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Chastity, Pornography and Erotic Film Festivals

My first introduction to Charlie Forrest was via mutual friends, and shortly after we found ourselves sitting around a campfire in the woods discussing the nuances of chastity and male submission, a situation I’ve found myself in more times than I might once have anticipated! 

Following a great weekend away I arranged to interview Charlie about his experience with chastity, pornography and erotic film festivals. However, our brief chat turned into a lengthy discussion that was hugely inspiring and has left me with much more to contemplate than I originally anticipated. Here I'll share with you the highlights of our conversation in the hope that you too enjoy this wholesome insight to Charlie’s work. 

charlie forrest portrait of man in the woods

Charlie is a pansexual man in his 30’s, who practices polyamoury and enjoys taking an open minded approach to the world of kink and fetishism. He is an erotic author specialising in Bondage, Submission and Chastity, who found his way into pornography through attending fetish focused conferences and events including Eroticon back in 2016.

Eroticon is an annual conference for erotic creatives including sex bloggers and erotic writers. “Once a year, in London, erotic creatives of all types gather to talk about sex, writing, drawing, podcasting, blogging and activism – sharing their experience and meeting others who work in the erotic space.” 

During this particular event Charlie met the producer Pandora Blake who, unknowingly to them both at the time, would change the direction of Charlie's work for years to come. Blake is a well known, non-binary performer and producer, most famous for their spanking website: DreamsOfSpanking.com. During the Post-conference, Blake and Charlie (and Charlie’s play partner Zak) worked together to create a film, capturing Charlie’s first experience as a performer. This film went on to be shown at the Berlin Porn Film Festival Berlin in 2016.   

During the 2016 festival Charlie recalls his reactions to seeing himself on the big screen for the first time. He shared how his initial anxieties soon subsided as the film was well received.

“I remember being there and getting progressively more and more nervous because I'd never done this before. And then it came on screen and, at first, I wanted to hide inside my hands but people started to respond to it, and they responded really really positively. There was a lot more laughter than I was expecting, because it was a very sincere, accurate representation of what was a really fun, intimate little section of an evening, and that really came through. Blake’s editing is fantastic and the way it was cut and put together was just really wonderfully human. Towards the end I was starting to relax and found that this was one of the most nerve wracking things I’d ever done but also really liberating, I came out the other side realising i didn't need to be afraid of that.”

Charlie Forrest male portrait

From here, Charlie’s interest in creating porn intensified, he became motivated to share diversity in body types, relationship styles and approaches to sex and sexuality. As a performer he decided to explore having more control over the composition and cinematography, moving to self-shot films with the assistance of a partner. 

“The first film I did independently wasn’t particularly great, the editing wasn’t fantastic; you could hear clicks and creaks of the tripod holding the camera and stuff like that. But then the next one after that was better, and the next one after that was better again.”

He talked about the accessibility of festivals for showing work “It's a reflection of where I'm at as a hobbyist, getting to be on a big screen at a festival with the real people”. Since his first showing, Charlie has gone on to create at least a film each year to be shown in London and Berlin amongst other places.

Charlie Forrest film still of man looking down

Fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic hit, where most of us fell into a creative lull, Charlie flourished. He shared his belief that "Porn, particularly the arty creative end of it, will always be influenced by current affairs, as a reflection of the society it’s come from because it's a really interesting medium to make a statement". And while many people were busy trying to reflect the current pandemic by wearing masks and PPE on film, Charlie felt there was a lack of intimacy in the surface portrayal and began to dig deeper, exploring how to represent his own experience through the narrative of film.

Six months into national lockdown, and isolation had become the norm. Having searched as a porn user for something that represented the desire for connection he felt, Charlie began to create a film that filled this void. “Frankly, I wanted to play out a narrative that I hadn’t seen when I’d gone out looking for it. Chastity porn is often focusing on actual scenes with people. Either D/s with someone being teased while locked up or a submissive let out of chastity and allowed to have fun”. He went on to disclose that in his experience of playing with orgasm control, “there is a lot of interest in what happens between those things; the psychology is really fascinating and can be even more so than the actual scene itself. I thought it would be nice to show something with that.”

hands holding a letter

In his most recent film Click, which he jokingly refers to as an entire film about getting Dommed by a postbox, he shares the perspective of a submissive man exploring long-distance chastity and working up the courage to post his key to a dominant. The focus of the film being on vulnerability and the emotional impact of trusting another person. 

Something I personally love about this film is the combination of comedy with a very deeply human experience. There is no reference to the gender of the Keyholder and I think the film is very relatable to a wide range of people who have experienced similar emotions and situations during the global lockdown. Many people will have experienced a desire for connection and frustrating confusion regarding how to satisfy that need. Charlie excellently conveys his range of emotions from excitement to trepidation through the use of body language, lighting and music.

I chatted further with Charlie about what submission means to him and how he would like to see that further depicted in pornography. In his words:

“It's not necessarily just about chastity, it's building up the courage to reach out to somebody with something that is very vulnerable. Submission is vastly more about trust and respect [than often depicted in porn], it says more about who I'm giving that trust to than myself. It’s all about affection and building something stable over a period of time with someone, not just what happens in-scene.”

We discussed how sometimes a ‘Dom’, especially if they are female/presenting as a ‘FemDom’, is often seen as a type of kink dispenser on screen. It can often appear a cold and very one sided dynamic in which the person in control doesn’t care for the slave/submissive but in my experience this is rarely true. Charlie commented that he is only interested in playing with someone “who gets how much of a big deal this is and that [engaging with them in a kink scene/dynamic] is the highest compliment I can give someone”. He went on to share “I want to do this with a human that I'm connecting with on a personal level rather than someone going through the motions. There's a contradiction, because chastity is a thing that I want but I would never do it with just anyone. And so, I think deep down, the want isn’t necessarily for the thing [wearing a chastity device], it’s for that relationship of trust and intimacy”.

man in bed looking at his phone

It resonated with me when he also highlighted that chastity porn often comes hand in hand with degradation and humiliation style porn, and while the two can work well together for some people, they don’t always need to be connected and it is entirely possible to have a very loving, affectionate relationship which includes chastity/denial. Or, in Charlie’s words “Nobody calls a knight a weak maggot for serving someone else.”

The film Click created in 2020 has since been shown at the Porn Film Festival Berlin and La Fête Du Slipa 'Gender and Sexuality Festival’ held in Lausanne, Switzerland and is listed for this year’s Berlin Porn Film Festival. To see more of Charlie’s work, visit his website Cjforrest.com or follow him on Twitter @CharliesForrest

A huge thank you to Charlie Forrest for speaking with me in what I hope will be the first of many fascinating conversations! I encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions of how Chastity is portrayed in pornography with me here on HouseofDenial.com or tweet us @HouseofDenial and @Mistress_Thorne.

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