Writing

Are We A Community? #Erotica #BDSM

I'm finding myself in the middle of fascinating conversations with different bloggers and friends about the recent crackdown on Facebook pages and blogs devoted to sex, erotica, and BDSM. The question has come up about community and whether there is a community and who is in that community.

My two cents, for what it's worth, is that anyone who writes, tweets, talks, post pics, or otherwise engages in a dialogue about sex is part of the community. Levels of involvement will be different for everyone, but essentially, if a portion of your time online is devoted to sharing information about sex, I consider you part of my community. The big question over the weekend is why. Why did WordPress pull down sites with no warning? What were the reasons? And where is this coming from?

I can almost hear the collective thinking that if the rest of "us" (those who still have our sites) avoid whatever it is "they" did to get yanked then we'll be safe. WRONG! Once an entity realizes they can use this control (that they've always had), what's to stop them? One person's porn is another person's erotica. What one person views as dirty is beautiful to someone else. It's completely subjective and from my view, there's no rhyme or reason why it's happening to some but not others.

BDSM pages on Facebook have been under attack for a while now, too. If someone reports a page and it's thought to show violence towards women, it's yanked. Good bye, gone, done. If the powers-that-be can convince someone that it's the page's responsibility to somehow keep children from viewing it and that the page has failed, they're yanked, too. Of course, then you have the people who don't know how to control their Facebook settings and can see what their friends and family are doing on Facebook. Don't get offended at MY page because your grandson likes it kinky and you saw it. That's not my problem, that's YOUR problem!

It's easy to get into the conversation about personal responsibility and that's usually the flag waved in this debate. Is it my responsibility as the creator of the material to keep children away from my site or is it the responsibility of the site that hosts the material? I'm gonna throw a crazy thought out there, how about we make it the parent's responsibility? As a parent, I'm good with that being my job. I sort of prefer it that way.

I think we all have a responsibility to put up warnings and use safeguards available to us to keep children out. My Facebook page is set so that anyone stating that they're under 18 can't see the page. My Tumblr page has a similar setting. I know some people worry about not being found. I'm good with not being found by minors. And I'm okay with putting out warnings that the blog or page is NSFW (Not Safe For Work) and that anyone under 18 needs to leave. To me, at that point, I've done what I'm supposed to do. Leave me alone, Facebook, WordPress, and whoever else is somehow offended by sex or at least my brand of kink.

If we don't come together as a group, and we keep seeing these incidences as separate from us because we don't participate in that particular arena (be it Facebook, WordPress, whatever), there will come a day when we won't have a choice anymore. Outside forces, urged on by close-minded people who don't want to accept personal responsibility (or learn how to use social media properly) will be able to dictate what we say and what we share. If Facebook page admins, Blogger writers, WordPress writers, and whoever else is next would realize that we are all one community, think about how powerful we could be.

The top two money-making industries in the world are weight loss and sex. Why are we being attacked (and yes, I view it as an attack) when they could be making money off of us hand-over-fist? Why are we not realizing the power we have and the numbers we have? If people (including myself) felt less afraid to admit our kinks and we stood together, think about what we could accomplish.

Those of us who write erotica, live the BDSM life, whatever, are considered fringe. Whatever. We're only fringe because we haven't stood up to be counted yet.

Ok, so I realize that this is my pie-in-the-sky view of the community. And yes, the reality of making this happen would be worse than herding cats. I know. But we have more of a voice than we realize and we have more power than we know. Right now, I don't have solutions, just big proclamations. The question remains to be answered by everyone else - do you think we're a community? I do. And if you do, what do we do next?

Full Disclosure: I am looking into moving to a self-hosted website. While I want to be part of an online social change where we demand and receive respect, I'm also not a fool. I won't wait around to be yanked down by a faceless entity based on arbitrary, undisclosed reasons. There are too many things I want to accomplish and I've spent a lot of time, effort, and tears building what I have here. If anyone's interested, I'm happy to share the name and email address of the person I'm going to be working with - I'm sure he can use more business. And he's sex blogger friendly.

About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, and an opinionated marketer. I’m also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!

58 Comments

  • So if I may ask, why don’t you become a leader of the community? You, like me, recognize what is going on, what potential there are, and while we have different ways of expressing the problem and going about a solution why not stand up and lead?

    If you and others leave you are just giving the censors what they want-you to go away. If you stay, if you force them to get rid of you, then you have a cause, you have something to fight for and about. While you are here or there or wherever you are staying you can continue broadcasting your message. You can even draw attention to what you perceive happening to groups that support first Amendment rights or who like you and me want to see sex writers-bloggers-photogs-etc get some respect and stop being censored.

    • I don’t think I could just designate myself the leader…nor do I have any clue what the next step is at this point.

      That being said, what kind of voice will I have the day they shut me down? I will have lost everything I’ve built and will have to start from scratch – which if I were ever to get shut down in part because of my outspokenness on the topic, would make them happier than me leaving on my own.

      If I come outside of the system, in my choice of platform at least, and continue banging the drum, won’t I be more effective? When I see others get shut down, won’t I be able to continue lending my voice to their cause because I’ll (hopefully) still have a voice to use?

      And right now, we still think in terms of the WP community, the Blogger community, the Facebook community. If I stay with WP, at least until the tide changes, I’ll still only be viewed as part of the WP community. If we’re truly a community as a whole, does it matter where my site is hosted (or yours or anyone else’s)?

      I want to be able to say what I want to say when I want to say it and how I want to say it (for the most part). I don’t want to go to bed every night in fear that when I wake up all of my work will have vanished because of…what? Do we even know what standard they’re using for shutting down WP blogs? What do they consider pornographic?

      Considering that the censors seem to be following us around from site to site (or there’s a different set of censors on each site), wouldn’t it be more frustrating for them to realize that they can’t stop us when we’re on our own platform? Maybe they “cleaned” up their space, but they’ve actually made our voices more powerful because in their zeal to remove us, we coalesced instead?

      Wow, I could go on and on…sorry about that!

      • I didn’t say designate yourself leader, I asked why become a leader. You obviously have a connection. I wrote about this three months ago and did not get the same response you are getting. That says to me if not leader at least someone who could inform others.

        You will have the same voice you do now. You might have to find a new spot, but if they shut you down there is something you can do with that as we are discussing on my blog. If they shut you down because you are outspoken then that without a doubt is censorship and that has repercussions for them.

        If you are outside unless you have a public platform you can be ignored by the big players in this game. You are correct it should not matter where you are when you speak out, but it does. Where you speak out matters to those who are there. It would be nice if there was one everywhere and maybe there is a conversation just like this happening on other sites (I happen to know that there is).

        What do they consider pornography? That has always been an issue, but thankfully there are laws which govern how what is pornography is censored and how.

        I like your thought that by causing sex bloggers to move that they are causing them to gather together, but that is not the case.

        • “I like your thought that by causing sex bloggers to move that they are causing them to gather together, but that is not the case.”

          It’s not the case yet…I think it could be…but it takes time…

          Maybe you didn’t get a lot of traction from your previous posts, but without your posts and our conversations, I might never have written this post…it doesn’t have to be something big that starts a movement…a lot of little things create the movement…only time will tell…

  • Reblogged this on Speaking Out on Nate and commented:
    Her thoughts are related to my thoughts on sex, in that sex should not be censored or forced to move. Please join in the conversation on her blog or mine.

  • Everyone leaving kind of makes me nervous. When you move domains, please leave breadcrumbs to follow. I always have a hard time staying connected when people move.

    • My plan will be to put up a post on this one that points everyone in the direction of the other. I know, instinctively, that I’m going to lose some followers, which I hate…and I’ll spend more time trying to add followers than I do right now. But I hate the idea of waking up one morning and finding everything gone. I won’t live in fear. I refuse.

  • Nice post!!

    My own new .com site is nearly there and I will be launching this new (2nd) self-hosted site within the next week.

    I have changed from .co.uk to .com following a heads up from Molly @ mollysdailykiss.com that there could be privacy issues in the future. So being a proactive sole I have changed over sooner rather than later.

    I look forward to see your new site!!

    Mia xx

    • I’m trying to be proactive, too. Even though it’s scaring the hell out of me. My biggest fear is of losing my followers and losing ground with all that I’ve managed to build so far.

      Yeah, I saw her comment on Twitter about the privacy thing. Good call.

      Let me know when you’re new site is live. 🙂

  • Community? Hell yes! Excited as hell to be a small corner of this significant debate. I will keep on writing and posting on WordPress for now. Thanks for making me (and all of us) more aware of the problem.

    • Thanks for willing to be in the debate at all! If I wasn’t seeing it in so many avenues, I probably wouldn’t believe there’s a problem, but it’s become global (in the sense that censorship is occurring on nearly every platform now). If we don’t talk about it, the sites will continue to get away with it because there won’t be anyone to stand up to them and demand explanations.

    • I like that perspective even better. I would say that sex writers are their own niche, though. The little old lady who blogs about cats and recipes may not view my writing as being on par with her writing – and that’s ok as long as she’s willing to acknowledge my right to be here. The problem is that our right to write about what we want to write about is what’s being targeted. (How many times can I say write/right in one sentence?)

      I want all writers to be in the same community – but it means my topic of choice shouldn’t be judged as bad simply because it’s considered “fringe.”

    • I think Christopher has spoken of the right approach. There are limits that we grow up with about sexuality that WordPress is representing by removing posts or whatever they do. I have emailed with people who live in communities that cannot be open to sexuality of “different” approaches. I can be open to things I haven’t tried myself because of the way they are written about. I don’t have that judgement of right or wrong but it is strong in others, in beliefs and fears. It is a real opponent to the compassionate perspective. Sexuality can imprison a person. I have been enlightened through reading of others’ experiences and my own understanding of sexuality has expanded. I am grateful to those who write about their experiences because they express sensuality, love, trust and the fearless stance of their own truth. It is through their writing that I have learned that there are many ways to love.

      • I think you’re right that the way some things are written about makes them easier to digest and accept.

        Not everyone writes the same way but I believe they all have the same right to express themselves as anyone else.

        And I realize that not everyone will be so accepting of what I write about, and I’m ok with that, but not liking my topic shouldn’t equate to being able to take my blog down, either.

        • I agree with you. I think the same rules/law/guidelines that are used for music – “EXPLICIT” should apply. If THE SITE IS ALREADY MARKED AS MATURE – I’m not understanding what the problem WP is having with content. I do think writing / freedom of speech is the stance to take in this argument

  • I had this very conversation with a close friend last night. My original thinking was that I am not a part of the community as I write occasionally and have no designs to be a writer or b a professional blogger.

    In the course of the conversation I was reminded that not only do I learn from the other blogs I read but others that learn from me as well. I have had people email asking me questions and advice and I do my best to answer them as openly and honestly as I can and if I am unable to I point them in a direction where they can find the answers they seek.

    Also I do support the indie writers that blog and I find that I enjoy their works much more then some of the mainstream writers.

    So it seems that I am more of a member of the community then I had at first realized. It also made me realize that I am proud to be a part of this community as well, I have made some good friends, some that I have met in real life and others that I hope to meet at some point and time.

    At the moment there is a good deal of uncertainty as to what has brought about this change in the blog sphere. Uncertainty makes for a bad bed partner and that makes this seem even more ominous.

    Maybe it is time for a change, maybe Blogger, Tumblr, and WordPress have outlived their usefulness. Maybe it is time for a true community to begin growing that welcomes the fringe, the kinksters, the hedonists, and the BDSMers.

    Change is never easy, change can be tough, but change is also the one constant in life.

    • I think if the “community” whoever that happens to be wants to join together in a more formal way, then yes, Blogger, WP, Tumblr, etc. should be tools to build the community, but should not be allowed to control the community.

      I don’t want uncertainty. I want to go to a place where I can write what I want and be who I am – as long as I’m not breaking any laws. If the blogging giants won’t protect me from censorship, I’d rather go where I have more control.

      Change isn’t easy, you’re right. Like I said, it would be like herding cats to make something happen.

  • Since I read your earlier post, this issue has been much on my mind. I see what FB, Blogger, and WP are doing as slut-shaming or sex-shaming and that REALLY pisses me off. I don’t write erotica on my blog (yet) or about kink often, but these things are an integral part of my life, as well as the lives of so many others.
    I told a fellow blogger about these threatening issues and he explained to me how to export my entire blog to an XML file. That seems an important step. If my blog goes down because I talk about my masochism or squirting or nipple clamps, I will at least have all my files preserved so I can choose to go elsewhere and take them with me.
    In the meantime, I think I might go and write about sucking cock!

    • I’ve done the same thing – and I’ll do it again before I go to a new site so I can have the most up-to-date stuff. And it is an important step. But the question becomes – do we leave on our own terms or do we wait to get kicked out?

      • I am reminded of the “We’re here, we’re queer” gay rights movement. We may have to get in the face of people and draw attention to ourselves, even negative attention, in order to advance our cause. I am thinking about popular reader forums – Huffington Post, Salon.com, xoJane – these popular media sites abhor censorship as much as we do. Imagine if Kayla Lords wrote some informative editorial pieces and submitted them to mainstream media to bring the censorship out into the light (while earning herself some bodacious publicity.)

        Do you get the impression we all want to rally around your flag?

        • Funny, I was thinking something similar when it comes to mainstream media attention – that we need it, not necessarily that I’m the one to wave the flag.

          If I’m the one to wave the flag, I’ll do it – but where does one start?

          • I think Huff Post reaches the widest audience. I would search there for articles on censorship, look to see who wrote/edited those, and then contact them.
            There is a pretty vocal anti-censorship community on Reddit, probably even a sub-Reddit. (My sons are both avid Redditors.) Since the majority of that community are males in their twentiess and thirties, it is also a sympathetic audience. You could contact the moderators and admin of that board. I believe there is also a BDSM sub-Reddit.
            xoJane welcomes lots of outside contributors and they are very open about sex, fantasies, etc. I think they would definitely welcome an editorial piece, maybe even pay you for it. They also have a vocal community on their comment strings. I don’t know how activist they are, but I know that Jane, the editor, has quite a lot of pull in the New York periodical publishing community.
            Good luck. Go get ’em!

          • I spoke with my younger son about this issue. He thinks it might be something that would have broad appeal at the Reddit community. (Yes, we have “those” types of conversations :-). He suggested posting to the r/News and r/Technology sub-Reddits as those reach the widest audiences, as opposed to r/Censorship, which is a very specific audience.

            While I think it is a great idea to have a safe haven for sex bloggers, I also think it would be sad to isolate ourselves. All of the searchers out there who are struggling to come to terms with their nascent or reborn sexuality would find it difficult to encounter healthy sex-loving, non-shaming men and women to support their cause.

            “The New Prudishness” – Heaven help us! To paraphrase Shakespeare, slut-shaming by any other name would smell….

          • I’ve heard of reddit but never done anything with it. Should I just post this post, do you think?

            My urge to just create a safe haven for sex bloggers is a protective thing. I agree though that we need to be more available for those people who are trying to anonymously find answers…

  • This was a good post and conversation. I too am leaning heavily towards grabbing my own domain. I think leaving on our own terms and Telling WP or Blogger or FB why we have left will be the way to handle things.

    For the record, I’d still like to know the reason the other blogs were taken down.

  • Kayla,

    Wolf and I are looking into Secure webhosting for adult blogs. It would probably cost about $10 a month, but that would mean that we do the admin stuff to make sure the blogs stay up and running, including all the ‘wait on hold stuff’.

    The thing we’d need to know is if and how many people might be interested. I’m putting the shout out here first. I’ll have more details tomorrow.

  • Kayla, I want to be in the loop as far as all this crackdown-on-kink stuff goes, too. I’m already self-hosted and do web dev, but I’m very concerned about the adult tag stuff going on over on Amazon as well as these other “signs” of what I call, in my head, “The New Prudishness” that seems to be flourishing lately. Very odd, IMO.

    Pinterest yanking boards of BDSM stuff, FB and WP.com censoring, Amazon tagging/hiding books, PayPal policy on accounts selling “adult” materials, etc.

    I agree, if we are any kind of “community” (herd cats much, Sher?) we should come together somehow, whether it’s figuring out ways to work around the stuff or whatever. Selena Kitt has written extensively about the PayPal flap as well, FYI.

    • The signs of whatever this is are everywhere once we start noticing it. I wish I had answers…

      The new prudishness is very accurate…there’s a part of me that thinks if we could figure out the root cause of it, then maybe we’d know how to combat it better.

  • We have a fight on our hands. LGBT are getting there, we had women’s rights and anti-racism before them (I know all of these are works in progress), and now it’s our turn. Kinksters of the world unite!

  • I have a domain name in mind, can set up a site just like wordpress.com where kinksters and other adult bloggers could set up blogs in the knowledge that as a kinkster myself, I’m not going to close anyone down on spurious grounds. I’m a webmaster irl.

  • KVZ Music NOT ONLY posted private conversation between us online, they posted conversation between me, and a random person and posted that online….. | Sunset Daily says:

    […] Are We A Community? #Erotica #BDSM (kaylalords.wordpress.com) […]

  • Well this is all just getting so interesting…I am one of the sites that was shut down (catrinalusso.wordpress.com) by WP. I had decided to start a photographic blog showing (IMHO) tasteful, artistic shots of my body. I have never been an exhibitionist, have always kept my body well hidden and in these later years of my life, have discovered my sexuality and sensuality and wanted a way to visually celebrate my body. To finally take pride in myself having always had low self-esteem. I had gotten as far as 12 posts and was shut down on 3 July, the day before Independence Day. I had not marked my blog as mature, that was probably a mistake. I emailed WP and about 8 hours later, got a response from a guy in Canada – “Your site has been suspended for posting materials of a pornographic nature. This is strictly prohibited on WordPress.com, as per our Terms of Service – http://wordpress.com/tos/ .” I immediately wrote back denying the images being pornographic and asking them to review their decision but I never heard another word. I reviewed the TOS and found that while mature blogs are permitted, explicit images of genitalia are not. The only image on my blog that they could have taken offense to, was a blurred B&W shot of me using a vibrator on myself, the vibe covering my “genitalia”. I was very disappointed that WP had done that to me. They could have just marked my blog as mature so it did not appear in the global Reader. As it was, I had always made sure that my images never appeared in the Reader, always using some icon or badge as a decoy. So I have moved my blog to my own site, catlusso.com, self-hosted on Bluehost for about $4 per month x 36 months. But I miss WP and I miss my viewers, and when I have time, I will work on the site and see what I can do to pick up traffic. Hope you did not mind me sharing my lengthy tale 🙂

  • And the worst thing is, WP succeeded in making me question myself with that image, making me feel like I had been a “bad girl” and so I took it off my new site.

  • To get more on point with your post, I can only share my experience of the WP community when my blog was suspended. All who found out, bar one who I was in direct contact with, seemed to wring their hands, shake their heads, tut-tutted between themselves, commented on how awful it was, but no one had the to contact me, support me, or have anything to say to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t write, I don’t know, but I was surprised at the lack of support and it left me feeling even more “out in the cold”.

  • I’m being attacked on many sides such as Pinterest, Google’s Blogger, Google+. My feeling is why is there such high-handedness on people like sex? We’re not promoting any perverted sex! Why in the world when people are gradually accepting same-sex relationship and you have this ‘persecution’ on our free and harmless expression of sex online. This is downright phony and hypocrisy!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: