I am only recently starting to get back my spanking mojo after an extended hiatus for pregnancy- and postpartum-related issues. Physically I was unable to bend over or absorb heavy blows when my belly got big enough, and then healing from my c-section meant that I was restricted for similar reasons. And emotionally/hormonally, I just wasn't there. Spanking didn't fire me up, intrigue me, or even really occur to me. Every once in a while I would think about it, but more in a passing sense. For a while I was ok with this break: I was exhausted, we had company, and the duties of motherhood and work were far more pressing.
After several months, though, I began to long for that part of myself. I missed the fire, the sparkle, the desire. I wanted to feel like me again. Still, nothing. I worried that motherhood had completely changed me, had replaced those fiery, sassy, desiring parts with nurturing, responsible, mechanical parts.
Then I had to take a two-day trip for work and I arranged to stay with some scene friends who live near the conference site. I got to enjoy a beautiful hour-long spanking that was heavy but didn't push my limits in any uncomfortable ways. It was perfect. It reassured me that I could still take a spanking–it reassured me that I still wanted to be spanked. It gave me a glimpse that I might still be me.
A big part of being me, however, is the punishment part. I am someone who needs to have limits, who wants to be disciplined, who must have a reason to be spanked. It has always frustrated me when I ask, "Why am I getting spanked?" and someone responds, "Because you need it," or just "Because." I've always known that I prefer to have an actual event or behavior that precipitates a spanking (though I can play for fun, it takes a conscious effort for me to put myself in the right frame of mind), but I thought it was because I wanted it to be logical, reasonable, contextual.
I don't misbehave (much) these days, though. I don't have the energy for it and frankly, M doesn't have the energy to punish me for it even when I stick a toenail across the line. We're both tired and I don't want to do something egregious in order to manipulate him into spanking me.
But I still want to be spanked. Which means that I can have spankings that are intense, but have no "reason" behind them. Having experienced a couple of them in the last two months, and finding them strangely lacking, I've given this a bit of thought. I first thought that perhaps my tolerance had dropped after the months-long moratorium on any play whatsoever. And it probably has.
But I've decided that the biggest factor is my brain. When I'm getting spanked, my brain needs a place to go. I can't shut it off: I need to engage it in some way. And punishment gives my brain something to experience while my body experiences the pain. A mental pillow to clutch. A way to make sense of the spanking. A way to transform the suffering into something useful (relaxation, release of emotions or stress, relinquishment of control).
When I'm being spanked hard for no reason, I can sometimes transcend the experience in a similar way, though the conditions are a little different. For those spankings I have to be eased into the intensity: start light, push the limits ever so slightly, back off, push again, back off, and I can eventually get to a place where I'm flying. The effect is then similar to the effects of a punishment, but it takes longer to get there. When it's punishment, when I don't have a choice (or when the agreement is that I've given up my choice), the intensity can start higher sooner because my brain has something to keep it occupied. But when intensity goes up without a reason and my brain is clutching around madly for a handhold (brainhold?), I can't cope as well and the effects aren't the same.
Which means, I guess, that I need spanking to engage all of me–I can't separate from my body and leave my brain with nowhere to go.