Mark your calendars! I’m excited to announce that on Tuesday, August 25th, I’ll be guest moderating the discussion on Sex Talk Tuesday. We’ll be talking about consensual non-consent and exploring our emotions on this edgier kind of play, as well as talking about negotiating this sort of intense scene and identifying and communicating limits.
What is Sex Talk Tuesday? It’s a weekly twitter chat where we discuss a topic relating to sexuality! The crowd that shows up is usually very kink friendly and sex positive, and I’ve enjoyed participating in a lot of interesting discussions there.
You have to use twitter to participate in the chat, so I highly recommend that you get an account if you don’t have one and would like to be involved. Plus, you can follow me (@spankingland) for updates about my life and lots of great spanking pictures, so that’s an added bonus. 😉
The chat starts at 3PM, EST. That’s noon for those of us on the West Coast. I’ll be posing a series of questions about the topic using the hashtag #sextalktuesday. Clicking on the tag will let you follow the whole conversation and see who is saying what, in real time. You can ask questions, add your opinions and share ideas on the topic.
Be sure to use the hashtag in each tweet, so that others can see your response. If you’re worried about flooding your timeline, you can just reply to each tweet and those will only be scene by those of your followers who also follow the original tweeter. If you *want* everyone to see what you have to say, add a period before the @ when you reply to someone else’s tweet to make it appear on all timelines.
I hope to see you all there and to have a productive conversation on the subject.
Let me know if you have any questions about this!
This weekend, my vanilla best friend from college came to visit me. I hadn’t seen her in three years, mostly because she moved to England for Graduate School, then I moved to South Dakota, then she got a job on the East Coast after school and we haven’t been in the same general area at all. We’d drifted apart in terms of talking, too, although she was once the person I was closest to. Part of that was having different life experiences. Part of it, on my part, was my involvement in the kink world. “Britney” (name changed) is a vanilla, and I’ve never told her about my involvement in spanking, fetishism, BDSM et cetera.
Recently, I’ve been pretty into telling my vanilla friends what I’m into and what I do. I’ve told four of them this summer, with no negative consequences. It’s become my policy that when I meet new friends, unless there’s an important reason not to tell them, I let them know what I do and, judging by how open I think we’re going to be with each other, what I’m into. With my old friends, I’ve been sharing this when the opportunity arrises. I decided, however, that I was not going to tell Britney, at least not now. Part of it was not wanting to make her uncomfortable, especially not when we were finally reconnecting. The other reason is a little strange and complicated, and it involves a story I haven’t told here before. It’s a little weird. I feel strange even putting it up.
This story takes place when I was nineteen, about a year after I got spanked by SF for the first time (which was kept entirely secret from everyone else in my life at that point). Britney and I had known each other for a full year at this point, and had become the best of friends, moving into the category of being chosen family. We’re both really ridiculous people. We like to do silly things and laugh a lot. We were attending a small, close-knit, liberal arts college where there was definitely no “Greek” scene. At the start of our Sophomore year, we moved into an apartment on campus together, and we talked about how awesome it would be if we founded our own Greek House (we used this non-gendered language because the whole experience was loosely based on the Greek Houses in The Sims 2: University). We talked about what this would entail and the whole thing seemed pretty ridiculous. When we had parties, it involved about six people sitting around drinking vodka and coke and eating popcorn while playing Katamari Damacy or watching anime DVDs that we got in the mail via Netflix. We certainly weren’t hosting wild house parties or anything like that, and we weren’t “popular” at our school. I pointed all this out to Britney.
“If we had a Greek House, what would we do in it? Wear togas around the living room?”
Then, she came up with the following suggestion. I want to point out that this was her idea, not mine: “We should get a paddle and hit each other with it to see who is the toughest!”
I obviously agreed to this plan.
I ended up being the one to order the paddle off of the internet. It was massive and thick, and kind of cheap. It was unfinished, and not something I’d ever use for spanking these days. I felt a mixture of excitement and embarrassment to own this. It felt incredibly unreal to me that Britney had suggested that we buy it.
Because Britney felt no embarrassment about the paddling, she invited about three other people to come over one night. We ordered a pizza and drank a little. Then, Britney decided that the paddling needed to be as ritualized as possible, so she got out a bunch of candles and turned on the “scary” music that plays in Firefly when they first encounter the Reavers. She then decided that whoever was giving the paddling needed to be held blameless if anyone got mad about it, so they would have their identity protected by wearing an executioner’s hood (this was all ridiculous since we were obviously all going to be aware of who it was, but she said it was “symbolic”). She made this hood by taking an extra pillow case from her old sheet set and cutting two eye holes in it. The pillow case was lavender with green and white stripes. We all thought this the best thing ever and laughed uncontrollably.
Then it was time for the actual paddling to happen. Britney wasn’t sure of the logistics, so I causally suggested that the best way to do it would be to have whoever was going to be paddled bend over the back of a dining chair. We agreed to do all the paddling over jeans for “safety” (and because I was too embarrassed to suggest otherwise!)
As was always the way when I was engaging in spanking play with friends (like when childhood friends wanted to play house, for example) I ended up doing the Topping first, because I knew the most about spanking and I wanted it to be “right.” Britney bent over and I took a swing. It collided with her admittedly very attractive, jeans covered bottom with a crack.
Realistically, a bunch of kids in their late teens engaging in underage drinking who have no supervision or training of any kind should not have been swinging such a big and heavy implement. Fortunately, I hit her in the right place: I’d watched Michael Masterson do this on the internet enough times to kind of know what I was doing. Britney gasped audibly, but didn’t tap out. So I gave her another swat, a little harder.
“Holy crap,” she said. “This actually really hurts!”
“Do you want more?” I asked, glad that being female meant that there was no directly visible evidence of my arousal.
“Yeah,” she said, “give it to me.”
So I did. She took five swats before calling mercy.
Then it was my turn. At this point in my life, I’d never been spanked in any position but OTK, and never by anyone but SF. I was still in state of derealization that my roommate was into this idea. But she was! She was standing behind me wearing a pillow case on her head and holding a great big paddle. Part of me wanted to crack up, but another part of me was very into it. A smaller part was intimidated by what it was going to feel like. Still, I figured she wouldn’t hit as hard as SF. I was the only person there who actually knew that she could take it. I braced myself, just in case.
The first swat was incredibly disappointing.
“Is that it?” escaped my lips. It was a test of strength, so it wasn’t entirely inappropriate that I’d be complaining about the lack of force behind her blow. She tried again. “Ok, I felt that one!” I admitted, although it still mostly just felt like an impact and didn’t carry any pain along with it. The third and forth ones continued to step it up, but still didn’t really do anything. Then, when she got the fifth swat, she figured out how to actually swing.
“Oh!” I squeaked out, pushed up to my toes by the heavy thud and the burning sting that followed.
“Are you done?” she asked. I shook my head. She gave me another similarly strong swat. Then another. Then another. I knew that I couldn’t physically resist, since that was against the rules of the game, and my focus on quiet submission and projecting an air of nonchalance had put me into a headspace where I was flooded with endorphins. I could have let her paddle me all day, but after the tenth swat I “admitted defeat:” it wasn’t going to be okay for me to like this TOO much!
We went on to each paddle another of our friends. The third friend decided after watching that she didn’t really want to participate. The friend who I spanked took about 3 swats. The friend Brit spanked took 4, I think. I won this contest by a landslide, and everyone was impressed with how tough I was. The swats were hard enough that the next day, I had bruises. I did not take a photo: it was years before I first took a photo of my post-spanking bottom.
We went on to “play this game” a couple of times throughout the school year, but I would never bring it up out of a fear of sounding too excited about the spanking, and eventually Brit stopped mentioning it, either. Brit went to study abroad the next year, and my social group drastically changed as this was when I met Rafa and Zeki. I did not introduce the ritual of testing our friends’ toughness by paddling to my new group of friends, and instead left the paddle hidden at my mom’s house. My mom eventually found it and donated it to Salvation Army for reasons that never made sense to me.
The fact that this interaction took place left me in a weird place when I thought about whether or not I should tell Britney about my spanking fetish the other day. On the one hand, she had singlehandedly come up with this complicated plan for us to spank each other when we were teenagers. It seemed plausible to me that she was also a spanko, although realistically, I don’t know if anyone who was actually into spanking would be brave enough to suggest this to a group of friends. I know I would have never been the one to bring this idea up: I was just happy to run with it once she did!
On the other hand, Britney didn’t know that when we were “playing this game” she was actually indulging my fetish. Telling her that I’m into spanking would be, essentially, admitting that she had, unknowingly, interacted with me in a way that was much more significant and intimate to me than she had known it to be. Nowadays, I would never let anyone spank me without them knowing full well what it meant to me. It feels in a certain way that I violated her consent by not telling her, even though she was the one who initiated the whole thing. I feel some level of guilt about the whole experience, like I shouldn’t have let it happen. If I had all my current self understanding and knowledge of how consent works, I definitely would have felt the need to disclose my interest before participating. But I didn’t back then. At the same time, I was just a kid, too, and no one actually got hurt by it. It was far less of a bad idea than some of the other stuff that we got up to back then, like climbing across the roof of the dorms or sneaking into construction sites at night to screw around. Still, this experience left me thinking that it wasn’t going to be right to tell Britney about this stuff.
The fact that I had decided that I wasn’t going to tell her meant that I had to vanilla-ify my house. My house had never needed to pass for a place that wasn’t kinky before, and it took a lot of work to make it so. There were implements tucked away in weird places, sex toys that I think are okay to keep in public view, lotion in the bathroom with “spanked!” on the label, “The Cupboard of Awful” where most of the meanest implements are stored in the kitchen, stacks of Kitchen Sink Spanking DVDs on my dresser, vintage spanking magazines on the coffee table and more. I had to take down my “Good Girl List” which describes all the things I need to do to behave myself properly and stay out of trouble, and I had to take down my calendar, since it was chock full of references to shoots, sessions and spanking parties. Some of my birthday cards had direct references to age play: they had to be taken down. All my school uniforms, cheerleading uniforms, girl scout uniforms and nurses uniforms are supposed to be kept in the “wardrobe closet” in the study, but I found pieces of them in easily visible spots and had to move them. Then I realized that I had to take down anything which made reference to the scene name of someone whose real name she knew: specifically me (since although Alex is my real first name, I have a very different surname legally). I had to change the backgrounds of my computer and phone, take anything spanking related off my desktop and clear my browser history.
Eventually, Brit showed up and the coast was clear. It was strange to see her again after three years, but like we always do, we got talking and things quickly began to flow naturally. Brit is very into not talking about work, mostly because she thinks her own job is boring, so I didn’t have to give too many details to my cover story. This worked out well for me.
We went to the beach and took a long walk, wading in the ocean the whole time. During this, the subject turned to porn. Britney mentioned being interested in the idea of porn made by and for women, as well as porn which emphasizes “real sex” and mentioned Make Love not Porn and Bright Desire as sites that she enjoyed. I told her that I was familiar with these site and thought they were great. She then said “I don’t like any porn where people are rough with each other or where someone gets hurt, even if they give their enthusiastic consent. I just find it gross. It makes me sick.”
I came as close as I would come to telling her: I said “I find some of that stuff hot.” She shrugged.
“Let’s not talk too much about it, or else I’ll get too impassioned,” she said.
We stayed up late that night, talking until once again, my voice started to die (I lost my voice at TASSP in June and it still is a little weak: if I talk too much it starts to fade and I’m not good at not talking!) We bought a cake and made some cocktails. Despite her not knowing a big part of my life, I felt very close to her again by the end of the night. When it got late, we both slept in my bed, and as I fantasized before going to sleep like I always do, it felt exhilaratingly naughty to be thinking these thoughts in vanilla company. The next day, we went to brunch before she had to go home, and then had to say goodbye.
All day, I’ve been thinking about whether or not there’s anything wrong with keeping something like from someone you’re close to. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay, at least for now. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I don’t think I’d lose her as a friend over it at this point, but I do think it would make things weird and awkward for a while, which I don’t want. But if she ever asks to play spanking games again… she’s gonna have to know! ♥
So, for over a week now, I’ve been working on a post about whether or not there are forms of play, especially emotional or mental play, which are inherently abusive or universally unacceptable and questioning whether there are limitations to what can be consented to, even when all parties are adults who are fully mentally capable of giving their consent. I’ve questioned what sorts of activities are appropriate to do in a “blanket consent” or “generalized consent” relationship when one has given a general surrender of power instead of negotiating specific activities.
I don’t know that I’m ever going to be able to finish this post. It’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve tried to write.
This is partially because I’m scared that this will look like I’m trying to point fingers, or that I’m writing this with an agenda, which I’m honestly not doing. I’m not trying to say that I was abused, or that someone I know was abused, or that there was a specific situation I was involved in or witnessed recently where consent was not appropriately given. My thought process for this post started because I described a form of play as being “abusive” recently, and then started thinking about whether it’s possible for any one thing to be inherently so instead of being different in any situation. I don’t want to cause any outrage or hurt any feelings. I’m trying to write carefully and deliberately with this in mind.
This is also partially because of my writing style. When I’m ruminating on a theoretical topic, I tend to pull in examples using anecdotal evidence from my life or from other people’s activities that have been shared with me. I feel like it’s unfair for me to do that in this situation because then it puts these activities under the scrutiny of “was this abusive?” and no one wants that. That isn’t fair to anyone, nor is it generally appropriate. When you remove all the specific descriptions from the text, you’re only left with a series of questions to which I don’t have any answers:
Are there things that can’t be consented to?
Is consent valid when a person doesn’t fully know or understand what they are consenting to?
Is consent valid if it’s given when a person has already been brought into subspace?
Are there any activities that simply shouldn’t be done?
Do we ever have the right to judge other people’s activities?
If the same activity can be both positive and abusive depending on context, are there any aspects that influence this besides consent?
For now, I’m going to keep the rest of the post that I’ve worked on as a draft. Maybe I’ll eventually come up with a way to finish it. In the meantime, I’d like to pose these questions to all of you. I’m curious to see if you have any answers. ♥