Yeah, I know. We’ve heard these arguments before, round and round, everywhere we go in the kinkosphere. You’ll probably recall the huge FetLife flap from last year, with that idiot woman who likened spanking models to prostitutes and said they shouldn’t be allowed at general public spanking parties (and if they were, they shouldn’t be allowed to book pay sessions). She was so smug and righteous that every time she referred to spanking models, she put the phrase in quotes.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to rehash that argument today. This post was inspired by something else altogether. Earlier this week, I saw a comment on our sweetie-pie Alex’s photoblog. Someone had said something along the lines of “Now that you’ve broken up with your boyfriend, will you have to give up being a spanking model and get a real job?”
Alex, to her credit, answered the question very graciously and tactfully. Me? I saw red. First, the assumption that Alex was depending on him for financial support is, well, pretty damned assumptive. And second, guess what? Full-time spanking modeling IS a real job.
No, this is not going to be a sob story about the trials and tribulations about working in the fetish industry. I’m going to base this post on the models I know, the ones who truly love spanking, who are authentic spankos to their core — yes, the work can be a lot of fun. But make no mistake, it is work.
I never did any fetish work for a living, just for the fun and adventure of it. Even when I was working in the dungeon, it was only a couple of days a week and for a very brief period. I got to pick and choose and do just what I wanted to do. That said, even I noticed how much work went into these productions, into the business of being a professional spanko.
When I shot a full-length video, I could completely crash the next day. Not only was my bottom sore, but I had a backache from arching my back deeply for extended periods of time and a stiff neck from unnaturally craning it (had to make sure my face was always visible to the camera). A pro doesn’t get to crash. She pops a Tylenol, rubs in the arnica or whatever, and goes on to the next shoot.
When you have a “real job” (working in an office, I guess), yeah, there’s a lot of aggravation. But when you’re having an off day, you can somewhat retreat to your desk, bury yourself in work, phone it in a little. (Well, unless you’re in sales, and then you’re screwed.) You don’t have to look perfect. You can be tired. And if you’re really not up for it, you can call in sick and use a paid vacation/sick day.
Spanking models have to show up. Period. No work, no pay. There are no medical/dental benefits, no paid vacations or holidays, no sick days. If a model is tired, sore, not feeling well, having a “bad body” day — too bad, so sad. She has to show up where she’s expected, and she can’t just lie there and take it — she has to perform. She has to react and interact. And she needs to look her best. Because every inch of her is going to be scrutinized (more on that below). She doesn’t get to phone it in. If she does, she may find herself with a reputation that could tank her career.
Most of us who work in a “real job” may have a bitch of a commute and have to deal with traffic, but at least we get to come home every day. Spanking models don’t have the luxury of having regular nearby work; the production companies are spread out all over the country and beyond. People like Alex, Ten, Sarah Gregory and Dana Kane are constantly on the road (and in the air). They spend a lot of time away from their loved ones, their pets, their homes. And for those of you who are regular air travelers, you know what a @#$%ing pain in the ass that is these days. Oh, and if your flight is canceled or delayed and you don’t make it to your designated shoot? Sorry, you don’t get paid anyway.
It’s true; most spanking models love to be spanked. But constant shooting/sessioning is still hard on the body. When I went to shoot with Sarah and “Tubaman” Paul a couple of years ago, I was with them for four days and we shot a lot of content. Some of it was quite intense. On my last day there, we had planned to shoot two more scenes, one of them with a strapping. Very sheepishly, I said to them, “Guys? I’m going to have to bail; I just can’t do anymore.” I was so freaking sore. Not a problem; they were shooting with a lot of others and those scenes would go to someone else. But if this were my bread and butter, I wouldn’t have had that luxury. I would have had to muscle through those remaining scenes. Then fly home, maybe take a day off at most, and do it again.
We do build up tolerance after a while and don’t mark as much. But for those who shoot extreme scenes, there is still a lot of healing needed, plus a risk of scarring, nerve damage, infection, etc. A former model once confessed to me, just before she retired, that it sometimes took as long as six months to fully recover from one of her heavier shoots.
Spanking models put themselves out there, literally. The plus side? Yes, they get lots of attention, develop a fan base, are treated like celebrities. It’s great fun. But they’re also subject to every kind of critique imaginable. They’re too fat, they’re too thin, they’re too old, they have cellulite, they need to exercise, they need to shave, they make too much noise, they’re too quiet, they’re too bratty, they’re boring, the acting is fake, the spanking is fake, they aren’t wearing the right kind of panties, they shouldn’t be wearing panties at all, they should spread their legs more, blah blah fucking blah. A thick skin is definitely called for. Viewers can be utterly vicious. I still recall sitting online IMing with another former model, an exquisitely beautiful young woman, who was melting down over some fucktard who called her “ugly white trash” on a forum.
When I did videos, I chose to remain a bottom, because that’s what I am. Professional spanking models need to be versatile, need to do things that aren’t necessarily in their comfort zone. Because it’s their job, not their fun time. A bottom in this industry either learns how to top, or she learns how to work behind the camera, because her years as a bottom are numbered. Firm Hand, for example, has a cut-off age of 35. If I topped, if I were willing to do F/F, I could probably still be doing videos. But I don’t want to. People in this industry, for the most part, don’t get to say “I don’t want to.” Sure, they can refuse to do really extreme stuff. But the basics, like switching and playing with other women? Say no to that, and you say no to your career. Now granted, a lot of spankos love the versatility. But what if they don’t? Oh well.
For most of us spankos, the big weekend spanking parties are nothing but nonstop fun. For spanking models, they are fun, but they are also work. They have to plan their time, gauge their scenes, make sure they don’t mark if they’re going to be shooting. They have to buy their tickets and get a hotel room just like any other guest; they pay for their vendor tables. They are constantly needing to market, to compete, to stay on top of their game. And then on top of all that, they have to put up with the contempt of the green-eyed monsters who resent their presence.
Once again, I am not writing this to say “poor, poor spanking models.” This is their chosen life and they are doing what fulfills them — more power to them. But this crap about it not being a “real job” needs to stop. I’d like to see some of these naysayers take on a month of a typical model’s schedule of shooting, traveling and sessioning, and then see what they have to say.
So the next time any of you think that being a spanking pro is nothing but glamour, glitz, being paid exorbitant amounts of money (!!!) for doing something that’s nothing but fun, and living off of various men with deep pockets, think again. And if you’re still thinking that, do us all a favor — STFU about it.