The best thing about acting is “free snogs”, says Jessie Buckley in So It Goes magazine. “I mean, it’s the great perk of our job. Let’s just call a spade a spade.” The Irish actress, 31, plays Juliet in a new National Theatre film of Romeo and Juliet. Her Romeo – and free snogging partner – is the 30-year-old actor Josh O’Connor, best known as Prince Charles in The Crown.
Their stage romance got off to a rocky start. We filmed during lockdown, says Buckley, and had to do endless Covid tests. “It was our first day of the balcony scene and I was, like – free snog, here we go,” but O’Connor hadn’t been tested. “They were, like, so sorry, you can’t touch. I was, like: ‘You’re joking!’”
Still, the forced separation worked in their favour. This is a play about passion, and it made it more intense. “When [Juliet] says to Romeo, ‘Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much’, she’s so thirsty for any kind of physical touch. It explodes her world.” In lockdown we could all relate to that: “We’re all going to be rampant come summer.”
How the orgasm cult came unstuck
In 2004 Nicole Daedone founded a company that aimed “to heal the world” through female orgasm, writes Mick Brown in The Daily Telegraph. Based in San Francisco, OneTaste marketed “orgasmic meditation”, or OM, in which a fully clothed man in latex gloves softly strokes a woman’s clitoris for 15 minutes to induce an orgasm. The object was “to get the man to stop focusing on his own pleasure and to really tune in with a woman’s body”.
Daedone’s “OM houses” offered tuition for groups of up to 50 men and women, the latter being stroked “to a rising chorus of moans and sighs”. An introductory workshop cost $195 and the week-long “urban monk” programme was $2,000. At its peak, OneTaste was reportedly making $12m a year. It had centres in nine cities and was endorsed by “the high priestess of the vagina”, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Nevertheless, it was repeatedly accused of being a “cult”, with Daedone its charismatic and “power-drunk” leader. OneTaste closed down in 2018 after Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that it had paid $325,000 to a former staff member who claimed she’d been ordered to sleep with prospective male customers. At the time the company denied any “abusive practices” had taken place. The FBI is reportedly investigating further allegations of sex trafficking, prostitution and violation of labour laws.
Fortune favours the financial dominatrix
Financial domination, an online form of BDSM, has flourished during the pandemic, says Alexandra Weiss in The New York Times. “Pay pigs” or “finsubs” (short for “financial submissive”) send money to a dominatrix (“findomme”) in return for being humiliated and degraded. In some cases the dominatrix won’t stop hurling insults until the finsub’s bank account has hit zero. It’s all about “that loss of control”.
Financial domination mostly takes place on the internet, with no sex involved, which explains its surging popularity. “Sending money is the kink” for finsubs, so they don’t expect sexual favours in return. It is a highly lucrative business: Mistress Marley, a financial dominatrix from New York, earns up to $5,000 a week. “I love waking up every day realising that submissive men pay all my bills,” she says.