I recently saw the documentary Graphic Sexual Horror, and am still mulling it over. The movie is a documentary covering the now defunct insex.com, an early and notorious internet bondage site that ran from 1997 to 2005. The site exclusively featured female submission, with stills, videos, and live feeds, and had something like 35000 members at the height of its popularity. The movie has extensive interviews with the creator of insex.com, Brent Scott (known as “pd”), as well as with some of the former models, members, and staff.
At first, insex.com seems like a bondage paradise. Cheery models are interviewed, explaining how much fun (in a super intense way) that they had, and how it was a great way to make easy money. Scenes of the shooting are shown, during which models are extensively queried as to their health and comfort between shoots (to ensure that the during-shoot distress that they are displaying is only an act for the camera).
As the documentary progresses, however, a more disturbing picture emerges. Some of the models were unhappy during their time working for insex.com. Some of the models were living there (as part of the “resident” program). It is made very clear that yes, the models could safeword out of a scene at any time, but then they wouldn’t be invited back ever again… and the money is a major incentive for a lot of them. The live feeds that became one of insex.com’s most popular and lucrative features were especially problematic, because they were unedited, and the longer the scene went on, the higher the bonuses for the models.
One scene that I especially found disturbing occurred during one of the live feeds. A model who had explicitly said that face-slapping was a prohibited activity for her (models were allowed to state their limitations, so this would have been a legitimate request) was unexpectedly slapped by pd. She was understandably distressed, and told him not to do it again. pd, either willfully or otherwise, took this as an affront to his dominance of the scene, and basically offered her the choice to shut up and stop ordering him around or to end the scene there and then; this early termination would have forfeited all of the bonuses for the feed, since the incident occurred early on, as well as all chances for future insex.com income. It seemed like she wanted to say “but you promised you wouldn’t do that”, but she couldn’t, since it was a live feed, so she tearfully continued on. This made, of course, for great drama… but is troubling at best. When interviewed about this particular incident, pd showed no remorse or regret, instead stating that there were so many different restrictions for all the different models that of course he couldn’t keep them straight and shouldn’t have to be too concerned about it.
Another questionable practice of insex.com was to have “resident models”. A resident model was apparently a model who lived on site, and who scened and had sex with pd off camera in addition to her on-camera modeling. The first instance of this arrangement was with a woman that pd claimed to be “probably in love with” based on the observation of his actions (in his wording). However, she was also a woman with serious depression issues, and is interviewed for the film stating that that time was the darkest in her life.
Consent in these two cases is a slippery slope, and the movie made the argument that these cases were potentially past the line of consent, despite paying lip service to the idea of it. That’s why I view it as non-consensual consent (yes, you can safeword, but the consequences are going to be so severe that you really can’t afford to). Contrast that to the more common consensual nonconsent, during which a submissive would agree before a scene (or perhaps for a long period of time) to consent to whatever the dominant does, with the understanding that the dom will keep in mind the sub’s overall wishes and health at heart. The sub is basically waiving the right to safeword in this situation, and trusting the dom to do the right thing. This can be useful for a rape scene that you want to feel a bit more real, or for long term serious power exchange relationships.
I greatly prefer the notion of consensual nonconsent!