Sex and Snuff: What Dying Twice Taught Me About Eroticized Death

Olivia Davis has done two modeling gigs involving her pretending to be dead. One was beautiful, one was ugly.

Editor’s note: This is a hard article to read. It’s long and explicit and deals very frankly with the filming of one of the most extreme and disturbing forms of pornography that exists, the faux-snuff films in which a model pretends to be killed. It will be upsetting, triggering, frightening for many readers, and we have been debating for some time whether to run it. We have chosen to run it for one very important reason: because it is from the model’s perspective. The “victim” in the porn movie is telling her side, describing her own experience, her own motivations and memories. The overwhelming majority of discussion of pornography, especially such esoteric and specialized pornography, is from an outside perspective. We at the Good Men Project believe in providing a platform for perspectives that might not otherwise be heard, and we believe that Ms. Davis’s experience, and her thoughts about it, provide a valuable perspective on extreme pornography that is needed if we are to have any serious discussion on the matter. Once again, many people will find the following article upsetting or triggering, and readers should exercise discretion.

Death is big. Death is scary. Death is important. Death is inescapable. It’s the end.

As such, we talk a lot about death. We philosophize about it, write about it, obsess over its prevention. As such, death is the subject of a lot of art, and plays an important role in a lot of media that is, uh, maybe not so much art. Our media mulls it over, sometimes exploiting its horror and extremity, sometimes infusing it with peace and beauty. And sometimes, we make death sexy. We make corpses into glamorous, morbid objects that we show off.

I, myself, have been dead twice, and once it was beautiful.

The first time, a photographer and friend covered me in baby oil so my unmarked skin shone and glowed. She had me lie on a moldering shipping palette and sprinkled me with water so it beaded and pooled on my skin. She tossed a clear, plastic shower curtain over my legs and took photos as I lay in silent repose. Still life with tits.

The second time was on the set of a porn shoot. We’d been shooting the film in chronological order, parts one, two, and three, had been standard porn torture: a lot of hitting and a lot of clamps. And then he put a plastic bag on my head, telling me to struggle a lot at first, but to slowly fight less. Then, I’d die. He’d edit the scene together later. He’d make it look like he’d killed me.

This is how it happened:

I’ve been an amateur fetish model for more than a year now. Despite my Model Mayhem profile, despite the fact that my face will be in a gallery space in April, modeling had netted me exactly one hundred dollars. So, when a porn producer sent me a message offering to shoot with me, I was surprised and pleased. I knew that there was plenty of BDSM and fetish porn work to be done in my city, but hadn’t yet had an opportunity to try my hand at that game.

I found his work unpleasant, but in a rather pedestrian kind of way. The aesthetic was very Kink.com: set in somebody’s unfinished basement, with practical ropework and nobody having a good time. It intimidated me. I like to think I play fairly hard in my private life, but that’s with my partner who I love and trust implicitly. It’s not for a camera and it’s all stuff I’m happy to do. I wasn’t sure that I was tough enough for his brand of kink, which included some stuff I hadn’t done, but I knew there was only one way to find out.

♦◊♦

Even after I’d accepted his proposition, he was miserly with information. He gave me a nickname and a nom de pr0n sillier than “Max Hardcore,” so I’ll just call him Brick Hardmeat (a name I promise is less ridiculous than his actual pseudonym). He told me that we didn’t have to shoot anything that involved me and his dick (boy/girl, as they call it), what he usually pays models for non-boy/girl work, and the date and time of our shoot. Other than that, he wouldn’t tell me what we’d be doing and only assured me that “every model has a discussion on video about limits.” He didn’t tell me how much content he planned to shoot, or how long it would take. He wouldn’t initially tell me the location of his studio. Instead, he informed me that he’d text it to me on the day of. When I reported that this wouldn’t fly because I’d be taking public transit, he offered me a ride.

Between his cageyness, my concerns about my abilities, and the mere fact that actually moving into porn was a big, frightening step, I sat on the edge of calling the thing off for weeks. It was only a glowing recommendation of Brick by the only porn star I know and the knowledge that he and I would have a twenty minute drive just to talk to each other and interact as regular humans that tipped me into going, alone, to the studio of a strange man to do unknown, but painful things for pay.

Brick Hardmeat is, indeed, a strange man. He is in his forties and 6’2”, with gray hair cut into a Mohawk, but pulled back in a small, goofy braid. Both of his arms are sleeved in tattoos and his cargo shorts reveal more on his calves and ankles, including a tribal design overlaid by a marijuana leaf. His voice is gravelly, as though he constantly needs to clear his throat, and there are gaps between his teeth. I found him friendly and affable. As I’d hoped, our car ride does a lot to set me at ease. We talk about leatherwork, girls who can’t come, and his slow-going attempts to buy the building that houses his studio. He reveals that he’s a felon: he did time for smuggling marijuana into the country. When he asks if I smoke pot, I tell him no.

When we arrived he gives me a tour of his studio. Originally an office building, it’s now a labyrinth of well-appointed sets: bedroom, girlier bedroom with pink walls, medical room, kitchen, office, morgue, living room, and torture chamber. We’ll be using the torture chamber. There’s also a $3,000 shower in a laundry room and an office with a standing desk where Mr. Hardmeat edits his films.

In the office, Mr. Hardmeat hands me a bottle of water, double-checking to make sure I want mine “pre-roofied.” Despite myself, the joke makes me smile, makes me feel better. His acknowledging the tension causes some of it to dissipate. I reply that I take my roofies separate, thanks. He brings up some previews for non-BDSM movies he made, explaining that folks ordering things special like this is a good way to make money and that he can’t shoot me just doing BDSM work forever. As a model, I have something of a shelf life. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to shoot this sort of content. One of the videos is all acting, the crack of a whip, a flinch, a scream, but the whip never makes contact. The model is very good. Mr. Hardmeat explains that she was raised on a dairy farm in upstate New York, has six or seven brothers and sisters, and is “all about black cock now.”

At least two of the three clips he shows me end with the girls “dying” and the camera slowly panning over their bodies. Nothing that happens in any of them is portrayed as consensual.

♦◊♦

The first thing Mr. Hardmeat tells me about our video and interview on the subject of my limits is that it is not for publication, so he needs real information. I’m relieved. This means there’s no pressure for me to present myself as a super-sub or mega-masochist with no hard limits. He asks me my name, my age, if I’ve been coerced into coming to the studio, if I’m a lifestyle BDSM’er, and what my pain tolerance is (I reply “moderate” to that last question—trying to discern just how much of a masochist you are is a loser’s game). And then we talk about limits.

In retrospect, I realize that there was just no good way for Brick Hardmeat and I to talk about my limits. BDSM is vast and strange and there are things in it I’ve still probably never heard of. When Mr. Hardmeat asks me what my limits are, the understanding is that he is allowed to do everything else, even things I’ve never done before. And that, frankly, is terrifying.

But I’m a grown-ass woman, I’ve been getting beaten up regularly and with increasing intensity for more than a year now, I am confident in my ability to endure pain, especially for short periods of time and for money. And I have a safeword. So, we agree that he won’t put his penis in me, and that there will be no blood, urine, or scat (which are his limits, incidentally). Aside from that, he has carte blanche. And then we go to shoot.

♦◊♦

We shoot four scenes. At the beginning of the first one, he tells me that I ought to look scared, like I’m a captive, “almost like there’s something non-consensual going on.” We’d shoot for ten minutes straight, I’m not allowed to say “no,” or “stop.” I get most of the way through the first scene before I have to use my safeword. I haven’t eaten very much this morning and having my shoulders pulled behind my back sometimes makes me nauseous and dizzy anyway. I don’t quite fall over.

Mr. Hardmeat reacts without apparent annoyance. He just gets me out of the bondage. When I tell him that laying on the floor for a bit will be really good for me, he helps me down. Embarrassed, I apologize profusely. He brushes over my apologies and suggests that I eat a bigger breakfast in the future. When I tell him I am all right to stand again, he tells me to relax for a bit longer. I feel good about his reaction.

I get through the second scene without nausea or feeling like my limits are being approached, though I learn that wearing a ball gag hurts my jaw.

Scene three is fucking machine, Hitachi, and cattle prod, and he tells me that it goes until I’m done. Scene three is weird and intense. It’s difficult for me to get off, because I can’t concentrate on any one sensation, because I’m tied down and can’t move with the machine, or adjust its angle. Mr. Hardmeat keeps zapping me with the cattle prod, interrupting any progress I’ve made towards coming. So, I do something I’ve never done in real life: I fake orgasms until the real thing eventually arrives. It’s easy because I’m blindfolded and gagged. I don’t feel bad about faking it.

The final scene is Mr. Hardmeat’s signature move. Most of his videos seem to end this way: he’s going to put a plastic bag over my head. We do it in stages and I end up having the bag on my head nine or ten times. He holds it on with his hands (“for that ‘bag-held-on-head-with-hands look’”) until I safeword or he can tell that I’m experiencing real panic. This is neither a very safe, nor competent way to play with breath, but the panic, he explains to me, is important. It’s really what looks good on camera. If models could just look really panicked without the lack of oxygen and the terror of inhaling a plastic bag, well, “there’d be no need for bag.”

This scene actually ends up being the most fun. We talk a lot in between the baggings, because I’m terrified of them. He uses the word “bag,” most often without articles, like a proper noun. He jokes with me that “you love Bag, I can tell.” “Well, I’m not a therapist, but I think that Bag is therapeutic. I put a bag on your head, and I take it off and you’re okay, so you learn that you can have a bag on your head without anything bad happening.” And “okay, time for slobbery Bag again.” Somehow, altering between sharp fear, relief and wonderful air, and the repetition of “Bag” jokes ends up being a pretty good time.

I’ve had Bag on my head six or so times when Mr. Hardmeat tells me that I should struggle less and less from now on. After that, he’ll take the bag off my head and I’m to just sort of lie back against the St. Andrew’s cross I’m on and “die.” Then he’ll do some body pans.

It is only at this moment that I realize the video I’m shooting would end in my “death.” I wonder instantly if I should have expected this, given the endings of the clips he showed me. I’m uncomfortable acting out my own murder, I don’t want to participate in this kind of porn. But I don’t think to refuse. I don’t want to ruin his scene, I’m too surprised to think quickly on my feet, the coercion of money, and pure momentum, are all elements of why I don’t say no right then. It is only later that I really come to regret my consent.

But the baggings finish. I “die.” The camera pans slowly over my naked body, my eyes wide.

And we’re done.

♦◊♦

My work with Mr. Hardmeat is different from any other kink I’ve done because I can’t talk to him. I can’t tell him that everything is fine, but I’d prefer if he switched to my other breast for now, or that he is getting close to my limit with one activity, but it would work if he did something else, or that I’ve just barely learned that I really hate being cattle prodded just under my butt, or even, god forbid, that I like something and want him to continue. I also spent enough time blindfolded that, if something was coming that I really didn’t want, I couldn’t safeword in anticipation. I could only do so afterward. My options were just two: suck it up, or safe out. I’m uncomfortable being limited to only those options.

I wonder if this is a problem with other BDSM pornographers, or if Mr. Hardmeat just happens to be pretty bad at negotiations. With better pre-scene communication, we might not need to talk in-scene. I’d have the same limitations, but those limitations would be less constraining. It’s even possible that someone else might work with me to find things that I like and would sell well. And, hey, I might not die at the end, either.

With the scenes over, I dress and Mr. Hardmeat has me fill out some paperwork. He then hands me a cheque. Brick Hardmeat pays between $2-400 for non-boy/girl BDSM. I’m pleased to note that I’ve earned the full amount and amused that Mr. Hardmeat’s handwriting is such that it’s unclear if I’m being paid for “acting” or “action.” Despite this,an earlier reference of Hardmeat’s to the fact that I am nice to work with because I don’t use my safeword “every five minutes” like some models leaves me worrying about how I’d feel if I worked with him again and needed to safeword for non-health reasons. Two hundred dollars for three hours of awkwardness and uncomfortable, painful work is way less sweet than four.

Mr. Hardmeat is kind enough to drop me off at home. I am quite sore, physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally stable. The scenes I did weren’t fun for me and I didn’t have a good time doing them. At best, they were interesting. They weren’t particularly bad, though, either. They just weren’t for me.

I’m concerned about Mr. Hardmeat’s poor communication and the necessity of giving him carte blanche. I’m very uncomfortable with the implications of some of what I did. But, personally, I feel accomplished. The scenes I did were tough and highly physical. They felt like work and I did a good job. After all, I only cried once, and that was after taking a cattle prod to my genitals. I know now that I’m strong enough to do this sort of work, even when it involves doing things I’ve never done before and things that frighten me. That knowledge is empowering. It feels good to know that I could do this sort of work again.

I’m officially a badass now, I know. And, damn. Feels good to be a badass.

♦◊♦

When I got home, the first thing I did was take a long nap. The second was start to write about my experience with Mr. Hardmeat. In writing, reflecting, and talking to my partner, my feelings of unease at my death crystallized and blossomed into fully-fledged moral condemnation.

Once they did, it was hard for me to justify them to myself. I definitely felt like what I’d done was wrong. Really, actually wrong, not just icky or not my kink. That’s a foreign feeling for me. In the land of BDSM we have this acronym (because we are all about acronyms): YKINMK. It stands for “your kink is not my kink,” and means both that and “your kink is okay.” In general, I believe pretty strongly in YKINMK, despite how stupid it looks typed out. Just because I don’t like something, even if it grosses me out or upsets me it’s not my place to judge people doing it safely and consensually. What I felt about my death not only went against that, but called into question everything else I’d done. Why was the faux-snuff not okay, when I felt all right about aping non-consensual violence? And against a woman, no less.

It was especially confusing because I’d been dead on camera before, and I stood, and still stand, by it. I think it’s one of the closest things I’ve done to making real art. In the photos, I’m glamorous and haunting. Sometimes my eyes are open, accusatory. I’m not sure if it’s what the photographer intended, but I’ve felt like those images present serious tension between sexiness and death. They exist in dialogue with images of glamorized violence.

And that helped me to discern the difference. Everything I did with regard to violence and non-consent is different from my deaths. But what matters is the way my first death differed from my second: everything else I’ve done was fetishized, as was the first death. The second death was only eroticized. I think the difference between these two things is titanic yet subtle.

When we fetishize something, we hold it to the light. We admire it, even if we also despise it. We find things to love in it, things to covet. When we fetishize something, we love it. It’s that moment when we see a foot and think to ourselves about how elegant and beautiful it is, and oh what we’d like to to/with that foot.

When we eroticize something, we merely smash sex into it. It’s a murder scene in a slasher movie where somebody’s breasts are out and bouncing around like nothing’s wrong. Most fetishization is also eroticization, but those streets don’t go both ways.

We fetishize a lot of objectively horrible things. Rape, torture, humiliation, incest, Nazis. And all of those things are and can be eroticized, too. We can do either to anything, but something cool happens when we fetishize rather than only eroticize: we talk. We talk about what we think is hot. We examine it. We contextualize it within our lives. We make something deliberate out of external horrors. We make it ours. We erect ways to do it, or to come as close as we can, safely. We engage with it explicitly and thoughtfully. We consider matters of consent and health, both physical and mental. And through discourse, we destroy fear. We make light of terror and pain. We rob these things of their real power.

Only a very small number of people have actually fetishized death. The vast majority of us lack the scaffolding on which to erect eroticized death scenes that aren’t just that: the eroticization, sans fetishization, of awful violence. Fetishization is the only thing that can make the eroticization of the horrific acceptable. And we just don’t do that with death very often.

And maybe we never will. Maybe we can’t rob death of its power like we can rob pain, and maybe that’s okay. I mean, it’s death. It’s kind of a big deal. But until or unless we erect the discursive structures necessary to even make light of it, or begin to love it in the way that we love what we fetishize, it will remain violence, will remain wrong. And I will not participate in it again.

My first death may not have defanged death, but it made death into something beautiful. It made my body, a corpse, into something lovely and eerie. It may not have taken ownership of death, but it found something within death to cherish. It was liebestod. My second death was brutal and exploitative. Death was not coveted, but inflicted, not examined, but brandished. I reject my second death, but I’ll keep the first.

 

Photo—Ophelia, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, public domain

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Comments

  1. The one thing that I focused on in this article is the communication from Mr HM, or more appropriately, the lack of it.

    Any BDSM activity requires informed consent, negotiation and an opt-in style contract rather than an opt-out type that happened. It’s incredibly rare and frankly crazy to rely on safewords as the mechanism for identifying boundaries and to casually chuck in a death scene with breath play just about beggars belief.

    To qualify this somewhat, anyone who toe-dips into sex or kink beyond the vanilla there seems to be considerably more discussion, comprehension and basically communication about what is, isn’t of interest, what is unknown and of where the lines blur.

    So to have a carte blanche scenario like the one described is actually quite horrific for probably different reasons to those most readers might associate with this article.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      I would have strongly preferred an opt-in agreement. I probably would have opted in to most of the things we did, but it would have been really great to have, like, any forewarning before different implements came out. I think part of the point might have been the genuine surprise and/or alarm that I experienced when, to my surprise, something different and unexpected was happening.

      None of my experiences in my personal life have remotely been opt-out like this. You’re absolutely right to qualify it as weird and rare. When I negotiate scenes, we talk about exactly what we’re gonna do, and then do it. I wonder if the opt-out is common to pornography, though. My work with Hardmeat is still the only porn I’ve done, but I’ve talked to other producers since then and they all ask me what I won’t do, instead of telling me what they want, and allowing me to decide if that sounds good or not.

  2. The Wet One says:

    Olivia,

    I’ve got to ask. Is this the weirdest thing you’ve ever done? I’m a porn afficianado, but what you’ve described above has zero interest to me. And that’s from someone who’s watched (a few times) people actually having their heads cut off (which I lose interest in pretty quickly as it is disturbing as all hell, but reality ought to be viewed in my view in all its horror to know what really is out there in the real world).

    What you’ve described crosses more than a few lines for me and is just totally unsexy. I wouldn’t even peruse the video just to see what was there. Once I recognized it, off it goes.

    Apparently even you found something off putting about it, that being the death part. That part doesn’t bother me much (after all, I’ve seen video of real people really being killed, not fake killed as you were. I won’t get to talk to those guys with their heads rolling down the street). I find the combo of sex and death a bit too much. Reminds me too much of Willy Pickton, a true woman hater.

    I guess, I’m blathering on, but dang, that stuff you did is just weird to me. Don’t quite know how to react to it…

    Stay safe out there kiddo. Pickton isn’t the last of his kind.

    The Wet One

    • Olivia Davis says:

      The Wet One,

      That really, really depends on your definition of “weird.” My schema may well be very different from yours. I don’t think it’s weird, for example, to play with blood. For me, it was very, very weird to go into a situation so foreign to me, with a person I didn’t know or trust. I’ve done other things like that at my partner’s request as a show of my trust in him. Having those experiences actually really helped me with Brick.

      What about what I did crosses the lines for you? Is it the BDSM and pain stuff, or is it mostly just the death?

      Also, the reality or lack thereof of the situation isn’t what bothered me about it. It’s the fact that I was being play-killed, ostensibly because it was somehow sexy. It’s the intent that matters most to me here. It’s the fact that we’re mingling sex and death that I find weird, not the mere fact of death.

      I do say safe! I got a recommendation for Mr. Hardmeat from someone I trusted. I don’t lose my head. I know my limits. But, thanks.

      -Olivia

      • The Wet One says:

        First, I apologize for the kiddo. I enjoy being patronizing from time to time. Especially when it’s about potentially deadly situations.

        Secondly, I suppose the faux snuff film is the weird thing for me. BDSM is no big deal, but faux snuff is.

        As for weird, I’m interested in whether you think it was the weirdest thing ever, not my definition of weird. If this wasn’t the weirdest, I’m curious as to what was the weirdest, though you need not answer that question. I’m just curious if this bit of filmwork was your weirdest ever.

        As for the eroticization of death being objectively wrong, well, yeah. I think that’s probably dead on (no pun intended). Sexual sadist murderers seem to be the type to get off on these sorts of things. Serving that market seems wrong to me simillarly to child porn. It’s not illegal though, as no children and presumeably no actors or actresses (BTW, do you know if there is a similar product for gay porn or aimed at female viewers?) were actually harmed during the creation of such works.

        As for crossing the line, well, I like my porn to at least portray everyone having a good time. Being killed isn’t a good time to me, thus any depiction thereof in porn is by definition, crossing a line. Probably most BDSM doesn’t work for me either (I don’t watch that porn either), but that’s definitely several lines before being killed. Eroticization of murder or killing is also crossing a line. It’s not just death, as one can have sex with corpses or folks near death (I don’t know, sex with famine or AIDS victims is pretty close to eroticization of death without killing someone), which doesn’t bring up the act of actually killing someone in the sexuality depicted. I’d separate out eroticization of death vs. eroticization of killing or murder (I think your vid was murder based on your description). Too many Pickton whackos out there and they are the enemy. No quarter or succor to the foe in my view.

        The line being crossed is also because your video is like cheering for the really really bad guys (i.e. not cheering for orcs, but cheering on Sauron if you catch my drift). That kind of thing is objectively disordered (to borrow a line from the Catholic Church). There really is pure evil and that evil must be opposed every step of the way. Murderous sexual saddism seems to fall in the category of pure evil and Pickton et. al. (google him up and read some if you’ve heard of the guy) need no encouragement, support, encouragement or otherwise from anyone. Same with child sex abusers which child pornography.

        So after all that blather, notwithstanding freedom of speech, freedom of action and all that (which I probably support more than opposing evil), what you’ve taken a hand in creating is still, unsettling and disturbing to me all the same. But then, so was watching a guy’s head being cut off, with his screams, gurgles and massive gouts of blood etc.. The world ain’t a fairy tale after all….

        • Olivia Davis says:

          Thank you for the apology! It’s appreciated. Diminutive language like that is really fine generally, but can come off as downtalk in text with strangers. I now understand your intent, though, and think it was a valid rhetorical choice, even though I took it the wrong way.

          I think the faux snuff is a big deal, too. Like I said in the article, I didn’t expect to be doing it. I think I would have said no, or declared it a limit if I’d known that something of that nature was coming.

          I guess the weirdest thing I’ve done/do is have a surprising amount of sex/sexual activity/whatever in front of strangers. In appropriate venues, mind you. But definitely in public and sometimes in slightly sketchy (but, again, appropriate) places.

          Fortunately, I don’t think that the serial killer market is big enough that I’m actually contributing to any murders. =) Unfortunately, I really don’t know who these sorts of films are for, if not serial killers, nor do I quite understand the mindset of the folks who get off on them. I don’t know if there’s gay porn of this sort of thing. Neither way would surprise me. I’d kind of expect there to be, there, just because BDSM and gay dudes go back a loooong way.

          It’s funny… I like to look at porn where everyone’s having a good time, too. But when I have a good time, it looks very different from when a lot of people have a good time. It’s sort of awkward. I love to see smiling, pleased faces. But, the screaming, flinching, and struggling I did for Brick is actually pretty par the course for me when I’m playing privately. I just end up feeling great about private play once it’s over and experience a lot of wonderful emotional depth during play when it’s with my partner, versus just feeling tired after my shoot with Brick was over. My video was definitely not just death, bur murder-based. You bring up a really good point. In order for murder to be remotely okay as a thing we eroticize (in my opinion) the “victim” would have to really look like they were having a great time, and, like, beg for death enthusiastically and stuff. But, then, maybe it’s not murder?

          I agree. Even if it’s not actually cheering for the baddest guys (since, again, there aren’t that many of those guys out there) what I did maybe does suggest that it’s okay for a dudes to ignore their lady partners’ safewords, or hit them without them being asked, or any manner of abusive bullcrap. I’m definitely not comfortable with those connotations.

          • The Wet One says:

            Doh, I missed your reply the other day when I was here. Thanks for it. I see that missed that you didn’t actually know that you were to be killed in the movie until it happened. That changes the tenor of the video.

            As for enthusiastically begging for death, well, there was that guy that in Germany who wanted to be cooked and eaten. And he was obliged. The guy that cooked and ate him was still put away though. The law does not permit one to consent to be killed. Read more here if you wish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armin_Meiwes There’s a fair number of such that want to be killed out there too and those who oblige them. That’s a whole other ball of weirdness that I refrain from commenting on (other than saying it’s weird).

            As for not knowing what the videos are for, I wonder about that too, and I wonder about the audience. I feel reasonably certain that if the authorities caught wind of the video (as in viewing it, not just reading about it here), an investigation may well follow (depending on how realistic the death looks on film). But then, that’s just my conjecture, so who knows. That said, I would like to think that if the authorities caught wind of a snuff film, they’d check it out.

            As for public sex, well, heck, I’ve been to a live sex show myself back in the day in Amsterdam. It wasn’t even that sketchy as such things could go in my view. As such, nothing particularly weird there to me in what you’ve done, though it’s certainly fairly unique. Interesting that. Kinda funny too that we’ve got that wee bit in common (mind you I was in the audience and I assume you were a performer). Small world isn’t it?

            Anyways, it’s been a slice chatting with you. Pip, pip, tallyho and all that jabberwocky!

            Cheers!

            • Olivia Davis says:

              The fact that I didn’t know is in the article, too. Here, let me juuust quote myself for ya:

              “It is only at this moment [when he tells me we're gonna do body pans and I need to be still] that I realize the video I’m shooting would end in my “death.” I wonder instantly if I should have expected this, given the endings of the clips he showed me. I’m uncomfortable acting out my own murder, I don’t want to participate in this kind of porn. But I don’t think to refuse. I don’t want to ruin his scene, I’m too surprised to think quickly on my feet, the coercion of money, and pure momentum, are all elements of why I don’t say no right then. It is only later that I really come to regret my consent.”

              Yeah, I think of Armin Meiwes every time I think of someone who has legit fetishized death. I’d be kind of okay, I think, with faux-snuff porn that dealt with folks like him, folks that are actively excited about dying. They’ve found something to love in death, and I think representing that might not be a moral evil. But that’s definitely neither what I did, nor something I’ve ever really scene

              I don’t imagine the death looks all that realistic. And I do think his site has disclaimers on it and the like. He has paperwork that I signed and a video talking about how I know what I’m doing and came to the studio willingly. I think authorities do deal with snuff films when they see them, but I think Brick’s got enough faux-snuff around on Clips4Sale and stuff that it’s probably pretty clear that he’s not actually a murderer. =)

              I used to be a titanically modest person. I used to be able to count on one hand the people who had seen me naked as an adult. Making the leap from being that way, to being comfortable with my nudity at all (even home alone!) to being able to do sexy things in public was a pretty big deal for me. It was also pretty liberating and positive, but there was also a lot of progress involved.

    • Wet One, why did you call Olivia “kiddo”? It seems like a strange thing to call a grown woman that just discussed sexualizing her death. It also sounds a little patronizing to call a grown adult woman that unless your her father or uncle.

      • Olivia Davis says:

        I read his comment to my partner, who immediately joked that “Internet dad (who loves porn) is looking out for you, Olivia! He just wants you to be safe!”

        Frankly, I’ve had commenters do worse, and have heard enough horror stories that a little patronization is the least of my worries, weird though it is.

        • I am sure you have Olivia. And I don’t think Wet One was purposely being offensive. But you are a grown woman and calling you “kiddo”, gives the impression that he doesn’t see you as an equal but someone under him. Despite what you shared. Again, I don’t think Wet One was trying to be offensive. But I also think he needs to be careful to treat others as equals, not underlinings. Especially regarding a piece that is portionally about your voice from experience and the lack of voice you experienced during your experience. Especially regarding the part of what you addressed regarding what you could consent to or not consent to. It simply distracts from the seriousness of the post and comes off as being inappropriately playful when the point of your article was to address something pretty serious.

          • Olivia Davis says:

            I agree. I was primarily explaining why I didn’t point out that he was doing something I don’t view as very nice when I responded to him. I appreciate you coming in and pointing that out to him.

        • The Wet One says:

          Do stay safe. I don’t need any of my interlocutors to end up on the nightly news. I do sincerely mean that.

          Cheers!

          • I wanted to take a little time to think about what I was going to say here.

            This simply made my heart phyiscally hurt. I respect the clarity, articulation and honesty with which you, Olivia, used.

            Olivia, what led you to want to do this kind of acting? Is there a reason you didn’t do what some would call “normal” porn? Are pleasure and pain are an active part of your personal sex life? You talked about how you had been regularly and increasingly gotten beaten up regularly, sexually, for more than a year. What goes through your mind when that happens? What drives you to engage in it? How did you become involved with this sexual play? I only ask these questions because I don’t really understand and I’d like to.

            As a woman, I have related your experience to myself and other women in my life: my mother, my girlfriends, my best friend, my sister-in-law, my aunts etc etc etc…and how I or they would feel in such situations or be portrayed. I think I would feel devastated to be treated like that. I think it would physically hurt me to see someone I cared about treated that way.

            I remember the first time I heard about sexual acts regarding choking or spitting on women or slapping them and how that turned some people on. I remember being so horrified by that. That was probably a few years ago. But today this doesn’t even seem to shock people anymore. Almost like it’s common place to engage in these things directed to women. It seems like this is common knowledge and people simply aren’t shocked by it anymore. It’s almost normalized to spit on or choke or hit a woman. And that really scares me. The normalization of acts that while are sexual to some people, are also abusive.

            And it makes me wonder a few things about human sexuality. It makes me wonder if this was how human sexuality was intended to be. Are we really suppose to get off to our own abuse? Is that really part of a healthy sexuality? Is it wrong for me to question if that’s part of a healthy sexuality? And why is it wrong for me to be vocal about sexual acts I don’t agree with? I would never want or advocate for anything to be legally banned within the privacy of someone’s sexual relationship. But I don’t know if I agree with the idea that I simply need to accept every else’s kink and be open and kind to it when it could be the least open and kind thing to other people, especially other women. I don’t think I agree with “your kink is not my kink”. Not because I don’t want people to have sexual freedom to express what they want, but because I don’t also want to be denied personal freedom to express what I think is healthy or unhealthy sexually. And when we force people to tell other people “hey, your kink is okay”, we are denying a big part of the discussion.

            I think I am also scared by things that you described that seem so disassociated from relating to women and seem to be about abusing them. I’m not sure how to wrap my head around that being sexual. To me it was strange that he didn’t even want to have sex with you. He just wanted to have a machine do it, prod you with a cattle brand and then “fake” kill you at the end. I don’t think this is what sex was meant to be about. And I don’t want to pretend that I think these things are A-Okay even when done between two adults.

            Are there movies that exist to the same degree about men being abused in this fashion and being asked to fake their own deaths?

            I am not sure if I have this right or if my questions and thoughts are fair but that’s what I started thinking about reading the article.

            I am impressed with the moral questions of consent in porn between actresses/actors and those producing it and I also think this is an important part of the discussion. My guess is a alot of young actresses find themselves in similar situations where they are doing things that they didn’t think of and get caught up in the moment of what is going on and those that lead and guide productions. I bet it doesn’t just happen on such films as the one you were involved with.

            • Olivia Davis says:

              I’m gonna answer all of your questions, but not in the order you asked them. Also, this is gonna be a really long response, so buckle up.

              In my private life, I do 24/7 power exchange with my partner. I’m the submissive. I identify as a masochist. When I first became aware of BDSM (at, gosh, I dunno, age 14 or something? I don’t quite remember) I knew immediately that, when I had a sex life, BDSM would be part of it and I’d be an s-type. I was right. I first got involved with it with my very first girlfriend. I was doing kink play before I ever had sex. My second partner was not into BDSM at all. That was unfortunate. When things with him were breaking up, I sought out my local BDSM community and was rewarded with my current partner and a whole lot of very kinky fuckery.

              I can talk for about a million years about how I feel during scenes. On my Tumblr, oliviasdurdles, I go into more detail about that sort of thing. You can check it out, if you’re curious. But here’s a brief rundown: Getting beaten up sometimes makes me feel really happy and comfortable. I want to be under my partner’s boot and, there I am. It can be really intimate and feel like a wonderful acting out of the roles we’ve chosen for ourselves, a reaffirmation of the bonds and agreements between us. Other times, it can be existential. It can feel great to be able to just take a beating and walk out the other side feeling okay. It’s a test of endurance, and I love to feel like I’m excelling. It makes me feel strong. Harder scenes push me to the point where I’m a sobbing mess on the floor, but that always makes me feel like I’m broken down, but not destroyed. Pain is only physical and who I am and what matters to me will come out the other side intact. I wouldn’t call it a spiritual experience, but I would call it intense and important. I often look at my partner and think to myself that, even while he’s hurting me, I am confident that he would never harm me. I’m driven to engage in it by the fact that it’s tremendously positive for me.

              What led me to pursue BDSM porn is that I felt like I was capable of doing it, and it seemed like a pretty okay to make a fair amount of money. After all, I made $400 for three hours of work. That’s not too shabby, right? I didn’t want to do “normal” porn probably just because I’m demisexual. Getting beaten up by a stranger is emotionally safe for me and, hey! I might even have a good time! Having sex with a stranger would be emotionally dangerous for me and doesn’t appeal to me at all.

              I don’t think you should compare yourself or the women you know to me. Period. I’m a masochist. Doing this sort of work was emotionally and physically okay for me. It wouldn’t be for you or them, and that’s okay. But it was for me. For you or them, it might feel like abuse. For me, it felt like hard work. If somebody close to you did what I did, I don’t think you should feel devastated for them immediately. Ask how it was for them. If they feel awful, then feel awful, too. But don’t feel awful because they had a fine time in a place where you wouldn’t. That’d be like me feeling awful when I see someone eat tomatoes just because I really, really dislike them.

              A lot of people are still shocked by choking, spitting, slapping etc. I think who you know and what they’ve run into might just have changed. There are plenty of people who remain upset by it. As for me, what I find disturbing is the fact that those sorts of behaviors are really normative in porn. I actually really like all of those things. I enjoy having them done to me. But so many women don’t, so it’s pretty problematic for so much porn to just portray, like, face-fucking as a thing it’s just okay to do to ladies without warning. However. When I say “I’d like this done,” when I give my permission to be spat on, slapped, or choked, I do not believe the person doing those things to me is abusive. It’d be abusive if they started doing them without knowing that I liked them, or without permission, or whatever, but it’s not when I ask. I’ve been choked a lot. I have never suffered physical abuse.

              I don’t make claims about “supposed” to or not. I think sexuality just does whatever it does and moralizing about nature or God’s intent, etc. isn’t something really worth engaging in. But I will make claims about “abuse.” Again, I have never suffered physical abuse. I have been cut, slapped, punched, kicked, choked, poked with needles, electrocuted, tied up, flogged, and stepped on. None of this was abuse to me, nor to the person doing it. It’s a perfectly healthy part of my sexuality. I miss it when I don’t get it. It gives me a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment. I get that it wouldn’t be healthy for you and I don’t judge you for that. Your lack of kink is not my kink, but your lack of kink is okay, as it were. But it is healthy for me. Please believe me, and others when they say that. You can express what you think is unhealthy until you’re blue in the face. But I know better than you what is healthy for me, so when you tell me that I’m being abused, there’s no way in hell that I can take you seriously. Discussion is good and important. Not all people who practice kink do so for healthy reasons. YKINMK definitely does hinder some people who do BDSM things out of self-loathing or whatever from realizing that what they’re doing isn’t okay for them and changing their ways. But for the majority of us, our kinks really are okay for us and we’d quite like it if other people respected that. Nobody is forcing anybody to accept things they’re uncomfortable with. What we’re doing is requesting that if you don’t like it, you just look away. Trust that, unless you know better, we’re safe and reasonable.

              It’s not that Brick didn’t want to have sex with me. He does plenty of boy/girl work. It’s that I didn’t want to have sex with him. That’s my limit, not his. You could turn it around and say “Why didn’t she want to have sex with him? Why did she just want to be hurt, dissociating from him like that?” And it’s because I’m comfortable being hurt, but not fucked by strange men. As far as him being “disassociated” from me… I don’t know exactly what to say. I wouldn’t have wanted him to be close and intimate with me. That would have been weird. I think it’s okay that we were pretending that things were non-consensual. I think that, within BDSM there’s enough discourse about consensual non-consent, what it means and entails, and so forth that it’s okay to do that sort of thing, even if I find it uncomfortable. We were playing characters. He was playing a scary torturer. That could become weird if he carries it into his private life, but I don’t think his disassociation from me necessarily reflects on him personally in any way.

              Where “he just wanted to have a machine do it,” is concerned, though, I think you just don’t understand the appeal of fucking machines =) They’re relentless and they go until you turn them off. The dildo can be any size you want it to be. For a lot of women, that can constitute a pretty awesome fuck. It didn’t for me, partially because I need to move with the thing that’s fucking me and I couldn’t. As for the person running the machine… The relentlessness can be really hot, too, the fact that you can just tie somebody up and watch them be fucked for as long as you/they want from whatever angle you want is pretty awesome. It means both of your hands and your brain are free to touch them however you want. Brick chose cattle prodding me and putting clothespins on me, but that’s okay as far as I’m concerned. Machines can be flat-out sexy to folks. It’s not necessarily about, like, him “just letting” the machine do it because I’m not worth it or whatever. There can be something pretty cool about having the machine do it that’s lost when the machine doesn’t do it.

              I don’t think it’s okay to eroticize death without fetishizing it. I think everything else was a-okay. Don’t pretend it’s true, believe it!

              There’s definitely plenty of gay BDSM porno out there. I don’t know if there’s faux snuff. I don’t actually like porn at all, so I don’t know a ton about what’s out there. I expect that there is faux snuff, though, because BDSM and gays go a loooong way back. I can’t tell you for certain that there is, but I can say that I’m prettypretty sure it exists.

              I bet what happened to me happens to other people, too, and not just on BDSM shoots. You’re right. But I don’t want us to be treated like we’re poor victims who just don’t know what we’re getting into. Sex workers have agency. Not all of us are damaged by the experiences we have, even if they’re negative. I’m glad people are talking about consent and about how difficult it is to secure when you can’t talk to the person you’re fucking (or who is beating you up, or whatever). Those issues are tough and should be talked about. But not because sex workers are just innocent victims who stumble into bad news and need to be protected by outside forces. I could have asked Brick what he was going to do, I could have prepared a longer list of hard limits, I could have asked specifically about death scenes, or spoken up when I realized we were gonna do one. The reasons why I didn’t do involve some coercion, but I could have made my wants much clearer than I did. The fact that I went with the flow is my fault, not his. The fact that the flow was weird is definitely his bad. He should have communicated better, he should have been clearer about what was gonna go down. But he is not a villain and I am not a victim. This is a grey area.

          • What is an “interlocutor”?

            • Olivia Davis says:

              An interlocutor is the person you’re talking to/with in a conversation. Right now, you, me, and The Wet One are interlocutors.

  3. The Wet One says:

    If nothing else, this experience proves that the universe contains more things than most of us can ever possibly imagine.

    • The Wet One says:

      I see that I erred. That should say:

      “If nothing else, this experience proves that the universe contains more things than*any* of us can ever possibly imagine.”

      • Wet One, I am sorry but I kind of find your responses to this article strange. They seem very causual. You even make cute little comments and light hearted jokes. I don’t get it. Especially in response to a conversation regarding the protrayl of death, of a woman being murdered, during sex. Is it really that causual for you? This article goes beyond “oh well, there is a lot out there in the universe”. And if that’s the extent of the conversation you really want to have, why make any comments at all.

        • Actually, I just noticed your response above. I guess I just found some of your comments strange but you did take it seriously above when you responded to Olivia.

          • Olivia Davis says:

            Also, Erin, I think he is taking things seriously. He talked in his first comment about how what I did crossed a line for him. Making jokes and making light don’t necessarily signal that someone isn’t taking something seriously. In the face of disturbing things, lots of people actively try to make jokes.

            What I’m saying is, I think it might be slightly uncharitable to just assume he’s not taking things seriously and doesn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation just because he’s making jokes.

            • I never said he didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation Olivia. I personally found the jokes off putting and most of the time it came off as belitting to the discussion for me.

              I hope to respond to your post a little later today.

            • Olivia Davis says:

              Ah. I interpreted your statement “if that’s the extent of the conversation you really want to have, why make any comments at all” as “You really don’t seem to have anything of value to say here.” Even with your clarification, I’m still not totally sure how to interpret that comment otherwise. But, if you say that’s not what you meant, I’m absolutely willing to honor your intentions and accept that I was wrong about what you were saying.

              I look forward to your response. =) It took me a while to write back to you and I’m interested to see what you’ll have to say.

            • The Wet One says:

              Erin,

              I find that much of life is offputting. You can either laugh at it or cry about it (and be deadly serious either way). I laugh at it. No point talking about all this nonsense all stony faced in my view and fail to take advantage of what humour there is to be had. LIfe as we know it is a goddamn awful shitty mess IMHO. I’ve studied war at length (the worst, shitiest, mess that human create), the Holocaust, and human history. It’s a tale of misery and horror from day one. To take it all seriously all the time (and yes, violence against women is a serious issue, and an old issue but not the worst issue IMHO), well, I might as well just kill myself.

              Since that’s not in the cards (for some reason or another, not entirely sure why, but it just isn’t in the cards), I choose to laugh at death, make mock of evil and generally carry on my merry way. If that upsets a few folks, so be it. I know that I know what the score is and where my moral compass lies. I sleep well at night and that’s good enuf for me. For the rest of you, if you can’t read what I’ve written and put it all together (I try not to be unequivocally a joker, asshat or offensive (except to conservatives, but even then I pull my punches)), well, I can’t help them and can’t be bothered. Life is too short.

              Hope that clarifies things a bit.

              Now, back to the porn!

              ;-)

              (didja see what I did there? Heh!)

              The Wet One

  4. The Wet One says:

    More laughing at death. Funnier than my jokes, ruder than some of my posts. Proceed with caution:

    http://oglaf.com/netherworld/

    That said, I assure everyone here that it’s a safe for work cartoon, but commentary is funny if morbid…

  5. Wow you got well paid for a couple of hours of pretend. Try working as a coal miner where you get paid what you made for two 8 hour shifts and you might die for real.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      The marks left on me, the pain I experienced, and the blood I bled were real. So was the panic and the fear of having a plastic bag on my head in the hands of a stranger. So it wasn’t all pretend, really.

      Also, when somebody dies in a coal mine, it would be pretty awful if anybody jerked off to that death, wouldn’t it? My death was constructed so people would masturbate to it. My “death” was pornography. So, even though it wasn’t real, I think it’s bit different than an accidental death. Maybe even interesting and worth talking about.

  6. People that do stunts in movies get cuts scrapes and bruises all the time it’s still pretend. As far as it being jerked off to, human sexuality is a wild and crazy thing. What may titilate a person mentally can be really fucked up, but only a miniscule percentage of people would even consider acting on it. You signed up for it so you knew what the final product would be. Qwitcherbitchen.

    P.S.

    I didn’t expect my comment to make it through. Kudos for having the courage to engauge a desenting opinion.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      It’s not that you’re dissenting that nearly made me trash your comment, it’s the fact that you were rude, disparaging, and seemed to miss the point of my post. But I don’t like to fail to engage, or to deny people the chance to speak. So I let it through.

      I actually didn’t know what the final product would be. I say that explicitly in the post. I knew that I’d be hit and hurt, but I didn’t know that it’d be a faux-snuff piece until we were halfway through filming the death scene. For that matter, I never knew exactly what was going to happen to me, besides probably being hurt and tied up. It wasn’t until I was actually being hit with a single-tailed whip that I knew that being hit with a single tail was even on the table.

      Reality happens, I think, when you’re blindfolded and don’t know what’s coming next. Reality happens when you’re caught on the horns of wanting to get paid as much as you can get paid, and being unsure that you can safely and sanely endure what’s happening to you.

      Do I have to tell you that there’s an emotional difference between getting hurt in a fall and getting hurt because a stranger is zapping your naked body with a cattle prod? Because, as it turns out, there’s a fairly serious difference.

      Also, uh, I’m not bitching. This is what happened to me. I wasn’t comfortable with it. I’m just telling my story and explaining my feelings. I don’t know what makes you think this is what bitching looks like.

  7. I will cop to missing the part about you not knowing it was a simulated snuff shoot. But you did go into it knowing it was a BDSM situation.

    • Olivia Davis says:

      Sure, absolutely! But knowing it’s a BDSM shoot tells you almost nothing about what’s going to happen in it. I mean. You’ll probably get tied up. You’ll probably be hurt. That’s literally all you can guess.

  8. I found your article on Twitter by magnificent chance, and what you said about the distinction between fetishizing something and eroticizing it hit home for me.

    In July of this year, an RCMP officer was disgraced in national news with accusations that he was connected to Robert Pickton (a serial murderer who has confessed to killing 49 women, almost all of whom were Aboriginal sex workers). The story was accompanied by photos that actually are of him, and of photos of a second man (though in the stories, that man is described as the RCMP officer in the first set of photos). And on the night that news aired, I just so happened to be sitting next to the surviving half-brother of one of the women who Pickton killed -after- police had enough evidence to arrest and convict and then just decided that they needed to sit on their hands for three years instead (this was all known to me before the news story aired).

    That man — the surviving half-brother of one of the victims — had heard about the news story in the community from where she disappeared, and a lot of Aboriginal people in particular were under the impression that the second set of photos were stills taken from video Pickton himself would have filmed while perpetrating those murders.

    I’ve now written over two dozen entries on this story, starting with my personal relationship over the course of 3-3.5 years, with that disgraced RCMP officer, in a blog post called “With All Due Respect: Cpl. Jim Brown & Eroticized Violence Against Women”.

    The accusations linking him to Pickton have been falsified to my satisfaction, but there are many nagging details remaining (that will be another blog post at some point, of that I have little doubt). One of my latest entries on this subject deals with the kink community denial that racial privilege played a role in this scandal, as well as my personal relationship to all those women who disappeared at the hands of Pickton (because while he was killing Aboriginal sex workers, another serial murderer was systematically targeting Aboriginal sex workers in the neighbouring province, while I was homeless and wondering if stepping out on the street corner would be my only escape). That post is called “There’s Vexing & Perplexing; Then There’s 67 Pairs Of Shoes & A Lifetime Of Trauma”.

    To this day, not a single person other than myself who is directly involved in this entire scandal ,either as a subject of the investigations or a witness — a scandal which literally opened an investigation so extensive that RCMP needed to pull in extra members from two separate RCMP/police detachments to handle all the leads they had to chase down — has conceded that because they’re white, they just didn’t have to think about all those missing and murdered Aboriginal women, when they were setting up those photos that resemble what Pickton did while police stopped giving a shit. Not one person has apologized for their ignorance.

    This is a problem so huge, I don’t have an adequate gesture for it. And even beyond that, these very same people and all their supporters have insisted on claiming that they face oppression equivalent to what LGBTQs face, by virtue of their unique group identity as kinksters. My head is exploding with fucks.

    And it is for ALL of that, that I want to thank you for sharing your story. You’ve got ovaries of steel, and they no doubt clank when you walk. I was once “referred” to Hardmeat by someone I thought I could trust — someone who was all too happy to sing his high praises and minimize my “shelf-life” concerns at any expense, and by any means necessary. She calls herself a sex-positive activist, but since a little more than a year ago, she’s been publicly smearing me all over Twitter and FetLife.com, and stalking my Facebook page, calling my cognitive capacities into question because I dare to be honest about my relationships.

    I’d count myself lucky to have an extra $400 (I was homeless for the fifth time until two weeks ago), but not if I had to go through what you did for it. Thanks for the engaging post.

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