Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Third Rail: Arguing with Myself

Hello again, everyone. You wouldn't know it by reading this blog, but I am still around. There are lots of new links in the blogroll and I hope you will enjoy them.

It's difficult to find a topic related to spanking that I haven't discussed before. Here at MBS, we've looked at spanking from every imaginable perspective. Save one.

I hesitate to bring up this difficult topic, but it's been thrust into my consciousness and I feel as though I can no longer ignore it. You may find this subject upsetting. I know I do. If you are troubled by what you read here, I invite you to browse my archive or explore the links at the right. I don't wish to offend anyone.

I received an e-mail last month from a nineteen year old college student who told me that she loved my blog and that my words had helped her to better understand herself. "How nice," I thought, until she informed me that she had been reading for five years.

I am of two minds about this revelation, if it is in fact a revelation at all. What follows is my argument with myself.



We can't be surprised. This isn't the first time a reader has admitted to reading spanking blogs when they were underage. There was even one fairly well known spanking model who said she read MBS in her younger years.

They killed Socrates for corrupting the youth, didn't they? There are legalities here. We simply cannot involve children in what we do.

The blog is not intended for children. We have never done anything to attract or retain them. We don't correspond with them. We used to have a graphic that said this is adult material, but we removed it lest it have the opposite effect. We know how kids want to do anything they are told they shouldn't.

It's precisely because we know about kids that we should worry.

Compared to everything else on the Internet, this blog is mighty tame.

That is totally not the point. These are innocent children. We could be exposing them to material that they are not yet mature enough to handle properly.

We understand the concern. We're a mother and a grandmother and we aim to protect our young above all else. But let's remember our own teenage years. Innocent wouldn't be the best word to describe us. We were always deeply interested in spanking. We looked for information wherever it could be found.

True, but it's a different world today. We looked for the rare reference in books and mainstream magazines. Now we have Tumblr. Need we say more?

MBS is not Tumblr. There are no graphic photographs or videos here. It's primarily the story of long married couple expressing their love. It's actually kind of wholesome if you think about it.

We're insane if we think that. We have tutorials that help people learn to spank each other. Do we really want kids reading that?

Of course not, but we know from personal experience that there are young spankos out there. They are just as curious as we were. If our blog didn't exist, they would learn about spanking elsewhere, and I'm sure they are doing that anyway.

So our argument is that everyone else is doing it? What did our mother say about jumping off a cliff?

Let's leave dear old Mom out of this. Our blog is targeted to consenting adults who share this interest. We emphatically reject the old argument that the Internet should be censored because kids might find something harmful. Where are the parents? Shouldn't they be monitoring their children's surfing habits?

We can't be that out of touch. Most teenagers today know how to delete their browser history. And with smart phones, it's not like the old days when the PC sat in plain sight in a corner of the family room. Surfing can happen anywhere and monitoring high school age kids is almost impossible.

If we can't control where kids explore and we can't alter the content to which they are potentially exposed, why are we still arguing?

Can't we at least feel a little bit guilty about our role?

Yes, we can and we do. But we think the good we do in helping consenting adults find their way more than offsets any potential harm.

Ah, the classic utilitarian argument! The flaw is, as it always was, that we're talking about real people. We should not cause any harm.

Then we should do not any good either, since the two seem to be inseparable. Would it have been better if we'd spent the past ten years sitting on the couch and watching television instead of blogging?

We don't even know at this point.

Yes, we do. The people we've met and the friends we've made make our journey worthwhile. Besides, all the new ideas we've acquired have reignited our private life with Randy.

OK. But let's keep these considerations in mind when we write.


What do you think?

24 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hi Bonnie. I understand the concern, and it speaks well of you. But, I seriously doubt there is any risk of harm to anyone who finds his or her way to your blog. The reality is, teenagers and adult content seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly, and they probably always have. Straight vanilla teenage boys stole their dad's Playboy and Penthouse. Gay teenagers undoubtedly got access to gay porn in some form or another. As you point out, many people form an interest in spanking at an early age, so it is hardly surprising that a teenager with that particular bent, with access to all the wonders of the Web would find their way to your blog. And, let's not wax too nostalgic for that bygone era of less available smut. Much of the material in Penthouse is very graphic, and Hustler was always filled with incredibly racist, mysogynist material. You are depicting one aspect of an adult sexual relationship in a postive and supportive way. The reality of the situation is that this teen likely was undoutedly actively looking for this kind of material, and far better your sex-positive, mature content than some of the other stuff out there.

Red said...

Hi Bonnie:
This is a dilemma that posting about spanking in a consensual lifestyle creates. I completely do not permit any discussion or photos of children being spanked, nor anyone under the age of 18.(and prefer the age 21)
However, as a young adult, I saw spanking post cards, and readily searched out spanking material! (a great help was cartoons of spanking in British newspapers), and in an occasional adult newspaper my father would purchase.
My blog has many photos, but none showing bruising, and never blood.
I constantly reply to commenters that as long as the relationship is consensual, then they should enjoy themselves safely..
I think both yourself, and many others including myself, show spanking in a positive light, consensually helping a adult relationship when one or both people have a spanking fetish.
I hope we do more harm than good, but their is a lot more around the internet that is harmful to young adults than our blogs.
Nice to know that things are gong well with you and Randy.
bottoms up
Red

MrBBSpanker said...

As we all know, you focus on content of an adult nature. Yet the way you present the information is very mature in nature also.
There is no stopping teens from finding all kinds of info online. I think back to when I was a teen. There was no internet back then, but I was still a hard wired Spanko who someday would become a Domestic Discipline HoH. I know it's not allowed to have under 18s here, but I wish there was the eloquently and thoughtful information like you provide here to help me as a teen.

I have a blog of an adult, yet non-porn nature. I understand the argument within you're having... as I'm writing this there's an argument within me at this very moment.
On one hand if I had a teen I would rather they find a site like this,,,, but wait, that's against the rules and their are still a teen... but wait, I'd rather something like this vs all that other stuff out there.... and the inner argument can circle around and around.

It was so much easier in my day, we just checked the hieroglyphics the kids were reading on the cave wall, and if something wasn't right we just changed it to look like a funny looking deer or buffalo! lol

It's wonderful to see you post here Bonnie!

Respectfully,
MrBB

PK said...

Bonnie, It's great to discuss this, but I don't feel like we are doing any harm. In fact I think we're here as a safety gap. No I don't want children reading our blogs. They should be at least 18. But as you've said teenagers will read and research anything they like and its nearly impossible to stop them.

So lets say we have a young person like we were - born spankos who feel strange and alone in their desire. Let's say they go looking on the internet for information. We know they are going to be able to find some hard core BDSM sites - you think those folks worry about these kids? No way. We know those sites and worse are out there and they aren't going anywhere.

So lets hope somewhere in their search they stumble onto one of our sites. They are going to find mature, successful, intelligent, understand women (mostly) who have thought this through and realize that a domestic discipline relationship is built on strong communication. We all stress the importance of this communication, of consent, of having a safe word. They will hear from us that it's about trust and love and respect. We tell women of all ages that submission is a gift you give to the man you love, not something that can be demanded.

In a perfect world no young person would be looking on the interned for anything spanking related. But it's not a perfect world - they ARE out here looking and if they are going to stumble across some horrible porn showing women chained and beaten I sure as heck want them to be able to stumble across sane normal people who enjoy consensual adult spanking as a way to strength their marriages.

Florida Dom said...

I wouldn't worry about it. I wish I had been able to read your blog when I was a teen and had these spanko thoughts and thought I was a bit weird. Your blog gives a positive image of the spanko lifestyle. As the 19 year old said. your blog gave her a better understanding of herself. Better she read your blog that some of the other stuff on the Internet. I think you should be flattered that you were a positive role model for her in her teens. Also, there is simply no way to stop teens from reading whatever they want on the Internet.

And always good to see you post. I always click on whenever I see there's a new post from you on my blogroll.

FD

Anonymous said...

Just where is this great looking train station ?

Cat said...

Hey Bonnie...I do understand your concerns, especially as a mother and grandmother, but agree with everyone above...you deliver a positive and well rounded view of spanking. Bottom line, share what you feel comfortable sharing...you can't be responsible for every single underage young person who visits.

Hugs and blessings...Cat

abby said...

You presented both sides very well. Honestly I feel as those above have said,....if they are looking, they will find information...and mis-information and read. Tis far better they find examples of real life couples who are honest about their relationship...and the ups and downs....than the uglier side of all of this.
hugs abby

Hermione said...

Hi Bonnie,

I would have loved to read a blog like yours when I was fourteen. You have done this young person far more good than harm, by showing her the positive effects of being in a good spanking relationship.

I agree with your blue arguments.

Hugs,
Hermione.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your site and have for a while. A good spanking blog you have , and it appears that is what you wish to have. I like good spanking stories tastefully done pics and videos. Those can be found in the blogroll. The ONLY observation I would make mightbe in ""cleaning up the blogroll" people's blogs can be,what they want , but in allowing them on our blogroll are we condoning the content. Today I have looked through several, I found oral sex anal sex graphic nude photos that have nothing to do with spanking. Simple observation. Have a wonderful day.

Our Bottoms Burn said...

The bottom line is that MBS presents a sane and positive message.

Bonnie said...

It's great to talk with so many good friends again. Thank you for your insightful comments. One of these days, I need to post something that is not so serious.

Anon #1 - Thank you. The challenge is that I don't concern myself with what others post or how it compares to the content here. I worry about my own words and the impact they have.

Red - You raise a related point that I didn't address. Could our well-intentioned blogs inspire some adult to hurt a child or other non-consenting person? That question is much easier for me. I won't post or link stories or illustrations that depict the spanking of children. My conscience is clear on this point.

Mr. BB - You've summarized the dilemma quite well without resorting to a gimmick like talking to oneself. :)

PK - You make a very practical argument. I agree, but I resist accepting the role of “safety gap.” To do so would suggest that I knowingly write for teens. In our society, that would not be acceptable. And yet, I want kids who seek understanding to find it. Herein lies the heart of the conflict.

FD - I appreciate your kind words, but I have a tough time with the "not so bad as..." argument. I feel the need for something more.

Anon #2 - That is the Metro in Washington DC.

Cat - That's pretty much where I eventually end up. It's just hard to declare that I'm not going to worry about this.

Abby - Thanks. I think part of the confusion comes from our legal and societal definitions. There is no transformational event that occurs on someone's 18th birthday. There will always be very mature seventeen year olds and very immature eighteen year olds. If laws were irrelevant, I would much prefer to write for the former group. But, of course, laws are relevant.

Hermione - I believe I did help my young correspondent. What about the less mature and less well-adjusted readers? Could I have inspired someone to attempt an ill-advised liaison? Hoo boy, I sure hope not. As a parent, I know that we can't protect people from themselves. But I want to advocate good choices. The trouble is that not everyone is prepared to receive that message.

Anon #3 - That's a valid point. I do indeed apply a different standard to blogs that I link. A link from me is meant more as an acknowledgment of relevance than a personal endorsement. I try to link sites that MBS readers will enjoy. And how do I know that? I've asked them.

I also have some guidelines. Here's what I don't want:

1. Sites that are not organized as a blog with dated posts
2. Blogs that have not been updated in three months or more
3. Blogs that are private or require a registration/subscription
4. Blogs that lack significant spanking content
5. Blogs whose primary purpose is advertising
6. Blogs that contain little or no original content
7. Blogs that depict children or non-consenting adults as spankees
8. Blogs that feature extremely graphic or offensive content
9. Blogs authored or frequented by minors
10. Blogs that advocate abuse or exploitation of women

To your point, I do link some blogs that include sexual photographs and videos. I look for blogs whose content is primarily related to consensual adult spanking. If they slip in some related content, I am willing to accept that so long as it isn't shocking or offensive.

I have no control over what other bloggers publish. Nor do I feel responsible for their content. On several occasions, I linked a blog that looked interesting or valuable only to learn soon thereafter that this new blog just posted something horrible. That's the way it goes. Time and again, a sizable portion of our MBS readership told me that they like Tumblr blogs. Those photos are not my cup of tea, but the objective of the blogrolls is to cover the full breadth of our community.

Bogey - Thank you. That is certainly my aim.

ronnie said...

Bonnie hello,

As other have said. If they are looking, they will find lots of information, sadly some quite bad but you and your blog shows spanking in a truly loving positive light.

Love,
Ronnie
xx

Anonymous said...

Sorry, wasn't my intent to suggest u endorse anything out of line . My comment was more from the standpoint of , there are some teens who are going to look no matter what u do . While you cannot control that , you do control what they see once there . Is there a simple definitive answer ? Sadly no. Hope I haven't offended. btw I am anon because I'm on phone and not near computer. Normally post as Daddy

Anonymous said...

If you are fair and honest, and you have done what little you can to avoid attracting the above rug rat crowd, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. When I was younger looking into all this sex thing, I ran into quite a lot of stories that weren't quite moral. So in a real sense, you are providing a service, though unintentional, of providing a well balanced look into our kink. Safe, sane, and consensual.

MrWarmBuns

Bonnie said...

Anon/Daddy - I'm not offended in the least. You raised a very legitimate point and I'm glad you gave me cause to address it. I knew when I wrote this post that some of the issues could be difficult. Thank you for joining in the discussion.

Mr WB - An unintentional service - I really like that. I can fully embrace that role.

Bonnie said...

Ronnie - Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that my comments were understood as they were meant to be . I wish there was a simple decisive option .

now......... about those grades young lady !

grins

have great week
Daddy

Erica said...

Ah, Bonnie, I've missed you and your wisdom. ♥

Anonymous said...

Hi Bonnie;

Let me ask you to do three things.

First, spin the table around 180 degrees. So now you sit where that young lady once sat.

You are now a young lady, approaching maturity, including sexually, and confusion reigns. You know you feel different because you talk to other young ladies, and they don't feel excited or aroused by the same things that excite and arouse you. You had sex education, but the teacher did not talk about spanking, the submission, pain (which becomes pleasure) and the fact that some people become aroused by it. Whenever you try to talk to any of the adults in your life about the questions that you have about spanking, and the fact that you find it exciting, they stop the conversation, ridicule you or simply pooh-pooh it away as the talk of a “silly, immature girl”. There is no place to go. Maybe, you think, “I am crazy. Not completely, but maybe a little. I mean, nobody else feels like I do.”

Then, one day, searching on Google, you find a blog, a website specifically about spanking between mature adults. It is consensual. And, they like it. One of the adults spanks the other. They are both excited and aroused. In fact, just reading about the playful shenanigans of the adults is exciting.

You know you are not supposed to be there. But you can not help it. And nobody knows that you read it. Perhaps, you are thinking, “It is just for fun. I am not hurting anyone. And I already know that I am aroused by spanking. Now, after reading about these adults, playing around, one of them getting spanked, and liking it, my feelings seem more normal now.” And then maybe you realize, you are not crazy. Maybe a little different than some people, but not different than all people. And certainly not crazy. Then, finally, you realize, “I am just a spanko!”

Do you think that your reading that blog did a dis-service to you, under those circumstances?

Second, to me, it sounds like you think there is a problem. If that is correct, please define the problem better. Proponents of Root Cause Analysis (yes, there is such a thing) would ask that you describe the problem in terms of expectations, both ways – what is working and what is not –with a problem statement and causation.

So, as an example perhaps: “I write a blog about erotic spanking between consenting adults, and I know it is being read by many adults who enjoy the blog, many of whom enjoy and are excited by the same or similar experiences, usually involving erotic spanking, and sometimes spanking and or corporal punishment used as discipline between them and their partners. (The part that works). But I do not want children to read it, and I expect that children will not read it, because the topics discussed are not relevant to children and because the experiences discussed on my blog are performed between adults, the experiences may be common experiences among the adult readers (shared with their sexual partners). and are usually not common experiences of the children. (Your expectation). Unfortunately, I found out that at least one child was a regular reader of the blog. (The problem – what was different from the expectation). That caused…

Just for yourself, and not for publication, can you list what the types of problems that are caused by a child (a minor) or children (minors) reading your blog.

Then, anything that caused a problem for only you should be lined out ( knowing that children read my blog caused me frustration, or caused me stress), because it is not a failure of the system here, but a reaction of how you dealt with the failure (and that is not part of the problem statement).

Whatever remains – listed items that do not involve you or your feelings – are the causal items for this problem. Cont.

Anonymous said...

Cont.
Third (and again just for yourself) think about what you can do to correct for those items. In other words, is there really anyway that you can prevent children who want to read about consensual adult spanking, from reading about consensual adult spanking?

The answer is, “Probably not”.

One of the steps that I expect that you will take is to consider shutting down the blog. Because certainly, (you might think) that will prevent children from reading about consensual adult spanking on your blog. But, we have already stated that your feelings about the children reading your blog are not causal link to the problem (your feelings matter, they are just not linked to the problem.) Other blogs exist. Most do not cover consensual adult spanking as well as you do.

Instead, maybe the answer is closer to: instead of a providing a warning (provoking the reading of your blog, as I understand your comment), you could offer an explanation to the children why they should not read the blog (speaking as an adult – one-on-one to a child). And maybe you could provide a link to another website so that they can choose to go somewhere more appropriate to their age. But you can not make them do it and you can not prevent them from reading your blog, if that is what they want to do. Maybe, the best you can do, is all you can do.

In summary, the fact that a child read material, written by you, that was not designed to be read by them and was not written for them does not mean that you failed. In fact, I think it means you cover consensual adult spanking very well – so well in fact that people who are not expected to read your blog, will choose to read your blog. Shutting down the blog will not prevent children, who want to read about consensual adult spanking, from reading about consensual adult spanking. It will simply deprive your readers of your great blog. So do something else, instead. Please.

And keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog. And Thank You.



Emerging Lurker said...

Hi Bonnie,

As a parent of two teenagers, I think your blog is serves an important purpose beyond what it has done for your adult readers. While I would love to believe my kids wouldn't search sex-related topics until they are 18, I think that is naive. I can do my part in maintaining and encouraging open communication and modeling what I consider healthy attitudes towards relationships and sex. But my spouse and I are certainly not going to be their only source of information. I expect they will or have searched for information on the internet.

I appreciate that when they are out looking for information on the internet, there are healthy blogs with good information. I put your blog in that camp. I appreciate that your blog provides a window into a healthy adult relationship between two people who strive to meet one another's needs. I hope my kids will find that (when they are older) whether it includes kink or not. Just as your blog has helped adults accept their own kink, it may help kids accept themselves or others with kinks they do not have themselves.

If they are going to try out spanking, yes, I hope that they read a tutorial about doing it safely. I appreciate you making the point that blood and bruising are not necessary parts of spanking. I also appreciate your post stating that women do not deserve to be spanked because of their gender. Spanking is an individual choice. I would not want my daughter to think her two x chromosomes mean she deserves or needs spanking any more than I would want my son to think that his y chromosome gives him the right to discipline anyone. I appreciate the emphasis on consent, communication, safety, in your blog.

Thank you for your blog. While I would prefer my kids not be searching sex-related topics, if they are searching sites about spanking or general kink, your blog is one I would hope they would come across.

Thank you for another thought-provoking post.

EL

Bonnie said...

Anon/Daddy - I use a lower gear for steep grades.

Erica - It's always wonderful to hear from you!

Anon #4 - Thank you for investing so much time and thought in your response. I will try to address each of your points.

I know that girl. I WAS that girl, just without any Internet. I would have loved to have found a resource like MBS. It would have answered my questions and helped me to feel better about myself. And that's just what my correspondent said.

My concern is not kids who are like I was or like my correspondent was. I worry about younger and less mature children who have yet to fully understand themselves and their world. I worry about kids who were or are still abused. I worry about kids who live with mental illnesses. These young people are simply not prepared to deal with adult subject matter no matter how benign it might be. I fear that they might seek to live out their fantasies in a manner that jeopardizes their own or others health or safety.

Here's my problem statement:

I publish a spanking blog intended for adults. I believe the vast majority of my readers fit into this category. However, it's been brought to my attention that some younger people read as well.

What's right: I enjoy writing when I get the time and readers tell me they enjoy what I post.

My expectation: My readers will all be responsible mature adults.

The problem is that I am confronted with unassailable evidence that some (hopefully small) proportion of my audience is underage. This violates a fundamental assumption of my blogging. I never want to mislead or harm a child in any way, I'm a mother and a grandmother. Protecting those small humans is part of my very being. And so, I feel conflicted.

I don't believe this problem can be fixed, and that too is concerning. I'm not planning to close the blog (been there, did that), so I blog about it. I liked the comment about providing an unintentional service. This is about as close to the line as I am willing to tread,

I think to speak directly to the under-18 set serves to legitimize their presence, even if I tell them to please get lost or go to Scarleteen or wherever. It's also another public acknowledgement that I am knowingly complicit in whatever unfortunate event might transpire after an uninvited visit. I think (this post notwithstanding) the less I say, the better.

I don't feel as though I failed. It's more wondering about the unintended consequences of something I love. So that's about where I end up on this question. I have some new insights, but I still feel conflicted.

EL - Hello again, my friend. Thank you. If young people do wander through, I hope they leave with a more positive vision of themselves, their future partner(s), and the consensual expression of love in whatever form.

Rich Person said...

People want to keep sex away from children to protect them. A big part of that is the power imbalance. If you were discussing this with a teenager in person then it would be possible for you to take advantage of them in doing so. But when the teenager comes here you are not forcing anything on them. They are in control. I just don't think that power imbalance exists to the degree that makes it a problem.

So, as long as you are not targeting them and not depicting them as part of what you are presenting, then I don't think you should worry unduly about it. Frankly, keeping them uninformed about sex is harmful to them. And, it is certainly harmful to society because it creates opportunities for people to be abused.

Just to be crystal clear about it: I think you are doing the right thing. You provide a place that puts BDSM in a loving context. IMHO, that's the right way to do it. If anyone underage leaks in you are at least helping them see that this practice is widespread and can be used in a loving way. That's a positive force, and I think you should be commended for doing it.

Post a Comment