Sunday, December 16, 2007

Discipline and Eroticism

So, I tell myself that when I am disciplined, it is something separate, albeit marginally connected to, sex. Spankos who only use spanking for erotic purposes cannot seem to believe that spanking between adults can be anything other than sexual. I still believe that it is different.

However, they do clearly go hand-in-hand for me. For the past month, I've been trying to adjust to a new birth control. The old one had me feeling weepy and hormonal all of the time. During the time I was on it, I was desperate for discipline. The new birth control seems to have had the opposite effect on me. I do not feel at all submissive right now, do not feel the need to be submissive, and I have no interest in discipline. I also have very little interest in sex.

Like it or not, it seems that my need for discipline increases and decreases in direct proportion with my libido.

So, I clearly cannot claim that the two are completely separate. But when I'm being disciplined, there is so much going on that I simply do not associate with eroticism. I experience a lot of guilt and remorse. I frequently cry. I'm often scared and consumed by anxiety. I hate making mistakes. I can't say that I ever feel horny during these times.

However, when I'm over Red's knee getting the squirmy, fun kind of spanking, I end up practically humping his leg like a desperate puppy.

I was thinking a few nights ago about the connection between discipline and sex. The only explanation that I can offer right now is that the end results of both are extremely similar. After an orgasm, I feel completely relaxed, warm, and pleasantly sleepy. All of my cares are gone. I'm able to be in the moment, which is not something that I am frequently able to do.

Discipline is different than sex during the act, but the stress and catharsis of the event leaves me with a similar exhaustion. There are times when I feel the need to be punished, but I've done nothing wrong. I feel a bit crazy during these times. I hate being punished, so why do I feel such a strong need for it? Well, I suspect that it has something to do with the end result.

Sex and punishment are the only two circumstances wherein I surrender control of myself and my body. It is only when I stop trying to control things that I'm able to live in the moment and my other anxieties fade away. During sex, all of my sexual tension is released during climax. During punishment, all of my fear and stress is released. Both leave me feeling relaxed and refreshed.

I'm not sure I have any major point to make. I'm neither disputing nor affirming the claim that discipline is just sex in disguise. I'm just offering up some thoughts I've had recently for whatever they're worth.

Anyway, the month of December has been chaotic with holiday preparations. I may not post again until after the holidays are over, so I'd like to take this moment to wish you all the happiest of holidays.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Outted By My Husband

I'm still here. I apologize for not posting recently. Preparing for the holidays in addition to caring for Red has left me tired and a little depressed, which I generally cope with by being quiet and introverted.

On a good note, though, while the doctors still have not found a diagnosis, they have given Red some medicine that helps him cope with his pain. "This Thing We Don't" is "This Thing We Do" once more. Fortunately I've been good since Red told me that he was ready to be consistent with discipline, so I haven't been punished at all. During the time that we were not using a discipline structure, I started to think that maybe it was all about my libido after all. That what I think of as "security" is really all about having my sexual needs satisfied. But starting up again has dispelled that myth for me. As soon as I knew that consequences were back in place, I immediately relaxed and my obsession with spanking diminished back to its normal level.

Of course, there are times when I feel more submissive than others. When I am at my most submissive, I get frustrated that Red is not dominant enough. But Red surprised me recently by handing me a printed copy of this post by Angie at The Punishment Book.

"What's this for?" I asked him.

"This is just like you," he said. "You're not a real submissive either."

I scoffed. Of course I'm submissive. And if I'm not, it's his fault, I thought, for not being dominant enough.

"I am submissive," I protested.

"Right," Red snorted. "Except when you want to do things your way. God help me if I try to get in your way or tell you what to do then."

He had me there. I am frequently submissive. I'd love to be submissive all of the time, and I wish I were. I feel so relaxed and safe when I'm submissive. It seems like the Holy Grail to be able to stay in that mental space.

But I have to admit that there are times when I get it in my head to do something, and come hell or high water, I'm going to do it. There is no look, no tone of voice, and no paddle that could stop me from doing what I want.

Fortunately Red has never really tried to stop me from doing what I want to do when I'm like this, but I can't help but wonder what would happen if he did. I like to think that I would submit graciously.

But if I'm honest with myself... well, I'll just say that submission will probably be something that I have to work on for a long, long time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Women, Stress, and Discipline

So last night, after returning from our six-hour visit to a local emergency room, I sat reading one of my favorite spanko stories while my husband blissed out on the morphine that was coursing through his veins.

Instead of horny, I got depressed. I've always had a bit of discomfort with the spanking stories that attract me, because I've worried that perhaps they indicate that I want to be treated like a child. A child is exactly what I don't want to be. But the hints of childishness are certainly present in these stories.

I tend to most enjoy stories about women who are taken in hand by some powerful and confident male suitor. The women are all used to doing everything for themselves, being mistreated by past men in their lives, and have come to resent being told what to do. The men are all apparently enormous and strong, while the women are all tiny.

I've always found traditional romance novels ridiculous because of how completely unrealistic they are. Yet in the corner of my mind, I do realize that the spanking romances are equally unrealistic... so why do I love reading them so much? I think it is because, no matter how exaggerated they may be, they do reflect certain emotional needs of mine, and probably of many other women too, given how many of these stories exist.

While I hate that these women are all tiny and the men all huge, to me it seems to be an outward expression of an internal feeling. It bothers me because as a feminist I recognize that women are starving themselves out of existence in order to meet this unattainable ideal of being waifish, while men are shooting up with steroids in order to become almost cartoonishly strong and muscular... It is as if as a society we're saying that, while men deserve to take up as much space as possible, women are worthy of very little space and therefore should strive to take up as little as possible. It is even reflected in how we tend to sit... men often lean back in a chair with their legs spread out in front of them, while women cross their legs, or even sit on their legs.

But the fact of the matter is, I do feel tiny, even though I might not be so physically. I feel much too tiny to master this giant world that is constantly throwing obstacles in front of me. I, like so many women, was taught to be a caretaker growing up. Now that I'm married, and my husband has been sick for nearly a year now, I've realized how overwhelming this role can be. It is not that I didn't understand what "in sickness and in health" meant when we took our vows... I vowed to be here in times like these, and I always will be. But it is incredibly difficult. And it isn't so much the catering to him, or the trips to the ER, or any of those things that make it so difficult - those are the things you'd fully expect when caring for a loved one. It is that he is so emotionally absent for me. I suddenly find myself feeling single within my marriage. Only, unlike when I was actually single, I'm single with a full-grown adult man to care for in addition to myself, and with no one to care for me.

On top of that are all the other responsibilities I have - I must be the sole homemaker, since Red is generally unable to help with chores or errands. I must work to fill in the financial gaps that his illness has left (he is able to work much less than he used to, leaving us with a lot of financial stress with the decreased income and the mounting medical bills). Also, I am still working on my graduate degree. As much as I've been wanting children, I am so glad that we do not have any yet. I simply can't imagine how I'd be able to take care of a needy child in addition to all of these other things.

I guess I should mention that I've been sick for the past month and a half too. My doctor has plainly stated it is because I'm under too much stress and my immune system is suppressed because of it. I'm exhausted and feel yucky all the time now, which only makes it more difficult for me to take care of my responsibilities.

I've heard so much about how domestic discipline is a reaction against feminism, that women are realizing that they just weren't made for equality and they need a man to take care of them. I respectfully disagree. Okay, perhaps a little less than respectfully... I think that is complete and utter bullshit. What women have now is not equality. Equality would be men taking on more responsibilities as home-maker and caretaker as women take on more responsibilities in the workplace. Men are simply stepping aside in the workplace to make room for their female colleagues, and then coming home and expecting their wives to do all of the work at home. (Of course, this is all MHO, and is not meant to apply to all men, just many.)

When I read about a strong man feeling completely justified in taking the woman he loves over his lap and spanking her silly because she is working too hard and not taking care of herself enough, it speaks to the part of me that is feeling overworked and overwhelmed. It seems to me that as a woman I'm expected to be an endlessly self-renewing font of caretaker energy. This just isn't possible. And when my doctor looks me in the eye and tells me that germs are bludgeoning my defenseless body because of stress, it makes me strongly desire someone who will step in and confirm to me and everyone else that my responsibilities actually are unreasonable. I work hard. I don't have the opportunity for a break, and I've had it ingrained in me that I don't deserve and shouldn't need one. I feel guilty for ever wanting one.

Nothing sounds so good to me right now as a lover who will step in and say, "not only should you not have to work this hard, I'm not going to allow you to do so because it is harming you. I care for you too much to sit idly by and watch you work yourself sick. Not only am I willing to take on some of those responsibilities, I am willing to take them from you against your will if need be, thereby relieving you of your automatic I-should-be-able-to-do-it-all-myself guilt response. I demand that we share responsibilities equally."

Jesus, what I want is a man who is so adamantly feminist that he'll stand up to the woman he loves at all costs in order to make sure that the two of them are equal...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This Thing We Don't

This week has been a rough one for me. Between my husband's illness and some added responsibilities over the past week, I've found myself feeling hopeless and desperate. When the world feels out of control to me, I need my husband to prove his control even more in order to feel secure.

That just hasn't been happening. What is even harder for me to handle is that he hasn't even been showing any interest lately in maintaining a discipline relationship.

Red has told me in the past that he feels a bit insecure because he isn't sure he knows what he's doing. So, I did everything I could think of to help him. I bought him a book about domestic discipline, suggested websites to read through, and got him signed up for a few different forums. Whenever I've done these things, he's responded gratefully and said that it will be a big help to him. But then he completely ignores them. I don't think he's visited any of the forums since his introduction posts. Nor has he visited any of the websites. He only read the book I bought after a couple months of nagging.

I'm feeling incredibly hurt right now. We met online in a chat room that was geared toward discipline relationships... so he knew from Day 1 that this is something that I was looking for in a relationship. He indicated to me, and continues to indicate to me, that it is something that he wants as well. But he isn't doing anything that makes me feel like it really is.

A couple days ago I had a meltdown. I screamed at him about how hard I've been working to be supportive to him and to fulfill his needs. I told him how I felt he'd neglected me. I told him that I was revoking my consent, and that "I'm not following any fucking rules any more."

I have always taken our rules very seriously, and I experience quite a bit of guilt when I screw up and break one of them. When he doesn't follow through with discipline, or gives what feels like a half-hearted effort at discipline, I feel like all of the effort I put into respecting the rules and taking care of his needs doesn't mean anything to him. I feel invisible, like I don't matter.

When I screamed these things to me, I told me that he understood my feelings and that they were justified. He said once again that he really does want to have this structure in our relationship. He promised to start visiting the websites and forums, and to have a topic of discussion for the two of us everyday, so he can begin to feel more secure in his role. He asked me to trust him to do these things, that they were entirely up to him.

And I've heard nothing about it since...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Virtually Exposed

Being new to the blogging world, I haven't really known what to expect. I'm an avid reader of many blogs, and the bloggers I read make it look so easy! They write about such personal things in a way that reads so comfortably.

It is an odd thing for me. Those of you who've read my blog posts, or my messages on other forums and such, don't even know my real name. Yet you know so much about such intimate parts of my life. You know things about me that even the people who are the closest to me do not know. I've already divulged things about myself and my past that I never even told my therapists.

I thought that perhaps blogging would be easier because of the anonymity. In a way, it is. I can talk about things that I cannot with people in my everyday life, like spanking, because the social constraints are not the same, and I'm less embarrassed since none of you could pick me out of a crowd. Sure, there is always a risk on the internet that you could be discovered. An ambitious computer-saavy person could trace me somehow and figure out who I really am if they were so inclined. But I'm simply not an interesting enough person to give someone a reason to do that, so I'm comfortable that the risk is sufficiently low.

The unexpected issue that I've run into is that I still feel incredibly vulnerable. My face is hidden, but my metaphorical heart is exposed to the world. Being a blog reader, I feel like I've gotten to know some people in an odd way. What I realize, of course, is that they still do not know me. It is an odd and fragmented form of "friendship." I say friendship because I hold some people in the same regard that I do friends. I worry when I learn that they're going through times of stress, have family problems, health problems, etc. I say my unpracticed prayers for them (I'm in an odd spiritual place right now), and wait anxiously to learn that they are doing okay... "Dear God, please watch over... um... [screen name]." It is an odd thing for me.

My insecurities are quickly rising to the surface. My stat counter and Google Analytics have only made it easier for me to become anxious. I know people are finding my blog... but are they reading it? Do they find things that they relate to, or do they think I'm a freak? I know from reading others' blogs that it is only a very small portion of visitors will leave feedback of some variety. I was excited and happy to receive my first comments. What I didn't expect was to worry so much about what the lurkers are thinking, or worse, are they even interested enough to think about it at all?

Further - how do you know as a blogger what is okay to post, and what is TMI? Theoretically, since this is my blog, I can write whatever I choose, so long as I follow the terms of service that I agreed to when I signed up for the blog. But understanding the social rules helps me to feel safe. How do I know where the boundaries are?

Yesterday I posted about something intensely personal. There are no social guidelines, even in real life, about talking about rape. As a survivor, I've learned just not to do it. People know that rape happens, even that it happens to children, but the important thing is that it always happens to other people and other children. On the one hand, as a survivor, I know that I should not be embarrassed about what happened to me. What I apparently should be embarrassed about is talking about it. Unless I'm speaking to a therapist, mentioning that I've been raped only puts the listener in an uncomfortable position. They don't know how to respond to it. They feel sorry for me. I suspect they feel afraid that rape has come so close to them. Now they know someone who has been raped.

So, I know that I shouldn't talk about it. But is it okay to talk about online? Are people visiting my blog, reading it, and being repelled the way that they are in real life? What are the rules here?

So, bloggers, how do you do it? How do you handle the anxiety about spilling your heart out to strangers? How do you stop worrying about the people who do not respond? How do you know what is acceptable blog material, and what isn't?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Submission and Empowerment

A couple of quick notes before I dive into my ramblings :)... I added a section to my blog called "Coming Soon." This is basically my To Do/reminder list of topics that I'd like to blog about in the future. Some days I'm filled with ideas to blog about, but many others I feel like I don't have a single intelligent contribution to make within the spanko community. My hope is that this list will not only remind me of my thoughts and enable me to record and flesh them out, but that it will help me get through those periods of writer's block and hopefully help me to find even more topics to blog about.

Also, I just wanted to state again that I tend to use the terms "domestic discipline" (DD) and "this thing we do" (TTWD) loosely and interchangably. Please see my "Domestic Discipline vs. Punishment Kink" post and the post immediately following it (the title of which escapes me at the moment) for a better understanding of how I personally define and understand these terms.

On that note...

I was lying in bed this morning, thinking (I've been up since 3am) about various things. I tend to do that when I can't sleep. Often it is the reason that I can't sleep. Anyway, my mind started to wander to my husband and how much I love him. Of all the weaknesses of language (at least the English language, which is the only one I speak fluently), the inability to express the depth and facets of love may be its worst. I find myself frustrated by my inability to express my love to him. All of the words and phrases at my disposal are overused to the point that they've lost their true definition. (I mean, seriously, Americans - do you really love that certain kind of food, that certain style of furniture, your new iPod, your new car, or any of the other things that aren't going to matter at all when your time comes?) I love him in a way that is more than an emotional feeling; it is a physical sensation as well. It is a sensation that is separate from physical sexual arousal, which I also experience with him, and that is harder than arousal to translate into an equivalent physical response such as love-making.

Part of it is expressed through my treatment of him. I do my best to show him my feelings by treating him with respect and consideration. I try to always put his needs before my own. I do the very best I can to stay mindful of his feelings at all times. I try to avoid doing things that hurt him, change habits that upset him, and so on.

But these are things that I try to do for all of the people I love, and different loves seem to call for different forms of expression. I love my mother differently than I love my friends, and my friends differently than I love my husband. And I love my husband so much more than I love anyone else in the world. He is the one person whom I love so much that not only do I choose to spend every day with him, but I've vowed to make this same choice every day for the rest of my life. Surely that kind of love calls for a special and more active form of expression... but I'm clueless as to how.

Ultimately, this is the reason that I want to submit to him. I'm not a submissive person by nature. I have no desire to be told what to do, and I value my autonomy. In fact, one of my main motivations to start my own business was that I couldn't stand being a subordinate in the workplace. I had better ideas about how to run the place, and I resented having to do what I considered to be a less-than-quality job for our clients because of the dictates of the distant and impersonal Powers That Be. So I quit my steady and secure job for a huge multi-national corporation in favor of an eternally unstable sole proprietorship.

Submission is one of the few things I can offer (in fact, the only one that I've been able to think of) that has real depth of meaning. My husband knows this - he certainly knows how dominating I can be in the outside world. We never would have fallen in love and gotten married if I hadn't argued with and been so infuriated by him when we first met that I couldn't let the issue drop and just had to stick around for as long as it took to PROVE HIM WRONG. I'm still working on it by the way. We're hopelessly deadlocked, and I wouldn't be surprised if we never manage to resolve the matter. ;)

I've learned a lot along the way about myself and this desire to submit. Of course, like many women, I had a difficult time figuring out how it could exist simultaneously and in harmony with my strong feminist beliefs. Fortunately I've worked my way through this issue enough so that I'm currently comfortable with it about 90% of the time. I want to leave that remaining 10% as it is so that I don't ever become so comfortable with submission that I lose sight of healthy boundaries or fail to take proper care of myself.

But submission has had unexpected benefits. Contrary to what I feared, it is actually empowering. I'd heard that before and never understood what it meant. I suspect that it still may mean something different for me than it does for others.

A little backstory is needed:

I am a survivor of childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. All of the adults in my life were unhealthy in some way, and my father figures were the worst of the bunch. They were all abusive in different ways and to varying degrees, but the worst was Stepfather #1. He was a charming man to everyone on the outside. They all liked him and considered him one of the kindest, most chivalrous men they'd ever met. He was (still is, since he's still alive) a war veteran. And for the year and a half that we lived with him, he raped me about twice a week. He also enjoyed strangling me - occasionally in public to prove to me that I was utterly powerless and that no one would rescue me. No one ever did.

Now may be a good time to mention Rule #1 of this blog: Don't pity me. I neither need it nor want it. I write about my abuse history and past traumas as a way of working through them, and also to put them out there for whatever good they might do for someone else.

Having said that, I'm not going to deny that being raped is a horrible experience. It is terrible. But it (for me) is terrible in ways that are different from what people who haven't experienced it expect. It wasn't the rape itself that was so traumatic, although I'd heard that it is so many times that I believed myself to be so fucked up that I was even traumatized wrong. For me, the rape only traumatized me in that it revealed all sorts of vulnerabilities that I'd been unaware of.

As a woman (and as a child), I've been told that I'm more likely to be victimized than men so many times that it is ingrained in me. The fact that I'm so much smaller and physically weaker than most men, and even many women, is simply a fact of life to me. It is no more threatening to me on a day-to-day basis than my family history of cancer. It just is what it is - we are all vulnerable in some ways, and in order to function as people we must be able to accept it and move on.

So the rape came as no surprise to me, in the sense that I always knew that I was physically vulnerable to victimization because of my size. What did come as a shock were all the other vulnerabilities that I had never before recognized: the stunning revelation that my mother couldn't and wouldn't always protect me, that "nice men" are often the least so, that certain "friends" will abandon you in your time of need... These are all things that I would have naturally learned during my adolescence and adulthood, but having them proved to me so suddenly and violently at such a young age shook my foundation. It wasn't the known threats that I feared - it was the unknown. I suddenly knew that I could be hurt in ways that I hadn't even been able to imagine yet.

At the time I was too young to even have perspective on my reaction to victimization. After the abuse was discovered (I never told) and he went to jail, I started the court-ordered and state-funded therapy. My therapist seemed frustrated by me. I wasn't going through the "stages" that she insisted that all rape victims go through. Ironically, it was first in therapy that I began to fear that I might be "crazy." Since then I've also realized that therapists, who I once thought always knew what they were talking about, don't have all the answers. They are guessing just as much as I am.

I will admit that in all of the years since then, I've never heard of or read about another rape victim who reacted to rape the same way that I did. A little part of me still worries that I might be crazy, but after a lot of thinking, I really believe that my response was as healthy and as life-affirming as possible given the circumstances. I've never, ever told anyone this particular detail before. I have no idea the response I'll get, and it may even offend people.

I felt empowered. And it was my sense of empowerment, not the rape, that made me feel "dirty."

The best thing that ever happened to me were all of the times that I heard a teacher, or a police officer, or someone on television say it is never okay and never your fault when an adult touches you in a bad way. I believed it. I internalized it. It made sense to me, and I never once questioned it. So tell your children that. Often.

I knew from the very first moment that what he did was wrong, and that it was his fault. I never felt that I deserved blame for it. I never experienced the misplaced guilt that my therapist was so utterly convinced I should be experiencing.

I felt empowered because the moment he placed his hands on me inappropriately, he made himself my bitch. I didn't need him at all, but he needed me. He needed my silence. His future was mine to control. I could destroy his life with a word.

I did not feel angry with him for raping me. I felt disgusted by him, and I thought him pathetic for being less powerful than a child.

Perhaps it was an unconscious survival strategy. No matter. If it was, it worked.

This isn't to say that I never felt anger, fear, shame, and all of those other ugly emotions that come with victimhood. I just didn't experience them for the reasons that I had been told I should. Being made to believe that my feelings were wrong, that I was responding the "wrong" way to rape, screwed me up more than the rape itself did. My child logic was that the rape was all his fault, and that I was not responsible or blameworthy in any way for it. But my reaction to it was all on me - if it was "wrong," then there must be something wrong with me. I thought this meant that I was inherently sick, and the rape just revealed it to the world.

But then, I suppose that there are worse things in life than being bad at being a victim.

Anyhow, I explained that whole mess so that you could have a better understanding of where I am coming from now.

My desire to submit has always been baffling to me, given that I am not a submissive woman by nature. I do not think that it is right or wrong for a woman to submit. But I do think that there are right and wrong reasons for her to do so. If she does so because she thinks herself incompetent as a person, or undeserving of a relationship unless she allows her partner to always have his/her way, then that is unhealthy. If she does so because she believes that all women were put on earth for that very purpose, that (IMO) is unhealthy. But if she makes a conscious choice to do so, knowing that she can also make the opposite choice, then I think it can be beneficial in ways that are unexpected.

I have found submitting to Red remarkably empowering. At times in the past, I worried that my desire to submit, or be spanked, etc., may be unhealthy expressions of low self-esteem. I thought perhaps I was reenacting victimhood because that was "all I knew" (as in the "cycle of abuse"). But I've found that by submitting to my husband, I am affirming to myself that my agency is mine to give. If I can give it to him, then I can take it back. I have the power to manipulate my own power, to choose who to give it to, when, and how much. As a child, power was something that other people (adults) had. They all had it and could use it how they wanted, but they never gave it to me. If they sensed that I had any, they snatched it away. It was something that they inflicted upon me. I was never taught and never understood that I had agency of my own.

Submission is like stretching - I stretch when I work out in order to condition my muscles and make them able to be stronger when I need them to be. The more flexible I can be, the less prone to injury I am, and the stronger I can ultimately be. And just like when I'm able to lift heavier weights, or jog longer on the treadmill, I'm delighted by my own improvement.

It is pleasurable to me to be able to experiment with my own power. It is thrilling to me to see how much of it I can give to my husband, while still possessing it myself. It is also a wonder to me that I am with a man who I can trust so much. Should I slip, should I give up too much, should I start crossing invisible line between healthy and unhealthy, I know he will protect me while he helps me back on track.

I've found myself suddenly curious about my new found ability to be vulnerable without fear. Suddenly I find myself craving the feeling of being vulnerable to him. I want him to take more control so that I can give more. I want him to know all of my secrets (too bad I have none from him). For a spanko, I've always been extremely vanilla. I didn't know if I'd like being restrained, but found that the vulnerability felt good. It surprised me. Now I want to know how many other things that I will discover that I enjoy.

I've developed an odd fascination with anal play [insert blush here]. I say odd, not because I think anal play itself is odd, but because I've never associated my anus with any kind of eroticism. I'm a bit of a germophobe, so I have no desire to experience the physical reality of anal play.

What fascinates me so much is the intense vulnerability of allowing another person access to that part of your body. To me, that seems like the most vulnerable you could ever physically be with your partner. I wonder how that vulnerability feels.

I wonder if I have the power to be that vulnerable.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dr. Gentle and Mr. Tan-Your-Hyde

I nearly forgot how different the different kinds of spankings can be, but especially how different my husband can be while administering each kind. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I've gone unspanked for quite a while due to various reasons. My bottom has, er, make that "had," returned to virgin status.

Last night my husband decided to spank me. It wasn't a punishment spanking, it was a "because I can and you need it" spanking. Lately (relatively speaking, since he hasn't spanked me in a while), he has been sending me to the toy box with instructions to reach in without looking and pull out the first thing my hand touches. This time it touched the London Tanners ruler paddle. I groaned.

"You know, nothing in that box is going to make you any happier."

"Hmph." I know this. It doesn't matter if it is a theoretically less painful implement... it is all in how he uses it. And he seems to feel freer using the leather implements, given their relative safety compared to, say, our big wooden paddle. Hence, the groan.

So I got spanked. No warm up. With the ruler paddle. I was yelping and squirming immediately.

Now, I know it's been a while for me, but I'd forgotten just how much that ruler paddle can sting. Plus, my bottom was a lily-white virgin again. I could not believe how much it hurt every time that paddle made contact.

But I couldn't help but wonder at how different my husband is when he is punishing me than when he is giving me a more playful spanking. You'd think the punishments would be harder. You'd think.

When Red is punishing me, he is very quiet and somber. He speaks to me seriously, but gently, and spanks with a fairly consistent rhythm. I end up with a warm, sore bottom, but the pain generally passes quickly. I frequently feel that he let me off fairly easily, but then, I don't earn punishments very often.

When the spanking is more playful, for some reason Red seems to have far less discomfort with the idea of hurting me. He clearly enjoyed my reaction to each swat that fell, and he was downright gleeful after swatting me right across the middle of my bottom, catching both cheeks with roughly equal force. I emitted a particularly high-pitched squeal in response. Red said something about how he liked how my bottom looked when he did that, and swatted me again in the same spot. Grrr.

Afterward, he rubbed Capzasin on my bottom to make sure I'd feel it the rest of the night. He has become far too fond of the Capzasin lately. I'd like to confiscate it, but, well... that probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Today when Red asked me how I was feeling, I told him that I was sitting on a still-sore bottom. He grinned, and congratulated himself on his "craftmanship." Double grrr.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Thing We Do: Domestic Discipline vs. Punishment Kink Revisited

This post by Natty at The Punishment Book:

made me think more about my use of the label "domestic discipline" to describe the arrangement I have with my husband. What those words mean to me intuitively seem to mean something very different to most people in domestic discipline chat groups. So I figured it was worth examining more closely what this term means to me, as well as other, related words, like "submission."

I suppose when it comes to the lexicon of "this thing we do" (a phrase that I've garnered from The Punishment Book, and now Dyke Grrl's new discussion forum which I've added a link to under the "Forums" section), I've taken a more literal view on the words "domestic discipline." I've used this term as a shorthand for "this thing we do," out of a sheer desire to have a name for it. I suppose it makes me feel like I understand it better than I really do.

To me, "domestic discipline" refers to a relationship structure that incorporates discipline within the private sphere of the home. My husband and I actually have an egalitarian relationship. We make decisions together, and my opinion has equal value to his, unless it is a decision that is within the realm of either his or my expertise as professionals. He is an attorney, so I tend to leave the legal details of running the household to him. Basically, he and I accept more responsibility in the areas of life where we are the strongest, and defer to each other where we are the weakest. We seem to complement each other well that way.

The term that I've always had the most discomfort with is "punishment kink," because it seems to validate the arguments of the spankos who can't imagine using spanking for anything other than sexual kicks. To me, it implies that our discipline arrangement is nothing more than elaborate foreplay which is ultimately for the purpose of getting off. I'm not going to claim that there aren't aspects of this discipline relationship that can be sexually exciting. There is an element of eroticism embedded in it, but to call it purely a kink would be much too reductive. But, in fairness, my erotic inclination toward spanking likely paved the way for my preference for and comfort with this particular structure.

But when I am disciplined, it is real. Perhaps this is where I need to clarify my use of "domestic discipline" even more. There seems to be a general attitude in online domestic discipline groups that it is somehow "natural" that a woman submit, that she was "created to do so," and most annoyingly, "God commands her to submit." To me, this is all bunk. If I "submit" to my husband at all, it is by my own choosing, and for exclusively secular reasons.

In a way, what I call "domestic discipline" is, at its base, is no different from a healthy vanilla relationship, except for that it incorporates spanking. Ultimately, what discipline does for me in my relationship is keep lines of communication open at all times, and keeps me in a receptive frame of mind. Let me be clear: I love my husband more than I even know how to cope with at times. He is a good, honest, and loving man who deserves the best of everything in this world. I don't ever want to close my mind to his feelings or to his point of view. I want him to be very comfortable telling me what he thinks and feels at all times, even if he fears that it might hurt me. My hope is that, by telling my husband that he is free to discipline me with spanking, or however else he deems appropriate, that it opens the path for him to communicate freely with me. Instead of worrying that he shouldn't let me know something I did to upset him because it might hurt me, I want him to think, "Well, if she can take a spanking, then she can surely handle hearing my opinions."

This also helps me to stay in a receptive head space. There are days when the little annoying issues get to me. I start feeling like I do everything for him, and that he makes life a lot harder for me. He freely admits that he can be a difficult man to live with. My feelings aren't necessarily invalid, but that is beside the point. I don't want to allow those feelings to place a wedge between the two of us. Yeah, it is fine for me to grumble when I wipe up the huge mess he left on the kitchen counter again, but that's going to be as far as it goes. I'm free to tell him about my feelings, and he has always been receptive to them. But I will not allow myself to treat him poorly in any way, or fail to respect his feelings, merely because I'm annoyed by his sloppiness. I didn't marry him for his housekeeping skills. Knowing that I've given my consent for him to spank me if I'm disrespectful, or if I've broken one of the rules that we've agreed to, helps me to always stay mindful of my treatment of him, and of our relationship. When I fail to treat him as well as he deserves, it hurts me emotionally more than he could ever hurt me physically with a spanking. And the spanking, when it happens, helps us both to attune ourselves to each other's needs once more.

There are other benefits for me as well. Having this structure helps me to deal with my insecurities. I've always had a "good girl" complex. I fear mistakes. I don't mean that I dislike mistakes... I mean I fear them. They have an unlimited and unpredictable potential chain of consequences. Mistakes leave me feeling incredibly vulnerable. Having this discipline structure in place is like having guardrails on either side of my path. If I start behaving disrespectfully, or if I start to disregard the rules that we've mutually established, then the discipline helps me get back on track. It also means that I don't have to fear making a mistake unwittingly that could potentially hurt our marriage.

Last night, Red and I were discussing my need for discipline. When I break a rule and know I'm going to be punished, I tend to get very upset with myself. I generally cry.

Red asked, "doesn't it make it worse to have these rules, because it gives you more fear of the ways in which you could screw up?"

"No," I explained. "It makes it better. Without clear rules and consequences, I have no way of knowing where the limits are, when I've crossed them, or where the unpredictable negative consequences will end. If I know where the limits are, then I can do my best to steer clear of them. If I do screw up and break a rule, then the consequences are limited too. I get punished, and then I am forgiven." The rules may seem superficial at times, but they protect the really dangerous zones. If I get a spanking for having a temper tantrum, then I'm not even going to have a chance to come near becoming a heinous, uncaring bitch of a wife who is steering full speed ahead into divorce.

I have a very good thing with my husband. I want to treat it with care so that it will last for a lifetime. When I say things like, "I submit to my husband," it doesn't mean that I'm a mindlessly obedient wife. It means that I do everything I can to put his needs ahead of my own, and to love him in the way that he deserves. I know that he does the same thing for me.

So I guess, the best way I know how to say it is that when you add (my notions of) "domestic discipline" and my "punishment kink" together, what you end up with is "This Thing We Do."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Domestic Discipline vs. Punishment Kink

So, as a spanko who uses spanking for both erotic and disciplinary purposes, I'm always asked how a spanking can be punishment if I'm turned on by it. The question is certainly a reasonable one, and one for which I don't know if I have a full answer. But I can tell you from experience that spankings can be erotic, they can be punishment, and they can be erotic punishment.

Erotic spanking isn't something that I have to explain to most people, and certainly not to other spankos. The vulnerability and exposure to one's partner can be very sexy and exciting. The rubbing, and the wandering hands can certainly be arousing. Lighter swats and slower, firmer ones can provide wonderful stimulation. And the reason for it is simply that it feels good to us, it excites us, and it is a part of our love-making. It's all good... except the pain. I'm not a masochist. But the pain is usually necessary for much of the pleasurable aspects to occur. So it is worth it.

Erotic punishments are generally the same... many spankos play at punishments. Most of the spanking videos I've seen depict punishment scenarios. In personal scenes, a woman might don a schoolgirl uniform and bend over for her authoritative "instructor." My husband and I don't roleplay personally, but we still have erotic punishments... For example, if I playfully sass him, or tickle him, he'll certainly pull me over his lap and spank me - often quite hard. Once, he gave me a spanking with the remote control (the closest "impliment" at the time) that left me bruised and sore for a week.

The domestic discpline and punishment spankings are the trickier ones. The fact is, there are very few women who are willing to incorporate spankings as a form of discipline in their marriage (or discipline at all) if they are not first turned on by spankings. So is the whole discipline arrangement an elaborate kind of foreplay? Perhaps in an indirect way, yes. But punishment spankings are punishment. They are real and to be avoided. Ultimately, my husband and I are serious when it comes to discipline.

I've done a lot of thinking about this. There are all kinds of insecurities that come with a punishment kink. Most people have little reaction to a spanking fetish, but many people, spankos even, will think you're twisted if you get spanked for punishment. There are the constant, and generally unsuccessful attempts to explain it. Quite frankly, I'm tired of explaining it. Those who do not understand it will likely never understand it. And those who do may never be able to explain it, but they will also tell you that no matter how contradictory it may seem, it is real. It is what it is, and we've just got to struggle to come to terms with it.

But as for the erotic vs. discipline question... I'll give explaining it another shot.

Spankings hurt. Even the erotic spankings hurt. I am not sexually stimulated by pain. Therefore, it is not really the spanking itself that turns me on.* What does turn me on is the intimacy with my husband, the touching, the giggling, the teasing, and most of all, knowing that he is excited by me too. There is a special aspect of vulnerability to spanking that, for me, is an expression of love for my husband. It plays on a different set of difficult-to-describe emotions than intercourse. There is little, if any, power exchange play involved in intercourse. Sure, there is some vulnerability to it - you are naked and doing some very intimate touching - but ultimately, both partners are equal.

When I allow him to spank me, I am telling him physically that I trust him with my whole self. I am lying face down, and usually cannot easily see what he is doing... Now, for an abuse survivor like me, this is a huge deal - I'm taking a submissive, vulnerable posture. I'm at a physical disadvantage. I would not be able to defend myself well, should he choose to actually hurt me.** It is quite possibly the only time when I can honestly say, "I don't know what is going to happen next, I can't control it, and I'm okay with that." For me, that brings powerful emotions that I honestly cannot name. Partly, there is a sense of relief. It is the only time that I relax my defenses in any significant way. Another part is that it is incredibly healing to trust a man and have it turn out as a positive experience. But there is more to it than that that I don't know how to define.

Although I enjoy erotic spankings, I do not enjoy punishment spankings. They hurt. I feel badly that my husband is unhappy with me. More often than not, I cry. I'm embarrassed that I'm being punished. There is no sexual gratification involved with the spanking.

But there are positive aspects that, when taken all together, result in me being more relaxed, focused, and ultimately attracted to my husband (hence, the indirect arousal.)

First of all, there is the motif of cleansing, the journey from transgression to forgiveness. I've never been good at self-forgiving, so for me, that journey acts as a kind of instruction... I've done something for which I feel badly, I pay a price, and ultimately, I am forgiven. When I hurt a friend, I apologize to them, and hopefully they forgive me. But I have a bond with my husband that I've never had with anyone else. It hurts me much more deeply to know that I have hurt him. So making my way to forgiveness is a much steeper climb. The spanking is a climb we take together, that I ultimately feel brings us closer.

But being punished also makes me feel loved (I may not recognize it at the time, because I'm wallowing in my own misery, but ultimately, it does). To know that there is someone who loves me enough to pay attention to the things I do and step in, even against my will if necessary, and stop me from doing something destructive, is awesome. (I mean "awesome" in the literal sense, as something that inspires awe. Although it is "cool" too.) It is a powerful gesture for a man to make to risk rejection, or worse, criminal charges, by spanking me when I deserve it. To be worth that risk for someone... well, to me, I feel amazingly loved. It also tells me that he trusts me as much as I trust him.

Sure, you could argue that a crazy or abusive man would be equally willing to take that risk. You'd be right. But remember, we're only talking about my relationship with my husband, and our discipline relationship is something that we continually discuss and negotiate.

Ultimately, going through such a powerful experience (punishment) with my husband, becoming more connected with him, trusting him by placing myself physically in his hands, and having him trust me not to betray him... that is what leads to the sense of arousal. It is not the direct, physical, sexual stimulation of an erotic spanking, but it is an emotional arousal that results in a similar contented buzz. So, domestic discipline and the punishment kink are both present. They are not the same, but they are certainly connected.

Whew. I sure hope that makes sense. :)

*In case it isn't clear, all of this comes from my subjective experience. If you identify with it, great! If you think I'm wrong, that's cool too. To each their own. I'm not trying to speak from a place of authority. I have none. I am only trying to work through my own thoughts and feelings.
**This isn't actually a question - my husband would never abuse me in any way. I'm simply trying to say that willful vulnerability is not intuitive for an abuse survivor, or for any woman, for that matter. It has special significance.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I've gone unspanked, not including the occasional swat in passing, for a couple of months now. There have been plenty of reasons and opportunities for my husband to spank me. There have certainly been at least a few occasions when I deserved one. But I've remained unspanked.

There are a few reasons for this. The main reason is that my husband has been ill for about 10 months now. Nothing fatal, but it certainly makes life harder for both of us. His energy is drained most of the time, and when he does have energy, he generally has quite a bit of pain too. So his ability to spank has been severely limited.

There are other reasons too. My husband (who is RhodeIslandRed on the few forums he is on - so I'll call him "Red" from now on) and I are still negotiating our roles. When we began our relationship, we only used spanking for erotic purposes, and even then there was some negotiating and learning to be done. But things fell in place fairly easily considering.

Discipline is a whole different animal. For my husband, he questions his "right" to punish me. He, like most men, was taught not only to not hit women, but also to respect them as equals in all things. The "no hitting women" hurdle has probably been the easiest hurdle we've had to leap. Spanking, in our relationship, is consensual, so it is simply not the same thing as abuse.

But what gives him the right to punish me? Neither one of us buys into the Christian idea that women were made to submit to their husbands. I'm an ardent feminist, and I must admit, this "created to be his help meet" stuff makes me sick to my stomach. We came into our marriage as equals, we believe that we are equals, and we treat each other as equals. So why does he get to discipline me even though I do not get to discipline him?

The truth of the matter is that I don't really know. The only reason that he has the "right" is because I gave it to him. Our discipline arrangement is largely for my benefit, although it does benefit him as well. It makes me feel secure, although the reasons for this I haven't quite figured out yet. Perhaps I'll write a separate post about my thoughts on this.

Just because I've explicitly given him the right to discipline me when needed doesn't mean that he's necessarily comfortable with invoking this right when the situation calls for it... partly because we're still negotiating which situations call for it. I've told my husband that I trust him... we do have a few specific rules, but I've also put myself into his hands. He is allowed to punish me however he deems fit (this generally means a spanking, but not always), but he doesn't always know when he is really being reasonable in choosing to punish me. Sure, there are times when I fly off the handle and am disrespectful to him, but what about the extenuating circumstances? His illness has been a major stressor - he can hardly fault me for being tense about it. I've told him that I'm willing to take the risk of receiving an undeserved punishment. I'd rather that than go unpunished when I do deserve it. Still, I see how this is a difficult decision for him to make. He needs to feel comfortable that he's not abusing me. I am hoping that the longer we do this, the easier it will become for him.

As for me, I struggle with integrating my need for discipline with my beliefs and other aspects of my personality. As I've said, I'm an ardent feminist. I don't believe that the two are necessarily in opposition. I believe that feminism is about choice, and so long as I'm in this kind of relationship by choice, then it is not in conflict with my feminism. As an overall ideology, I'm quite comfortable with this.

The day-to-day details are what give me trouble. I'm still not completely sure where to draw the line between when to defer to Red, and when to assert myself. I'm the most comfortable when I submit to my husband, but there are certain issues in which I am simply the better decision maker. I've been the better financial manager. I used to handle all of our finances, but lately we've been making a point of going over our bills and budget together every month. This is not something that either one of us is comfortable with putting it entirely in his hands. On the other hand, he is much better with business issues, dealing with the taxes, creditors, he is the one who handled the writing of our wills, etc. Am I giving up too much control by allowing him to make decisions on credit card accounts on which I am the primary card holder?

One of my biggest insecurities, though, has to do with being an adult. I know it is a common insecurity for women who get spanked to worry that perhaps they are not being adults... I worry about this too. For me, it has a lot to do with my childhood. There was a lot of ugly abuse that went on, and I was held responsible for being an adult while the adults in my life behaved like children. I worry that perhaps I am being a child now because I couldn't be when I actually was a child. I do not want my husband put in the position of "raising" his wife. He married me to be my husband, not my father.

And speaking of fathers... my husband is old enough to be mine. Which just makes the insecurity even worse... I've been the butt of well-intended jokes about looking like his daughter. What if in some ways I really was looking for a father figure? I don't think I was... but how can I really be sure?

I'm sure there are even more reasons why this discipline arrangement is complicated, and I just haven't thought of them yet. Online there seem to be so many couples who have it all together. I can't help but wonder how they do it. I can't help but especially envy those who are comfortable enough to be extroverted about it. I would love to be able to establish closer friendships with other people who have similar relationships... but I just haven't been able to "come out" quite that far.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rough Start

Even though hubby and I were both spankos, and both knew the other was a spanko from the day we met, we still have had our share of bumps in the road. It took a while for him to feel comfortable spanking me at all, and when he finally did, it was only for play, and it was fairly gentle. He was going through what I suppose many Tops have gone through... He felt guilty for wanting to spank me because he was taught never to hit a woman, and was so afraid of abusing me that he'd give me a few gentle pats, and it would be over. It was a frustrating period for me, because I didn't know how to encourage him. He already knew I wanted it, but I guess he needed to work through his feelings at his own pace.

Things did get better. Over the course of our marriage, we've amassed quite a collection of impliments. He's paddled me until I'm bruised, and given me welts with straps. It scared him, of course, at first. Seeing me bruised understandably brought back the "abuse" concerns for him, but I was quick to assure him that I didn't mind the marks at all. In fact, they were a badge of honor, in a way. Fortunately he overcame that bump a bit faster.

Now we are working on a domestic discipline relationship. Using spanking for punishment has been much harder to work out than play spankings were, for both of us. This is where things have gotten the most difficult for me. I have a "good girl" complex. I'm terrified of making mistakes, and most of the time I behave myself quite well. And yet for some inexplicable reason, I feel a very strong need for discipline. I need to know that my husband loves me enough to put his foot down with me. I need to know that he is interested enough in me to pay attention to what I do and don't do. But when spanking time arrives, it gets a little less clear...

The first time I was ever to be punished... I fainted. My husband had just begun to spank me, and he was scolding me at the same time. He told me he was disappointed in me, and that triggered a panic attack. I started to hyperventilate, and he stopped spanking me immediately and made me get up. Unfortunately, making a person who is hyperventilating get up quickly isn't the best thing to do... I dropped like a bag of bricks.

So we were right back at square one. Hubby didn't spank me again for a long time after that. It scared the bejesus out of both of us. For me, though, I was most afraid that he'd never spank me again. I was afraid that I'd never again feel the connection with my husband that I feel when he spanks me.

Fortunately, we did eventually move past that. We're currently working on a domestic discipline relationship... I have rules that I'm expected to follow, and if I break them, I get punished. My husband doesn't always feel it necessary to punish me... for smaller infractions he's made me write apology letters and things like that.

I still feel I don't get spanked enough. I'm not sure why I feel like I need to be spanked so much, but I do. Right now I feel like he could spank me every day and it still wouldn't be enough. I've considered deliberately earning a punishment, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I love my husband too much to manipulate him that way, and I really do respect the rules that we've established.

Well, hubby is actually calling me now. I'd better go see what he wants... or else I'll get punished. ;)


Monday, October 15, 2007

Welcome to my spanko blog

Being an avid reader of other spanko blogs, I figured I would end up creating my own at some point. I've got to be honest though - I have no idea how interesting this blog will be. I consider my life to be pretty mundane, and as I am still in the process of figuring out my spanko inclinations, I don't exactly have a lot of insight to offer. Mostly this blog will likely be a way for me to sort out my thoughts by writing, which is something that frequently helps me.

So, I guess I'll start with the spanko part... I've been a spanko for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I can remember being instantly interested whenever someone would talk about spanking. I'd blush and try to pretend that I wasn't really listening. I was too young to know about sex, so I didn't at that point connect the feelings that I had with sexuality. All I knew was that I was totally fascinated with spanking, and that somehow, this made me weird and I shouldn't talk about it. But I was always thinking about it. I can't even begin to estimate how many times I checked The Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright, out of the local library.

I tried to force spanking out of my mind, as I knew it was something "twisted" and that I shouldn't be thinking about. I failed miserably, however, and when puberty hit and the hormones began to rage, I found myself thinking about it even more. I felt a little paranoid that everyone could tell I was a freak, like I was wearing a "spanko" label on my forehead. In my teens, however, I finally got my own computer, and as I've heard so many others say before, I typed the word "spanking" into a search engine, and my whole world changed. I still felt like a freak, but at least I was in good company!

I met my husband as I was lurking in a spanko chat room. He spotted my screen name, checked my profile, which had numerous literary references in it, and instant messaged me. We chatted online for about a year and a half before I finally gave him my phone number. Then we spoke on the phone for about a year and a half before we finally met in person. We got engaged six months after meeting in person. We have been happily married for several years now, and and we've been working on a constantly evolving domestic discipline arrangement that includes spanking in addition to the erotic spankings that he gives me.

In the online community, I lurked on various spanking related websites, forums, and blogs until January 2007. I'd been feeling terribly lonely, since I had no one with whom to talk about spanking except my husband, and so my New Year's resolution was to come out of the online spanko closet and make some spanko friends. It has been one of the greatest things I've ever done. Since I began chatting with other spankos about my thoughts, feelings, problems, etc., I've come a long way toward accepting myself, my needs, and my sexual proclivities.

So I suppose that this blog is to be my personal contribution to the online spanko community. I hope that you will continue to read here, but even more than that, I hope that I will have useful things to say! Thank you for coming. I will be posting more soon.