Happy 20th Birthday, Restrained Elegance!

I’ve got a terrible memory, but I remember where I was on 1st April 2001 very clearly. I was at the end of a professional trip to the USA as a particle physicist, and I had tacked on a few days holiday at the end of the trip before I flew home. On that particular day I was using the holiday to do a bondage photoshoot with Stacy Burke. After the shoot we stepped outside and were sitting at the pool in the cheap motel (with vast rooms) I’d booked near LAX. The motel had an internet cafe of sorts, and I’d just told Stacy about the little website I was launching that month for which the photos I’d just shot of her were intended.

Sitting in there in the sunshine with one of the mega-stars of the bondage industry, I showed off the site design to her and got a surprise – there was an active membership! The site hadn’t been due to go live until the 4th, when I would have been back home. But the processing company had got everything done a bit earlier, and the site was open. And I’d sold a membership before I’d even known it had gone live.

Sitting here twenty years later with a fifty-something-year-old’s cynicism, it is tempted to snark “and it was never going to be so easy to sell a membership again”. But that’s not true. In the next couple of years, sales exploded. The little website I’d launched to fund my expensive models-and-bondage-gear-and-lighting-and-lenses hobby, that I thought might possibly pay for a little holiday on top of costs some day, was making twice as much money as my day job as a lecturer.

So many land-marks have gone by. I remember 9/11 not just for the horrific attack on the twin towers, but also for the fact that I was shooting that day with Temptress Kate. I remember driving her back across town and talking about what was happening. Two decades on and she is one of the unsung heroes of the UK fetish production scene, collaborating widely, rigging and photographing and appearing on camera regularly despite the ups and downs of life. She set the pattern for the very best of the collaborations that are the reason Restrained Elegance is still around. “Kate shots” entered our vocabulary (a “Kate shot” is one shot through things. The habit of making sure we’ve got all the closeups and detail shots at the end of the set is hers. And she remains the undefeated queen of hairties).

I’ve always preferred collaborating, working in a collegiate manner with models, photographers, riggers, make-up artists and fans. And despite quitting my job as a lecturer, the urge to learn and teach and swap skills is very strong. So I ran a bondage tutorial workshop, and four out of the five participants are people still very much around. One is a regular photographic client of Ariel’s, who swaps techie nerdy info with me on a regular basis (the last time I saw him he came to the house so we could use his new colour meter on all my LED lights, so we could investigate what sort of spectrum each variety was putting out. I gather his studio is a technological marvel!)

UPDATE: I hadn’t realised because I’d lost contact, but Ariel says she still shoots with the other participant from the workshop as well. I’m very proud of that, five out of five!

Two of the photographers from that day became regulars on location shoots and you have seen reams of their work on the site: Merlin and Steve. We’re all really good friends and we can’t wait for the day when COVID recedes and we can book our next location shoot together. They helped us build our infinity cove in the last house, rigged up the suspension point and winch, and added “Merlin shots” (which are the ones with very tilted “Dutch” angles) to the RE vocabulary. Steve was responsible for kick-starting Elegance Studios and in many ways has led the charge for a more cinematic visual storytelling style in our films. Merlin’s just started a Restrained Elegance FaceBook group for us.

The final collaborator on that day was of course Ariel Anderssen. Reader, I married her. We’ve had so many bondage adventures and now live a very eccentric life of OnlyFans, cuddly toys, ineptitude at being grown ups, and a great deal of BDSM. We have a house with a genuine stone dungeon in it. We’re still not quite sure how that all happened. But we’re very grateful!

Of course not everything has been a bed of roses (or if it has, the roses had the thorns left on them). Last night I had a huge clip order go through, and I’m concerned that it might be a pirate with a stolen credit card and am awaiting the possible huge charge-back and appearance of a stack of our films on pirate sites. Piracy has been a feature of the internet since the early days, but it only got properly into its stride with the advent of tube sites. Not to bang on about it, but if somewhere is offering you the chance to see full movies of lots of different producers for free, the odds are the footage is stolen. (https://boundflix.com/en actually pays producers to feature their work, but few others do. The payouts from places like ModelHub are desultory.)

The vast majority of the models I’ve collaborated with have been a pleasure to work with, and some have turned into close work colleagues and friends. I’ve only had one genuinely bad experience (beyond the occasional model flaking off with phony excuses, anyway). The timing is entirely coincidental, but as it happens we made a video about it for Ariel’s YouTube channel which is also up today:


Obviously the industry is not perfect, but both Ariel and I love being a part of it. And we love working with our RE regular cast a crew, especially the “location shoot” teams. Sophia Smith, Faye Taylor, Zoe Page, Fi Stevens, Kobe Lee, Lucy Lauren, Hannah Claydon, Janey, Jasmine Sinclair and Chanta Rose from the early days, Natalia Forrest, Paige Robbins, Penny Lee, Pling, Sabrina, Sammie B, Tillie and more… and we can’t wait to finally get to add superstars like Chloe Toy, Ashley Lane, Cobie, Kitty Quinzell, Lauren Louise, Rachelle Summers, Scarlett Foxett and more to the location shoot list as soon as we can. And there are so many new models I’d love to collaborate with whose twitter feeds and OnlyFans I’m following with great interest in the meantime!



Norway. Snow Queens and Viking girls.

Another major collaborator over the years is someone I’ve never met. He sent me an email with some photos maybe 15 years ago in the aftermath of the bondage tutorial asking if there was a way he could get some of his photos onto Restrained Elegance and maybe do some work together somehow. I was used to international collaboration though CERN, so it sounded like it might work, but I wasn’t completely sold on the idea. Then I scrolled down the email and saw this photo.

OMFG yes send me photos right now. His name was Alexander Lightspear. And hers, you obviously already know – Delta.

Some producers got a bit sniffy about Alexander Lightspear shooting for websites, something denigrating about “buying in content from Russians”. To which my only response was “Have you SEEN Delta? Foxy? Lilith?”. How could anyone pass up the chance to have these amazing models professionally and creatively photographed with great rope-work on their site? Your loss, dudes, your loss. And our gain!

I have plenty of input into these shoots, as with all RE shoots. I give general direction, choose the model, advise on location, we’ve worked together over the years and agreed on technical aspects, fine-tuning the stuff they shoot together for us to fit in with the RE style and ethos. And as with most other collaborators who’ve worked on the site, I get the RAW images and I process them in the RE style. I have as much input as I do with location shoots where Kate and Steve and Merlin are shooting all around the house and I’m running around being the general dogsbody.

And one of the things I’m most proud of is that Delta is still shooting for Restrained Elegance, even though she’s retired from other shoots to concentrate on her mainstream career.

Like pretty much everything else about running Restrained Elegance for the last twenty years it is an honour and a privilege and a huge thrill to have some of the most creative and imaginative global superstars featured on my little hobby site that I built myself from hand-written HTML and which went live on April Fool’s Day in 2001, a few days early, leaving me with the eternal “no, it’s not an April Fool, it really is our birthday” that I’d never have chosen for myself!

COVID has been a bugger, but the RE community has come up trumps. We’re shooting, we’re updating, we have collaborators all over the world shooting in the RE style for the site without us even being there. We’ve even got new collaborators joining in- you’ll see the result of Lou Lou Petite and Dick Bush Films shooting for us before too long, they’re just in post-production now.

Ariel and I are shooting every week, and she’s filming a lot of behind the scenes for her OnlyFans (check it out at https://onlyfans.com/arielanderssen to see how we do things. You’ll see what I mean about eccentric).

(Classic Kate shot, that!)

The industry has been through wave after wave of change in 20 years, which is unsurprising since the industry didn’t really exist 5 years before that. Platforms come and go. Governments crack down, then realise they can’t. (Eventually I hope they’ll realise they shouldn’t: preliminary indications show that violence against women tends to go down, not up, when erotica becomes more generally available). The shift that liberated photographers from the need to pander to magazine clients is now onto the next phase, liberating models from the need to pander to photographer clients. We’re very lucky in having a photographer-model partnership in house so we can get the best of both worlds – I wonder if in 10 years time it is the photographers who will be travelling to the models, and who will have pressure to work prints-for-time.

It’s astonishing really that the basic model – I make photosets and videos I think are beautiful, I put them on the web in as high a quality as the bandwidth will stand, people buy them individually or as part of a subscription service – is still viable. Long may it remain so!

I would close by saying I hope you’ve had as much pleasure, enjoyment and entertainment from Restrained Elegance as we have, but I doubt that’s even possible. So I’ll just say thank you from me and from everyone who has been a contributor and collaborator on the website, your support has just been the best, and I hope we can continue to entertain you for many more years to come!

Happy Birthday Restrained Elegance!

Coming in January 2021

Hi Everyone,

Forums have gone out of fashion. We still have a vibrant community of RE friends, models, fans and followers but it has moved to our social media. Come and join us on our twitter feeds (@RElegance and @ArielAnderssen), or if you don’t like Twitter, you can join our Mastodon instance at KinkyElephant.com to see previews, latest news and general chat and gossip. For behind-the-scenes, we’ve been doing more and more on Ariel’s OnlyFans page.

Since a dead forum is worse than no forum, I will be retiring the RE forums very soon.

The one regular feature we will miss is the monthly previews, so I’m going to provide those here instead.

So check out more of what’s coming your way in January 2021 here!

And returning for your pleasure in the archives:

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone and Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2021 is a bit brighter than 2020!

Like many creative enterprises big and small, for most of 2020 I’ve been in “survival mode”. I don’t mind admitting it- we’ve not been able to shoot with external models since March 2020, I’ve had to take most of the remaining jobs I’d outsourced back in-house, and we’ve had to adjust our lives and our businesses to Ariel not travelling and not modelling for other people, too.

As our friend and long-standing member and contributor Merlin said in an email to me yesterday, the result is that RE is looking a bit forlorn. Not in terms of content! We’ve never missed an update, we’ve got a very exciting batch of new models to showcase from Alexander Lightspear and I’m about to commission a new batch of Lockdown Selfie shoots from our best models, too.

The bit that needs attention is the interface and site design. Behind the scenes it needs https: secure mode and the latest version of PHP. But what it needs most is a refresh of things like the members’ home page and the CSS layout so it works better with mobiles and on large screens.

This is my major technical project for 2021. I’m aiming to get the redesign and revamp done in time for the site’s 20th birthday. I’ll be rolling stuff out in waves over the next few months and asking for your feedback and suggestions as we go.

Artistically I’ve got four big projects in the works (and a lot of little ones too).

The first is to master my new video camera: I’ve invested in a new Sony FX9 camcorder now that we’ve moved to Sony E mount for the majority of our lenses. I’ve shot a couple of test videos with it and it has some really lovely features like continuously variable ND filters which nicely complement the cameras we’re currently using. For example we can now do smooth indoors-outdoors transitions, something we’ve never really had a good way to shoot before. I’m excited to start using it on bondage shoots.

The second is to experiment with shooting with Anamorphic lenses for an even more cinematic feel. I loved the experiments I’ve done so far but my composition and (especially) set and production design needs work, and the best way to learn is by making more bondage videos that way. I’ve now completed my line-up of lenses so I have a wide-angle, a normal and a telephoto, and I’ve got hold of a second-hand Panasonic GH5 which has a proper anamorphic shooting mode which will make focussing and composition much easier as you can view the de-squeezed image as you shoot.

The third is to revisit old shoot plans. I’ve got a folder full of emails dating back 20 years with ideas to shoot. I want to go back and find the ideas I wrote but didn’t shoot on the day for one reason or another. It will be a lot of fun to bring them to life with 20 years more experience and the resources of the modern RE bondage storeroom and photographic kit. Ariel and I are going to be working on this a lot for the next few months!

The fourth is to write a big long list of ideas for models to shoot for us for the Lockdown Selfies project. It’s weird writing shoot plans for stuff where I am not going to be present. I’m going to have to relearn how to do it. It’s a throwback to 25 years ago before I’d shot anything myself and was commissioning a lot more customs, in a way, which is quite nostalgic.

Oh and fifth I just remembered I bought a new camera gimbal just before the first lockdown which I’ve not experimented with much yet, too. I want to get back into doing planned camera moves with it, scripted in more like the way Slave Auction and Day in the Life were. Having a camera permanently mounted on the gimbal should make setting those shots up a lot easier than laying track and using a dolly. Especially as we’ll be shooting in our house, which has lots of rooms but not all that much space to lay track. The gimbal should be much more agile. I’m watching the Hollywood Camerawork course again to remind myself how to block these elaborate shots efficiently and creatively.

So there’s a lot in store for 2021! Email me at webmaster@restrainedelegance.com if you’ve got suggestions for the site redesign or ideas for the bondage and artistic projects. I’ll be emailing the mailing list and posting here for feedback on specific things over the coming weeks and months.

Cheers, Hywel

Porn star D&D!!! (or, less tabloid: adult industry & BDSM community table top roleplaying game)

Hi BDSM Community and Adult Industry folks!


As is always the way, the devil is in the details. Scheduling a normal-sized D&D group with adult industry folks looks like it is going to be a nightmare. Plan B: I’m going to run this as a series of one-off games for one or two people at a time.

On the plus side, many thanks to artists Devin Night and AAW Games for giving us permission to use their wonderful products during these games. Check out Devin’s token for VTT’s and AAW’s awesome maps – you’ll see them in action soon!


I’m Hywel Phillips, the photographer and webmaster of RestrainedElegance.com. I’ve been running D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games for almost 40 years. I’m going to be running a D&D game for people in the adult industry and kinky/BDSM community.

It will be online via the Fantasy Grounds virtual table-top program for character sheets, maps and tokens plus Discord for video conferencing and streaming. Having got permission to use their system, I’m putting the game together now. It’ll take me a couple of weeks minimum.


  • Fantasy Grounds. Download the new Fantasy Grounds Unity version, it’s free. You can play using the demo version, you just have to sign up for a free account on their site.
  • Discord. I’ll send you an invite to the Restrained Elegance discord server. Install the app, the browser version’s crap. Again, free but you’ll need to make an account with them.

I’m looking for players from the adult and BDSM/kink industry and community to join in.

I need a group of three or four players to get started. Email me or DM me on Twitter if you are interested, but please read the rest of this post so you know what’s involved.

What’s the plan?

Start off small. Run a private “session zero” to get us to the point where everyone can log in, see their character sheet, join the video and voice chat. I help people figure out their settings for Fantasy Grounds and Discord. If we get that done with time to spare, we start a short adventure.

If that goes well I will run a few sessions, each of two to three hours, same time same day for a couple of weeks ideally. After that we’ll decide whether to keeping playing and how often to do it.

You will need to be happy to appear on camera via video chat and voice.

Apart from the private “session zero”, I propose that any of the participants have the right to record, stream or do anything else they like with the game sessions. I propose to stream it myself via Discord and publicise to my members, and maybe record the screen and put that on Restrained Elegance afterwards. If you want to record your screen or point a camcorder at yourself and stream to a webcam service or record for your OnlyFans or whatever, please go ahead. It is up to you to decide how to stream, who to give access to, whether to just use the discord feed or whether you’re pointing a second camera at yourself and recording that, etc..

None of us will be paid, but any of us can package up and distribute, sell or give away the footage of the games via our own channels as we like.

So all participants will need to consent to the other people in the game streaming or recording it and selling it.

I propose to allow fans to watch the sessions on discord, maybe write messages via the discord text chat channel, but not to participate via video or voice. I have (hopefully) set Discord up so than any of you as official players can block or mute or kick off anyone who is being annoying. If you have any concerns at any point tell me. There will be a zero tolerance policy – if someone harasses or upsets any of us that person gets blocked.

The Game World

We will be playing D&D 5th edition because more people are familiar with it, and I’m comfortable with running it. I know there are currently some problems with WOTC, the company who own D&D, but I think bringing excluded adult industry voices in to the conversation can only be a good thing. We might branch out into other game systems in due course but D&D is the simplest way to get started.

The game setting is a stock high-fantasy elves-and-dragons-and-dwarves-and-wizards place called the Duchy of Falcondale, which I created for my Cosplay Dungeon video series.

If you’ve played D&D or fantasy computer games, you know the stock characters – fighters and rangers, sorcerers and thieves, bards and barbarians, orcs and ogres. You shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with a character idea that’ll fit. We’ll discuss by email in advance of session zero and I will generate your character for you inside Fantasy Grounds ready to roll. We’ll start the characters at third level, not too much to master but not as fragile as first level newbies.

A few things that are different:

  • First golden rule: any intelligent creature can fall in love with any other intelligent creature, and given the high magic levels of the fantasy world, can find a way to have sex. Quite a lot of people have a high libido and will be attracted to lots of different folks.
  • Second golden rule: you can never tell by appearances. That gnome could be of stone giant blood and stronger than an ogre. The dragon might be a shapeshifted dwarf sorcerer and the halfling might by a warrior worthy of Yoda.
  • Third golden rule: while bad stuff can and will happen to your character, there will always be a way out. Even if they are killed there will be a way back. So feel free to throw yourself into trouble; it’s my job as GM to devise a quest into hell to rescue you again.

The reason that I put these in place was as a framing device in the Cosplay Dungeon films to have both player and GM be comfortable roleplaying kinky and sexy situations, and to make more or less any intelligent creature a potential source of romance or a sex scene. I will do my utmost to ensure that the setting is free of trans- and homo-phobia. Sexism and racism are not going to be a thing in the game setting.

How you look, what you can do and your moral character are in no way connected in this world and “race” isn’t really a thing in the usual D&D sense. If you want to play a talking unicorn or a winged fairy, a halfling with the stats that a half-orc would usually have or a goblin with the stats a high elf usually has, you can. There are no “evil” or “inferior” races; the orcs in this barony might indulge in banditry because they are poor and the people travelling past have nice stuff. The orcs in the next-door barony are refined merchant prices who live the high life in tastefully decorated mansions.

Your mother might well have been a polymorphed talking lizard in dwarf form and your “father” her lesbian sex-demon lover suitably shape-changed. You can change almost everything about your physical body, including sex, gender and race, with a second-level spell. LOTS of people in the game world can cast that spell and do so enthusiastically every time they have sex.

Consent Tools

While I think there would be some value in showing adult industry folks playing a purely-vanilla game where we fade to black the moment any sort of sex scene happens, I don’t think we should have to censor ourselves. I don’t expect every encounter to turn into a sex scene but I’m hoping for a much higher level of libido in this game world than I’d dare to do running a game for strangers at my local games club!

We will be using consent tools for the game. Similar to shoot and BDSM scene safewords, there’s a red/amber/green safety card system in place which I will explain in session zero.

Basically press the red “X” card if you are uncomfortable with the content at any point. The group will rewind or change the content. That’s like a red safeword. Use the amber “N” card if you think we might be heading for an “X” card and you’d like to change the content or fade to black and skip to the next scene. The green “O” card is for me to poll everyone to see if everyone is good to continue with a scene.

Romantic and Sexual Themes

Are you OK to have non-consensual stuff happen to your character (as it would playing a damsel-in-distress character in a BDSM video?) Are characters going to get tied up by the evil baron, spanked by the head of their magical order, grappled and groped by tentacle porn monsters? Or you want to be able to romantically ravish the princess if the tone seems right, or turn the wicked baron into your boot-licking slave?

I don’t HAVE to run the game like that, but I think it would be kinda cool to include BDSM, kinky and sexual elements if the group is happy with it.

If you ARE happy with that, please tell me what kinks and BDSM roles you would like your character to be involved in. I’ll be delighted to make sure you character gets into lots sub/bottom/non-consensual (for the character) situations if you would enjoy that as a player. Likewise I’ll be delighted to have plenty of feisty but submissive-at-heart NPCs around for your character to dominate if that is something you as a player would enjoy.

Or I can restrict it to situations where that character gives explicit consent in-game (as well as the player obviously) if you prefer.

All of those things can happen if you’d enjoy switchy situations too and I can work in other kinky themes or fetishes if you’d like me to include them.

I’ll call for a show of green cards before describing any of this in detail in the game, particularly for the first few sessions where we won’t know each other’s limits and preferences yet.

Many of the NPCs will be poly, pansexual, kinky switches who might put up some “oh no sir” resistance but will fall in lust/love after you give them a bit of a spanking, in the light-hearted way we often see in BDSM kink erotica (Like “and then she has a forced orgasm after the whipping” in a BDSM film). And just as many will try to take the lead and dominate your character if you’ve expressed interest in that, too. The ogre is as likely to have a foot fetish and try to get a foot job from a character he fancies as to try to eat you.

If you’re not OK with any of that, this game is not for you. If at least some of it sounds cool, go for it.

If I can’t find any players who are OK with that well then I’ll just have to run the vanilla D&D for porn stars version instead.

As GM I will say a hard no: no sex scenes between player characters initially, because I don’t yet know how to handle it as a GM. (Not least how to handle the lack of spotlight time for characters who aren’t involved). I would be happy to figure out how to handle that once we’ve done a few games if people want to but it seems much more fraught with potential for upset than dealing with NPCs.

Other concerns

Religion won’t be a big topic. There’s a not-very-defined high fantasy set of polytheistic gods. If you want to worship the goddess of the moon, there is one. It’s not intended to have real-world religious overtones nor is it likely to come up much in play.

If any of the themes in the above checklist are of concern please let me know.

Tonally, I’m after pretty light-hearted. Lots of bad stuff can happen, but it’ll all have a happy ending.

I don’t do overly gory descriptions so while you might fight giant spiders or experience an earthquake or a corrupt city guard, we’re not going to linger over the horrible implications for hours. Zap them into slime and move on.

If this game were a movie it would probably be PG-13 rated for violence but 18-rated for romance and kinky sex.