Sunday, September 16, 2007

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Sept 16

What a fantastic brunch! Our topic was the age old nature versus nurture conundrum. In other words, where does our spanking urge originate?

We didn't solve the question definitively, but all sides presented compelling arguments. I found the discussion among the best we've had. Thanks to everyone who joined in.

Carye: I would say it is inborn, at least for me. I didn't initially focus on spanking so much when I was young, but I remember being fascinated with punishment in general. I guess spanking came later with my husband. I became more focused on that. I love spanking and am completely and totally a spanko. One that craves a DD relationship and luckily my husband, though mostly a vanilla, is willing to do his best to satisfy my needs! I am truly blessed to have my husband. He would do just about anything to make me feel loved and cared for. Even if he doesn't totally understand it!

Abby: I wholeheartedly believe that my spanking interest is inborn, and my husband believes the same about his. Some of my earliest memories are of encountering spanking in the world and being fascinated by it. This is who we are. I used to struggle with that belief, especially during relationships with people who weren't willing to try to understand me or my needs. I constantly used to question myself, "Why am I like this?" Now that I am with someone who encourages me to embrace it instead, I no longer question and just enjoy it.

Dove: I guess things would vary from person to person, but for me, I think perhaps it is a combination of something inborn and then being refined later. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated/excited with the idea of being dominated. The spanking followed later as I sought out books that had dominant characters. The submissive characters would often be spanked, so I came to associate that with the whole excitement I felt about being dominated. It took a lot longer, of course, to actually ask for what I needed and like Carye, I was lucky enough to have a man who was happy to oblige.

Prefectdt: I wish some boffin would do a genetic study on this. I believe that this kink is inborn. I know of one other member of my family who "practices" and I suspect a few others, although I would not go digging around in their lives just to satisfy my curiosity. The psychological influence, IMHO, is reflected more in the type of play people practice. I can only suspect that CP roleplayers (spankos), BDSMers, S&Mers, SMers and other types of players all have the same gene but that life experiences have lead them into different kinds of play.

Natty: I think sexuality is such a complex phenomena that it's difficult to say it's one or the other and most likely a combination of both. It’ sort of like how genes are innate but express themselves based on a number of environmental factors. And even how that works is something we don't understand well.

Like Prefectdt, I agree that what happens in a person's life often flavors how he or she plays. However, there isn't usually a direct link between, say, event X happening and having a school kink.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I do think my kink is innate, but explaining how/why it exists is complicated.

Paul: Once again, the nature verses nurture discussion raises its interesting head. This is something Mel and I discussed quite often. Mel, being a psychologist, had clear views on this. We both believed that nurture is largely responsible, certainly in her case as her parents had a D/d and D/s marriage. In my case, I have no evidence that my parents had any interest having lost them at a early age. However, having received a very strict upbringing at the orphanage might have encouraged my Domly instincts, So nurture once again may be responsible. Yet both of us strongly believed that nature plays a strong role, as do lots of my spanko friends.

I cannot, therefore, come to any provable conclusion. So I leave the discussion open until a geneticist finds a gene that can explain it.

Jim: I believe my spanking kink has its origin in a mosaic of propensity and misconstrual.

Like all kids, I had a propensity to be curious about those mysterious feelings and sensations, which rose, seemingly unbidden, when I saw certain things.

For instance, every week, the Beano dropped through the letter-box. Like most Brit kids, of a certain age, I devoured its contents. My favourite characters, in the comic, were Dennis the Menace (UK) and Minnie the Minx.

The UK Dennis got up to the most outrageous mischief and he invariably ended up over some adult's knee having the seat of his trousers soundly slippered. A similar narrative was on display in Minnie the Minx. A thrilling halo of teardrops, and stars, surrounded Minnie's bottom as it was being spanked, to a glowing red.

As a boy, I would often lay flat over an empty chair and kick and wriggle, as if being spanked by an adult. The inevitable friction caused me, not orgasm, but a precocious precursor -- a thrill misconstrued as the physical correlate of those teardrops and stars.

During my last year at Junior school (US 5th Grade), I was slippered by my teacher, and I witnessed numerous other spankings and canings. About the same time, I discovered "Letters to the Editor" correspondence in magazines and newspapers. When in the house by myself, I would re-enact the scenarios. But, by now, I was self-spanking myself over that empty chair.

My sexuality emerged at puberty as the desire to spank, rather than being the recipient. The brief spanking scenes that occasionally punctuated otherwise dull films and plays were far more compelling to me than the soft-porn apparently preferred by my peers. And, of course, my idea of a romance was always at odds with my early girlfriends' desires.

I had a couple of decades of being ashamed of my desire to spank women. I overcompensated by behaving like a perfect gentleman. Now, in the autumn of my years, I have found fulfillment.

My kink may be based on childhood misconstruals, but now it serves me better than Viagra.

Sara: This is a great question! I answered, and went into a personal story on my blog to explain why I think it is both an issue of nature and nurture.

Curtis: With me, it was inborn -- or at least I was aware of it since the second grade when a pretty teacher picked up a classmate put him over one knee while leaning against a wall and gave him a birthday spanking. Beginning then, all my fantasies were of spanking -- both giving and getting. But I also believe that a taste and desire for spanking can be developed. Any woman I've been with whose bottom was an erogenous zone could be enticed into, enjoy, and want spanking. Going the other way is more difficult, but if you treat spankings as fun and/or erotic rather than disciplinary or punitive, there's no end to what is possible. (or perhaps there are two ends).

Kayte: I believe spankos are born that way. For whatever reason, we have that gene sitting inside us waiting to be expressed. And its that ability to express and explore that gene that allows us to live a spanko life.

Growing up, any hint of a spanking, on TV, in a story, or in a movie, grabbed my attention. I was never formally spanked growing up. The closest thing to a spanking was my mother holding an arm and then giving a few swats to my bottom.

My first boyfriend playfully swatted my bottom and my heart leaped for joy. But, sadly, it never went any farther then that. But it was then I realized I was a spanko.

Life experiences, opportunities, and most importantly, IMHO, your comfort level with your sexually must occur for you to practice whatever form of spanking that suits you.

I think the internet and the wonderful blogs such as this (and the many others out there) provide support and, to some degree, the permission to practice a spanking lifestyle.

Lavender: I think that an interest in spanking is inborn, but one’s upbringing can definitely have an effect. I was raised in a very 'progressive' household and was told almost everyday that any sort of hitting was clearly a no. Yet, I can remember having an interest in spanking back before I could read. Once I started to read, I (of course) found books that contained spanking and there was no going back. I struggled a lot with it as I got older (especially as an early teen) because of the sexual side. I still didn't really understand why I should enjoy this kind of thing and/or relate it to sexual things. I can only conclude that my kink is inborn because I have always had it. But, I also think that your upbringing has a lot to do with when you first realize your interest and how it fits in with you. It was my parents who read me my first book that contained spanking. And, if I hadn't been such an avid reader, I might not have learned about the numerous spanking resources that can be found in the library.

Scout: I think a spanking kink is present at birth, as are other sexual preferences. It's one of those things that are pre-wired, like being left handed or having artistic ability. Social forces go a long way either to repress the urge to spank/be spanked for sexual fulfillment, or to embrace spanking as a natural part of sexual expression. I think the negative, repressive forces are more prevalent, but the positive ones are strong and present, if you know where to look. Like so many others, I've known I've had this desire for as long as I can remember.

Lucy: This very issue is why I started reading spanko blogs. I have been interested in spanking for as long as I can remember. I was spanked as a child but I don't think that was a huge factor. I used to play "birthday spanking" with my neighbors. (They didn't think the game was any fun.) I would also read and re-read spanking scenes in books. Looking back I realize that there was a sexual aspect to those fantasies that I didn't understand at the time. However, I didn't actually like being spanked until I was in my late teens. I have struggled with depression my whole life and found spanking to be a safer outlet than my previous self-destructive activities. So I guess you could say that it started as purely sexual and is becoming more disciplinary/stress relief (Although my boyfriend and I generally fool around after regardless.)

Paige: I don't think that a love of spanking is inborn. Rather, I think it's more of an environmental factor. For me, I read about it in historical romance books, and from that point on, I was fascinated with the idea. I still am!

Sideriteguy: I land on the side of "nature" over "nurture," but I think it is possible that the "nurture" component of a spanking experience could overwhelm the "nature" component.

I can remember enjoying very sensual feelings while thinking about spanking long before I had any idea what sensual feelings were. I was probably pre-school age. So because of the early age, I am tempted to say "nature'" right off the bat.

However, one could counter that it is "nurture" because I was reared in a family where spanking was used as a punishment for the kids and the punishment was done in a ritualistic manner. The spanking parent would tell us how he/she was disappointed in us and that the spanking would "hurt them more than it would hurt the spankee." The spanking was done in public in front of all the other kids, but it was never bare-bottomed. Remembering my spankings, I don't recall them as painful physically, but more in terms of the humiliation of disappointing the parents. So perhaps one could say I was enjoying the sensual aspect of spanking as a young kid because I was exposed to spanking so early. Therefore, it could really be a "nurture" situation. I do end up on the "nature" side of the argument because in the childhood spanking experiences, there was no sexual element of the spanking whatsoever! I think my "nature" added than link.

In contrast, my dear wife of 26 years was also spanked as a kid and she wants no part of adult spanking. She is very reluctant to even talk of childhood spankings. To her, spanking hurts plain and simple. She sees no place for pain in our sex life (however, I can foresee some gentle spanking play in the future). In her family, her dad did some spanking, but not very often. Her dad would have to just start tapping "the stick" and the kids would hear it and settle down immediately. I suspect that the times he did use "the stick" it must have been very painful and there was a huge deterrent value in the spanking.

I suspect that I was born with a spanking "nature" and my early experiences either encouraged it or did nothing to cause me to repress those feelings. (My repression of all things sexual was handled by the Catholic church :-) ) I do wonder what would have happened if my early spanking experiences were traumatic. Would I have become an adult who wanted no part of spanking? Or perhaps my interests would have been more directed to S&M than sensual spankings or DD.

I think that my wife was born without the spanking "nature" and that her early experiences reinforced that lack of feeling. Or perhaps my wife was born with a spanking slight "nature" and her early experiences overwhelmed any element of spanking "nature" in her.

Hermione: I too wish someone would do a study. However, in the meantime, I believe it's a combination of heredity and environment. The predilection is there from birth, but some event in early childhood triggers it into bloom. In my case, I suspect my trigger was a visit from relatives when I was very young. I saw my aunt spank my male cousin, who was my age. During that visit I also saw how little boys differed from little girls for the first time. The adults' reaction to my having seen a boy urinate was nothing short of pandemonium and it was made clear to me that I had done something terrible. This all made a strong impact on me. I had already discovered masturbation (also evil according to the adults) and everything just sort of fell into place when I connected the dots.

Both my husband and I were spanked as children and neither of us was turned on by it at the time. In play, I preferred to be the spanker, not that I had a choice with dolls and teddies! Not sure when Ron decided he liked to administer them.

As others have already said, how you choose to act out your preferences is also based on personal experience and what you know or don't know. At school, teachers used wooden rulers and the principal used a strap, and in most homes, discipline was administered with one or the other, so these objects resonate for me, while canes and paddles don't (or didn't until I started reading blogs!). I didn't know about D/s relationships either until I started investigating BDSM, but luckily realized it was a good fit for my partner and me.

Heather: These brunch questions are great for my man and me to discuss spanking with each Sunday. We are almost one year into our relationship. For him, I am the first one he has ever spanked and we are sweet 56 and 63 year olds!

For me, I was quick to respond that spanking is innate. Like many who responded, I witnessed a classmate being spanked and did everything I could to get one too. I was spanked as a child but I did not like it because it really hurt and my mother would cry afterward.

I also went to the library and would try to read every autobiography describing the early years hoping for interesting tidbits about spankings (much like perusing the blogs today).

When puberty emerged I would put myself to sleep fantasizing being spanked! I had a few spanking trysts, but married a non-spanking man and parked my spanking fantasies for 15 years. After the marriage broke up, I Googled “spanking” and, voila, my world opened up!

I have never been happier or felt more complete since entering my present relationship where we are true partners... and spanking is a wonderful component!

My man, being brand new, feels it is a combination of both nature and nurture. It was having the relationship with me that opened his awareness of and fondness for spanking. He still struggles with the fact that he is hitting a woman, despite my delight after the fact.

Robin: This is a great, thought-provoking topic. Instead of taking up space here, I used your question for my post today.

Anon: Though I wasn't spanked often as a child, I know it was inborn from my mother's side. In my twenties, I noticed that the romance books that my mother and I read fell to the same pages... the spanking scene. Later, we shared our spanking desires with Alpha men. Though she did not admit it, she hinted that my father had spanked her during their dating and pre-children marriage. Though, it ended once we arrived.

Last year, I discovered the WWI dating letters of my mother's parents, where spanking lingo ran heavy. Yes, it is in my genes.

I've had spanko playmates, but I never introduced spanking into my real relationship until the current one. I've found my Alpha male.

PK: I have to go with the majority here. I know without a doubt that I was born this way. I was spanked rarely as a child and then I did not like it at all. In my fantasies, I was usually someone else when I got spanked. In my early marriage, I didn't want to be a spanko because I felt I had to keep it hidden like some shameful secret. Once I did come out, and was accepted by both Nick and all my friends here, I am very proud to feel that I have been a spanko since birth. I would love to be able to make this claim to the world, but for now this is fine!

Bonnie: I don’t presume to speak for anyone but Randy and me, but I think we were born this way. I’ve been fascinated with the subject of spanking since early childhood. I think life experiences reinforced those feelings, but I believe I probably would have had this interest regardless.

Randy tells a similar story, but for him, there was always a strong sexual element. His fascination revolved around girls and women who are spanked. I’m definitely not the only one in this house who is living out their fantasies!

Sally: I believe that it is inborn. I have had an interest in spanking for as long as I can remember, and I don't know of any specific event that could have caused that. I didn't connect it with the sexual side when I was younger. In fact, I remember my grandmother being shocked when I told her, about age seven, that I wished I could be caned at school. But as I got older, I realized it was something I should keep to myself. Like a lot of people, I looked up the words in a dictionary. I also remember being in heaven when I found a reference in an Enid Blyton book or something similar!

I do think my 'tastes' have changed as I've got older (well OK, I'm only 20 now. LOL). When I was young, I would fantasize more about parent-child, teacher-pupil type situations. Now I prefer DD-type, consensual, loving situations.

On the nurture side, I once watched a documentary about fetishes. It offered the theory that if something bad happened to a child, they would turn it into a fetish to stop thinking about the negative side of it. It does make some sense, except that people into TTWD have very different backgrounds. Some were spanked. Others were not. Some were physically abused. Yet we all have the same kink. Personally, I was emotionally and physically abused by my father, and it makes me sick to think this has any link to what turns me on. So I prefer to think it's just me!

Young Lady: I posted a response on my blog with the title Born with The Fetish?

Thank you all for a great conversation!

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Purple Angel said...

I enjoyed reading the comments Bonnie as I enjoy all brunch conversations. As you know in one of my earlier posts I decided I was giving up trying to figure out why I want to be spanked.

However, my best guess is that I consider it loving and caring. It is a compassionate form of discipline when handled properly and when not used for discipline, well it is the most amazing turn on I have ever felt. No idea why it has occured but I have no intention of giving it up.
Purple Angel

hermione said...

I just wanted to comment on Paul's submission, since he mentioned that Mel had been a psychologist. My ex-husband was also a psychologist, and although he reluctantly indulged me in my kink from time to time, he made it abundantly clear that in his professional opinion, I was SICK!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bonnie for this interesting topic. Sorry to have come so late, but we Neapolitans have to be careful at the weekends.

I was fascinated as many others from an early age, long before I'd heard of sex, and sought out the spanking scenes in books.
In adolescence I found as indeed I still do, the spanking being far more interesting in literature than the sex.

Like many others I have hidden this carefully until the coming of broadband into my house.

Like Sideriteguy my wife of many years was spanked as a child, and for her it was only humiliating and painful. She is now determinedly vanilla, and I can see no change in the future.

I was not spanked as a child, only visiting the headmaster once when I was about 10 for two pathetic swats which were humiliating but didn't hurt at all. However what he said to me that day as I bent over had the effect of spoiling a perfectly good word for me. He said "What you need is encouragement Mr.opb " and I have never been able to hear that word or use it without remembering the incident.

So while I certainly come down on the nature side of things, as that anecdote reveals, our nurture can have profound and not always predictable effects too.


hermione said...

It's probably too late but if anyone's still reading the comments for this entry, here is a wonderful article that explains why we are the way we are beautifully.

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