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Really Kinky: 1

Joanne Cachapero
On the fringe of adult content, fetish is touted as taboo and extreme. But box-covers that boast of BDSM often contain nothing more than typical porno fare dressed up in ball gags and latex, with some extra spanking thrown in to make it look like the real thing.

Peter Acworth wants you to know there's a lot more to it than that.

"The pink, furry handcuffs you can see sort of clip on; you know you can get them off very easily. No one ever seems to genuinely get tied up," he explains, in a soft, British accent. "No one ever seems to enter 'sub-space,' or what we call the space you enter when you're bound. It just looks like people trying to look like they're kinky, as opposed to using kinky people."

He should know. The founder/CEO of Kink.com, Acworth is a kinky fellow. His company, formerly known as CyberNet Entertainment until the Kink.com domain was acquired in February 2006, is the leading producer of exclusive original online fetish content. A sexy, streamlined website revamp was the first step in Kink's increasing domination of the fetish niche. According to Acworth, the company made $16 million in 2005 and expects to post a 30 percent increase in 2006. Currently, more than 50,000 members pay between $20-$35 for monthly subscriptions.

Producing high-quality fetish content has paid off handsomely and is also in-line with Acworth's commitment to promoting BDSM culture and ethical, consensual safe sex.

"Well, BDSM is something that I've always been into since I was a small child," says Acworth. "I've always fantasized about being tied up. So for me, I've always wanted it to become acceptable in the mainstream."

Plan For Expansion
To that end, Kink is implementing a multilevel plan for expansion that will increase visibility for the company, appeal to broader markets, promote fetish culture and, of course, generate more revenue.

An avid BDSM enthusiast with a mathematics degree from Cambridge and a master's from the Écoles des Hautes Études Commerciales in Paris, Acworth originally planned on a career in banking.

In 1997, after reading a tabloid news article about a British fireman who made a quarter-million pounds by posting pictures of naked women on a simple paysite, Acworth launched his first website, Hogtied.com. Relocating to San Francisco, the center of fetish culture, he started shooting content in his living room. The first models came from Craigslist; he shot with cameras on tripods and tied the girls up himself. Within a year, Hogtied was earning $1,200 a day.

After seeing a video clip of a woman having sex with a dildo mounted on a piston-driven device, Fuckingmachines.com was created in 2000. Acworth purchased every sex machine he could find and used Craigslist to solicit builders to invent more.

In less than seven years, seven more sites were added. Hogtied and Fucking Machines are still the most popular; there is also Sex and Submission, Men in Pain, and Whipped Ass. Ultimate Surrender showcases female erotic wrestling content, while Wired Pussy offers scenes of electro-stimulation. Water Bondage combines bondage and water play with high-pressure hoses or tub-dunking. The inner workings of Kink's various productions are featured at the Behind Kink site.

Despite rapid growth, the company stayed relatively under the radar even after appearances on HBO's Real Sex, Playboy TV, Howard Stern and the BBC's Channel Four.

S.F. Armory
Kink headquarters at the Armory building in San Francisco is owned by Acworth.

His company has been in the news recently over its use of the Armory building.

Upstairs, he walks past banks of big-screen Macs where some of his 51 employees spend their days editing footage.

"Kink combined a whole lot of my different interests. The bondage interest, my programming interests and being an entrepreneur is something that I always wanted to do," he says. "I obviously hoped it would become something big, but I had no idea to what extent."

He seems slightly awestruck to have built an empire out of kinky tendencies. In his corner office, the fireman article that first inspired him is framed above his desk.

Kink's professionally designed productions sets include a jail cell, a stable with horse stalls and a large, elaborate dungeon with stone facades, vaulted ceilings, a faux staircase and a few gargoyles. The wall along a hallway is hung, floor to ceiling, with leather and rubber bondage apparatus. A Catherine wheel is suspended nearby and lengths of chain dangle from the rafters. The sets are in almost continual use, with an average of 60 shoots a month providing fresh website content.

"We are a porn freight train here at Kink — we never stop," says Fucking Machines webmaster/director Tomcat. "I'm in production two or three times a week, updating an original 30-minute video every Wednesday."

Tomcat's career in the adult industry has been entirely with Kink, starting as a production assistant and videographer on Water Bondage and Men in Pain.

Like all of Kink's webmasters, he was hired not only for his production skills but also because of his enthusiasm for fetish.

"Fuckingmachines.com combines two things I find incredibly hot," he explains. "The combination of cold mechanical steel and the soft flesh of a hot girl are undeniably sexy."

The latest machine created in Kink's workshop is called the DominateHer, described by Tomcat as "a three-legged metal dome with a high-powered motor attached that can vibrate or pound in and out with incredible speed."

His inspiration for new machines and scenarios comes from the models or members' suggestions.

Visitors to any of Kink's sites can access a monthly shooting schedule, as well as comments posted by members.

"The members of Fuckingmachines.com are some of the most critical and demanding lot of all the Kink sites and I love it," Tomcat says. "I'm not just making porn for myself to watch alone; I make it for the consumer who wants a woman who squirts, a well-known porn star, a size queen or a pillow princess to be tied up and shagged. I like to provide variety while giving members the best machine porn on the net."

In part two, we'll look at setting certain standards and guidelines, fake orgasms and more.

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