its construction.




The images show Bellmer's assemblage, made of wood, flax fiber, plaster, and glue, under construction in his studio or arrayed on a bare mattress or lacy cloth. Seductive props sometimes accompany the doll—a black veil, eyelet undergarments, an artificial rose. Naked or, in one case, wearing only a cotton undershirt, the armless doll is variously presented as a skeletal automaton, a coy adolescent, or an abject pile of discombobulated parts. In one unusual image, the artist himself poses next to his standing sculpture, his human presence rendered ghostly through double exposure. Here Bellmer's own body seems to dematerialize as his mechanical girl, wigged, with glass eyes, wool beret, sagging hose, and a single shoe, takes on a disturbing reality.


And what of today? There is so much porn available on the Web it is difficult to talk about it constructively. A lot of porn involves children. The police are vigilant, but find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the demand of sick minds.




We have to talk about the terms and conditions of pornography. I think of the children’s Beauty Pageant industry; it is popular in the US and becoming increasingly popular here in the UK. Children, girls as young as three playing at being mini adults, polished and coiffed. As Melissa Henson argues in her recent CNN.com op-ed, subjecting young girls to child pageants contributes to the sexualizing of 3-year-olds. For example, a recent episode of Toddlers and Tiaras contained footage of a mother dressing up her daughter like Julia Roberts’ prostitute character on Pretty Woman for a pageant. Furthermore, on both shows, parents are often applying layers of makeup and spray tanning their daughters for performances and dressing the girls in risqué costumes that are just part of the show.





Elizabeth Day, writing for the Observer on Sunday 11th July 2010 interviewed Amber age seven.


“They parade in miniature ballgowns, wear false eyelashes and can be as young as five… We venture into the world of mini beauty pageants to meet the young princesses and their pushy parents.


“To all intents and purposes, Amber is a confident little girl with an array of enthusiasms and interests. But it is hard not to notice as she talks that her eyelids are powdered with gold eyeshadow. Her hair has been styled with two sparkly hairclips and she is wearing a pale pink dress studded with fabric flowers. Later, she will show me a certificate she was given for taking part in the Mini Miss UK competition earlier this year. Because as well as being a normal seven-year-old, Amber is also an aspiring child beauty queen.


Did she enjoy entering the beauty pageant? Amber thinks for a second and then nods her head. Will she be entering any more? "Yes." She pauses, a touch uncertainly. "If Mummy told me to."”


The work of Jake and Dinos Chapman is about as shocking as you can get. Children, girls, sexualized and grotesque. Are the artists saying something about childhood and children as a commodity?



"The job of a work of art is to raise questions about its terms and conditions," said Jake Chapman in an interview with Time Out London. "That’s what we do. We present the viewer with a puzzle. We put an injunction on speedy consumption, by refusing to offer a straightforward aesthetic experience. And to defend the integrity of the work, we produce a bit of turbulence that makes it more than a simple sip – of art." Dinos told Time Out, "By the time we die we will have done everything – flower arranging, pottery, origami… We have no signature style; the work is recognizable for its attitude, not its form."




The age at which very young girls are sexualised is becoming younger and younger.






Jake and Dinos Chapman investigate society’s taboos. Their fiberglass mannequins are unsettling and unnerving; they are meant to be. The girls in their distorted poses stare out blankly; their gaze challenging the viewer.




The Chapman’s images are unpleasant; to say that they are not nice is a terrible understatement.The very existence of the mannequins addresses the very heart of human experience and moral behaviour. We don’t know what to think and we flounder. We are repelled. But surely these grotesque mannequins are nothing to
do with us, are they? The girls eyes lock onto our horrified gaze.

“Don’t you dare judge us;” they are saying. “You created us.”


Thanks to Francis Potts for introducing me to the work of Hans Bellmer. Francis can be found at his blog.

and at Twitter. @Francispotts

Friday, 18 August 2017

WRITING BDSM AS A FEMINIST Christina Harding




I am a self-described feminist, yet at the same time, I also enjoy reading and writing BDSM. These two traits seem to contradict each other. On one hand, feminism is about the equality of the sexes, while on the other hand “dominance and submission” is literally in the definition of BDSM. And so, it has been a bit of a grapple for me to figure out how to rationalize these two opposing values.


In this rationalization, I think it’s important to keep in mind exactly what feminism entails. For this, I would like to refer you to this speech given by Emma Watson to the UN:




If you have not yet had a chance to watch this powerful and eloquent speech, I highly recommend it. Ms. Watson perfectly encapsulates my views on feminism. Unfortunately the word “feminism” has become synonymous with “man-hating” and with cold-hearted women who only care about their career. But this is not the integrity of the ideology which feminism stands for. Feminists simply believe that both sexes should be treated with the same respect and privileges. It would be hard for me to list an ideal which I hold closer to my heart.


However, I remember back to when I was as young as seven years old having dreams in which I was a slave being whipped, which I strangely enjoyed. At that time, I didn’t have the understanding or vocabulary to describe this strange joy, but in my later years I came to realize I was experiencing arousal. This type of dream reached an apex for me many years later when I was traveling in Venice, Italy (strangely enough). In this dream I was being gang-raped by three different completely unattractive men. They were practically fully clothed and I was naked. Over the years I’ve learned to have some control over my dreams, and so I manipulated it to make the scenario as vulgar as possible. I woke myself up, soaking wet. I had to go to the restroom to dry myself off. When I woke up the next morning I had completely forgotten the dream, until I discovered I still needed to dry myself off.


At this point, it’s important to backtrack. Both of the stories I have provided have been dreams. The reality of the matter is that truly whipping a slave or gang-raping a woman are horrible crimes which will have lasting effects on the physical and mental well-being of the victim. Nearly ten years ago I was home alone at around 12:30am when a stranger tried to break into my home with the intent of hurting me. Fortunately the criminal was unsuccessful in his ploy, but it left me terrified of being home alone at night. It’s a fear that has lead me to install alarm systems in my home and avoid being home alone at night whenever possible. This close call nearly ten years ago has made me feel uncomfortable in my own home ever since. I can only imagine the impact it would have had if this criminal had actually been successful.


Clearly I become aroused when BDSM graces my dreams, but pushing this line in reality is a completely different matter. However, that’s where the important distinction lies. Dreams, much like fantasies, are not reality. Many little boys love the fantasy of killing a dragon, but if faced with the “reality” of a huge fire-breathing dragon, would probably feel otherwise. This is the same case with BDSM.


There are many authors who refuse to write BDSM because they “know too many people who have been raped.” I completely sympathize and respect this concern. However, I think psychotic men who would actually rape a woman would do so regardless of whether or not they read my work. A man who would do such a thing has a lot of other problems which have little to do with my writing.


Additionally, I personally found I could only truly appreciate my own sexuality when I learned to embrace my desire for the fantasy of BDSM. Finally learning to embrace and express this fantasy originated in the very safe place of reading BDSM. Then it progressed into role-play with my husband. While this may seem more like “reality” the fact of the matter is that I’m in a loving, committed, trusting relationship, and I know that if I ever seriously conveyed any kind of discomfort my husband would stop immediately. This is fantasy because we’re “pretending.” Finally, I continued to explore my thirst for BDSM by writing some of my own in the form of a paranormal erotic novelette, Underneath the Gargoyle. The fact that this is a paranormal novelette couldn’t underscore more the fact that this is a fantasy. Embracing and exploring my love for BDSM has enriched my sex life and strengthened my relationship with my husband.


I am a feminist who also believes that sexuality is an integral part of human existence and a happy marriage. Sometimes fully embracing our sexuality entails accepting and cultivating a desire for BDSM. I write BDSM because I believe enacting our sexual fantasies in a committed, trusting relationship is another way to express our love.


Christina Harding is a pseudonym. She is a guest blogger for Romance at Random of Random House and the author of Underneath the Gargoyle a paranormal erotic series available at Amazon US and Amazon UK

She also blogs at www.christinahardingerotica.blogspot.com and tweets @tinaerotica. Christina is happily married and enjoys reading sexy stories with her husband.