A Different Kind of Normal: Part Two

by Rich Moreland, August, 2013

This is the second installment of my review of The Submission of Emma Marx, a well-crafted story from Jacky St. James and beautifully filmed by Eddie Powell.    

Penny Pax as Emma Marx Photo courtesy of New Sensations

Penny Pax as Emma Marx
                                 Photo courtesy of New Sensations                                


Emma now meets William Frederick on his own turf. He invites her into his home for dinner. Though visiting Frederick had become an “obsession,” the revelation of its purpose is more than Emma anticipated. He confronts her with a D/s (dominant/submissive) contract.

Though she is destined to cave to his demands, Emma is no fool. She will eventually use her reticence to sign the document as a negotiation tactic to get a job with his company, showing him a strength that enhances her character. But we jump ahead in the story here, so a quick backtrack is in order.

Arriving at his home, Emma lets herself in as she was instructed to do.  She wears thigh-high stockings and heels as he requested. Emma pauses in front of a large mirror and idly wastes a quick moment fixing her hair. Only her head and shoulders are reflected in the lower right of the massive glass, very small in comparison with its total size and a statement of her current position in the narrative.

However, a closer look reveals a powerful message. Two plants, barren stalks really, in a vase on the table in front of the mirror are, like Emma, minimized by the glass. The one on the right is taller and slightly bent over the shorter one. The smaller plant has two stems projecting toward the taller one like upraised arms. On the end of each stem is a portion that is bent downward in a begging position like a dog on its hind legs ready for a treat. Later when Frederick enters the dining room and Emma gets up from her seat to greet him. He walks by her, pushes her slightly back into her chair with the command, “sit.”

Rarely is such creativity found in adult film.

*        *        *        *        *

The dining room sex scene, the first of three between Emma and Frederick in the film, has a special moment. Emma, who rises to leave when she realizes she cannot accommodate William Frederick’s “perverse and shocking” kinks, is frozen in her tracks by his demand to know why she came tonight. He walks over and pulls up her dress to check on the stockings, revealing Emma’s true intentions because she was under no obligation to follow his instructions. Caught like a child in a fib, she is psychologically out maneuvered.

Bending to His Will Photo courtesy of New Sensations

Bending to His Will
Photo courtesy of New Sensations

Her defenses are gone. As her face is enveloped in a confounding look of submission, desire, and desperation, Emma says with miserable weakness, “I like being in control.” But it’s futile now. She is told to disrobe and pleasure herself, this time shamelessly in a replay of the immature sexuality she hid in the darkness of her bedroom. Somehow, he knows her secret and will patiently use the rest of the film to chip away at her barriers.

William Frederick is the conductor of an orchestra that is the many layers of Emma Marx. The scene is dictated by his gentle and firm commands and her unquestioning obedience. She kneels in front of him and as ordered, places her hands behind her back as a sign of compliance, daring not to jump ahead of his baton. Softly instructing her how to use her mouth, Frederick gently holds her hair to control her rhythm.

Emma’s entire personhood is at his feet, bending to his will and tasting a desire she never knew she possessed or a new kind of love she never knew she wanted. When the pop shot arrives, Emma’s fawning eyes gaze up at Frederick while her mouth remains agape. Though formulaic in its conclusion, the scene is puppy play at its sexiest, only a collar and leash are absent.

The intensity of this scene is one of the best this reviewer has ever encountered in adult film. It is highly emotional and delivered with clarity. A haunting blend of pop and classical music flows through the sexual interplay, metaphorically reflecting Emma’s emotional turmoil and joy.

When she is orally pleasured, Emma’s fantasies suddenly become reality. In the scene’s most powerful moment, Emma is sitting open legged on the table replacing of her lover’s dinner plate. The table is long and decorated with two candles and a bottle of wine, phallic symbols for the three sexual episodes between Emma and William. The camera moves away to show that her chair to the far left is empty. Indeed, she has moved from her world into his. From now on, it will become a rocky process of refining the perversions she finds most arousing into a fresh look at what it means to be normal.

*        *        *        *        *

Foreplay for women does not always immediately precede their sexual encounters. Jacky St. James flavors Emma’s story with just such a set up that reveals how powerful the mind is in sexual desire.

In His Office Photo Courtesy of New Sensations

In His Office
Photo Courtesy of New Sensations

Emma is a work in Frederick’s office. A buzzing sound distracts the woman next to her who becomes uncomfortable and leaves. Knowing that self-pleasuring in the office via his orders is more than she can take, Emma removes the small vibrator in protest. Such an action cannot go unpunished; she is called into the boss’s office. Disgusted with her disobedience, Frederick paddles her. Striking the flesh is not shown, but the sound is deafeningly sharp. Emma’s blow by blow grimaces tell the story, emphasizing the erotic power of BDSM. In a key moment later in the film, she will admit that “deep down” in her “demented mind” she liked it.  

Not Knowing

Emma becomes immersed in Frederick’s lifestyle, but remains at a distance. She still lives with her sister, visiting him on weekends. She is getting a BDSM education and in a voice over tells the viewer that she gets off on not knowing what will come next.

Performers who shoot at Kink.com have told me that “not knowing” is part of the thrill of filming there. Dark and uncertain anticipation in a controlled environment is the excitement of BDSM. For Emma Marx, whose name aptly describes her position in their D/s relationship (the toughest submissives like the “marks” of their sexual play as badges of honor), her trust in Frederick is now the heart of their relationship.

To prepare her for her first weekend of training, Emma receives a box at work with instructions. In it is a collection of different sized butt plugs. The message is clear. Though Frederick tells her that nothing will happen between them unless she gives the okay, he does insist she will “beg” for anal play eventually. Her voice over says she can’t believe she will beg for something she doesn’t want, but she concedes that their relationship is “intoxicating.” Sex with him is “the ultimate mindfuck,” Emma admits, swirling in anticipation long before the actual sex takes place.

Little does she know.

When Emma goes upstairs to meet William, she walks past her future and its pleasures hanging on a bookshelf—whips and handcuffs.

She never notices them.

The final installment of this review is at hand. Stay tuned.


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