Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Guest Post by OPB: The Neapolitan Marriage

From time to time, I like to offer readers a different voice and another perspective. As a follow-up to Sunday’s brunch, I present OPB and his thoughts on The Neapolitan Marriage.

Where I come from, we have a type of ice cream called Neapolitan where there are discrete layers of chocolate, vanilla, and often (just to spoil the analogy), strawberry flavour. The layers are not mixed.

One fundamental question in a marriage or other partnered relationship is, "How do you negotiate your differences?" Living with a vanilla partner is only a special case of this more general topic.

Any discussion of spanking presupposes that one’s spouse is willing to at least indulge in vanilla sex. Imbalance in sexual needs is far more common, and potentially more damaging, than the specific case we are considering here. On a personal note, given the choice between a vanilla nymph and an unenthusiastic spanko, I know which one I'd choose. That may sound like a false dichotomy, but the alternative of a frigid vanilla is much, much worse.

Every person is unique, with their own tastes and interests, and that’s a good thing. At the start of a marriage, we might ponder the wholesale acquisition of our spouse's preferences. Many activities, beliefs, and loves we will indeed adopt. Yet we remain essentially ourselves. Most unshared interests don’t represent a problem. They simply require some negotiation and tolerance. For example, golf does nothing for me, but football does. We can allow our spouses the space to enjoy their interests without feeling the need to spoil their fun.

This is all well and good for most activities and tastes, but sex is different. Sex differentiates between a marriage and all of the other relationships we have. Whilst we may subcontract the job of tennis or dancing partner to someone else, we don't do this with sex. Sexual fidelity is very highly prized, so we are left trying to fulfill our spouse's needs from what we have within ourselves alone. Here lies the difficulty.

What happens between the ears during sex is at least as important as what happens between the legs (or on the bottom). We feel that it's important that our partner is fully engaged and willing to participate. We seek some form of emotional or spiritual connection. Without it, sex becomes mechanical and dissatisfying. If one's partner joins in only out of pity or duty, that situation is as bad as no sex at all, and possibly worse. One feels abusive.

Individuals quite naturally vary in their need and desire for sexual activity. Quantity of sex is important as well as quality. Some couples cope quite happily with very little sex, because it suits them both. However, where there is an imbalance in quantitative need, some negotiation needs to take place. This negotiation can be difficult because it addresses the very core of our sexual personality. It asks us to make compromises with our basic desires. The possibility of failing one's spouse is real, hurtful, and because it comes from one's deep feelings, not easily overcome by a simple agreement reached.

The same is true for other activities associated with sex including our beloved spanking.

Do we want to spank and/or be spanked? Yes. Does our spouse want this? No.

This is the dilemma.

Because our sexual tastes are so deeply embedded, we seldom question them. Some things arouse us, while others don’t. I was interested in spanking long before I’d ever heard of sex, and many other people report similar experiences. This drive is clearly innate. The opposite is equally true. I can’t imagine ever being aroused by those activities that currently disgust me.

Preferences may sometimes be driven by events from our past. For example, a person who was spanked as a child may not be able to dissociate the feelings it engendered then, of humiliation at the hands of one in authority, from the act of spanking itself. Erotic spanking as an adult is therefore tarred with the same brush and cannot be easily enjoyed.

Can we alter our tastes? Whilst you don’t know if you like something until you’ve given it a fair try, if you find the idea a disgusting turn off, then what chance is there? Because of the need for consent, only the lowest common activities will be acceptable, no matter how long you negotiate. We are left with the Neapolitan marriage, where the flavors don’t mix, and the vanilla layer is on top.

In this circumstance, the sexual connection is fragile. The chocolate partner feels that an innate part of their make up is not being recognised, and the vanilla feels the pressure that comes from knowing this and feeling it is their fault. As I said earlier, it is very difficult to talk about this subject because of the fear of distressing your spouse and highlighting the shortcomings of the sex being offered. Neither partner can or will change their tastes. Sex is thus compromised for the sake of all the other benefits of a marriage. First, adventure and experimentation are lost. Then the more regular activities are sacrificed as well. Eventually, the ugly sisters of Frigidity and Impotence rear their heads, and an elephant appears in the room.

I wish I could be more positive in this article, but my experience with spanking activities doesn’t allow it. I know well the consequences of an imbalance of sexual desire in a marriage. I'm sure there are those who have learned unexpectedly to like spanking and the other less commonly spoken about aspects of sex. But I’ve not been party to it, so I can’t comment sensibly. What we chocolate Neapolitans must do is to get sex into its proper perspective as only one aspect of a marriage, albeit an important one. We must not interpret a refusal to participate in our preferred activities as our beloved vanilla not loving us. They do love us, and our challenge is to accept that love openly and in the spirit it is offered.

Thanks, OPB!


MaggieDear said...

OPB, You have no idea how much this post means to me! You've said everything that I've been thinking, but you put it into coherent words. Mine, until reading this were all jumbled. lol There is a large elephant in the house and the darn thing follows me from room to room. I think maybe your post has opened up a way to accept what is and what is not.

~Hugs and Thanks!

Tiggs said...

Indeed, OPB, this is a refreshing post, not at all negative or depressing in context... and its universal theme is inclusion, not exclusion, about acceptance and unconditional love above all else, accepting differences and moving forward together in whatever way best suits those involved.

Awesome post... thank you very much!

Paul said...

OPB, very impressive, I've rarely seen this position so lucidly stated, thank you so much.
I'm sure that you have helped many in this difficult situation.
Bonnie this post does MBS proud.
Warm hugs,

Greenwoman said...

Well stated....and you had some points about preferences that I hadn't really thought about in quite this way and I appreciate you pointing them out. Thanks Bonny for hosting this guest post. It's a terrific addition to the community's education and to the discussion of marriage in general.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the analogy, OPB. It's not easy getting the flavors to mix, but we've seen it happen numerous times. It takes time and compromise, but it can happen. You're right though, if it doesn't... if there is ultimately a refusal... it shouldn't be taken as not being loved.

~Todd & Suzy

Alex said...

It may be just my experience but I don't believe anyone is truly 100% vanilla.

The problem is getting them to admit it. Everyone has a kink and while it may not be spanking, or any other form of now widely acknowledged kink, we all have desires that in some circles would be at least unpalatable or at worst regarded as deviant.

Sexual anticipation, excitement and ultimately orgasm are as individual as every one of us. So I suppose what I’m saying is that it boils down to honesty between partners. It’s a horrible thought, and completely outside my experience I’m happy to say, that partners can’t explore each other and their mutual predilections. It’s bad enough if one partner can not admit their own desires, but it must be worse to feel that your partner would not be accepting of yours.

So yes, honest and openness must be the purest expression of mutual love.

Anonymous said...

This post made me feel very sad, as it really expressed all the things I feel when thinking about my current relationship. I have been with my boyfriend for seven years now, and love him dearly and deeply. He completes me in so many ways, he makes me laugh and he makes me feel safe and loved. But he is vanilla. And he has no sex drive. None of these things are his fault. We rarely have sex, and when we do it feels forced as I know he is only doing it to please me. He will often abort the sex once I've come, because he doesn├Ąt feel like it's worth continuing. I told him about my need for diciplinary spankings right at the very start of our relationship, and he has agreed to spank me from time to time. He does this, and I even though I am grateful, I know it can never be a spanking like the one I really need. He is afraid to hurt me, so spankings are generally not long or hard. I never get to the point where I feel I have to cry, something I crave and want. It is hard sacreficing all these things, but I do it because I know how he makes sacrifices, however small they might seem to kinky me, to be with me as well.

I guess the question one must ask one self is weather or not the love is worth it. One must simply decide what is more important. Thank you so much for a great post.

kk said...

bonnie you hit the nail right on the head with this one or the (cheeks right on target).

i read your blog all the time but i think this is the best posting on the subject on any blog i have ever read.

how true it is.


Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your kind comments, I am humbled.


Janice said...

Not completely spot on but this is something for me to think about, really. Thanks for a great posting.

Bonnie said...

Everyone - The first time I read OPB's text, I decided immediately that his voice needed to be heard. I'm delighted that you agree.

Thanks again, OPB!

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