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.