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This One Time, at Bondage Camp...: Earning Your Naked Crucifiction Merit Badge

"There's no lightning in the forecast, right?" I asked the grizzled man with tattooed fingers who was shackling my naked body to a crucifix. It was beginning to drizzle slightly, and while I'm usually ecstatic to experience a summer thunderstorm, I prefer to do so from the safety of a wrap-around porch or a shabby-chic living room, not tied to a wooden stake behind a barn.

"No lightning," he assured me in a thick Russian accent. The videographer perched on the second story of the barn yelled, "Action!" I raised my head to the storm clouds and screamed.

It was Day Two of my shoot with BDSM porn site Infernal Restraints. The company shoots year-round in its Oakland studio, but spends the summer at a farmhouse in upstate New York that is ominously referred to only as The Farm. I'm a lifestyle kinkster who does edgy play in my personal life, but I can't pretend I wasn't apprehensive as I packed my suitcase. I tried to think of my week on The Farm as Bondage Summer Camp. But instead of canoeing and archery, I would earn merit badges in corporal punishment and device bondage.

I'm a city mouse — put me in a desolate farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and I start to get nervous. Although I never went to summer camp, The Farm's barn full of spiders, custom-made metal restraints, and that old cemetery down the road are the stuff campfire ghost stories are made of. Horror movies instilled me with a healthy fear of backcountry roads and cabins in the woods. I wasn't afraid of bondage, canes, or electric dildoes; I was filled with an irrational fear based on countless horror movies I've seen over the years in which the sluttiest girl is the first to die.

Even though I had to sleep with all the lights on the first night I was there, I was determined to use my time at The Farm to confront my Freddie Kruger nightmares and walk away stronger than I walked in.

Infernal Restraints is the offshoot of the site formerly known as InSex, which had a reputation in the industry for producing some of the more hardcore and disturbing images in pornography. The site was shuttered in 2005 when its merchant account, which allowed it to process credit card transactions, decided InSex was a risky business partner and halted its transcations. InSex was not alone; the Bush administration began targeting a long list of internet pornographers who depicted "sadistic and masochistic behavior." InSex was sold to a Dutch company rather than risk the possibility of a lengthy legal battle over U.S. censorship laws. Meanwhile, the graphic horror movie franchise Saw raked in more than $800 million at the box office. It was a strange time — the depiction of a woman having orgasms while in bondage was less acceptable than the depiction of women being violently murdered. The company then pivoted its attention to its less extreme sites: Hard Tied and Infernal Restraints.

The mastermind behind the two sites is a man known as P.D., who was inspired by horror films, particularly the work of Vincent Price. P.D. credits Price's 1953 film House of Wax as being one of his earliest influences. "There was a girl in a box with wax being poured on her, humans inside mannequins," he recalls. "I was riveted by it."

P.D.'s work focuses not only on the erotic and artistic elements of bondage, but also on fear. Fear and arousal are next-door neighbors in my brain, and my favorite date nights involve popcorn, pajamas, and clutching a cute girl close during the scariest parts of an episode of American Horror Story. And though the U.S. government may disapprove, the kind of sex and porn I like best involve "elements of sadism and masochism," power and control, and, yes, sometimes fear.

As the sun began to set, P.D. built a fire beneath the crucifix I was tied to. He reached up to pat my leg, made eye contact with me, and said, "You doing okay, honey? You look great." I nodded vigorously and mumbled an affirmative reply through the gag in my mouth.

Being tied to that cross behind that creepy old barn felt like rewriting my worst nightmare into a fun summer camp activity. Sure, I was scared, but it was the kind of fear that accompanies a good ghost story or a thrilling roller coaster. From what I've heard, summer camp is about pushing yourself in the great outdoors and trying new activities even if you're a little scared at first. I may never overcome my fear of spiders, but after my week at bondage summer camp, being crucified during a rainstorm doesn't scare me at all.

 
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3 comments
TWAT
TWAT

says" Yummy"

liljennypocket
liljennypocket

Just picked up the new issue and although this is a fun story I'm a little disappointed you didn't weigh in on the myredbook seizure. There's a lot of misconception surrounding RB, especially when news articles mention Operation Cross Country and the site seizure in the same breath, and you have the opportunity to inform the public about the devastating effect this could have on local sex workers. I hope there is a long read in the works from SFWeekly, as their was when Silk Road got busted.

 
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