Monday 18th December 2017 – Sex Worker’s Vigil Outside Parliament

Below is a letter written to our MP in respect of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW)

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Dear Stephen Morgan MP,

If you were told that at least 70,000 women, men and trans-people in the UK were being forced to work in dangerous conditions and were often put in danger of being robbed, assaulted or even killed, you would, I think, be quite rightly shocked by this.

I think you would think so especially if you were then told that they probably could not go to the Police for help because they would then risk arrest or even possible deportation.

Furthermore, if you were then told that was a vocal minority lobbying for a law that would put these people in even greater danger of exploitation and abuse, I hope you would agree that this is something that should not be allowed to happen.

Well, there are 70,000 such people in this country who need protection, because they are sex workers who are being endangered by existing laws and put at risk by proposed changes to those laws.

Now my first question at this point would be “has your opinion changed because I mentioned they are sex workers”? I hope not as I believe you are an open minded person who will listen to facts, rather than the opinions of the right-wing media and anti-sex work “feminists”.

These latter groups would try to claim that sex work and trafficking are the same thing or that all women sex workers are being exploited or that the only solution is the so-called “Nordic Model” which will “protect” workers by criminalising clients.

None of these claims are true, for example sex workers want to stop trafficking (and are best placed to spot it and report it, if only they could do so without risking arrest themselves).

Similarly, if women or men or trans-people choose to work in the sex industry, they should not be told that, despite their choice, they are being exploited, as if they lack agency to make that decision themselves.

Finally criminalising clients just means that sex workers are put in greater jeopardy because they will find it much more difficult to screen clients and identify potentially dangerous ones.

As you may be aware, groups as diverse as Amnesty International, the International Union of Sex Workers and even the Home Affairs Committee have called for decriminalisation of sex work and there is a very good article by Frankie Mullin here explaining why this is actually the best option:

Tomorrow, Sunday the 17 December, is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (IDEVASW) and sex workers worldwide will be gathering to mourn and to call for change.

On Monday the 18th, outside Parliament, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) and the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) will be holding a vigil between 12 and 2pm.

I would recommend and request that you visit this vigil and listen to the people who are actually working in the sex industry.

I hope you will understand that they do not want to be patronised or “protected” by people who want to control their bodies or tell them that they are not capable of making their own informed choices about what they do, let alone put them in danger of assault or death because they are denied ways to ensure their own safety.

Thank you for reading this e-mail.

Yours Sincerely,
Graham Marsden

Affordable Leather’s Giant Strap-on Dildo Harness

We have some customers who like their toys, shall we say, a bit larger than the usual sort of dildos. In fact they like them a LOT larger.

So when you’re using a massive dildo, you need a Strap on Harness which can not only take the girth and length of a giant cock, but also one which will support its weight.

That is why we, at Affordable Leather Products, have created our Giant Leather Strap-on Dildo Harness to take huge toys.

Our latest commission was for Miss Julia Taylor @missjulia2013 on Twitter and she has kindly given us permission to add her pictures to this blog post so you can see the exactly how the Giant Strap-on Dildo Harness looks in use.

Miss Julia Huge Massive Giant Strap-on Dildo Harness

The Dildo shown in the pictures is Mr Hankey’s XXXL Seahorse dildo which goes from a circumference of 8.75″ at the head and to huge 15″ circumference down by the base! The insertable length is no less than 15.25″ which will certainly give your anal sluts a full feeling…!

You can see more of Miss Julia Taylor on her website here.

Another Picture of Affordable Leather’s
Huge Strap-on Harness

By a co-incidence, just after we made this harness for Miss Julia, we were looking at Twitter and found a picture of Domina Deville also wearing one of our harnesses and she was kind enough to allow us to use her image on our blog.

Domina Deville Giant Massive Huge Dildo Strap on Harness

Domina Deville can be found on Adult Work at this link.

Both of these Ladies are wearing the Strap-on Harness with the Comfort Option, this includes soft leather stitched along each edge of the supporting belt and also a padded crotch strap.

If you would like to buy a Strap on Harness to take a Massive Dildo from Affordable Leather just click on this link.

Government Report on High Heels Petition Published

Women and Equalities Committee says women should not be forced to wear high heels at work

Last year we wrote blog post on the High Heels Petition which was started after a woman named Nicola Thorp was sent home from her job for refusing to wear “2 inch to 4 heels”.

There was an outcry against sexist dress code practices and a petition was started which gained over 152,000 signatures.

Now the government’s Women and Equalities Committee has published a report on this.

In it they call for the government to take urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act and recommends the Government introduce guidance and awareness campaigns to improve understanding of the law and workers’ rights.

They state that: “Dress codes which require women to wear high heels for extended periods of time are damaging to their health and wellbeing in both the short and the long term.”

Dress codes requiring women to wear high heels are damaging to their health Click To Tweet

They also say: “The Equality Act is clear in principle in setting out what constitutes discrimination in law. Nevertheless, discriminatory dress codes remain commonplace in some sectors of the economy.”

Discriminatory dress codes remain commonplace in some sectors of the economy Click To Tweet

The Chair of the Petitions Committee, Helen Jones MP, said: “It’s not enough for the law to be clear in principle—it must also work in practice. […] The Government must now accept that it has a responsibility to ensure that the law works in practice as well as in theory.”

Nicola Thorp, whose experience started this whole matter stated: “It is crucial that the law is amended so that gender neutral dress codes become the norm, so that they do not exacerbate discrimination against the LGBTQ communities and those who do not conform to gender stereotypes.”

We at Affordable Leather products entirely agree with the Committee and with Nicola Thorp, whilst it is reasonable for a business to require a certain standard of dress from their employees which is appropriate for their workplace, it should not be the case that one part of their workforce is required to wear attire which could be detrimental to their long-term health.

We also feel that it is not right for them to be required to be “eye candy” and to be pleasing to the male viewpoint in addition to their usual responsibilities.

Have you been told you have to wear High Heels at work?

Does your workplace enforce different dress code standards at work? Do men just get told to wear “smart shoes” whereas women are told to wear heels?

Do you find it uncomfortable having to wear heels or feel that you’re being treated as eye candy for male employees or customers?

Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

The UK Government wants to censor “Unconventional” pornography

Following our recent post on the Government’s ridiculous Age Verification policy for adult websites and despite clearly expressed and comprehensive objections from legal experts and adult content producers and security experts, they are ploughing ahead regardless.

Unfortunately the situation has now got even worse as the Government wants the British Board of Film Classification to be in charge of implementing this “Think of the Children!” policy and the BBFC Guidelines will result in the blocking of any websites which feature “unconventional” sex acts

This can even include porn featuring Ball Gags because, even though they are entirely legal to use, the BBFC think that, with one in, you can’t withdraw consent, so they forbid them. This is despite the fact that, instead of a Safe Word, you can use a Safe Sign such as finger signals or dropping an object (a ball, a bunch of keys, a bell, anything that makes an obvious noise etc).

The Government wants to block websites which show anything the BBFC wouldn't class R18 RT Click To Tweet

The Government want ISPs to block websites which show anything that the BBFC wouldn’t class even as R18 which would meant that porn which shows acts that are legal for consenting adults to participate in, would not be visible in this country.

We have already written to our MP objecting to State Censorship of adult material and protesting this nonsensical Nanny State Law and we urge you all to urgently contact your MPs to tell them at you do not want to see this unprecedented level of State Censorship introduced in this country.

Write to your MP urgently at to object to Government censorship RT Click To Tweet

You can contact your MP via and if you want to use our letter from our blog post above for inspiration, you are welcome.

Please share this blog post on Social Media so we can get as many people as possible to object to this intrusion on the rights of adults to decide for themselves what they see.

If you have written to your MP or you have any comments, please add them below…

Digital Economy Bill – Age Verification for Adult Websites

Age Verification for Adult Websites in the Digital Economy Bill

The UK Government has brought forward plans to require adult websites in the UK to install Age Verification systems to “protect children” from being exposed to adult material.

Write to your MP urgently at to object to Government censorship RT Click To Tweet

UPDATE – The Government wants the BBFC and ISPs to block “Unconventional” pornography”

We wrote to our MP, Flick Drummond of the Conservative Party, objecting to these proposals and got a generic “I think they are a good idea” response, so we wrote again and below is the letter we sent:

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Dear Flick Drummond,

Thank you for your recent reply to my e-mail on the Digital Economy Bill.

In regard to the provisions for Age Verification on adult websites I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some points.

On the matter of protecting children, there is already a method by which children can prevented from accessing adult material, it is called “responsible parenting”.

There are many programs which can be installed on phones, tablets and computers which will restrict and block these sites, so rather than infringing on the rights of adults to legally view material unsuitable for children, the Government should make a concerted effort to educate parents on their responsibilities to protect their own offspring and make it easy for them to install such software on electronic equipment.

This would also avoid the creation of databases on the browsing of adults which would be a gross violation of their privacy and, as Louise Haigh MP, the Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy pointed out, if (or, more likely, when) this information was hacked or leaked, as happened in the Ashley Madison case, this could even result in suicides of people who had committed no crimes.

At the same time, Sex and Relationship Education provision in schools should be improved and follow models such as that in the Netherlands where children are taught to understand that what they see on screen is not a “how to” guide.

I would also like to comment that it is very concerning that the BBFC guidelines for R18 material could be used to categorise material, the fact of the matter is that they would forbid UK production of material showing acts which are entirely legal for consenting adults to participate in, something which I think you would agree is nonsensical.

Finally, there is the absurd suggestion that the Age Verification system should be put in place for ALL websites which are viewable in the UK. This would require producers and suppliers in Europe, America and, in fact, the whole rest of the world to install such systems simply to please the demands of the British Government.

Naturally they will do no such thing since one country’s laws cannot and should not apply beyond their borders, so this will only manage to cripple the businesses of UK SME producers and suppliers, including those of bloggers who make a living from the advertising on their pages and who simply could not afford the overheads of the Age Verification system.

For more information, I strongly recommend you review the following submission to the Committee: emo/DEB61.htm

This was written by Myles Jackman, a leading Barrister specialising in Obscenity Law and Pandora Blake, an award-winning feminist pornographer, whose site was unsuccessfully censored in 2015 by ATVOD, and offers a detailed critique of the fallacies and failings of these proposals.

I trust that you will read it and raise these points with your colleagues on the Committee for this Bill and, when the time comes to vote on these measures, you will support the rights of adults to legally view what they like without the interference of the State.

Yours sincerely,
Graham Marsden.

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We strongly recommend that all our readers and customers contact their MPs and also stand up for their rights to view legal material without being recorded on a database that could be leaked or used for marketing or even criminal misuse of credit card data.

Please don’t copy the letter above exactly, but you’re welcome to modify it and send it to your own MPs via

If you have written to your MP or have any comments to make on this, please add them below…

PS Don’t forget to share this on your social media channels so we can all object to this iniquitous law!

What type of gag should I buy for BDSM?

When we are selling our goods at Fetish Markets and similar events, we often meet people who who have begun with a bit of gentle bondage or light spanking, but now want to expand their range of kinky BDSM play activities and they ask “What is the best type of gag to buy for BDSM?”

We at Affordable Leather Products have been selling Leather Bondage Equipment and BDSM Toys since 1993, so here’s our quick guide to buying BDSM gags. Please note that you can click on the links to be taken to the individual product pages (these links will open in a new window).

What sorts of BDSM gag can you buy?

Soft Rubber Foam-Filled Ball Gag

Comfortable Soft Rubber Ball Gag in Black or Red

The classic style of gag in BDSM, the purpose of this design is to fill the wearer’s mouth, making it harder for them to speak (at least coherently!) and muffling the sound somewhat.

Our design of ball gag is not like most of the ones you see on sale on the web as the ball on ours is constructed from a soft rubber outer shell and the inner is filled with foam. This makes it softer and more compressible than the sort of gags which are based around a solid rubber dog-ball. The solid ball gag can easily get uncomfortable since the wearer can’t ease their jaw or swallow, meaning they end up with a mouthful of saliva.

Our soft rubber ball gag has a sturdy leather strap which buckles around the back of the neck and a softer strap which holds the ball in the mouth.

Comfortable Soft Rubber Head Harness Black or Red Ball Gag

Comfortable Soft Rubber Head Harness Ball Gag in Black or Red

If you want something that is a bit more dramatic than the standard Ball Gag, this one has two Head Harness straps going from the D-Rings up to another strap that goes over the crown of the head to a buckle at the back. Additionally there’s another strap that buckles beneath the chin which prevents the user from being able to push the ball out of their mouth or, of course, if they do try this, it will just pop straight back in!

You can buy the standard Ball Gag and Head Harness Ball Gag with the soft foam filled black or red rubber balls in small or large sizes, or, if you want, we now make a version with Chicago Screws (like rivets, but which can be unscrewed) which let you swap the Gag Ball for one of a different colour or a smaller or larger size.

Breather Wiffle Ball Practice Golf Ball Gag

Breather Wiffle Ball Practice Golf Ball Gag

As some users want to be able to breathe through their mouths due to congestion or other such difficulties, the Breathable Ball Gag (sometimes known as a Wiffle Ball Gag) utilises a Practice Golf Ball which is made from plastic and is hollow with holes that allow air to pass through it. There is one “drawback” (if you want to call it that) in that this design may cause the wearer to dribble all over themselves in a most humiliating manner…

Head Harness Style Breathable Practice Golf Ball Wiffle Ball Gag

Head Harness Style Breathable Practice Golve Ball Wiffle Ball Gag

Similar to the Head Harness Ball Gag, this style also can be supplied with a Head Harness if you prefer.

It also has the two straps which go across the face and up to an over-head strap, plus there’s an adjustable buckle fastening chin strap too.

Latex Rubber Bit Gag

Latex Rubber Bit Gag

Often the Ball style of gag is not suitable for some users as they like to be able to bite down on their gag and the materials of those gags simply wouldn’t be able to take that sort of abuse.

If that’s the case, this style is constructed from a strong, hollow piece of 4″ (10cm) long rubber tube which can deal with a lot of chewing, unlike the other designs which would be damaged by this sort of thing.

Similarly, if the wearer has an over-active gag reflex, this will allow them to still experience the feeling of being gagged without something penetrating into the mouth which could cause an unfortunate reaction.

One other advantage of the Rubber Bit Gag is that it makes it easier for the wearer to breathe as it doesn’t tend to impede the flow of air into the mouth.

Naturally, since it doesn’t fill the mouth so much, it’s less effective in restricting sound than a Ball Gag.

Head Harness Pony Play Bridle Blinker Bit Gag (with optional Reins)

Head Harness Pony Play Bridle Blinker Bit Gag

A step up from the standard Rubber Bit Gag, this one incorporates a harness that goes around the forehead and down the sides of the face. Not only that, but it has a set of blinkers (or blinders) to obscure some of the wearer’s vision.

This gag is designed for people who like to engage in Human Pony Play, as it has two extra D Rings at the side of the mouth bit to enable you to attach a set of reins.

As a special offer for our customers, you can bundled in set of Pony Play Reins at a discounted price when you buy this Head Harness Pony Gag.

Combined Latex Rubber Ball-Bit Gag

Combined Latex Rubber Ball Bit Gag Red or Black

Combining the best features of the previous styles of gag, the Ball/ Bit Gag is made from both the sturdy rubber tubing of the Bit Gag and the soft rubber, mouth-filling ball from the Ball Gag.

This design enables the wearer to bite down on the Bit, but, at the same time, the soft Rubber Ball fills up the mouth, which is more effective at keeping the user quiet than a bit alone.

It, of course, can be supplied with either a red or a black ball and comes with the buckling leather strap.

Jennings PVC Coated Dental Gag and Whitehead PVC Coated Dental Gag

PVC Coated Jennings Dental Gag with Buckling Leather Strap

Whitehead PVC Coated Dental Gag with Leather Buckle Strap

Originally designed as a medical product to hold a patient’s mouth open whilst under anaesthetic, the BDSM community has found enjoyable (for some!) alternative uses for these items, such as engaging in “forced” oral sex, making the wearer drink golden wine in watersports play or even using them as a human ashtray!

The gag keeps the wearer’s mouth open no matter what they may like, whilst the PVC coating on the bars helps prevent any potential damage to the teeth.

Both styles of gag have a pair of metal bars with PVC coating that are hinged at the side and that go across the mouth with a ratchet to stop them closing. The Jennings Dental Gag has a single ratchet at the side for a “cleaner” look, whereas the Whitehead Dental Gag has two ratchets for a more dramatic appearance.

In both cases, the wearer will find it difficult to spit the gag out as they can be securely restrained by leather straps that buckle at behind the head.

Penis / Pecker / Dick Gag

Latex Rubber Penis Dick Pecker Gag

If you want to force your slave or submissive to suck on a penis in a humiliating manner, then this gag is ideal. A latex rubber penis-shaped section is held by a leather strap and can be secured in the mouth so the user has to suck cock whether they like it or not.

This phallic design of gag can also be referred to as a Dick or Pecker gag depending on which part of the world you’re in.

Please note that this style may not be suitable for someone with an over-active gag reflex as having something penetrate their mouth this deeply might cause an unwanted reaction. As such, we’d recommend the Ball Gag style or perhaps the Rubber Bit Gag instead.

Penis Gag with Rubber Dildo

Latex Rubber Mouth Dildo Penis Dick Pecker Gag

A similar design to the previous one, but with the addition of a Rubber Dildo that extends out from the mouth which a Dominant woman can sit on to take her pleasure whilst her slave can do nothing but watch.

Of course, if she prefers, the Dominatrix can simply lie back and let her submissive penetrate her with the mouth dildo and he ends up with a stiff neck (erm, allegedly…!)

There is also a smaller version available if the dildo on this gag is too big.

So, which BDSM gag should I buy?

Now we’ve given you a run-down on some of the types of gag that are available, the question you need to answer is “What do I want this gag to do?”

Do you want to silence the wearer or inhibit the wearer’s speech? If so, you probably will find that your best choice is one that goes into the mouth such as the basic Ball Gag, Ball-Bit Gag or Penis Gag.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to give your slave something to bite on, either the Bit-style Gag the Combined Ball-Bit Gag should be the ones you are looking at.

To engage in Human Ashtray or “forced” oral sex or Golden Wine play, you’ll need to keep your subject’s mouth open, so the PVC coated Whitehead and Jennings Gags are what you want.

Of course whatever gag you choose to buy, please always remember to keep a careful eye on the wearer and ensure that the gag does not interefere with their breathing. BDSM play should always be Safe, Sane and Consensual.

To buy BDSM gags from Affordable Leather Products’ full range, click here

What about you?

Have you bought a gag? What advice would you give to someone who’s just about to buy their first BDSM gag? Do you have any helpful tips or hints which you can share? Do post them in the comments section below.

Or are you thinking of buying a gag? What sort of questions would you want to ask someone? Post them below and we’ll do our best to answer them for you!

If you have enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share it on your favourite social media using these buttons, thanks!

The Top 5 Myths about BDSM

When we started out making BDSM Toys over 20 years there was no internet, no web and the only information available was from a few “top shelf” magazines which often dealt more in the fantasies of those who wrote into them than facts or photocopied amateur publications which you could generally only find if you knew someone who was already into the scene.

As such, we have encountered (and, indeed, experienced) many of the myths that surround BDSM, so we thought we’d write a bit to debunk a few of them…

Myth number 1: BDSM is all about pain.

This is where a lot of people start from, simply because they have seen bad films or read bad fiction and think it’s all about the cliché of a thigh-boot and corset wearing Dominatrix whipping the skin off a slave’s back with a 20′ bullwhip!

Well, no, this is definitely not the case, it generally means that the person who believes this is unfamiliar with what BDSM actually stands for, so here’s a short recap, or for more information, see our article about What is BDSM? elsewhere on our blog.

B – Bondage: This is restraining or tying a person up in some way with leather straps, cuffs, rope, scarves and so on. Very often this doesn’t involve pain and, indeed, probably shouldn’t, because if the bondage is painful, it could be causing damage.

D – Discipline: Discipline can be simply giving orders to the other player in a Master (or Mistress) / Slave scenario, also Boss / Worker, Military Officer / Soldier or any other similar relationship.

D – Domination: Yes, D does double work! Domination can be considered to be when one party in a BDSM relationship agrees to accept power (ie control) from another. With that acceptance of power, of course, comes the responsibility not to abuse it.

S – Submission: The flip-side to Domination, generally when one party in a BDSM relationship voluntarily gives up their power to another.

S – Sadism: (S also gets a second go) This is the one which can involve forms of pain or strong physical sensations, however, more broadly, the physical sensations don’t have to be actually painful, a session with eg a thuddy flogger might not hurt at all, but, instead, be an intensely enjoyable experience.

M – Masochism: Usually where someone enjoys receiving physical sensations (often, but not necessarily) from a Sadist.

What you can see from this is that only one of the six terms in BDSM may actually involve pain and, even then, despite the name, generally only up to agreed limits, so it is certainly possible for people to enjoy playing with no physical discomfort involved at all.

Only one of the terms in BDSM may actually involve pain and, even then, only up to agreed limits Click To Tweet

You also need to remember that a Masochist doesn’t necessarily have to be submissive, or vice versa. Similarly, Dominants don’t have to be sadistic etc. There can (and, indeed, may well be) overlaps between the terms, but it’s certainly not “all about pain”.

Myth number 2: Engaging in BDSM is abusive.

The idea behind this myth is often coupled with “BDSM is all about pain” from number 1, because the belief is that nobody would undergo such pain unless they were being forced into it in some way. We’ve already debunked that idea, so let’s deal with the issue of consent.

Despite what some (especially, regrettably, those writing laws) might think, it is perfectly possible and acceptable for someone to willingly undergo intense physical sensations, however in the vast majority of cases, these sensations are applied up to, but not exceeding, the limits of the recipient.

These limits may well have been negotiated before the scene started or they can be applied during play with the use of Safe Words where the recipient can express their desire to have the intensity reduced or, if necessary, stop the scene entirely if they’re not enjoying what’s happening.

Consent should always be obtained before starting a scene and, indeed, may well be “checked in” during play. Not to this would be abusive. See our article on Safe Words.

Consent should always be obtained before a BDSM scene. Not to do this would be abusive. Click To Tweet

Myth number 3: BDSM is never abusive.

Regrettably, despite what we said in number 2, it is unfortunately the case that there are some players who fail to obtain or respect the consent of the person on the receiving end.

This doesn’t have to be physical, verbal or mental abuse may also happen where someone goes beyond pre-arranged limits or doesn’t respect Safe Words.

Fortunately such things are very few and far between in BDSM, but to deny that it ever happens would be a mistake and bad fiction (a book featuring a number of variations of a mixture of black and white come to mind!) which features a predatory stalker type of character who mistakes coercion for consent doesn’t help educate the public.

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Myth number 4: You can’t be a proper Domme/ Master/ slave/ submissive if you do / don’t do X, Y or Z.

Some people out there think that there is “One True Way” of Domination or submission or being a slave or whatever. They say that you can’t wear a collar if you’re a Dominatrix, because only slaves do that and if a slave doesn’t wear a collar, they aren’t a “proper” slave etc.

This is complete nonsense, of course, there are no rules graven in stone which codify BDSM behaviours and if, for example, a Mistress wants to wear a collar, why shouldn’t she?

These sorts of assertions often arise, we feel, from insecure individuals who perhaps have some misguided idea that they are an “influencer” in the scene (or they want to be seen that way) and thus consider that they have the right to dictate to others how they should behave.

We feel that it’s much better to live and let live and if all participants are consenting adults, then nobody should tell them that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to do things.

Myth number 5: Only women really submit.

Following on from Myth number 4, this is a variant on the “One True Way” idea. The person claiming this feels, for whatever reason, that men can’t be (or won’t be, or perhaps, shouldn’t be) “proper” submissives.

There is, of course, the fact that, due to the nature of consent in BDSM relationships, the submissive is the one who can ultimately say “Stop!” but submitting up to pre-arranged limits is no different from receiving a spanking or flogging up to a certain intensity or the recipient uses a Safe Word, for example and, again, to go beyond that goes into the realms of abuse.

If you visit a BDSM play club or dungeon, you will see plenty of men happily submitting to women and we think that many of them would be offended at the idea that they were not really being submissive.

By the same token, there are many women who enjoy the Dominant role and receiving the submission of men, there’s no gender division in BDSM roles, except in the minds of those who want to try to impose one.

The only gender division in BDSM is in the minds of those who want to impose one Click To Tweet


All of these myths arise, we feel, from either misunderstanding of the nature of BDSM or, alternatively, the desire of someone to try to impose their will or view on others.

We say that you shouldn’t let yourself allow these people to tell you how to behave. BDSM is not a nice, clear-cut set of pigeonholes into which everyone can be slotted. There’s overlaps and differences in preference and choices, so keep it consensual and safe and just enjoy what you’re doing!

BDSM is not a nice, clear-cut set of pigeonholes into which everyone can be slotted Click To Tweet

Do you agree with our observations on the myths in BDSM? Are there any other myths you think we should have covered? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Britain’s War on Prostitution

Working in the Adult Industry making leather bondage equipment, we at Affordable Leather Products always try to keep tabs on what else is going on in related areas and one that has popped up several times on the radar recently, is that of sex work.

It is a sad fact that, whilst most people believe in “live and let live” and letting consenting adults get on with their own lives without interference, there are some (and, regrettably too many in our government) who believe that anything they don’t like is wrong and must, therefore, be stopped.

Who thinks prostitution should be stopped?

The latest example is the conflation between “Modern Slavery” and legal, consensual prostitution by Kevin Hyland, the government’s “Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner” who has urged Londoners to contact the Police to look out for brothels because sex workers in the capital were being “beaten, raped and sometimes starved by the men controlling them in a form of human slavery that was blighting the capital”.

Now, whilst we absolutely abhor this sort of behaviour and consider it completely unacceptable, what is disappointing and regrettable is that he makes absolutely no distinction between premises which are operated by men who are exploiting women in this way and those which are being used by fully informed and consenting adult women.

He went on to say: “A lot of these premises set up on residential streets and people see these things and sometimes wonder what they should do.

“They should contact the police or, if they don’t feel comfortable with that, contact the local authority or one of the non-government organisations or the modern slavery helpline.”

Note here how he implies that ALL such premises must be involved in the exploitation of women, even though he has no proof of this because the truth of the matter is very much to the contrary.

He also claims that the Metropolitan Police are on course to identify about 1,000 people held as slaves in London this year (presumably simply extrapolating from how many have been found so far) yet it is not necessarily the case that all of them were involved in the sex trade at all.

Another of his assertions is that “more than 3,000 potential slavery victims had been identified nationwide last year and numbers were still rising”, but this reminds us of the claims that tens of thousands of women were going to be trafficked into London for the 2012 Olympics, yet, when the organisation pushing these figures lost its government funding, suddenly all these news stories evaporated.

For more information about the London 2012 crackdown, see this article on how London 2012 was not responsible for an increase in sex trafficking by Georgina Perry, the service manager for Open Doors, a clinical, case management and outreach service for sex workers in City & Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets in the UK since 2003

Who is Kevin Hyland?

Kevin Hyland was previously head of the London Metropolitan Police’s Human Trafficking Unit who were criticised for “heavy handed” raids on brothels before the London 2012 Olympics. They had claimed before the event that there would be an increase in trafficked women and prostitution, yet were eventually forced to admit that they had failed to find any evidence of such increase, despite being given an extra £500,000 of public money to target this predicted crime.

The criticism also stated that the Police were carrying out raids without any complaints having been raised about the establishments, nor any intelligence that trafficking was taking place. Georgina Perry said “Women are terrified to report violent crimes that take place against them for fear of being arrested. This situation neither helps to bring real criminals to justice nor gives intelligence that may combat trafficking.” In other words, the efforts to “protect” women were actually having the opposite effect.

There is a parallel example in the USA, where Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes about “The truth of about the biggest US Sex Trafficking Story of the Year” revealing that, for all the media hype and hysteria, most of the “facts” of a story about so-called “sex trafficking” are actually completely fictitious.

Of course it is a fact that the current lamentable state of the law in Britain today means that, although it is not illegal to be a prostitute or accept money for sex, it is illegal to run a Brothel (which is defined as two sex workers operating at the same address). The result of this is that it makes life more difficult and dangerous for women because if a customer gets aggressive or abusive, they have no one to call on for protection.

Is it all doom and gloom in the sex industry?

Well, possibly not. There are those who understand that sex work and trafficking are not the same thing and there have been calls by Jeremy Corbyn to decriminalise the sex industry and the Lib-Dems have had decriminalisation as a party policy since 1994.

Additionally, recently the Liberal Democrats have launched a 33-page policy consultation paper, to go before the party’s conference in Brighton this month, which argues that “criminalisation” of sex workers is drawing vulnerable people into the justice system and jeopardising women’s safety by forcing them to take greater risks by working alone,

At the same time the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee has also echoed the call for decriminalisation of prostitution, pointing out that neither criminalising the workers, nor the customers (the so-called Nordic model) has actually had any effect in reducing demand or violence against women.

Unfortunately this has been undermined by the gutter press by doing a “fearless expose” of Keith Vaz for using the services of male prostitutes, even though he was committing no offences thereby, and him being forced to resign from his position.

What about the “Nordic Model”?

In Sweden, the government’s attempts to deal with prostitution have resulted in a change in the law whereby those who sell sex are not committing a crime, but those who buy it are.

The idea behind this is to reduce demand and protect women because making it a crime to pay for the services of a prostitue will, supposedly, deter men from doing so, but in actual fact not only has demand barely changed, but it puts women more at risk because the men will try their best to conceal their identities, meaning that the women will find it much harder to screen out dangerous customers.

More details on the failure of the Nordic Model for prostitution can be found in our blog post on how the Irish anti-prostitution law has had no prosecutions

Similarly, a study in Australia has determined that decriminalisation of sex work is not associated with more men paying for sex, however criminalistion actually leads to more exploitation and trafficking, higher rates of sexually transmittable infections, drug use, and risk of physical abuse.

So what’s the problem in the sex trade?

The problem is, frankly, that the Tory Party has a Nanny State attitude that “We don’t like this and we say it’s bad for you, so we’re going to stop it happening, no matter what the evidence is”.

They want to pander to the Mumsnet and Daily Mail reading public, showing how they are being “tough on crime” and getting headlines about how they are “protecting women” even though the evidence is quite to the contrary.

Is this going to affect the rest of the Adult Industry?

Well, fortunately, at the moment, nobody is trying to make manufacturing or selling leather bondage equipment illegal, but nonetheless, this and the government’s attempts to force adult websites to impose age verification schemes show that the Tories have a comprehensive “anti-sex” agenda (or, at least, anti-any sex they don’t like) and this is something that needs to be stopped because they are trampling on the rights of everyone to express themselves in ways that the government don’t approve of.

Have you been affected by this?

Are you a worker in the sex industry or know others who are? Have the Police crackdowns affected your life or your business?

Tell your story or give us your views in the comments below.

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Win a Rose-Tip Flogger in Affordable Leather's September Giveaway! Click To Tweet

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Controversial Irish Anti-prostitution Law has No Prosecutions

Despite passing an anti-prostitution law in 2014, nobody has been prosecuted in Ireland

In December 2014, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a law, ostensibly to help prevent Human Trafficking, which included a provision (the so-called Nordic Model) making it a criminal offence to pay for sex, even if the participants were both consenting adults and nobody had trafficked.

David Ford, the Justice Minister, stated that the bill as “ground-breaking” and claimed it would make “a material difference in the lives of vulnerable people”, but he also said that he still had misgivings about the criminalisation of paying for sexual services because the debate had “diverted the focus away from some of the other important measures and into the moral issues surrounding the purchase of sex”.

In other words, this part of the bill was not so much about trying to protect trafficked women, but simply to try to eliminate prostitution because of the moral views of the Assembly Members.

Mr Ford commented that “I remain disappointed the research I commissioned from Queens University was ignored and indeed at times derided,” referring to

Not only that, but 98% of sex workers in Northern Ireland opposed criminalising buyers of sexual services

98% of sex workers in Northern Ireland opposed criminalising buyers of sexual services. Click To Tweet

In a report that the Justice Minister commissioned from Queen’s University Belfast researchers found that 61% of local sex workers felt that a “Swedish” or “Scandavian” style law criminalising those who buy sex would make workers less safe.

Also 85% of those working in the trade said that the legislation would not have the effect of reducing sex trafficking.

Not only that, but only 16% of the prostitutes’ clients in Northern Ireland who were interviewed by Queen’s University said that a law like this would make them stop paying for sex.

Only 16% of punters in Northern Ireland said a Nordic Model law would stop them paying for sex Click To Tweet

What has been the effect of this Anti-Prostitution law?

Figures released by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in Northern Ireland have shown that, despite this law, nobody has actually ended up in court for trying to pay for sex.

The PSNI state that, over 800 men pay for sex every day in Northern Ireland, yet only 10 men have been investigated by the Police during the year that this law has been in force.

Of those 10 cases which have benen referred to the PPS for potential prosecution, three have been thrown out, two of the men were cautioned by Police instead of being prosecuted and the last two cases are still under consideration by a senior Northern Irish prosecutor.

If it's now illegal to pay for sex in Northern Ireland, why has nobody been convicted? Click To Tweet

So if it’s now illegal to pay for sex in Northern Ireland, why has nobody been convicted?

David Ford, who, as mentioned, was Northern Ireland Justice Minister when the law was introduced is not surprised that this has been the result.

“The challenge for police is how they actually produce evidence from what is, in effect, a consensual business relationship between two adults. There clearly is a lot of work that needs to be done to fight trafficking, but that is not the same thing,” he said.

In other words, it’s a bit difficult to make a case for prosecution when nobody thinks that a crime has been committed.

It's difficult prosecute someone for buying sex when nobody thinks a crime's been committed Click To Tweet

In which case why was this law passed?

Frankly, in our opinion, it’s because it’s something that would look good in the press and allow the Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to say to campaigners “Look, see, we’re doing something”.

Also, regrettably, we believe that the idea behind such laws is to try to stop women from taking up prostitution or continuing in the business because it actually makes life more dangerous for them.

This is because clients will be more inclined to withold phone numbers, want to meet in out of the way places or in dark alleyways and do everything they can to avoid being identified (and thus risking prosecution), but, of course, these are all things that put prostitutes at greater risk since they cannot easily identify or report dangerous clients.

Do you think that laws such as this are justified?

Do you think the Nordic model of criminalising buyers of sex works? Will it help stamp out prostitution, or will it just put women more at risk?

Are laws like this needed, or should politicians have the courage to bring into effect laws which actually help protect women by decriminalising sex work?

Post your comments below…