Sexy Monique Gets a Massage

April 27th, 2017 at 1:41 pm (life in general, los angeles)

There have been some fun and sexy video shoots this year but this one with Monique has gotten some nice responses. Monique is a lot of fun and always a good sport about trying out crazy ideas. In this one she invited me over to her house to relax and get a massage after a stressful week. Of course I had other ideas in mind and with a little prodding she found herself agreeing to have her wrists strapped up behind her back, just as an “edgy” way to help her relax. Of course, once she passed that point of no return things just continued…poor gurl!

By the way, I also have a new Sony video camera on order and I’m pretty excited about it. If it works out it should help improve the video quality. I hear that the camera has really good low-light capabilities and even a night vision shooting mode which might be fun to play with. So we shall see. It should arrive next week and I’ll be able to do some camera tests and see if it’s a keeper. My current videocam is fine but it’s a little old so I’m looking forward to upgrading. Hopefully more good news to come…and some fun new videos :-)

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Fourteen Years of Trannies In Trouble

March 23rd, 2017 at 9:17 am (life in general, los angeles)

Well, it’s another anniversary here at Trannies In Trouble – fourteen years since we started back in 2003 and still going!

Like I mentioned in a recent newsletter, the website business has certainly changed over the years, especially with all the social media nowadays and the arrival of those tube sites several years ago. Normally I don’t lose much sleep over seeing my pics and videos reposted – it just goes with the territory. But I’ll admit even I was a little dismayed when someone recently wrote and said, “Hey, have you seen this?” and sent me a link with fifty of my videos reposted on one of those sites. I just hope to keep shooting as long as I can and to be back here again to mark the fifteen year anniversary twelve months from now. As always thank you so much to everyone who’s joined and supported the site over the years, and an extra big thank you to the repeat members. Some of you have been subscribing and supporting the site for years – you know who you are! I truly could not do it without you.

I have some fun and sexy shoots coming up soon, including a really nice one later tonight with a cute new t-girl named Miki Lee who naively goes to an L.A. photo studio to take some glamour pictures. She makes some great damsel expressions and is also a really talented actress in the upcoming video.

I’m also posting the downloadable PDF version of my book, “Caught!” in the Members Area today. It’s a selection of my “best of” Sandra pics over the years and also has five new pages of text about the early days starting the site back when I lived in Hollywood. So check it out over there if you’re curious. Also, Denis from Ireland who won the book giveaway posted a nice review over on Fetlife – Thanks, Denis!

I also have been posting some things over on Fetlife in my Group and have heard from a lot of gurls over there about modeling. I appreciate all the feedback and interest. Although I can’t always shoot with everyone who writes I am always looking for good models who’d be a good fit on the site, and there have been some real good responses that I look forward to working with.

Thanks, everyone, for following the site and this blog here, which I admit I don’t update nearly as much as I should! Here’s hoping for a good year ahead with lots more cute and sexy t-girls in various binds…Hope to see you here again next year! Hugs, Sandra

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Police Lady Monica Belle in Trouble

February 25th, 2017 at 9:59 am (life in general, los angeles)

This week’s gallery with Monica Belle was one of those really fun sets to shoot, and Monica looked super sexy that day, as she always does. This time she was a sexy lady cop who gets into some serious trouble on her first day on the job, surprising a drifter in an abandoned house and ending up wearing her own handcuffs, then bound and gagged on the floor.

When you’re doing a photoshoot sometimes there are challenges behind the scenes that you have to deal with. For this one it was hot in the house where we were shooting, although Monica handled it like a trooper, and we didn’t have much space to shoot in, basically the bathroom and just a corner in one of the bedrooms, so the angles were pretty tight. I don’t think any of that shows in the photos, but as the photographer I really had to pay attention to the framing. Of course with Monica looking so fantastic it all worked out great, and in retrospect it was probably one of my favorite shoots from last year. In just a couple days I’ll be posting the video, which was also a lot of fun to shoot, with Monica facing a rattled Otto Devoid who never expected to come face to face with a sexy lady cop who just happens to have a Hitachi in among her gear.

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Memories of Mr. K.

January 14th, 2017 at 7:28 pm (life in general, los angeles)

I posted this magazine cover a few years ago when I wrote about Mr. K., who took the photos in it, and today I’m sad to report that he passed away yesterday, Friday, January 13th, in the hospital back east in New York state near where he lived. He’d had some health problems the last few years and the last time I spoke with him he sounded weak but I still hoped he might get to go home. He even talked about going to FetishCon later this year.
(continued below)

He was a huge fan of damsels in distress and especially loved crossdressers in bondage. I know he met quite a few of us for bondage and photos, including Audrey Miller, Babs, Babette Jones, Jenny Page and others. And he was an active photographer in his own right and shot pictures for several years in the 80s, especially for Friendship Studio, who published the magazine above. He never talked much about those days and I always had the feeling that there were maybe some regrets or disappointments from those times. And I always found it a little sad too that he wasn’t better known, as though his moment had passed – isn’t that life? But he was a great guy and had a huge heart, a truly sweet man who loved what we do in the kink world.

To be honest, I really only got to hang out with Mr. K. a few times, I think three total. But we stayed in touch over the years and I always recognized his New York accent immediately when we’d talk on the phone – and I’m not a big phone person but with him I always tried to make an exception, not always as well as I wish I had. He’d call me by my boy name on the phone and always seemed to see my Sandra side as a distinct personality, almost another person, which was kind of cute. He admitted he wanted to do naughty thing to me as Sandra but coming from him it never seemed weird or creepy and he was always a total gentleman the few times we did shoot.

My memory is a little foggy now but I believe we shot two separate days with SweetTies back in 2001 (see pic below). One memory that really tickled me was getting ready Sunday morning for the shoot and Sara from SweetTies telling me that Mr. K. was away at mass but we’d start shooting when he got back. We never talked much about his religious beliefs but I’m pretty sure he had no guilt about being into bondage and CDs. I just thought that was really cool, since for some people it’s a struggle. Then a few years later I saw him in Newark, I believe, for a couple evenings of shooting at the Hilton by the airport. And that was in 2006, the last time we were ever in the same room together.

I always figured this day would come, for he’d been in the hospital a few times and put on and then rapidly dropped a lot of weight in the years following the picture below, which he sent me with his face obviously obscured just a wee bit. I don’t think he’d mind that I’m posting it here :-) I do wish though that I had more of his magazines. I just looked around and dug through my closets but this old dog-eared copy of Bondage World is all that I can find. If you have any more of his pictures or scans of his magazines online, especially the “Bondage Babe” issue or the “Tanya in Bondage” issues, feel free to email me and maybe I can do another blog post later.

Rest in Peace, Mr. K. You will be missed, my friend.

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Win a Copy of My First Photobook: Caught!

January 11th, 2017 at 9:08 pm (life in general, los angeles)

Hi Everyone,
I just finished up my first photobook, which is a 97-page look back at some of my “best of” Sandra photos from ’03 till ’13, plus five pages of text on the early years of the website. If you’re a member of the paysite you’ve probably seen most of these pics already but there’s something really special about seeing them on a printed page instead of a computer screen.

So now I’m doing a little contest to give away a signed copy of the new book, and I’m trying to get a hundred comments here on this post. Scroll down below for more details.

Here are the rules:

One of my goals for the new years is to make a 30-page Trannies In Trouble magazine, including some material submitted by fans of the website and members of my Fetlife and Yahoo Groups. So I’m asking you to write an exciting caption for your favorite bondage photo (mine or anyone’s), or a few lines, or even a mini-story (a few paragraphs at most), and post it in the comments section below. Or you can even add a link to your own artwork. (If I use your art you’ll have to sign a release form and supply a copy of your photo ID.)

You can write or post whatever you’d like, dealing of course with bondage. It can be sexy, dark, playful, intense, femdom or sissy themed, humiliating, involving robbery or kidnapping – basically whatever turns you on. Basically anything that gets written up here or posted I’ll consider for re-use in a magazine, so by posting here you’re implicitly stating that you’re okay with your words being used in print. Don’t worry, no one’s real name will ever be mentioned.

So once I get a hundred comments here (that’s the goal!), I’ll select my favorites and then randomly choose a winner, whom I’ll email to get your address. So to get those hundred comments I’m going to need your help or else this blog post will just sit here empty ;-)

I can only send the book to the United States, Canada, and some parts of Europe. Maybe someone in the UK can let me know what the laws are like for mailing racey stuff, as I don’t want you to get busted if you live there (although the book itself is all non-explicit).

And if you’d prefer to just buy the PDF version (only $4.95) or contact me about the print version there’s a page here with more details.

I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with…Thanks and have fun! ~Sandra

And here’s a few more pics from the book:

29 Comments

2016 Finally Winds Down…

December 24th, 2016 at 1:05 pm (life in general, los angeles)

Last year 2015 was pretty good for me, and I even wrote a melancholy-free blog post last December when I was really on a high. I wish I could say the same for this year, so if you want to skip this one I won’t be offended. But what a weird year it’s been. I don’t like to get overly political here, as it doesn’t seem the place, but well, there was this election here in the States that was hard not to have an opinion about. Let’s just say the news will certainly be interesting in the new year.

One area that many will be curious about, including me, is whether the new Trump administration will push for changes in laws on porn and adult websites. No one really knows and there really hasn’t been that much talk on the issue. Mr. Trump’s hotels still carry adult movies, which is a good sign, but some in his cabinet including of course the incoming vice president are extremely anti-porn. Personally I’m not too worried, as my own site is so small and so utterly tame compared to much of what’s out there (and I’m not even sure my site rises to the level of porn, pun intended, although technically I’d say that’s what is, with adjectives like “fetish” and “kink” also applying.) But with the new political climate it will be interesting to see if anything changes or not in the coming years.

Back in August I also wrote a longer blog post about depression and my own struggles with it off and on over the years, and for the most part I received a lot of really supportive responses, especially from people who struggle with the condition themselves or who have family members or friends who do. There were also a few responses along the lines of, “Oh, just snap out of it. You’re Sandra Gibbons, you have nothing to be depressed about, you’re awesome!” Which is both a compliment, sort of, and also a little annoying. Of course it’s true in the scheme of things I have nothing at all to be depressed about, which just shows how persistent and free from rational thinking it can be when the dark moods do hit. It is kind of like telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking. Well, yes, of course…

I was also impressed and moved by the stories of some celebrities who “came out” about their own struggles with depression, such as Selena Gomez recently. And the one that really blew me away was Bruce Springsteen, who as one writer put it is so macho that you can’t imagine him ever struggling with low moods, which stereotypically seem like an affliction of awkward introverts. And yet apparently it’s been a weight he’s carried off and on for decades, compounded by the shadow of his father who was deeply troubled in his later years. His case is both inspiring and a little worrisome in that respect.

On the plus side I’m probably in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in my life, as I continue to chase that endorphin high in the gym. Of course I wish I were twenty years younger, but hey, you take what you can get.

Also, one of the biggest losses this year was of course seeing so many amazing musicians pass away – first Bowie, then Prince, and then two days after the election Leonard Cohen dies. That one really hit me hard and seemed a commentary on the end of this year, leaving the world a little colder. I’ll admit I didn’t know of Juan Gabriel, Mexico’s LGBT icon, but since his passing I’ve heard about him quite a bit and have seen his face on newsstands. Although never truly “out,” he still lived his own flamboyant life for decades in a culture where being gay is still a big deal.

I also have a couple friends who have had a terrible time financially this year, just barely getting by. And I’m aware of others working in the adult website business who have seen big downturns. Thankfully Trannies in Trouble is a very specialized niche, which is a good thing for me, but still I admit I’ve even seen changes in traffic in the last year or so, and I really get a sense that free sites like Pornhub and Tumblr have become a big challenge. There are just an endless amount of free images and videos out there now, and the online business does seem to be tighter nowadays, probably just an inevitable development. In any case, I plan to keep it all going for as long as I can, and I have some new ideas for the new year. And as always I’m once again looking forward to the anniversary of the site coming up in late March. It’ll be here in no time!

So it’s been that kind of year. We’re all getting through it – well, most of us, but yes, like many I’ve had better ones. Let’s just hope that 2017 is an improvement for all of us and brings some positive changes, or that at least New Year’s Eve is fun and reflective in a good way. And if 2016 has been good for you, then I hope you have an even better one next year. And as always I have to thank all the paying customers who keep my website running. I always say it, but it’s true that without you I simply could not do this. So thank you all!

I hope everyone has family or friends they can be with during the holidays, whichever ones you celebrate this season, or at least have a decent place to stay and a nice comfortable bed to sleep in where you can face the morning light. Keep the faith, whatever it may be for you. We’re all in this together. Hugs…Sandra

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TEASE, January 2017

December 21st, 2016 at 10:53 am (life in general, los angeles)

My friend Jessica just made some cute artwork for the next TEASE party, the first one of the new year, on Saturday, January 28th. If you’re in the L.A. area, come on out! It’s always a fun time with plenty of bondage going on. Here are some links with more info. and the RSVP page over on Fetlife…Hope to see you there!

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You’re All Wet!

November 23rd, 2016 at 8:10 pm (life in general, los angeles)

I’ve shot a couple fun scenes this year with Delilah tying me up and dousing me with water. We just shot a new one in the bathtub that will be posted tomorrow morning (it’ll be a little early because of Thanksgiving here in the States). I actually found it a very sexy feeling to be dressed, tied up and gagged, and then completely soaked, and it’s especially intense with a pantyhose over your head and really makes you focus on not panicking. By the end of both these scenes I was practically laughing through my gag due to the crazy intensity of it. Fun sexy times and I hope we’ll do more…

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What Are Your Favorite Scenarios? – Guest Blog from Sybil Minnelli

October 25th, 2016 at 4:03 pm (life in general)

(People sometimes tell me that I’m living the dream, but nope, it’s really Sybil Minnelli who’s out there doing it! I’m really thrilled to have my friend Sybil back for another guest blog post talking about some of her favorite scenarios and adventures…Take it away, Sybil!)

What are your favorite bondage scenarios? I thought it might be fun to share a bit on that topic. I have several with a damsel in distress theme (I know, you’re shocked!) I have a really strong cuckold fetish as well, but will save that hot topic for another time. I have been lucky to have had a lot of bondage play, but really haven’t had that many play partners, surprisingly…Most of my bondage adventures involve Jean Bardot in some way, sometimes even with Sandra as you may have seen here on Trannies In Trouble. I get to see a lot of Mistress Jean as we both live in Minneapolis and get along really well. She has sort of adopted me as her bottom/sub sister, a role which has me doing everything from studio manager to mouse wrangler to tax gurl…There’s only so much time for bondage play (hard to be a studio manager when I’m tied up!) but when the opportunities present themselves, we have a lot of fun! One of my favorite things is to tie myself up and get found by Mistress Jean while I’m in this compromised position. (Self-bondage is a bit of a touchy subject as it is so dangerous, so I will preface these stories with a recommendation not to do self-bondage unless you can get yourself out very quickly or have somebody nearby keeping an eye on you!! In fact, that is an order, ladies!!)

So with that order in mind, I continue…When I prep for bondage play, I’ll get dressed up in lingerie, a corset for sure, and sometimes a flirty skirt or dress to flash stocking tops. I like to wear heels with a tight, secure strap to make it difficult to kick them off once my ankles are tied together, and to keep Mistress Jean from tickling my feet (that only works sometimes!) My most common bondage method is to start by tying my legs together at the ankles and knees with ropes or leather straps. Then I’ll strap a ballgag or ballgag head harness on and slip on some elbow cuffs with my arms behind my back with a leather strap loosely holding the cuffs together. And then I’ll finish with binding the wrists by using a zip tie to connect two leather wrist cuffs together. For safety and quick release I either use a zip tie that I can break or have emergency scissors really close by in case I need to cut the zip tie.

I try to time my event so that I have a little struggling time before I get “surprised” by Mistress Jean coming over to the studio. When she finds me, I will immediately be in more trouble either for being naughty by 1) playing bondage games with myself, or 2) for leaving the front door open and letting myself get tied up by a burglar, or perhaps some other fantasy situation. So then she has to punish me by making my bondage tighter, inescapable and much more secure…One of the things I have always liked about Sandra’s website is that she is so good about writing up these little DiD scenarios and attaching them to her photo sets. Having a little context to go with the great bondage pics is a great combination!

Mistress Jean then gets to work on making me helpless – she’ll get the zip tie for the wrist cuffs tightened up and will take away the emergency scissors. Or she might remove the wrist cuffs and tie my wrists securely with rope. The elbow strap gets tightened up. A hogtie rope is added. And one of the things Jean has been doing a lot lately when I wear the head harness is to add a rope from the ring at the top of the head harness, pulling my head back by attaching the rope to the ankle rope. I commented recently how she has been tying my head back a lot after hogtying me, and she said, “I can’t help but tie that rope to that ring on the head harness when I see it!” So deliciously cruel she is. :-)

After making me helpless, she might just leave me while she goes about her business at the studio and other times she’ll beat me with a paddle or crop or whatever she can find nearby. If the Mistress is merciful, perhaps the vibrator comes into play at some point…No matter what she decides to do at that point, I find it incredibly satisfying to be under her control and have no way to get loose on my own.

I love to do this when we go to events as well, and when I do, Jean will often send out a ransom note after she has found and tied me with no escape, which brings other people over to embarrass me and/or do whatever they want. By the way, the ransom has never been paid, LOL. Someday I fantasize a variation of this DiD scenario with Sandra… We’d be finishing a photoshoot at some event like FetishCon, head back to my room and have Sandra show up a few minutes later saying, “Oh hey, Sybil, I wanted to know if you could help me with something before my next shoot.” And then she would somehow talk me into getting tied up yet one more time, with the intention of leaving me there to suffer. But then before she can leave, Jean appears and suddenly Sandra is being tied up as well, giving Jean a couple trannies to play with…

The photos here are pretty spontaneous, mostly from camera phones, so please excuse the raw quality! But they are kinda fun and give a peek into the silly things I do. Pic descriptions: a couple play photos from Bardot Studios in Minneapolis, tied at Fetish Con where I was “jumped” by Jean’s slave “The Jeffrey”, pic from the floor at Fetish Con with Quinn Demand last August, and then bound in a Fetish Factory hotel room (note the tiara sarcastically placed on my head, lol), and two pics from the Texas Latex Party where I was found by Jean, tied up and then assaulted by Jean and a model whose face I obscured a bit since I didn’t ask her if I could post this! Hope you all enjoy this and will get some inspiration to chase and share your own Damsel in Distress adventures. :-)

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Puffy Shoulders Are Always a Good Idea!

October 20th, 2016 at 11:03 am (life in general)

I’m looking forward to posting a new set of pictures later tonight with this cute dress. It was a fun shoot and features more of Delilah’s trademark strict bondage, finishing up with me stuck in a closet, bound, gagged, and pantyhose hooded. I just wish the puffy-shoulders look would come back in style! :-)

6 Comments

TEASE Pre-Halloween Party for 2016

September 24th, 2016 at 11:20 am (life in general, los angeles)

I’m looking forward to our Pre-Halloween Party next month on Saturday, October 22nd. My friend Jessica put together this cute flyer to help promote it. If you’re in the L.A. area, come on out. It’s gonna be a fun one!

4 Comments

Monica Belle in Houndstooth

September 22nd, 2016 at 7:01 pm (life in general, los angeles)

It’s always a really fun time shooting with Monica Belle. She’s a blast and is always really into it. She has this adorable voice, so I always make a point of getting her talking on the phone or chatting when we shoot video. She can be both super sexy and hilarious when she’s riffing and improvising. And with her presence and personality, which really comes through in the pictures, I suspect she’d make a great dominatrix too! We got to shoot this set of pictures earlier at the start of the summer and I think it’s turned out to be one of my favorites from all the things we’ve shot together. And a nice stroke of luck, it looks like she’ll be back in town around Halloween so we’re already planning to do another one. Stay tuned for more!

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Vivian Chen Returns

September 21st, 2016 at 1:48 pm (life in general, los angeles)

The recent update with Vivian in her latex dress and corset has been a very popular one, not surprising as she looked amazing as ever when we shot these last year. That same day we also shot some pics of her in this sexy red dress, which I found just as hot. It’ll be a while till I post these, probably at the end of the year but it’s going to be a good one, where she ends up with a red ballgag strapped into her mouth and then finally hogtied and vetwrap gagged over the ballgag to make it even more strenuous. I couldn’t resist posting a few teaser shots, with the rest coming later (I know, I’m bad; there are no gag shots in the red dress.) ;-) Hope you enjoy!

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Expresso Depresso

August 30th, 2016 at 3:33 pm (life in general)

(I’ve talked about depression before on this blog, but for a while now I’ve thought about writing something a bit more revealing. Thanks to my friend Treiops Treyfid for the illustration and for letting me post some of his paintings to go along with this. This post won’t interest everyone so I won’t be offended if you skip it. I’ll be back to posting about bondage soon.)

“I just wish I could live your life, Sandra.”

I get emails like this from time to time. It’s flattering and I understand where they’re coming from. I can dress up whenever I want to, I go to the TEASE parties and occasional fetish events, I take lots of sexy pictures, I’ve been tied up a lot, and I get to tie up lots of other gurls – it can be pretty great. And there’s also another side to my story. I’m a depressive. Thankfully I’ve never been the kind of depressed person who can’t get out of bed in the morning and carry on. But it’s been an off and on struggle going on close to forty years now. I was always a shy and nervous kid but it really became an issue in my late teens when I spent some time in a hospital at the urging of a therapist. I can’t say that that visit helped one way or the other but the place itself wasn’t nearly as awful as it sounds. But that was long ago. Nowadays they keep an eye on you for a couple days, give you some Prozac, and send you home.

Obviously there’s a big stigma around depression and mental health issues. The subject makes a lot of people uncomfortable and the attitude is often, “Why aren’t you over that already?” or “Hey, just think happy thoughts!” Most people compare depression to the occasional day-to-day blahs that we all feel, but it’s usually darker than that. A therapist I used to see described it as a loss of vitality and pleasure in being alive. So I’m a little nervous about posting this. Although I’ve never kept my challenges with depression a big secret, I’ve also never posted anything this candid before.

Like I say, most of the time my depression is not the severe variety; it’s probably more like a low-level dysthymia, although it may be a little less constant than that condition (though some weeks I wonder). I exercise a lot to keep in shape for when I dress, but also for the emotional lift that it gives me, and I know I would feel much worse if I didn’t do that. It still sucks, though, and I often carry around this empty feeling in my chest, a sense of things, and of me, being not well, sometimes almost a physical ache. I can’t count the number of times I’ll be doing something, even getting ready to go out to a party, and I’ll think, “There it is, right below my heart.” Of course there are times when things are going well and it fades into the background. But it always seems to be hanging around and waiting, especially in times of stress, like a familiar but exhausting friend who just keeps dropping by.

When you’re really down in it, it can make your world very small and very self absorbed. It’s isolating and lonely and yet makes you avoid human contact, which could actually help. Almost all of us have one or two areas in our life that stymie us. It might be alcoholism or drug addiction, or food, or emotional outbursts, or cutting. Although being a crossdresser who is into bondage has come with its challenges, it was never the big challenge. For me it’s always been depression and its closely-related cousins, social anxiety and low self-esteem.

It does beg the question, am I depressed because I’m a crossdresser? When I was young the shame and self-hatred around sex and gender did make me feel very alone and unsure, but over time I became more comfortable with who I am, especially when I came out of the closet in my late thirties. I used to think I was “just” a crossdresser for many years, but as I’ve gotten older I would say I probably do have a mild touch of gender dysphoria too. If being trans occurs on a spectrum, say, from one to ten, then I’m probably a two, with a vague dissatisfaction and sadness about being born male but not so strong as to ever seriously consider transitioning. Still, I suspect any amount of dysphoria probably adds an extra layer of stress to one’s life. How could it not?

So the dressing and the issues around gender may play a part in my depression, but I think there were also other issues – family issues, feelings of loss, loneliness, and a sense of not fitting in. I was a good student but school rarely felt like a safe or fun place. My older brother had an especially hard time of it and was picked on a lot. Seeing what he endured taught me that it was best not to draw too much attention to myself, probably an inherently depressing way too live. My brother, though, turned out to be totally straight and non-kinky. I on the other hand, well, I still have occasional sexual fantasies about Tom Cassidy, one of my childhood tormentors from middle school. I’d love to have rough bondage-flavored sex with him if I had the chance, as either a top or a bottom – it would be so hot! He was a good-looking jock back then, though now he’s probably just a tired-out middle manager with a beer gut.

(Continued below…)

In addition to some challenging early years, which we all have to varying degrees, I probably also had some biological sensitivity to stress that made things hard and may have predisposed me to low moods. I was the kind of kid who once burst out crying and brought a small neighborhood dance recital to a halt because something about the way the girls’ skirts flared out when they spun around freaked me out. Yeah, their skirts. Another time a long flowing scarf draped around a paper-maché sun I saw on the Captain Kangaroo show sent me screaming and crying for my Mommy. Something about flowing fabrics was just really upsetting.

I took Prozac and Wellbutrin for several years but only got moderate relief from them and they gave me typical side effects, excessive sweating and low sex drive. My brother has taken medication for many years with a mostly better response, and my Dad took pills at least once that I know of for anxiety. The whole question of the placebo effect and how these pills really work, though, is controversial, and I’ve since read so much about the drugs that I don’t really have as much faith in them anymore, although that’s not to take away the good they do for a lot of people. But taking the drugs, to paraphrase Dan Savage, is kind of like Tinkerbell – you gotta believe or they’re likely not going to be as effective for you.

I’ve never been actively suicidal but like most depressives I’ve had fleeting thoughts of death hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I even remember having those thoughts one morning as a nine-year-old when life just felt like too much. In a way they’re a perverse reassurance, a kind of “what if?” in case things were to get really bad. But barring illness or a freak accident I hope to stick around for a long time. Robin Williams’ case, though, makes it clear that it could happen to anyone. I think in some cases of painful chronic illness suicide might make sense, but in most cases I see it as a kind of temporary madness, where if you had gotten through the crisis alive you would have carried on till the next one and then the next one after that. In cases of severe clinical depression those crises can be closely spaced together.

So although I’ve never had plans to off myself, I’ll also never own a gun because I know the risks too well. Statistically, about fifteen percent of depressed people finally end up as suicides. My father, who was very sick in his old age, used to love to talk about killing himself the last few years of his life, and he bought a handgun just to have around. Thankfully when he died a few years ago my Mom hid his bullets and he died from natural causes. I do miss him but I remember being so relieved when I got the news, knowing finally that it wasn’t by his own hand. He could be charming and funny, and he could be self-absorbed and exasperating. Would he have gone through with it? I don’t know, but I don’t think he ever understood that it was disturbing for us to hear him talk about how he might “just leave” if things got bad enough.

Some of the worst moments can be waking up at three AM, when my brain likes to tell me that the future will likely be very bleak indeed. I practice some cognitive techniques in order to not get swept up in my thoughts so much, although something about those wee hours can bring out the darkness for anyone. But depression can also have a weird appeal and even pleasure, like slipping under a pile of warm blankets. Victor Hugo famously described melancholy, a mild form of depression, as the pleasure that can be felt in sadness. And from Henry Rollins: “I’ll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.”

Sometimes when I feel desperately low I’ve even tried silly things like Ally McBeal-inspired “smile therapy” or standing in front of the mirror and striking heroic poses. And the embarrassing thing is that sometimes such dumb maneuvers can actually make you feel better. Other times, nothing. But there’s this common belief that we should be able to lift our mood by force of will at any given time. Mild emotions of course can sometimes be influenced by thoughts or actions, but not always. And the stronger and more persistent a mood is, the harder it is to budge. But many people still view depression as weakness or a character flaw. If it is then I’m pretty damn flawed.

I sometimes jokingly call myself a “lifestyle depressive.” Some people don’t really have a depressive personality, and when they go through a bad spell they get through it and bounce back without any long-term effects. Others have a few depressive episodes and over time it colors their personality and makes future episodes more likely. Or maybe looking back they can see gloomy and fearful episodes as a child that in retrospect seem to be a sign of what lay ahead. Statistically, though, once you’ve had three or four major depressive episodes then you’re probably in the club for life (congratulations) and you can expect to be called on to attend future meetings from time to time. At this point it can become a default mental style and they give you the Eeyore sweatshirt.

If you can relate to what I’m saying, well, I’m sorry because depression sucks the joy out of life. Of course I’m still able to have fun, sometimes lots of fun, and there are sweet moments when I see beyond it and the future looks possible. Therapist Richard O’Connor, who wrote one of the most clear-eyed books I’ve read on the subject, compares depression to diabetes or alcoholism, conditions that have to be managed over the course of one’s life. Thankfully, taking bondage pictures is one activity that usually gives me a lift, even though I often get a little touch of nerves beforehand. So I have my good days and my bad days, and I have reminders and things written down to help me, things I do to cope and get by. And I’ll keep my gym membership for life.

Some days I feel hopeful, other days I don’t. But I’m determined not to be defeated by it.

Thanks for letting me share…Sandra

21 Comments

Manhattan Mini-Storage

August 12th, 2016 at 1:07 pm (life in general)

I had to laugh when I saw this photo over on Facebook, taken by Betty Lautest from France on a recent visit to the States. Very clever :-) Thanks, Betty!

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Back-to-Back Sybil Videos!

July 20th, 2016 at 5:48 pm (life in general)

It just so happened that I was able to post two videos with my friend Sybil Minnelli two weeks in a row, and I really enjoyed both of them! The first one was an old video from several years ago that I set aside and basically forgot about, but I found the footage really exciting when I recently came across it again. It features the fabulous Jean Bardot as a lovedoll who comes to life and dominates Sybil, and the second one is from last year at FetishCon 2015 where I got to tease and tickle the poor gurl. I’m hoping we’ll get to shoot again later this year and do some more. Here’s a few framegrabs if you haven’t been over on the paysite recently – Hope you enjoy!

2 Comments

Sandra In Trouble

July 10th, 2016 at 3:49 pm (life in general, los angeles)

My friend TT just did a nice redesign on my old “Sandra in Trouble” webpage. I really love this retro magazine-inspired look that he came up with. The page is basically just a listing of my links – my main site and my profile on several social media sites. The old design was very cool at the time, something that a talented web-designer in Italy named Enrico came up with but it was time to do a makeover and this one is much more up-to-date. It almost makes me want to make an actual magazine like this!

4 Comments

Sissy Captions

June 3rd, 2016 at 4:29 pm (life in general, los angeles)

Someone sent me the link to this pic over on Fetlife and I found it pretty amusing. I know some people would be annoyed to see their picture turned into a sissy caption, but I kinda love it. I’d actually love to make a special gallery on my site that’s all unauthorized sissy captions with various pics from Trannies In Trouble. So if you see any out there send me the link. Gotta collect them all ;-)

1 Comment

Duct Taped in My Green Skirt by Delilah

June 2nd, 2016 at 5:43 pm (life in general, los angeles)

Delilah and I had a fun time last year hanging out and shooting these pics. I was seriously taped up and going nowhere and she took loads of pictures. I just posted the full set over on the paysite, preview shots here, along with a rather naughty story of what drinking too much can lead to. Pics here are full-sized, just scaled down in the browser. Hope you enjoy!

6 Comments

Out in the Mountains off Angeles Crest Highway, around 2009

May 30th, 2016 at 12:19 pm (life in general, los angeles)

Well, it’s been another walk down memory lane. I’ve been posting some older pics on Twitter recently from some fun shoots with my ol’ friend Chainguy (Paul Logan), that we did in the mountains above L.A. back at the close of the ‘Aughts. Here they are plus a few more (I just scaled them down for the blog layout but if you save them they’ll be full sized, which, granted, wasn’t that big back then!) These were a blast to shoot, until finally the place burned down in the big summer fires one year. It’s probably back to normal by now but I haven’t been there in years. Fun times – hope you enjoy!

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