GraciousSizzle on the significance of Adult Backwash.
A few weeks ago, the brave Dangerous Lilly started a conversation about the history of sex blogging. Not long after that, GlamKitty (GK) (who did participate in the adult side of BW as a member of The Unholy Trinity) began waxing nostalgic about Backwash.com in general. It was these two conversations (one digital, one real world) which prompted me to get involved in the Backwash Reunion and agreeing to run Dark Wry Toast as a resurrection, of sorts, of Adult Backwash.
While I (impatiently) waited for GK to make her post, so that I wouldn’t have to repeat too much, I thought about the reasons Adult Backwash deserves to be remembered.
Having begun in 2001, the red side of BW was among the very first sites to provide not only homes for sex bloggers but space to curate, or create a directory of, sex websites and other mature adult content. While our writings and linkage were segregated from Backwash-proper, using the adult-dot subdomain, those of us at Backwash-improper were given as much free-rein to publish what and when we wanted as the mainstream columnists.
Right from the start, the red side had a mix of columnists writing on all sorts of adult topics. There were the intimate personal posts; entertaining erotic stories; advice columns; sex ed articles; website, sex toy and other product reviews; and, of course, columns that mainly presented images. We covered sex from serious to silly, vanilla to BDSM, softcore to hardcore, visual to verbal ~ and, via our self-identified male and female columnists, we covered the spectrum of sexual fluidity, from hetero fare to LGBT topics, too. Considering that gender, orientation, identity, and race are closely linked to economic power, and therefore affect the ability for some to access the web (especially back in the early days of the Internet), we were fairly well-balanced in terms of representing human sexual existence.
Like our mainstream counterparts, we could ~ and did ~ start communities and newsletters. We also worked to discover and curate links, including reviewing the dearth of submitted links (paid or not) that were consistently sent and spammed to the site. And all of us, adult and mainstream columnists alike, shared a private “columnists only” message board, where we could discuss issues, policies, and suggest ideas. (OK, let’s be honest; that’s where we posted rants and bickered with one another too.)
We were separate in our digital territories, but relatively equal in the eyes of the klout-master, the site owner, David Ring. And by “relative”, I mean that those columnists and moderators who generated more traffic, fetched more advertising leads, sold more premium services, &/or did more work at the site were held in slightly more esteem than others who provided less for the Backwash brand. That is, after all, primarily how capitalism works. Or how it is supposed to work in order to achieve success.
Amazingly, this equality was continued through the social network.
Yes, Adult Backwash, like all the BW sites, had its own social network system in 2003. This at a time when adult content, adult performers, nudity, and the like were all prohibited from other social media sites. A. Maze. Ing.
As GK wrote, one of the unique aspects of all the Backwash sites was the belief in, and basis on, content and columnists. While other sites would eventually either allow adult profiles (typically hidden behind a wall until one “toggled” their acceptance and permission to view such things), be developed entirely for the adult community, or be paid subscription adult dating sites, none of them featured sex columnists ~ or at least not so many of them continually providing great sex blogging and curated content on adult themes.
I truly believe that had BW continued to focus on this feature, using it to grow and monetize the sites, rather than focus on selling the software to others, all the sites in the BW family would have become the standards for social websites. At the very least, Adult BW would have become the premier adult social media website. Now, I think we can all say that Fetlife has that honor; or Tumblr, depending on your definition of social networking sites. But neither has the combination of remarkable and innovative features that BW sites did. Or so many kick-ass adult columnists.
Dangerous Lilly’s sex blogging history conversation has since been growing, with comments and postings continuing to be added. Along with her original post, these are among some of the best additions:
Find out more about the history of issues with sex blogging platforms (host sites) and search engines:
Oh, do you remember using MySpace?