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.