I've been in the spanking scene for more than a decade now. I've seen a lot of changes over the years, some good and some not so good. I've seen the Internet open up new possibilities of people actually meeting each other and forging friendships and relationships. I've also seen the Internet bring the term "stranger danger" into everyday usage. I've seen so-called "social media" help people stay connected non-stop. I've also seen that same social media make darlings out of attention seekers who really aren't worth our time.
But one thing hasn't changed. The game playing has always been with us here in the scene and I'm afraid it always will be. Some of it is harmless. Like, right now on Fetlife, there are factions playing out whether corner time is OK or should be "outlawed." They go to great lengths to discuss why they should never be put in a corner and that there should be rules that a person can evoke to get out of it. On one of those threads I simply wrote "Just say you don't do corners. Problem solved." My suggestion, while simplistic, is effective. No one has ever attempted to put me in a corner. I have posed for photos in them, but I was never held there against my will.
But since the debate is raging on, and tops are now answering with threads of their own, I have to assume that it's not as simple as all that. These girls claim to hate corners, be "allergic" to wood implements, and have an aversion for writing sentences, yet they do it. Why? If you hate corners so much, make it a hard limit and there's the end of it. One reason is, I assume, because no matter how much these girls claim to dislike something, the DO like it. They just can't come right out and say so. Heavens no. That would be like admitting to something forbidden and taboo in our culture. I've seen people on the boards discussing how much they hate hairbrushes. OK, if you hate them so much, make them a hard limit. "Oh no. I can't do that. It would be taking too much control and that can't happen." And that's really what all of this game playing boils down to-- the bottom or sub or whatever can't appear to be in control of the situation, whether it's what toys get used on her, whether she gets corner time or whether she gets bound and/or gagged. It's the illusion of control around which our whole scene revolves. It's like the ladies are saying "I can't admit out loud that I like something. That would make it look like I enjoy it. And I simply have to act like I don't for the game to work."
This particular game actually has a name. We call it "consensual non-consent". For these ladies and the men who top them (or vise verse if you roll that way) the scene is only enjoyable if it appears non-consensual. I'm sure there are deep psychological reasons for this. For some, it's simply fun to be told that something is going to be done to you whether you like it or not. For others, it fulfills some kind of emotional need. Something happened to them in their childhood and looking back, they enjoyed it and so they want to relive it. I can understand that. But I have no tolerance for it. I simply can't "play the game". Maybe I'm too practical and unimaginative to be in the spanking scene? I mean, after all, I don't like the costuming that's so prevalent; that a woman has to be dressed a certain way for the spanking to seem more "real". Outfits like cheerleader or schoolgirl are common and have been done to death. Also, I've seen men who claim emphatically that they aren't into age play getting more and more into girls in frilly little girl-type dresses and frilly panties. I myself love ruffled panties and make no secret of it. But the ruffled panties I'm seeing on a lot of female bottoms and subs have a distinctive babyish look to them, as if they belong over a diaper. And please don't get me started on diapers. I'm not trying to knock what people are into, but I just have a hard time with it. Look on Fetlife at the K&P page and you will find lots and lots of photos of people of both genders wearing diapers. However, the subject of today's entry is game playing so I'll veer back on course here.
What it boils down to is people pretending not to be into something they ARE into, or pretending to be into something they aren't into or pretending in some way that makes it very unclear what's real and what's not. Because people play games, things aren't so cut and dried. If a woman says "no" to something, does she really mean it? Or is it all part of the game? We know that safe words are in place for times like that, but given the amount of make believe we do, can we even accept the safe word as sacred? There have been times when safe words have been abused by the bottom and ignored by the top. And I think a lot of the problem is that it's all so staged and costumed and scripted. It takes all of the spontaneity and realism out of the scene. Yes, I realize that what we do is fantasy driven. BUT surely, there's room for realism and practicality, too? I don't need the costuming. I don't need the power exchange dynamic. I don't need the psychological trappings. I don't need the things that make spanking about punishment--things like corner time, mouth soaping or writing sentences, all of which I experienced in my childhood and hated with a passion. And I think that may be where some of it comes from. We have young people entering the scene who were never spanked as children, let alone stood in a corner or had their mouths washed out with soap. So, for them, this is all behavior that they never had to experience non-consensually like so many in my generation did. For them, it doesn't conjure up bad memories of being drug to sink and made to "bite the bar" (as we ruefully described it as kids) or being made to go outside and cut your own switch (although I think many of them have experienced having to write sentences because, once corporal punishment went out of the schools, what was left?). For these young people, it's all part of re-enacting a bygone era they simply were never a part of. They may have their young, liberal, hip ideologies, but deep inside, they wonder what it would have been like to be spanked over a plaid skirt by a nun with a yardstick, even though they would probably have recoiled with horror if ever presented the real thing. That's one of the things the spanking scene really does give us: the chance to play out in a safe environment things we would be uncomfortable with in real life. I really do get that. But do we really have to have games? Do we really have to pretend that we hate something that's actually an activity that we find extremely rewarding? Why not just say "I love corners and a spanking, for me, isn't complete without it." For many, corner time is like aftercare. Why do people have to act like what they love is something they hate? I'll probably never understand this. It does get me some heat occasionally. But I can't help it. The game playing is one of my least favorite things about the scene.