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…?

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. 🙂

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.

‘Take a look at these hands / They’re passing in between us / …’

As I discover what I want to do with this blog, I find that selecting and showcasing pictures that move me and saying why they move me (as a Top) is a big part of it. Alas, so many of the pictures out there are derivative. But this one, which I know nothing about, but which I found at Keagen’s Spanking Memoir is worth noticing.

Keagen comments: “To me, it says, ‘You can fight and struggle, but I promise, it’s ok. I’m strong enough to handle the fight, and strong enough to handle you.’ Yet, she’s not being FORCED into position. She is there of her own free-will. (You can tell because of the relaxation in her lower body and back.) *simply* I like it. His hands come over top of her body, so she is extremely close to him, and he is not simply standing behind her. This is, more than anything, a gesture of love, of support, of safety. It’s a gesture of strength, of containment. . . . of boundaries.”

To which I would only add how much I like the focus on hands. Hands are so important in spanking – what he does with his (obviously) and what she does with hers, or is not allowed to do. And her hands are very open, very accepting and receptive. I like too the different skin tones they have. Something sexy about her paleness and his mustiness. Also this is clearly a ‘bondage’ picture, but without the ersatz chains and crap. What a relief. And, lest I forget my true calling, her bottom is very desirable, spankable indeed.

Lightness and heaviness (or should that be darkness?)

So last time out, I had a mild go at Taken in Hand for getting dull and preachy. Gratifyingly a few people have popped up in my email box to quietly agree. I hope it’s obvious that some of this was reflecting my own evolution, me being ‘in a different place’, although I do think, objectively, the site is not what it was.

Anyway in that post I threw out the idea that “discipline, domestic or otherwise, is serious business because it takes us very close to deep parts of the psyche… but somehow I’m moving on from needing it to be so damn wholesome.”

Let me add something to this because, to explain better, it not that the wholesome is to be shrugged off. It is that there is unreconstructed ‘non-wholesomeness’ to be accommodated too.

To explain: I’m in the cohort of ‘Tops’ who are troubled by oppression and inequality. I’m extremely liberal-egalitarian in outlook, including being shocked by violence and troubled by hitting anyone or anything, most of all a woman, which all sits very uneasily with a liberal world view. I would march in the streets against domestic violence. But I’m absolutely hardwired to spank a willing woman’s bottom (and not remotely hardwired for this to be reciprocated.)

So I  seek a framework of justification and integration. For example, I believe that structure is good, in life and in relationships. I believe a big part of what a male contributes to a relationship is to protect and provide, including providing guiding purpose, strength (real strength, not pumped up jerk strength), and authority. I know too that spanking provides intimacy like nothing else. It also provides very hot foreplay. And so on. I know that many men are wired just like me, and women wired the other way — if it’s a fringe world view, which I actually doubt, it is extremely common.

So I can intellectually and morally justify who I am (in this form of my life). That’s the “evolved” part. This accounts for a lot of what goes on on sites like TIH and many other forums — the elaboration of wholesome (aka heavy) justification of the adult M/f spanking relationship by both men and women, showing the many reason why it is functional not dysfunctional, and therefore is moral and good. I agree with the process and most of what is said..

But there is more. The truth will set you free and the truth is that something else seeks release and expresssion — a violent impulse, a sterner persona, a will to overpower, a totally unreconstructed instinct to “own” the woman through her willingly proffered bottom, to lash it, to see it  change shape as a mightly thwack overcomes it, to hear her gasp, to see her wriggle (but remain “as positioned” or else) in an absolute gift of submission.

That was hard to write.

I can justify this: real thrashing is very like ‘wild’ fucking: the deepest test, providing for the most intimacy, the strongest ‘contract’ of dominance and submission. I would add that events should not happen at this level every time, and when it happens I’m super-ultra-careful to use a soft-ish instrument. I have never caused even close to the kind of damage you see on some sites, and never would.

But … this is just justification again, the mental machinations of the wholesome, evolved, gentle spirit, searching for morality. The bald truth is there is a very dominant, testosterone-soaked, very unreconstructed, non-evolved ‘cowboy’ that rides this path at times.

I suppose, as long as this life force can be fruitfully harnessed (more justification, Alex) it’s better that it’s there than not. Welcome to the mysteries of life as a carbon-based biped on a spinning blue-green planet lost in quantum darkness. To life!

But, anyway, this is the ‘badness’ that I’m talking about. The unreconstructed male that shrugs out of the cloak of acceptibility … which causes some, er,  shifting-up of personnell to make space for on the sofa of the liberal-egalitarian framework, I tell ya. I think the only way this integration can occur is through a certain lightness of being — some things cannot and should not be justified, they just ‘are’.

What being in ‘Topspace’ is like for me

Now and then one hears about ‘subspace’ or ‘entering subspace’ as part of the submissive experience. The idea is that a certain transition comes over the sub as she is taken into spanking submission. As I understand it (and I’m happy to be corrected on this, not having “been there” myself) this may come prior to the spanking, in anticipating it or dressing for it, or it may come as it starts, or as it progresses — but one way or another a change is wrought as she ‘enters’ her submissiveness more completely.

I find this concept useful, and it certainly chimes with my experience — with women I have topped and spanked. Looking into their face and eyes during a session, or right after it, or observing their change of voice or body response, it is often clear they are quite deeply in another space, subspace.

But I’ve never seen anything written about entering Topspace, and I think the concept is just as useful. Certainly it explains to me what happens to me if conditions are right.

First I should say, although I’m an experienced spanking Top, with (make-no-mistake) ‘the balls’ to dominate as and when required, I’m not an obvious ‘Top’ in real life. But when I’m going to give a spanking or about to start, I can feel a certain transition happening, a firmness of voice, a clarity of purpose and intent coming over me. As things progress and, particularly, as her consent and submission become obvious, I go further into Topspace. It’s not — just to be clear — physical arousal, although that may be present too. It is something closer to feeling powerful and purposeful. I’m guessing this has a hormonal base; testosterone or even adrenelin flowing.

Further, depending on her responses, but assuming she’s delighting in what is happening, this will progress with smacking her bottom harder, seeing it bouncing and squirming, towards … something I can only describe as progressively peeling away my layers to a state of very basic, absolute, undiluted masculinity. In this state I really can, assuming ongoing consensuality (nothing breaks the escalation), give her a very, very, sound thrashing indeed.

It is tempting to call this state “instinctive”, or “animalistic”. But in my experience it’s really not like that at all. It is more like I have reached the very ‘fountain of masculinity’ and am drinking directly from it. It’s a quiet, almost meditative place, with absoluteness and clarity and purpose and power that don’t exist in normal life.

I should add that in this state of mind, with purpose and power pretty much on ‘maximum’, it is easy to overstep and spank too hard. And I have done this, and deeply regretted it. But this is where experience comes in. We live and we do learn.

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?”

“Just say no” to spanking as the Trojan Horse of debasement and abuse

I had the good fortune to have lunch recently with a fellow spanking blogger. It’s always really special to meet someone whose blog you read and with whom – by definition – you share important world view congruency. There’s so much you don’t have to talk about. And, paradoxically, so much to say.

One the things that came up – the main thing actually – is how many of the dominants out there are “just looking for someone to hurt,” and/or are abusive and demeaning to the sub. And how spanking gives them the veneer of respectability.

Now I’ve enough experience of life to know two things. The first is that there is no doubt this kind of behaviour goes on and many dominants are utterly unworthy of respect. The second is … they get it: respect, adoration, submission. So let’s not be naïve. It’s not hard to to see the difference between spanking as a firm, protecting ritual and spanking as proxy and cover for an abusive mindset. Demeaning and uncharitable cannot be misread as firm, empowered, and responsible.

So my interpretation is that there are many submissives out there who are not clear in their own mind which they want. Or putting it another way – they complain, but they reward abuse and disrespect, and return to it. Power can be addictive. So can “badness” (I’m told – me, I’d run a mile). And everyone knows, nice guys come last.

One of the things I’ve learnt by blogging out my point of view about spanking and traditional relationships is that, even in our specific like-minded community, folks really have different ideas and different preferences. I am becoming more tolerant of this. Personally, I really battle to understand submissives who reward erratic, disrespectful behaviour. But the human psyche and human sexuality is a deep mystery. I’d say “just say no” but that soundbite is taken. If being an abuser or “abusee” is your thing, get to it.

If abuse is not your thing, I offer the old maxim that power and responsibility go hand in hand. The more power one has the more responsibility one needs to show. (And vice versa – one can’t exercise responsibility without power.) I’m sure I’m no angel, but that’s how I see the whole activity: a power play, not a “power trip”.

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”.

From erotica to art, better to ponder the mysteries of cornertime

I came across this digital illustration at Spankful Delight (thanks!)

cornertime

I have  no idea of the attribution (if anyone knows, tell me and I’ll put it up.)

It’s not the most fabulous work of art. Technically and compositionally there is much wrong with it. But that’s hardly the point here. What’s interesting is that it crosses the line from erotica to art. (Porn is the commercial subset of erotica, some of which is art. What makes art “art” is not just a matter of personal preference. There are criteria – which are debated – but essentially art is something that causes us to think, ponder, view differently while erotica/porn is essentially about stimulating the juices.)

Previous pictures I’ve posted so far on this site are of course erotica. But this one, while erotic, moves the viewer in another way as well. It “discusses” post-spanking and cornertime and refreshes perception. With a centred subject, knickers down to the artistic gaze, it is about the power imbalance between the viewer and the viewed. Cornertime as “display” time does that. It extends the discipline effect: going from under his hand to under his eye, if you like.

It also shows cornertime as more tranquil that one commonly perceives it. Meditative even. As I’ve no personal experience of being in her position the strength of this idea is, to me, something new. I know that a common theme in spanking is the “peace” that follows once she has integrated the spanking/discipline into herself. Cornertime facilitates that integration. That seems the artist’s intention here (open to debate of course, as all art is!)

Spanking marks and the workings of identification

spanking-caning So I was setting up a few links to blogs and sites I find compatible (please link!) and I came across an interesting short post “Marks” by Cyndi at Her Secret Corner.

Cyndi says: “I don’t know why it is, but I’m turned on by marks. An overall red bottom is good, but discernible marks are where it’s really at for me. Of course, I’m only into dd scenarios, so I think it has something to do with the idea of power and control.”

I have to confess too that I find marks very attractive – good marks, like in this picture. Not brutal marks. (The boss must never loose control.)

So what’s going on? Let’s first say that marks mean a certain level of spanking impact, and with a stiff implement – cane, crop, brush, etc. So marks mean he has, literally, “made an impact” and that impact will be lasting. Let’s say he crops her and leaves good, warm marks, red and raised, and then takes her out to dinner. He knows and she knows, and he knows she knows, that she has those marks under her skirt. It lenthens the spanking’s impact, allowing it to linger. Mmmm. Who could wait to get home?

Also, with marks on her bottom, she inevitably carries the spanking – the alignment with her authority figure – into the everyday. Next day, let say she goes off to work, or to a party. She secretly carries her consciousness of his power everywhere she goes. That’s attractive.

Also, marks are strong “markers” (literally) of identification in every society. In traditional societies people paint their faces, pierce their skin, and so on, to show affiliation with the group. In modern societies people identify themselves with sporting teams by painting team colours on their faces and bodies at matches. Some tatoos are strong markers of couple or group identification.

In this same way, her marks are proof of identification with him, his authority and discipline, and the spanking process. They should fade soon of course (play safe!) all the better to be renewed frequently and vigorously.

The tango is spanking, is it not?

tango-spank1There’s an old adage: “Dance is a vertical form of a horizontal desire.” If that’s true, and I believe it is, then the tango is spanking standing up.

Why? For a start it is not cute, not shmaltzy, not for wimps. It’s spicey, edgy (in the “screw the roses, send me the thorns” kind of way). It’s crisp. And I do believe a good spanking is crisp and clear in intent and action. Certainly never languid or floppy.

The essence of the tango step, the famous “A Frame,” (heads together, legs apart) speaks to a certain distance and mystery. It’s not about being cuddly, at least not until a lot of other stuff has happened.

It is all about the play of power. The woman in the tango is an incredibly strong figure – not an ounce of weakness there. But she is choosing to be absolutely led. To use his strength, not fight it. If he knows what he’s doing, and he has her trust and full attention, he doesn’t need to force. He leads. It’s all about supporting and guiding, providing structure for her to lean on and bounce off.

And she’s naughty, just a bit. She’s wickedly close, then retreats. Then she gets her feet in the way of his, almost tripping him up. Like her dress, she’s there and not there. Teasing, treading a fine line…

Do this behind closed doors, with a couple of Martini’s, and it can only end up one way. Otk.

Am I talking rubbish? Is this just my fantastical spin, or is it all there, plain as day? Watch this video, tell me I’m wrong… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e_Rbts5Q9Q