The Waste Land is a longform poem written by T.S. Eliot. It is widely considered by literary critics to be one of the most important poems of the 20th century, if not the most important work of modernist poetry. The poem is divided into five sections: “The Burial of the Dead,” which tackles themes of disillusionment and despair; “A Game of Chess,” narrative riffs on the same themes; “The Fire Sermon,” an exploration of death and concepts of self-denial; “Death by Water,” a lyrical protest; and, finally, “What the Thunder Said,” which ends the poem on a strong image of harsh judgment.
Now, you might be thinking, ‘okay, nerd, what the fuck does this have to do with porn?’ And to that I say, calm the fuck down, you impatient savage, I’m getting there. The Waste Land is the poem that inspired the BDSM site of the same title: Wasteland.com. And, if you actually stop to use the few functioning braincells you have left, you might be able to see why the creators of a BDSM fetish site might find inspiration in Eliot’s poem (so much so that they include a version of it on the site, accompanied by black and white photographs of women in bondage.
Well, for starters, Wasteland.com prides itself on being a bastion for “The darker side of desire,” as their slogan would have it. Paired with the fact that there are many images in the words of Eliot’s poem that blend pain and pleasure almost to the point of being indistinguishable from one another, and you have one basic explanation for why this porn site would pay homage to a poem. I could go on, I’m sure, and bore you to the point of torture, but I’ll leave the torturing up to the kinksters and fetishists of Waste Land, which is so much more than your typical porn site.
So Much More than Just Porn
From the moment you log into the members' area of Waste Land, chances are you will be taken by surprise. This site looks absolutely nothing like the typical premium pay porn site that you are likely accustomed to. Instead of a menu bar at the top of the page, bordering a gallery of video thumbnails, a banner will be what catches your eye first. A banner that looks like it could be an album cover for an ‘80s metal band: a closeup of a beautiful, seductive blonde with a thick silver collar around her neck is the background to the site’s logo, the text reminiscent of Iron Maiden.
Scroll down below that and you might begin to wonder, ‘hey, where the fuck’s the porn?’ Again, be patient. Below the banner is a quote from “The Raven,” by Edgar Allen Poe: Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” I’ve never seen a porn site before this have such a hard on for literature. I love the idea of “dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before” in the context of BDSM. It really speaks to the beautiful brutality of bondage, the reason you’re here to begin with.
Next, you will be greeted by Waste Land’s mission statement: “To explore and celebrate safe, sane and consensual kinky sexuality through movies, photos and the written word for the bdsm and fetish community since 1994.” This site has been going strong since 1994? God damn, this has to be one of the longest running sites you’ve probably never heard of. A dark and dirty secret indeed.
Also, as you can start to gather based on that mission statement, Waste Land is more than just fetish porn. It’s an entire community of fetishists offering erotic lit, photographs, films, events, news, interviews, a marketplace, educational materials, personal ads, and even games. Waste Land, it seems, is the site that inspired sites like Fetlife. It is the original online kink community.
An Absolute Behemoth of a Website
Well, fuck, where do I even begin? There’s just so much here to choose from, I feel a bit lost in the Waste Land. Let’s start by taking a look at the movies section of the site, since I know your fiendishly itching for some porn after that lecture on modernist poetry that I gave you earlier. Well, as of the time of this review, the site’s total movie count was at 1,583. The site does update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, though. So, chances are, by the time you read this, that number will probably have gone up.
I believe, though, from what I can gather, that that number refers to Waste Land’s total original movies. They have two movies sections: Original HD Movies and Full-Length Feature Films. So, a more accurate depiction of the amount of video content to be found on Waste Land might be found by doubling that number, putting us somewhere in the 3,000 range. Plus, with half of them being full-length feature films and the regular weekly updates, you’ll most likely never run into the problem of running out of porn to enjoy.
And even if you ever do tire of the video content, you can always make your way over to the one of the many enormous photo gallery sites Waste Land makes available. In addition to their own collection of original images, the site also links to Dark Garden photo gallery. Plus, you can check out Sensuous Sadie’s Corner (photography, podcasts, musings, etc. from prominent BDSM personality and author, Sensuous Sadie), Waste Land Party Pics (photos from the world-famous Waste Land fetish parties held each year in Amsterdam), Weekly Fetish Models, Asian Underground Images (rare hardcore Japanese photography), and House of Japanese Bondage (for which the description reads, “A realm of beauty and horror, shadow and light, tradition and anarchy, fear and ecstasy—all await you herein”).
If all of this isn’t already enough for you, don’t worry, because I’ve only scratched the surface of what this site offers. Enjoy Waste Land’s very own live cam site (obviously fetish-heavy) if that’s your thing. Or meet likeminded kinksters through Waste Land’s community section, a completely free social network for members of the site. Create a profile, upload pics, interact with fellow members, maybe even find a new play partner. Or, if you’re just up for some titillating conversation in a more anonymous manner, you can post and comment on Waste Land’s forum. Maybe the interactive 3D chat game is more your style. If so, that’s always an option as well.
If you’re new to the lifestyle, fear not. Waste Land offers plenty of literature on BDSM safety and culture to help get you started. Learn the art of rope bondage, browse the BDSM knowledge base, check out some helpfully descriptive how-to guides, brush up on your practical sex magick knowhow, learn from the Dungeon Master of Blackthorne Manner in his insightful commentary videos, or study some step-by-step instructions in the art of Japanese rope bondage thanks to the Shibari Workshop.
Once You Enter the Waste Land, There is No Escape
Holy fuck, there’s just way too much to do on this website, I know I’m not going to be able to get to all of it. You’re really just going to have to go the Waste Land and see for yourself. This is easily the most massive and the most resourceful porn site I’ve ever been on. There is so much to love about it—the literary bent, the educational materials, the quality content, the enormous and actively engaged community. You could fall into this website like Alice’s rabbit hole and happily never come back.
My only complaint with the site, I would say, is its design. Now, don’t get me wrong, the site is extremely well organized and it’s easy to find whatever it is you are looking for (as well as to discover and explore new parts of the community you never knew existed). That is not where my issue stems from. My issue stems from the fact that the site just looks really outdated. It was designed in the early ‘90s and, I hate to say it, but that really shows.
It’s a very text-heavy site design. Not that I have a problem with text. I just think that the site could probably stand a slight update is all. The galleries, for example, are one place to look. Instead of presenting an index of links to galleries labeled things like “gallery 4,” etc., maybe they could use thumbnails to make the site aesthetically a little more streamlined and neater.
Other than my one qualm with a dated design, this site absolutely blew me away. I don’t normally advocate so plainly for a site, but if you are into BDSM (even if you’re just curious and interested in getting more into BDSM and fetish culture), you have to sign up for this site. You will never want to leave; nor would you run out of dark pleasures if you stayed forever.