The End of Kinky Tumblr – A Personal Farewell

It has been three weeks since Tumblr announced that they would be banning NSFW content on their platform from December 17th on. Until this point the platform was one of the largest – if not the largest – collection of porn in human history. But the moment the news hit the scene, not only a ludicrous discussion about freedom of speech and censorship started[i] but people back-up their data and deleted their blogs. The exodus of active users, one star reviews in the app stores and steeply dropping numbers of blogs and app downloads apparently hit Tumblr so hard that they were forced to release a spurious statement that they would not be deleting but instead hiding stuff and that people can still leave their content on the platform – though nobody could see it anymore. Naturally this did not stop people from leaving Tumblr. At this moment a number of different websites are competing for the users looking where to display and consume their porn elsewhere, but no major one has emerged yet.

Being a big opponent of Facebook’s policies, I never used any of their services, including WhatsApp and Instragram. I have been on Twitter for ages, first with a vanilla account and when I started to set up ToyTorture.com with a kinky account. Tumblr followed some time later when I realized that Twitter was not the best place to present kinky pics. 

Tumblr opened up a whole new world of kink to me. The aesthetic inspired me for pictures, the play setups gave me ideas which toys to get and the perversions sparked interests in trying out new things. It also quickly became an important social media channel for ToyTorture.com. Not only gave the large followership and reblogs my reviews a big exposure but the message and chat feature over time became the largest inbox for reader questions. Since this website is my love child, a single-person operation into which flows a lot of my time, sweat, tears and love, knowing that a lot of people read what I write and getting feedback from my readers means a lot to me. Tumblr helped with that.

Last but not least, the affiliate links for Mr S, Regulation and E-Stim Systems I posted under the posts created a little flow of store credit. It was always my plan to make ToyTorture.com an ad free website to keep it independent. Despite all the critic I get for “promoting” certain products and manufacturers through Desiderates and Christmas gift tips, etc. it is still my personal taste and my wishes as a private person, pervert and toy collector which influences the toy selection and not some corporation urging me to post stuff in order to make money. Because of that, ToyTorture.com actually costs me some money for the server and despite a little stream of review samples a lot of money to buy the toys I review. The affiliate programs gave me store credit help me to buy stuff people are keen in reading a review about even when I am not that interested in the toy that I would spend my hard earned money on it. With Tumblr dying, I am certain my affiliate income will drop and thus limit the range of toys I will be able to review.  

At the time when this blog post will be published, my Tumblr account is still active. I am astonished how many surprisingly sexual pictures are still visible to the public. But still… Tumblr feels barren these days. For years, the Tumblr app on my tablet was my go-to app when I was up WAY too early because of my insomnia. After the purge it is still a collection of hot pics but a lot is missing. It does not feel whole(some) anymore. Having “only” lost 25% of my followers and actually gaining new ones every day (probably flocking to the blogs which still have a decent amount of original pictures), it would probably still be worth to put content on there. On the other hand, the entire controversy spoiled my mood to post content there.

So I guess, I should delete my blog, taking a stand against SESTA and FOSTA and the frightening amount of sex-negativity and conservatism creeping into many societies these days by attacking Tumblr where it hurts them the most: Their ad revenue. To start the new year with a clean slate, I will be deleting ToyTorture.tumblr.com on January 1st 2019.

All the content I posted on Tumblr will probably surface somewhere else as soon as the dust has settled and a new major place-to-be for all the perverts will emerge. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter for content and the latest update where to find my smut. And if you are planning to buy something at Mr S Leather, Regulation or E-Stim System, take a detour over my website and click on one of the links in this article or the banners on the right sidebar. You comments, retweets and affiliate clicks keep ToyTorture.com alive. Thank you for your support and see you soon – where ever this will be.

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[i] By definition, a private company can not censor content or violate the freedom of speech. It is their right to decide which content is allowed on their platform. The freedom of speech only applies towards the government which must not forbid specific things to be said or published.

Season’s Greetings

Season's Greetings 2015I am wishing you my dear readers and perverts, your family and friends a peaceful and quiet and maybe also filled with a bit kinky fun holiday season.

It was an interesting and successful year for ToyTorture.com: I made an appearance at the NoSafeword Show one of the most successful gay kink podcast, the E-Stim Special was the most successful special to date, the Twitter account is now close to 1.000 follower and only about 2 month after launching a Tumblr blog to publish all the porn pics I have taken over the years while testing toys it is already a great success.

So what to expect next year? The first half will be all about bondage starting out with a six piece Playroom Essential series about bondage equipment where I will talk about rope, carabineers and safety equipment. After having covered the basics there will be a quite extensive special on heavy bondage gear. I am still working on getting some great new partners to feature even more suppliers of high quality bondage gear that will range from “simple” heavy duty restraints over suspension bondage up to isolation hoods.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest info and smut from me and my website follow me on twitter.com/ToyTorture or ToyTorture.tumblr.com. If you have any suggestions, just mail me at info@ToyTorture.com or hit me up on Recon or PlanetRomeo.

I am looking forward to another great year with all you perverted kinky fellas.

58. New Logo and… We are on Tumblr!

ToyTorture is now over three years old. For some reason I always tend to forget the birthday in Mid October. Thank you for your time, input, questions and critic! They show me that the little website I am filling with content here is appreciated.

The website design has aged fairly well in the past three years. I still haven’t found out how to do some stuff in WordPress and my toy collection pictures are hopelessly out of date but besides that the feedback on navigation I get is very good! Yet for the last few month I was unsatisfied with the logo: It look a bit cluttered, old fashioned and had problems performing on dark backgrounds. I also wanted on design that fits all three purposes: Watermarking pictures for the website, pictures I take as a photographer and private pictures showing me. So after some nightshifts and a lot of bad ideas I came up with a new simple, sleek and somewhat timeless logo which will hopefully stay with me the next couple of years. Along with the logo change I did some tweaks on the website which are not finally but are good in the meantime.

One of the reasons I wanted a new logo was that one of the most frequently asked questions I am getting is the one why there are no play pics on the website where the toys are used. The reason for that are German child protection laws. After much considerations and looking at different options I decided to finally open a Tumblr blog which you can see and follow unter ToyTorture.tumblr.com. The Tumblr just like my Twitter account will be a mixture of “official” website stuff and private posts. So you can expect some reblogs but mostly genuine BDSM and gear pics of me or that I have taken during scenes. While there probably will be some redundancy not every picture I post on Twitter will make it to Tumblr and vice versa. So it is worth following me on both platforms. I hope you have fun following me on that new social media channel.

As always if you want to complain, comment or have a suggestion send me an e-mail.

Lunching the „Website“

What a week! The good news is: ToyTorture.com is finally online with nearly everything implemented what I wanted (I am still lacking things like Twitter support but I am working on it).

The bad news is: This site has little to do with the original design ideas I had. As a naive student I though programming or more clicking together a static website would be a piece of cake done in a few days. And I actually never found out. My BF who provides me with the technical infrastructure set up a WordPress and told me to live with it “because it is easier and better”. So I spent a few nights with the limited WordPress design, trying to get it as close to my original ideas as possible. In essence: I am satisfied with the design but not happy. Instead of a distinct CD this site looks like millions of other on the web. At least the content stayed the same. Or most of it. Somehow the blog system I used to document the creation process got badly hurt when trying to get it implemented into WordPress, so I added every single entry manually in WordPress’ CMS thus don’t wonder why every blog entry seems to be added today.

It is kind of weird seeing something I have been working on for month online. I hope you enjoy the website as much as I do and I am really looking forward to receive some honest feedback, get comments on articles or rewarding tweets. Only through that communication I can make this site worth your while.

First Reviews

I took a look at the reviews I have written for the lunch and it struck me: All products but one are from McHurt in Berlin. Before any rumors pop up: No, I don’t get paid or received dominated from them. Otherwise the reviews might also be better 😉 But seriously, I chose the toys to review first by being basic items most people get first to try out on themselves, perform some self bondage, etc. It happens that I got nearly all of my basic item from McHurt due to offering good quality to a cheap price. So in the near future there will also be reviews from other vendors. I am currently thinking about reviewing another basic item: a blindfold from SlingKing or are you fed up with basic and want something fancy? Let me know in the comments.

Choosing A Name

One might think, that finding or choosing a name is one of the first steps. And it kind of was. When I started out thinking about a website which tests BDSM toys, I came up with some crazy ideas. Sadistic Material Review and Pervert’s Private Parts were some of the better. Fairly soon the name Ruff Reviews grew on me. A few weeks later I discovered Ruff’s great blog and even though I admire his blog and even more his body, calling my site Ruff Reviews would never be an homage but always have a trace of a cheap way to profit of his well established name. Due to the logo design which I have roughly finished today I wanted an alliteration. The last days I have tossed around Toy Torture. I am feeling more and more comfortable with the term even though it doesn’t feel as right as Ruff Reviews. But every child needs a name which shapes a bit of its identity and I think Toy Torture fits the project and has a little twist in it. You can tell from the URL which got you to this side if I have choosen TT or switched to something else – maybe FF 😉

Teaser idea and photo problems

Some entity doesn’t want good pictures to happen for this website but I will bravely soldier on. Anyway, please don’t be too harsh on the pictures until I have decent equipment.

As written yesterday, I drove to Essen in order to get myself a new light tent which I got. Afterwards, I have been a good gay guy and took a stroll through IKEA. While enjoying my hot cocoa afterwards I developed an idea for a series of teaser pictures. I hope to realize them until middle of next week in order to get the URL online.

But back to the photo problems: The tent I got had the backgrounds folded neatly together in order to fit inside the packing. So I had to iron them. But it turns out that I haven’t cleaned out my iron not well enough after the last decalcifying so I ended up with a big brown spot on a white cloth which meant: Washing, drying, ironing which took until the middle of the afternoon. When I finally was able to start taking pictures, it turned out the due to large objects and lightning, I would have to use the tent upside down. That does not only look stupid, but you can see black lines in the background. But as written at the beginning: For the beginning the pictures will do. Someday there will be new and better.

Taking Pictures

Yesterday I nearly finished writing all the texts I want to have online for the lunch. There are one or two small pieces I might have to write, but overall I am done and it feels good to have gotten something done. Awaiting the work vacuum (well… since I have procrastinated on the technical implementation, I can’t really call it a “vacuum” :D) I ordered a lightning cube and asked the seller if the item would be shipped the same day which he confirmed. Well… I have gotten the mail and it isn’t here. But I got my new “photo light” aka an LED array which is dimmer than my desk lamp. So I’ll send it back leaving me to worry how I will light the light tent. Three new flashes (a master and two servants – no pun intended) would be the perfect solution but is way out of my already exhausted budget. But since this not (yet?) the CNet of BDSM toys I hope that despite the inflation of expectations due to the internet the picture quality will be sufferable.

Anyway: It is Saturday, so I would have to postpone the photo stuff at least until Monday. So I probably will go out and buy myself another one. This might actually make sense anyway since the ordered one is really huge and a smaller one for smaller objects light clamps might be easier to lit.

On Social Media

This is a very delicate topic and I have given it a lot of thought which I would like to share with every user in order to enable them to understand why certain things on this website are the way they are.

One of the initial things some friends have noticed when looking at this site was “Where is Facebook?”. And the second question was “Why going through all this trouble of setting up an own website when you could just paste a custom skin on blogger and have it the easy way?”

The quick and easy answer is: I am a privacy obsessed, probably paranoid continental European.

The long answer: Despite working and marketing, I am actually afraid of the potential which big internet companies have to trace our life, our desire and our dreams. I probably should get liquid dreams by the marketing potential, but instead it gives me goose bumps – the bad kind of them. I know, I live a kinky lifestyle and google knows way too much about it and me, but in the end, I want to know and control what information to share with whom. So until now I successfully resisted Facebook and Google+. I even sort of closed down a Gmail mailbox just to keep as much private of me as possible. And as a webmaster I take the liberty of enforcing this quite political point of view on the user. Of cause, this website would get know way faster if I had a like button, but I want people to think before they get active regarding BDSM. If you copy and paste the link of this site on Facebook, great. If not, the people who are interested will somehow find their way to this domain.

I am aware that denying Facebook is getting more and more difficult. A couple of month ago I read an article in Mate that Facebook is becoming the next gay dating portal and someplace else I read that some people are already setting up fetish profiles there in order to date. Maybe at some point in the future, people will not use Recon, Gayromeo or what else to date anymore. But as long as I can find session partner there and take advantage of the more or less useful search engine for this task, I will NOT use a social network which avidly tracks its user. This also causes a couple of problems for running this site. For instance, I got the impression that Mister B only publishes news on their Facebook website which I refuse to use (please correct me if I am wrong). So if anything interesting is happening at Mister B, you will probably not read it first on this site.

But there is one social network I am using: Twitter. In my opinion it is a use- and powerful way of distributing information and getting in touch with people without selling ones soul. I know, Twitter has to make money and thus it is uncertain for how long they can stick to their more or less open concept. But as long as they are as open as know, I will use Twitter and will implement Twitter on my site. I am not sure if I will manage by the lunch but sooner or later you will find Twitter buttons all over the place 😉

Being a controversial topic I hope I have not offended anybody too deeply and hope that everybody can enjoy this site as much as I would like them – despite lacking certain web “standards”.

Testing Modus

A few days have passed, the exam went quite well and the texts I wrote about the last time have been written. They are not brilliant I have to admit, but they will do. I don’t want a Pulitzer Prize I just want to get as many people as possible good information about BDSM toys. And if they are a little bit interested in the origin of this project or me, fine. If not, I am also cool with it.

In order to provide useful information I need a system to judge the toys I will be testing. As you can see from the picture over the last month I have collected quite a lot of thoughts on that matter. The first draft included different rating systems for pain and restriction gear which at first made sense because regarding usefulness you can’t compare a clamp with pair of handcuffs. But these drafts also included criteria which I find difficult, like the pain strength or the tightness of the restraints. I know from my BDSM speech that pain is a very complex matter.  Every pain has an affective and a sensory component which might be measurable quite objective. But due to pain memory, training, situational factors, etc. pain will be felt different every time somebody gets exposed to the pain source. Not to talk about that not every pain at applied at every part of the body makes everybody equally horny. So writing that a “clamp provides a mild, jet prickling sensation” might be ludicrous at best, at worst putting an eager beginner into agony harming his pain memory badly. Same works for the tightness of restraints. What one person finds pretty harsh and making his extremities fall asleep is just a slow start for a true bondage sub.

Another, quite technical approach was to measure how many Newton a clamp provide and how much force can be applied to restraints before they get torn apart. This would be very intersubjective and scienecy – and probably useless because nobody knows how many Newton one can bare per square millimeter clamp-skin-contact or how much force a sub develops. Also: This testing would mean the destruction of at least my bondage gear. If I would be rich, I might do such stuff even though I won’t provide practical information. But being a student with a very limited budget, it is impossible. Not to think about the investment in the testing facilities.

So, when doing groceries today (I know, I have weird thoughts at even weirder place), this system of criteria came to me:

Build Quality (10%)

Is the toy flimsy, does it feel cheap or has it a quality feel.

Security (15%)

It there anything which might cause a severe harm when handled badly or even worse when handled right.

Flexibility (10%)

In how many ways and on how many different body parts can the toy be used.

Being up to the Task (25%)

Basically: Can the toy do what it promises.

Handling (10%)

How well handles the toy? Does it have a good grip, is easy to understand and can be released quickly in a case of emergency. How does lub, gloves (if anybody want to get me leather, latex and industrial rubber gloves in order to get a wider array of testing gloves, just contact me ;)) or sweaty hands effect the handling.

Glamour/ Coolness (5%)

We are all queers to a certain extend and love showing off at the Vanity Fair. So having a cool toys might just be the right mean to score a certain hot looking guy thus it influence the decision for a toy.

Long term Potential (10%)

How long can a sub be exposed to the toy. I know this is also an experience thing but sometimes pure medical factors speak against long term use.

Marks (15%)

Does the toy leave a mark? If yes, how heavy is it? I know that this is an important factor for newbies, people in non-SM relations and for hard players who have daytime jobs and who might get in problems when a welt is across their forehead. But on the other hand, some tops are looking for toys that mark their subs and leave them with something to remember the session for a couple of hours or days. So I am not yet sure if a toy should score high or low when leaving a distinctive mark for a long time. UPDATE: I Decided to award high scores when the marks are low.

I will probably use this system for the first couple of weeks and will be waiting for the feedback of the reader. Maybe it will prove useful maybe everybody else but me it is complete crap. We will probably see.

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