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 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.

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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.

“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”.