Our particular friend S, from Vancouver, has told us off for not posting a pictorial here for some time and said that as it was Valentine's weekend Triple P had to "do something about it". She also said that I needed to post another magazine pictorial and that it needed to be "raunchy"!
Now I need to post another in my chronological series of Penthouse pictorials but, for various reasons, we do not have physical access to the appropriate magazines at present (something we intend to rectify this week) so while looking through what we could get at, we found our box of Hustler magazines from the seventies. That certainly qualifies as raunchy we thought, flicking through them for inspiration. Then we found the perfect set, considering Fifty Shades of Grey has just opened, from the December 1979 issue
S hasn't seen the film yet (Part of it was shot in Vancouver, inevitably) but suspects that it "won't be sexy enough". Indeed, although it has been given an 18 rating in Britain (no one under the 18 allowed into the cinema) in Canada it has been given an 18A (meaning minors can see it if accompanied by an adult). Because of this, one cinema in British Columbia says it won't be showing the film, according to S, as minors can legally get in. The 18 in Britain will be because of the S&M element as the UK censors don't like sexualised violence at all. In France it has received a 12 certificate, meaning it must be very anodyne!
Anyway we found this interesting S&M pictorial featuring Jamie Gillis and his then girlfriend, Serena, going through the motions most enthusiastically for Suze Randall. It, at least, deals with the objections about the film (and the book) of some in that it has the woman giving it out as well as taking it.
Indeed, in these initial pictures from the magazine itself, it is very much the woman in control in most of the photographs. This is something of a wince making shot, if you are a man anyway. The heels on those boots look potentially very painful!
Notable for the time was the level of arousal Mr Gillis was displaying, following a period of the softer option in Hustler. No messing around for the formidable Miss Randall!
Only in this, the final two page spread from the magazine, does Mr Gillis seem to be taking control. Perhaps Serena feels less empowered without her striking high-heeled boots!
Anyway, we also have some outtakes, which are rather more extreme, on the fetish front, than the pictures that appeared in the magazine. Fetish-themed shoots were still very unusual in men's magazines at the time and for many readers these shots would have been the first glimpse into an unknown world.
Indeed, the genesis behind this pictorial was, according to Hustler, because of the number of requests the magazine was receiving asking for information on S&M (or BDSM, as it is less elegantly known these days) and, in particular, where to buy the clothes and equipment. We have to say that Serena's ensemble in this is indeed very, er, very striking.
The pictorial showcase the products sold in a shop called The Pleasure Chest on Santa Monica Boulevard. Founded in 1971 in New York and originally catering to the gay community, by the end of the seventies The Pleasure Chest became the first sex shop to create a boutique atmosphere and target couples. Nearly forty five years later the business is still going and still has a store on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Indeed, Agent Triple P was invited to go and visit the place by a young lady he picked up in the bar of a hotel in Beverly Hills. Actually, she picked him up as she was attracted by his accent, she said, (that and the fact, no doubt, that we were dropping a lot of money on Champagne).
A brief affair followed, conducted during two successive visits to Los Angeles, about six weeks apart. The ropes appeared on the second visit, much to our concern, although, fortunately she behaved impeccably, we parted on good terms and she still sends us Christmas greetings seven years later. Oh, we never did get to The Pleasure Chest though!
The lady in question, who was a slight Chinese American, however, was interested in tying up Triple P. This was a new experience, as our only previous experiences of this sort of behaviour had been of the lady wanting to be bound: something that went very much against Triple P's upbringing in a family dominated by strong professional women.
The first lady had to do some persuading on Triple P that she actually wanted to be tied up, eventually taking us into a curtain shop and buying red velvet curtain cords for the job. She didn't want to be gagged, though and we cannot see the point of things like these ball gags. We like our women to be vocal!
Actually, to be fair, the lady wasn't the first who asked to be tied up. There was one occasion when a girlfriend at university asked to be tied to our bed while we went in search of chocolate for her "to build the pleasurable anticipation". Unfortunately, we got waylaid, as we have mentioned before, and said lady had relieved herself on our floor in the interim. Fortunately, we didn't have a carpet but there were no tying up games with her after that. It took ages to mop up, given the nearest running water was on the floor below and the toilets were four floors below.
In these shots, as we can see, Serena has dispensed with all of her fetish gear in place of rather conventional stockings which, from an artistic point of view, we think was a mistake.
One of the issues with some fetish photography we have seen, is the difficulty in getting any sense of motion in the whips, canes and what have you. This often makes illustrations more effective than photographs in this area. Randall does get some motion in the cat of nine tails in the bottom (!) shot however.
More high heel threatening here as we have Serena back in the full gear. There is a lot of full-on anal display by Serena in this set.
In the final sequences Serena is very much in charge and Mr Gillis' excitement is patently obvious; something that makes the whole pictorial rather more authentic then some others in the magazine's recent history.
Now we do admit to having had some fun with riding whips but the more extreme forms of S&M are, on the whole, something of a mystery to Triple P.
We haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey because, apart from it being a women's book, we gather that it is rather turgid. Fundamentally, too, we are suspicious of men who seem to think the imposition of pain and the exercise of control in a sexual relationship is anything that should be seen in a healthy sexual relationship. It seems that in the book and the novel it is all in one direction. Does the woman ever tie up the man? The idea of the "weaker" sex taking control by force is, at least, more interesting as a concept.
The idea of women only being fulfilled when they are dominated and beaten reminds us of a series of fantasy (in every meaning of the word) books about a planet called Gor, written by John Norman. These started as a fairly harmless rip-off of the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, where a man is transported to another world, where slave girls are prevalent. By the later books, however, the stories became incredibly repetitive and tedious tales of earth women being brought to the planet and discovering a sexual satisfaction they had never known at home by being enslaved and abused.
Well, something about this has tapped into the fantasies of a lot of women, however, and the box office will be interesting on what has been a fairly critically panned film. Most reviewers point out how the audiences for the film seem to be almost entirely women. Interestingly, the only women I have met who enjoy being tied up and beaten are the strongest and most successful. Does it say more about perceived weakness in men than submission in women? Are you man enough to act like a man? It is an intriguing discussion I will be exploring with some of my female friends over the next weeks, as I know several who are planning to see the film.
Interestingly, Britain's biggest hardware store, B&Q, sent a memo to all its staff, last week, telling them to be aware of the likelihood of enquiries about "rope, cable ties and tape". It seems they were caught out by the demand when the book was released several years ago, so are making a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey available to the staff at each branch so they can deal "sensitively" with enquiries. Given B&Q famously employ many more staff over fifty years old than most UK retailers this could be most interesting! It could just be a cunning plan to sell more rope at a quiet time of year for the home improvement market, however! Frankly, if this gets British people to be more sexually adventurous and open about different things in the bedroom, then this has got to be a good thing. Although, no doubt, our increasingly puritannical press will throw up there hands in horror and we await the inevitable first school playground S&M story for them to be appalled at.
Anyway, this pictorial climaxes as it properly should, with Serena, still patently in charge, getting what she wants. Lets hope many more couples around the world (apart from those countries where the film has been banned) have more sexy fun as a result, meaning that the film and the novel, however dreadul, have done something worthwhile.