A Public Service Announcement of sorts

I think we've all assumed that anyone reading this blog would know that when any of us get spanked, it is consensual. We have all explicitly made it known to our partners that we want them to discipline us (though "discipline" is probably defined differently by each of us). Indeed, we have all sought out partners with spanking kinks because we ourselves already had spanking kinks (or fetishes, or whatever word you want to call it).  We *chose* it, it was not imposed on us because our partners thought it was for our own good, or because we really "need" it.

I say this because I had a conversation with a fellow (don't worry, I don't even remember your nick) in a chatroom last night that has left me rather disturbed about the message some readers of this blog may have about the various disciplinary arrangements we six have with our partners.

At one point after he read this blog, and in particular my post about a punishment I received this last winter, he asked if I thought I deserved it. I sighed to myself as I've been down this road with other men I've chatted with before and tried to think of an answer that wasn't going to sound like I believe my relationship with my partner is solely about submission or "feminine misbehavior" that needs correcting. But instead, I simply asked him why he felt it important to ask. He rattled off something about the importance of discipline being caring, that the girl understand why she was being punished, etc. I replied that all that is true, but why is it important that he ask me, a complete stranger, if I thought I deserved my punishment? He wanted to know how other couples do punishment. Why? Well, his girlfriend, still, after all the years they've gone out, hates spanking. She would never admit it, but he feels deep down that she really needs and wants this, and she always says afterwards that she deserves it.

Um, if she hasn't stated explicitly that she wants discipline to be a part of the relationship, it ain't consensual. And if it ain't consensual, it's abuse.

I have a good friend who has been a victim of domestic violence numerous times. She's lived with me on two occassions as she's tried to get away from two separate abusive boyfriends (and that's after divorcing a horribly abusive husband). I've listened to her on the phone with her partner. Say that she deserved what she got. That she would be better in the future. Plead with him not to hurt her.

Sorta like what you read in some spanking stories.

Now, fantasy is one thing. I often imagine age play scenarios where I plead with a "daddy" or "mommy" not to spank me. And in *play* that's fine. Even within real life disciplinary relationships there are those who have consented to "non-consent."

But there's *always* some form of *explicit* consent. 

Without consent, spanking in any form, even if you think it's for her (or his!) own good, is abuse.

And abuse is just enraging and heartbreaking to hear.

7 thoughts on “A Public Service Announcement of sorts

  1. Mija

    Natty makes a great point here — one that I would have thought should go without saying, but doesn’t.
    The discipline in my relationship is there because of choice and consent between my partner and myself. Punishing someone physically without their consent is abuse. Yes, there are relationships where there’s a “consent to non-consent” as Natty points out, but there’s still been a consent to discipline there.
    Likewise, while it isn’t legally abuse, I think it’s very wrong for a bottom to decide s/he wants a punishment / discipline relationship and not have the consent of their partner. One hears about that a lot too — someone deciding they want their partner to take them in hand (or whatever) and goes about being provoking. This is a bad idea, both because even someone into spanking can deeply disliked being teased into delivering a punishment and because it denies consent to the person topping.
    I speak to the above issue with some guilt — I did that at times without meaning to, so much that it had some negative affects on my partner and my relationship for a while and on his desire to discipline me at all. In the end, a metaphorical safe word needs to cut both ways and both people have to feel they’ve agreed to the disciplinary parts of the relationship.
    In my opinion anyway. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Wintermute

    Among the many reasons I love “The Punishment Book”
    is that I have the impression that all of the women
    here are strong, what I think of as feminist, women.
    Who all chose to get spanked in various flavors of
    relationship. I feel, by the way, the same about
    Patty, who I admire on a number of levels.
    I cannot read the “Taken in Hand” web site because
    my impression is that it’s message is very much
    that women, by their nature need to be “Taken
    in Hand” and need to submit to the men in their
    lives.
    Some women may make this choice. Some men may
    choose to submit to the women in their lives. But
    to label this as a gender thing really gets my
    goat. It seems to me to be deeply sexist. It
    removes the choice aspect by suggesting that women
    are naturally happiest when they submit. It ties
    right into the Christian Right view that women
    should be submissive and have fewer (if any)
    political rights and no voice.
    I see that I’m starting to foam at the mouth here.
    Sorry. I suppose that I could simply have written
    “yes, I agree”.
    Spanking for me is about submission. There is
    no politics and no correctness in the bedroom.
    To have someone lay down their power and submit,
    to bare her bottom and take a hard spanking,
    there is simply nothing better on this earth.
    I never feel that the “Taken in Hand” women are
    powerful in themselves.
    Wintermute

    Reply
  3. Haron

    It’s disturbing that such an announcement should be necessary, but thank you for making it, Natty. You’re a very level-headed person, you know, if you managed to stay civil with somebody who showed this level of stupidity.
    I’ve just tried to imagine the scene you described with a woman speaking, instead of a man. “My boyfriend hates spanking after all this time, but I just _know_ that he secretly needs the discipline, and afterwards he always says he’d deserved to be punished.” I’m not sure I believe I could ever hear such a thing. Don’t know what point I’m making, but yeah, here you go.
    Haron
    (who’s been skipping school again, but is now back online)

    Reply
  4. Natty

    Mija makes a good point also about “topping from the bottom” without consent. Manipulation is certainly unhealthy for a relationship and shows a real lack of respect for the other person, whether you’re the spanker or the spankee.
    Very nice to get a male’s perspective, Wintermute. You always raise such intersting points in an honest, passionate voice. I think many of the “taken in hand” women believe they are asserting power by accepting their natural roles instead of staying in the “unnatural” state of dominance or fighting for “headship.” I, of course, disagree with this, but I’m trying to listen to them more and understand where they are coming from. I think that Mary Jo (who I hope will visit and comment again sometime) may have had a point that both of us have spanking kinks but that we explain our kink within a narrative that works for each of us — them the “taken in hand” narrative and us the genderless, choice narrative. Not that I don’t have problems with their narrative, as I know they have problems with mine.
    You know, Haron, the scary thing is that he private messaged me again the other night and had totally forgot that we had talked. So we talked again, for an even longer period this time. I suspect his girlfriend subscribes to the “head of household” way of thinking though she doesn’t have a spanking kink. At one point when I asked why he should be the one doing the spanking, he quickly stated because he was the head of the household (geesh, I didn’t think there were any British guys who thought that — just NASCAR Coors drinking Alabamans [how’s that for stereotyping?]). We had a very civil discussion and at the end he teased that I was so “challenging.” When I asked why that was, he said because I challenge everything. Well, shouldn’t you challenge everything? Hopefully I gave him a bit to think about. But somehow I doubt it.

    Reply
  5. Qwertz

    How exactly< did the 6 of you meet, discover ýour joint interest in spanking and decide to set up this blog?

    Reply
  6. Haron

    Qwertz,
    All of us have at one time or another posted on the Usenet newsgroup soc.sexuality.spanking. (Find out about it here: http://www.sssnewsgroup.com/) Some have posted there at different times and for different periods of time, but the group was the core around our mutual acquaintance.
    Meeting each other on a spanking-related discussion group usually serves as a good indication that the other person is interested in spanking. 🙂
    As for the blog – well, it was Mija’s idea, so it’s probably her story to tell.

    Reply
  7. Mija

    As Haron says, we met on soc.sexuality.spanking (a usenet group) where we all either post, or have posted at some point in the last 8 or 9 years (it’s an old community by internet standards. We’re friends and of course we knew a lot about each other’s personal lives from our postings.
    The newsgroup is about spanking, but one thing I learned from it is that a lot of people into spanking are *not* into punishment, either for real life issues or even as something to play with. This makes it hard to talk about the idea of discipline and punishment for real life stuff there. A lot of time ends up being taken up with explaining What It Is We Do and also defending it as “real” in some fashion or another. So we never really get around to talking about how to make it work and how it might work for other people.
    When Pablo and I got married this past year, I started thinking about how hard it is to work real life discipline and punishment into a relationship and how often over the years we seem to have disappointed each other. At times, these disappointments have moved us both away from even trying. Yet on the other hand, this is such a powerful and such a right part of both our lives and such a good and positive connection between the two of us, we have continued to try. As I got to know sparkle, Haron, Tasha, Natty and Angie, I realized that we weren’t the only people struggling with this issue and how to relate to some of the DD information out there that seemed oh so not us.
    What I wanted was for us to be able to get together every so often and talk. However, while a couple of us live near each other, for the most part we’re seperated by national bounderies, large land masses and oceans. And then I realized we could have a blog and maybe other people would want to talk about this too. Plus, with six of us, I figured someone would have something at least every week or two.
    Enter TypePad and the rest is history. I’m sorry we haven’t been posting a lot lately. Some of us have been ill, dealing with school, traveling or just being too good (??). So there will be ebbs and flows in the blog, just like in relationships.
    A good thing.
    There, aren’t you glad you asked?

    Reply

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