Insex was one of the biggest BDSM pornography websites on the Internet and arguably the most extreme American pornographic production featuring female submissives. It was also a leading innovator in both live video streaming, pioneering the concept before broadband Internet access existed, and in the depiction of BDSM practices on the Internet. It existed from 1997 to 2005 and was run by "Intersec Interactive Inc.", a company owned by the website's creator, Brent Scott, known as "pd". Insex developed a cult following among BDSM enthusiasts due to its uncommonly severe and realistic depiction of sadomasochistic practices. It was also known for its interactive "Live Feeds" which allowed members to make direct suggestions and requests. In late 2005, Insex ended the production of original material, citing increased pressure from conservatives within the US Justice Department as the main problem.
Insex.com offered primarily two forms of content, "Live Feeds" which could be watched through a live video stream and actively influenced in a simultaneous chat, and conventionally shot videos that were the basis of regular updates; most of the live feeds were later edited and presented as downloadable videos. Additionally, Insex offered so-called "Tests", compiled videos of women who decided not to return after a first test shoot, and the website also provided a message board that was frequented by the staff and several of the more prominent models.
The videos were presented in RealVideo format in order to preserve image and sound clarity (compared to other contemporary formats), in the beginning with bitrates of 225 kbit/s, and later up to 450 kbit/s. Commonly, the updates were between 30 to 90 minutes in length, while the live feeds usually lasted several hours. On some occasions, a model could be online in BDSM live events that went on for as long as 48 hours continuously. Such long sessions were achieved by allowing the model a brief rest break while the next scene was prepared, during which she could answer questions from viewers that were relayed from the message board or chat room. Starting in 2003, videos were occasionally shot in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio to take advantage of advances in digital technology, with partly more artistic camera work.
The models normally did not use ordinary stage names, but they were given numbers (such as '101', '912'), although some models were referred to by unusual verbal names ('Spacegirl', 'Az'). The numeric names were usually based on the date that the model made her first test video shoot, '101' being October 1, '912' referring to September 12.
The material included different aspects of BDSM, e.g. rope and metal bondage, heavy caning, flogging and whipping, as well as needle play, intimate examination, erotic asphyxiation, gagging, humiliation, electric stimulation/torture, interrogation, human animal roleplay, enemas, and urolagnia. Crucifixion and water torture were also explored, and would later inspire pay sites dedicated solely to those forms of bondage. Sexual intercourse and oral sex were briefly shown on a small number of occasions; however, videos often showed penetration with dildos and the use of vibrators. With the exception of a few deliberatively scripted movies, the female models usually did not act, but simply tried to endure what they were exposed to − which gave each session a rare sense of realism that contributed to the website's appeal.
One of the recurring themes of the videos was that models had to ask for permission before they had an orgasm during a scene. Models had a safeword that they occasionally used when they had reached their pain tolerance threshold and wanted 'pd' to back off or wanted to quit the scene entirely, and which was generally not cut out of the video in order to show the viewer that the model was indeed being honest in her reactions. It was not uncommon that models would be visibly bruised at the end of a shoot, for instance from cane strokes or whipping (sometimes applied heavily if the model wanted to test her limitations), with marks that lasted for several weeks, but no permanent injuries would be inflicted.
Because of the severity of an Insex shoot, main stream pornographic actresses normally did not work for the website. The majority of models were local women who answered an anonymous ad in a newspaper, although a small percentage of women had previous modeling or BDSM experience. Some women stated that they were not interested in BDSM sexually, but rather saw it as a physical and mental challenge.
Among the more popular models who worked for Insex were Jenni Lee ('YX'), Liz Tyler ('Cowgirl'), Wenona, Lorelei Lee, and 'Seven'. Many of the most prominent names in fetish modeling either started at Insex or passed through it at one point in their career, as did bondage riggers that later went on to work at other leading bondage sites, including such figures as Matt Williams, Claire Adams, Cyd Black and Princess Donna, now all working at San Francisco based fetish producer Kink.com. Because of this, Insex's artistic principles would influence the design and staging of many pay BDSM sites after its demise.
In the fall of 2005, Insex announced it was looking for a buyer, because "continuing to produce Insex.com from the U.S. would be too great a potential liability." It came as a result of attempts by the U.S. government to limit internet pornography, specifically by implementing a FBI anti-obscenity initiative in August 2005; an FBI memorandum stated that productions where the content includes "urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" would "most likely" be legally targeted. A statement on the Insex website went on explaining, "while Intersec is certain that a potential prosecution would have no chance of success... the staff is unwilling to fight a lengthy and expensive court battle only to emerge victorious but bankrupt."
The website's entire content, over 500 movies, was offered for sale for US$ 4 million and eventually bought for an undisclosed amount by a Dutch company which now offers parts of the Insex material as Insex Archives. Also, big parts of the Insex videos are still traded on peer-to-peer networks. After Insex had closed, some of the staff went on to work on more toned down BDSM productions.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Eli Sanders. Tortured Logic. The Stranger. November 2005.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 David. Review of Insex. Bondage News. February 14, 2005.
- ↑ Dennis McMillan. BD/SM Internet Sites Under Attack. San Francisco Bay Times. December 22, 2005.
- ↑ Ryan Paul. FBI agents paid to surf for deviant Internet porn. Ars Technica. September 9, 2005.