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.

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.

‘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.

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!

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’.

The ‘other side of the cane’ beautifully described on ‘Bend over Jessica’

As a reflective dom — a state of mind I’ve taken to calling ‘evolved, but unreconstructed’ —  I’ve been meaning for a while to give a warm nod to this text, below, that I found really helpful in giving me insight into the experience of the spanked (caned in this case) submissive. As a dominant one can go through life never knowing. Never really, really, knowing. But this filled a gap in my knowledge, and is beautifully written, proving that a few choice words are actually worth more than 1,000 pictures. Definitely worth quoting at length. Thanks Jessica! Oh, also, the intensity of the authority seems to have been exactly right too – undeniable, thorough, respect-inducing, but ultimately caring and non-abusive.

http://www.bendoverjessica.co.uk/wordpress/?p=566

‘When it began, the first thought was that the cane really bit. Each stroke seemed to sear a red hot brand across my backside, making me suck in my breath sharply from each stroke and the initial sharp line of pain was followed by a wash of sensation as the burning brand spread and rippled across the surface of my bottom.

‘After six strokes, the pain was more constant – there was no longer any relief between strokes, because the itchy burning pain was there the whole time. Now each stroke cranked up the level a little bit more, another step up the pain ladder. At almost the same time, I felt my endorphins start to crowd my body, to speed down my veins and race round my blood.

‘My breathing grew faster, my skin prickled all over, sweat broke out on my upper lip and forehead and I jerked, jerked my body in pain away from the punishing cane but my hips developed a rounded rhythmic dance of pain – a circular motion as cringed away from the stroke, absorbed it and then eagerly thrust my bottom out to meet the kiss of the next stroke. My legs drifted apart and I could feel the hot pulse of lust between my legs and I wanted some relief. But first, I had to take my punishment.

‘The final set of strokes hurt so much that I had to focus madly to stop myself from leaping up and begging. When this happens, my line of vision narrows until I can’t really see or process anything – just the relentless lash of the punishment implement and the body’s reaction as I deal with the burst of agony and tense myself for the next. It’s like tunnel vision and the world shrinks until all you are aware of is the rhythm of hurt and all you can do is wait until it stops.

‘But at the same time, those treacherous endorphins are getting you through it, forcing you to embrace it, your mind willing to take far more than your physical body can. This is where it sometimes gets dangerous as a less experienced or less caring top will take you out and beyond that, not caring if blood starts to run down your skin. But my playmates aren’t like that and sure enough, just when I thought I’d had nearly too much, the caning stopped.

‘Shakily I stood, body wired with pain and pleasure. Uncle Edmund sat me on his knee and I cuddled him, only aware of my blazing bottom. It felt good.’

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 …

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?”

Strongly caring and caring strongly

I hesitate to post this picture* because it is a bit “showy”, but there is something about it that really speaks to me. I think it is the interplay of hands – the suggestion of control given and control taken – that lifts it to being a really fine photograph. To me it’s about bonding. With his left there is the bond of holding-hands, with his (implied) right there is the bond of firm hand-to-bottom. Strongly caring and caring strongly. Mmmm. Perfect.

spanked

* Picture: Jflamewalker

No Safeword for Spanking, Release 2.0

One of the things I love about the spanking communtity – nay, the single thing I love most about it – is it is full of thoughtful people who are ready to think deeply and write honestly about their experiences. This is, in my experience, relatively rare in other areas of kink.

Anyway, a while back I put up a post “No Safeword for Spanking (I can’t believe I just said that)” here, with a shortened version in a Fetlife foum. At the risk of flogging a dead horse 😉 the basic point was that the safeword is crucial in BDSM, but not in spanking where safety is simply not an issue (although the wellbeing of the sub is), and it erodes the top’s core function – to take responsibility – so is fundamentally corrosive of what the spanking is trying to do.

Well, in all there were over 60 comments and cumulatively they have fleshed out the issue in my mind, but not changed it, mostly because the comments were generally in agreement. I did get mildly flamed for apparently prescribing to others. This was not my intention. Of course, live and let live. If a safeword works for you, use it! On the other hand, it is intellecually weak just to retreat to a whatever-works-for-you position. If the safeword is merely a dogma, or an inappropriate BDSM import, or political correctness, let’s shine a light on it.

Some pointed out the obvious: if you don’t know/trust the person use a safeword. Absolutely yes! This is, actually the corrolory of my point: the safeword is all about the bottom having an “out” in a high-risk or low-trust situation. Dispensing with it is the sine-qua-non of creating real trust.

There were people who said they need a safeword for medical reasons, reflux and the like. Sure. My thought about this is the same as my thought about all who argued for the need for feedback – which is that a “feedback word” is fine. That’s not the same as a safeword. Saying “reflux” and meaning time-out, is not the same as deciding when the spanking ends.

The fundamental point must remain the spankee does not decide. Or at least not during the spanking.

CultivatedDiscipline offered another reason for a safeword : “Not a word to be used by the submissive partner as a way of ceasing a spanking — but instead as a way for new or evolving partners to inform the dominant partner NOT to cease the spanking. Often, we hear the complaint from women “He does not spank me long enough” coupled with the comment from men “I don’t want to hurt her too much”.

This is an interesting “niche” use and I agree it would be applicable. Basically the safeword in place frees up the top. This is related to the consensual-non-consent use of a safeword that I mentioned in the initial post, the presence of which allows the bottom to resist vigorously or vocally an to be certain to be ignored in the absence of the word.

EmmaEnchanted also made a very pertinent point: (Anticipating the bottom to use the safeword if there) “shows a lack of appreciation for the bottom. We’re all obviously here because we get something out of the experience – a bottom who used a safeword out of context wouldn’t just be shortchanging their spanker, but also themselves.”

Why domestic discipline is the hardest thing of all

It’s well known to anthropologists that props or devices facilitate special-occasion behaviour. People make a special time and place to do special activities, that often goes with special dress. In the world of kinky it works this way precisely. One puts on the black leathers, high boots, corset & lace, gets out the “toys,” dims the lights, has another sip of champagne, and becomes ready to immerse in an alternative reality. The process of transition from who we are and how we behave in the everyday to who we are in alternative reality is smoothed by adopting signals and codes of the alternative. We therein also keep it contained in its particular time and place.

Domestic discipline is typically done in everyday clothes, in everyday situations, in full light. There is no transitional “help”, nor containing devices. This is why it is, to me, the highest and purest of the spanking arts. It most clearly says: this is part of who we actually are, in the everyday, not just what identies we can inhabit in the dim half-light of alternative realities. It is authority integrated with the cups of tea and messy desks of real life. Because there is nowhere, psychologically, to “hide”, it is also the most psychologically risky thing to do. And therefore the most productive of real intimacy.

One can interpret pictures on many ways. To me these, below, tell the exact story. Picture credit: Kate’s Spanking World (defunct).

spank1

spank2

spank3

spank4

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.