Published Jan 27, 2013BDSM—Bondage, discipline, dominance/submission and sadomasochism—has long been viewed as a disgusting sub-genre of the pornographic world, catering to the morally depraved with its violent themes and subjugation of women. But what of the people that are involved in BDSM porn? Are they truly the lowest common denominator of humanity, or is there more than meets the eye behind these oft leather-clad people that enjoy sex in ways many have never dreamed of?
Christina Voros sets out to document this surreptitious world for the masses, navigating behind the scenes at Kink.com, the world's leading producer of bondage and sadomasochistic pornography. Rather than focus on the acts of BDSM themselves, Voros contrasts sexual acts with the actors and their personal opinions and stories, providing a compelling and revealing insight into places few will venture; or rather, few are willing to admit they've ventured.
Taking a fly on the wall approach with kink, Voros lets the content and its creators speak for themselves, completely omitting an agenda that would normally be fueled by a third person commentary. The end result is a documentary that educates audiences and tries to break down the "deviant" label that is so often tied to BDSM.
"Safe words" and "aftercare" are discussed, explaining how directors of the various films are always focused on the submissive and their wellbeing, while rules are explored, uncovering the fact that the actors are actually the ones in full control, dictating what can and cannot happen once the cameras roll.
Even though kink's primary focus isn't on the sexual acts, they're still presented as a method of juxtaposition with the actors and the dialogue that ensues. In one scene a young lady is being chased by a group of men in an abandoned warehouse gangbang scenario. The men are all naked and erect as they tackle the woman and begin to initiate their sex play when the director interjects to cut the scene. Apparently, someone had stepped in rogue cat faeces during the warehouse chase and they needed to find the source of the problem, leading to laughter and a reminder that regardless of the intensity of the on-screen action, these are human beings with a sense of humour.
In another scene, one of the gay submissives has just finished a hardcore slave scene and is walking into the Human Resources office in a robe. When asked how his shoot was he casually advises that he "got fucked good." Later in the film, a woman is tied and suspended over an industrial-sized stimulation machine that probes her nether regions with a fixed dildo that operates at high speeds. The director calls a break to the action momentarily; however, the actress needs to maintain the pose. In an effort to pass time, the director makes small talk and asks, "What do you jerk off to?" The actress embarrassingly replies, "Keanu Reeves."
In the end, Voros achieves her goal by demystifying the world of BDSM and those that participate in its pornographic sales segments. Kink.com's employees speak of a happy and sane workplace that they all revere, one that lacks manipulation and promotes participation in acts that they ultimately enjoy. Unfortunately, thanks to America's predominantly puritanical mindset, kink will likely be at odds with most filmgoers with its content and the connotations it carries. A shame since one of the BDSM film directors sums it up best when she says, "It's just sex." (Rabbit Bandini)