Preaching to the Perverted movie-buff

This week on Kinkstarter, we are all about kinky education. Specifically, we’ll answer the question how to make a movie about the politics of perversion! It’s pretty simple. One takes a professional Dominatrix, a naive christian virgin, and a morality witch-hunt from a major conservative political party. Add some 1990s electronic music, a whole range of mute perverts and there it is: the 1997 British movie Preaching to the Perverted.

Vanya Cheex in Preaching to the perverted

The Perverted Story

Young and innocent Peter gets a job with a member of parliament through his mother, who cleans the same man’s office. This MP runs on a platform of moral cleansing and needs a major win in his war before the next election. When Scotland Yard informs him that they will not send any of their people undercover in a BDSM club, as that would be degrading for the agents, the MP decides to send his new assistant to do the dirty work. He buys Peter camera-sunglasses and a leather outfit, and sends him into the BDSM scene.

Through her website, Peter contacts professional Dominatrix Tanya Cheex. She runs a house filled with Dommes and slaves and performs at clubs and private parties. With a lot of effort the naive and virgin Peter manages to get into her trusted circle. He refuses to be her slave, or to lose his virginity, but they spend a lot of time together after her performances. Gathering the information needed turns out to be easier than expected. However, to use the information against Tanya in court is a different story.

Tea in the Dungeon in Preaching to the Perverted

Why you should see Preaching to the Perverted

Though quality of the film is slightly dated, the message is not. Outdated laws still are used to convict consensual sadomasochism. And wildly diverging groups such as political conservatives and liberal feminists do still unite in their attempts to protect society from perversion. This film gets many things right. It shows a wide array of fetishes, and emphasizes their consensual nature. It frames SM practices in terms of female empowerment. And it shows a lot of respect for people’s personal limits and sexual preferences. At one point, they tease us into believing that Tanya must have suffered a childhood trauma, for her to choose this lifestyle, before quickly and forcefully relieving us of this notion. Really, this is one of the most respectful depictions of consensual sadomasochism in existence. And it still manages to keep the viewer interested. Not a small feat!

pony play in preaching to the perverted

Critical spankings

Though Preaching to the Perverted does many things right, it is not beyond fault. One often overlooked element that is missing here as well, is consensual voyeurism. Any activity between Domme and sub is consensual, however, the same is not true for unwitting onlookers. When they’re at a private play party at the house of a prominent political figure, they dress Peter like a pony and take him for a ride outside the grounds. Aside from the risks of outing this politician, the story here completely ignores the consent of the voyeur. Bystanders in the street do not consent to being part of this performance and exercise. They are unwitting voyeurs and their consent is violated. This mistake is often made in kinky movies, whether for comedic effect or to disavow shame. However, this blatant disregard of the voyeur’s consent cannot be part of ethical BDSM practice.

The second iffy issue in this film is the pro Domme’s secret desire for vanilla. Her “friends” shame Vanya into condemning vanilla activities. However, her “deepest, darkest fantasy” is a conventional wedding night. And when she and Peter enact this fantasy, it results in her pregnancy. Though she doesn’t give up her practice after giving birth, and Peter goes from asking her to give up her lifestyle to embracing it, kink and vanilla are presented as mutually exclusive, polar opposites. And for most people, this is simply not the case. It is absolutely possible to be part of a BDSM community as well as maintaining a vanilla element in your relationship. Depictions like these reinforce the distinctions between “normal” and “kinky,” making it harder for people to dip their toe in the pool of their kinky fantasies.

one kinky family

In Conclusion

Though the film has its iffy moments, both due to the era in which it was made and some morally questionable statements, it really is worth a watch. It is a BDSM cult classic with a healthy dose of fetish-scenes. The characters are likeable and sexy, and it is both kink-friendly and political. If you are looking for some kinky inspiration, this film can definitely provide.

467 thoughts on “Preaching to the Perverted movie-buff”

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