Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Myth vs. Reality

Author's Note: Today's entry involves me trying to sort the differences between myths that exist in the spanking scene vs. the truth. This is my truth only. I make no claims to speak for anyone else. If you're looking for your own reality, you'll have to do that yourself. Although I'll try to be sensitive, some of the language could get a bit, shall we say, salty.

Let's be honest. There are a lot of myths in the spanking world. These are views perpetuated not only by the preponderance of spanking porn and erotic literature (thanks, 50 Shades), but also by people's own notions based on consuming these products. Unfortunately, the myths are self-perpetuating. Whenever someone makes an attempt to explode these myths, people get on the defensive. So I thought, speaking only for myself, I would try to dispel some of these myths. In my opinion, they're harmful to the scene as a whole and to people as individuals. So, here we go. Better have your earplugs handy. This could get loud.

Myth # 1

Spanking is sex.

I have no idea how this one got started or why it still exists. I guess some people don't know the difference between being smacked on the ass and having one of your holes screwed. OK, I admit that spanking has a sexual component. It feels good and you take your pants off to do it, for crying out loud. And for a lot of us, spanking IS part of our sexuality. But it is NOT sex. Sex means someone's dick is in me. Unless I'm being penetrated, it's not sex. Someone else might have a different opinion, but it's just that--an opinion. Many people also can't separate the two and can't even think of doing one without the other. All well and good for you, mate but don't pretend to speak for all of us, OK? I can do spanking just fine without sex. In fact, I prefer to keep the two separate. So let's review: getting smacked on the ass, no matter how hot and bothered it makes you, isn't sex. It can certainly lead to it, but it's not sex. I know people who use spanking as foreplay, but in my mind, they aren't what I would call "hardwired" spankos. They're definitely kinky, but not a spanko by my definition.

Myth # 2

Spanking is effective for changing behavior in adults.

This one annoys me like almost nothing else. Fetlife and other kink sites are filled with discussions about how all you really need is a tough, no-nonsense dom-type to administer tough, no-nonsense spankings and you can quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt and any of the other myriad human conditions spanking is supposed to "cure". Spanking is effective with children because their brains are still forming and they haven't had enough life experience to know not to do stupid things. In adults, the brain is fully formed and the personality fully realized. And we've had enough life experience to know that doing stupid things brings natural consequences. The notion that you can spank an addiction (such as cigarettes or food) out of someone is ludicrous on its face. An addicted person will do whatever they have to do to get that fix. The threat of a spanking is a small price to pay. A person who's addicted must WANT to quit. And in that area, it's possible that spankings for rewards might work as a motivator for someone to whom spanking is pleasurable. I see one bottom person after another posting about how their dom-type is helping them with their laziness and procrastination. I guess I can see that working, again using reward spankings as a motivator. But using punishment spankings on an adult in order to get them to do things differently? Not effective in the long term in my opinion.

Myth # 3

M/F spanking reinforces traditional gender roles that are unhealthy in a modern society.

OK, I'll play along with this one. I'm a straight female and I love getting spanked by men. I admit it...gleefully. If you listen to new wave feminists, whose radical sisters once proclaimed that ALL sex was rape, getting spanked by a man simply perpetuates the patriarchal society that so many people worked so hard to topple. After all, it wasn't that long ago when there were laws on the books that made it permissible for a husband to discipline his wife the same way he did his children (at the same time, he also had the right to demand sexual favors from her and that's creepy). Men ran everything and women had no rights. They couldn't vote, couldn't own property and couldn't make their voices heard in public forums on anything but domestic issues. They were second class citizens. And that needed to change. However, getting spanked consensually because you enjoy it does NOT mean that the person getting spanked wants it lorded over her outside the bedroom. Besides, there must be some reason why women want this kind of arrangement--where the man makes the rules and they both agree that she should get suitably punished when she breaks one of those rules. We've come a long way...even if that means we choose to live a D/s or Head of House or Taken In Hand relationship. These things aren't my cup of tea, but for others, they need it so who is it hurting?


Myth # 4


Spanking purges guilt.


Well, this one is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? I have no idea how many people actually use spanking this way, but the number must be pretty large. So many bottoms and subs say that spanking clears the air that there must be something to it, right? I will agree that there's something quite wonderful about knowing that the slate has been wiped clean. If the spanking is given by someone they feel close to and trust and who they respect, then it's true that spanking can offer some release for negative emotions. But purging guilt? It's a very old concept that the sins of the flesh can be purged by flagellation. The Catholics were huge fans of that particular way of thinking. I suppose if a person does something wrong and gets spanked for it and that spanking makes them feel better, then I guess I have to grudgingly say that, yes, spanking can purge guilt. But for myself, it doesn't. I'm speaking only for myself here.


Myth # 5


All spankos were abused in some way as children.


This myth is perpetuated by films like "Secretary" and other erotica that vanillas watch and read. No sane, emotionally healthy and socially well adjusted person would ever allow another person to hit them, they reason. I once had a boyfriend who, when I asked him to spank me, offered to pay for my therapy. This myth is a very old one. In England, it's believed by many that all of the caning that went on in public (private) schools back in the old days made all the men sadomasochists. They believe that somehow, all of those spankings we received as children became eroticized in our brains as adults as a coping mechanism to deal with all the abuse we suffered. This is poppycock.I would guess someone has seen "A Dangerous Method" too many times. I know many, many spankos (particularly among the younger set) who were never spanked as children. That's not to say that they were raised in loving, functional families, but they never had the specter of physical punishment hanging over them. Anyway, loving discipline is a far cry from abuse, but that's an argument for another day.

Myth # 6

Spanko women are more inclined to want casual sex than vanilla women.

This is total hooey, probably promulgated by vanilla men who hope and pray this is true. It's been my experience that spanko women (and kinky women in general) are just as much inclined to want a loving, monogamous relationship as their vanilla sisters. It's true that some kinky women are down for hook ups with casual partners, but then so are vanilla women. This is probably one of the more harmful myths that exist today and it needs to be demolished with all speed. I know of vanilla guys who join kink sites because they subscribe to this myth...kinky girls are easy and will do it with anyone. Complete baloney.

Myth # 7

Fetlife is a sex/porn/hook up site.

If I had a dime for every guy who has told me "You're on a sex site, sweetheart" when I take them to task for leaving sexual comments on my photos, I'd be a millionaire. And I'm probably not far from wrong. I suppose Fetlife, because it's a social media site, can be used a lot of different ways, one of which is as a substitute for having to pay for a porn site or having to join an internet dating service. Fetlife is free to use and that makes it attractive to people who want things without having to pay for them. And since it's a free country, they're free to think what they wish. That doesn't mean I have to buy into it. I use Fetlife for keeping up with friends and for networking before events and to a lesser extent, for getting involved in discussions with like-minded people. I'm NOT on Fetlife to be living wank material for horny guys and I would suspect neither are most women.

Myth # 8

All the women who attend spanking parties should look like spanking models.

This one is a particular favorite of mine. Many, many spankos get their first exposure to adult spanking via videos. I'm no exception to that. My first exposure to spanking videos came through Shadow Lane and their Romance of Spanking philosophy. Indeed, all of their models conformed to society's notion of beauty (thin, pretty and decked out in heels and garters). It pretty much told me that women my age and weight could not get spanked in a "romantic" context. That's only for the knock outs and cuties. Then, I attended my first spanking party and that myth was definitely exploded. The only women at spanking parties who actually look like spanking models are...well...spanking models. The rest of us look like your normal everyday women. If you're a guy and you attend a spanking party thinking that all the women are going to look like the chicks you see in the videos, you are going to be sadly disappointed. Video producers are going to use what sells and beautiful women sell videos. But they aren't realistic, at least not in the sense that it's realistic to use spanking starlets as your yardstick for how every woman you spank should look. It's OK to have preferences, just keep them realistic if you ever expect to enjoy the party scene.

Myth # 9

Everyone who gets spanked is submissive and everyone who spanks is dominant.

Well, I've come across this one enough times to be fairly certain that it's pervasive. The problem is that the lines between BDSM and spanking have become majorly blurred. Many spankos dabble in or practice BDSM to one extent or another and many BDSM practitioners have a spanking fetish. The problem is that not everyone spanks or gets spanked to meet the same need. Yes, many spankos, both male and female, are submissive. And yes, many spankos, both male and female, are dominant. However, many of us (myself included) get spanked just because we enjoy the sensations it brings. Others simply want to temporarily cede control to someone else. Others like testing their limits, etc. There are lots of people out there calling themselves submissives who really don't know what it means because they think bottom and submissive is the same thing.  Same for tops calling themselves doms. It's a question of not knowing the lingo. It's pretty easily sorted, but still annoying because I encounter it so much. No, not everyone who gets spanked is submissive and not everyone who spanks is dominant.

Myth # 10

Nudity adds to a spankee's humiliation.

Another one that's in the eye of the beholder. If being naked embarrasses you, then yes I would have to say that nudity certainly adds to the humiliation of the scene. But if you're like me, an exhibitionist who enjoys being spanked, then no, it won't. It does heighten the feeling of vulnerability, but that's not the same as humiliation. There are dozens (probably more) of websites that specialize in what's known as CMNF (clothed male/naked female) or CFNM (clothed female/naked male) fetishes. The one who gets to keep their clothes on has the upper hand. In fact, the less clothing the person getting spanked is wearing, the less they feel in control. In other words, the person's sense of control is directly in proportion to how much clothing they're wearing. I see it debated in spanking groups all the time--the spankee should always be naked because it gets them into a submissive head space blah, blah, blah. If that's true for you, then go with that. But it's not true for all of us.

Myth # 11

Spanking should always be about punishment.

I should have put this one first because it never fails to infuriate me. It happens on Fetlife a lot. A top (ahem, sorry Dom) will come into a spanking group and ask about what the worst punishment you can give or how do you punish your submissive, etc. and if someone like me dares to say that spanking is fun for me and I don't do it as a punishment, then the poster invariably will jump on me and tell me to stay out of the conversation if that's my opinion. It's like they don't even want to hear someone else's thoughts on the matter or even to acknowledge the existence of people who spank for gasp fun. To them, spanking should always be about learning a lesson and being better behaved in the future. There's no room in their world for scenes that involve laughter, joking and enjoyment...unless it's the person doing the spanking enjoying it. When I tell these clueless wonders that consensual spanking means that both parties are supposed to enjoy it, they tell me to be quiet about things I don't know about, etc. All I can then do is pity their play partners.

Myth # 12

Men who get spanked by other men are gay or bisexual.

This can go back to Myth # 1 I suppose. I have long disliked the double standard that exists in the spanking world that says it's OK for women to get spanked by other women but not for men to get spanked by other men. I guess F/F scenes are acceptable because most men (if they're honest) like seeing two women together. I have a problem with party organizers banning M/M from their parties while promoting F/F scenes. I don't even think it's a result of homophobia. I just think it's a taboo that no one really wants to cross. To me, as long as it's spanking only (even if balls are touching thighs) it's straight. Now, if one guy is going to do another guy in the ass when the spanking is over, then yes it ceases to be straight, obviously. But I've known even gay and bisexual men who are perfectly willing and able to give a straight guy a spanking and enjoy it immensely without any sexual overtones whatsoever. A few of the women who have spanked me are bisexual or bi-curious and I have no problem with that as long as they respect that I'm straight and don't try anything with me. I think men who are comfortable getting spanked by other men should be able to say so openly without fear of having their masculinity questioned. They should also be free to play just as publicly at parties as women do.

Myth # 13

You can't enjoy getting hit anywhere but the bottom and still call yourself a spanko.

There's a lot of gray area in this one. Some say yes, some say no. Even though I love getting the fronts of my thighs caned, I still consider myself a spanko. Getting my thighs caned isn't something I have to have every time I play. Let's face it, not everyone is comfortable doing that. And it's not like I call getting the fronts of my thighs caned "spanking". I'm fairly certain that "body work" as it's  called isn't spanking. But just because I do other things besides spanking doesn't mean I'm not a hardwired spanko. I would say that enjoying that kind of play is just a manifestation of my masochism. And anyway, who doesn't like to try new things every once in a while?

Myth # 14

All older women in the spanking scene are just cougars looking for young guys.

I guess, the young guys chase the older women the same way the older guys chase the PYTs. I get messages from guys as young as 19 on Fetlife (which I read with strains of "Stacy's Mom" playing in my head). I have to wonder what a guy that young sees in a woman who's older than his mom? I'm not trying to perpetuate ageism here, but I really am curious. If I were a domme, I could maybe see the reasoning. But I'm a bottom and most of the young men who message me are either tops or switches exploring their top side. As flattering as it is, I have no desire to hit the sheets with a guy who can't get served in a bar (not that I  go to bars). Of course, I don't speak for everyone. There probably are older women on Fetlife who are looking for what we used to call a "boy toy". But it's not the rule.

Myth # 15

Every woman who gets spanked is looking for a daddy.

I can kind of see how this one got started. There are a lot of women in the spanking scene who are looking for security and boundaries because they never really had them growing up. But not every woman in the spanking scene has daddy issues. I had a perfectly good dad growing up and, while I miss him, I'm not looking to relive that experience. However, a lot of women in the spanking scene didn't have a good childhood and they might be looking to get some of that back. But it's a sweeping generalization to say that women in the spanking scene are just looking to be little girls again. There are age players and littles in the spanking scene, but that's another fetish entirely.

Myth # 16

Everyone who gets spanked is a masochist.

No, they're not. Some spankos, like yours truly, are masochists who enjoy the pain that spanking provides. But many, many spankos aren't into pain. They will accept it as a form of correction (if they have that dynamic) or they enjoy the power exchange that sometimes goes along with spanking. They might only endure the pain because they love the endorphins or because they love the rosy red glow of their bottom afterwards. The truth is that people engage in spanking play for a number of different reasons, the pain might be the least of it for some of them.

Myth # 17

If spanking turns you on, you're not a "true" spanko.

This is the opposite end of the spectrum from the "spanking is sex" crowd. These are people who believe that you can only be a true, hardwired  spanko if spanking doesn't arouse you. If it does, then you're just horny and using it as an excuse. The truth is, that a lot of people, both tops and bottoms, are turned on by spanking. But just because someone is aroused doesn't mean that anything else has to happen. I often get really turned on when being spanked, but I seldom do anything sexual with my play partners. The human sexual response in both males and females is involuntary (meaning people have no control over it) so it shouldn't even be an issue. Also, learn a little about anatomy. The bottom shares nerve bundles that echo right into the genitals so it should come as no surprise that spanking feels really, really good to most spankos. To say that, if it turns you on, then you're not real is disingenuous.

Myth # 18

Hard play causes nerve damage.

This is actually partly true. Hard play, continued over the course of many years, can cause nerve damage. The condition is known in the spanking scene as "leather butt". The skin on the bottom becomes tough and leathery, hence the name, and there can also be a decided loss of sensation. But I've been playing hard for about twelve years and it hasn't happened to me. My skin does get a bit leathery if I'm playing a lot, but I haven't experienced any kind of loss of feeling. Of course, individuals vary and your experience could very well be different. But I've heard this myth spouted by lighter players as a way to frighten or discourage newbies from playing hard. It's well known that the more a person plays, the more they can usually take. But this is just the body getting acclimated to a new activity; the same way we get used to exercise or lifting weights or jogging. It doesn't necessarily mean that you've done any kind of permanent damage to yourself.

Myth # 19

Your limits and safewords will always be respected at parties.

Unfortunately, I have firsthand experience with this one. At parties, we like to think that the dangerous types have been "weeded out" by the vetting process. Fortunately, this is mostly true. When I registered to attend my first party, I was called by one of the board members of the group and given a brief interview (despite the fact that my sister had just attended one of their parties). Some groups now require new attendees to be "sponsored" by a known member before they can attend. No matter how careful group leaders are, a predator will sometimes slip through the cracks in the system. I have had my safeword ignored and also have had men take sexual liberties with me. I handled those incidents myself without involving a board member. But I put the word out to others what had happened to me so that they could make informed decisions about whether or not to play with those people. It's a sad fact that no one is ever 100% safe, even at a big national party. But statistically you're safer at a big hotel party, where there are likely to be people close by all the time, than meeting a stranger on your own.

Myth # 20

It's possible to "convert" vanilla people into spankos.

We've all heard someone in the scene who brags about how they managed to convert a "totally vanilla" partner into a spanko. Would this were true because the world needs more spankos. However, I don't think it's possible, no matter how much seduction and technique you use, to convert a completely vanilla person into a spanko. Yes, you might be able to get that other person to tolerate or even enjoy the occasional spanking. But you will not turn them into an actual hardwired spanko. If that happens, then I'm sorry to tell you they weren't that vanilla to start with. Most of us who are hardwired discovered our spanking interest at a young age (I was about nine or ten) and spend years wondering what's wrong with us before we finally just accept ourselves as we are. Do not think that just because your partner likes a couple of smacks on the ass during sex that you've created a spanko. It's a lot more complicated than that, I'm afraid.

Myth # 21

Spanking is becoming more mainstream.

This is another one I wish were true, Yes, BDSM and spanking activities have been featured on shows like "Law And Order", "NCIS" and the various "CSI" franchises. It's also been explored in films like "Secretary" and the eagerly awaited and overly hyped "50 Shades Of Grey" film. However, that is hardly mainstream. The television shows that have featured spanking (including the ones I mention in my previous entry) and BDSM use it to show that something was "not quite right" about someone who may have been involved in those activities. Or they are used for comic reasons. I will accept that spanking has gone mainstream when a member of the spanking community makes a film in which people are seen enjoying adult spanking play in a healthy way (i.e. not as part of an unhealthy relationship or because of psychological trauma). So far, I haven't seen it. People celebrate "Secretary" like it's the greatest thing that ever happened to the spanking community because it shows two people exploring their kinky side. Please. She's a woman who just got out of the loony bin, who self harms, and who still lives at home with drunk and abusive parents. He's a perfectionist poseur who all the women who saw the film loved as a "truly dominant" man. Yeah, right. He doesn't even have the heart to kill the mice that he find in his office, choosing instead to use no-kill traps. Plus, there's that part where he hides in the closet when his ex-wife comes to the office to see him. 

Myth # 22

The spanking scene is more tolerant and accepting of people and their differences than the vanilla world.

This isn't a myth--it's a joke. There's just as much judgment and intolerance among the citizens of the spanking world as there is out there in Vanillaland. There might even be more. If you don't believe me, try this experiment. Go to the Fetlife profile of a random person and find a photograph of something that offends you. Then, leave a comment that says something like "This isn't my thing, but hey, if you get off on this, more power to you" and then sit back and watch the shit hit the fan. Or post a journal entry describing the time you were turned down for play at a spanking party because the guy you asked wanted to play with a cuter, younger, thinner girl than you. Then watch the wagons get circled. Like it or not, the spanking scene is exactly like being in middle school. You'll see examples of people being unfriended because they are friends with someone the other person doesn't like. You'll hear gossip and rumor reported as fact. People who like something a bit different than normal M/F spanking will feel the chill of all those cold shoulders brushing past them. There's more conformity and fear of being discovered to be "different" in the spanking scene than there is among kids in your average high school.

Myth # 23

Your attitude determines the amount of play you get at parties, not your appearance.

There was a time when this was true. When I first got active in the spanking scene, my twin sister and I were two of the youngest women in the group and we were 42 at the time. We weren't hideous or anything, but we weren't young or thin. That mentality changed after a few years. I don't know if the male tops became pickier or what, but I began to get turned down for play, something that never happened before. It used to be that people would tell newbies "just be approachable and friendly and you'll be fine". Even after twelve years, I'm as friendly and approachable as I've ever been. But the "no thank you"s are piling up. All the men want the fantasy girls they see in porn and spanking videos. Anyway, I've harped on this subject enough on this blog. Believe me or don't believe me. I've seen it firsthand. And nowadays, I think the men are starting to lean towards women who look like strippers rather than the wholesome girls that used to be in spanking videos. Anyway, here's something to try if you don't believe me. If you're an older, heavier and not as pretty spankee, go to a spanking party and ask an attractive, younger male top to play. You might get a "yes" if the guy knows you, but if you're a stranger, he'll more than likely pass. I see this happening more and more and it's disturbing.

Myth # 24

Everyone in the spanking scene is into roleplaying and costumes.

Uh...no, they're not. It's true that a lot of spankos, both top and bottom, like a good roleplay scenario. Some scenarios, like schoolgirl/teacher, secretary/boss, husband/wife or cheerleader/principal, are tried and true and not very imaginative. Many tops enjoy roleplay because it lets them give what appears to be a punishment in a very non-threatening way. And a lot of bottoms like roleplay because it's fun and a chance to act a bit bratty. I myself am not a fan of roleplaying. I've done it plenty of times, but it's not really my thing. And I don't even do costumes on Halloween. Many, many spankos can enjoy themselves without costumes and roleplay.


Anyway, you get the idea. There are a lot of myths I chose not to cover because I don't want this entry to run on and on. Just remember this: if someone starts a sentence with "all" or "every", it's probably a blanket generalization and therefor, a myth. 






2 comments:

bobcat said...

EXCELLENT essay!!

I happen to agree with ALL of your points!!

Bob.

Enzo said...

Hi Cheryl -
I came here by random chance link hoping.

One word - Wow!
What an excellent post.

This is one of the posts that I read and amazed that it hasn't sparked countless comments rather than the single lone comment.

Honestly, I dont agree 100% with all your points, but I do agree with the majority of them. More importantly I give you credit for all the well thought out explanations of even the ones I don't agree with you on.

Just to comment on a few:
#10 _ I have tried to explain this to people and some people don't get that people can be both an exhibitionist AND a spankee.
#8 _ One of my big pet peeves with other guys. Let's look in the mirror first gentlemen; then start judging.
#20_ I wish this were true.
#21 & #22_ Perfectly stated.

Thank you!