Tag Archives: Mercy West

The Meaning of Consent: Beginning

by Rich Moreland, February 2016

In light of the widely reported James Deen/Stoya incident, I decided to investigate the issue of sexual consent in adult film with the understanding that their dustup was largely off camera. Performers with whom I talked agreed that the affair was personal and passing judgment on the couple was not something anyone wanted to do.

Stoya and James Photo courtesy of AVN

Stoya and James
Photo courtesy of AVN

However, everyone has an opinion on how to deal with consent. Here’s what became evident.

The Director

Directors are sensitive about issues on their sets and having performers know what to expect in a shoot is important to them. From the other side of the camera, there is a tacit understanding among talent that porn is a unique business and anyone who is paid for sex acts on film knows (or should know) what they have signed up for.

Performers indicated that directors let them find their own comfort level, though sometimes what they get excited about sexually may exceed what the company is good to go with. In those cases, directors rein in the action to conform to protocol. This is especially true when dealing with BDSM.

On the other hand, no one I interviewed indicated that directors blatantly looked the other way for the sake of getting a scene that will sell. Simply put, good directors adhere to performer limits.

No Means No

All performers, regardless of their time in the business, feel the need to discuss their limits with their co-stars.

Therefore . . .

No means no, period. Performers can’t stress this enough. Boundaries and limits can be pushed, quite often subtly, and veteran models will raise a red flag when situations get dicey.

The sticking point, however, is that boundaries are a matter of interpretation because limits differ from person to person. Nevertheless, performers are on board with the following:

When a model heads for home after a work day, any second thoughts she might have about what went on in front of the camera presents a problem that demands attention. This situation is deeply personal to performers because most have been there before which brings us to another commonality everyone shares.

Easy Targets

Newcomers need to be informed about what to anticipate before ever stripping down for the camera. In particular, girls who enter the business at the earliest possible age should be educated about establishing their boundaries and how to stop the action if they are violated.

This is important because neophytes don’t know what to expect. “Barely legal” girls just out of high school have never had a real job before, especially one in which big bucks are made quickly.  They want work as much as they can, in effect becoming easy targets for excesses.

Fortunately, some experienced performers step in to mentor fresh faces, reinforcing the linchpin of a successful porn career: taking personal responsibility for what happens on a set.

One more point. In the last few years porn talent has organized a self-help group, APAC (Adult Performer Advocacy Committee). Part of its mission is to offer newcomers a road map into the business.

Final Thought

The Deen/Stoya situation has opened a discussion and the blog posts that follow are industry voices who were forthright, painting the consent picture with their own colorful palette. Their perspectives are as diverse as porn itself.

I thank everyone who talked with me and must say I was impressed with their honesty.

Enjoy the posts.

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I’ve tackled this subject in previous posts and encourage checking out the views of Natasha Nice, Ela Darling, and Mercy West. Just type in “consent” in the search box above and the articles will show up.

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The Adrenaline and the Terror

by Rich Moreland, August, 2015

For the present, this is the last in the Mercy West series. Here’s hoping she will talk with us again soon. 🙂

*          *          *

The start of a long day Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

The start of a long day
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

“Just hearing someone using it sends shivers down my spine.”

Mercy West is on the set of Hardtied and the day is getting long. But no worry, it’s all good.

*          *          *


Some years ago when Kink.com established the practice of pre and post-shoot interviews, the reasoning was simple: avoid obscenity charges. The best way to deflect the law was to demonstrate that the model was fully in control of her cognitive awareness, consenting to everything and having fun.

At first, tears were avoided because of the impression that the girl was in pain. After several performers said that crying was their natural response to the intense pleasure created by their fetish, that restriction was set aside.

Within the BDSM community negotiations are always precursors before anybody does anything to anyone. What are the player’s limits and what will happen during the scene? Kink follows this standard as do the other BDSM-oriented porn companies.

Getting ready for the pre-shoot interview Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Getting ready for the pre-shoot interview
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Mercy West gives us an inside look at similar preparation at Intersec, the company that runs the Hardtied site. She’s punished to the extreme, as is her desire.

“The general public isn’t aware of the negotiations that go into professional BDSM scenes,” Mercy begins. What is on-screen for commercial purposes doesn’t reveal the work that leads up to the shoot. There are emails and phone calls that fill the weeks before the actual filming date arrives.

Before she arrived in Oakland for each of her Intersec appearances, Mercy talked with the directors.

“How I was feeling, where my head was, and what I was prepared for,” she relates.

This is important because uncertainty can slow everyone down “if limits aren’t laid out,” Mercy says. Some directors and crew will “tiptoe around talking about the hard stuff” on set and when they finally get to it’s a little late.

It’s the same with submissives or bottoms. Mercy feels comfortable with “full disclosure” and emphasizes there are no “stupid questions” with BDSM play.


An in-person interview on shooting day lays everything out. Though the Intersec folks had a written list of her limits, they insisted that she state them on camera.

“They wanted me to talk about how I was excited to be there and it was of my own free will, that I am aware that the activities are the same as in Hollywood . . . it’s acting. I choose to participate in what they want and I’m not coerced in any way.

They’re basically covering their asses which I can definitely understand. I am sure it all has to do with lawyers and things that may have happened in the past.”

Post-shoot and ready for the interview Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Post-shoot and ready for the interview
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

“As far as prerecorded interviews and interviews after and the type of questions they ask,” Mercy says, procedures vary from company to company. As would be expected, “the post-shoot debriefing” is held after the performer “calms down and takes a breather.”

From her experience with rough bondage scenes, Mercy’s recovery time is fairly short.

“I’m normally pretty smiley and bubbly and happy because it just feels amazing and I love it. I really think they like to show that.”

The twenty-five-year-old is making a name for herself as a submissive who can take it, but mentions that not all porn models are cut from the same BDSM cloth.

“Everybody processes things differently. A lot of girls can seem really sad or be totally unenergetic and very out of it. That’s fine, there is no wrong way to do it, but it might not come off as well [on film]. It’s just not visually pleasing.”

For BDSMers who lean toward masochism, the issue of subspace sometimes arises. Endorphins that elevate the senses while outflanking awareness can be a safety concern so models are carefully monitored as the scene progresses.

Later subdrop, or the crash after the rush, occurs. For some submissives, it can be immediate causing them to be “sort of shy and standoffish,” Mercy says. But that is not who she is.

“When I come out of a scene, I am fully of energy. I’m jumping up and down.” She confesses, “I have such a big smile on my face it’s hard for me to get the words out sometimes.”

But the 5’2” bondage sweetie can’t entirely escape the emotional letdown.

“Generally the subdrop comes . . . way later [for me] sometimes, but definitely not right after [the scene]” she explains. “So the interview with me and the debriefing is important because some people have really strong reactions and I’m one of those people.”

Weaving Terrors into Pleasure

Back to the set and Mercy’s dom in the shoot, Jack Hammer, has his upcoming treat for her. Later she recalled what happened.

“I’m terrified of the single tail whip. I love it, it feels really great. I like having it used on me, but I’m terrified of it and it just makes me tremble. Before Jack brought it to use on me, he started just whipping the air and sort of walking around. I started to lose it.”

Terror takes over Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

Terror takes over
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

She is suspended in a chest harness, dangling from the ceiling on tiptoe, giving her wiggle room to highlight her fear, but disallowing escape.

It’s the kind of predicament that sells the shoot to Hardtied fans.

“I started to lose it and bawl uncontrollably before he even touched me.”

To intensify matters, the workday is wrapping up.

“It was the last shoot of the day,” she recalls. “This was the last section [of the scene] and I was totally exhausted but I lost it . . . because in the moment I wasn’t thinking I am on a stage, performing, giving people what they want.”

As the fatigue sets in, Mercy begins to weave the tension into her ecstasy.

Coping with the terror Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

Coping with the terror
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

“Oh no, that man has a big whip and he knows how to use it and he wants to hurt me.” She thinks, “I’m trapped!” The excitement increases because none of it is being done to her “in a bad way.” she says.

Swirling emotions in a cauldron of pleasure and pain integrates the staged fantasy into a sensual experience.

“That’s what goes through my head when I’m playing,” Mercy concedes. “That is the sort of space that I want to be in. The adrenaline and the terror and I know I’m safe. I know I’m not going to become injured in a way that I don’t approve of or that is really terrible.”

Record the Marks

For non-BDSMers, it’s a hard sell, but Mercy is reassuring. “I know that I am safe so I can let my mind go to those places. I can let that fear bleed out of me.”

It’s also a statement of why so much care goes into a sexuality charged play scene that comes across as abuse for those who want to see it that way. Mercy explains, “It’s why the debriefing is important because they like to have performers elaborate when things like that happen.”

Checking the marks Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Checking the marks
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Companies want models to be honest. They will say, “You were crying not because we are holding you here and forcing you to go through these things, but because it excites you and was very overwhelming and you get emotional when you play.”

She is delighted to tell the interviewer that she was not coerced, had a safe word to use if she wished, and “was in total control of the situation.”

Of course, BDSM shooters always walk a legal fine line. Some studios do a full body scan “to record the marks so they have on camera what they did and how you looked after the shoot,” Mercy says. It’s evidence, quite frankly.

The director and crew ask the model to walk, lift her arms and legs. Mercy doesn’t mind. It’s for everybody benefit.

“It makes me feel like they are on top of things.”

No doubt, everybody’s got a lawyer . . .

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Making the Decision

by Rich Moreland, August 2015

Mercy West talks race and her first on-screen penetration.

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Getting into adult film is a process. No one recommends jumping into hardcore without preparation. Some performers and agents suggest taking it slowly. Begin by doing a little research to get a handle on what is expected. Next go with nude modeling, progress to web camming and follow that with some girl-on-girl before taking the step into hardcore.

Some girl/girl camming Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Some girl/girl camming
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

The watchword in the business is to always hold something back. Don’t take on everything at once because it short changes the future. In Mercy’s case she wasn’t reticent about BDSM because it is a natural for her. Right now, her hold back is anal which she may put off for some time to come.

Then there is interracial. Needless to say, some models have careers that never include anal or interracial. Others have no problem with it, but like to delay their first IR shoot until their fans demand something new.

In Casey Calvert’s career, she built her brand before doing her first IR gangbang and superstar Allie Haze did her first anal scene after years in the business. The pre-shoot hype guaranteed fan interest.

Allie Haze Photo courtesy of Naughty America

Allie Haze
Photo courtesy of Naughty America

It’s marketing, pure and simple.

Men of Color

However, when it comes to men of color, the story is a bit different.

For Mercy, performing with African-Americans is seamless and she is perplexed about the never-ending dust-up over race in the industry.

Before her Hardtied shoot, Mercy mentions that Jack Hammer, an African-American performer who works the site, will take her on. “Everything is coming up roses and the thorns feel lovely,” is her response to the prospect.

Later, she adds with anticipation, “Feeling really tense / nervous / excited about my shoot with Jack Hammer tomorrow. I think it’s going to go really well. I’m just not exactly sure what he has in store. All I know is that it’s probably going to be one of the most intense fucking things I ever do.”

Then race creeps into the conversation and Mercy remembers talking with some industry people.

“I was abruptly informed in a dressing room one day that not only was I making the decision to have sex with a big cock and a kinky cock… But I was also making the decision to sleep with a black man. It honestly never crossed my mind when I was considering Hardtied.”

With America’s demographic shift creating a more multicultural nation, Mercy’s naivete reveals something important. Young people are rewriting a portion of the American saga in which acceptance of differences is broader than ever before.

“I didn’t even realize that interracial was still a thing! I get the feeling that it’s one of those ‘that’s the way it has always been, so no one really talks about it,’” Mercy says. “Interracial is a genre and as a phone sex operator I learned quickly that taboos are usually the things that really get people off.”

Despite the no-no attached to black/white sex, Mercy doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. “It’s kind of crazy that white girls and black guys or vice-versa is still somewhat considered a taboo.” Then, she adds, cryptically. “While working on the phone I realized it’s mainly a taboo for middle-aged conservative straight guys.”

There you have it.

Excellent Chemistry

Mercy describes her first on-screen penetration.

“I was up on a pedestal with my legs in the butterfly position and my arms in strappado.”

Mercy and Jack Photo courtesy of Intersec

Mercy and Jack
Photo courtesy of Intersec

Oral preceded it, she says, but it was awkward, not because of the bondage tie, but because of her limitations. “I was suspended from the ceiling on my stomach [which was positioned] on a box.” I had my arms tied behind me and my legs in a hog tie.”

Visually, Mercy doesn’t feel the oral went well. “I’m not really into deep throating . . . I have a tiny mouth and I felt he was a little frustrated after while.” She performed fine, Mercy says, but “it just didn’t go down my throat . . . I don’t have that much mouth.” And, Jack is not small.

Incidentally, the sex isn’t the highlight of most BDSM shoots because it’s the fetish that brings in the customer dollars. Mercy remarks, “I feel like the website doesn’t focus much on the sex, it is more on the rope.” In other words, in her first boy/girl, the sex was secondary and fit in with what she’s accustomed to doing.

“I liked it a lot, actually. It wasn’t far from things that I would do in my real life with someone who is topping me with rope. That’s why I picked this shoot, it was wonderful. I truly, truly enjoyed it.”

The diminutive bondage wench comments on a part of the shoot she believes came out artistically well. Jack was behind her, crouching over with the ever reliable Hitachi and grabbing her hair.

Hitachi at work (slightly out of view) Photo courtesy of Intersec

Hitachi at work (slightly out of view)
Photo courtesy of Intersec

“It looked really nice because he is a giant human being compared to me. It was visually very pleasing. I hope to work with him again, we had excellent chemistry.”

Scream, Curse, and Cry

Crying is normal for Mercy. “It doesn’t take that much for me to cry and I think that is why BDSM people like dealing with me.” She good with pain and can take the marks.

“There was lots of caning,” she says with a smile. “Jack lifted my legs up and caned me quite a bit. That is where the worst marks were, on the back of my thighs, those soft, tender, mushy parts that sadists really love.”

Mercy just let everything flow. “I know I’m in an environment where I am able to twitch, scream, curse, cry, do whatever. I feel like I can take what is given me and deal with it.”

Like all bondage performers, Mercy appreciates the safety of the set. Her personal life offers challenges on two levels that the studio avoids. “I can’t be too loud because my neighbors will hear me. I can’t squirm too much because the restraints will come loose.” Intersec’s warehouse, like Kink.com’s Armory, takes care of that.

Tears in her TopGirl shoot with Bella Rossi Photo courtesy of Intersec

Tears in her TopGirl shoot with Bella Rossi
Photo courtesy of Intersec

“I can react any way that I want and it’s all right and I can be as loud as I want and thrash and do whatever. I can just put up with it [the pain] and feel really good about it after it is done.”

Summing up, Mercy says the intensity turns her on. “Not having to hold back makes me want to be pushed even further.”

Of course, as with all BDSMers, she faces the ultimate moment. She wants to know “how intense my reactions can be before I call red.”

Who knows at this time? One thing, though, our cutie is headed to Kink.com one of these days and will gain more knowledge about her personal limits.


A final comment is due on Mercy West. She confesses that playing in the BDSM scene is emotional. “I get to a certain point when I’m worn down and tired and in a lot of pain.” The thoughts that flood her mind are not the best, she admits, though she is doing exactly what she wants and loving it. Yet, she is “emotionally raw” which leaves her vulnerable.

Aftercare in her Pain Toy shoot Photo courtesy of Pain Toy

Photo courtesy of Mercy West

That is “my pleasure and my ecstasy,” she says, and she knows she can handle it. “It’s all fun times. It’s good stuff.”

However, there is a vital ingredient in the BDSM community that submissives appreciate, aftercare. It means everything to Mercy.

“You know someone is there to be nice and cuddle me and make me tea afterward. So, it’s great, it’s perfect. I get to feel emotional release and sexual release and all that good stuff wrapped up into one.”

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I Never quite Know

by Rich Moreland, August, 2015

The Mercy West story continues.

*          *          *

Mercy West Photo courtesy of Hardtied

Absolutely Wonderful
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

“It was wonderful. It was absolutely wonderful.”

A smiling Mercy West sits on a towel with sections of rope scattered on the floor around her (she was hogtied and suspended from the ceiling). Rope impressions on her ankles can’t hide the pleasure she’s just experienced from her kinks. Her butt sports a submissive’s thrill, cane marks. An orgasm went along with the show.

grunge girl poster

Titled “Grunge Girl,” the Hardtied shoot runs for about an hour and puts Mercy through her paces. It’s her first hardcore penetration scene in adult film. She is whipped, performs oral sex, and is vaginally penetrated (she doesn’t do anal at this point in her career). Her Dom is Jacky Hammer.

The producer of Mercy’s shoot is Intersec Interactive Inc. Located in Oakland, California, the parent company of Hardtied is run by Matt Williams who once worked for rival Kink.com across the bay.

For each of its five websites (the others are TopGirl, Infernal Restraints, Real Time Bondage, and Sexually Broken), Intersec uses the Kink model of pre and post shoot interviews to introduce the performer and ameliorate criticism from those who see bondage shoots as degrading and abusing to women.

A Bondage Disneyland?

Things are not what they seem to be when it comes to BDSM porn Photo courtesy of Intersece

Things are always not what they seem to be
Photo courtesy of Intersec

Here’s a little post-shoot info for those who need reassurance that Mercy has her wits about her and is cool with her experience. She spoke at length with me about it.

Everything went well, she says. “I really can’t think of too much that didn’t go how I wanted it to go. Working with Jack was really nice.”

Each time she’s gone to Intersec, excitement and a positive nervousness abound.

“It’s like taking a trip to Disneyland as much as it is a job like the others I do on a daily basis in adult. I really, really love working with them. The atmosphere in the studio is impeccable, everyone seems to get along. Everyone is respectful.”

Bondage porn is Mercy’s magic. “I’m working with the type of people that I’ve interacted with since I decided to put myself in the kink community.” But, she adds, “I’m always a little nervous because I never quite know exactly what’s in store.”

Shooting with Bella Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Shooting with Bella
Photo courtesy of Intersec

And that’s exciting because Mercy knows at Intersec she is watched over and respected. The studio’s directors–she’s fond of Jack Hammer and Bella Rossi, in particular–work within her personal limits, as is expected in the BDSM community. Jack’s shoot had a “pretty girl” theme and after she picked out an appropriate outfit, the stills were taken.

Instead of relying on “screen shots from the actual video,” companies like Intersec “take the time of take good ones,” Mercy says.

Artistic Still from Infernal Restraints Photo courtesy of Intesec

Erotic Art
Photo courtesy of Intesec

From her experience, some studios may break the action to take 35s or “have someone using photography equipment during the filming to capture moments” outside of the typical screen shot. The petite model compliments studios that focus on good stills because they tend to be artistic, thus “falling under the category of erotic art.” The best ones are “absolutely stunning” and can easily end up as website banners and adverts, she believes.

After a second thought, Mercy humorously back tracks. “I could be wrong and people could just be jerking off to them!”

That’s quite likely.

Nevertheless, she’s pleased with hers. They have “more of an artistic intent than purely pornographic one,” she concludes.

Now to the Details

Rain Degrey before one of her Intersec Shoots Photo courtesy of Intersec

Rain Degrey ready for an Intersec Shoot
Photo courtesy of Intersec

Mercy enjoys the travel that reconnects her with people in the business. When she goes to Oakland, bondage superstar Rain DeGrey, an Intersec recruiter and still active model, picks her up at the airport. Arriving this time for Hardtied, Mercy circulated as usual, carefully avoiding anyone who was busy. “There are always people running in and out” and if they have a moment or two they will “say hello and ask how I’ve been,” she says.

A few days before her arrival, Mercy phoned Jack “about limits and ideas and clothing,” what they would have done if they were negotiating a scene at a club.

It’s a process Mercy knows.

“I’m used to talking to the person I’m playing with before hand to get a feel for their personality and for what they’re looking for. I’d already met Jack twice, first on my Infernal Restraints shoot and again at my TopGirl shoot.” She is comfortable with him, she says, he is “a really diverse performer.” Incidentally, Mercy was careful to make sure he liked her outfit.

Jack at work. The outfit passed inspection! Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

The outfit passed inspection!
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Because the scene was her first boy/girl, Mercy’s nerves were like her body, tied up . . . but less than if she’d been shooting for another company. “I couldn’t have felt better about the whole situation.” Not surprising, the adrenaline was pumping. “It really is a drug,” she exclaims, that undoubtedly enhanced her pleasure.

“After the initial interview on camera, we started to work things out and I got into my first position.” As the shoot progressed, Mercy mentions she did not “have to be taken out too many times.” Models get safewords to use when issues arise because BDSM is hard on the body and brain. Some performers, especially those derisively referred to as “LA porn girls,” are not accustomed to the stresses of the fetish.

Mercy knows about the bondage scene; pornwise, she is not in it solely for the paycheck.

Rope bondage, especially strappado, and suspension can be uncomfortable if not rigged properly. Models must be aware of their bodies and even the best like Casey Calvert and the now retired Bobbi Starr would agree with Mercy that nothing should be “tingly” or “falling asleep.” Make sure “you have feeling everywhere,” Mercy says.

Rope Work Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Rope Work can create a tingly feeling
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Intersec is awareness personified. The director and crew monitor the set closely which makes our short-haired bondage babe feel safe. “We did three or four different sections and I was taken out at least two times in each tie just to give me a break and to last longer.”

Making sure Mercy isn't in a tie too long! Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Making sure Mercy is satisfied
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Though Mercy admits “there is a certain amount of performance” in her shoots, “being submissive” has its own particular pleasures. Unfortunately, there is the “subspace” issue which can be risky for some performers. “Sometimes you can get into that headspace and not be completely paying attention to your limbs and your digits.” In fact, Mercy believes “It is really easy to get lost in subspace and if you are actually into bondage and S&M, not just modeling or pretending to be into it, working with experienced kinksters just feels so comfortable.”

A Reality Check

Mercy does remember one surprise. A nylon stocking cap was put over her head. “I didn’t realize it until it happened and I was being walked out on stage. Of course, they had asked me and I agreed—I just didn’t think twice about it.” Next a “tape gag” was put around her mouth and “a tape blindfold over the nylon.”

Stocking cap and gag Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

Stocking cap and tape in the hands of Jack Hammer
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.cm

“I had never been blindfolded and gagged at the same time,” she says and momentarily she felt like she was in over her head, as the old saying goes. Focusing on the sensation “a little too much, I stopped,” Mercy remembers, “shook my head a little bit to get myself straight. Jack grabbed onto me and made sure I was okay.”

‘“Are you all right? I got you. Is everything all right?’”

“I took a breather and he asked if I needed to be taken out of the gag and out of the blindfold. I just stood there and everything was fine. The moment I heard his voice, ready to do whatever I needed, I was immediately calmed down and sort of gave him the ‘let’s go forward.’ When they yelled action and everything went on as planned.”

Looking back, Mercy declares, “I needed a little reality check [which turned out] absolutely beautiful, I really needed that wonderful communication.”

The value of experience in the BDSM play scene is priceless and a lesson for everyone who doubts sane people engage in the fetish. Speaking of Intersec, Mercy says, “I feel like I am completely in control and that they are in control of themselves and aware of the situation.” Good news because her first on-film penetration, breaking her porn cherry as they say in the business, went really well.

*          *          *

Mercy West is not finished at Intersec because she wants to shoot for each of their sites. “They are totally attentive, extremely friendly and I just love working there. I can’t wait to go back. I would love, love, love to do Real Time Bondage. . . that would be one of the most intense things that I have ever done.”

Before the shoot Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

Maybe Real Time Bondage is next?
Photo courtesy of Hardtied.com

What makes that site so special?

“They say it’s about four and a half hours straight of live streaming with tiny breaks in-between,” Mercy exclaims with delight.

Sounds good to her fans, they’ll be ready to watch this bondage slut take it all in.

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by Rich Moreland, August, 2015

This is the sixth installment of the Mercy West narrative.

*           *           *

Ageism, or age disparity, is an issue that occasionally pops up in the American dating (and marriage) scene. Statistically, the percentage of wide age gaps in relationships is pretty small and we don’t hear much about it other than the occasional nanny or babysitter who is romanced by dad.

bogart 2The exception is the entertainment industry.

Don’t forget Humphrey Bogart was forty-four when he met Lauren Bacall, aged nineteen, on the set of To Have and Have Not. They enjoyed twelve years of marriage until Bogey’s untimely death at age fifty-seven. And Woody Allen hooked up with Soon-Yi Previn. He was fifty-six at the time; she a crisp twenty-one.

Within the adult film population, younger women and older men (sometimes twenty years or more) is not at all uncommon. The middle-aged crowd runs the studios, male performers hang around well into their forties and beyond (Evan Stone and Tom Byron are in their fifties), so young girls out with guys twice their age is part of the business and hardly a soul notices.

So it is with Mercy West. Her boyfriend is not part of the porn world, but he is older. Asking her about the difference reveals some interesting thoughts.

Daddy/Little Whatever

The first question that comes to mind is the Daddy thing, particularly in the BDSM community.

A Daddy's girl Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Daddy’s girl
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Kink has its attitudes. Mercy comments that she has worked on fetish shoots with vanilla girls who were not part of the BDSM community. They “are far more timid to talk about their older partners than any of the girls that I’ve run across in the BDSM scene,” she observes.

Mercy notices that often these Porn Valley girls “will say it under their breath.” Her reaction is, “Well, that’s cool. My partner is fifty-seven.”

The ageism “dynamic” is long-standing (it’s called age play) in BDSM, Mercy says. The “Daddy/daughter” or “Daddy/little . . . you know, whatever combination you want to have” is well established in the fetish scene and doesn’t raise an eyebrow. “It’s really nothing to hear, ‘Oh, there is a BDSM model. She’s young, she’s tiny, she’s pretty, she has a Daddy.”

What accounts for the difference?  It may be that mainstream porn appeals more to a Middle America missionary position sexuality than we’d like to admit. Here’s why.

stagatclinton02The liberal 1960s changed the perception of filmed pornography. Times were chaotic and older guys didn’t want to watch females resembling their daughters on-screen when the neighborhood boy’s night out surreptitiously held a stag film showing. Generally, older women (assumed prostitutes) appeared in those black and white clips performing with males who often wore their socks.

By the hippie revolution, young women were ready and willing to take off their clothes for pornographers. Not only were they barely legal in some cases, but so were their film partners, setting up the 1970s and the birth of modern adult film.

Once porn moved into its corporate age and reliable men were, and still are, difficult to find, older dudes and younger women were not news. Though the typical girl has a career of a few months to a year or so, guys in porn last for decades, widening the age gap with every shoot.

Flock Together

Age disparity is a popular bondage theme (schoolgirl spanking, for example) but is more than that in reality. Personal relationships can develop because females mature faster than males and in BDSM, there’s a cerebral component that doesn’t appear in vanilla sexuality.

Vanilla porn fans love to see gonzo elements such as deep-throating, DPs, and anal . . . but it’s the girl’s popularity that sells the movie. In BDSM, the fetish drives the scene. Negotiations establish play and fans don’t need over-the-top sex acts to enjoy the shoot.

Measuring the maturity of play partners, however, is important. No one wants to deal with young and dumb when it comes to rough play. Someone could really get hurt. Then there is the subspace issue that requires monitoring. Inexperienced subs can lose track of their awareness, s0 a well-schooled dominant is worth gold.

There is another very significant factor. BDSM lifestylers tend to flock together. There are clubs, munches, conferences, what have you, designed for kinksters to meet and greet. Social media (Fetlife predominates) fosters a worldwide network of interested people of all varieties, with age being dismissed as irrelevant . . . not something vanilla online dating sites promote or speed dating at a local establishment encourages.

Having said that, Mercy’s partner, Howard, did not meet her under any of typical circumstances. It was business.

Likes to Watch My Work

At work on a bondage shoot Photo courtesy of Mercy West

At work on a bondage shoot
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Mercy explains that when she worked in phone sex, her employer became an inadvertent cupid. “I met him [Howard] through her and we hit it off. We started to see each other more often and our relationship just sort of blossomed.” Out of that came “an open polyamorous relationship” that is more than satisfactory for all involved.

Everyone gets along well. In other words, Howard’s “other partner has her partner,” Mercy says. Despite the potential changes that might evolve, their arrangement remains strongly “emotional and physical.” Howard loves coffee and weed (for West Coasters, weed is not considered a drug) and has a variety of fascinating jobs and hobbies.

“We connect on so many levels,” Mercy interjects, while being “different on other levels . . . but it somehow works.”

Best of all, she says, Howard “is totally supportive of my work, thinks I’m going to do great things, and he likes to watch my work with me.”

No Drama

There you have it. In adult film, older men support their younger girlfriends getting it done in front of the camera. There’s no drama, no “I want you to quit so I don’t have to say my woman is in porn,” Mercy says. Girls love that and adore their daddies, as a result.

Mercy explains what I’ve heard repeatedly in the industry.

“Why is it that girls in the industry, whether it be vanilla, alternative, fetish, BDSM, whatever . . . tend to have older partners? I have always dated older people, between five and twenty-five years older. I don’t deal with drama well and at that point most people have gotten past the jealousy and are open and flexible. They are willing to be realistic, honest, and communicative. That’s what you need when you work in the adult industry and deal with people on a sexual level on a regular basis.

I don’t like the idea of having a flaky partner, someone who feels the need to come to every shoot with me, who questions me up and down and threatens to leave me after every shoot.”

Mercy knows what works.

Sometimes too much drama drives a girl to . . . well, smile and bear it. Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Sometimes too much drama drives a girl to . . . well, smile and bear it.
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

“I’m not saying that all twenty-somethings will do that [raise objections], but finding someone that is worldly and has lived life somewhat and has realistic expectations of a relationship and of love, it’s just worth so much more than just dating someone younger because society says I should.”

Truth be told, here is the bottom line.

“It’s a tough job working in the adult industry and you need understanding, caring, and accommodating people and that tends to be older guys, if you are into guys. I like older women, too . . . Age doesn’t really come into play . . . it doesn’t come into my thought process.”

As if to hammer everything home, Mercy concludes, “You need someone who isn’t going to cause drama, is going to support you and knows what’s up. Like I said, realistic expectations . . . that’s very, very, very important.”

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The Mom Factor

by Rich Moreland, August 2015

This is the fifth installment of the Mercy West Story. After making a commitment to enter the adult film industry, Mercy’s summer has been busy with shoots and modeling assignments. Here she talks about her mom and their relationship.

*          *          *

“I don’t ever remember being disciplined by my mother because I never did anything worth disciplining!”

Mercy West had a secure upbringing though her family structure, like that of many young people nowadays, was flexible with re-partnering parents doing what they could to keep blended relationships afloat.

“I blossomed and matured very early,” Mercy says, which can be a prescription for unwanted sexual attention. “I experienced a lot quite young and not in a bad way.” Her mother was supportive, allowing her daughter to make her own decisions, an attitude born of trust. “I was able to communicate better and deal with things a little more rationally than most people my age,” the twenty-five-year-old adds.

Mercy’s father took a different view. Divorced and remarried, he noticed that his daughter hung out with a bad crowd, so he suspected, and dressed differently than most kids. He believed she was “smart” but “problematic,” Mercy relates. Truth be told, she didn’t spend much time with him in her developing years and once she turned eighteen, little at all.

On the set for Hardtied Photo courtesy of Intersec.com

On the set for Hardtied
Photo courtesy of Intersec.com

“I just can’t be open with him much about my life and I don’t think he really wants to know.”

Perhaps not, but a visit to the Paintoy or Intersec websites to check out Mercy’s promos will let him know what his daughter is into now.

But that’s of no matter, Mercy’s life is all about the mom factor.

No Attached Shame

When Mercy got her first boyfriend, mom insisted she go to Planned Parenthood for birth control. A good move because today the emerging porn model credits her mother with establishing an open and honest dialogue with her daughter. “Nothing was dirty or shameful. I didn’t have to hide anything. I had the freedom to make the right choices and most importantly the wrong choices . . . and still feel loved and cared for.”

Mercy reveals that her mother was ill for much of her daughter childhood but managed to keep a household together despite divorce, remarriage, then another divorce. “She tired to keep things as normal as she could,” Mercy says with great affection. “I didn’t have a traumatic childhood. I have very good memories of being a kid.”

Incidentally, Mercy’s mother was an exotic dancer, a sex worker. “I’ve known since I was fifteen or sixteen. She never attached any shame to it and I’ve never had any issues talking about it.”

Like many women who populate the adult film business, Mercy understands a vital truth. “When you do things that you want to do and you are in control, it can be very empowering regardless of what it is . . . being a stripper or a CEO.”

There’s a name for such an attitude: feminism. Mercy and her mom are examples of how it fits into adult entertainment.

Mercy by the Lake. Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Mercy by the Lake.
Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Real Passion

Mercy’s adolescence gave her another lesson.

“I never look down on people because you don’t know what someone is going through.”

Mercy credits this attitude to her mother who suffered from social anxiety, despite her profession. In fact, dancing may have served to create a persona to help deal with self-consciousness.

Mom didn’t want this social handicap for her little girl, so it was off to theater and performing arts classes designed to broaden Mercy’s perceptions of the world around her and to encourage interaction with others. Together they volunteered at an Arizona ranch to teach “physically and mentally handicapped folks to take care of animals.” Mercy met autistic children, those with Down’s Syndrome, and others afflicted with physical disabilities. Later she volunteered in special needs and special education classes during her high school years.

This time is getting ready to shoot for Topgirl. Photo courtesy of Intersec.com

Getting ready to shoot for TopGirl.
Photo courtesy of Intersec.com

It paid benefits. Today Mercy is outgoing with an attitude that this writer finds endearing. She has a real passion for helping others and insists that one of her reasons for doing porn is educational. Mercy believes that sex is nothing to be reticent about and for people with sexual hang-ups, there’s a better way.

Quite frankly, I’ve heard this before from new girls in the business and I tend to dismiss their comments as justification for shooting porn or simple naiveté. But with Mercy, I believe it is genuine.

More like roommates than family, Mercy and her mother share living quarters in a way that is flexible and supportive. “She is aware of all my partners, my activities, and my work. She knows exactly what I do.”

Sort of, because mom has seen only “some of the more niche fetishy things” that “are not too sexual,” Mercy explains. Of course, the “more explicit stuff” is only a matter of time because, Mercy says, her mother “wants to see me make my own content.”

“That’s going to be awesome. She knows that if I want to do it, I’ll make it work.”

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My Way and My Niche

by Rich Moreland, July 2015

This is the fourth installment of the story of Mercy West. She represents an important part of the adult scene today, genderqueer, alternative, and willing to try just about anything. My thanks to her for sharing her personal  background and thoughts on being in adult film. More insights into Mercy are coming soon.

*          *          *

Her experiences with phone sex and web cam revealed to Mercy West that “everyone wants to be accepted and everybody needs to feel loved.” The same applies to sexuality. “No matter what it is, no matter the fetish, the taboo, the turn on, we just want somebody to be okay with it.” To have someone be “excited about it” just adds to the pleasure, she says.

Thoughtful Moment. Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Thoughtful Moment.
Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Because phone sex callers are diverse, our masochistic kinkster inadvertently became an on-the-job sex therapist, as we have previously seen. What did she learn? Too many people are in unproductive situations like “dead” marriages and “crap” relationships, she says. Some are single and unhappy; others are folks who are just shy. Frustrated, they want someone to respond to their turn ons and validate their desires. Mercy was more than willing and treated them all with understanding.

Whether or not her “talk therapy” paid off remains to be seen, but her own personal life was enriched. Mercy has a clearer understanding of what satisfaction means when she plays with fetish lovers who are “utterly into what they are doing and know what they want . . . I feed off that excitement,” she exclaims. This is particularly true with BDSM because the attitudes and passions of the players energize each other once a scene gets underway. In some cases, Mercy has kinky partners so enthusiastic before the fun begins that she feels she is “going to explode” it is so hot. “With the right person, it’s perfect,” she exclaims.

On camera

When a girl is totally exposed in front of the camera, she’ll be judged, Mercy says. It’s a risk that rightly causes hesitation in some models. For her, it turned out to be a breezy experience. Doing web cam in Portland opened further opportunities in adult entertainment. “I really liked it and realized I was comfortable in front of people [that way]. Once I sold a few videos, custom stuff I had made for people, I started looking for work.” Web camming is highly individualized and is primarily a solo gig, which oft-times includes toys at the customer’s request.

Web Cam Seduction Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Web Cam Seduction
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

At this point, Mercy was ready to decide on her first booking with an adult company, but concerns about familiarity with the buisness and confidence in those in it arose. She liked gonzo porn as a viewer, but didn’t feel ready to take it on as a model. Instead, a BDSM shoot caught her attention, a natural because she had been doing scenes in clubs and festivals. The BDSM stage is all about getting to know the players and building chemistry with liked-minded people, so a bondage shoot seemed perfect to break her porn cherry. People she trusted in the community would be there to jump-start her career.

Paintoy Action Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

Paintoy Action
Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

Eventually, a little research yielded Paintoy, an attractive option though a little caution begged consideration. Mercy explains. “I wrestled with it for weeks because this is the real thing. People are going to know who I am.” It wasn’t too late to back out, “I had the option to pull my stuff off the internet and sort of disappear . . .” Such decisions are tough and Mercy confesses that shooting a heavy-duty BDSM scene with total nudity, real marks, and real tears “meant I wasn’t going to disappear any time soon.”

Hesitancy, anyone? Maybe a little and it did hang around. “I knew I was really, really going to like it,” Mercy coos, and best of all, Paintoy “had been around for a while.” Simply put, hardcore BDSMers know the label. It’s called legitimacy. So that part was settled.

Still, “things went through my head,” Mercy confesses, and after “a good long talk with my partner about the pros and cons of being in the industry and thinking it through for weeks,” she brought it to him front and center.

Paintoy is the Real Thing Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

Paintoy is the Real Thing
Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

As expected, the best happened. “He was completely supportive,” Mercy says, and had no problem with her breakthrough step. “He had seen me play and he knew that people liked to watch me.” Her lover knew she would “feed off a crowd” and was well aware of her exhibitionist tendencies.

Incidentally, a supportive partner is a gift when it comes to porn. As she explained previously, Mercy has found a relationship utopia that moves beyond monogamy.

“I started to realize I had only been monogamous because of other peoples’ expectations.”

Something else was needed, so Mercy and her partner decided upon an alternative way of being a couple that, in their view, is more suitable for them.

“We are in a polyamorous relationship. We both have the freedom to act as we please sexually or emotionally as long as we are honest with each other.”

Another Paintoy Moment Photo courtesy of Paintoy

Another Paintoy Moment
Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

Things were now set for Mercy. “So, I took the little sticky note with Paintoy’s number off my computer monitor and called them. Two weeks later I was shooting with them and three weeks after that I was shooting with Intersec.” That, she says, is “my journey into pornography and fetish modeling, how I sort of found my way and my niche.”

Paintoy can be found here.


*           *           *

Mercy West’s meteoric rise has led to a further step. Recently she decided to secure an agent in L.A.’s Porn Valley where vanilla is the flavor. With the advice and help of an industry writer, Mercy signed with Foxxx Modeling and can be booked by calling 818-884-0847 or visiting Foxxx here.


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Think and Talk Sexy

by Rich Moreland, July 2015

Erotic work came early to Mercy West. Her adolescent fascination with outré books and art, those treasures gleaned from scouring book shelves and bins, promoted her love of fetish. Why not make a few bucks doing what she adored?

“I had my first fetish modeling job two or three months after I turned eighteen.”

Looking Sexy Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Looking Sexy
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Playing in a privately owned dungeon in Tucson, her hometown at the time, kick-started Mercy’s interest in exploring sexuality beyond the bedroom. “I was offered my first artistic fetish modeling job after I had done a awesome scene with the dungeon master the first night.”

Mercy was no stranger to kink. A boyfriend had introduced her to bondage when she was just a young pup, only fifteen. A later, much older partner nudged her into a BDSM relationship that was “really intense,” she affectionately remembers. “He was in his mid-thirties and we really developed our D/s dynamic but it was a switch relationship. I really learned a lot because he had been in the scene for quite awhile.”

From the outset, our fetish honey learned both ends of the whip, a complete education because BDSMers believe that to be a good domme, you must first experience being submissive. Know how it feels before you introduce it to someone else. Be absolutely sure you understand what it means emotionally and psychologically. For now, Mercy’s porn experience in front of the camera has been as a sub . . . that’s where the money is and what the fans want to see.

Pensive Moment Photo courtesy of Sam-R.com

Pensive Moment
Photo courtesy of Sam-R.com

A Few More Fetish Shoots

Recalling the elation that swept over her following that first dungeon scene, Mercy says, “I was really feeling good and was thanking him (the dungeon master) when he said he had a friend that might like to use me for an artistic fetish shoot . . . this really cool suspension shoot in front of a green screen. . .like floating in space suspended on this giant mobile.”

“I get to be tied up by professionals and get to have cool, sexy photos of myself! I had no qualms about it. It just seemed fun. I wasn’t worried about nude pictures of me or people seeing me naked.” Her open mindedness is Mercy’s most endearing personality trait.

At this point, the future was cracking its egg; a tiny chick was breaking out.

Mercy realized she loved fetish modeling and that BDSM was a part of her private life, as it is for the best fetish models. What she needed was trusted guidance to compliment her determination to network and show her wares, including the bit of ink she carries.

A Little Fun with Web Cam Photo courtesy of Mercy West

A Little Fun with Web Cam
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

The bondage photographer became a guidepost in her development. “Sexy alternative glamour” assignments complimented by “a few more fetish shoots” constructed an agenda in those early days. Mild was the tone, nothing hardcore or extreme just “suggestive and fun stuff,” Mercy recollects. Having spent her teen years searching out sexy images of enticing models, seeing her own now was more than exciting. “I liked working with someone who had a vision, who had an idea, who liked using me for their projects,” she declares. Mixed among her interests was a brief stint with web camming. That was Mercy West for a couple of years.

Phone Sex Therapist

A move to New Mexico for school introduced an uneventful time. Online modeling afforded some income, but Mercy admits she was “not really pursuing anything serious” in adult. Her next migration to Portland, Oregon, offered a shot at phone sex “with someone I met through the BDSM community,” she recalls. “We hit it off and she thought I would do well working as an independent phone sex operator.”

The prospects attracted Mercy as did the female owner who helped our queer punk cutie understand how to be successful in the job. They remain friends to this day.

The gig turned into a memorable experience, though Mercy discovered typical phone sex girls don’t “actually enjoy what they were doing . . . for them, it was just ‘cocks and wallets’ as they say in the business.” On the other hand, she found the job rewarding on more than one front.

She was herself on the site as were the other Portland girls who remained apart from the norm. “No fantasy profiles,” she says, “I like the fact that it was so real and focused on girls that actually enjoyed their job.”

The real satisfaction for Mercy was on the other end of the line. “I really enjoyed listening to people’s fantasies, hearing people’s desires, and having people tell me their secrets.” In turn, the callers wanted to know about her and a camaraderie emerged. Honesty created feelings of allegiance.

She was a BDSM switch, she told her “clients,” gender fluid, and pan-sexual. Her open mind hid nothing. “I wasn’t secretive and I actually got an interesting array of people calling me because of my gender fluidity and my openness to other sexualities.” Her callers “didn’t feel judged,” she says, “They were comfortable talking to me . . . not just because I was being paid to listen but because I was genuinely interested.”

Empathy goes a long way in phone sex just as it does in hotline services still offered in some communities. Mercy believes callers talked with her because they couldn’t communicate with their partners or didn’t have a partner or anyone else with whom to share in confidence their thoughts and feelings. Quite frankly, Mercy West became a commercial phone sex therapist borrowing the empathy model of trained counselors.

*          *          *

Web cam. Just for You Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Web cam Just for You
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Despite her phone sex success, Mercy felt the itch to return to web cam. Chatting with girls who were making a go of it piqued her interest. An unexpected benefit came along for the ride. Mercy “brought to the table something other web cammers didn’t . . . an awesome set of verbal skills.” The learning curve was improving. “I’m used to being a phone sex operator and not having to use my body, so I had to be one hundred percent sexy and give people what they want without doing anything live in front of them.” Not as simple as it sounds because fans are titillated by the visual.

Mercy West is quick to suggest that fans appreciate a girl who tweaks the timeworn package. “They want someone who can think sexy, talk sexy, and give them new ideas and show them new things.” For a moment she pauses to observe that there is a difference between “live” and “staged” performances and comments that she doesn’t know, at least at this point, “how well some porn stars translate to live performances versus staged, edited ones.”

Actually, for performers who feature dance and others who shoot live at Kink.com, it is pretty seamless.

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The Handkerchief Code

by Rich Moreland, June 2015

Mercy West is a performer in transition. At twenty-five the Oregonian knows the ropes (pun intended) for bondage modeling, but shooting hardcore is another matter. Now that “porn star” is on her agenda, what is pornography in her mind?

Sunny Day Photo courtesy of Sam-R.com

Sunny Day
Photo courtesy of Sam-R.com

Mercy’s adolescent years were spent in Tucson, Arizona. Like most teens, people watching at the mall and flirting with kids her age (only to “have it fail miserably,” she remembers) was part of the routine. Mercy was different in one respect. She dallied a bit with “the older crowd,” again not getting very far but establishing a preference for the age play that delights her now.

Her favorite hang outs were record stores and used book outlets where she often became a familiar face. Her curiosity developed a taste for art and photography, so sifting through book bins became an obsession.

“Different types of art and prints jump out at you and you’re just not sure why,” Mercy recalls. “Everybody has their own tastes. I just remember being fascinated by the human body.” Highly eroticized images swirled around a teenager’s interpretation of art and porn.

Darker Images

Book store time nurtured this budding fetish model.

“It made me think about how I wanted to express myself. I was drawn to images of sexuality, erotic images not necessarily in the context of porn . . . darker images of alternative sexuality and gender fluidity,” Mercy says.

House of Gord Artwork courtesy of House of Gord

House of Gord
Artwork courtesy of House of Gord

So what were these images? The late performance artist and masochist Bob Flanagan intrigued her as did the black and white illustrations of the House of Gord’s latex bondage, pony girls, and forniphilia which had a “more esoteric” flavor. “Classic male dom, female sub leather and rubber BDSM” were her favorites and a bondage elitism was emerging. “Kinksters are aware of Gord’s contributions but most BDSM light/Vanilla folks have no clue,” Mercy says.

Raised in a liberal home environment, Mercy didn’t see any of this “as naughty or shameful.” Instead, the images were “aesthetically pleasing . . . the bondage, the sadomasochism . . . the sort of power play that was involved in S&M really intrigued me even though I didn’t quite understand what was underneath it all.”

Running across a variety of other publications where porn is high art enhanced her journey.

“Magazines like ‘Skin Two’ (a British publication) and ‘Modern Primitives’ were always super exciting finds and I treated them like precious gems, reading and rereading the articles, studying the clothing, toys and body art intensely.”

In fits and starts, an intelligent libertine was finding her future.

Pushing What it Means to be Sexual

Fashion Snapshot Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Fashion Snapshot
Photo courtesy of Mercy West

As comes to most of us, Mercy’s hormones kicked in around age twelve or thirteen. BDSM scenes gnawed at her sexuality; fetish became her thing. Fashion was not far behind. “I learned very quickly that people wore certain types of clothing as symbols and signs to others.”

In particular, the handkerchief code attracted her attention. Mercy recalls people “wearing spiked belts and having colored handkerchiefs hanging out of their back pocket.” (The code began in the gay community years ago and is generally, but not universally, accepted today. Left indicates a BDSM top; right a bottom.). Fashion blended with community and a kinkster’s education marched on.

Of course, what is pure alt often gets bastardized and commodified. “Some of the meaningless fashion in mainstream had been pulled from very meaningful fashion in some underground communities,” Mercy notes.

The code represented communication, openness and freedom, a symbol of being your own person this bondage disciple in the making could not absorb fast enough. Discovering that there were people who lived “a certain lifestyle or the S&M lifestyle 24/7” was pure elation.

Becoming Your Own Person Photo courtesy of San-R.com

Being Your Own Person
Photo courtesy of San-R.com

“What these people were doing was right for them. They were not devious or fucked up in any way. They weren’t causing harm to society,” Mercy declares with a smile. Coming out and “communicating their sexuality to their family . . Saying here, this is me, this is who I am” was natural and undeniable.

Lifestyle statements now mattered to Mercy, whether it be the S&M community or the complexities of the late Francesca Woodman that blurred artistic definitions with psychological statements spoken through the camera’s lens. She “pushed what it means to be a sexual human being,” Mercy says.

An Evolution

What drew Mercy to pornography? She is vague because it was more of an evolution than a moment. “Around the time my sexuality was coming to be I was really starting to think about what other people mean to me [in that way].”

story of o 2Porn didn’t help or hinder her development; rather it provided an understanding that she wasn’t alone with her feelings. Mercy references a trio of influences: Anne Rice novels, Pauline Reage’s The Story of O, and John Cleland’s Fanny Hill. She was intrigued by these works, she says, though at the time she did not profoundly understand them.

As her self-education continued, the bondage slut in Mercy remained muted. The teenage years passed. Interactions with other kids were normal with no “unhealthy obsessions.”

Though sexually active at a young age, Mercy insists porn was an avenue to it, not the reason for it. She was never “broken or scarred” from her interest in the erotic. “I was pretty stable and dealt with things all right. It was just my path and the way things were meant to go.”

So, what is porn to her?

Mercy points out that some people believe porn lacks “artistic intent” [and is] created solely to inspire sexual arousal,” serving no purpose other than “getting someone off.”

Getting off on a Paintoy shoot Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

Coming Out of her Shell
Photo courtesy of Paintoy.com

“But that isn’t my definition. That isn’t what it means to me. I’ve used it as a tool to navigate my own sexuality.” Porn “can bring people out of their shells,” she insists, letting them “come to terms with things that they wouldn’t have been able to alone or with a partner.”

Is that a pro-porn cop-out or a level-headed assessment? Social scientists and historians agree that porn is a form of sex education. For some of us, it’s the only kind we’ll ever get and for Mercy it shaped a future.

Mercy’s “love of alternative sexuality, S&M and the fetish community translates into the real world” for her now. But she’s just getting started; a seismic shift in her sexual Richter Scale is occurring. She’s figured out that her personal happiness is more than “picking up a whip for a little while” after her day job. “That has led me to Paintoy and Intersec,” Mercy West says, where her shoots will delight BDSM fans who want to see this evolving star shackled and aroused for their entertainment.

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by Rich Moreland, June 2015

Being in the midst of writing book number two on the adult film industry, I decided to take a time out to compose a series of articles on a girl I’ve recently come to know. She is a sweetheart of many flavors.

*          *          *

Welcome Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

How to describe a girl whose on-screen image leaves an impression fetish aficionados can’t shake: a calculated disheveled look that captures the heart of every BDSMer? Try this, a natural body with understated and controlled ink seductively placed to entice the eye with a simple message, “I’m here, let’s play a little?”

Pass as Vanilla

There’s nothing Southern California about Mercy West. She’s more a San Francisco queer porn gamine. Sporting a lovely nose ring that highlights an impish sassiness bordering on bemused self-satisfaction, Mercy allures her fans with a bondage collar extraordinaire. Throw in a penchant for taking marks while making her mark in an industry she has decided to embrace and Mercy wets the screen. No doubt her fans dream of corralling this diminutive lass in a darkened alley, pushing her against the wall and muffling her cries of delight . . . don’t knock over a trash can because trashy is where we’re going.

But that’s only part of the story. Mercy can be cute as the sweet little miss winking at the preacher’s son while the Sunday sermon drones on, ready for a romp with the righteous.

“Because of how I look I can still pass as vanilla in some productions,” Mercy says “But because of my past, I get offers for some quite extreme stuff as well.”

Despite her girlish look, Mercy West is no teenager. In fact, she is a most mature twenty-five. Psychologists know that the brain takes its time reaching adulthood and its ability to make good decisions kicks in around the mid-twenties. Mercy knows what she wants and is ready to move forward. Lucky for her fans, they’re getting the best part of the ride.

Collar and Pearls Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Collar and Pearls
Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

The Arizona native is wading into adult entertainment with variety—phone sex, web camming, shooting for the extreme BDSM websites Intersec and Paintoy—constructing a resume that moves her confidently in different directions. She is learning her trade. Incidentally, like her experiences, Mercy’s sexuality also is fluid, expanding what her fans will learn to love about her.

Most importantly, Mercy West is honest. “I fell into this business because I saw a group of people I could possibly relate to and a career that I would actually enjoy investing my time in.” Adult entertainment is not for everyone, but in this Tucson girl’s case it rewards a hypersexual attitude that surely eclipses a career in customer and food service.

Pesky Labels

Mercy self-identifies as pan-sexual, gender fluid, and polyamorous, insisting that “I don’t think about a person’s biological sex or chosen gender when I choose partners.”

The current Portland, Oregon resident enjoys men, women, and “other gender fluids and everything in between.” Though she felt like “a sexual outcast” in her adolescent years, “even in some GLBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex) friendly situations,” Mercy is delighted with the sexual kaleidoscope she now emotionally snuggles.

But as the legendary queer porn submissive Madison Young once said, everyone is shoved into a sexual box somewhere, somehow. So when she is pressed, Mercy declares, “pan-sexuality [is] the label I feel most comfortable with.”

Pan-Sexual Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Photo courtesy of Mercy West

Regardless of how she defines herself and those around her, Mercy is having a blast.

“My adventure into the [adult] business has led me to people who are open, accepting, and as excited to work in this industry as I am,” she beams.

But she has more to tell us.

Mercy insists that her gender identification “changes pretty frequently.” Her hair drifts from long to short and her wardrobe is “pretty inconsistent,” though “vintage clothing” is a preference. “Phases” is how she describes her fluidity.

“Sometimes I find myself wanting to use my strap-on with a skinny tattooed bisexual boy I make suck my cock and call me master. Other times I just want to lay back and indulge in a little ‘age play’ with my much older, straight partner.”

Nevertheless, those pesky labels are the bane of Mercy West. She is a biological female, of course, but there is more beneath the obvious. Mercy admits growing “tired of people getting upset [because] I honestly could not tell them what I was.” With a hint of exasperation, she adds, “It took me years to get where I am with my feeling about my sexuality,” insisting that now she is anything but “confused” about her accumulated preferences, statuses, and desires.

As for her love life, Mercy finally realized her modus operandi was different from others. She confesses, “I kept putting myself in ‘manogamish’ relationships that confined me to one primary partner for the sake of  love.'” She felt restricted to “someone else’s idea of what a relationship was supposed to be.”

Primal Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Photo courtesy of S. Thanatos

Mercy experienced an epiphany.

“I began to realize that if I wanted to be truly happy I would have to build the life I wanted.” She needed to find “workable sexual and emotional relationships” because monogamy was unreasonably confining and uncomfortable.

“I was actually super unhappy,” Mercy declares, “because of other people’s insecurities and fears, not my own.” It was a Hydra that dominated her personal life, a destructive force brought on by one-on-one relationships.

Now at twenty-five with options ahead of her, Mercy West fondly embraces the words of her partner.

“When we met you had a whole life that I knew nothing about, you have connections with people I don’t know and experience things that I never could. All of those things shape you, the whole person I love. Why would I want to change that? Change the person I fell in love with?”

Rejection is a the real demon when relationships teeter on the abyss of the personally intense. But Mercy’s partner tossed that aside, encouraging her to explore all possibilities.

“Live, love, and grow as much as you can. I’m just happy to be able to walk beside you for at least a little while.”

And so are we because now it’s obvious what getting out of that box is all about, no labels in sight, only phases.

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