Tag Archives: Bound by Desire

The Personification of Allure

by Rich Moreland, February 2014

One performer’s dominating presence is felt within the pulse of the Adult Entertainment Expo. From the media room to the halls around the convention, Chanel Preston moves from one interview to another, corralled by PR reps, cameras, microphones, and journalists of every ilk. She’s stunningly gorgeous, an energized sex machine and a Spiegler girl, not to mention the co-host of this year’s Awards Show. The demand on her time and attention far outstrips any girl at this festival. But there is much more to the native Alaskan than a resume.

“Sexual Goddess,” a well-worn mythical title, is how Chanel is identified in a press release. I’ve been around porn girls for a few years now and no one has really impressed me as a goddess. That’s not a term to throw around casually.

But it fits Chanel Preston.

Chanel before the Awards Show Photo by Bill Knight

Chanel on the Red Carpet
Photo by Bill Knight

Goddesses’ have charisma, that special something that defines a woman who lights up a room with an emotional blaze that slays a million moths. Marilyn Monroe had charisma and so does Madonna. Chanel Preston, her looks, her personality and her professionalism, competes at the highest goddess level. She is the personification of an allure and magnetism that intimidates, hypnotizes, and arouses.

Crazy and Intense Adrenaline Things

After chatting in passing over a two-day period, Chanel and I finally sit down for a formal interview. Her energy drives our conversation. This 5’8” beauty thrives in an unforgiving industry that marches over the career carcasses of once star struck girls who figured anyone with a love for sex can’t miss in porn.

We talk about her film work in the BDSM genre. Chanel explains that it [BDSM] is not a part of her personal life but she does take what she learns in porn home with her and part of that is an affection for bondage play.

Talking in the media room Photo by Bill Knight

Talking in the media room
Photo by Bill Knight

“I love power play, I like switches,” Chanel says, in describing the dynamics of BDSM. She talks about having chemistry with some play partners and if it is just right, “I’m more than willing to be tied up,” she admits through a devilish smile. Chanel has her fun, of course, but BDSM “as a performance” is what excites her.

“I get off on doing really crazy and intense adrenaline things” Chanel says. “So for me, that’s like getting gang banged, I love doing that.”

This health club devotee films frequently for Kink.com in roles that are divided between submission and dominance, but admits she’s more submissive in her personal life especially if the guy is emotionally important to her.

“I do like dominant men,” she says, but prefers a bit of flexibility in their demeanor.

“I like it when a guy knows when to step back and I kind of take over a little bit,” though taking over is entirely relative.

“That doesn’t mean I have to take control over him,” Chanel declares, “that’s where the power play comes in, that back and forth.” She adds, “It makes me feel like the guy is comfortable with me and he can let go and he’s comfortable with himself.”

Maybe the best sexual lesson Chanel Preston offers everyone is being at ease and secure with yourself and your partner. It’s quite possible, in her mind, that the BDSM film genre sends this message better than any other. In fact, a youthful Chanel reinforced her belief in gender equality when she joined the wrestling team in high school.

Being told that she couldn’t became a challenge that she could.

The End of “Fifty”

The word at this year’s convention is Fifty Shades of Grey is now old news. The BDSM phenomenon is over, at least from a money-making point of view, and the likelihood the industry will increasingly invest in bondage films is not high.

As a BDSM insider, Chanel Preston references a movie she and I both know, Smash Pictures’ Bound by Desire series. The film is a “Shades of Grey type of movie where the focus wasn’t specifically on the domination but was testing the viewer’s boundaries,” she says. The idea is to use the “storyline” as an introduction to BDSM for the casual viewer.

It’s “for women who haven’t done [bondage] before but are kind of curious about it. They like the idea of it, but they don’t necessarily want to see it hardcore,” this former stripper says.

A fun moment in Bound by Desire Photo courtesy of Smash Pictures

A fun moment in Bound by Desire
Photo courtesy of Smash Pictures

I mention performers who shoot at San Francisco’s Kink.com where the BDSM landscape is true to the lifestyle and suggest that when shooting a bondage movie for anyone else it must seem pretty tame for a performer.

Chanel laughs, pointing out that “to us, it does feel really silly, but if I had no experience with it, maybe it wouldn’t,” a recognition that everyone’s tastes are different.

“But because I’ve had so much experience with it, it’s a little goofy.”  She laughs.

But isn’t sex supposed to be fun?

Porn as Art

As we move through our interview, I ask Chanel Preston about porn as art (it is, she says) and porn performers as artists (they are, is her response). She describes working with different director types, some of whom stick closely to the script and others who get more creative.

“You can tell when you work with [a director] to what degree they feel like they are an artist,” Chanel says. “For some it’s a true creation and they have an actual passion for it [and] for getting their vision to the viewer.”

Mentally sorting through some of the directors I know, I cannot disagree.

I’m left with one more thought.

My guess is that Chanel Preston is going to expand upon her own directing ideas in time and hopefully write a few scripts. Porn fans can rest assured that it will all be accomplished with merriment and lots of exhaustive sex to push every assortment of envelopes a little further.

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Submission Pornography

by Rich Moreland, August, 2013

Rarely do I publish a precursor to a film review, but this time it’s needed. Look for the movie’s full analysis soon.

The Submission of Emma Marx, an engaging film from New Sensations, is in the vanguard of a budding adult film genre. The movie establishes a style of pornography that is romantic and erotic with a hardcore kick of dominance and submission (D/s) that satisfies a woman’s desires.

Emma presents an updated take on an old theme that was once, by virtue of the delicacy of the female sex, considered to be exclusively a male fantasy. In a 1920s classic stag film called An English Tragedy, a jilted boyfriend captures his ex and ties her spreadeagled for his sexual thrills. It’s a revenge tale and she doesn’t have fun. A decade or so later, a terrified Fay Wray is bound between two pillars in a blockbuster known as King Kong. She’s a sacrificial offering the island natives string up for the big ape. The twist is the “beast” falls in love and gives his all for the “beauty” in a fatal plunge from the Empire State Building. Both films are love stories with strong bondage overtones.

In neither of these productions, one underground and the other legit, is the woman as victim expected to be sexually aroused.

Dancing on the doorstep of the explicit sex era, naked women are tortured for male sophomoric jollies in sexploitation films like White Slaves of Chinatown (1964) and Love Camp 7 (1968). Referred to as roughies and kinkies, these movies are high camp soft core at its most brutal. Nary a girl has fun except when it comes to settling the score.

In 1975, a harsh BDSM tale hit the big screen, the film version of the French novel, The Story of O. Society’s proper decorum insisted that women were not to like this soft core fictional account of abuse for abuse’s sake, sexual slavery under the lash. But it, too, is a love story and O can always walk away. BDSMers call it consensuality, though Webster doesn’t recognize the term. Adult film responds the same year with a Gerard Damiano O knockoff called The Story of Joanna, a movie remembered more for the legendary Jamie Gillis than its combo of bondage (which is pretty tame) and sex. Incidentally, like O, Joanna (played by Terri Hall) emerges as the narrative’s strongest character.

Fast forward to the second decade of the twenty-first century and the print sensation, Fifty Shades of Grey. At long last, female desire is validated, albeit in a semi-desperate “must reform him” setting that finds excuses for the perverted male. Liking BDSM for its own sake, you see, is still troublesome. Nevertheless, Fifty jarred the submission door open for adult film. Women who previously did not buy into the dungeon of discipline and pain are now willing to take a second look at D/s sex in the name of love, sacrifice, and dark pleasure.

Though adult film’s road to the BDSM Land of Oz remains a slogging trek, the horizon is brightening. In this century, Porn Valley’s passable blindfolds and light floggings are now counterbalanced with a rough and tumble niche product from San Francisco’s internet giant, Kink.com. But where does this leave female viewers and couples who like a bit of romance with their soft corded flogger?

Enter a diminutive girl named Emma.

Emma Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Thoughtful in Her Pleasures
Photo courtesy of Jeff Koga

Written from a hetero female standpoint, The Submission of Emma Marx introduces a woman’s take on romance with a powerfully kinky flavor. The movie experiments with the midway point between the psychological tension and passion of sex women embrace and the stark “beat and punish” fantasy of Kink.com.

This new type of porn succeeds with solid storytelling and creative directing. However, the vital ingredient is the female protagonist. She must be vulnerable, assertive, relish her discipline as a prelude to sex, have real orgasms, and never lose the power of her character, a tall order for any girl. This is where Emma Marx shines. The energetic Penny Pax, trained in BDSM performances at Kink.com, is an authentic star in a business that too often proclaims every girl a star. She is superlative in a beautiful narrative.

By the way, Emma Marx is not alone in its exploration of submission pornography. Smash Pictures’ Bound by Desire series adds its voice to the field. But for now, New Sensations leads the pack in this new genre with a finely crafted film that is as much art as it is steamy sex.

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Her Trampy Best

by Rich Moreland, June 2013

Note: The history of BDSM porn dates to the “porno chic” era. Films like The Story of Joanna (1975) and A Coming of Angels (1977) are classics featuring the late Jaime Gillis who liked his women submissive. Hardcore sex is blended with bondage to titillate viewers whose taste ran in that direction.

Onto the soft-core scene came the French film The Story of O in 1975, a dark tale of submission based the novel of the same name. The film addresses deeply hidden taboos within polite culture at the time.

From the mid-1980s through much of the 1990s, the feds cracked down on pornographers and the worry over violence and penetrative sex on-screen took center stage. When whips and floggers are the basis for a film of that era, their use is fairly light and explicit sex is avoided. The work of filmmakers like Fred Lincoln, Ernest Green, and Bruce Seven was seductive at that time, but tame compared with today’s new horizons in the BDSM adult genre.

The new century is moving to the ultimate— heavy fetish mixed with acrobatic hardcore sex. The standard now emanates from San Francisco’s Kink.com. But not everyone is into Kink’s extreme filming. Roughing up women in an atmosphere of apparent humiliation is not on everyone’s viewing guide, especially couples who share their porn interests with each other.

With the film Bound by Desire, Smash Pictures is tinkering with a new formula for romance and flogging, kisses and ball gags, all complimented with penetrative sex. Perfect for the couples market, it presents women expressing their desires and facing the contradictions within them. A bit of character development emerges and gives reasons for the on-screen sex, a rarity to today’s gonzo porn market. In short, the old adage “You always hurt the one you love,” cannot be more intimate!

Bound By Desire Front

*          *          *          *          *

Degrees of Commitment

In the opening scene of Bound by Desire, Part 1: A Leap of Faith, Elexis Monroe is preparing to receive the attentions of Evan Stone.

She’ll be tied face down on a bed, flogged, and caressed. All the while, a mounted camera that is part of the cast is across the room picking up the action.

Who are Elexis and Evan—husband and wife, horny neighbors, members of a bondage club?

Elexis at first appears uneasy. “Let’s just do it,” she says to Evan, dropping her robe. The action accelerates and Elexis’ guilt-ridden ecstasy, simultaneously intriguing and troubling her, peeks through. Her sex with Evan is anticipation stroked by nagging doubts. Is she having too much fun in something that is over-the-top kinky?

As the scene heats up, the camera moves to Elexis’ face. Her wantonness draws the viewer into the authenticity of a BDSM encounter while posing the question that lies at the heart of this provocative film. Is a BDSM relationship normal?

For Elexis and Evan, apparently it is. Their hard sex establishes the tone of submission that is the centrality of this film. It will play out in the lives of three women, each with varying degrees of commitment to the BDSM fetish.

Let’s Go Play

The BDSM lifestyle involves giving oneself over to the fetish. It’s never an easy decision. Though a master-slave relationship can be sweetly and sexually tantalizing, red flags of fear and weirdness flutter in minds of all BDSMers. After all, they dwell on the margins of cultural acceptability. What would the neighbors think if they found out?

First, there is Chanel Preston, eager for discipline, punishment, and rough sex. She is Evan Stone’s wife and from the outset it’s evident that she is powerful, dictating to those around her. Chanel’s kitchen conversation with her husband establishes that they are in this together. As the viewer will see later, Evan does his wife’s bidding, a seeming contradiction to her role as the submissive in their relationship, but not an unusual circumstance in the world of tops and bottoms.

The Controller Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

The Powerful
Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

Over dinner with Evan, Richie Calhoun, and Casey Calvert, Chanel is haughty and mocking toward Casey, the second woman in this story. Chanel tells the shy, reticent girl that it’s exciting to be shared with other men when your master insists. Chanel teasingly asks Casey if she has ever been dommed by Ryan Driller, a man who “collects” women to punish.

“No, I never subbed for him,” she responses quietly, as if under an interrogation.

To stir the atmosphere, Chanel takes charge of the table conversation for Casey’s benefit and her own ultimate pleasure. Evan takes the hint. Turning to Richie, who is sitting next to Casey, he says,

“Sir, do me the honor of beating my wife.”

Triumphant, Chanel responds enthusiastically, “Let’s go play!”

As the scene with Chanel cranks up, the punishment meted out is a BDSM delight. Evan binds his wife to the bed, applies a flogger to parts of her body, then pauses to watch Richie work on her with a riding crop. The red marks on Chanel blister the room with anticipation for the sex. Chanel’s oral performance on Richie is superb, and that’s for starters.

A licentious seductress who plays the males for her own pleasure, Chanel’s carnality feeds theirs. Her eyes exude raw sexuality. Like Elexis in the first sex scene, Chanel Preston is worth the price of this DVD.

Meek and Submissive

On the other hand, Casey’s situation plagues her with nagging uncertainty. Does she want the rough and tumble lifestyle with Richie? He’s collared her, an expression of affection among BDSMers, securing her devotion to do his bidding. Plans are validated that Casey is to be given to Richie’s friends so that they might sample what he experiences. But contradiction fills the air.

Meek and submissive, Casey is the perfect slave who is unconvinced of her part in her emotional bargain with Richie. An older and wiser Evan understands her emotional dilemma and knows how to heighten a woman’s sexual excitement. Sexuality is brain based, after all, and words fuel desire.

The Unconvinced Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

The Doubter
Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

“Do you like the attention you get from your master by doing exactly what he tells you?” Evan asks Casey in the hallway outside the dining room.

“Yes,” she responds softly. Her slightly stooped shoulders are an open book of submission.

“Women need discipline,” he tells her with a firm, quiet voice, knowing that words that offend most women, excite slave sluts.

Casey’s is uneasy. Haunted by visions of what she perceives “normal” to be, a loving vanilla courtship, she has doubts about life with Richie. How can she reconcile these contradictory feelings?

Casey turns to the one friend she believes can reinforce her ideas of romance, a head-over-heels in love Allie Haze, who is absorbed in changing her dominant boyfriend, Ryan Driller.

Vanilla Flavored Bondage?

Enter girl number three. Allie Haze is enjoying lots of rollicking sex in Bound by Desire—the ice cream scene (vanilla flavored, of course) is not to be missed—but there are growing hints that her lover has not yet thrown off his BDSM urges. To complicate Allie’s feelings, one of Ryan’s subs, Teal Conrad, is strapped to a St. Andrew’s Cross and flogged, while Allie, bound to a spanking bench in the scene, looks on. Once again director Powers focuses on the expressions of both women. Watching Teal flinch under the flogger’s impact, Allie is not sure she’s reformed Ryan, or that she personally has parted ways with BDSM’s haunting allure.

The Reformer Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

The Reformer
Photo Courtesy of Smash Pictures

To reinforce the cottage-in-the-country romance Casey thinks she wants, director Powers introduces Kimmy Olsen and Danny Wylde who perform run-of-the-mill boy/girl sex. Though not the hottest in the film, the scene does drive home the definition of “normal” and serves to move the story forward. By the way, Kimmy is cute as a button, pleasant on the eyes, and orally talented to boot.

The drama is now in focus. Casey’s thoughts drift into the wonderland of love that supposedly defines what a woman wants. But does it work for every woman? And, is it really for her?

Two Sexual Worlds

In a beautifully directed masturbation scene, Jim Powers captures the essence of Bound by Desire. Up to her neck in water, Casey relaxes in a bathtub and pleasures herself. As her arousal increases, Casey’s hips and body rise slowly above the waterline. This is a symbolic rebirth reminiscent of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, a goddess emerging from the sea. Casey’s sexuality is “cumming” out again from the watery womb of its original being. This time she is destined to be swept into the whirlpool of dominance and submission where all is not what it seems to be.

This episode also speaks for the film’s women. They are re-energizing their own sexual experiences. Chanel relishes her journey; Allie believes she has found her way, while Casey takes hesitating steps.

Using her nasty submissiveness as female empowerment, Chanel calls the shots with Evan, getting what she wants. Allie’s gushing relationship with Ryan, fueled by school girl love, is headed for a BDSM train wreck she thinks she can negotiate. Casey’s doubts and fears conflict with her desires. She wants the love and trust she believes Allie has found. Unnerved by the prospect of being whored out by Richie and equally hesitant around Chanel, the conflicted Casey is drawn to both like a moth to light.

How best to cope? Pleasure yourself and prepare. As the film’s centerpiece, Casey symbolically teeters between two sexual worlds, vanilla and fetish, knowing that the latter’s seductive powers will likely win out.

Part Two will tell that tale. Will Allie, who is farthest from the BDSM fold, be secured into the fetish? Will Casey join Chanel’s commitment to submissive pleasures? And the camera, the sentinel that captures every encounter, what is it all about? Who is filming these scenes, an underground cult of sadists and masochists, the neighbors next door indulging their passions, or a curious Evan and Chanel?

Final Thoughts

The BDSM scenes presented in Bound by Desire include the interpersonal affections that BDSMers revere in their play. In the flogging scene with Teal, Ryan holds her hand briefly as he applies the leather to her butt; Evan caresses Elexis after spanking her; kissing is evident throughout all the scenes, despite the presence of an accoutrement BDSMers adore, ball gags. Followers of bondage and discipline express themselves emotionally in ways not always understood by mainstream culture, reminding the viewer that in vanilla adult film intimacy is not always assured.

On a technical note, the film’s BDSM rigging comes via the talented John Wilkes of John Wilkes Photography. His handiwork is precise and clean, adding an artistic touch to the production.

Finally, the women are superb; each is at her trampy best. Chanel Preston demonstrates why she has been selected as a host for the upcoming 2014 AVN Awards. Allie Haze, who won two best actress awards in 2013, is the perfect choice for the sweet girl who wants to reform her boyfriend and Kimmy Olsen fills the straight sex bill to a tee. To balance a youthful Kimmy, veteran Elexis Monroe gets this reviewer’s vote for the hottest, filthiest close-ups during a sex scene ever. Powers makes the viewer want to dive in on the action.

When Part 2 arrives, perhaps Casey Calvert will turn in a performance that tops them all.

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