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My Magazine > Editors Archive > Sex Secrets > Vice and Consent
Vice and Consent   by Lisa Chavez

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There are relatively few films out there that give you a realistic, warm-body feel of what it's like to be kinky. Well, Vice and Consent is the latest offering in this tradition. You won't get gasping, moaning and flogging on this film as it's neither porn, nor Real TV where every pervert is trying to top every other as if intimate play were a contest. This film's perspective is somewhat unique in that it shows the intimate side of BDSM play.

For example, life-partners Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy each speak about some of the scenes they've had. In their candid responses to interviewer/director Howard Scott Warshaw, not only do you get to see the way BDSM dynamics work in a long-term situation, but you catch glimpses, between the lines, of the way these two kinky women have come to respect, understand and appreciate each other.

Janet Hardy
The bulk of Vice and Consent shows various long time BDSM players sitting in their dens or at desks chatting informally with Warshaw. Most of the speakers who are on the film consider themselves educators; many are folks with books under their belts (Dossie and Janet, Jay Wiseman, Midori) or artists with well-known fetish artwork, and exhibitions under their belts (Mo Williams and Michael Blue).

Midori
At a recent screening of the film, Warshaw tells the audience that intimacy was one of the key elements he looked for. In the film, sometimes audibly, sometimes not, he asks everyone the same basic questions. Interestingly, one of Warshaw's questions had to do with the way kinky play can be integrated into a loving relationship. One after another the speakers suggest that the play is so much hotter when the two players have an intimate bond.

There are no score cards in this film. The fascination comes from noting the extreme variety of tastes. And for viewers who don't know too many kink elders, the film is a great way to see just how down-to-earth kinky people can be. One of the questions Warshaw seems to ask all the speakers is something about their most harrowing play experience. "My scariest moment was I lost the handcuff key," says Sybil Holiday. Everyone in the room laughed at that one.

Sybil Holiday
Several speakers talked of times when they were playing a dominant role and found themselves doing things with which they literally scared themselves. Janet Hardy recalled a scene when her role as a boy thug seemed to take her over and she found herself doing things straight from the personality of the boy, bypassing her thought processes altogether. "I don't want that to have been part of me," she admits candidly. "It took me days to recover from that scene." She tells us she avoided revisiting that role for almost a year. Yet she says that now, she and her partner Dossie Easton "play there often."

Though the film would be fascinating and absolutely a must-see for the curious or inexperienced kingster, I saw the film at an organized BDSM event. There was nary a newbie nor a vanilla bean in the blend, and the audience was rapt and often vocal. One of the things that makes it so much fun to watch a kink documentary with kinky people is hearing everyone laugh at the same parts in the film -- parts that might not strike a vanilla listener as funny at all. Jay Wiseman talks of a time when he was taking the bottom role (the speakers were mostly dominant or switch players), and the woman who had tied him up suddenly seemed as if she'd "undergone a personality change." The audience laughed.

When Warshaw spoke after the filming, he said that he, too, found it exciting to be among a kinky audience and hear the laughter of recognition drawn by the film's revelations. Warshaw admitted that he has not indulged in any play himself, but has an empathy and fascination for the scene. He confided that, at first, the well-known but discreet interviewees were hesitant to be in his video. In response, ALT.com's own kinky columnist Cleo Dubois, who was seated in the audience(and is also in the film), spoke up to say that as a tight network, they had all talked to each other about him, "what do you think of this Warshaw fellow?" He ultimately realized that unlike a Real TV audition with its lines of willing participants a mile long, these participants had been screening him. But after Warshaw's first successful interview and taping, the word went round and doors started to open. By trotting to each speaker's home dragging lights, cameras, and equipment all on his own, Warshaw insured a more intimate interview. He says that as a result of his efforts, he developed a whole new perspective on the scene. "Intimacy is the most wonderful thing that I found out about BDSM," he said to the audience. The film uses only kink educators who are "out" -- "I didn't want the funky silhouettes," Warshaw explained.

If you're new to the scene or curious, you'll find no better access to the years of experience of these real, hardy, veteran BDSM players. And even experienced players will enjoy the wealth of personal stories from fellow players in Vice and Consent, not to mention the relationship experience of couples who've remained together successfully, long-term and kinky.

News Flash: We at ALT.com just got word that Vice & Consent is now an official selection of the San Fernando Valley International Film Festival (www.viffi.org) and additionally it is nominated for Best Documentary Feature. The winner will be announced on March 26th.

For more images and info on the film, or to order it for yourself, visit the site: [extern url='http://www.viceandconsent.com' target='_blank' text='www.viceandconsent.com'].