Recently, I received a letter that I had intended to use in the advice section of the website. But as I thought about the question more, I realized that the issue was one that is so central to many of the couples who are using spanking in their relationships yet at the same time so poorly understood that it merited a much longer and more detailed analysis.
This question was raised by a husband who had been introduced to the idea of “domestic discipline” by his wife. He’d known on some level that she was always a little interested in spanking, but he had never spanked her. Then one evening, she told him that she wanted to introduce him to some new ideas. She showed him some information she’d found on the internet, including material from Robin Whittle’s site,The Gentlemanly Art of Spanking, Vicki Blue’s site and from this site. They discussed boundaries, guidelines, a framework, and “consequences.” The material struck a chord with him, because he felt it explained some aspects of his wife’s behavior. He felt he finally understood what she had been looking for. Although he admitted some confusion, he was willing to give it all a try.
This couple began using what is known as “domestic discipline.” However, in short order they began experiencing what the husband saw as a serious problem. He perceived that his wife’s behavior had gotten worse. What was the problem? he wanted to know. Wasn’t he doing it “right?” Was she “testing” as Robin Whittle described? His questions led me to do some very critical thinking about how spanking really works in relationships
- a) where an erotic interest may or may not be present and
- b)where that erotic interest may or may not collide with what the couple is calling domestic discipline.
I believe that couples that use spanking fall into three categories.
He spanks, she gets spanked because it’s a turn-on. They share, at least to some degree, an erotic fetish of spanking. Hard to define, hard to quantify, and nearly impossible to explain, spanking holds a fascination. The position, the submission, fetching the implement, the awful anticipation it’s all there. In my sphere, few people enjoy simply the “ass-slapping;” it’s got to be “more” than that. For most of the men and women who frequent this website, they not only have a spanking fetish they have a punishment spanking fetish. This is what separates us in some ways from the BDSM crowd. I saw a BDSM “demo” at an adult internet conference once. Although it was “sorta” interesting, I found it incredibly empty. Why? Because in spite of the fact that woman was receiving by far the hardest “punishment” I had ever witnessed anyone get, it seemed pointless. What did she do? Why was he punishing her? He just tied her up and whipped her. Why? It was all so disorienting.
The whole concept of “for her own good,” is a huge part of the appeal. Some couples choose to take it in a slightly different direction with full-fledged “role play,” completely with costumes and sets. For others, “you’ve been a bad girl, get over my knee,” is quite enough. But for these couples, the main appeal is erotic, even though they are playing at punishment. It may feel very real when it is happening, but it is still erotic. They do not want to go into serious non-erotic corporal correction for “real” faults. Either one or both members of the marriage does not wish to be in a relationship where the wife is in a very fundamental way submissive to the husband.
There are couples – particularly among more conservative religious groups, where corporal punishment of the wife is considered an appropriate “last resort” for a lack of wifely submission. How common is this? Do the couples who practice this truly have no sexual interest in it at all? Hard to answer, primarily because those people are most unlikely to be typing in “spanking” in a search engine. If you’re reading this article, you’re part of pre-selected group you’ve already admitted some sexual fascination with the topic.
Erotic and punishment.
This is, at least among people on this website, the most common group., Unfortunately, for some couples, it can be the most difficult to orient, because the lines blur, particularly when the couple, as most do, “plays” at punishment.
How does one know? What are the answers?
Is it spanking or is it domestic discipline? A domestic discipline relationship is not spanking. Spanking might be one of the consequences or penalties imposed when guidelines or rules are violated, but it might not be. Here’s the rub : Just because two things look the same doesn’t mean they are. And separating the erotic spanking from the spanking that happens as “consequences” can be very very tricky, particularly when the people involved often don’t have it clear themselves. Problems can arise when female partners who really want both – erotic spanking and a domestic discipline relationship that involves spanking – don’t understand it (or won’t admit it) and they start using “acting out” “bratting” – call it what you will – to get what they really want, which is erotic spanking. What the partner perceives is a wife that appears to behaving worse than she did before he ever started this, so the whole arrangement is at serious risk of being undermined.
Why does this happen? Primarily, in my humble opinion, it’s because the wife and the husband have not communicated — in short, they “don’t know what they got.” One female correspondent said it best, “He’s fine with erotic spanking, but if I want him to really spank me, I’ve got to mouth off.” What’s happening here? This woman, like many others, has an image of “erotic” spanking as not “real.” Erotic is playful, fun, light-hearted. To get a serious discipline session, she had to misbehave.
Believe me, I understand this! There was a period of years during which I was writing spanking stories as a hobby! – where I asserted that “spanking doesn’t really turn me on sexually, I need to be spanked for discipline.” (OK. And there’s this bridge for sale.) It was a major personal break through for me to realize that I wanted erotic spankings that were at times fairly severe.
I have now gotten in touch with my “inner spankee” and yes, folks, it’s true. I love to be spanked erotically. I love to be “play at punishment.” I love to be told that I’m a bad girl, and this is for my own good, and to fetch the paddle, and to stand in the corner (well, actually I hate to stand in the corner…) However, I have come to understand that I also desire to be in a relationship with a man who understands my need for a domestic discipline – and that occasionally in such a relationship, violation of the rules might be corrected by a spanking. And I am now very clear that these two things are different, although someone else reading this might have an extremely difficult time following exactly how this is true.
In our relationship, we have spent a great deal of time discussing this, analyzing this, quantifying it. Why? Several reasons. First, we are both undeniably spankos. We have thought about this since we were little children, and the ability to discuss this “hidden secret” with another person, frankly and extensively, is a great relief. I have been ‘working” in the spanking field on and off since 1992, but Spencer is very new to it all. Second, it is my business. In order to understand how this works for others, we need to figure out how it works for us. Third, although I have been writing spanking fiction since 1992, my relationship with Spencer is my first (and last!) long-term committed relationship which involves “real” domestic discipline and the active concept of submission. Since we’re both profoundly committed to the success of this relationship, we must have these conversations even though it can be awkward and difficult at times.
In our own quest for definitions and answers, we have identified the following kinds of spanking: Punishment spanking, discipline spanking, maintenance spanking, and erotic spanking. In these next sections, I will discuss the various kinds of spankings.
Punishment spankings are in some ways the most easily defined and quantified. The theory behind punishment is that some penalty should be exacted or paid for certain kinds of negative behavior even if the young lady has already acknowledged the misdeed. No matter how “sorry” she is, a misstep punished by a spanking will be seen forever in a more serious way than one that is not.
To be effective between adults, particularly adults who use spanking erotically as well, we believe that true punishment spanking should be as far removed from the erotic realm as possible. For us a punishment spanking is two things:
- First, a punishment and
- second, a spanking.
In our own relationship, we keep punishment spanking direct and no-nonsense. We avoid all things that make our other spanking erotic or arousing. Our guideline, interestingly enough, is parental child discipline. Note: This does NOT mean that we believe children SHOULD be punished in this manner or that OUR children ARE punished like this. It also does not mean that we are playing “daddy-little girl” games and calling them punishment. What it does mean is that the basic “no-nonsense” matter-of-fact elements that are appropriate in parental discipline are appropriate for us in punishment spanking. Conversely, we avoid as much as possible things that make spanking a sexual game.
Some examples will clarify. Going to one’s room to wait for a spanking, cutting one’s own switch or bringing the paddle or hairbrush, writing a letter of apology or an essay on improving behavior all these things could be part of a child’s punishment. Likewise, a child might be punished on a bared bottom, in the over the knee position, or he might be required to bend over the bed, a desk, or a chair. A child might be required to stand in the corner, either before or after a spanking. A mouth washing might be incorporated in some families for foul language or lying. Virtually any spanking of a child would involve some scolding children are not grabbed and spanked without their knowing why or what is expected of them in the future.
On the other side of the coin, there are elements that one would (or at least SHOULD) never find in the punishment of a child. One would never tie a child to be spanked. One would not use sexual apparatus of any sort, a butt plug or nipple clamps for example. One would never administer an enema or require a special punishment costume or panties. A child’s bottom would not be stroked, caressed or patted during a spanking. A child would not be spanked naked nor would the spanker be naked. Some small ritual might be appropriate, such as sending him to his room or requiring him to cut a switch, but a child’s punishment is not turned into a prolonged “scene.”
Once past these guidelines, of course, an adult punishment spanking is going to be much longer and more severe than any spanking suitable for a child. In addition we regularly incorporate several elements that would not be appropriate for a child. First, my punishment spankings are almost always multi-phase spankings. Spencer spanks… then requires me to stand in the corner… then I’m spanked some more… then I might write an apology …then more spanking. Second, multiple implements are used during most spankings, even if it is just Spencer’s hand and one other thing. Third, (although this has not happened to me yet) it may at times be appropriate to receive more than one spanking for the same offense, for example a spanking three nights in a row for telling a lie. Fourth, my bottom is usually spread open and/or my thighs spread to expose the tender skin to make that “special” point.