Layers of Trust

I've been thinking a bit lately about trust and the role it plays in a disciplinary relationship.  Obviously you have to trust a disciplinarian with basic things like safety and consent, but there are other issues that go along with it.  Discipline is a very deep thing for me–much deeper than (though linked to) sex.  In my pre-M days, I used to muse about whether I'd find a vanilla partner and how I'd convert them.  I even dated a few people without telling them about my need for spanking at all, and these were people with whom I was sexually active.  I was willing to have sex with them, but not to let them spank me.  Sex is a less intimate activity for me than spanking, and MUCH less intimate than discipline.  To have sex with someone I only have to be attracted to them and aroused–and trust them.  But to allow someone to spank me, especially for punishment, means that I am handing them my whole self in a little ball and asking them to be careful with it, please.

The other part of these trust musings has to do with my vanilla friends and family.  Of all the people I know in the world, maybe 10% know about my spanking side.  And outside of others in the scene, NO ONE knows about the discipline part.  Not one.  Not my best friend who knows about Shadow Lane and asks about it, not my sister, no one.  Which means there's a whole other layer of trust around punishment spankings.  Somehow it's ok if they think I do this for sex, but not ok if they know I do this for real things.

I'm not sure there's a point to this, I've just been thinking about it.  Anyone else have thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Layers of Trust

  1. Lo

    I understand this too. I haven’t acted on my need/desire to get spanked for discipline (yet! — someday soon….sigh…) but when I talk to my girlfriends about it (usually after a drink or two) it’s always presented in the context of “this is something I think would be hot in a sexual context.”

  2. Mija

    This covered a lot of ground in relatively few words. And yes, I’ve had the same sort of experience. In fact, I think we talked about it a bit at Shadow Lane. I don’t play with as many people as I used to at parties because I’ve finally realized that for me, a few deep or heavy scenes are really what I need — the more casual play just isn’t right for me. It’s such an intimate thing, spanking.
    Punishment is even moreso a matter of trust and also deeply intimate. Even when I play with other people, I don’t imagine anyone else punishing or disciplining me except in a roleplay kind of way. Yes, I can kind of imagine a situation where someone else could punish me and it would feel right (mostly when I’m busy imagining certain friends’ lovely northern English home as a sort of boarding school for slow writing and wayward PhD candidates (er, not that I need such a place… much), but mostly the idea of being accountable to someone other than Pablo doesn’t just seem wrong… it seems, well deeply wrong. I trust him. Not just with this information about me, which could be used to make me feel terrible about myself very very easily, but also I trust that he believes in me and in the effect of discipline on me to take it seriously.
    I’m not ashamed of this. At least I don’t think I am.
    And yet… no one outside the scene knows about this part of our lives. Not even my mom and sister who know about most things. Or my friends who know I’m into spanking. I’m not completely sure why except that it’s been hard enough to explain to friends IN the scene. I guess it’s partly that I worry what they’ll think of me. And I worry even more what they might think of Pablo. Would they imagine that he sees himself as some sort of HOH parody male? I can hardly bear even thinking about that… especially since this was my idea.
    Okay, I think this comment is about 3X the length of the original post. 😉

  3. Dyke Grrl

    This is a great discussion topic, Iris!
    I agree with all of you: the discipline part is something I’m even more wary of discussing with people than the spanking.
    Some of it is because of judgmental responses from one friend when I mentioned things that were at most peripherally related (W’s suggestion that I get up with her in the mornings, so I’d have a more structured day). Now, the friend in question is thoroughly judgmental of pretty much anything, but still….
    I agree with you, Mija, about how some of my reticence is because I’m worried about what people would think about W. I doubt they’d think she sees herself as some kind of male-oriented HOH, but who knows?
    Discipline is definitely way harder to “come out” about than anything else I’ve dealt with. Harder with other people, and harder with myself, which might be part of why it’s something I have so much trouble discussing. It feels more like a statement about the essential… meaning of who I am? Not sure; it seems like it says more about *me*, and not necessarily in a good way, that I need to be disciplined. So I guess there are levels where I’m ashamed to admit that, because I’ve got such ambivalence about myself. It’s harder to cope with that split–sure, I’m ambivalent, but it works and I feel much better for it–when I’m talking about it with people who aren’t already in that place themselves, you know?
    So I’ve added yet another comment that’s longer than Iris’ original post. And I’ll probably add more of a comment once I’ve finished reading the paper and had my coffee and seen what other people have to say on this topic.
    Thanks, Iris, for a very thought-provoking post.

  4. Fireman Chris

    From a top’s perspective, I can totally relate to what’s been said so far.
    I think part of the reason its been such a struggle for me to be a disciplinarian for Sparkle is that from my earliest days as a spanko, it somehoe seemed “wrong” to be into spankings for punishment. Oh sure, a lot of people play with disciplinary themes in role play, but to go beyond that felt like it was crossing a line from play into something more abusive. I know plenty of spankos who feel this way, or who at least believe that spanking can’t *really* be punishment if you’re into being spanked.
    Discovering that there are people (on both sides of the coin, so to speak) who are into true disciplinary relationships was a big eye opener for me, and allowed me to explore that side of my personality a bit more. As I’ve said before, I still have some problems with assuming a disciplinary role with Sparkle, but I think that’s more an issue of these mental stumbling blocks than anything else. If you spend any time around me, you quickly learn that I have little patience for what I’ll collectively term “misbehavior” on other people’s parts. One would think I’d be a natural disciplinarian (after all, I had a 2nd grade teacher who wrote on a comment once that I had “policeman tendencies”). Making that leap, however, from feeling like giving someone a spanking to actually doing it, however, is more difficult than it seems. Even when I know its welcome.

  5. Dyke Grrl

    Yeah, there is that whole thing of people thinking that if you’re into spanking, then it can’t be a punishment. And that becomes something of a stumbling block.
    And also the worry about whether it’s abusive to do it in a disciplinary fashion–I worry about that from the receiving end, even though I’m not the one doling out the punishments. But it’s something that I worry people will think, even if I’m the one asking for it (literally, and not with my behavior!).
    And then (because I’m great at playing little head games with myself), I worry that it’s abusive on *my* part to ask W. to provide this for me….
    What’s funny about it is that, generally in our lives, I’m the one people would probably interpret as the “top.” I mean, I’m the one who mostly decides our budget, who cares about what the house looks like (well, W. *cares*, but is less inclined to do the maintenance); heck, I’m the one who drives the car and decides what’s for dinner.
    So it becomes even weirder that I’m the one who desperately craves someone to take charge of aspects of my life, who longs for someone to tell me what to do. And I feel like it’s somehow “cheating” to not be able to be in control *all* of the time, and like maybe I misrepresented myself to W. when we were first dating (not that I can point to how I did this, and my more rational mind can see that I didn’t, but still, it’s there.)
    That said, I can TOTALLY understand Chris’ perspective on this. There are a few people who I swear would be the better for a little bit of spanking, but I don’t really want to be the person providing it. (Am I the only person who has come within millimeters of suggesting to someone that they need to ask their partner for a good spanking?)

  6. sparkle

    I think you summed up my perspective on this question with the sentence:
    “But to allow someone to spank me, especially for punishment, means that I am handing them my whole self in a little ball and asking them to be careful with it, please.”
    As for sharing that aspect with others, I feel an especially strong instinct to protect Chris against unfounded criticisms and the judgements of others – particularly certain members of my family. Perhaps part of this instinct derives from Chris’s … hmm… cautious(?)… development as a disciplinarian, but most of it comes from an honest desire for others to see him as the wonderful man I do.
    *happy, sweet smile in Chris’s direction*

  7. Iris

    Dyke Grrl, you wrote, “generally in our lives, I’m the one people would probably interpret as the ‘top.'” While I can’t say quite the same thing about my relationship with M, I am definitely an in-charge kind of person in most aspects of my life. There are people who know me well who wouldn’t be surprised by my impetuousness or even brattiness, but I think they would be surprised that I would submit to physical discipline. Because I have it all together and am a reasonably competent adult. And adults don’t need that, right? 😀 Actually, I think it’s much *more* understandable that you or I would want discipline and structure. It’s partly about relationship, at least for me. It means that even though I’m capable of taking care of myself and my life, someone else cares about me enough to back me up when I need to be vulnerable.
    Which brings me back to the trust thing. I’ve been feeling prickly about discipline lately and I’m just starting to realize that it’s because I don’t want to feel vulnerable right now. I’m getting ready to make a huge life change–I HATE moving, even if it’s for a really good reason and a really wonderful person–and emotionally I’m sort of battening down the hatches. I know that it’s going to take a psychological toll on me to move: leaving my friends and support system, having to learn a whole new city, making new routines and habits, etc. Part of me is hunkering down to weather that storm and opening myself up to discipline means that I have to be vulnerable, which is something I’d really rather not be at the moment.
    Hm. I guess I actually hadn’t put that feeling into those precise words until this minute. Blogging as therapy–who knew? 😀

  8. Margo

    I just discovered this wonderful place! I began studying the question of discipline – especially whipping and spanking because my Master,(who only began developing His own Masterhood in response to my ceaseless pleading to be bound and tormented, cuffed, collared and such), seems to have taken a special liking to the corporal punishment part of the Master/slave relationship. I really never spent much time thinking about spanking at all — even though, from the age of about 4 or 5 i spent lovely times tying myself up and carrying on. My parents never believed in spankings (although my dad really did lay into me once for a truly deserving reason (more about that later perhaps)). So, not knowing much about this spanking thing, i came to read and learn what it’s really all about. Actually, Master has never spanked me….He likes to hang me up and whip me with a whip or belt or even a slipper. The pain is something to which i’m attempting to become accustomed. It’s completely foreign to me. And i try to take as much as i can and be strong and i can see that He is so enjoying Himself and growing bolder and i wonder whether He might go too far ’cause Master doesn’t seem to agree about having a safe word. I have never been brought to tears…yet…and each time He frees me and i’m at His feet and feeling very small and warm and protected and cherished, i am sorry i didn’t try to be stronger and take just one or more strokes. I feel like such a wimp and i feel that i could have let my Master have more enjoyment than i did. But in that moment, i am begging Master to stop because i truly believe i can’t take another stroke. I think i AM a wimp.
    Let’s see…what was the point i wanted to make when i began writing? Oh yeah, it was the trust issue. And that’s so difficult to me. Here i am, (like several of you — probably many of you spankees), a professional person with a strong personality and ability to take care of myself financially and otherwise. I realize, however, that to achieve real balance in my life, i MUST have a Master who truly understands me and who can take control and relieve me of my need to control and dominate those around me as well as my need to make everything around me neat and organized.
    i find that i am extraordinarily demanding of my mate in terms of what i need in the way of dependability, truthfulness and transparency. i can not tolerate lies and dishonesty. For me, as a submissive slavewife, i would not be able to submit to a Master that didn’t earn my trust over time by telling me the truth (even if it’s something that i’m not going to like) and being dependable so that if my Master tells me the sky is yellow with pink polka dots, i don’t have to look up at the sky to confirm it — i know it must be true because my Master would not lie to me.
    I relate to those spankees who recognize their snippiness and brattiness…Good Lord, that’s me! And, i know i have a real good whipping coming up because i raised my voice to Master and gave him a good dose of my rational logic about some legal matter he’s dealing with. I swear i just couldn’t take a beat and try to figure out how to say it in a nice sweet voice — but i had said the same !@%! thing to him ….oh…around FIFTY times already (geez, any client of mine would have taken my advice after one explanation – but nooooo…not my Master). Anyway, thank goodness He was half way around the world at the time i raised my voice at Him, but He calmly told me that although i apologized for it, that as soon as He gets home next week, that i must be punished. I’m not really looking forward to that — but i am at the same time.
    Gosh, a vanilla lifestyle WOULD be so much easier…but not as delicious…and after all, i was the one that insisted before i married Master that i could not be in a vanilla marriage.
    i think i created a monster!! 😀
    Thanks for this site


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