Brothel token!

This is another news-based post, though it’s reporting slightly old news. And it’s also about sex slavery, though not in contemporary society.

An ‘amateur archeologist’ using a metal detector discovered a small coin on the banks of the Thames, and its discovery was made public in January this year. The coin turned out to be a brothel token – a coin claimed to be used in Roman-era brothels (or which there were many in London at that time). The ‘customers’ would buy tokens from the proprietor and, according to some accounts, give them to the prostitutes in the brothel as payment for sex. You can read more in the Daily Telegraph, the Digital Journal and probably a dozen other places.

A quick bit of poking about on the internet indicates that brothel coins, or brothel tokens, were widely used in Roman times. Many (if not all) the prostitutes would have been slaves, and the token meant that the prostitutes weren’t handling any actual money. However, the precise details aren’t known and there are alternative theories, including that they were used as gaming chips and/or as drinks tokens either in the brothels themselves, or perhaps in other bars. Of course, that doesn’t exclude the possibility they were used in all of these ways, and possibly more.

The idea of the ‘brothel coin’ didn’t die with the Romans. They were allegedly used in some European brothels, especially in Paris, up until the late 1800s/early 1900s; and possibly in some American brothels, and Australian ones, until around the same time. Few real examples survive but plenty of people make reproductions – which are widely available on Ebay – and at least one maker of tattoo equipment has a series of foot switches that feature embedded repro brothel coins (note, though, they won’t sell you tattoo equipment unless you’re a properly registered/licensed tattooist in the US). A couple of contemporary brothels in Nevada appear to have resurrected the practice and some of their tokens are also available on Ebay.

More info on their history is at wiki.answers.com. They’re evidently popular collectors’ items, with plenty of people selling them including a US ‘law enforcement supply‘ company that offers repro brothel coins along with body armour, handcuffs and guns (no, it doesn’t look to us like it really supplies actual law enforcement officers with their operational equipment either…). There’s at least one specialist brothel coin collectors’ website, and the same people publish the Brothel Collector’s Gazette.

You may already now about all of this, of course – but it was a revelation to us… but no, we’re not going to start collecting them.

 

Sexual slavery and prostitution in the news

While we write predominantly about fantasy, sex, erotica and occasionally humour, we do recognise there are serious social problems around sexual coercion and exploitation. One such problem is that there are women who are trafficked as sex slaves. The latest news report on this comes from the BBC – ‘Trafficked – sex slaves seduced and sold‘, a piece about the sex trafficking trade in Mexico where women from all over Latin America are recruited and sold on, often into the US. One place in particular, the semi-rural small town of Tenancingo, is reputed to be based almost entirely on the economy of sex trafficking.

The BBC site has a series of short video news and interview items and is tagged ‘Viewers may find some of the video content disturbing’. Yeah. And not in a good way.

If the content isn’t available where you are, the story’s been reported by a number of other sources: in the US, try The Takeaway and Jezebel.  The same story, in Spanish, is at BBC Mundo (the BBC Spanish language world news site); also in Spanish, it’s in Vanguardia,  La PoliciacaAnimal Politico and Zolaco Saltillo.

This isn’t, obviously, the only place where sex trafficking happens. And if you look back at news sources over the last couple of years you’ll also see that in some parts of the world, young boys are similarly treated.

Much as people have fantasies and act them out, and much as fantasies can be extreme and involve sex slavery, the actual slavery of unwilling victims is evidently more common than any of us might like to think, and a serious social problem.

Male domestic violence – a note

This is just to point you to BillieRosie’s blog post about the rising incidence of female abusers and male victims in domestic violence cases.

While the majority of cases are still male abusers and female victims, the situation is no longer as clear-cut as it once was. And for that matter, from other sources and contacts, we’re aware that domestic abuse and violence can also occur in gay relationships and between carers and their dependents. In the last couple of years, it turns out, organisations like housing associations – which are required to have policies on how to deal with domestic abuse cases, provide support to victims, etc. – have in at least some cases been rewriting those policies to reflect the trend, using more gender-neutral terminology and looking past the stereotypes to work out how to provide an effective response whatever the situation.

Much as this blog takes a liberal and laissez-faire attitude to matters of sex and relationships, it’s also important to remember that there are real social problems out there that do real damage to people’s lives. Victims need to be supported, and perpetrators stopped.

Xciting times

Following the change-around in the Xcite Books websites, the ‘Our published work’ page (see the menu on the blog header) has been updated and things added to it (including one or two bits we’d written and forgotten about!). So those links all work. We haven’t yet messed with the ones in individual posts – you’ll have to take your chances.

As usual, there’s a load of stuff ongoing and some new things we hope to announce shortly.

In addition, Fulani’s been experimenting with writing short stories for the Achtung Fetish website, which is a membership-based hardcore site – but there’s not a lot of point in teasing you with details because the stuff’s all in the members’ area. Writing a connected narrative around actual pics (as opposed to his own imagination) has been an interesting exercise, and the spinoff has been the need to research various sexual practices that hadn’t previously figured in his stories. It turns out you could write a story just about the process of getting ready to wear a latex outfit, and feeling the smooth tightness of the outfit under your fingers as you slide into it… Research has been necessary on other matters too, such as religious rituals that turn out to be relevant to the theme of a picture set. At least it keeps Fulani quietly entertained…

Tricks for Kicks – now out

Tricks for Kicks cover (Xcite Books)

Tricks for Kicks cover (Xcite Books)

You might remember Fulani had a short story, ‘Filthy White Dress’, that appeared as part of the Making Her Pay ebook from Xcite – this was a short five-story collection. ‘Filthy White Dress’ was slightly unusual in terms of erotica because it was inspired by ‘Nu Fetish’, something we’ve previously blogged about here – and maybe a little, too, by some themes from French experimental writers such as Robbe-Grillet, who deliberately set out (in Project for a Revolution in New York, for example) to associate colours with particular cultural meanings. If you’re into experimental literature, Project for a Revolution in New York is kind of interesting because it includes a huge number of hardcore torture scenes of a nature that  most erotica publishers these days wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, or any other implement.

But we digress.

The same story is also now out as part of the longer Tricks For Kicks: Sex with Rewards 20-story Xcite collection, edited by Elizabeth Coldwell.

Stories by: Veronica Wilde, Mary Borsellino, Fulani, Victoria Blisse, Maxim Jakubowski, Catelyn Cash, Landon Dixon, Tabitha Rayne, Heidi Champa, Dominic Santi, Kay Jaybee, Kathleen Tudor, Marleen Yong, Giselle Renarde, Cecilia Duvalle, Alanna Appleton, Cynthia Lucas, Sommer Marsden, Scarlett Blue and Elizabeth Coldwell – 224 pages all told. Available as hard copy at £7.99 or as an epub format at £6.49.

In short, what you’ve got in this collection is 20 pieces by a bunch of the most talented and innovative erotica writers you can hope to find.

If you want a sneak peek at Fulani’s story, one was included in a previous post on this blog.

Tasty long implements – a workshop report by Fulani

My local munch organisers ran a special event yesterday: a workshop by Alex Jacob of Cobra Whips.

Given that there are somewhere over 1,000 kinksters in the area (according to Fetlife) and, last time I heard, over 600 people on the munch mailing list, it was a small gathering of just 10.

On the other hand, whips – as in bullwhips, snakewhips and other implements of a similar length – are a minority interest, not least because they require a significant amount of space to use properly. They aren’t much liked in fetish clubs for the same reason (in fact some clubs ban them). The venue, a reasonably-sized function room, was big enough for four or five of us to use whips at the same time.

I haven’t used either of my long whips for a while and I’m out of practice. So for me it was a chance to go back to basics and re-learn probably the most single important thing about whip control, which the workshop listed as ‘Whip/weapon and body mechanics, energy flow and effect on recipient’.

In other words, a whip is an extension of the person using it (or vice versa, perhaps). By that, I mean that if you want to control a whip accurately and know where and how it will connect with a target, you have to think about it as an extension of your body – or maybe more accurately, your body and arm as an extension of the whip. You’re holding it in your hand, and everything you do with your arm and wrist, changing stance as you strike with the whip, and so on, will affect what it does.

A small flick of the wrist as your arm moves forwards will often put a downward energy into the whip, which means that as it reaches its fullest extent it will begin to recoil. The tip will come back at you. A jerky movement as you pull the whip back prior to a strike can have a similar effect. Shifting your weight from one foot to the other can give a sideways impetus to the whip, with the same result. So smooth, clean motions are best.

Secondly, 99% of the time you don’t need to put a lot of effort into a whip in order to crack it. The force you put into it needs to move, in a well-made whip, a tapered bag of lead shot with as much force as it would take to flick it a few feet. That energy goes into a piece of braided leather or nylon that has perhaps a one-inch cross-section near your hand, down to a quarter-inch cross-section three or four feet down the whip; then it’s funnelled into a fall, which is probably not much thicker than a shoelace, and into a cracker (or popper, terminology varies), that’s probaby a quarter of that diameter. So at that point, it’s like putting enough energy to throw a cricket ball into moving a six-inch length of cotton thread. You need remarkably little energy to accelerate the tip enough to make the crack.

And thirdly, the crack dissipates the energy – it’s sent out into the air – so that if it the whip then hits the target a large part of its energy has gone. Which is the main reason why long whips can be used to make very impressive and scary sounds but not create the kind of injury that would require medical treatment.

That doesn’t by any means exhaust the relevant information about both technique and safety that you need to know in order to play with long whips but it was, as I said, a welcome reminder of basic principles for me and a reminder of the need to practice. And practice some more. And then practice again.

Other good things: Alex fettled one of my whips and dramatically improved its crack. And two of the other participants were a couple of writers, and we were able able to have a long conversation over dinner.

So congratulations and many thanks to the organisers.

Final thought – in the writing of this post, various typographical errors kept creeping in for some reason, of which the key one was ‘tasty long implements’…

Erotica-romance-ebooks

Just a quick note: if you’ve tried to find any of our publications via the links we make to http://www.erotica-romance-ebooks.com, you’ll have seen a ‘site currently not active’ announcement. It’s Xcite’s ‘third party’ site that sells their own books plus those from other publishers, and Xcite’s geek people have been working to deal with it. In the meantime, the Xcite ‘own brand’ website www.xcitebooks.com is still working just fine.