I haven’t done a Kink of the Week topic in a while. I looked at the list, and discovered that I’ve missed two full two week cycles, but that Jade left them open (possibly by accident, but I’m willing to take advantage of that). Both the topics that I missed are ones that I have a lot to say about. So, like the horribly naughty girl I am, I’m just going to slide this homework into the bottom of the pile and hope that my teacher believes it was there the entire time.
The kink of the week topic (from a while ago) was Dacryphilia, or the fetish surrounding crying. Without further ado, I shall now address this!
My most read post on this blog is one from 2012 entitled “On Being Spanked to Tears.” In it, I outlined the different ways in which a spanking could lead me to cry. Three years later, I’ve grown and learned and experienced many more things, and I’d like to add some new thoughts on the topic.
Crying is something which carries a great deal of importance for many spankos. I get the impression that spanking is one of the fetishes which most embraces, or even focuses on, dacryphilia. When I started crying on one of my first spanking video shoots, I felt almost embarrassed by it, but the producer called my tears “liquid gold” and told me that a tear covered face was “the moneyshot” of spanking videos. So what is it about crying that is so central to a large number of people’s spanking kinks?
The first is the idea that tears are tied into the “realness” of a spanking. I hear this often in comments various places where I post spanking photos on the internet: “It’s not a real spanking unless you make her cry.” I haven’t spent enough time immersed in other kink communities to know whether or not they have a similar obsession with verisimilitude as the spanking community presents, but I know that for spankos, we talk about what makes a spanking real all the time. Tears are very tied into this.
Part of this obsession with making spankings real comes from the fact that a lot of our fantasies are based on things that actually happened in the past. I don’t knock this at all, and totally embrace that many of my core fantasies are based around the recreation of school, institutional or domestic punishments that used to actually take place. So, sometimes the word “real” is meant to mean “similar to a historic/real life spanking situation.” And in our conceptions of those scenes, tears are a key part. The first hand accounts of these punishments that we read or hear almost always end with the spankee bawling, sobbing and crying uncontrollably. Of course they would: these punishments were painful, embarrassing and, whether we want to focus on this or not, non consensual.
Before I was ever spanked, I read as much writing about spanking as I could, and I remember being deeply engulfed in the fantasy of being helpless, overpowered, intimidated by authority, stripped, held down and thoroughly chastised. These fantasies always ended with me in tears. Now that I spend my life actually enjoying spanking play, I like to recreate these fantasies. I like to make them as realistic to what I imagined as possible. I buy uniforms from school uniform suppliers, or even better, find vintage ones that were being worn at a time when corporal punishment was actually practiced. I get implements that are also vintage, and which were actually used in the original situations. When I can, I like to dress up the setting, finding places to play that look like I’ve stepped into my fantasy world. And I like to be spanked hard and, if it’s possible, pushed to cry. My tears are part of what makes it feel like I’ve truly created the scene from my fantasy. In this situation, “realness” can be better defined as “authenticity” and tears add to that. [Author’s note: I do not actually support non consensual corporal punishment of any kind, and fantasizing about recreating something in a way which is positive and consensual is not the same as supporting the original institution from which my fantasies stem.]
Another thing which I believe has influenced the spanking community’s interest in tears is the way which spanking pornography evolved. In the pre-internet days, before the first spanking videos were even available, spanking porn was delivered via magazine. It was much harder to find a like minded partner at this time, so spanking porn carried even more importance: for many people with spanking fetishes, those magazines would be the only way they’d ever get to interact with their kink. When you look at spanking in still photographs, it is very hard to tell whether someone is actually being spanked or if it’s just a picture. It’s even harder to tell if the spanking has been severe or “transient and trifling.” One can easily use acting to make a facial expression that depicts being in pain. There are only two things that can make a still image show that a hard spanking is actually taking place: the presence of marks and the presence of tears. Admittedly, neither of these things is actually a good litmus test for the severity of a scene, since some people simply never cry, others can cry from a light hand spanking, some people will be bruised purple by the same hand spanking but others can take a good, hard caning and have only a pink bottom to show for it after. But these visual queues at least suggest to us that a spanking is actually happening and that it actually hurts. Even now that our spanking pornography is primarily videographic, we often continue to identify the severity of a scene based on these two visual queues, hence the fact that my tears were liquid gold to the producer in my earlier story. Both tears and marks send us a strong visual message: that a spanking is happening here and it’s real: here, realness can be defined as a spanking carrying any level of severity.
Leaving aside realness, there’s another thing that makes tears very appealing to many spankos: vulnerability. No matter who a person is, they’re vulnerable when they cry. They’ve let their guard down and they’re showing you their inner emotion. They aren’t fighting against you or resisting you as you spank them. They are, in a way, letting you in. This is the draw of tears for many spankos. Tears are a sign of intimacy. Tears are a sign that your feelings are genuine. Tears are a sign that lessons are being taken to heart. Of course, a person can be vulnerable without crying, but tears give you a tangible sign of this vulnerability. For the person crying, tears can be refreshing. They can give an emotional release. They can get something out that words can’t articulate. Communicating this way can be very emotionally intimate and draw people together.
Of course, no matter the reason, not everyone likes tears. For some, the presence of tears makes them worry that they’ve really upset or truly hurt their partner. Others find tears or being made to cry triggering, as a reminder of a time when something non consensual brought about that sort of emotional state. Others don’t like to be that vulnerable, and that’s entirely okay, too. Despite all the reasons why tears may make something feel more authentic or more real, a scene can be perfectly wonderful and very real without them,
What makes a spanko cry?
Personally, I cry all the time. Outside of the spanking world, I cry when I’m sad, lonely, scared, hurt, even angry. I’ve always cried a lot. I was made fun of for it throughout most of my life, often being called a crybaby or other similar taunts. As an adult, I was made to feel that crying was something I should find embarrassing, that it was a mark of lack of self control or that I wasn’t a “real adult” (another concept that has caused me a lot of struggle).
The first time I was ever spanked, I didn’t just cry, I sobbed. I cried until I shook, in a way which was extremely disproportionate to the severity of the spanking I was receiving. It took me a long time to unwind the tight ball of emotions that I felt there, but the primary one was relief. I was relieved that after eighteen long years of carrying around this seemingly dark secret, my most precious fantasy was coming to life. And, once I started crying, I was relieved to discover that it was perfectly acceptable in this situation to cry when I felt the impulse to.
Crying from a spanking isn’t something rare for me. I’d say that it happens about 40% of the time that I have a serious scene. It’s not uncommon for someone to specifically ask to make me cry, either in my personal play or during a video or session. Other people have asked me to make them cry when I was Topping them, or to teach them how to make someone cry. It isn’t this simple. Everyone is different and every spanking presents a different set of emotional and physical stimuli. Like during that first spanking I received, the cause of what brings one to tears can be hard to unravel. It can be caused or hindered by a variety of things. Here are some of those that I’ve discovered.
Crying fueled by regret for bad behavior:
This was one of the causes of crying which I identified in my post three years ago. This is one of the causes of tears that people most often think about when imagining a punishment spanking. You feel bad about what you did, so, aided by the scolding words and pain associated with your punishment, you cry. It’s important to point out that just because someone isn’t crying during a disciplinary spanking, that doesn’t mean that they don’t regret whatever they did to earn the punishment. Everyone expresses their emotions in a different way. This reason for crying is something which the Top can influence to a degree, especially with the words they choose when scolding, and by creating an environment in which the bottom feels safe to be vulnerable. For me, sternness, seriousness and calm are important in creating this sort of atmosphere.
One thing I noted in my original post which I highly agree with is that if someone is crying due to regret for bad behavior during a scene which isn’t meant to be disciplinary, then something isn’t right. Sometimes, the differences between funishment or play punishment and real discipline can get blurred, and it’s important to make it clear to the person that you’re playing with what kind of spanking you’re really giving them.
Crying fueled by letting someone down
I realized recently that, to me, there’s a difference between the feeling of regretting having misbehaved and feeling bad that I’ve disappointed someone that I respect. In detangling the feelings that I have when I get a real punishment spanking, I’ve realized that a large part of what makes it emotional for me isn’t just the fact that what I did was wrong and needs to be corrected, it’s also the fact that I’ve let down a person who I love and respect. This is part of the reason that I only have an interest in doing these kinds of scenes with someone who I know well and feel these feelings towards. Because, really, we all know which stings more: a hairbrush or the words “I’m disappointed in you.” Just knowing that I’ve let my partner down will almost always bring tears to my eyes, without even the need for anything else.
Crying fueled by stress relief or emotional release
Sometimes, a person who gets spanked just needs to be spanked. They have too much bottled up emotionally. They are having trouble focusing because their mind is full of distractions and they need something to center them. Life is just wearing them down, and they need to not have the responsibility of being in control all the time. This kind of crying can come from any kind of spanking, and I think that’s it’s actually fairly common, although you can intentionally try to create this atmosphere for a person who needs it by providing a safe and secure emotional environment surrounding the scene. For me, this works best when it’s a mixture of caring and sternness, and when the spanking slowly builds up to a place where I can’t resist it anymore and I *have* to let my vulnerability physically manifest.
Crying fueled by submission or surrender
This is another one of the types of crying that I identified in my much earlier post. I wrote that post when I was a fairly new submissive, and when subspace was something which remained very alien to me. Here’s what I had to say:
Some bottoms talk about subspace- going off into some floaty, magical, trance-like, trippy state from getting a very hard beating which pushes them towards submission. They sink into the bed, they stop feeling pain, they float on endorphins, they get high, they can’t talk properly…
This doesn’t happen for me (although it did once). I’m a very cerebral person, and I’m uncomfortable letting go of my awareness. Instead, when I’ve been pushed to a place where I cease my fighting, I get to a point of submissive crying. It’s a calm sort of sobbing where there’s no urgency in the sound. I’ve given myself over to the spanking that I’m receiving and I have no will regarding when it will end. It’s certainly not as exciting to talk about, or as filled with mystery and intrigue as traditionally described subspace is, but the land of my submission is just a place where I lie still and take a lot of hurt and cry about it. It probably sounds pretty pathetic to a listener, and it doesn’t feel “good” in a traditional sense, but it’s a very peaceful place where I feel incredibly safe and loved.
Nowadays, the more traditional subspace is no longer illusive to me the way it used to be, but I still find myself getting into this kind of “submissive cry space” (that’s a technical term :P) on a pretty regular basis. “Traditional” subspace doesn’t actually feel so submissive to me: it feels passive, and I identify those two things as being related but different. When I’m in a deep subspace, I don’t really feel things the same way. I’ve let myself be taken to a place where spankings don’t actually really hurt. When I’m in this space, I still feel everything, but I’ve given up my resistance to those feelings and I’m willing to let them happen. This is a place that one should only go to with someone they truly trust, since it basically means that you’re just going to let someone do whatever they want to you and not resist, but it can be a very beautiful thing in the right situation.
Crying fueled by physical pain
When I wrote my original post, I said that I felt like it was taboo to admit that I sometimes cry because spankings hurt that much. I don’t know if I think that anymore. I think that’s dangerous for a Top to believe that crying is the *only* sign of physical pain, or that by increasing the amount of pain that you’re causing someone you can *make* them cry, but I do think that it’s very common for people to simply cry because something hurts. I have to feel safe in order to do this, and I have to feel some sort of connection to the Top that I’m playing with, but this is honestly a very common reason for me to start crying. This hurts: that’s what this is all about. And sometimes, this hurts enough to make me cry. Nothing more complicated than that. That’s okay. There doesn’t have to be some grand and difficult to explain background behind everything. Sometimes, it’s just that someone is hitting you with a piece of wood and that hurts enough to make you cry.
The spanking community puts so many positive associations on crying that it can sometimes be easy to forget that crying isn’t always a good thing. For some people, crying is a sign that they are upset and that the scene needs to stop. If someone starts crying in a way that you don’t expect from them, or from a scene that wasn’t meant to be that intense, it’s a good idea to check in. Sometimes, when a person starts crying, it’s because the spanking isn’t fun anymore. The scene isn’t working for them. But if they’re already in an emotional place where they feel particularly passive, it can be hard to use their safeword. While it might break up the scene in a way that isn’t ideal to check in with your partner, it’s better to be safe than sorry in this case.
Other times, a person cries during a scene because, to put it in the vernacular, the Top is being a dick. Using people’s fears, playing to their insecurities, saying insulting or hurtful things and other forms of emotional sadism certainly get inside someone’s head and make them cry, but it isn’t creating the kind of safe vulnerability that I talked about before: it’s just being abusive. The bottom is crying because they’re hurt in a bad way. It’s entirely possible to do consensual emotional sadism/masochism scenes: there are people who are into that. But this is something that has to be very explicitly negotiated before playing. Additionally, it’s important that if you are going to play this way, that the people who are around you (if you’re playing in a public space) know what you’re about to do and that what you’re doing is consensual: probably not the best scene for a suite party.
So, bottoms, do you cry when you get spanked? Tops, do you like it when the person you are playing with cries from a spanking? Do tears carry a certain emotional weight to you? What do they bring to the spanking? Let me know in the comments section!
[Final author’s note: I used the term “we” a lot in this post. I do not mean to speak for everyone in the spanking community: this is just shorter to say than “many people in the spanking community.” I hope this was not offensive to anyone.]
For those of you who don’t know, Kink of the Week is a biweekly prompt which opens up a conversation between bloggers across the kink and sex writing spectrum, each focusing on how they feel about a particular kinky topic. ❤︎