Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Sept 23

Our topic this week was paradoxes related to TTWD. Do we try to resolve them, dismiss them as unimportant, or simply accept them? Here are your thoughts.

Joeyred: I agree that these are all paradoxes. I tried to explain them to myself, but I just gave up trying to determine the answers.

I do feel that putting one's bottom at the "mercy" of another person takes a tremendous amount of courage and trust. Once experienced, I believe the emotional release often translates into more confidence in even vanilla settings.

Sublime Wifey: Last year, I asked my husband if we could try D/s. He jumped right on board saying he was just waiting for me to ask. I was relieved that he was so excited, and then suddenly troubled that he's been considering this for years, but had never said anything. I wondered whether I'd deprived us of something all those years by denying my submissive nature (at least in the bedroom) or if he'd been thinking poorly of me all those years while he wanted something I wasn't offering. He told me I was over-thinking and we should just enjoy this new level of intimacy. But I couldn't stop.

Now I spend a lot of time thinking about these paradoxes. Why do I love pain when I hate to be hurt? Do I love spanking now because my Daddy spanked me? Do I have Daddy issues? How can I be so fiercely independent outside the bedroom and so submissive when the door closes? Am I denying something about myself by denying my submissiveness in other aspects of our relationship? So many questions, no answers, more questions. ARGH!

My husband says that as long as I have these questions and over-think these aspects of our relationship, he won't push our D/s beyond the bedroom. He says I'm not ready, but he'll wait. And that takes me back to where I started. Am I depriving us of something greater?

Simon: I wouldn't claim to have all (or indeed any) of the answers, but I can give my ideas:

1. The important thing is not the pain, but the situation/relationship. I suspect that very few of us who indulge in spanking are truly masochists and we endure the pain as part of the whole experience.

2.Have those of us on the receiving end truly given up control? I suspect that for the majority of us, we still have the ability to say no at any point. After all, we are talking about consensual punishment with the emphasis on consensual.

3. Again, I think the answer lies in the situation. I was very rarely physically punished when younger and I certainly didn't enjoy it when it happened. I didn't realise the erotic potential of punishment situations until later in life. That is why spankings and canings now have a sexual aspect entirely missing from the punishments I received when young.

4. This is a difficult question, especially for a male submissive. After all, I'm not really acting within the usual gender roles. Also, as a man, I'm not really in a position to talk about feminism. However, the impression I have formed is that the women involved in spanking and CP, whether giving or receiving, are happy and well-adjusted women who are in control of their own lives.

Kitty: I have been thinking about this lately, but in terms of my belief that if you have to hide something, it must be wrong. If it were just sexual (which is okay to not really talk about), that would be one thing. But this is more than that. So, my paradox is that a part of me believes that it is not wrong at all, but another part of me thinks it must be very wrong.

We have been calling this my Catholic guilt. It's not really rational, but still very much there.

In short, I have been mostly trying to live within the paradoxes. But in the end, I think I have to deal with them in some way as they are tripping me up.

Reece Seever: I spend a lot of time thinking about the control issue. Most of us spend our lives trying to exercise control over everything around us. Often, though, it seems that the more controlling we are, the less real control we have. For those of us who have controlling, stressful work environments, it is incredibly freeing to give up that control for a while and to surrender to someone else.

For that reason, Anne and I dipped our toes into the dominance and submission lifestyle. For most of our lives, I have been overly assertive and domineering while she has not been assertive enough. The goal for us is bringing both of our personalities into a more balanced state. Given that we are consciously going against the usual gender roles, perhaps there is less paradox to the activities.

And, yes, there is a very big paradox when we fantasize about being spanked, but during the actual act, we often just want it to be over.

Hermione: I don't actually think about these paradoxes much anymore. Having discovered that enjoying being spanked is quite common, I no longer feel ashamed of my desires and simply enjoy the experience and the pleasure it brings. But here are my thoughts on the four paradoxes presented:

1. The pain is an important part of the experience for me. Its intensity brings about a cathartic release of tension, stress and anxiety.

2. Giving up control is very freeing. Handing over the responsibility for your welfare and pleasure to another person is just such a wonderful release, especially when combined with spanking.

3. Spanking involves stimulating nerves in close proximity to the genital area. It's small wonder that it results in sexual activity and arousal.

4. The answer to this one is the word "choice." For me, that's the definition of feminism. Women are free to choose what sort of lifestyle they wish to live, whether it's traditional or otherwise.

Jade Cary: Dichotomy is a beautiful thing. I think the healing comes from the letting go, the idea that you are getting what you need, and not necessarily what you want. Personally, I feel most pressured by the feminist idea that there ARE no gender roles, and that maybe I'm not pushing the cause by advocating TTWD. But, to me, the whole idea behind feminism was, and is, choice. It's also about sexual freedom, understanding your body, your wants and your needs as a woman. Giving up control to a worthy man is liberating and sexy.

We were with another couple last night, and we were discussing the idea of keeping each other in line in relationships (I think the subject of drinking too much was the catalyst). I said flat out that I strive every day to be a better person, and he helps me with that. To not admit to that, or to dismiss that idea outright because it goes against some feminist ideal is selling yourself short, I think. The conversation, by the way, was between us, the other couple, and their daughter, who is in the most healthy relationship of her life (her words). The age and cultural differences between us was what made the conversation most fascinating.

And, like Hermoine, I'm too old to care anymore what people think.

Secret Spanko: Pain is necessary, as it triggers the endorphins afterward. I haven't been on the receiving end of a spanking all that frequently, but I realized this not too long ago when I was stung by a wasp. It hurt like hell. But I recognized the same almost giddy feeling soon afterward. I don't think this fully explains it - spankos are not into poking needles under each others' fingernails just for the endorphin release, but the pain and its effects are a big part of it.

Hermione mentioned stimulating the nerves in close proximity to the genital regions. I'll take it a step further. Often, there's some undressing involved, and if you're over the knee, your genital region is within inches of theirs. But maybe more importantly, you're sharing something VERY intimate in that it involves emotions and desires we don't share with anyone else. One might bare their soul to a counselor, or bare their bottom to a doctor, but consider the combination of the two, plus the stimulated nerves close to the genitals, plus the proximity of your genitals to their genitals. It adds up to a situation that's very fertile for adult activities to blossom.

As for control issues and feminism, I'm no feminist, but I'll share the gist of a couple of conversations I've had with professional female spankers, as well as my own experience. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, and this is not to discount the general rule that dominant personalities are more likely to be dominant in a spanking relationship. However, the guy paying to be spanked is likely a very successful businessman in "normal life" who is looking to take off the mantle of control for an hour or two.

I've been recently talking with two ladies about meeting for spankings (one where we went through with it and the other is still working on scheduling). They fit this bill as well. Very successful and pretty much a "boss" at work, part of their fantasy is to not be in control. I'll admit that this is one of the things I find appealing about switching. I kind of doubt this is an expression of feminism, but it might help to explain why some with a feminist viewpoint are drawn toward spanking. Just like the successful businessman/woman, it can restore a sense of balance to their lives. Or maybe they just think it's sexy.

A-Non: I tried to explore and explain this on my blog. Psychological theory provides an explanation that seems to work for spanking as well as the thrill of whitewater rafting or skydiving. Let me know what you think (Spoiler alert: it does take some of the mystery and fun out of it to understand TTWD).

I had never heard that explanation before. I think it's fascinating. Thank you for sharing the scientific perspective.

Julia: I started this out overthinking us and it never really led me to anything. So DH and I decided that it just works for us. It is natural to us. Therefore, we don't think about the paradoxes of it all. :D

Saoirse: Every one of these paradoxes is or could be the subject of fat books and graduate level courses! Lots of what has been said has me nodding. I'd like to suggest that wondering about these questions is part of a normal cycle when learning something. When I first allowed my spanko fantasies out of the closet, I was obsessed with these subjects. I read, I wrote, I talked and I argued. Eventually, I just didn't care anymore. We're having mind blowing sex. Our relationship is incredibly intimate in other ways too, and why spend a lot of time asking why?

I think we ask and question because it is so foreign, so opposed to current cultural norms, and we seek to understand the shift we are experiencing. I still have moments where I amaze myself. Did I really ask Him to hold me accountable to my schedule? Then I go back to thinking and obsessing, temporarily. But I always end up in the same place: Never mind why, I'll take the orgasm, thank you very much.

All of these issues get dealt with in so many of the blogs I read, so I'd say to Sublime Wifey, keep reading, give it time, and appreciate your smart sensible dominant. Go at a pace that is comfortable and never mind bemoaning the time it took to get here. You're here! You were getting ready!

A blog titled The Disciplined Feminist does a great job of exploring the issue of feminism and submission. It's thoughtful, analytical, and well written. You'll find lots of answers there.

She goes into great detail about something that resonates for me. I consider myself a feminist and it goes beyond just the right to choose submission. There is a very real difference between the male and the female. Our journeys are different, and this lifestyle celebrates the stereotypical (i.e. very real) differences. I'm a warrior, no doubt. I could kill with my bare hands, I know it. I celebrate the power I have within me and I use it in many realms (although I have yet to actually kill anyone). At the same time, I feel deep pleasure arching up, baring my neck to his teeth and his hand.

It's incredible. Just writing those last few words zipped me right into the soft, warm, place where I belong to Him. Have a great weekend, people!

Abby: I overthink almost everything. These paradoxes, I have given up on and I just enjoy!

Lillie: I am going to echo Saoirse above saying that I have fixated on some of these paradoxes, especially the fact that I am living in an enlightened (hopefully) age in a first world democratic country and I am submissive to my husband and he physically punishes me when he decides it is warranted.

That must make Gloria Steinem's teeth hurt. It sort of does mine too. But I choose it, and it works. If I kept being the *itch I was, I was going to have my feminist laurels safe and sound, alone.

D.: The Paradox – Why does a man want to make his loved one bend over in an embarrassing pose, bare her bottom, and then spank it hard and long until it is sore and smarting, and probably not much use for its real purpose, which is sitting?

The Answer – Our maker decided that ladies should be endowed with firm, out thrusting rear cheeks, which even under clothing just beg any red blooded male to give them a sound spanking, even if that is not what their owner had in mind. However they soon find out that a well spanked bottom arouses their libido, and also that of their man.

Emen: I agree with Cary in that I don't care anymore. It took me so long to come to an acceptance of who and what I am. I feel only joy, relief, and clarity.

I just turned 59. I have never felt more sexual, beautiful, cherished or grounded in my life, because I have let me be me. And me is good. Me is strong and me is feminist in my way which is to love women. I appreciate their choices and understand their battles. I grieve for and love the ones, so young to me, who are struggling so hard with aging in a culture that deems them unfuckable, unlovable, and useless because they're not alpha consumers past a certain age.

This paradox, dichotomies, I understand. But TTWD has brought me such greater understanding and acceptance and love of men, as well. I cherish the men I've met, tops or bottoms, doms or subs. I don't care.

That's my long winded, babbling answer. I don't care. Do I have some sickness or perversion that makes me crave pain? Am I masochist? I don't care. I don't need anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs. All I need is what we do and this beautiful intelligent community we share.

Loki Darksong: I feel that it is important to explain all of these points to those who are new to this scene and to those who have only seen or read about spanking and the like. Given the current exposure that our lifestyle has been receiving of late, these explanations may be crucial in preventing any and all misunderstandings that may develop.

Alice: Perhaps some of these paradoxes come about because there is an underlying tension between our base, instinctive natures and our civilized selves. Neither is right or wrong, but we need to be able to recognise and reconcile them.

Being sexually submissive is how I allow my "nature" to play itself out. My natural tendency to be submissive does not have influence in my everyday interactions because I give it release elsewhere. This allows me to be effective day to day but still experience the thrill of giving up control.

Bonnie: I wrote a tutorial on this subject back in 2006. I think it captures my thoughts on resolving the paradoxes.

“In my view, a fulfilling relationship trumps societal norms. These cultural constraints apply to us only to the extent we choose to recognize them.

The simplest answer is that if a few well placed swats on the bottom will enrich your lives and energize your relationship, why wouldn't you pursue this opportunity?”

Thank you all for an excellent discussion!

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