Rollback from the spanking community flush

A-Non Jenn (thanks for commenting) asks was it rude, pushy commenters that drove me away? No, not at all! I’m fine with a bit of polemic and well able to handle it.

My time off was more taking time to think and focus, after the first blush of spanking community-love has worn off. Specifically, I’ve been juggling the injunction to be “accepting” vs. the need to make judgements and draw some lines, which after all is what authority figures do.

Let’s start here: We’ve all had the experience of googling spanking and, “oh wow, there are hundreds of thousands of people out there just like me. I thought I was the only one.”

Alright, so that was a decade ago or more. This for me evolved into a long phase opening up to what other people do, even if it was not arousing. “They do it like that? With that? Well, could be worth a try.” I still actively keep an open mind.

But now I find there is also rolling back. A return to home terrain. For me, the rolling back was more or less these steps.

1. BDSM. This was never a struggle, to be honest. I’m a spanking purist. We live in different worlds, and I wish all you BDSMers all the best, but, see you later. (However, I did take away the practice of pussy spanking — with a good piece of leather — just enough to get her wriggling and gasping. That’s something for a future post, after I’ve written more about foreplay.)

2. Spanking as cloak for abusers. Also a not-struggle: and this is what much of this blog has been about up to now — pushing back against physical or emotional abusers, who are acting out immature rage against women, or the world, or whatever, under the cloak of alternative sexuality. I say “run and don’t look back.” Don’t confuse abuse with meaningful, structuring, adult spanking, which is fundamentally affirming in orientation.

3. Spanking pornography. I’ve never been a porn kind of guy. Maybe it’s the realism I crave, or maybe I just can’t bear the atrocious acting. I’m not puritanical about porn — I believe it should be legal and all that. The problems are twofold. First, it’s always exploitative, even if the model is paid; second it’s always commercial in the sense of having to pander to mainstream tastes. Turning off the stream means I don’t have to see any more headmaster-schoolgirl scenarios. Yay.

4. Spanking for punishment. This one is a struggle, and here, to be honest, I’m divided. Because we’ve all had punishment fantasies — I’ll share some of mine in future posts. But let’s be analytically clear: the notion of punishment is what “allows” spanking to happen. It legitimises the desire to strike another person, or be struck. But the desire and the legitimisation don’t always line up, often leading to complete hypocrisy.

Put this another way: is she really being spanked because she dinged the car, or because you want to spank her? Answer that and you see the hypocrisy. Not to mention infantalisation, if this becomes the way two adults manage their lives.

So I’m starting to see punishment-oriented relationships as diminishing to both parties and a barrier to real co-adult development; but acting out punishment fantasies as very much okay.

It will take a few posts to put this idea forward more fully. Forgive me for being a bit humourless about all this. Not my style at all! To make up I offer a yet one more pic from my favourite picture site, not least because the scenes here embody 100% Topness and bottomness without need for  recourse to “you’ve been a naughty girl” to make it okay.

Getting Bach in the Saddle

It has been a very long time since I last posted. I could yammer on about pressure of work and life, but in fact the real reason… as has become apparent to me… is I’ve had to go away and think about what I want to say. Or, more exactly whether it’s worth saying. Do I wanted to dialog with the spanking world or just, as it were, think and do ‘my own thing’?

But, I’ve been scrolling through my mailbox (artofauthority at and I find again some intensely rich discussions which make making time for this worthwhile. There is intelligent life out there.

To these people, I want to reflect how my thinking has advanced over the past 18 months, as well as change focus slightly to talk a little less about spanking and a little more about how it fits in with everything else, or at least, how I see it. Although this remains a one-core-topic blog, my aim is to let in some more of the rest of me, particularly as has to do with philosophy, policy, and the arts.

So here goes: today I want to talk about Johan Sebastian Bach. For no urgent reason other than he happens to be playing through my iTunes. (It’s the Cantata BWV80 if you’re interested.) What I mean is, I want to talk about order and structure and control and limits, and the productivity of limits, because this is what High Classical is about. It’s about imposing a tight framework on things, and then seeing how far you can bend the rules without breaking them.

Any of this sound familiar?

This, among other things, is what makes Bach and similar enduringly interesting while the pop of yesterday is just, well, yesterday’s pop. (But don’t get me wrong, I’m a faithful fan of good rock, blues, and jazz too!)

Over the next few weeks I’m going to put forward an epistemology of spanking — if you’ll allow that little self-aggrandisement — that is about structure and the productivity of limits; and push back against the “punishment” camp which overwhelms and degrades the space (due to paucity of understanding of the alternative, methinks, as well as lazy conformance to the zeitgeist of pornographers.)

All that and more to come…

The life of the mind is sexy, even if it’s inadvertent

So, I was scrolling through some pictures and couldn’t help from pausing over this one:

A nice girl, with a lovely bottom. Just another photo, right?

What got my juices flowing is the depth of communication created by the poster in the background. The poster itself can be seen in more detail here, but briefly it is the famous 1911 US socialist “Pyramid of Capitalist System,” showing how capitalism “really works”. (Whatever your politics, its incontrovertible that a handful benefit wildly while most grind through life worrying about their mortgage and health care, and maybe that’s not the best way to organise the world?)

Anyway, the point is the poster in the background changes everything in the foreground. Suddenly it is no longer just another girl showing her bum, but a really quite complex musing on exploitation and choice. Because of course, nudity is political. Who keeps their clothes on, who takes them off, who is the viewer and who the viewed, is all about power.

Women’s organisations have, with mixed success, drawn parallels between exploitation of workers and of women — mixed because, submission and proto-exploitation is a very common erotic choice. Desire is mostly politically incorrect and all that. Also (let’s avoid naivete) the undressed women is not powerless. She has quite significant control over the owner of testosterone and can shape him to her will.

With all that in mind, suddenly there is a lot going on in this picture for me. A statement on many levels. And as one who finds thinking women sexy, I find myself fantasizing what else this woman has to say? Yes, I drool over her cheeks, but an interesting head makes them twice as nice.

It’s likely this is all my construction — the poster probably just what was there in the background when some leering photographer snapped pictures of just another model. But, there is the worker’s cap to make the link, so maybe I’m right…?

Quelques grammes de finesse dans un monde de brut

Halleluya. I found a spanking video clip worth reposting. Yeah, I know I’m a bit of a snob. I don’t mean to be. I’m fine if amateur stuff is, well, amateurish. That’s charming. But when professional (for sale) work runs the dreary teacher, daddy, naughty schoolgirl or wife clichés over and over, well. Yawn.

Now contrast this, a real scene somehow one feels, with a crackling dialogue, not least because it contains meta-narrative — reflecting on the process during the process (but without spoiling it. In fact enhancing it with layers of mutual perception and irony and self-regard between the particpants). It’s a complete breath of fresh air.

Need I mention that he’s dressed to her equivalence (ref post on this), and gives somehow just perfectly weighted swats on her … totally, mesmerisingly delicious, I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven bottom. Of course, he will have to step it up a gear, but all in good time. One of the great things about this scene is that he has things just quietly simmering and could hold it there for a long, long time, letting tolerance and arousal build without forcing it. There’s a great confidence in being able to do that.

I have not the foggiest who these people are (are they famous?) nor if there is a longer version of this clip and where it is to be had. My ignorance, not sure if this is good or bad! Judging by the views at Dailymotion it’s been around at least three years. I’d appreciate knowing.

Again my Top sensibilities are expressed (in mirror form)

There’s a great post from Finding Sara, where she very funnily describes her minor brush with a cop, finishing up with this observation: “I am an executive. I run companies. I make money. I boss lots of people around! But you know what, faced with a dominant man in a position of authority, and dressed in pink on my way to the fabric store, I dropped into my submissive persona at his first ‘Excuse me M’am’…
“Most times I slip in and out of my various personas and roles in my life without much conscious thought or awareness, but sometimes I step back and wonder how the same woman can be such a ditz and a savvy business woman, a boss and a submissive wife simultaneously. I can negotiate and close deals, and then lose my (unregistered) vehicle in the parking lot all on the same day. I really don’t know what to make of it and I am not sure if all women feel this way or if it has to do with the fact that I have very different sides of me that create this walking contradiction that is me.”

I can totally relate, but from the other side. My role as a Top in anything but monolithic, and I’m not always in “authority mode”, nor do I want to be. That would be so, well, unidimensional. My life is many roles, some authoritative, others egalitarian. I have times when I need to be held, times when I look to be gently guided. I have worked under women. I walk around the office and have no fantasies of dominating them. An then something happens, a look, a flash of naughtiness, a bit of sass, or (less fun) a problem or crisis arises, and I can instantly kick into authority mode. We are many of us (those willing to admit it, feel it and explore it) multi-dimensional, aka “walking contradictions”.

Spanking-discipline is interesting, I think, because it provides a clear position in the shifting sands of our (both Tops and bottoms) everyday relationship with authority. But no sooner has it passed than the clarity fades. This is good because it allows our other dimensions their share of voice. Therefore to spank again. 🙂

Love-hate relationship with the belt, cont.

It’s very common and understandable that spankees have a love/hate relationship with the instruments of their persuasion. What’s less fully articulated is spankers’ ambiguities towards their implements. In my ongoing quest to interrogate the mind of a Top – for myself most of all – I offer a thought or two about the belt.

First let me say that I’m set thinking on this by a great blog “This is How it Feels” by Poppy St Vincent, where she reposts the following (Real Spankings) picture and says:

“This is how it feels when he takes his belt off and you know he is going to use it on your bottom. It is a very scary feeling and it makes you want to curl up but you also want a cuddle and to sit on his lap but the problem is that half of you wants to run away for miles and miles and miles and the other half wants to reach for his strong arms and snuggle down in them so tight that no one other than him will ever even know where you are.”

It is a great picture! (For my taste I find Real Spankings a bit “obvious”. Yes, high on production values, but low on originality or insight. From what I’ve seen, from a distance, over the years it’s always a bit like a high school production — good technique, yet limited in mind and therefore somehow always pedestrian.) But, anyway, the point is that this picture escapes that. The push-pull of her emotions is uniquely captured.

Here’s the good and bad of the belt for me. The bad is in the ‘I’m-gonna-tan-yer-hide’-belt-removal which is inescapably (possibly in every culture!) associated with low-life scum. The image conjures the dumb swine with a beer in one hand and a fag in one other, stomach flopping out his shirt, who whose first resort to the problem of his crumbling authority is to yank his belt from it loops.

Each to his/her own – but, personally, this is an image I run from.

The good in the belt is that it is a great implement. It has the advantage of being part of the everyday rather than bespoke “kinky ware.” Also, assuming it is wide enough, it also provides a great whack at relatively little bottom damage. I find with a belt I can give a good, hot, bottom-thrashing, while knowing she’s actually … really… fine.

All dressed up and one more thing to do

This picture* puts me in mind of one of my enduring favourites authority-lifestyle situations.

It goes like this: we are about to go out to a dinner party, or the opera, or somewhere nice. We’re both dresssed up. Just before we depart, she brings me the cane or paddle and readies herself — just like in the picture — for a crisp spanking.

It happens over the dress. Not a heavy session. Stiff enough for her to notice it all evening, but at the same time something she can well absorb without falling out of her hair-do or smudging her makeup. (Ed note: I don’t like heavy makeup.) Then we’re out the door.

Why at this exact moment? She’s looking glamorous, wearing something alluring. I find women particularly attractive in evening dress, doubly-so at the beginning of an evening when anticipation is running high. But there’s more. At this moment we stand at the threshold of the private-public divide. Once out there she’s her own woman in every way and I support that. In anticipation, this little moment is a grounding — a reminder of who she is in other ways, what her enduring structures are.

It’s erotic that, as we go about our evening, she has red stripes on her bottom that only the two of us know about. Our secret is so deliciously … near. And yes, I wouldn’t resist a subtle swat now and then to restoke the fire.

(* picture is from Girl’s Boarding School, free included in its ubiquitous wall-to-wall marketing.)

Spanking is sometimes a figure/ground study for me

Here’s a picture. It comes from (of course) the one and only Red Charls. Who else dramatises and photgraphs the D/s experience so expertly?

I have a complicated relationship with this image. (Therein I call it art.) I look at it one way and I see a defensless, nude woman under the rod of oppression. Then I look at it again and I see a perfect alignment of wills, a deep yearning for discipline, a most caring hand of authority.

One way; then the other way. Back and forward. My ambivalence, of course. My struggle with all this.

This is just like the figure / ground studies we all know. Look at this picture. Do you see the vase or do you see the faces? Vase. Faces. Vase. Faces. Back and forth.

What am I saying (other than the banal, how we look at things affects what we see)?

I suppose I’m really conscious of how “so-very-right” and “so-very-wrong” are remarkably two sides of the same coin, and how it is quite hard to get that coin to reliably land right side up. It’s not just a question of seeing the postive. It is about putting the positive there for all to see.

New theme, same old ritual fascination

Well, we all need a shakeup from time to time.  I’ve gone for a new look. It will be, I fear, a bit of “old wine in new bottles”, but sometimes old wine is the best. I’ve also been – how can I put it – nurturing my creative juices for a while, in other words neglecting this blog. Yes, over-busy at work, but also trying to decide what to do with it, that is, thinking through whether I want to write and place fiction here or just keep this as an ideas sandbox. I’ve decided to write. That’s the new wine.

I’ve also been thinking about whether to allow other people’s fiction to appear here – I’m thinking of someone who has been sending me the most amazing stories and is happy for them to appear on this site, specifically choosing me as an “ideal dom”. I’m very humbled by this, er, award, and if only she didn’t live in New Zealand! But anyway… on the one hand, this would allow a “submissive” perspective in — there are many other, better, forums for this. But on the other it would also showcase the kind of highly articulate feminist submissive perspective that is very attractive to, well, me. To repost it would say something about the thinking dominant and what it likes…

‘Only as hard as my mind and body need it that day to react’

I liked this take on severity: “It might come as a surprise to some of you, and it actually a little bit of surprise to me as well, but I absolutely do not have a severity fetish. Some people say I can take a lot. And the truth is yes, I can, but I don’t really want to. It’s a little bit like “I have been there, I have done that”. I much more prefer lighter play that I can savour and enjoy than hard play that I can only survive. As far as severity goes I need it only as hard as my my mind and body need it that day to “react”. – this from Kami Robertson’s On the Way of Exploration.

What is like about this is it reframes the “how-hard” question in terms of a means-to-an-end, not an end in itself. I think a lot of people somehow buy into the idea that doing it harder is to be strived for, it shows more dominance (or submission). It is an end to be aspired to.

(I don’t think spanking harder shows more dominance at all. Real dominance is mental-emotional, to be found in resolution, courage, forthrightness, etc., but that’s another story.)

The real goal in spanking — for me and I suspect most people — is not to do it harder. It  is to reach the emotional and erotic heights, and achieve personal closeness and alignment. A spanking needs to be hard enough to get “there”, but no harder.

For me this isolates a key source of frustration correctly: if how hard he needs it to be to get “there” and how hard she needs it to be to get “there” are not in alignment, there will be endemic frustration and, although tolerances can build I don’t see any solution to that incompatibility.

Speaking for myself, I need it to be fairly hot and hard to get there. A good hand spanking or paddle whacking, or strapping: enough strokes so her bottom is genuinely bouncing around and a decidely hot pink. (If she crumbles in the middle of this and ends the event, I am very frustrated indeed.) But if I get that, then I’m “there” and to go on would be pointless and a turn-off.

‘Consenting adults in private’, redux

I’ve been thinking about is whether its possible to come up with a better minimum code of ethical interaction for spanking (and D/s) relationships than the old standard: every practice is okay as long as it’s between “consenting adults in private.”

Consenting Adults in Private evolved from the gay rights world, and may not be quite right for D/s. It is more than apparent that a lot of unethical-by-any-measure (genuinely exploititatve, cruel) behaviour goes on behind the fig leaves of consent and privacy.

I’m greatly in favour of D/s broadly interpreted. I’m not in favour of real cruelty and exploitation (and I feel D/s is messed up by people who are cruel and abusive for real.)

I’m not moralising, nor trying to reign anyone in, nor get anyone else to do what I do. I absolutely appreciate the diversity of practice and opinion in our field. It is all about self- and other-exploration, so there must be freedom to explore. But I don’t think one can say: “don’t judge what I do in my house and I won’t judge what you do in yours”.

Think of it this way: despotic and criminal countries with human rights abuses galore always say: “don’t interfere in our internal affairs, and we won’t interfere in yours.” But in fact the abuses of children, women, prisoners, p.o.w.’s, disabled people, mentally handicapped, people of colour, gays and lesbians, and so on has forced charters such as the Internation Declaration on Human Rights, the Geneva Convention, and so on, which precisely say: “it’s not all subjective, cultural, relative. There is a basic human standard of behaviour ethical nations adhere to.” By the way it’s worth reading the Declaration of Human Rights, which can be found at this link.

I wouldn’t mind this kind of charter for the spanking D/s world. Something everyone could point to, which would glady tolerate the healthy diversity of interpretation and practice, but also flag real abuse.

So what might this look like? Here’s a beginning list:

1. Adults. No D/s interaction with anyone under the national ‘age of consent’. Note, I’m not saying 18. If the age of consent is 16, that means D/s is allowed. If that’s not okay, the age of consent should be raised. (Natural parents spanking children in a moderate way is no problem.)

2. Duty of care and consistency. The dominant must have the submissive’s interests at heart. This is hard to pin down – definitions vary – but I think we all know when it’s not there. There is a duty on the punisher to make sure the punished is not grossly physically harmed. This extends to mental health too. The rules can be strict, and the consequences severe, but the submissive should feel mentally secure, not subject to random witholding of the relationship or other ‘mind games’.

3. Absolute limits on the strike zone. What’s tricky about spanking is it’s hitting, and hitting is also the essence of abuse. We resolve this by saying some zones are smackable, others not. But, you might say, ‘what if she agrees to be punched in the face as part of her discipline?’ This would pose a theoretical problem, but in all my years I’ve never seen it nor heard of it. It can be safely dismissed. There are standard body areas, the bottom obviously (but perhaps also pussy, legs, and back too, according to preference) that can ‘belong’ to the Dominant (subject to 2 above.) But that doesn’t mean he should start the session with a few ‘backhands’, nor that she should feel this is permissible.

4. Freedom of association. This is the consent point. But I don’t think consent is the right concept because in D/s non-consent or partial-consent or overcoming-of-non-consent is intrinsic to the act for many. So a clearer principle is freedom of association. This means that a person should be free to walk away (physically, mentally, socially, financially) without fear of retribution.

5. Private. As with all sexuality and nudity, people who are offended or not interested have a right not to be confronted in a public place. The reverse applies too. Nobody should invade your privacy (subject to 1-4 above).

Think of it this way: the abuser is one who denies freedom of association (you leave me and I’ll kill you, etc); will hit his trusty sub any old how, possibly even in public; and disregard her actual, real physical and mental well-being. My little code of practice is a straight reversal of what troubles me, and I think, troubles most honourable people.

Anyway, I suppose I’m whistling in the wind. There will never be an International Charter of D/s Practice. But it maybe worth checking whether these minimums apply to you.

The hairbrush, just the thing for a knotty girl

That headline is a lousy pun and I only allow myself  to use it because it captures how I see the hairbrush: as metaphor.

A hairbrush – a good, large size, hard wood hairbrush – is the perfect spanking implement not just because it makes the bottom wriggle and squirm, and sizzle like a flapjack, but because it embodies metaphor of alignment and control.

Turn it one side and you have the bristles, for combing out knots and tangles. Sometimes you have to be quite brisk, with long, firm strokes, to master the tresses. It makes the hair shine. Unbrushed hair is … dull.

Turn it the other way and you have the flat side, for combing out knots in the whole girl. Sometimes you have to be quite brisk, with long, firm strokes, to manage the tangles of insubordination. You brush out the nautiness and haughtiness. It realigns her. It makes her shine.

It’s perfect.

What a girl wants

Because of my just-no-time-for-tv life, I have no idea what ‘Glee’ is or who this particular character is. (As a media junkie of a sort, that feels weird.) But I had to smile at this little piece of deadpan double-entendre, which gives me hope that are still a few real minds at work, gnawing away at the margins, pushing back the puritan disneyfication of our screens.

Alas, no, I don’t know what happened next. Would be happy to be filled in … 😉

I picked this up on the gloriously titled blog: ‘A rambling editorial on life as a grown-up. a mother and a submissive wife: Life at a Kinky House

The gruff and the beautiful, once again the hands say it all

I’m a ‘hands addict’ because hands communicate so much. Strength, power, vulnerability, reaching out, exposing, protecting, caring. Once again hats off to Red Charls for being the site-of-sites for pictures that talk. Or walk the talk. Or walk the ‘no-more-talk’ …. you know what I mean 😉

The downhill run to après-spank

Well its snow season and the best way to deal with it is downhill at pace. Time to ski! So anyway, on a lift between somewhere and somewhere, huddled against the wind, I’m given to considering how skiiing and spanking are similar…

First there is the can we or cant we, should we or should’t we phase. Is the snow okay, are the runs safe and passable? Do we want to do this at all?

Then, do we want to do the black diamond run, or maybe just the green circle? It all depends on experience and risk-tolerance.

Then there is the clothing and equipment phase, getting it out, getting it on. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, but it does immediately facilitate a transition of mind to the moment at hand.

Then there is the ski lift, ramping up anticipation. Something is going to happen and you’re going to it, but you’re not there yet. On you go, relentlessly upward and you can’t pull out now (well you can, but not without a lot of unnecessary fuss, and anyway you’re not going to). Butterflies in the tummy (sometimes).

Then, the action. The pure glistening downhill run of desire. Twists and turns. Changes of pace. The body in motion. Fast, glorious expression. Danger too and maybe a few scrapes. You are in many ways alone out there, in your own head.

And then, the après-ski and connecting back to civilization. The familiar gentle hubub, a toasty fire (sorry), relaxation into the warm balm of the other. A feeling of safety and security, and knowledge of a job well done and a day well spent!