The following is a piece entitled “Genetic vs. ‘Interest'” which was written by my friend, Thursday Knight, and posted on fetlife. It raised several points that are important to me and that I wanted to add my thoughts on.
The day I opened up my fetlife account was on my 18th birthday. Throughout the internet, various websites had a new user of “Thursday Knight”–all of them spanking related.
I am a spanko; ever since the age of three years old I’ve had the desire to be spanked. While holding true to most spankos who can relate, I had all the signs. Anything spanking related in books or TV was a rare obsessive delight (the clock in Disney’s Pinocchio, Benjamin Bunny, and countless other things), looking up the word “spanking” in the dictionary, getting the topic brought up among friends to find out if they had any personal stories, etc. etc. etc.
The thing is, I did not choose this condition. I did not choose to be sexually dysfunctional (and despite spanking being a very ‘mild’ sexual deviancy, it still is not ‘normal’). Yet…what astounds me is that people do choose it.
Now, for the sake of whoever may be reading this, this is not an attack. Or even judgement. I am simply pointing out that there are many people on this website who choose to get into “the lifestyle”.
From experience, I started typing in spanking searches into the internet when I was thirteen. Other people with sexual fetishes (note that a “fetish” is described as: a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc. [NOT] “it just turns me on”) I would assume would do likewise. They would want to connect, find out more people who think like they do.
But besides the casual “bedroom partners”, how do average people who want to “spice” up things, suddenly become “rope professionals” and “vampiric dominate daddys”? When they were growing up did they have a small interest and it grew? Or did they “decide” that this would be okay? What would possess someone to come up with the idea that people can come together and have parties where they’ll tie each other up and eat snacks?
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it, I am purely wondering where someone would come up with the notion.
Is it human nature to deviate from the norm? Are human minds just naturally perverse and therefore susceptible to the malleability of something new? They hear about something from a friend or on TV and realize that sounds fun?
Or is something genetic at play? Are those “vanillas” who will never even think a website like this, and perfectly happy too, every know (what we feel) they are missing?
Pretend your partner and you had a ‘normal’ relationship with very little concept of what you do now with each other, would that relationship still work? Would you think he is a lazy ass? That she is a needy attention-hog?
If these feelings are genetic (or at least a genetic disposition, in that our brains are pre-disposed to this sort of thinking) would they serve the purpose of balancing out our mental stability?
What makes people with an “interest” want to “choose” to be different in this way?
One last thought: Could you truly live without your kinky-doings and be happy? If someone said “You can be painlessly euthanized or live without ever doing your fetish/kinky thing ever again.” Could you?
I, I could not.
Thursday’s post resonated with me for a couple of reasons. First, she brought up an issue which I’ve often wondered about: why would anyone choose this? I’m also not attacking and I’m not pointing fingers. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with choosing to join the lifestyle. I just don’t see why one would. In fact, when I first started attending munches and other kink events in Los Angeles, it didn’t occur to me that there would be people there who weren’t “born with it” the way that Thursday and I (and I’m sure many of you) were. In fact, I operated under the assumption that the people I met who were into bondage were as excited when they saw a damsel in distress tied to the train tracks in a cartoon as Thursday and I were when we saw that Benjamin Bunny getting thrashed with a switch for his naughtiness in the picture book. Now, there *are* people who are bondage fetishists. I know one person who was involved in doing self bondage from a very young age indeed and several who always thought about being immobilized or secured in various ways. But many of the people who I’ve met who are into bondage, or D/s, or general impact play simply were told about it, gave it a shot and found it interesting. It sort of baffles me. There are people who choose this. They became curious about deviant behavior and decided that it was somehow worthwhile for them to engage in. Were they equally predestined to enjoy their lifestyle activities and simply unaware that they existed? Is one actually able to control their identity so much as to select something like this and make it his or her own? And to what end? I’m open about the fact that my involvement in the spanking and BDSM communities enriches my life, but I can’t imagine that the lifestyle is inherently enriching. The growth, joy, development, relief et cetera that I gain from my activities seems to me to be based on fulfilling something which has always existed. It doesn’t naturally follow that a person who developed without those early desires would have the same, or even a slightly similar, response to being exposed to the stimuli that I find valuable.
Part of the reason why I’m slightly taken aback by this is because I’ve always seen my spankophilia (if it can be called that because it isn’t sexual) as, at worst, a deformity and, at best, some sort of social hindrance. I’m not ashamed of it anymore, but it has always been something which made my life more complicated. Like Thursday, I can’t imagine myself being happy if I couldn’t have spanking in my life. Given the choice, I’d sooner give up almost anything else. I’d go so far as to be prefer losing a couple of limbs over losing spanking. I don’t want to say that I NEED to be spanked, but it’s hard not to. At the very least, I need to have it in my life on some level. I don’t ever NEED a spanking in a particular moment, but I truly don’t know if I could have a satisfactory existence without it. Other kinksters who aren’t spankos but like spanking want to be spanked or to spank others. In many ways, we require it. Requiring something brings along a boatload of things to work through and accept, fears, insecurities, difficulties et cetera. It also places a high value on something that can be very hard to find– that is to say, a good spanking partner.
It’s a lot of interesting stuff to think about, and it’s territory that I don’t often cover for fear of being offensive and making too many waves. So: what do you think?
There’s something that has boggled my mind for a very long time about other spanko bottoms. Almost all of them seem to engage, at least from time to time, in a practice that I’ve long found repulsive, uncomfortable and simply far too masochistic for me.
They wear pants.
Now, when I was younger, I used to wear pants pretty often. The change had to do with an embrace of my femininity and realizing that I was just legitimately more comfortable, physically and socially, in a skirt. I still wore pants when I was doing stuff that meant that I would otherwise flash the world, but mostly, I went over to the skirts and dresses side of things and was very happy.
|20 year old Alex in pants|
I still wear certain kinds of pants, too: I wear sweatpants when I go running and I wear what I call “fuzzypants” (pajama bottoms) about 90 percent of the time when I’m in my apartment. These pants are pretty awesome because they are soft and lose fitting and therefore allowed me to forget all the reasons that I didn’t like pants in the first place.
When I started my job in retail, I had to wear pants to work. I dug out my only pair of jeans and kept pairing it with different shirts and sweaters to make it look like I wasn’t wearing the same thing everyday. This was alright: I didn’t really enjoy pants, but they weren’t the bane of my existence that I remembered them being.
Then came the day that I got a spanking before leaving for work. Malignus gave me a pretty hard spanking with Warren and then dropped me off pretty immediately after. This was when I rediscovered that pants really suck. You know that feeling when someone grabs your bruises? Wearing jeans, even properly fitting ones, felt like that. All day. The more I walked around, the worse it felt. It took hours before it stopped feeling awful. It made me wonder how pants-wearing spanko girls can stand it! Do you not realize that you’re making it hurt more? Do you enjoy the prolonged discomfort? Is there something strange about me that makes me find something painful that others dont?
So, ladies: do you wear pants? I sometimes feel like I’m the only modern girl who does so with such rarity. If you do, do you find pants to be less comfortable on a freshly spanked bottom than a skirt? Do you have any secret techniques for having your pants make your butt feel better? Am I just really weird to think about this so much? Tops: do you have any preference between pants and skirts on your female spankees? I always thought that Tops preferred girls to wear skirts because they are oh-so-easy to flip up when turning a girl over one’s lap spontaneously. I may just be assuming this based on what I know that those I have the most experience with prefer.
So tell me about pants, people!
“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).