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.

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…?

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.)

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 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 apparel oft proclaims the man …

Following a now-quite old post here on why spank pay sites give me cause for pause, someone popped up in the comments box to helpfully point me to Spanking Tube. Thanks. Of course I already know about it. Yes, there are some real couples posting their own clips. But it is mostly a forum for the pay sites to show their trailers and the whole thing is set up by ‘Real Spankings’.

Anyway, not to say that the pay sites don’t do some good work (and I happily pay to see a movie or buy a CD in the vanilla world). It’s just not clear to me what the levels of real exploitation are, that’s all, and as much as I can find ‘play’ or chosen exploitation sexy, real exploitation is a huge turnoff. The thin, um, red line is crossed. And in pay-spank sites (as in all pornography) I often can’t tell whether it’s been crossed or not.

spanking-1

Cargo shorts? Dude, like, c'mon

Anyway, thus cycling back to Spanking Tube after a few months and seeing what’s out there currently, I was given to the following thought. It’s clear that one can’t in the spanking world generally say “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” The whole field has an awkward double standard: If she’s been bad she get’s spanked; if he’s been bad, well, what happens? And I’m not saying switching is the answer. It’s just a pickle.

But there is one area where I feel certain goose gander eqivalency can and should apply — or at least, speaking for myself, I like to apply it — and this is in dress. I feel if she’s well turned out, in a nice skirt, with elegant heels and so on, I should be more-or-less in the male equivalent: proper trousers, formal shoes, collar shirt. If she’s  in an evening dress, with perhaps …mmm… stockings and suspenders (US translation: garter belt), I should be in a dinner jacket or equivalent.

The blog commenters are going to kill me, I know. (Just kidding, I love it!) I’m not saying one needs to dress formally to spank or be spanked, just that it’s meaningful if the couple dress more-or-less equivalently.

I feel it does two things. First it shows respect. We all want respect, dominants, submissives alike. It just takes different forms. A submissive doesn’t want respect in the sense of simple reciprocity (you spank me I spank you back) but she does surely want it in the sense of having her submission honoured, that is, honouring what she is giving, which is a lot. We dress up for client meetings or job interviews and so on to show respect. Taking the time and care to dress equivalently to her level of dress shows respect in that same way.

A bonus applies too: Dress helps put us both, dom and sub, into the frame of mind. That’s what the heels and stocking are all about. For my part,  I know I feel different in formal dress, real trousers, a suit, or even a tux. I feel more “executive”, a little more styalised in my masculinity, and I intuit that this plays a not inconsequential role in switching on feminine submissive fantasies.

Farewell Patrick Swayze

With great sadness I bid farewell to one of my private icons, Patrick Swayze. I didn’t really follow his Hollywood career per se, which seemed like the usual up-and-down ego-rollercoaster, including alcoholism. It was his identity and performances as an powerful, virile dancer in movies such as Dirty Dancing and One Last Dance that impressed me. Talk about “100% male” also in touch with his feminine side.

And when you combine this with mentoring of a pouty, privileged young lady, as in Dirty Dancing where circumstances force Johnny Castle (Swayze), the hired help, to train up a hotel-guest doctor’s daughter (Jennifer Grey) … you’re on your way to a you-know-what kind of fantasy.

And also this (embed disabled) link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jh5IQXToFs&feature=channel

Isn’t she just deliciously inviting come-uppance? Funny they don’t show it! But it’s simmering there. Who knows, perhaps Lisa Niemi, Swayze’s wife of 34 years, has a story or two to tell. Or Jennifer Grey …

Mental Rope

Good ol’ pressure of work has taken me away, but now I’m back. What I’ve been thinking about a fair bit is the issues of restraint, that is tying up or tying down for a spanking, and how it totally changes the dynamic. Contrary to the apparently (I’m told) disputatious nature of some of my previous posts — I’d prefer the term “polite polemic” myself 🙂 — I don’t actually have a strong opinion either way. Just some thoughts.

First, handcuffing, or light bondage in general, is undoubtedly highly erotic. It takes the everyday egalitarian power balance and unbalances it – suddenly one person is at the mercy of the other. It is a doorway if not the royal road into “sub-space.” Restraint and coercion is the stuff of just about every sexual fantasy, and that’s great.

It is also, I’m told, easier to bear a spanking when tied down. There’s less “choice”. It is certainly easier to stay in position, which is good for the Top too. It’s rather tiresome to have to re-re-re-position a bottom.

But, there’s always a cost and the cost is subtle, but significant. What is very much a turn-on, from this male POV at least, is her choice to have the spanking and to submit willingly and fully to each smack. If her hands are free and she chooses to or forces herself to keep them out the way, and stay in position, it says more to me than the tied-up-sub just remaining tied up. With each stroke it speaks willingness to submit and renewed acknowledgment of authority given. It’s active submission rather than passive submission.

Although I thought the movie was generally feeble, there was a scene in “The Secretary” that resonated with me (not the spanking scene to be sure). It was when he instructs her to place her hands on the desk and remain in that position until “released”. Of course he was a thoroughly unworthy Dom (run a mile and don’t look back) and so made the “test” absurdly long, but still she would not release herself. She was mentally bound, but those ropes are the strongest… and there’s still nothing on earth as enticing as a strong submissive.

So I would deliciously bind to spank, but for the highest experience as a Top I prefer to apply the more subtle, more demanding “mental rope only”.

No Safeword for Spanking. (I can’t believe I just said that.)

I find that in a few short posts I’ve challenged a lot: brutal spanking, and spank pay sites, and problematic spanking definitions. Of course I appreciate the alternative perspectives and preferences others have, and my goal is not to criticise. What I read just gives me something to push against, to better articulate where I stand.

So here’s another challenge: the idea has come into spanking that the submissive should have a “safeword” which, when used, brings the scene to a close. (Apparently sometimes also a “slow down” word.)

Now readers of this blog will know I particularly eschew brutal acts, and would never participate in or advocate any unsafe practice.

But let’s think clearly about safewords. Where does the safeword or safe signal idea come from? From the world of BDSM of course. It is absolutely crucial in bondage/gagged situations where the submissive can be choking or have airways blocked, or otherwise be struggling in a life- or limb-threatening situation which the dominant thinks is part of the scene.

How does this transpose into spanking? Classic bottom spanking is intrinsically a safe practice. It can leave a very, very sore bottom, but from a serious safety point of view there’s no real risk. As long as she’s not heavily bound or gagged, a spanking safeword is redundant.

That leaves use of a safeword if it “gets tooo much”. Sounds reasonable. But at what cost?  A safeword puts the key decision about how-much-is-too-much into her hands. It is asking her to take responsibility for her welfare (and if she gets too sore, by implication it’s her fault). To me the absolute essence of spanking is he assumes the decision as to what is necessary, and applies it, while she shows her trust in his leadership by submitting no matter what. Responsibly handling the key decision of how much and when to stop is precisely how he builds her trust. If he can’t manage the responsibility she should find someone who can, rather than take over the decision.

So I say spanking works best when she has – at the time – absolutely no say over what or how much she gets. Outside of the scene the couple should articulate their preferences and limits, but even then, if she is to be punished she should not have the right to decide when it’s over.

There is one exception. A safeword does facilitate non-consensual fantasy play. If a couple wants the particular fantasy that he is spanking her against her will, a safeword in the background allows her to vocally beg him to stop, implore him to stop, demand that he stop, even physically resist him, and not mean it.

The 1950s and times past, sublimated, resurfacing as fantasy

1950s-spanking One of the sites I’ve learnt a bit from in the past few weeks is Fetlife, which is something of a Facebook for the kinky community. The total list of kinks one can subscribe to (fess up to?) is amazing. Stuff I’d never thought of. I’m such a classic spanker that 98% of the list just passes me by. (There is much to say about bondage and spanking, and spanking vs bdsm from the spanker point of view, but I’ll leave that for future posts.)

But one of the things that struck me in the kink list – and to which I subscribed – is “1950s lifestyle.” Got to love this well-known coffee ad alongside…

But what is “1950s lifestyle” as a “kink” saying? It’s saying, what was normal in the 1950s is a bona-fide sexual kink now. How can that be? Yes, we know from psychology that “normal” is a social construct that moves around. But I think there is even more to it.

I think nothing fundamental (“archetypal” if you like) in the human psyche can be buried. Sometimes social norms allow a behaviour to be given fuller expression; sometimes they contrict it. When constricted, the practice goes behind closed doors, or behind closed fantasy eyelids. But it doesn’t go away.

In this case, the unburiable archetype is the Head of Household (HoH), as protector, mentor, and final authority – and the safety and structure in this. Yes, the world has moved on, and women’s empowerment and fuller lives and careers as real earners and decision-makers is an excellent thing.

But this is a new turn in a long, long human history. It presses on the archetype that presses back, that must surface somewhere. When we spank or are being spanked, we are letting out, playing out, and reaffirming this very core element of the human psyche. It is so fundamental and presumably (I’m no anthropologist) was functional in creating surviving human groups that, like much of our physical and social response structure inherited from ages past, is deeply written into our psychic makeup.