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 gmail.com) 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…

A real and lasting impact

I’ve written previously about the role of bottom marks, how they function something like tattoos or face paint, as a lasting (for a while) statement of identification and alignment with the authority figure. As a top, they are indisputable evidence of where you’ve been and the impact you have had. Not every spanking should leave marks, but when it happens it lengthens the spanking consciousness and allows her or forces her to take it wherever she goes. They are a physical manifestations of a state of mind.

But you don’t get marks without pain. Now spanking must be painful to a degree. Certainly if it can be laughed off then it is ineffective if not seriously corrosive. But seeing someone in pain is, to me, a turn-off. The way I see it, pain is a byproduct of a good spanking – necessary, integral, but not its fundamental point. Or put it this way, if I was trying to cause her pain as the main point I could just as well put cigarettes out on her bottom. That would be sore. But completely uninteresting. This is where the spanker and the sadist part ways.

Similarly with humiliation. A certain humiliation – undress – submissive position – respectful speech – is necessary for the spanking to be effective, but there are better ways to produce humiliation per se. Boot licking and all that. Not remotely interesting to me.

So pain is a byproduct. Humiliation is a byproduct. The spanking ‘product’ itself is, to me, impact. Spanking is an act of direct impact. That’s what’s interesting and meaningful. It is a way for me to say: I’m going to have an impact on you (your behaviour, your attitude, your delicious sassiness, whatever) in a way that is both unequivocal and unassailable, but physically (pain) safe and emotionally (humiliation) respectful. Bottom spanking is, at heart, an impact ritual.

There’s nothing quite like a squirming bottom, wriggling to absorb the impact. There’s nothing like knowing a well-smacked bottom is walking around under that skirt that is walking next to you down the street. That’s  impact. That’s what’s addictive.

The bearable lightness of becoming evolved but unreconstructed

Through my ‘reader’ which subscribes me to a number of quality blogs in the spanking, domestic discipline and generally classic relationship field (more than I have time for, but I like to keep myself informed) 😉 I found myself on the ‘Taken in Hand’ site which I haven’t visited for a long while. TIH was among the formative resources in developing my mindset and approach.

Actually, what lured me there was yet another ‘What if He Finds the Idea Shocking?’ post, to see if there was anything new to report, but there was not. I say: shock him and let him deal with it! Is that too irreverant?

As I look at TIH now, after years, I have to say I find the whole site a bit… ‘heavy’. Yes, I prefer discussion and imagination to a clutch of red-ass pictures, and run from the pant-pant (allegedly) spank photo sites, but now and then a decent picture does have a place. I get what the site is trying to do in its text-only approach; who it is trying to put off — fair enough — but photos and drawings often capture a state of mind singularly and unequivocally, and if tastefully done, why not? Even just to break up the tombstones of text.

spank-art

In that spirit I offer this one, just … because it really speaks to me. I interpret that warm round flesh pressing, nuzzling against the tight steel line as suggestive in every way.

And I find the new marriage bias of the TIH site a bit trying. Marriage is good of course, but clearly, both in fantasy and in reality, many perfectly effective and wonderful TIH-type relationships are not and should not be between married or even marriagable couples. The disciplining uncle, principal, policeman … and so on. While marriage and consensual spanking may go together; that doesn’t meant that unmarried and not spanking follows. (Recalling my philosophy undergraduate lessons: ‘if A then B’ does not always mean ‘if not A then not B.’)

And I realise I personally can no longer marinate myself in ‘What if he’s horrified by the idea?’ posts. Alright, it is an important topic, but I suppose one learns about the debates and moves on. That’s what I’m trying to say, and so this is not to ‘diss’ TIH — there is still a lot of good thoughtful stuff there. It’s more my own realisation of the many rich resources that have come about since its inception, not least all the wonderful blogs that my feed reader collects, that leave TIH looking a bit fuddy duddy.

And it’s also about my own progress, an evolving integration into a not unbearable semi-lightness of spanking being. Discipline, domestic or otherwise, is serious business because it takes us very close to deep parts of the psyche. Yes, one must be careful and one must communicate well. But somehow I’m moving on from needing it to be so damn wholesome. It’s that ‘evolved, but unreconstructed’ thing that I’m working on.

The “English” cane isn’t designed for the naked bottom

Caning is the quinessentially English contribution to the spanking / corporal punishment arts. I confess I have not gone deeply into the history of this implement, but I know it came into English society and culture from the colonies – Malaysia most likely – where the smooth rattan (Malay: “rotan”) cane grows wild and plentifully. By the end of the 19th century caning had replaced birching across English society, famously in public (i.e. private) schools and other insitutions, and across the colonies too in similar environments, as the standard form of corporal punishment.

The institutional nature of caning is important. Key is guidelines and conventions of practice were that the caned person was to be fully clothed. One must step back to understand the English themselves to fully appreciate this: clothes-stay-on interaction of this type is in no small part bound up in English cultural “reserve” and embarassment about nakedness and eroticism. Caning with clothes on keeps the whole process more comfortably “at arms length”. It allows reserve to be maintained and, specifically, facilitates denial of any suggestion that it is an erotic act, which of course it is (to a greater of lesser extent depending on the proclivities of the participants).

So the cane found its place as an instrument in English society in the latter part of the 19C, the height of Victorian puratinism, as the instrument that resolves a specific conundrum — how to effect a punishment of a fully clothed bottom. Fully clothed, the cane makes perfect sense. It provides the ability to punish well enough through two or three layers. It is fit for purpose.

If the cane is all about penetrating clothing it follows that the amount of bend, and whip, and the weight-to-surface-area of a cane will easily break bare skin. (I’m not an overly large man. I’m reasonably strong, but not excessively so, but I know if I put my body and shoulder into a strike I break the skin. I can safely assume this is true of everyone.)

As caning has left the school and judicial sphere, but remains very much alive in kink, a bit of this memory does no harm, I feel. And can lead to better practice.

It’s fine of course to cane the bare bottom in a forearm-wrist-flick-flick kind of way. Visually this is highly attractive, and safe enough. This is very much the erotic side of things and there’s nothing on earth that gets as much yummy wiggling and squealing and utter contrition per tiny ounce of force as a cane. It’s intoxicating. Great.

As long as that’s where it stays. Problem comes in confusing this with real discipline and punishment mode…

When the situation calls for a proper caning, I deeply prefer she has full bottom-covering on — low cut knickers (that’s panties for you lot across the pond), plus stockings, plus a skirt or slacks which pull tight when she bends over. Prepared this way she can be properly caned, thrashed if necessary, to the mental and emotional and physical catharsis that real discipline provides. It will leave stripes to be sure, but will also inherently respect her physical wellbeing and the sanctity of her skin. And it will be using the instrument in the manner it was designed for.

Mesmerised by Red Charls

I was introduced to a site called Red Charls “site amateur, gratuit” by a correspondent who popped up in my email inbox with the most enticing review, waxing lyrical and far too deliciously not to quote a bit – see below.

I see spanking and DD as essentially theatre of the mind, and I’m generally more pleased by a good story than a picture. But these photos are really something. On the downside, Charls’ spanking section is merely one tranche on a site that does rope and candlewax and other (to me) mere clutter. And it’s very “Euro-noir” in overal ambiance. Yawn. But there is real art here.

ss-rc-203

ss-rc-45a

First, the photographer, whoever he or she is, is a genius. The pictures are not just pleasingly polished, clear, well composed, beautifully lit, colour-balanced and so on, but they also breathtakingly feel the ‘motion’ of spanking. The swing, the strike, the squirm, it’s all humanity-in-motion and it’s all captured. The pictures also seek out other things that are hard to express: firmness of purpose, gentleness of intent, totality of submission, and so on. It’s a pure an evocation of masculinity / femininity, utterly different in aspect, dress and role, colliding with a desire that leaps off the page. To me it is just smokin’.

Another perspective – what my correspondent (who’s name I’ll withhold, but who identifies herself as a straight female from New England) had to say:

ss-rc-gg1 “Her hair is gorgeous and I like that it’s left flowing behind her. I like the simplicity of the bindings- just what appears to be soft green rope. Her positioning is again, simple, but perfect- leaning forward throughout, with her back arched and bottom pushed back pleasingly (photo 11 is stunning in this regard). She’s in simple heels, nothing too showy. There are about 33 photos in this series featuring this same girl/same scene, and the beauty of that is you can really see her going through it all, from panties on, then being pulled down slightly, and her bottom being completely white, to them finally settling where they are in these photos- acting as a bit of a binding in themselves – preventing her from opening her legs wider, all the way to her bottom being rendered bright red…

“I like the implement too, which is simple as can be, the man’s arm which is shown to be veiny and muscular, and the strength that that implies. But I have to say the thing that captivates me the most is the markings. #13 in particular, is the one I find myself staring at. The markings are so obviously real, and freshly received, all the way from that beautiful curve of her lower back- how you can see the imprint of the stitching in the leather and that it’s higher up on the right since he’s on her left & is using his right hand, the redness across her cheeks, which in this photo is in the midst of being walloped in double whammy fashion, down to her upper things- particularly her upper inner thighs, and then, of course, those panties again, just below it all. Am I crazy for finding this breathtakingly hot?”

Footnote to previous: the erratic

Thinking about it overnight it has become clearer to me that a central element of abusive behaviour is inconsistency or erraticism of demand. I feel – maybe I’m wrong, I’m not a sub – but intuitively I feel that as a submissive it would be possible to adapt oneself to almost any framework, rules, demands, or punishments as long as these are clear and consistent. Or, if not, to find another partner. It is the clarity and consistency that are (… I seek a better word but don’t find it) “nurturing”. But when the rules change mid-stream, or when contact/caring/consequences are given then witheld on an unpredictable schedule, that is impossible to adapt and shape to. Therefore it’s abusive.

To me erraticism correlates with weakness. I’m thinking of “The Secretary” and “9 1/2 Weeks” and other works that we all know, where the abuse was not dominance but its variable and unpredictable nature.