[I didn't get a chance to answer this Sunday, but it was such an interesting question I thought I'd reply here and and on my blog.]
This week at her brunch, Bonnie asked:
Have you or your partner been given a choice between receiving a spanking or something else and chose the spanking? If so, how does the act of consciously choosing to be spanked alter the spankee's mindset?
In discipline or punishment terms, I always choose the not-spanking option. It's not often that Paul gives me a choice — a large part of what works in our dynamic is that I'm not in control, that I don't get to decide. But when I've had the option of writing lines or something non-physical I think I've always chosen it. This is because for me the idea that I could be spanked is the powerful one, more powerful even than the act of being spanked. Part of that for me is that spanking has to feel like the last resort as a punishment, heavy enough that I'd choose anything else above it. That's the theory anyway. The reality hasn't been tested much.
I suppose in reality most of the time I'm being punished I've chosen to be spanked in the sense that I could always opt out. Probably. I've never tried to though. The times I've asked to be spanked / punished for something are few and far between. Those have been very submissive moments and during the punishments I've found it easier to accept the pain and not struggle against it.
Play is different. I do ask for spankings sometimes in play / everyday life. Those times, when I get them which is almost always, I feel a lovely contentment and gratitude for my partner. Best of all? When he pounces on me and spanks me just because he wants to — those times I feel attractive and well loved.
This is the first time I’ve written about this at the time rather than after a restart, maybe because the reason doesn’t seem quite as personal as has sometimes been the case.
We’re not doing punishment right now.
The “Why” has a simple and not-so-simple answer. It’s not something Paul and I have really discussed, so these are simply my reflections.
The short answer: my dad has been living with us most of the time for the past six months. During this time, we’ve not been doing much punishment or discipline or even much play.
This isn’t really a good long answer though. I suspect we could (and perhaps should) make the adjustment that our friends with children do, seeing time alone as time to play, but we’re not used to doing that. There are plenty of other punishments / disciplines that don’t involve spanking (we’ve used them too at other times) that we haven’t chosen to do. It’s been easier just to put kink off with conversations (hot conversations mind) about it and thoughts of what we’ll do when.
I’m not sure that not doing it right now is a bad thing, partly because I tend to like thinking about it or the possibility of it more than the actual doing, but also because playing for us has always built on itself — perhaps a side effect of us spending so long doing long distance. Discipline and punishment have always been part of our day – to – day life inside our house. I wonder if changing that to work around my dad would take away from the feeling of “realness.” I’m also not sure I could ever quite shut off my fear of my dad walking in on us —
— o the horror.
It’s also reminded me (maybe both of us) that I don’t need this to keep my life together. I’m not saying I’m as on top of it as I am when Paul is disciplining me, but I do okay. I mostly still follow our rules and can still feel him watching over me in a good sort of way.
Yet this is so central to our kink that we also don’t seem to play much without it. In the past, times when we haven’t been playing much have been times when we’re less close emotionally — one of the reasons I haven’t written about this before. That doesn’t feel like the case now so it’s hard to remember that we’re not playing much / at all for weeks at a time now. I miss it, but I don’t (much) fear it not coming back the way I do when we’ve been emotionally or physically distant.
I don’t have any brilliant conclusion here except to reach out and wonder how you feel about such times.
In late 2004, after Paul opened an account for us on Typepad and, after I played with a personal blog and got the hang of it, I wrote to a few friends. These were women I’d met online in the previous decade, but also gotten to know on different levels in real life. We were very different, but had in common a love of writing and a fascination with the use of discipline and punishment in real life relationships. You see, I had an idea — we could start a group blog (there weren’t many then) as a place to discuss the nitty gritty of trying to make a discipline relationships work in our respective “real” worlds. Because they’re such good friends they claimed to be both excited and flattered and were sure it would be great fun. From the start, I knew we should call it “The Punishment Book.”
February 2005, the blog entry officially opening and explaining The Punishment Book read:
Punishment books were records kept by schools and reformatories recording punishments given. Records were kept of who punishments were given to, how much and why each punishment had been given. Most often, though not always, the punishments were corporal.
Though we took our banners from scans of historical punishment books, that history is not what this blog is about. There will be accounts of punishments here, of course. The punishment book dot org is about punishment, especially spanking, being used to correct real life behavior. This is something the authors of this site all have in common, the use of disciplinary punishments in our real lives to some degree or other. Not as role play, although some of us are role players (and in some cases real life can feed role play). Not as foreplay, though some of us are into erotic spanking, but as part of our real lives and relationships. We’re all pretty funny (well, I mean, in so far as we amuse each other), but this isn’t a game. The issues of discipline and punishment are something seriously important to each of us.
Those of you who follow my blogging in other places (el tercer ojo and my new calligraphy blog) will know that I’m presently taking a calligraphy class studying the Gothic hand. The mixed ability (some students have been studying calligraphy for years — others like me are taking their first class) class meets once a week for three hours.
Like most art classes, the teaching style is very structured. Anyone who imagines that most art courses are about creative free expression hasn’t taken many. This is even more true of calligraphy, and within calligraphy, with learning a historical hand. While there is a vague sense other ways might exist, my instructor only wants to see one way — the way she’s teaching us. As we’re learning a medieval hand, the teacher also tends to mention life of early scribes and student scribes and their floggings. This, of course, prompted me to do a little burst of research to discover what a “palmer” might look like (see links for the images I found).
At the second class meeting I was delighted to discover that our homework was being collected. When I got home, Paul was pleased for me too, especially when I told him it would be turned back marked. The following week my homework was returned, with red inked corrections, at class a week ago Monday. Not all the comments were positive, as you can see in the included images. In fact, except for a closing “Good Work,” every red mark was negative (or constructive criticism as I believe they say in the biz). While I blushed to see my mistakes circled, it was great they weren’t being glossed over with a banal “Good Effort” or the like.
Last week I was actually called out a bit in class for not having practiced more during the previous week (it was not a lack of desire, but sadly other unavoidable demands on my time). Nonetheless I felt totally abashed at her slight disappointment, but again also thrilled because she’d noticed and thought it worthy of remark. I made no excuses for my lack of practice but simply promised to do better during the two weeks we have between classes due to various holidays.
A quick look at the right sidebar will tell you the basics — we’ve added another author to the PB — something not done often or lightly. This puts our number at nine, which the science (and here I use the word science quite wrongly) of numerology says represents the beginning and end of all human experience.
Great, so no pressure on the new girl.
Who is this new author?
It’s Zille Defeu. (Zille is pronounced as rhyming with “Jill” — not “silly” or “file”.)
Zille has her own website and blog with a lovely “about” page in case you want to get ahead of things. She will, no doubt, be introducing herself in the coming days.
Several of us have gotten to know her over the past year and then discovered that, of course, we have mutual friends. In my case, I started reading Zille’s Twitter feed at about the same time she started reading mine. Tweets turned to emails and some phone calls before we met at Shadow Lane this past September and ended up talking about life, the universe and spanking.
There’s a lot I like about Zille and what she brings to the scene and ‘net. I want to go into some detail here, but keep deleting everything I put down because I don’t want to force her hand in what she writes about or when she writes. I’ll stick with teasing — there’s a lot she can say here and I’m excited just thinking about her saying it. When will be up to her. So stay tuned.
Most importantly though, welcome Zille. Nine is a great number and we’re very glad to have you here.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
What Happened: I got spanked at bedtime last night. It wasn’t especially hard (a bare-bottom, over the knee hand spanking) but it included scolding (I had stayed up later than I was supposed to, even after being reminded to go to bed) and went on long enough to hurt. Not a lot, not like a hairbrushing, but enough so I started feeling very sorry (okay, mostly for myself rather than my actions) and telling, then begging Paul to stop.
That doesn’t work. As I was reminded, I don’t get to decide, just as it wasn’t for me to decide that I didn’t want this spanking. I hadn’t wanted it either — by the time he took me otk, I was tired, even over-tired, and wanted to go sleep. Plus it was late enough and quiet enough that I thought the spanking could be heard from the street. Our window, you see, was open because I hadn’t expected this.
Then it happened, and not for the first time. My whiny frustration at not being able to get away, at the spanking that continued and I wanted stopped, at not ever feeling like there was enough time for anything rushed together with the frustrations of the day and guilt at being scolded and for ignoring Paul, I burst into racking sobs.
Technologies of Punishment –isn’t that a great title? I can’t claim any originality since it’s inspired by a CFP (that’s “Call For Papers” in the larger world) for a CUNY conference titled “The Poetics of Pain: Aesthetics, Ideology, and Representation” sent to my academic self. (I blogged this startle on el tercer ojo.) But it is an appropriate title. Given that we met via the wonders of usenet, technology, for better or worse, has been involved in Paul and my relationship, discipline and punishment included, since the beginning. Although some of the technology thankfully went away when our relationship went from long-distance to living-in-the-same-house, technology remains a significant part of both of our lives.
This is not going to be a discussion of how technology can assist those in long-distance relationships at “this thing we do.” While it doesn’t seem so long ago that most of my punishments were done via email or phone, really it’s been more than seven years since Paul moved here, give or take an interruption or two. I think that counts as several lifetimes in the word of technology. Because of that, this probably isn’t the right entry for anyone looking for long-distance discipline ideas. (Natty can probably give plenty of thoughts on that subject, but rumor has it she’s a bit busy at present.) That said, ever since I got a new MacBook compete with webcam, I check in terror to make sure the green camera light isn’t on every time Paul has me bent over my desk chair for a quick slippering to “focus” me on my work. This is crazy because I never actually use the webcam for anything so it’s never on. **
Even though phones, webcams and Skype aren’t part of discipline or punishment scenes and we’re not long-distance anymore, technology in various forms plays an important role in our relationship. A role, which for me, has lately made me feel watched over in ways that, frankly, push a lot of good and powerful buttons. What works, both in the senses of being effective and attractive, is feeling I’m being watched over and held to specific expectations. The idea is that I’m seen –inside and out– by someone who can’t be fooled and holds me to account. That’s both the fantasy and the ideal.
Not much to ask, is it?
It’s a huge amount to ask of anyone and a near impossible task, especially with regard to me specifically. Yet I have asked for it and Paul and I have tried various ways of fulfilling this need / desire. Repeatedly, over a period of years.
Beloved and community minded Bonnie, over at My Bottom Smarts gives us a chance each year to remember we’re not talking to ourselves — that you’re here reading too. And we all know that for every comment to the blog, there are hundreds of visitors who don’t comment. We know you’re there and it’s always good to know there are readers, whether you choose to comment or not. Yet it’s so much more fun to write for a blog where there’s lively discussion.
I know this blog has been quiet lately. This is partly due to many of us blogging elsewhere (see the list of our other blogs over to the right). It’s also due to the PB blog having become less of a place to discuss the idea of punishment in a relationships and more of a place to record actual punishments received. (Believe it or not, that we’d record our punishments here never occurred to me when we were first building the blog.) Since most of us aren’t punished very often, there ends up being long gaps between entries. Add to that my neglect in not realizing sooner that postings here were tapering off.
And yet you’re still reading here — even when the PB goes weeks and even months without new entries, our stats tell us that hundreds of people visit every day. So this is what I want to ask of you today — keeping in mind the style of the blog (that is, this isn’t going to suddenly become a place full of pictures of spanked bottoms, lovely though they might be and that we can’t write about punishments that aren’t happening — give us some thoughts about what you’d like to find when you come here. What discussions would be useful or interesting?
Thank you in advance for your ideas. And as always, thank you for reading.
I got tawsed tonight. Not for discipline, not to remind me to be a good girl, but as a punishment for not doing what I’d promised to do today. You see, after a week of cruising along, doing more work than I’d even needed to some days (this included working after coming home from a day working on campus), I was supposed to transition to the next stage of my work. This next stage is writing. Not writing ideas of others, but laying out my own.
Fear stalled me. Not fear of punishment, as some out there who don’t think What It Is We Do is a good for me, but my ever-present fear of not being good enough.
Instead of fighting through my fear and forcing myself to work, I let myself get caught up in the fun of the first day of fall on Twitter and the Mad4Plaid
day some of us were having. (It was great fun, marred only by the gnawing guilt I occasionally (but only occasionally) experienced as thoughts of my neglected text passed through my mind. There was time for both, but I didn’t want to do the work and it didn’t get done.
That was all well and good until the clock chimed 6:00PM and Paul got home. I looked like a good school girl in my plaid skirt and a pink oxford cloth shirt, but it quickly became clear as we talked about our respective days that I’d accomplished no school work today. Paul spent a while talking to me, figuring out where the problem was. It wasn’t just, as I first declared, that I didn’t do my work today. It was partly because I hadn’t thought about what I’d promised (an outline) and had no idea where to start work on the task.
We broke the problem down, bit by bit, teasing out what was insecurity and what was confusion. And of course, the over arching issue of why I’d stopped dead rather than try and work through any of it. The talk was exhausting — any criticism of my academic work makes me defensive and cranky. I know Paul must have to put on his best armor to talk to me about it. We ended up curled up together on the sofa, my head in his lap.
And then he said something along the lines of “I think we need to go into the bedroom and talk about this.”
On Monday I wrote a post here which included the statement
I'm at a critical stage in my life as a PhD. student. You'll hear more about it as the weeks go on, but this is the basic situation. Six to twelve months of productive work on my part, and it's very likely I'll finish my degree well and will be able to land a research and teaching job. Without the hard work, it's likely in 12 months I'll be looking at leaving graduate school without completing my degree.
At the time I wrote that, I'd done a little spade work which included several meetings with my advisor, an assessment of what I've already written (140 pages, maybe half of which is good enough to end up in the final document), started learning EndNote and using it to compile a library / bibliography. Oh, and I'd ordered some books from Amazon.
And, probably most importantly, I'd explicitly asked P for help. Asked him to make sure I spent most of Spring Break working on my dissertation.