Review of Showtime’s Submission

So I watched/livetweeted Showtime’s Submission under the hashtag #ShowtimeSubmission, and then I wrote over 1,000 words analyzing the power dynamics and how they were portrayed and they contrasted… but I didn’t finish it. And then I said, “This is not what I want to post about Submission.” At least… not right now. So here’s my basic review of Submission.

Content warning: sexual assault (largely by way of questionable consent).

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Submission Summary

Ashley leaves her shitty-in-bed asshole boyfriend and moves to a new town to live with her best friend Jules. Jules lives with her roommate Dylan (played by Skin Diamond, who is sexy as hell). Dylan is a submissive to Eliot, and brings him women to have sex with.

Eliot flogging Dylan - Showtime Submission

Ashley finds Dylan’s copy of a BDSM novel by Nolan Keats and is intrigued. She gets a job at the local coffee shop and sleeps with her boss (Raif) one night while they’re getting drunk together. Shortly thereafter Eliot notices Ashley at a party and Dylan tells Eliot that Ashley is off-limits. Eliot swoops in and saves the day while Raif is drunkenly trying to push himself on Ashley at the party.

After chasing Raif off, Eliot follows Ashley to her room, notices the book, and asks her about it. Eliot discloses to Ashley that he wrote the book, which intrigues her. He steals Ashley’s underwear after she leaves the room and makes the random chick that Dylan picks out for him wear the underwear that night while he sleeps with her.

To prove that he’s Nolan Keats, Eliot has a manuscript of the next Nolan Keats novel delivered to Ashley. He calls her and starts seducing her on the phone. Eliot begins ignoring Dylan, which Dylan hates. Dylan bugs Eliot to pay more attention to her, and Eliot eventually tells her to fuck off. Eliot kinkily fucks Ashley and lays claim to her.

Eliot and Ashley - Showtime Submission

Dylan steals video footage of Eliot fucking a bunch of different girls with her in his dungeon. She blackmails Eliot and makes him turn Ashley over to her for a night, and Dylan torments her. Ashley endures the torture. Dylan decides to move out of the house. As Ashley catches her leaving Dylan gives her the videos and tells her that Eliot isn’t Nolan Keats – he’s Keats’ copy editor.

Ashley is hurt and betrayed. She ignores Eliot, he shows up at her house, and she tells him to leave. Dylan shows up on Nolan Keats’ doorstep with her bags. The show ends.

There is other drama in the show about Jules’ relationship with her boss, but, frankly, I find it irrelevant to the main plot and only feel like discussing it in my extended power dynamic analysis.

What they did right

Eliot makes Ashley pick a safeword. Good! SAFEWORD GOOD. Although he does flog her while she’s deciding, and as someone from the “we don’t play until the safeword is set” school of thought I wasn’t a fan of that.

Eliot mummifies Ashley with saran wrap, which is something she is terrified of initially when she sees the saran wrap in his dungeon and he explains what you do with it. The kink play in this scene is surprisingly solid – Eliot takes it slow, he communicates with her, he gives her water. He’s very attentive.

The kink in Submission was nice to watch if you ignored all the fucked-up shit going on around it. The gear used was cool and authentic. Where can I get a web of chains for my dungeon?

Quotes I liked

“Most men think it’s just smut.”
“What’s wrong with smut?”

“Society wants us to believe that women are these pathetic little creatures that live and die by a man’s happiness.”

“My goal is to open you up, not shut you down. You will never have to do anything you don’t want to do.”

What they did wrong

Other than Skin Diamond and a random guy that she fucks, the entire cast is white. They’re also all thin, non-disabled people. But I expected that. Diversity is important, but here’s what pissed me off even more:

Ashlynn Yennie, who plays the main character, Ashley, said in an interview with The Daily Beast:

“I hope our show, Submission, can shatter that glass ceiling of false belief and show the world what it truly means to trust, communicate, and finally feel free to talk about what you want and don’t want sexually in a consensual and healthy way.”

Consensual? Healthy? Consent was portrayed VERY poorly in Submission. Raif makes a move on Ashley and has sex with her after she says, “No, we’re not doing this, because I’m drunk… and you’re kind of drunk.” At a party the next night a drunken Raif thrust himself upon Ashley, assuming that their single night of previous sexual interaction meant she consented to it again.

Dylan and Eliot’s relationship goes from a functional, consenting M/s scenario to a fucked-up trainwreck where Eliot never verbalizes the withdrawal of his consent and Dylan (who wears a collar that we assume is from Eliot), thinking he’s still into her, tops from the bottom. She says “I’m getting tired of you telling me no.” She misbehaves, seeking punishment. Finally she handcuffs herself to him and forces him to fish the key out of her vagina to escape. It was a painful disaster to watch. The show portrayed this scene as a minor inconvenience that didn’t faze Eliot and just pissed him off, but it was assault, and it was not cool. Then when Eliot tells Dylan to fuck off for good she (nonconsensually) blackmails him.

And finally, even though Eliot seems like sort-of-an-asshole-but-mostly-a-decent-guy because we see a few scenes where Eliot is an experienced dominant that focuses on consent and care, he also forces Ashley outside of her comfort zone (not in a good way) and manipulates her into subbing for Dylan so that Dylan won’t blab his secret to her. Ashley specifically tells him that she doesn’t want to be shared and that other people are a big NO for her, and Eliot shames her into it, telling her that it’s the ultimate act of trust and submission and that she has to explore and take risks to know what she wants. Consent-tastic! As someone who was coerced into sexual abuse as a child and has been manipulated with an almost identical narrative from my emotionally abusive fuckface ex, I felt so great about that scene!

And then the scene with Dylan was not… stellar. It would have been hot if Ashley had wanted to be there. “Tonight I’m not your roommate, I’m the bitch you answer to.” Like… YAAAAAS… if it’s enthusiastic and consensual. But it wasn’t. Is BDSM that you don’t really want to do but agree to because of coercion and stubbornness a type of sexual assault? My signs point to yes.

Conclusion

It was interesting. The kink and the food for thought re: power dynamics were enjoyable, but I did not find the plot especially inspired. Especially the way Dylan is cast aside by Eliot. It’s a sad trope that you see in a lot of popular BSDM media: a submissive (usually a woman) is collared by a dom (usually a man), then her dom loses interest in her and tosses her aside. It’s practically ancient – that’s how The Story of O ends (master claims sub, master demands sub bring him other subs, master ditches original sub). Endings in which the sub gets screwed over do not represent the lives of many real people in happy, long-term M/s relationships, but it’s a risk that exists, just like it does in vanilla dating.

Should you watch it?

If you want to see kinky softcore sex and don’t mind the show’s flaws and “meh” plot, sure. I usually enjoy livetweeting things, even if they’re mediocre, but I probably could have found better uses for my time, like painting my nails, findomming strangers on the internet, or writing reviews for vibrators that felt like a million butterflies fluttering over my vulva.

Here Kitty Kitty

I don’t review a lot of porn. I think lots of bloggers agree that porn reviews are harder to write than some toy reviews. Normally I just don’t even know where to start… but things are different with Here Kitty Kitty.

The first thing I noticed was that Kitty Stryker is my porn aesthetic; this became apparent when the film opened on her masturbating in a pink wig and tiara, and my certainty of it increased with every scene – a different hair color, different jewelry. Kitty ears, eyeliner, and sparkles. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “I want to be like Kitty when I grow up.”

Magic Wand Original, Pink Wig, Tiara, Cat Ear Headband all arranged in different squares in a picture reading "Kitty Stryker Starter Pack"

The first partnered scene is a strap-on scenario with April Flores. I watched, enraptured, as these two beauties did all kinds of sexy stuff. The communication and consent was great. “You’re so pretty, I just want to hurt you a little bit,” April whispered. “Can I choke you?” Yes. With an attitude like that, you can smack me around any day, April. Call me.

Here Kitty Kitty.Still006Hotter still was when Kitty asked, “Do you like circles more, or back and forth?” while playing with April’s clit. It’s such a simple thing, but it was great to see porn performers talking about what they liked! In lots of porn you don’t see much negotiation about what kind of stimulation the performers want. I liked this. It was great knowing that April was actually enjoying what was being done to her.

That’s something that I find that lots of queer porn brings to the table: genuine enjoyment. Sure, I could pull up Pornhub and find some guy ramming his dick into a quivering hole over and over again, but there’s no sense of connection in that. I have yet to see mainstream porn where the performers communicate beyond, “Harder, harder!” and, “Open that ass up for me.” Eventually it starts to feel kind of joyless.

 

I felt the okittycinnpposite of joyless during the next scene with Cinnamon Maxxine. Cinnamon wears a glove (yay, safe sex!) and expertly works Stryker over with their hand and a Hitachi. There are lots of scenes in Here Kitty Kitty where you envy Kitty’s role in the scene, but this is one of the best.  In this scene Kitty squirts, and it’s because Cinnamon clearly knows their way around a vulva.

 

MVI_5980.Still001Miss Quin is the thinnest participant in the film, and it’s always pleasing for me to see a person of size with someone smaller. If you’re fat, you probably understand how nerve-wracking it initially feels to be with a smaller partner, so it was great to see a size difference like this represented in pornography. Quin and Kitty exchange oral sex, use a wand vibe, and scissor. I was totally thrilled by the scissoring. I have never seen tribbing with a larger person involved – usually your standard tribbing participant in porn is a very thin woman with a specific type of vagina. This scene was a breath of fresh air.

 

MVI_9577.Still002The finale is described as a “boy/boy/girl” threesome between Kitty, Ruckus, and Kitty’s real-life partner Ned Would. The first half of the scene was very focused on Kitty, and I wondered if we’d ever get to see Ruckus and Ned fuck. The answer is yes. You do get to see that, and it is super hot. The highlights of the scene are Kitty’s creampie, Ned getting fucked by Ruckus, Ruckus jerking off two dicks with one hand (what sorcery is this?), and Ruckus cumming in Ned’s mouth.

Kitty mentioned that she thinks the bi male scene turned off the mainstream porn press, and she’s probably right, but that is a serious fucking travesty. This scene is amazing. Something that helped me enjoy it more was reading about how Kitty planned it out on Pinterest… because if Pinterest was made for anything other than making you feel like shit for being bad at crafts, then this is it.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.09.12 AM

I highly recommend Here Kitty Kitty for people looking for a little bit more body diversity in their porn, and for equal-opportunity fuckers who want to see people with vaginas with other people with vaginas, people with vaginas with people with penises, and people with penises with other people with penises. You can get it here for $30.00, and it is well worth the price tag! Alternatively you can enter this awesome giveaway for a download of the video, a signed copy of Hard Femme, and some limited-edition Ban This Sick Filth stickers – just hurry, it’s ending in a few days!

Thanks so much to TroubleFilms for sending me a copy of Here Kitty Kitty in exchange for an honest review!

Courtney Trouble’s Live Sex Show

I was privileged to obtain a copy of Courtney Trouble’s Live Sex Show, and I’ve had it for quite a while.  With all of the mental health hoo-ha that came up last few years, it’s no wonder that I never got around to reviewing it in a timely manner, and so when I glimpsed the DVD in one of my bins of sex stuff, I was like, “Oh shit!” So here we are in 2015, with me finally reviewing this film.  I apologize from the bottom of my heart for its lateness.

On the whole, I really like Live Sex Show. It’s sexy, the performers are clearly into it, and it covers a range of sexuality. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.  What follows is a description of the scenes, but my descriptions can’t come close to capturing the awesomeness that you experience when you watch it.

Kimberlee Cline starts off the film by performing a strip tease and solo scene. She wears a crotchless fishnet bodysuit, and goes from 0 to 60 in a very small amount of time. It’s a short, sweet, and sexy.

Peter Devries and Jolene Parton have very organic sex. It’s flowing, and doesn’t have a lot of noise other than moaning. The scene progresses naturally, and it’s filled with kissing and cuddling. I don’t have a lot of commentary about it – it’s not particularly hardcore because they don’t open up for the camera. It just looks like comfortable, intimate sex, which is something I can really appreciate since you don’t see that much compared to mainstream pornography.

April Flores begins her scene by masturbating on the floor. The Matador joins her and they have absolutely gorgeous sex. One of my favorite parts of the scene is when The Matador reaches around April and rips her fishnet tights. The oral sex during this scene is totally awesome. The Matador looks like he eats pussy like a god.

Tina Horn and Roger Wood are next up. Their scene begins with some impact play – a nice hard spanking and some flogging with what appears to be a leather flogger. Roger wields the flogger expertly, and I was really impressed with how he handled it once he got warmed up. The two use a strap on for some rough sex, and watching them fuck is glorious. Her ass ends up bright red, and Tina’s expressions really capture how she’s riding the line between pleasure and pain. One reason I love this scene is because there’s a lot of smiling and laughing. When they stop because they think they’re out of time, they’re told they can go on and so they get back to it and have more sex. Their enthusiasm is fantastic!

Nina and Jiz Lee have a brief negotiation where Nina goes over what’s good for her. Jiz announces that they shaved their legs, “which felt really kinky.” I can relate to that. Nina and Jiz get down to business, and things quickly escalate to fisting. Not a bad way to get things rolling, if you ask me. After several orgasms, Jiz fucks Nina very slowly and slaps her cunt a little bit before Nina whips out the Magic Wand.

There is a steady stream of back and forth that goes on during the Nina/Jiz scene. My favorite exchange is when Nina gives Jiz a Magic Wand. Jiz asks Nina to tease them at least once before allowing them to orgasm, and Nina says, “Oh, if you wanna do that then, no, fuck you!” as she yanks the Magic Wand away.

The scene between Jiz and Nina is probably one of my favorite scenes on the DVD. Not only does it star not one but TWO of my favorite porn stars, it’s filled with choking, fisting, slapping, dirty talk and laughter. I did notice that Nina uses the wrong pronouns for Jiz, which was a little disconcerting. There may have been any number of reasons for this, and I’m sure none of them are malicious. Maybe they didn’t talk about pronouns and so Nina didn’t know. I have no idea. It just stood out to me every time Nina used female pronouns to refer to them.

Then the Courtney Trouble gangbang starts. Jiz, Nina, April, Tina, and Roger all fuck Courtney, blindfolding them and piling on top with strap-ons, gloves, and the Magic Wand. Nina comments on how strong Courtney’s muscles are. Someone plays off that comment and makes a joke about it being horrible for anyone that tries to rape Courtney. That killed my boner a little bit. Nina says, “Consensual rape,” possibly trying to tone down the joke, but that didn’t help me get it back up. I’m sure some people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but it stood out to me because I don’t think comments like that are funny, even when they aren’t threatening in any way. I imagine that some people who hate rape jokes wouldn’t care because it wasn’t a joke that framed rape in a positive light. I cared.

Aside from that comment making me cringe, the scene is a highly respectable gangbang, and Courtney has what sounds like a great orgasm. They even ejaculate, and I think they’re the only performer in this film who does so. 

Courtney Trouble and Carol Queen did a great job putting this together. The performers have great chemistry, everyone looks happy, and it’s hot as hell. All around I’d say it’s a win involved for everyone: the organizers, the performers, and viewers like you. If you haven’t seen it and you like the other work of any of the stars involved, I give it a 9 out of 10 and think you should buy it right now.  It’s $15 on Courtney Trouble’s web store!

As a note, if I have misgendered any of the stars of this film, please let me know in the comments so I can revise my writing.  Some of the participants don’t have much information about them on Courtney Trouble’s site or IAFD.

Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex

If you ever wanted a porno to sell you on anal, then Tristan Taormino’s Expert  Guide to Advanced Anal Sex is the porn video for you.

For starters, it’s educational as hell… and one of the best things about the educational bits (other than the wealth of legitimate and helpful information) is that the educational portions are taught by Tristan, who is a piece of eye candy no matter how much or how little she wears.

Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex begins with anal endorsements and clips from the stars, and Tristan offers a lesson on anatomy and hygiene, which are valuable lessons for anal sex.  I love the hygiene lesson, because Tristan actually discusses enemas, and how to use a disposable enema safely (pour out the prepacked contents!), which is colossally important.  Tristan wins more points in my book by warning against numbing lubes in anal sex, praising warm-up anal activity before pulling out the big guns, and telling us about how to train your ass, and offering advice for first-time anal practitioners.  She gives suggestions on how to deal with pain during anal (back off!), good positions for anal sex, and toy play.

The stars.  Nina Hartley! Kylie Ireland!  Adrianna Nicole!  Bobbi Starr!  Danny Wylde!  James Deen!  Mr. Marcus!  Christian, God of Giant Cocks!  It’s a great cast.

vlcsnap-2012-09-21-19h05m11s252Kylie Ireland and James Deen start the show, prepping her anally with fingers, then taking the ENTIRETY of a Tantus A-Bomb like a champ… and begging for more.  She and James fuck doggie-style with the A-Bomb in her ass, then he slips it out and takes her ass from the side while she uses a hitachi.  I loved the use of gloves, because I’m anal (no pun intended) about protection, and it puts my nosy mind at ease when performers use some kind.  The entire performance is rife with dirty talk and a faint squeaking from the bed, which is only a tiny bit distracting if you really focus on it.  James and Kylie do a good job of providing the kind of dirty talk that I absolutely love, and it’s really genuine, convincing, in-the-moment talk, with growls and groans and a lot of muttering… which is only slightly annoying if you have to adjust your volume a lot to hear it.

When I finally sat down to finish this review, I watched it on the large television in the living room.  Noise level was not a concern.

But really, other than Kylie Ireland’s ass of holding, the verbal responses are some of the best things about this scene.  The dirty talk is guttural and intense, and you can tell Kylie is losing her shit.  That turns me on SO much, because those growls are really authentic, and they remind me of my own intense sexual experiences.

vlcsnap-2012-09-21-19h06m52s237Danny and Adriana are next, and they’re… a lot quieter.  I’m not going to lie, that disappoints me, but I do love is the bondage tape harness that Danny makes to secure the plug that Adriana wears while she blows him.  The sex largely consists of a variety of positions for anal intercourse, and is absent of both the squeaky bed AND much other than the growl of a Hitachi and some quiet moaning.  I guess another good thing is that I love their headboard… and sometimes they make good eye contact.  But that’s all I’ve got to say about this.  It wasn’t my speed.  Honestly, I started fastforwarding through it after the halfway mark just to get to the end of the scene, in which Danny cums on Adriana’s ass and I look forward to getting on with the DVD.

The scene with Mr. Marcus and Bobbi Starr actually starts out with Bobbi in what appears to be a harness with a small Tantus Ace beneath it.  She quickly upgrades to the larger Ace…

and then the oral sex

 

It’s worth applauding Bobbi for her expert cock-handling.  And for being a lot louder than Adriana, which is a blessing.  Mr. Marcus is at least slightly more verbal than Danny was, which I’m into.  They also have sex in a room with a couple mirrors, so the camera angle that captures the action through a mirror is nice.  I love when Bobbi is sitting on him Reverse-Cowgirl style and rubbing herself as she rides him.  In fact, I really just love her anyway, because she is such a gorgeous woman.  One of her orgasms is amazing.  Then later she and Mr. Marcus try to break a chair!  (Try.  I say try because it squeaks incessantly.)

vlcsnap-2011-07-20-01h40m38s217Mr. Marcus also does this clapping thing when he gets really into it that I just find hilarious.  I’m totally cool with applauding her performance – I would!  But something about the act itself in the moment just entertains me endlessly.  Sometimes he does it and I expect Bobbi to just stop moving and fall lifelessly to the floor.  CLAP OFF!

 

Last, but not least, Christian and Nina.

Watching Nina Hartley make this face (while imitating an opera singer hitting a high C) is worth the price of admission alone.  (That’s the combined anal and clitoral stimulation face.)

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Nina is just the best.  There is nothing about this woman that I do not adore, in this porn or anywhere else.  She doesn’t hesitate to tell Christian when he hits the right spot.  She asks for exactly what she wants – “right there!  I’d love it if you put a thumb in my ass.”  And she loves people who aren’t afraid to let their “freak flag” fly.  She’s incredibly verbal, incredibly fun, and she can practically EAT the nJoy Eleven with her ass.  (That’s admiration that you’re reading, by the way.  And eeeenvy.)

Nina’s awesomeness doesn’t just carry the scene… Christian’s willingness to put stuff in his ass is the best.  There is no other way to say that.  Any man who lets someone put a Pure Plug and an nJoy Pure Wand in his ass (before getting pegged later) on camera is automatically up there in my top 10 favorite male pornstars.

Nina compliments him on looking good as the recipient of some strap-on lovin’, and I agree with her 100%.  He looks damn good on his knees.vlcsnap-2011-07-20-02h07m36s13

It’s just a hot scene.  They communicate and do all kinds of shit – there’s nothing “one note” about any of it.  While it isn’t necessarily the SUPER-INTENSE GROWLING UTTERLY-CHEMISTRY-DRIVEN dirty talk that I love, it’s something else I can enjoy and respect just as much: enthusiastic, fun, enjoyment-driven dirty talk!  Christian cums all over his stomach while Nina pegs him, and she tells him how much fun he is.  Everyone should have an orgasm like that at least once.

If the porn and basic education weren’t good enough, this DVD also comes with educational special features about:

  • Safer sex and choking safety
  • Strap-on Tips
  • Anal hygiene, and
  • Solo prostate stimulation

The toys in TristanTaormino’s Expert Guide to Advanced Anal Sex are totally great.  There’s a LOT of Tantus and nJoy toys, and in the shot that shows a bunch of anal toys during the educational segment, there are even some NobEssence (luuuuuuust) toys… such as the Romp.  The educational content is superb, and the sex is great.  While I very obviously have my two favorite scenes, I wouldn’t describe the other two as mediocre… they’re just not my speed.  I think the sheer amount and value of the content is worth the money, don’t you?

Seriously.  If you don’t care about anal, Tristan has videos of similar quality about squirting, blowjobs, rough sex, and more, so there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy.  Check out Tristan’s site at http://puckerup.com!

To Tristan Taormino and all of her assistants: My vagina and I both thank you all for sending this video to me for a review!