Sunday, April 04, 2010

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Mar 4

Our question of the week examined the assumption held by many vanillas that no one sane would willingly participate in adult spanking. Here are your thoughts.

RPT (Fred Bloggs): Supposedly sane people do many strange activities that are considered quite normal in society. Smoking cigarettes is one example.

It's the context within society that makes people think spanking is weird but inhaling toxic fumes is OK.

Spanking is not "mainstream." Perhaps we need to change that!

morningstar: I have come to two conclusions over my years of spankings, D/s, being owned, and all of it:

1) It is the way I am hot wired and there is nothing I can do about it.

2) There is no point in trying to explain why I crave/need spankings to someone who is not wired the same way.

Trying to explain the spanking scenario to vanillas is a bit like when I was working at the Blind School and I had a child ask me to describe the sky. I said it is "blue" and he asked "what is blue?"

It just can't be done. Pointe Finale.

Elysia: My children love SpongeBob SquarePants cartoons. There is an episode where SpongeBob finds out that his fellow employee Squidward has never tried a Krabby Patty which is the main product that they sell at the Krusty Krab fast food restaurant where they both work. Squidward is adamant that he would find them awful. SpongeBob tells him that "The only people who don't like Krabby Patties have never tasted one!" Needless to say, Squidward becomes addicted after just one bite.

My advice to the e-mailers, would be "Try it! You'll like it!" or perhaps, "Don't knock it until you try it!"

Rob: I frequently wrestle with this in my own mind, (as a male on the receiving end) so it is not hard for me to believe that others would see this as strange or abusive. My spouse and I just had this conversation a few weeks ago. She was asking me what I get out of spankings. I tried to explain that it's just always been a fascination of mine. As Morningstar said, I'm just wired that way. I may not be able to make my spouse fully understand, but she does see it as a need that I have and thankfully she's willing to explore it with me.

Anon #1: It's like trying to explain why a fish needs to swim, or why an artist needs to paint. I hope that my husband will one day understand this. I'm dying to be turned over his knee. :) I've tried to explain this many times. I guess if you aren't wired this way, it's difficult to comprehend.

The original e-mailer must get some gratification from making themselves feel superior to others. Why else would they sit in judgment? Furthermore, he/she must have have this desire and be unwilling to pursue it because he/she doesn't consider it to be mainstream. Why would that person sit in judgment if that individual is checking out your website in the first place? It's kind of like going to church and announcing to the faithful congregation that you don't believe in God.

I didn't perceive the tone of these e-mails to be condemnation, so much as concern. Now, the latter could have been a facade for the former, but I didn't perceive it as such. Had I thought they were simply criticizing what they don't understand, it would have been much easier to simply delete their message and forget about it.

Keagen: I believe that the issue with most "vanillas" lies in the connotation. There are two things that immediately jump to mind for most vanillas, and those are extreme forms of BDSM that are portrayed by the media and internet, and domestic violence.

First, there is pain and power play, they assume, being exchanged as people "enjoy" it. Now, I know we look at that and say, "So what?" To them, though, the most vivid and extreme examples of BDSM come to mind. It's all they've been exposed to.

On the second count, there is pain, hitting, crying, and in some cases, large amounts of control being exchanged. When those are the only known elements (beyond the loving, caring, supportive relationship behind it), it can look really scary, especially if it's a close friend or family member.

They're judging our actions and words, I believe, based upon what they know. That's the common human measuring stick, unfortunately. The connotation is that it's either "extremely weird" or "extremely abusive."

We are wired this way, and the relationships most of us are involved in aren't problematic in the slightest sense. But when viewed through a certain lens, it definitely can appear so.

Hermione: I think the perception of violence and physical abuse is what comes first to the mind of most vanillas. Why would someone want to be hurt? Couple that with the inherent humiliation of baring one's bottom and assuming humiliating positions, it's no wonder they think we are either crazy, unbalanced or just plain nuts. I don't think we can change a vanilla's way of looking at us or convince one that we not only like it, we love and crave it. It's simply a fact that we are made that way, and they aren't.

I do think it is possible for a vanilla to learn to enjoy spanking or being spanked - especially if their partner is a spanko and wants them to play the desired other role - but that would come from actually experiencing it, not just talking about it.

Poppy: I think that an admirable fear of hurting women is partly at the core of vanilla outrage about spanking. Also, I think people tend to feel they have to speak out strongly against fetishes (I hate calling it a fetish) that are not their own. I think that is a great shame and reminds me of the school yard where one had to separate oneself from any group that one was not in.

I think of Yeats' line from "He wishes for the cloths of Heaven" when I speak of other people's desires. "Tread softly for you tread on my dreams."

I only do this as long as everyone is consenting, maybe vanilla people are concerned or could not imagine that there could be consent. That is why I would try to respond calmly and gently to any concerns.

I don't want to convert anyone to anything and if they speak from a wish that we are all safe and happy then there is no cause for righteous anger.

Sunflower: There are several reasons why I think it is hard for vanillas to accept. One is that humans are hardwired to avoid pain. For those who don't understand the sensual nature of pain because they aren't wired that way. To them, an adult willingly seeking out and embracing pain is strange.

Also, the common idea of spanking is that of a parent chastising a wayward child. Again, this makes it hard for those who don't understand to grasp why it's pleasurable. I don't think they're being judgmental. They just can't fathom it because they aren't wired that way. It's like broccoli - either you like it or you don't. There's nothing wrong or right about broccoli, but some people just can't eat it and others love it. It's the same with adult spanking, I think.

Tina: Although I am terribly masochist and quite submissive (and quite sane, it seems, and definitely very strong), I have the same prejudice. When I see women being treated badly, in clubs or at parties, I always think they must be psycho, weak, or whatever. It's the strangest thing!

The internet seems very useful in that account. By reading stuff like yours, Bonnie, or even Kaya's much tougher blog, I am understanding a little better.

Thanks, Tina. If this blog achieves nothing else, I do hope to promote understanding of TTWD.

Mark: People are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. To most normal people, spanking causes pain and is therefore to be avoided. Given the way my wife wields a hairbrush, I agree with them. But they don't see or understand the psychological aspects that dominate the physical aspects. For those with the spanko gene, to avoid the (physical) pain would just cause greater (emotional) pain.

We like to be spanked because the entire experience is not defined simply by the stroke of the implement and the pain it causes.

Of course, there are those who just like to take the pain, but they are real freaks... Just kidding.

Mary: I think that adult spanking is hard for some to understand because it is just so far from what they could imagine. To them, it just seems as though there must be something wrong.

Anon #2: Here's an unusual Easter tradition. I wonder what vanillas think about Dyngus Day? This occurs on the Monday after Easter. This is a Czech and Polish tradition where the men spank women with whips and switches. The women can get even with the men by pouring buckets of ice water on them later.

By the end of the day, I imagine a popular young woman could end up with a very sore Dyngus.

Spank-A-Lot: As the saying goes, "One man's food is another man's poison."

I am sure there are many reasons why vanillas or the "unconverted" shiver in such horror when faced with spankos like us. Of course, I am sure some were due to bad experiences. But I still strongly believe that inside every human is that hint of spanko-ism just waiting to be unleashed. Assuming that is the case, I guess the shivers of horror and ghastly faces from vanillas are merely a normal reaction to the "unknown."

An example was my reaction the first time my mother asked me to try chicken feet (I am Singaporean and Chinese). However, I tasted it, I fell in love. So to all vanillas out there, don't write it off if you haven't tried it. You don't know what you are missing!

Bonnie: I have no desire to promote this activity to anyone who is not already interested. One can ask why anyone without at least some curiosity would visit this blog. But I am certain it does happen. Think, for example, about Keyword Chaos. Many of those people were not looking for information about consensual adult spanking, but through the shifting winds of the internet, landed here anyway.

When these lost cyber-tourists stop at MBS, I have an opportunity to speak to them and occasionally with them. My message is not, “Spanking is cool and you should grab your partner and start paddling right now.” I recognize that won't register with true vanillas. My message instead is, “We're really not weird or scary or dangerous. We're positive, sane, caring people who choose express our love through spanking.”

Other minorities have worked for decades or even centuries to gain acceptance within society. This is the path we walk as well. For the moment, however, my aspirations are more modest. I have no intention of telling friends from the office that my husband spanks me. But should they ever find out, I don't want to be shunned or ridiculed.

Spanking is my choice. Each time I drape myself across Randy's lap, it's because I want to be there. Spanking enthusiasts are a community. I stand with them because we share common interests and goals. Vanillas are not our enemy. The foes we face are ignorance, misinformation, and stereotypes.

I look forward to a day when spanking is considered like, say, fellatio. Not all lovers practice this technique, but it's common enough that few people think much one way or the other about those who partake.

Daisy: I think spanking is difficult for vanillas to accept because it is like a fear of the unknown. I don't consider it a fetish. It's just a different way of expressing love and utter trust.

There are many ways of expressing love. As Bonnie said, oral sex is one way. Not all participate, and of those who do, not all enjoy. Yet it is not considered a fetish by those who don't. Some have a penchant for feet, toe sucking, etc. Different people just get turned on by different things.

When you hear others talking about their nights of passion, you sometimes cringe in horror/embarrassment, for you don't do THAT! But this reaction doesn't make it wrong!

I am sure there must be a link between abuse and spanking in the eyes of the uninitiated, and there probably always will be, however much we deny it. It's just a lack of understanding, and we should pity them, for we know what they are missing!

R Humphries: As a lifelong dedicated spanko, my view of this subject might seem rather surprising. I spent a considerable period of my early life in a very loving and successful vanilla relationship. To my former partner's credit, when I explained my predilection she willingly (I use that term rather loosely) indulged me and experimented. But it was clear that she did not and never would ‘get it’ or gain any pleasure from being spanked. She simply could not understand the concept of deriving pleasure, sensual or otherwise, at either imparting or receiving pain. That was her perception/interpretation of spanking. I saw no virtue in trying to ‘convert’ her.

I have never felt the need to discuss our intimate life-style at vanilla dinner parties or for the most part with anybody outside the spanking community. But if I did, I think in all likelihood most of our friends would just roll their eyes and laugh. I have never really encountered any ‘anti-adult spanking’ crusaders. But despite my own preference, I can actually understand (though not agree or sympathize with) the subjective viewpoint that could be taken by observers of either genre with regard to spanking activities as described in the question Bonnie posed. In my case, life is just too short to kvetch over how outsiders perceive our chosen lifestyle. We like it, we understand it, and that’s good enough for me.

Prefectdt: I think that people who ask such questions need to have pointed out how sexist they are being by singling out women from the spankee group. When made to think of men and women together, they can at least remove the "battered wife" scenario from the equation.

As for the question itself, I don't think that there is any reason why vanillas should understand. There are many fetishes that I don't understand. Desperation/pee fetishes are one example. All that I have to know about these fetishes and all that vanillas need to know about adult spanking is that it is safe, consensual and is not going to be imposed on them if they do not want it.

Prefectdt, I didn't interpret those e-mails as being necessarily sexist, though you may be correct. My perception was that the authors were speaking to me, so they assigned genders accordingly.

Zille Defeu: I was just talking the other day with a friend about how “vanillas” are often so ready to accept a bit of spanky-bot-bot as normal foreplay, how so many of them have a pair of handcuffs or a silk scarf in the bedside drawer, and how it is so easy for them to accept that as a bit of harmless fun. It's kind of in the way that a completely straight girl could be perfectly comfortable in a room full of naked gals, in a way that a bi or lesbian woman is no longer able to be entirely comfortable, but has to avert her eyes or she feels like she’s ogling.

So I think that the comparison of spanking with fellatio is actually more reasonable than you may think. It’s just that you are getting emails from the sorts of people who might think fellatio is also sick and not part of a healthy sex life!

So one does wonder iwhether all of those people who refuse to believe that “any intelligent, capable adult woman would allow herself to be subjected to repeated spankings” are closeted spankos (or other kinky type) who cannot accept in others what they refuse to allow in themselves.

Another point, however, is that vanillas tend to understand a bit of spanking as a part of sex. But if you are completely satisfied and fulfilled by spanking, that strikes them as weird (There’s your “mental health issues!”). And if you are using spanking for behaviour modification, well, that’s just sick and wrong, obviously (And there’s the “battered wife!”).

If you are going to be able to explain it to vanillas at all, I’ve found the best thing is to compare it to a “runner’s high.” Runners and other exercisers will go through all sorts of pain (The first day back at the gym can be more painful than the average spanking!) for a variety of “understandable” reasons, like the release of adrenalin and endorphins which make you feel so good after the pain/exertion is over. Or the “results,” which are physical for gym-goers and more emotional for spankees. But even a good workout can leave you feeling centered and calmed, the way a spanking does.

But you can never get the people who are repressed to accept “beneficial consensual adult spankings.” And most unrepressed vanillas will never “get it” outside of a sexual context.

Not that spankings don’t have their place in said sexual context! Never let it be said that I am against mixing spanking and sex! [grins]

Rob of NYC: There is a difference between fellatio and spanking. Spanking can be and has been used abusively. Non-consensual spanking clearly is abusive. However, when it's mutually consensual the equation completely changes. And that is what needs to be stressed. I have told two friends. Never again. No more explaining that I am not the slightest bit violent. I don't use spanking for punishment (I'm not into it, though others are), or do anything related to spanking that is not fully consensual. Since I don't feel like explaining what I do, I refrain from discussing it in the first place. Live and learn.

Love4her: Why can some not understand that the house does not need to be spotless? How can one not fold their underwear in the drawer? How can some people not like black coffee? Why can’t some people ever seem to hit the laundry basket with their dirty clothes?

There are many questions in life and why one can not understand another’s need for a sound spanking can be one of them, especially if the one desiring is mated to a non-spanko. There are also huge sexual and power play overtones with spanking that really force the giver and the receiver to examine their roles in the exchange. That examination is difficult because some just don’t think of sex, including spankings and other kinks, as something playful in the sense of loose boundaries and rules and they operate within pretty strict limits as to what is “normal” or we might say “vanilla.”

On another blog someplace the question of the day is...

Why is it so difficult for a kinky mate to accept that there are successful, sane, happy people who simply have no interest, see no point, no need and find no pleasure or satisfaction in (fill in the blank) spanking another or being spanked? Why can they not accept that this position too is normal?

That question certainly brought out some interesting and diverse opinions. Thanks to one and all for a great discussion.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for addressing this question. After lurking for a year
+ and following some of your excellent advice I hope to pass this to my vanilla hubby to help him understand.
Excellent blog

Zille Defeu said...

A response to @Rob of NYC, who says, "There is a difference between fellatio and spanking. Spanking can be and has been used abusively. Non-consensual spanking clearly is abusive. However, when it's mutually consensual the equation completely changes."

Actually, no -- in that respect, fellatio and spanking are exactly the same. Forcing someone to give head is rape, and clearly is abusive. However, when it's mutually consensual the equation completely changes....

Daisychain said...

Thank you, Zille, thats kinda what I meant, maybe it wasn't explained clearly enough for Rob....

lil sam said...

Hi Bonnie What an awesome question and all the comments were fantastic.Poppy I really liked the line you quoted from Yeats, it is so true. Zillie Defeu said something about spankings leaving you feeling centered and calmed,,that comment made me think of my first parachut jump(a tandum jump) which for me at that time was the ultamite high, turn on, and in the end left me completely centered and calmed, Pretty good for someone who has a fear of hight. And when I remember one of the first spankings sailor gave me, there was the same high, with end result being centred and ever so calm and at peace.
Hugs to all
Lil Sam

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