Whither Bondage In
The Mainstream Media?

A naked, collared, shackled slavegirl awaits her sexy, sexy fate in Spartacus.
A naked, collared, shackled slavegirl awaits her sexy, sexy fate in "Spartacus." Vidcap by me.

All TEXT is copyright 2011 by Pat Powers

An interesting series of posts over on Brian's Page, a site devoted to mainstream bondage imagery, got me thinking. Several posters said they didn't like mainstream bondage scenes any more because so often the storylines in modern television series and especially movies lead to bound/gagged damsels in distress getting raped, brutalized, tortured and/or killed.

A bound and ballgagged damsel is menaced by a bandsaw in Hostel 2
This bound, ball gagged and boustiered beauty is menaced by a bandsaw in Hostel 2.
Things will not go well for her, and we'll get to see every bit of it, and the aftermath.Yech! Vidcap by me.

Sure, it's widely assumed that guys who like bondage are just rapists, murderers and general sex fiends waiting to happen, but really ... rumors of our fiendishness are greatly exagerrated! I don't care for violence, murder, torture or rape even in fiction (other than the sexy, sexy bodice-ripper kind of rape, a whole different animal from portrayals of the Real Thing) and I'm hardly the only one. There are others who DO enjoy fictional portrayals of torture, and that's their business, but I sure am not gonna make it mine.

And I get where the Brians' Page posters are coming from. Bad guys in the old TV series might well have had similar plans for bound/gagged damsels, but they never got around to following through with them, at least, onscreen, and generally, not ever. It made it possible to enjoy stories involving damsels in distress as lighthearted, fun entertainment. It made the bondage fun, not the frankly nauseating stuff alluded to in the previous picture.

Two super-cuties from Superman, gagged and bound.
Two Lois Lanes are gagged and bound in the 1950s Superman TV series, back when it was fun and safe.
Image source: vidcaps at the Damsel Land site. Check it out, all sorts of mainstream goodies there.

Lesbian bondage from She Spies.Interracial lesbian bondage and gaggage from VIP.
Modern fun, lighthearted bondage. Left: Interracial lesbian bondage from "She Spies."
Right: Interracial lesbian bondage from "VIP." Image source: vidcaps from Damsel Land.

But most of the scenes nowadays are on series like CSI, Criminal Minds and Law and Order, and most of the perps are not secret agents, supervillains or generic “crooks” but crazed husbands, psychopaths and serial killers. And they generally rape, torture and murder a victim or three early on in order to establish that the bad guy really is bad. And we get to see some of it, at least the lead-up to it and often the aftermath. Which takes the whole thing right out of the fun fantasy category.

Criminal Minds damsel in undies gets shocking treatment.
A damsel in Criminal Minds is tied to a metal bedframe and then shocked unconscious while the bound and gagged female lead watches and awaits her turn. Later we see her burned body as she's rushed off to a hospital after the female lead is rescued unharmed. Very modern. Very not fun! Image source: Vidcap by me.

And of course in theatrical movies you have some really gross violence and torture of damsels in distress in movies like Hostel and Saw (see above), which REALLY takes all the fun out of damsel in distress scenarios. (I understand that some of you like pain, blood and so forth, which is fine, but it squicks me.)

I think part of the problem is that there's a curious reversal going on in media right now. Until quite recently all the best writers went to the movies rather than television, because television was censored shitless. But with the advent of cable channel series like the Sopranos, Deadwood, Game of Thrones, Spartacus, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and others, some of the very best writing is being done on television.

It's not just because of the censorship, though. There's a demographic element too. Movies are aimed mostly at young males and adolescent males, who for some reason are the ones who go to the movies most often. Television series appeals to an older, and dare we say it, smarter demographic. So the scripts for movie studios tend to be either family drivel or excuses for knitting one explosion after another into a story.

As a result we get powerful and dramatic stories, in which damsels in distress are in serious jeopardy on television, often being tortured or killed. (OK, this rarely happens to the female lead, typically though, there are several pre-lead victims who are tortured/raped/killed, so all the unpleasant associations are there when the female lead becomes a damsel in distress.)

And the near-total freedom from censorship provided by premium channels means that the damsels can be naked while bound and gagged, or have sex while bound and gagged. This shows up most powerfully in Starz's Spartacus series, where slavegirls are often shown naked, and sometimes shown naked and chained, and are also shown naked and having sex. (No sex while bound and chained, but there has been sex featuring collared slaves. You have to figure a chained slavegirl having sex is just a matter of time on that show.

A naked slavegirl is forced to have sex and background entertainment for a party.
A naked slavegirl is forced to have sex as background entertainment for a party in Starz's "Spartacus."
Vidcap by me.


Unfotunately the MAIN focus of Spartacus is mostly naked guys stabbing each other, but at least the slavegirls don't spend all their time wearing baggy tunics. They frequently serve as sexual toys for their owners in the show, in fact, there are storylines about the plight of the slaves, they're not JUST eye candy, though they certainly function as such in plenty of scenes.

It is possible that series like Spartacus and Game of Thrones might lead to some sexy, fun bondage scenes as slavegirls, whores and such become the new damsels in distress, and the relatively pleasant dalliances with chained slavegirls become the lighthearted bondage scenes of the future, especially in contrast with other images in the same shows of people being hacked apart with swords and axes and so forth. Though this might require a different definition of "lighthearted."

Frankly, I did not anticipate the phenomenon of sexy, well written original premium cable TV series when I was looking at where good damsel in distress scenes would come from, after so many adventure shows were cancelled and reality TV shows began to take over the television airwaves back around 2000. I figured that the most likely venue would be independent filmmakers who would be hip to the bondage imagery prevalent on the Internet and use it to ramp up the sexitude/hottitude of their films.

Bit-gagged, breast-roped Girl In 3D
A rare instance of use of Internet consensual bondage imagery in a mainstream film, the bit-gagged, breast-roped Girl In 3D. Vidcap by me.

With the exceptions of a few films like Girl in 3D, this just has not happened. The action is all in Game of Thrones (whose whores are essentially sex slaves) and Spartacus, original series from HBO and Starz, respectively.

Naked whores have lesbian sex in Game of Thrones.
Whores, basically sex slaves, perform lesbian sex for a client in a scene from Game of Thrones. Vidcap by me.

But there is ANOTHER interesting little trend that is coming up: Kink.com has been increasingly adding roleplaying elements to their porn. In some of their features it is almost as if they are sex scenes from some movie made in an alternate universe where people aren't so skittish about showing explicit sexual bondage scenes. I didn't anticipate THAT either. Think we'll have sexy feature films from Kink.com eventually? I don't know. But if you think it can never happen, take a good look at the vidcap from Game of Thrones and Spartacus again. Are they all that far from the Kink.com images?

Swat team arrests perps in Kink.com roleplay.
A SWAT team arrests two perps in a bit of Kink.com roleplay. Image source: Sex and Submission.com

Inevitable result of SWAT team arrest on Kink.com
Of course, Kink.com being all about the sexy, the roleplay quickly moves in this direction. Huzzah!
Image source: Sex and Submisison.com.

So what will happen further down the road? It would be reasonable to project that you'll see more good stuff on original cable series. I don't know if we'll EVER get the lighthearted stuff that made old-time damsel in distress scenes in series like Superman, The Avengers and The Man From UNCLE fun, though granted, She Spies and Chuck both demonstrate that it's possible to do it nowadays. I don't see any new permutations in media that are likely to spawn a new generation of such shows. But hell, my past lack of success clearly indicates that I don't know what's coming up, and besides, it's all weak beer compared to Second Life Gor, as far as I'm concerned. And despite all appearances, Second Life Gor is all about the lighthearted fun, at least, when I'm involved in the roleplay.

A wild sex scene in a tavern in Second Life Gor.
A typical night out in a tavern in Second Life Gor. Image source: me.

Hottitude of Servitude cover art -- lots of naked slave girlsKarg cover art -- bound, gagged, naked slave girl AND dinosaur, also gagged!