“I find it curious that you refuse to mix your kink with sexual activity. I understand being able to enjoy them apart from each other, but I would think that the two together would bring more pleasure. It makes me wonder exactly what sensations you get from spanking? Is it a physical pleasure or is it something more emotional?”
I got this message in my fetlife inbox while I was at Folsom Street Fair, and while I read it, I didn’t have time to respond to it. Honestly, it’s a question I get asked very frequently in different forms. I started to write a response to the message today, and I realized that it was something worth sharing with everyone. People often ask me why I don’t mix kink and sex. They want to know what I get out of it if not sexual gratification. Sometimes, they try to convince me that if I’d just try having a sexual scene, I’d like it. If nothing else, now I can just respond to people who ask me that with a link ;).
The question “Why isn’t spanking sexual to you?” is as basic and unanswerable as “Why do you like spanking?” I don’t know why. It’s one of the only situations where I find “It’s just the way I am” to be a satisfactory answer. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, spanking has pretty much always been there in the back of my mind. Likewise, spanking was never sexual. I experimented with trying to get sexual gratification from spanking fantasies when I first began to explore my body sexually. I hope that by binding the urge to be spanked to the sexual urge, I’d be able to find some kind of physical relief. Needless to say, it didn’t work. It made me feel dirty and uncomfortable.
Eventually, I came to realize that I have two parallel drives: one for sex and one for spanking. Both fill similar needs: the need to feel physically close to someone, to share bodily contact, to be vulnerable with someone I trust. Despite those similarities, they just don’t ever mix or cross. I never want them to. The idea of it squicks me out on the deepest of levels. Please also note that spanking is the older and stronger drive. I developed an interest in being spanked when I was probably about two. I did not develop a (hypothetical) interest in sharing sexuality with others until I was about eleven.
I have a sexuality. I like relating to people sexually. Once in a while, I get an emotional connection out of sex. Other times, it’s just fun and physically enjoyable. Despite my deep involvement in the kink community, I’m extremely vanilla in the bedroom. Dominance in bed turns me off. Submission in bed turns me off. Blindfolds? No. Handcuffs? No. A smack on the ass while having sex? Turn off. Whipped cream or flavored lube? Gross. To me, getting crazy in the bedroom involves doing it in a position other than missionary or woman on top.
Why am I like this? Who knows. I just am. Why is this relevant? Because it isn’t just spanking that I don’t want to mix with sex, it’s pretty much everything. I’m happiest sexually when my sex acts are pure and unadulterated. Add-ons don’t make it seem more fantastic, they make it seem diluted and are distracting to me.
The argument that people often use when talking about sex and spanking as going well together is that if I enjoy one, and I enjoy the other, wouldn’t it then follow that I’d enjoy them together? It’s a fallacy to say that two things that are enjoyed can be better enjoyed together. I enjoy kittens a lot. I enjoy sex. I feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable if someone talks about sex and (real, feline) kittens at the same time. That’s the exact way I feel about spanking and sex. I like them both. I just like them both not to touch.
There was a time when I would have dismissed the question of what I get out of a spanking if not sexual pleasure with “If you’re a spanko, you get it. If you aren’t, you never will.” I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m constantly struck by how similar many hard-wired (or, if you dislike that word, early discovering) spankos’ stories are. We were all doing a lot of the same stuff and feeling a lot of the same things independently, without ever knowing that other people like us existed. Still, we experience things differently despite our commonality. I appreciate receiving disciplinary spankings: some spankos do not. I have a strong element of submission in my approach to being spanked: there are quite a few spankos who prefer snark, bratting, resistance and eventual surrender and/or consensual non consent. I don’t mix spanking and sex: a lot of spankos do. I think it’s a cop out to say “spankos will get me.” It’s very likely they will: it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t explain my feelings. On the other hand, while I find it challenging, I’ve been recently finding it rewarding to try and explain the spanko experience to people from other kink communities. Just like my thoughts on Leather and the Old and New Guard traditions changed wildly just based on a few conversations at Folsom Street, I have the ability to explain myself in a way that allows others to understand. I’m not required to: no one is entitled to an explanation (and it annoys me if someone acts like he or she is). I want to.
I get a lot out of spanking. I enjoy the physical side of it from a non-masochistic perspective. I like the endorphins. I like the adrenaline. I like the physical vulnerability. I like the physical intimacy. I almost always find an element of submission in a spanking, and I enjoy that, too. As far as the emotional and mental go, I can get pretty much anything from a spanking depending on the Top and the atmosphere. There are some fairly constant things, though. One is feeling of celebrating who I am and who I’ve always wanted to be: engaging in something that has been part of who I wanted to be for most of my life with someone who is having a similar experience is really wonderful.
Another is the feeling of belonging. When Malignus spanks me, I feel a deep and wonderful sense of belonging to him as well as with him, but in all spanking play, I feel like I belong in the spanking itself. This is something that Dana Kane brought up to me at Spanking Court the other day: she said that after watching me get my final spanking (the one that lead to tears almost immediately) she was struck by how obvious it was in everything from my body language to my breathing that I was doing something that was part of who I am.
I almost always feel very vulnerable. This is a common theme across various types of bottoms in the larger BDSM scene. Vulnerability is a very nice thing when it is in a safe situation. Spankings allow me to let go of the world and my worries and just be. I know a spanking is going to hurt, and I’m okay with that. There’s a beautiful sense of peace in that.
Finally, in order for a spanking to be enjoyable to me, I need to get the feeling that the top is getting *something* out of it. Either he or she has to be having fun or fulfilling an emotional need or enjoying indulging in sadism, or perhaps something else. Part of what makes a spanking enjoyable to me is the knowledge that the person who is spanking me is glad to be doing it. This is part of what makes arbitrary spankings so enjoyable to me: I know that I’m being spanked because that is what the Top desires. Some of the most satisfying moments in my spanking life have been the times when Malignus has laughed with sadistic joy when spanking me. I love how much he loves to do what he does.
My motivations for engaging in spanking without sex are simultaneously complex and very simple. To look at it from the very simple perspective, it can all be reduced to the fact that it just works for me. The beautiful thing about kink is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it (as long as it’s consensual).