Do not look at Madison Young as just a bondage and BDSM model. She is more than that. Don't think that Madison Young is just a redheaded porn star with an incredible body. Her mind is even more amazing. Actually, when you look at Madison Young it is hard to pinpoint how to categorize her. A self-proclaimed sex positive feminist, Madison Young took an unorthodox approach to raising money for a feminist art gallery. And now that she is breaking the stereotypes of what a typical porn star should be, Madison Young is not the next Annie Sprinkle or Nina Hartley. She is the first Madison Young. In this interview with XRentDVD's Big D, Madison Young discusses deflecting criticism from traditional feminists about her choice of work, provides a brief clinic on bondage and BDSM fetishes and reveals the magic number of dicks a girl has to take in the ass to open her own art gallery.
Big D: You are pretty well known for your bondage and submissive type stuff but you also have crossed over to do what we would call “mainstream porn” working for companies like Digital Playground, Evil Angel, Digital Sin, Triangle Films, etc. What came first and do you have a preference as to what type of pron you like to perform exclusively?
Madison Young: The bondage definitely came first. I was exclusively a bondage, fetish, BDSM suspension model for about five years. I did some queer and some girl/girl porn along with that but the only work that I was doing in L.A. was bondage or fetish related. It meant a lot more traveling to different cities. With BDSM modeling it is much more spread out because it is more niche. It is a lot of traveling to London, New York, Seattle, Portland. It was a lot of traveling constantly. One of the things that brought me to L.A. to do mainstream, vanilla porn was wanting to travel less. It was not only difficult on my personal relationships but also made it difficult to keep up on my gallery and my own artwork in San Francisco. I missed having that kind of home. Traveling down to L.A. I was able to go down there and it was much easier to commute. I could even go down there for a couple of days if I wanted to. Sometimes I could fly in and out on the same day.
Big D: You made mention that you started out doing bondage and BDSM modeling at first to break into the adult industry. That's not something someone without any outside experience just jumps right into without knowing a little bit about it. How did you get to that point?
Madison Young: I've always been very kinky. I've always been more aggressive in my sexuality. From the very first time I started having sex I was very much into having sex in public. I was definitely an exhibitionist. I liked video taping me and my partners or just myself. I enjoyed really rough sex. I enjoyed fisting or experimenting with different things like golden showers, spanking and some light bondage. I had never tried any tighter extreme rope bondage until I started modeling. When I saw the posting on Craig's List for at the time, CyberNet, which is now Kink.com, for their flagship site called hogtied.com, I went in and absolutely fell in love with it. Rope was a new lover for me. I just fell in love with the rope. I fell in love with the taste of the whip. I really enjoy pushing my body to the extreme. I think one of the things that made it such an easy fit for me is that I was very much also into Tantra and I was also very much aware of sexual energy. Tantra is very closely related to BDSM. It really is an energy and power exchange between you and your Dominant. They are giving you this energy and once they are putting this energy into you, you just need to know how to release it, how to breathe through it. You need to learn how to squirm around in your body and let it turn into all these beautiful colors and sensations. Some people see the work that I do and think it is very extreme. They wonder if I am in pain. They wonder how I can be smiling at the same time. I really don't feel it as pain. I feel it as warmth and colors and different sensations.
Big D: When you first ventured into the more extreme rope bondage, were you a little apprehensive to do it since you had no real life experience with it before in your personal life before doing it for cameras?
Madison Young: I wasn't necessarily searching for it but once I found it, I definitely embraced it. I wasn't really afraid of it. I have always been really interested in how we can push our bodies. Whether it is within performance art that I do, within my sexuality or within BDSM. When I was given the opportunity to work with some of the top riggers and rope artists in the world I was extremely excited. I fully enjoyed the experience. I felt like this is what I am supposed to be doing. It was amazing. I am also a writer and it gave me awesome material to write about. I just finished my book, “The Tail of a Bondage Model” which is about my first six years in the industry, both the vanilla porn and the BDSM industry. It's also about the relationship between balancing your job of being a fictional character that is created and the balance between being a queer, feminist activist and being a porn star.
Big D: To the uninitiated that may not understand the bondage and BDSM culture, they just see a girl with rope around her tits and maybe a ball gag and mascara streaming down her face. But to those that understand this culture and this niche there are different types and unique forms of bondage and BDSM. Since you are so knowledgeable on the subject, give us a crash course as to what types of bondage and BDSM is out there for someone who may be curious about it.
Madison Young: One of my favorite types of bondage is,... I should say I am definitely a rope slut. Specifically I am a rope fetishist and a rope slut. That means I don't even need to be tied up in the rope to be orgasming from it. I like to be whipped with it. I like to have it around my neck. I tie myself up with it. I am definitely a connoisseur of the rope in that I like a particular type of rope. I don't like synthetic rope. There are different kinds of rope like nylon rope. I am really drawn to the natural fiber ropes like jute or hemp rope. I enjoy really natural items within my SM within my dominance and submissions. I enjoy dirt and rope and leather, 2 x 4's, canes, things that are made of wood. Not so much the synthetic plastics or nylon or things like that. It puts me in a very different head space to be tied up with say, a nylon rope or cotton rope as opposed to jute or hemp. So there are different kinds of rope and then there are different kinds of rope bondage. There are Eastern and Western styles of rope bondage. Japanese bondage is one of my favorites which is referred to as Shibari. I feel like Shibari is extremely beautiful and it is an art form at the same time. Many people have referred to Shibari as an art form much like you would consider decorative flower arrangement an art form. It's extremely beautiful and it's also extremely tight at the same time. I think a part of that has to do with the rope because you can really cynch it in and you can really feel the rope bite. It is really nice. There is also stuff like metal restraints. There are just so many ways to bind someone. (laughs) There is scarf bondage which is a whole fetish of its own. There are many people out there that are scarf fetishists and are really into scarf bondage. I am not into that so much but I know people who are. There are people like Jeff Gord and he is up in the Seattle area and he is an absolute genius. He has come up with different bondage devices that turn women into different furniture items. He is like a kinky engineer. He is able to build amazing mechanical devices that are powered and will turn a woman into a race car. She could be bound and racing around a race track and have different implements making the bindings tighter and tighter while using air compressors. I enjoy very, very tight bondage so I do enjoy his work even though it is not using rope. And it does not have to be that elaborate. There are simple things like handcuffs or using a neck tie or even leather straps that are a great way to get started. These can also create some amazing sensory experiences. You can use blindfolds and gags or even pantyhose. There are a million things around your house that you can use to bind your lover.
Big D: You aren't just a porn star and a bondage model, you are also a writer. You have a book published and you recently took your writing to the Internet and started blogging on a website called Kinky Feminism. What compelled you to go online and start blogging?
Madison Young: I've had my own website for several years now and I have been keeping a live journal and I have had different blogs that I would post on my MySpace page. I wanted to start something that was more about political daily actions that people are doing around a sexual revolution. I feel like there are so many people out there that are doing really revolutionary work in the sex industry. I'd like to highlight those people and point out to people that there are daily acts that we can embrace around our sexuality. It wasn't a “promoting my shit” kind of blog. I didn't want to do something that was “here buy my DVDs” or “sign up for my website”. I wanted to do something that was more focused on why I am doing this and what inspires me. I want it to be about the activism within the sex industry.
Big D: How has the response been to that side of you? You've shown that you are not just a porn star and are a pretty well rounded person. Is the blog more self-serving because most porn fans want to know about who your next scene will be with and what movie it will be in?
Madison Young: I think a lot of my fans are drawn to me because they see something in me that is something other than just a porn star. Most of the fans that contact me tell me that I am different. They say they can tell that I am really putting myself out there and that I am really aggressive in my sexuality. The descriptions that they use in even describing my scenes even if they haven't learned about my politics or my activism, they seem to be drawn to me as a person because of the reason why I am doing it. Or it is because of a “Behind the Scenes” segment they saw with me and they see more than just another porn star.
Big D: So what is going on with your non-profit arts gallery that is dedicated to the advancement of women and trans gendered artists? How do you balance the rigors of travel and being a porn star while owning an art gallery?
Madison Young: They both actually started at about the same time. I got into the industry primarily to help fund the art gallery,Femina Potens. So I had started the art gallery basically at the same time I started working in BDSM porn. The travel wasn't as hectic when I first started that first year. It was very difficult in the beginning because we basically had a volunteer staff at that time. I was traveling a lot but I was also sending out work flows and managing things from the computer. I was making sure I was at all the events. Even at that time we were producing over 50 events a year. I was doing all the curation and the coordination for all of the events basically online and I would go, travel, and come back with the rent for the gallery. In a couple of panels that I have done I ask, “How many anal scenes does it take to build a feminist arts space?”. Everyone finds that amusing but it is very true.
Big D: So tell me, how many anal scenes does it take to open a feminist arts space?
Madison Young: With each passing month it keeps on increasing.... Hmmm, Let's see. What was the magical number it took just to sign the lease? Signing the lease was part of a porn that I actually did. It was part documentary, part porn. It is something that Max Royale is putting out and I am not quite sure what the name of it is. It involves me in a couple of scenes and then also a documentary including signing the check and signing the lease for my art gallery. We then go into the art gallery which was pretty fun. Well, let me think. It took at least 10 anal scenes and that is not including all the construction. That probably took another 10 anal scenes. So I would say about 20 anal scenes that month for starting up the gallery.
Big D: You say it is a feminist art gallery. Anytime you say the word feminist you immediately think of your traditional feminists that are unattractive, wear comfortable shoes, complain that porn is exploitive to women, blah, blah, blah. Women like Gloria Steinem, Catharine MacKinnon and Betty Friedan come to mind when you say the word “feminist”. How do you react when traditional feminist probably take issue with what you are doing and how you are going about doing it all in the name of feminism? How do you combat those close minded people that you can still be a feminist yet still take a dick in the ass?
Madison Young: There are a couple different waves of feminism. The third wave of feminism is definitely more sex positive and I definitely consider myself to be a sex positive feminist. More along the lines of Carol Queen and Annie Sprinkle and Nina Hartley I believe in definitely embracing your sexuality and being aggressive about female sexuality and your sexual needs and putting that out there on film. It will not only be seen by men but also women. I get a lot of emails from women saying that they found the courage to explore new things within their sexuality by watching performances that I have done. They have said they felt very conflicted about both their submission and being a feminist. They wanted to know if that was right. They have been able to watch some of the performances that I have done and it has given them the power to embrace their sexuality and to explore their submission which can be very empowering. Actually it is really the only career in general that women get paid more than men as far as performers go. I think that is very feminist. There is a ton of feminist porn that is being created which gives a voice and visibility to the idea of what women find erotic and sexual. That is completely a feminist action as far as I am concerned. It is also why I produce and direct feminist porn.
Big D: By being a producer and a director, do you see this industry being more of an owner operated industry where performers will harness the power of digital delivery to be more in control of how their image and their performances are being used?
Madison Young: I do think that DVDs and magazines and print books in general is converting over to the web. I did first start out creating my website, MadisonBound.com and Tied4Sex.com, and then got into creating actual DVDs and distribution for DVDs. I think for more niche material and women made porn and for queer porn and BDSM porn, it's a little bit different than the mass produced, vanilla, heterosexual porn. Women are definitely a valid and growing demographic in the porn consuming market. Something that has also been fascinating to me has been the fact that there are erotic film festivals popping up everywhere. That's where a lot of women are also viewing their porn and then going out and buying some of my work. Two of my films are being screened in Paris next month. One for the LGBT Festival in Paris and then another for the Berlin Porn film Festival. They have Cinekink here and they also have the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards which my company won one of those this year. I think people are really getting into the screenings and the festivals and creating more high quality erotic content so that men and women and couples and queers want to be viewing. It's a little bit different from what I would consider to be the “fast food” porn that is constantly being produced in L.A.
Big D: First job?
Madison Young: Landscaping for my family's tree care service. That's where I got my name Madison. I won't give away the name but it is in Ohio.
Big D: First concert?
Madison Young: Janet Jackson
Big D: First car?
Madison Young: White Honda Civic
Big D: What’s in your CD player right now?
Madison Young: The Two Gallants
Big D: Favorite food?
Madison Young: Avocado and mango sushi
Big D: First porn you ever watched?
Madison Young: I was more of a magazine girl for a long time. Can I say the first pornographic material I jacked off to? That would be Cat Woman Comics.
Big D: Favorite position?
Madison Young: I like to be tied up with a chest harness on and then bent over a table and being fucked.
Big D: Go to the movies or go to the ballgame?
Madison Young: I guess the movies. I am not terribly into either.
Big D: What modern convenience can you not live without?
Madison Young: I would say my laptop computer.
Big D: Favorite mainstream movie?
Madison Young: Harold and Maude
Big D: Favorite vacation spot?
Madison Young: Puerto Vallarta
Big D: Person you’d like to meet that you have not met?
Madison Young: Charles Bukowski
Big D: Place you want to visit but haven’t yet?
Madison Young: Oh, there are so many. When you go some place for work it is a little bit different. Although I would go through all these different countries I wouldn't necessarily be able to explore them. I really want to go to Japan.