In the very busy run-up to the launch of Ariel Anderssen’s memoir Playing to Lose (reviewed on page 1), Faith Roswell asked Ariel five big questions, which the author answers below.
Those curious to learn more about Ariel, her kinky world and her custom videos should visit arielanderssenauthor.com, which includes the full-length bio on which this article’s intro is based…
Faith Roswell: Who did you write your book for, and what made you decide to write it?
Ariel Anderssen: This is a dreadful, narcissistic reply but I wrote it for myself. At least, I wrote it specifically for my 16-year-old self, who’d found out that she was kinky under highly non-ideal circumstances, and who thought it would have to be a dreadful secret forever.
As a fetish model, I’ve met so many people who went through similar experiences of guilt and shame, and I hoped that by writing about coming to terms with my sexuality, I might help other people, like the 16-year-old I was, to do the same.
Additionally, I wanted to write it because sex workers’ voices tend to get ignored in mainstream media, and when we do make our voices heard we tend to be met with variations of “get back in the kitchen”.
I’ve written some articles for quasi-intellectual publications and have had messages from people literally saying “just make your money and shut up”. I don’t think we should shut up. I think we should be loud, and the loudest thing I could think of doing was writing a book.
FR: Your book is a great insight for early-stage kinksters. If you could recommend one book, film, or content creator for a young or new kinkster to look at and learn from, what would it be (other than yours!)?
AA: I absolutely love Jillian Keenan’s Sex with Shakespeare. Her story is similar to mine in that she had an interest in kink (in her case, spanking) from a very early age, so her words have a lot of power in helping us to recognise that our sexual tastes aren’t our fault, they’re not necessarily the result of social conditioning or adverse experience.
Some of us are just born this way. Her story isn’t a simple happy-ever-after, but I think that’s one of the things that makes it so helpful for other kinky people.
FR: In a perfect world, how do you see kink being addressed? (For example: pins and badges becoming fashionable in the same way LGBT+ identity pins did? People talking about their favourite scenes the way they talk about their holiday memories? Etc)?
AA: I love your ideas! I’d very much like it if we got to the point where people might feel
comfortable wearing pins identifying their kinky identities, but I’d also really love it if people didn’t feel the need to keep their tastes secret from their vanilla friends and families.
It can put you under such a strain, and I’ve met so many people who only ever tell ‘outsiders’ to their lives (like sex workers) about their real desires.
This must be so lonely. I like to imagine a world where people would be able to tell their parents that they’re into BDSM without fear of being seen as in need of help. I know a lot of us are a long way from that though!
FR: Your insight in Playing to Lose into feeling suicidal really brings home how having part of your identity denied can be devastating. Could you have been reached earlier? (Say, if sex education, sociology or literature classes had included a commentary on how people can love or have sex in many different ways?)
AA: I think about this a lot. It was unfortunate for me that I discovered my sexual identity during my first year of doing Sociology A-Level, and we were studying deviance, including sexual deviance.
At the time, I definitely got the impression that deviating from the norm was bad, both for individuals and for society. It made me feel terribly ashamed, as though I might cause actual harm to society by being kinky.
And simultaneously, kinkiness was often being shown in mainstream fiction as a kind of shortcut for demonstrating a character’s wickedness or disturbed mind.
You never saw anyone tying someone else up for harmless fun; it was always the bad guy doing it to someone who hadn’t consented. I remember the movie Secretary coming out, and it being the first time I’d seen a dominant/kinky man represented as something other than dangerous.
Positive representation and an acknowledgement that sexual tastes can vary widely among perfectly safe, decent people could be so immensely helpful, I think.
FR: You rather cheekily named your ‘spanking model alias’ Amelia Jane Rutherford after Joseph Rutherford, a key figure in shaping the current practices in the Jehovah’s Witness community! Is there anything you want to say as a final word to anyone reading your book who might be struggling with a religious or otherwise oppressed background?
AA: I’d love to say that there is such joy to be found in honest self-expression, and that if you’re brave enough to try expressing yourself openly, you very likely will not be lonely with your sexuality for very long.
It took me some time to find my courage, but the rewards when I found it were enormous. And when you’re honest with people, they can surprise you by being honest right back. I’ve met a number of wonderful kinky people this way!
Pages: 1 2