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Private life

In which we spare a thought for Mrs Max Mosley


In the news today: the Max Mosley trial continues. Note for readers from the future: he enjoyed a BDSM session with a group of women, who have been described widely as “prostitutes” by the media. He had these regularly, and so wasn’t expecting that one day in spring, one of them would pop a video camera down her cleavage and sell the footage to the News Of The World. Oops. So he’s suing for exemplary damages – in other words, he doesn’t just want recompense, he wants retribution.

I have to say, though, that I don’t think he deserved much sympathy. Not because he’s rich and powerful. Not because of who his father was, or because he has his own murky right-wing past. I don’t think his sex life deserves to be exposed because he has a prominent job: what he gets up to in the bedroom should have no effect on how well he can carry out his job. What does give me a moral twinge, though, is that he’s apparently been hiding his sex life from his wife for almost their entire marriage. According to his statements in court: he’s been involved in the BDSM scene, safely and without exposure, for 45 years – in other words, since his early 20s, when he was a law student active in far-right politics. However, at the same time, he said, his wife had no idea of his kinky inclination until the NotW revealed all. Mosley married in 1960, around the age of 20; from what he’s said, he must have been getting his kicks from the BDSM scene since the early years of his marriage, going behind his wife’s back for decades.

Mrs Mosley is, apparently, devastated by Max’s exposure in the press. I can imagine. It’s a lot to take in. I can’t think to imagine how she feels.

Everyone’s entitled to keep their life private from the general public – but I’m not so sure that they’re entitled to keep it private from their partner quite to that extent. It’s common, though – especially online – for men to approach the BDSM scene with an “I have these urges but I can’t tell my wife” attitude. In the general scene – what you might call the non-professional side – they usually get advised not to go behind their partner’s back; but I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the money in the pro-dominatrix market comes from this sort of chap.* Mosley is, on the one hand, a sign that such men can get along happily for years** so long as the press isn’t likely to be interested in them. The BDSM community might frown on you if you want to go behind your wife’s back, but they will generally consider it to be your own business if you do. On the other hand: he’s also a sign that you can’t necessarily keep something quiet forever. When your partner does find out, you only have yourself to blame.

* For one thing: although the pro-dominatrix market is saturated, prices are still rather high, partly because although there are endless swarms of pro-dominatrixes around very few of them are very good at what they do, and partly because being a good pro-dominatrix can be pricy, just to stay stocked up with all the silly PVC clothes that the customers are paying to drool over. It’s only the well-off men who can afford to hire one regularly, and they’re more likely than average to be settled with a partner.

** assuming they can afford it. A Mosley-ish session would probably have cost him somewhere between one and two thousand quid a time, at a rough guess.

Update, July 9th: my rough guess there was somewhat on the low side. According to the report in today’s Guardian, Mosley was paying £500 to each participant. That’s about £100 per hour, or £2500 for the whole session. He also paid the rent on the flat where it took place.

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Dirty Books

In which we consider the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act


The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act gets its Royal Assent today. And it might have banned extreme porn. It might have banned some quite ordinary books, too. Nobody knows. Lord Hunt, who pushed the bill through the Lords and defeated opposition amendments, stated in the form letter he sent out to correspondants that he didn’t know what pictures would or wouldn’t be banned by the bill he was promoting; that would be up to the courts. The government defeated an opposition amendment which would have explicitly said the bill would only cover material also covered by the Obscene Publications Act. However, at the same time, the Ministry of Justice says that it does only cover this material, in any case, even though the government refused to say this in the text of the bill. Campaigners are celebrating their “fight” to criminalise Things They Don’t Approve Of; but at the same time, The Register is reporting that the law hasn’t yet taken effect, and – when they wrote that, at least – nobody had decided when it would. So, in other words, nothing is certain and nobody knows what is happening. The government hastily inserted a clause to state that it does not cover photos of events you participated in,* but nobody knows exactly what counts as “participation”. There may be more debates on what the bill actually should and should not do, or a select committee. There may, indeed, be jam tomorrow – it would certainly fit in with the general tone.

Meanwhile, people are still hard at work campaigning to get the thing dropped, or, at least, to raise enough of a stink that its unworkability becomes obvious. It’s good to see, too, the effect all this has had on kinky people around the country, too. The public face of BDSM in the UK isn’t a very good-looking one; but with this legislation on the way, lots of sane and ordinary people** put their heads out, went to the press, and said: I’m your ordinary man or woman in the street. There’s nothing wrong with being kinky, or with liking the things I like, and I don’t do anything illegal, so why are you making it illegal to own photos of the things I do?

* assuming that everything is consensual and above-board, everyone else taking part was happy and smiling and so on, of course.

** part of the reason the public face of BDSM is so ugly is that the people who stand out aren’t the sane, ordinary people; they are the ones who shout loudly because they’re in it for the money and their ego. For more on how the UK BDSM “scene” is broken, I suggest reading Bitchy Jones, when you’re not at work of course.

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Useful advice

In which we raise an eyebrow


Spotted on a building site in Harrogate, whilst on our abortive condensed milk hunt last weekend:

Useful advice

I’ll remember to tell people that in future.

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Personal affairs

In which FP finds an interesting blog to read


This is not a sex blog. This is, in fact, almost the opposite of a sex blog. Sex is hardly ever mentioned, partly because, for one thing, most of the people who read this are (as far as I know) people who know me, and who would recoil in terror, looks of disgust on their faces, if they ever had to think about me having sex.

There are hundreds of thousands of sex blogs out there, though. I don’t read them very often, though; because generally they’re not that interesting. Reading other people’s fantasies, after all, generally isn’t. I find it more enjoyable to write my own sex stories. You’ll never find them here, and they’re not even my fantasies, but they’re fun to write.

Yesterday, though, idly browsing the web, I discovered a sex blog which is well-written, original, thoughtful, and witty. It’s called Bitchy Jones’s Diary, it’s passionate and dirty, in a sense political, and it’s a very good read.* It’s not about the flavour of sex I’m most interested in myself; but that doesn’t stop it being very enjoyable to read. Moreover, of all the sex blogs I’ve come across,** it’s the one most clearly written by someone who does what she wants because that’s her sexuality, and not because it’s someone else’s fantasy.

In other news: back in 2006 when the Ipswich prostitute murders were ongoing, people were very quick to circulate dead prostitute jokes that (presumably) they’d been keeping on ice since Peter Sutcliffe‘s heyday. What surprises me, though: now there’s been a conviction, I haven’t seen any “dead prostitute meets unfunny daytime DJ” jokes. Where are they all?

* It’s also not really SFW, if you were tempted to click the link; but you probably guessed that.

** Pun definitely not intended, I assure you.

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Diplomacy

In which people are caught in compromising situations


Diplomat Of The Week award goes to the Israeli Ambassador to El Salvador, who, as you’ve probably heard by now, was found tied up and ball-gagged* by the local police. Note to the Daily Record: it is arguably in the public interest to report on the sex lives of ambassadors and other top diplomats. Charity shop volunteers: not quite the same.

* The Guardian’s sub-editor on that article seems not to understand how a ball gag** works

** NSFW link, if you hadn’t guessed

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Outing

In which we watch the media trying to whip up a storm in a second-hand teacup


You probably won’t have read this nasty story in yesterday’s Daily Record, exposing the sex life of someone who isn’t famous and wasn’t doing any harm to anyone. Not many people will have read it, because out of the population of the country not many do read the Record.* That’s not the point, really.

As I said, it’s a nasty story, about a normal, average member of the public, who enjoys kinky sex. There is nothing to justify publishing her full details in the way the paper did. Moreover, it throws a lot of light on the social conservatism of tabloid papers in general – the faux-shock that a young wife would behave that way, would want to behave that way. The only consolation is that few people ever pay attention to anything journalists say.**

The Daily Record presumably think, though, that this sort of story sells papers, especially local or regional papers. And in an effort to sell papers, they’ve let themselves be used. I don’t know NR myself, but I know several people who do know her, some people who don’t like her very much, and I know there are a few people who don’t like her very much at all. I can’t imagine that anyone I know personally would have exposed her to the press, but clearly someone, who knows her well, has done. And in all probability that person, whoever they are, does exactly the same kind of things that she does, and would be treated in exactly the same way if Cara Page Of The Daily Record had come across them first. I don’t know anything about the sex lives of the Daily Record staff, but whoever initially sent them this “story” is very likely a very nasty hypocrite.

* It seems to be widely available in England now, a lot more than, say, ten years ago.

** and they’re mostly other journalists, at that.

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Campaigning

In which we are supportive


Anti-authoritarianism campaigning group Backlash is organising a blog day today in support of their campaign, which is primarily aimed at stopping the government’s proposed laws to outlaw pictures that look dangerous, and might turn people on. This could include practically anything, of course, according to the whims of local police.

I’ll talk about this more later, but if you want to read what other people have to say about it, there’s a list of other posts on the subject here.

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Follow-up

In which we care for hedgehogs


A couple more links about yesterday’s post. At least one BBC editor was surprised that not everyone has believed the government’s line on the issue. Meanwhile, a Guardian blogger points out that the proposals are based on people who believe they don’t need any evidence, and it could be the thin end of the wedge.

Enough of all that. Direct campaigning clearly works: McDonalds has finally given in to the Hedgehog Preservation Society’s hedgehog preservation campaign, and is going to redesign its McFlurry cups to make them less hedgehog-toxic.* Hurrah! Clearly there’s something in this campaigning thing; I just need to find something of my own to campaign for. Suggestions, please.

That’s enough for this week, I think. It’s gone by far, far too fast.

* link via BoingBoing

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Pressure group

In which the government panders to the moral minority


“Violent” pornography is back in the news again, as it has been on and off for the past year. Now, the government has announced that it is going to ban the stuff, however impossible it is to define, thanks to a single-issue campaign group who are already crowing about their success. If it’s that easy to get the government to do what you want, I think I should start up my own single-issue campaign group. I’m not sure yet what I’m going to campaign for, but I know I’ll think of something. On the other hand, the government doesn’t exactly listen to what most people say. They carried out consultation on the “violent” porn law, and found that over 70% of responses were against introducing it; but they’re going ahead with it anyway. It was pushed for by people who believe that porn on the internet can induce people to carry out fantasies they wouldn’t have tried otherwise, even though there’s no evidence at all that that happens. In essence, this is faith-based legislation.

As I said a few days ago, there’s an easy solution to the problem of people with dangerous fantasies. It’s education, helping them find safe releases. If you ban “dangerous” pornography – leading aside the question of whether it is truly dangerous or not – you don’t do anything to dissipate people’s fantasies, the fantasies that make them look for the stuff to start with. The solution is to make it easy for people with unusual fantasies to discover that there’s a huge crowd of Sensible Pervs out there, who will help them learn how to carry their fantasies out safely.

All that, though, is besides the main problem with the bill: that it will be impossible to tell whether or not something is pornographic, or dangerous, just by looking. On the first point: look at people with a “splosh” fetish.* Internet sites for that sort of thing regularly feature clips from children’s telly, or entertainment telly, where people get covered in gunge. Is that pornography, just because some people get off on it? Is it dangerous, given that you could drown in the stuff? You could easily take a photo of a couple in a lovely, romantic-looking pose, one person holding their partner’s head in both hands. There’s a specific pose I have in mind that could look fine on a photo, but would cause the partner to faint if held for more than about 10 seconds, and die if held for longer still.** Would you be able to recognise it on a photo? It doesn’t look dangerous to most people.

Sensible Pervs are still campaigning hard against the violent porn bill. There’s still a good chance it will never appear, given the constraints of the parliamentary timetable. It looks, though, that in a couple of years’ time there might be another ill-thought-out, hard-to-enforce law on the statute books.

* getting turned on by getting covered in messy, gooey stuff.

** no, I’m not telling you what it is.

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Permissive Society

In which the government wants to ban things


I know it’s only a few days since we last had a “the government are taking away your rights!” post on here, but I’m afraid it’s time for another one.* This time it’s not just about politics, though, it’s about sex too.

Over the past few months, the Home Office has been running a consultation exercise on what it calls “extreme pornography”, with the intention of trying to ban it. They were pushed into it by a single-issue campaign group called The Jane Longhurst Trust, who mistakenly believe that criminalising violent sexual images will make people less violent.

It would be nice if this were true, but it’s very clear that when you’re dealing with sexual fantasies and gratification, pushing things under the carpet doesn’t help. For years homosexuality, for example, was barely represented in the mainstream media, but that didn’t stop people being gay. Banning images of violent fantasies won’t prevent people having those fantasies and wanting to act them out. If the Jane Longhurst Trust’s members actually want to do some good, they would have to go out and educate the people with the violent fantasies, instead of pretending that if you can’t see the pictures, they don’t exist. Out of sight, out of mind, just doesn’t work.

Anyway, many many people have written in to the Home Office trying to point this out; and the summary of the results is due to be published. Whether they will be promoting it very heavily probably depends on whether or not they’re minded to go ahead with the proposed law very strongly, or if it will be quietly allowed to run out of parliamentary time. Whatever the government’s publicity machine does, there’s one group of people who will be publicising it heavily: the group set up to campaign against the new law. They’re called the Backlash, and if you want to learn more about what the government is trying to propose, and why it is a bad idea, they have written about it in far more depth than I have room to here. If you want the freedom to do what you like in the bedroom,** go and support them.

* Why? Because I promised someone I’d write about it.

** subject to what your partner tells you to do, of course

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