The amazing Claire Adams returns with more of her special brand of Sex EDGE-U-cation. This is Part 2 of our chat and we’ll be discussing a lot of things including her bondage porn career.
As you know, in this podcast series we take a look at the world of fetish sex, kink and alternative sexual lifestyles; and chat with prominent educators, practitioners and advocates of unconventional sexual expressions and lifestyles from all over the world. And no one fits this bill better than Claire.
If you somehow missed Part 1 of this insightful discussion look for last week’s podcast #153. Simply use my site’s search function in the sidebar to your right. Type in Podcast #153, but don’t forget the # sign.
As I mentioned at the beginning of Monday’s podcast, over the next two weeks, and on both Mondays and Wednesdays, I will be featuring two absolutely amazing women in my podcasts. Both of these very talented women are taking a lead role in helping change our society’s perception of female sexuality and the gift of physical beauty. And each is doing it from what might, at first glance, appear to be the polar opposite of the other. But I believe appearances can be deceiving.
On Monday I introduced you to the ultimate photographer of the female nude, Leanne Bell, as part of The Erotic Mind series. Today, as part of my Sex EDGE-U-cation series, I have the pleasure of welcoming the internationally renowned teacher, BDSM advocate and on camera performer, Pro-Dom, pro-sub, bondage master, and video director, Claire Adams. She’s here to share something of her amazing life with us.
Both of my guests are extraordinarily passionate women who are completely immersed in their work. And their fervor is infused by a philosophy of empowerment and the beauty of women as full-fledged sexual beings. These podcasts are not to be missed!
On 18 May 2011 , the prolific dominatrix-turned-pornstar Asa Akira sent her Twitter followers one brief, but provocative message: “Ass is the new pussy.”
Although Akira was not the first to utter this smutty axiom, the tagline has been pegged to her name. That may have made it easy for many to dismiss the concept as nothing more than a shocking, perhaps self-promotional assertion by a savvy performer sometimes known as porn’s ” Ass Queen .” But the starlet wasn’t just blowing smoke out of her buttocks. She was channeling a growing and convincing body of data on the inexorable rise of heterosexual anal play in America.
We can actually track the rise of heterosexual anal sex over the past quarter century thanks to your tax dollars. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a series of studies in which they asked huge groups of people the same nosey questions about their sex lives— including whether men had ever put their penises “in a female’s rectum or butt” and if women had experienced a man putting his penis in their rectums (or butts) . In 1992, 20 percent of women and 26 percent of men aged 18 to 59 had reached fifth base with an opposite sex partner at least once. In 2005, the figure was 35 percent of women and 40 percent of men aged 25 to 44. In 2011, it was 39 percent of women and 44 percent of men aged 15 to 44. In some smaller age subgroups, the prevalence of anal experimentation was even more common.
The CDC didn’t ask whether people had heterosexual anal sex on the reg (probably because it’s hard to measure what “the reg” means), experimented with other forms of anal play, or tried male-recipient butt stuff. The best numbers we get regarding frequency are studies that look at what proportion of people had heterosexual anal sex in the last year, or the last time they had sex, which is a weak proxy at best. But it give us a sense that recurrent hetero butt sex is on the rise as well as one-off experiments.
A 2010 study also suggests that experimentation with wider forms of anal play may be even more common than experimentation with anal sex amongst heterosexual couplings. Among its subjects, 43 percent of women and 51 percent of men surveyed in heterosexual couples copped to testing out anilingus, anal fingering, or anal toy play at least once. A 2008 study suggests that at least some self-identified heterosexual men are receiving anal pleasure as well (mostly fingering, some anilingus). We have no good data to compare that to in terms of trends. But given the taboos against men receiving anal play, any male-receiver experimentation seems, anecdotally at least, like a pretty big sign of the times.
Yet for all that we’ve collectively bickered, raved, and railed about this widely acknowledged trend, almost no one’s investigated what America’s changing anal inclinations have meant for the sex market— namely brothel owners, pornographers, and toy manufacturers . To find out, I reached out to a few makers and shakers in the sex industry to get a quick look at how America’s smut mongers have responded to the rise of hetero anal sex.
Art by Peter Johann Nepomuk Geiger
PORN IN THE HETERO ANAL-ERA
According to Pornhub, the king of dirty search data, the heterosexual anal revolution correlates with exactly the trends you’d imagine. Anal-relatedporn searches still represent less than 10 percent of all queries on their site. However, anal is a more common term among straight content searches than gay ones and its pervasiveness in hetero searches is rising rapidly. Pornhub crunched the numbers for VICE and found that between 2009 and 2015 , anal-related searches increased by 120 percent in America. That’s significantly higher than the 78 percent increase in anal-related searches globally. The increase was steeper among male than female users, but anal-related tags were still the 18th most searched most searched terms among the site’s female clientele.
(As a side note, Pornhub’s investigation found that users aged 18 to 24 are actually 33 percent less likely to look for anal content than users aged 35 to 44, which is unexpected given how often we talk about hetero-anal as a young person’s game. But that 18 to 24-year-old demographic is 290 percent more likely to search for My Little Pony porn than any other age bracket, which is certainly its own can of worms.)
Image by Paul Avril
Yet, despite this clear demand spike, and the excitement a first-time anal scene can generate for a female performer, anal-focused heterosexual videos make up a small portion of the market. A Pornhub investigation last year revealed that just 7 percent of their straight content has an “anal” tag on it. And it doesn’t seem like porn studios are making any notable move to increase the volume of anal-focused content they create.
“I don’t think the overall production has gone up,” says Holly Kingstown, the editor of Fleshbot and a fixture of the adult industry since 1999 who’s held every job possible save actress. “In your talent pool, there are still [only] a certain number of girls who will do [anal]. And how many of that scene can you do with that girl?”
“There are performers who are willing to do it,” possibly due to industry pressures and consumer demand. “But in terms of the quality, when you’re talking about DVD sales…” she adds, before pausing briefly. “You can get a crappy internet scene or two out of a girl, but if she’s not really good at it, you’re not going to get that too many times. And when you’re talking about a girl who does it just to get a scene, it’s usually not going to be a girl who loves it or does it very well. So she’s not going to get that much work.”
Kingstown does believe that there’s more consumption of the anal-focused content that already exists. But the absolute number of anal-focused titles available for consumers is fairly static.
What has changed, says Kingstown, is the tone and packaging of the anal porn that gets made. Towards the early 2000s, when Kingstown was still working at Buttman Magazine, she and a her colleagues realized that more couples, versus angry men looking for painal (grimacing girls , visibly suffering and un-lubed ass-ramming), were exploring their content. Adjusting to this mass market, pornographers shifted to portraying anal as pleasurable and normal versus painful and sick, which had apparently been the norm for the bulk of anal porn content up to that point.
“You still see the stuff where you’ll see a woman called an ‘anal whore.’ But you also see the tone overall to be a bit more… I want to say woman-positive,” says Kingstown. “For example, I’m looking at my desk and I’ve got James Deen Loves Butt here. This isn’t James Deen Loves Sodomizing Little Girls and Making Them Cry . That title would sell too, but to a whole different audience. There’s Anal Warriors, where women are shown as strong and powerful and in control of the sex that they’re having. There’s a whole ton of these kinds of movies where the women who enjoy anal are shown as strong and powerful.”
But even if movies today portray anal sex as pleasurable, they still don’t paint it realistically. They don’t focus on the time and preparation most (s)experts agree good anal requires . They often show a ramrod, angled experience that wouldn’t be pleasant for more than a few women in the world. Of course, a lack of realistic sexuality is a chronic problem in all niches of fantasy-driven porn.
We’re seeing a lot more prolapses. We’re seeing double anal. It used to be five anal scenes, done, not four anal scenes and a double penetration. They can go further, so they do. –Holly Kingstown
This pleasurable-looking anal, says Kingston, is now treated like a run-of-the-mill aspect of porn rather than a specialty act. Whereas in the past, you might stuff all your anal content into one niche film, nowadays directors think nothing of nonchalantly inserting an anal scene into a larger project. The overall amount of anal content remains the same—it’s just not as clustered into niche markets and individual movies. Yet, as anal becomes a normal part of heterosexual porn for a wider audience, a small audience craving painful or extreme porn, for whom anal is now too passé and mainstream, has started demanding more physically taxing and (Kingston believes) potentially dangerous ass play acrobatics from the limited actress pool.
“You see a lot more circus stuff than you used to,” says Kingstown. “We’re seeing a lot more prolapses. We’re seeing double anal. It used to be five anal scenes, done, not four anal scenes and a double penetration. They can go further, so they do. And physically, there’s only so far that you can go with your body [as a performer].”
SEX TOYS IN THE HETERO-ANAL ERA
“Anal sex has always been a frequent topic of conversation with our [mostly heterosexual] customers,” Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland, told VICE when we asked for data on anal-related sex toy sales. The Seattle-based outfit with three outlets in New York is often hailed as one of the most accessible and acclaimed sex toy shops in America—a profile that lends it a large consumer base. “The ‘How to Have Butt Sex’ content on Babeland.com is the number one viewed piece of our [editorial] content. It has almost double the number of eyes on it as the ‘How to Give a Blow Job’ article, which is the second most viewed [item]. We don’t have data before 2009, but it’s always been number one.”
A Babeland survey of 18,412 customer respondents in 2009 (not a reliable sample, due to self-reporting issues, but still one of the better pieces of data you can find on this subject matter) also found that, 60.5 percent of men and 40.1 percent of women had tried using a butt plug, 56.8 percent of men and 31.7 percent of women had tried using an anal dildo, 51.8 percent of men and 29.2 percent of women had tried using an anal vibrator, and 37.4 percent of men and 27.8 percent of women had tried using anal beads.
Yet even with a high baseline of anal interest, Babeland has seen an increase in anal-related sales. Between 2012 and 2015, the genre averaged about 5 percent growth per year. As of 2015, Cavenah estimates that such toys, specifically made with anal in mind, make up about 16 percent of Babeland’s sales.
What’s more significant to Cavenah and company, they say, is how they’ve witnessed the tone and level of openness their customers use when talking to them about purchases and proclivities evolve. The hushed voices and seedy aura customers once took into transactions has faded away. And as people get more open, comfortable, and explicit with their anal sex toy needs, toy makers have responded to their feedback with a deluge of new, specifically anal-targeted sex toys , including smaller models marketed towards anal beginners. Babeland’s also noticed more luxury anal sex toys coming onto the market—products made of metal or glass, substances with higher price points—which suggests the emergence of a fair number of swankier, less bashful customers.
“We’ve definitely seen a shift in more interesting, innovative, and high-qualitybutt toys from some of the leading sex toy companies,” says Cavenah. “Je Joue debuted a remote-controlled vibrating prostate stimulator this spring. Anal toys come with vibrators, apps, and magnetic resistance that creates a pulsating sensation. There are also lubricants, such as Sliquid [Naturals] Sassy , that are marketed specifically for anal use.”
So I heard back from Todd. I shared his first message to me last Monday. You can find that exchange HERE!
I took your advice and found a local club of like-minded people. I went to one of their mixers. I met so many amazing people. Among them was this woman who is about 16 years older than me. She’s a mistress and a Dom for women only. She was kind enough to take me under her wing. She’s married to this guy who also attends these mixers, but is not really part of the scene. This woman has been so amazing teaching me and letting me sit in on her sessions. Her submissives have also been amazing and so patient with me as I find my footing.
So this leads me to my problem. I’ve only dominated with her 3 times. Each time it gets easier and more comfortable and I love it. And strange as it sounds, now this mistress has invited me to dominate her. And I understand that this is a huge honor for a seasoned Dom to invite a novice to dominate her. The one thing that tears me is her husband. She also has a child. So I need to know what the etiquette is what the boundaries are on this. I can’t hardly go up to the husband and say, “hey, is it ok for me to spank your wife.” I guess I feel a little taboo about that.
My friend, you are bringing your traditional middle-class vanilla value system to this new alternative and very un-vanilla situation that you now find yourself in. This conventional value system and its accompanying boundaries may serve you well in your “regular” life, but here in this new life, they are outmoded and cumbersome.
That is not to say that in the kink world anything goes. On the contrary, it’s just that the value system here is way different and thus so will the etiquette be. Here’s a rule of thumb that you can live by. When someone, particularly someone of exceptional stature in alt culture, like this dominant woman, invites you to participate with her in a scene; she is letting you know that these are the boundaries. You’ll rarely go wrong if you allow your more seasoned partner to lead you, even if you are going to be the Dom in an upcoming scene.
Regarding her husband, he’s not the one who authorizes or prohibits the encounter. It is the woman who is in charge. I mean it’s conceivable that he could be a cuckold for his wife. Much stranger things have happened, don’t cha know. And if you don’t know about the cuckold fetish that so many men groove on, then you have even more remedial study ahead of you.
I do appreciate that you continue to check in with me about your adventure. I am so proud of you for being humble enough to submit to a woman’s tutelage. That marks you as an exceptional fellow indeed. Keep it up and keep me posted.
Finally I want to encourage you to check out my podcast series called Sex EDGE-U-cation. This is the series where we take a look at the fascinating world of fetish sex and kink. In fact, you might invite your new Dom woman friend to listen in with you. I chat with amazing guests from around the world, and each of them offers a unique perspective on live on the edge. Of particular interest will be my conversations with these marvelous professional Doms: Mistress Katherine, Mistress Matisse, Lady Lydia, Lady HotchKiss, Claire Adams, Eve Minax, and Cleo Dubois.
I just met someone online and I’d like to maybe try my hand at being a dominatrix, but not really sure where to begin. He emailed me some questions he wished me to answer, I was wondering if you could maybe help with a couple of ideas/suggestions on how to answer them just to get me started. I’m having a hard time finding people to contact about this. Oh and by the way am a sugar baby, it would be a sd/sb relationship (sugar daddy/sugar baby) which I thought might be the perfect way to start a BDSM relationship because I would like to adopt an alternate personality anyways. I’m really hoping not to be judged by anyone for any of this. I’m really having trouble getting started; maybe I need to just get into character? Think you can help me?
I kinda think being a dominatrix is a whole lot more than role-playing or getting into character, darlin’, unless, of course, you are simply a dilettante. And if that’s all you’re really interested in, it really doesn’t make a difference how you play this out. You can be as silly as you want.
Think of this as being something similar to mastering a new language. Curiously enough, there are a lot of similarities between these two efforts. Just like leaning a few words and phrases in a foreign tongue doesn’t make you proficient in that language. So too donning a leather bustier and smacking a ridding crop against your leg doesn’t make you a dominatrix. Get it? Got it? Good!
However, if you really want to get into the life, there’s a considerable amount of remedial work ahead of you. Before you can claim the title “dominatrix” you will have to make an intensive study of what this entails. This is best done under the tutelage of another reputable Dom. Of course, not every pro-Dom is gonna want to take on an novice and show her the ropes, as it were. It’s no wonder you’re having problems connecting with others who might help you. But if you’re lucky, you might find a kind soul out there who will give you a break. And just so you know, these lessons will not come cheaply.
I also encourage you to approach others in the life with a good deal more deference and thoughtfulness then how you approached me. If they get a sense that you are simply an airhead twit, you’ll be out before you are even in.