Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kaelah's Corner (Dec 2009):
Tiger and Dragon

This is part two of my account on Ludwig's and my relationship as mates. Part one covered the beginning and the development of our relationship. Today I would like to write about our present life and what having found my mate means to me.

Our relationship today is based upon the values we already used in our first play scenario. We are very open and honest with each other – even to a point where it sometimes really hurts. Living several hundreds of kilometres away from each other doesn't make that any easier. Have you ever discussed your intimate desires, feelings and fears on the phone – eleven hours during the night? But I need that very special openness and honesty to grow from the things I learn about myself and us and to completely and absolutely trust Ludwig. Sometimes it hurts – bit it doesn't kill us, it makes us even stronger as mates.

With Ludwig, I also started to understand what kind of partner and relationship I have always been seeking. I used to pretend it was highly important for me that a partnership shouldn't reduce my personal freedom and self-dependency. Today I'm still sure this is right, but it's not the whole truth. I also need a partner whom I see as the very special one person I have always been looking for and who sees me as the very special mate he wants to exclusively share his life with. Two like-minded people standing by each other and – if necessary – fighting together against the rest of the world. With a partner like that it is also okay for me to be weak sometimes and to ask him to protect me and to catch me if I fall. Surprisingly (at least for me), with Ludwig, asking for shelter doesn't feel like I'm losing my self-dependency. It feels like I'm gaining something special I have always been looking for. Someone who is open and honest with me face to face and doesn't avoid conflicts if necessary, but who never carries those conflicts out in front of others and instead backs me up. And, of course, my image of an equal partnership includes that I want to do the same thing for Ludwig.

The picture I have about that special partnership is also correlated to my kinky fantasies. They are usually about two people who have a very special, unique connection. That was what struck me like thunder when I started to explore the internet on the topic of spanking and came across the stories of Mary Catherine and Dean Andrew Michaels. They had exactly that special kind of relationship I had been looking for. While in my fantasies the top might be in charge and might even act very dominantly in a one-on-one situation, like in my "Klingon Sex" scenarios, I love the thought that both, top and bottom, stand as one and equally protect each other in front of other people. That's one of the reasons why the idea of playing in front of others bothers me. There is a high risk that I would feel betrayed and used (in a negative way ;-) ). Only very special scenarios could work for me there. I think I'll write a detailed post about that topic some time in the future.

Fact is, I know that Ludwig won't ever betray me and that he'll always treat me with openness, honesty, love and respect. And it's the same vice versa. I could go on for another 2000 words about what our relationship and having found my mate means to me. It would surely involve words like great gratitude, act of divine providence and feeling at home. Instead, I'm going to leave you with a poem I've written on the topic. I'm going to post the original German version as well as an English translation.

By the way, in case someone was wondering about the title of today's post: You're right, the title isn't entirely correct. You don't see what's wrong with it? Well, the correct wording should be "Tigress And Dragon". Why? Because those are two of the nicknames Ludwig and I use for each other. :-) Two strong animals, not in need of a partner, deciding to continue their journey walking side by side...


Gemeinsam auf dem Weg -
Seite an Seite.

Ehrlichkeit und Offenheit -
Grundsteine unserer Beziehung.
Die Ehre als Basis
für gegenseitigen Respekt.

Blindes Vertrauen -
sich fallenlassen ohne Angst.
Verantwortung behalten und übernehmen,
für sich selbst und für den Anderen.

Mut, es gemeinsam zu wagen,
trotz aller Risiken.
Freuden und Schmerzen teilen,
die das Leben bringt.

Führen und geführt werden,
nach Situation und nach Kraft.
Nicht immer gleichrangig
und doch stets gleichwertig.

Gegenseitige Fürsorge -
füreinander da sein.
Gegenseitige Stärkung -
füreinander einstehen.

Sich selbst niemals aufgeben,
aber sich gemeinsam neu entdecken.
Sich individuelle Freiheit gewähren und bewahren,
gemeinsame Sicherheit als Partner entwickeln.

Sich wärmen und kuscheln,
festhalten und loslassen.
In der örtlichen Distanz
Nähe durch Stimme und Worte.

Eine Furcht, sie ist neu,
war alleine nicht bekannt.
Sie ist gestiegen,
die Angst vor Tod und Verlust.

Unendliche Liebe -
Elixier des Lebens.
Das Leben ohne den Gefährten -
nur halb so viel wert.


On a common journey -
walking side by side.

Honesty and openness -
cornerstones of our relationship.
Honour as the base
for treating each other respectfully.

Blind trust -
falling and letting go without fear.
Remaining responsible for oneself,
assuming responsibility for one another.

The courage to set off together
into an unknown future.
Sharing pleasure and pain
life brings.

Leading and being led
depending on the situation and energy.
Not necessarily co-ordinate
but always at eye-level.

Mutual care -
being there for each other.
Mutual strengthening -
standing by each other.

Never giving oneself up,
but discovering new traits together.
Allowing each other great latitude -
providing security as partners.

Cuddling and keeping each other warm,
holding tight and letting go.
Feeling close in the distance
through hearing your voice and your words.

One thing deeply scares me,
didn't know it when I was alone.
Fears have risen,
fears of death and loss.

Infinite love -
elixir of life.
Without you as my mate
life isn't worth even half as much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Klingon Shopping Tour

(This is part two of the story of Kaelah's first ever spanking. You can read the first part here. My text is in normal format, Kaelah's comments are in bold text in square brackets.)

The backdrop for Kaelah's first spanking had to balance various considerations. Point one: we wanted to be ourselves, not characters in a role-play. At the same time, it was a truly special occasion, so a simple "I'll put you over my knee and show you how it feels like!" was out of the question - we wanted an extended, elaborate ritual and a ceremonial mood. Point two: to help her overcome her insecurities, Kaelah had to have a clear idea of what lay ahead of her, and she needed a fair degree of creative input. At the same time, I didn't want to give up the element of surprise entirely, because I thought that knowing everything in advance would take away not just Kaelah's fears, but also some of the positive excitement she could have. Neither of us wanted to turn the whole thing into a "topping from the bottom" affair.

[For me, it was important to develop and to plan the whole ceremony around the spanking. But it was okay for me to hand over control to the top once the "main part" started. I think we had agreed that I wanted to try different implements and that we would start with the hand and end with the cane. The rest was up to the "master of ceremonies". Of course I would never do something like "topping from the bottom"! Any bottom who would ever consider doing that? ;-)]

So, we came up with the "Rite of Spanking". It was patterned after Klingon rites of passage from the Star Trek universe, which Kaelah is a fan of. Because the Klingons themselves are modelled after the samurai culture of feudal Japan, we took some stuff from there as well. [Hey, Klingons aren't "modelled" after anyone! As a matter of fact, our culture obviously did not just influence England (the adaptation of the Klingon drama Khamlet) but also Japan...] While we did not actually role-play Klingons or Japanese, we used them as templates and sources of inspiration. I was going to be a "master of ceremonies", without further description, Kaelah a "student", and we were going to perform this rite together where I introduce her to the practice of spanking.

Before the spanking itself, we would have a Japanese tea ceremony, and another one afterwards. [It was a Klingon tea ceremony. While I'm very interested in the Japanese culture, I don't have the knowledge necessary to perform a Japanese tea ceremony.] Around this basic concept, we built a fairly elaborate procedure [WE???] that involved Kaelah's Tai Chi suit, a "ring" of candles on the floor, a mirror, a few torches, and a set of inscriptions on the wall naming the virtues which the student is supposed to attain. [Don't forget to mention the singing bowl. It wouldn't have been the same without the singing bowl!]

After some deliberation, we found a good place to do our ritual. The only drawback was that the room had previously been used for storage, so it had to be cleared out. Kaelah even enlisted some vanilla friends to help her, telling them that she needed the room for a "Klingon tea ceremony". Given that she already had a reputation among her friends for being, shall we say, somewhat eccentric, the story didn't raise much of an eyebrow. Still, I wasn't sure whether that was a good thing. "Couldn't you just have told them the full truth, that we're planning some perverted sex games in the room?" I joked to Kaelah. "That would have been less embarrassing!" [Well, actually some of my friends knew about the perverted sex games we were planning. And I remember that you didn't feel too comfortable with that prospect, either! ;-)]

When I arrived at Kaelah's for the big weekend, the first thing we did was cuddle on the sofa. Even though it was very innocent and happened on Kaelah's initiative, I felt a tad "unprofessional" for doing it - what had happened to the detached, experienced top and counsellor? [Wait a moment, I have to clarify that thing before someone believes I somehow bewitched that poor, innocent, strictly professional guy! I just brought a woollen blanket while we were sitting on the sofa and just wanted to sit next to you. The next thing I remember is that I was lying on the couch in front of you (fully clothed, ye perverts!) because a certain someone wanted to show me his favourite cuddling position!] However, it all served a purpose, as it added another way for Kaelah to confirm that the chemistry was right. In this case, the physical chemistry.

The next day, we went to the local home improvement store for our shopping tour. I think we ended up with one of the weirdest item collections they had ever sold to a pair of customers: First, two big metal stands. I have no idea what they were originally designed for, but we would use them as holders for the torches (Kaelah had already received the torches by mail-order). Two, a sack of flowerpot earth, which we would fill the holders with so that the torches could stand properly. Three, some cushions for the tea ceremony. [Yes, I wanted the cushions for my knees. I can still remember your comment: “You're really strange. You want your bottom spanked, but then you insist on a cushion in order not to hurt your knees.” Well, I didn't say my behaviour is always consistent, did I?] Four, a full-body mirror. [Not my idea. I didn't know what exactly this was for.] Five, a fire extinguisher.

In its own way, the hunt for the right equipment was just as much fun as the scene itself. I remember it fondly, and the clerks at the checkout are probably still wondering what we were up to. [Still, this part of our shopping tour wasn't as strange as the part not meant for the ceremony. It was the time of carnival and I needed a dog collar for a punk costume. Of course the best place to buy a dog collar is a pet shop. Fortunately, we found some sweet collars. But I didn't now my size, so I had to try them on. Guess which size fitted me? You're right, the fitting size was "SM"... ;-)]

The torches were proving to be a problem. They would provide a magnificent atmosphere for our ritual, but also suck the oxygen from the room at an alarming rate. Kaelah discovered during her internet research that accidents were pretty common where people used torches indoors, quickly passed out, and then suffocated. It would have made for a wonderfully lurid news story in our case: man and woman found dead, one of them partially naked, in a room filled with spanking paraphernalia and Klingon inscriptions... [I have to admit that the idea seemed somehow fascinating. That's what I call going out with a bang!] But we decided not to go down that way! Instead, we reduced the number of torches from the six Kaelah originally wanted to two. Moreover, we would not keep them burning for the entire duration. We would light them briefly before the spanking session itself, with the windows open, and again afterwards. We also had the fire extinguisher in case something went seriously wrong.

Because Kaelah had such a creative input (indeed, creative leadership) in regards to the framework of the scene, the tea ceremonies, the props and so on, she felt sufficiently comfortable and in control to make the big jump. At the same time, she left the central segment, where the actual "initiation" would take place, entirely up to me, the "master". It was an elegant arrangement. On my part, I had decided that we would start with a classical OTK hand spanking and end with a caning - the two things Kaelah was most curious about after the stories she had read and the videos she had seen. She was less interested in other implements, but open-minded about trying out some. So I added a leather paddle for the middle part, a nice contrast and a build-up to the cane.

That was it - hand, paddle, cane. A standard progression, but a good one. Three implements were enough to create a dramatic arc, without overburdening Kaelah or the confines of the scene. Of course, Kaelah was left in the dark about the exact choice of instruments, the progression and the other things I might have in mind. But she could probably make a good guess.

Then came the day of the ritual. In the afternoon, Kaelah had an anxiety attack. All the fears came up again, about maybe having to back out during the scene, maybe not being able to handle the pain, disappointing me... [It was not just the fears coming up, it was more than that. When I'm opening up that way, I'm able to get down to deeper emotions that are normally covered up. Which means that I can feel joy and sadness more intensively than usual. So, I did not only feel the fear, I also suddenly felt the sadness about certain other events in my vanilla life.] She was pretty mad at her half-Klingon side: "Typical Kaelah! First, she comes up with these grand ideas. And then, when the time comes and I could really use her bravery, she leaves me alone!" [That's one of the downsides of being half-Klingon. The impulsive Klingon part usually gets you into some kind of trouble and then the rational human part has to face the music.]

We cuddled some more on the sofa and I assured Kaelah that, no matter what happened, I would not be disappointed. She had shown great bravery by coming as far as she had. In my view, she had passed the most important test already, and everything that followed was simply a bonus. Also, I could honestly say that I had never had this much fun just preparing for a scene - our emails, the creative collaboration, the shopping tour. What a ride it had been. Now, we would just take it easy and see how things developed. Without any undue pressure. [I think that time of cuddling was one of the keys that turned my first spanking into a really good experience! It made me feel being taken seriously, safe and cared for. And it showed me that you were interested in me as a whole person, not just as a playing partner.]

Kaelah calmed down, took a bath, listened to some music. An hour or so later, right at sunset [5.51 pm] as we had planned, we went to the ritual chamber.

(to be continued in the third and final part)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Review: The Warlock's Revenge

Lupus Pictures (released in 2003)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Princess gets caned to lift wizard's curse

Victim Appeal:
In this sequel of sorts to The Fairy Tale, one of my favourite movies from the old Rigid East label, the Czechs (who had by this time renamed themselves Lupus Pictures) undertook another excursion into the realm of whimsy medieval fantasy. They spared no expenses whatsoever this time and rented a real castle for the production. We also get to see a proper dungeon, complete with iron shackles, a display cage for the prisoners and a torture rack. Together with the usual nice costumes and props from Lupus, it provides a magnificent stage for the cast to showcase their skills (and their bodies).

The princess (obviously, there has to be a princess!) is played by Terezie Vesela, a brunette girl who brings an appropriately quiet-yet-defiant demeanour to the role. The video also features Adela Valkova, another brunette, as a chamber maid, plus classic Lupus star Katerina Tetova as a "wanton", a lascivious woman who has been imprisoned for her... well, lasciviousness. Katerina's face is hidden behind an iron mask throughout the entire film - I didn't realise it was her until I read the credits. I'm not sure whether this constitutes a terrible waste or a pretty cool casting choice. Probably both.

Gratuitous Sadism:
"The Warlock's Revenge" shows a fairy tale kingdom in decline. A wizard is infatuated with the king's daughter, but she refuses to marry him. Enraged, the warlock (played by Michal Valášek) decides to deprive the old king (Pavel Stastny) of his most favourite pastime - eating. He casts a dark spell over the land that causes all food to lose its salty, sour and bitter taste. The king and his court are forced to dine on nothing but sweets, which gets rather redundant. "I'd kill for a herring!" he cries out. "Salty potatoes..." However, the warlock will not lift his curse until the princess is disciplined (i.e. caned!) for her defiance and marries him. The princess, on her part, holds steadfast in her refusal.

Because the king can not persuade his daughter to make the sacrifice, he and his crafty advisor come up with a ploy to fool the wizard. The wizard resides in a magical portrait and can only see things that happen in front of it. So, they are going to spank a different girl, make her scream in pain, and pretend that it is the princess! The poor chamber maid is handed over to the king's hangmen (among them Pavel Stastny in a double role) for a session in the dungeon.

The incompetent hangmen use their standard interrogation techniques (rack, water torture) until the advisor storms in and explains to them that the maid is not supposed to confess anyting, they simply have to make her scream. They tie the girl up and whip her with birches, but she stays silent (42 lashes are shown on-screen). A flogging is also ineffective (17 lashes shown). Finally, a caning in the diaper position (25 strokes shown) produces the desired sounds. However, the wizard does not fall for it.

The king tries another ruse. This time, they use the wanton prisoner with her iron "bridle" mask, hoping that the wizard will mistake her for the princess. The woman is brought into the castle yard, sat astride a wooden horse and given a hard birching on her buttucks and her back. It's a long, quickly paced beating and I counted 152 lashes. The whole thing happens in front of the warlock's eyes (or rather, in front of his portrait), but again, he does not believe that it is the princess being disciplined.

Having run out of tricks, the king flatly tells his daughter that she must do as the warlock demands, there is no other choice. She is tied to a wooden bench and the chief hangman whips her bottom with a switch. After 50 painful strokes, when she begs for mercy, the warlock steps out of his magic portrait - he is now in the scene together with the other characters - and instructs the hangman to stop. He grabs the switch himself and gives the princess a handful more strokes, light ones, to drive the lesson home. The story then ends with a typical Lupus surprise twist, but I won't spoil it for you here.

Best Reactions:
The caning of the princess, Terezie Vesela, is the dramatic highlight of the film, and I also liked her reactions the most. She's a defiant girl, writhing and gasping heavily, trying very hard to suppress any sound of pain. After about a dozen strokes, she starts crying. The bindings on her hands are loose enough to allow her to wipe away her tears, which Terezie does frequently, with an exquisitely angry motion.

Best Line:
The chief hangman is a lot of fun to listen to while he does his dirty work. At one point, he reminisces to his assistants about the good old days: "Well, he was a true master, I tell you. 27 executions in one day! In the capital, in the main square. Big applause, of course."

My favourite part, though, is when he examines the switches for the punishment of the princess: "Are they fresh? Good. My grandpa hanged himself when his tool broke at a public execution."

Nice Psychological Touch:
I liked how the king repeatedly tries to spare his daughter, his "sweet one", from being caned. Futile, but cute. They also did some amusing things with the "magical portrait", which consists of a recording of Michal Valasek on a monitor, "interacting" with the other characters.

How Good Is It Really?
In terms of action, I have seen better movies from Lupus. The birchings and canings in this one are okay, but not great. The visual backdrop, the humour of the plot and the inventive little details are the real reasons to watch "The Warlock's Revenge". Michal Valasek and Pavel Stastny turn in great, wacky performances as the warlock and the king. The special effects used for the magical portrait are simple, but fun to watch. And the castle location is just spectacular.

As a bonus to the regular CP, fans of medieval torture get some interesting scenes, like the hangmen forcing water down the maid's throat with a funnel (a predecessor of waterboarding) or the wanton girl riding the uncomfortable wooden horse.

What You Learned:
The iron yoke worn by one of the girls in the dungeon, where her neck and hands are locked with a hinged board, is known as a "shrew's fiddle".

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rites of Passage

In my Christmas post last year, I wrote that I hadn't really celebrated Christmas since I was a child. Being an agnostic, my habit as an adult was to simply have a nice dinner on the evening of the 24th.

Well, now that I am happily involved with Kaelah, that has changed quite a bit - like so many other things in my life. She is one of those pesky Christians. [At least I have made my decision instead of being stuck in the middle.] Even though she's pretty cool as Christians go. [Most of the Christians I know are pretty cool.] Also, Kaelah is more family-oriented than me (coming to think of it, 99% of the population are more family-oriented than me...). [No comment!] So Christmas this year was rather more extensive than what I'm used to. [Just trying to save your soul.] It was nice enough, but I'm still recovering. [And I already spared you a part of the Christmas-related appointments and responsibilities. Christmas light for newbies, as I would call it...]

On the plus side, because of Kaelah's charitable influence [Do I sense a subtle ironic undertone here?], you are getting not just one, but two Christmas presents this time. The early one was a picture and a write-up from one of our recent play sessions. And now, as the late one, we bring you the long-awaited account of the very first time we ever played. I've been promising you the full story ever since first introducing Kaelah, and after numerous delays [A certain someone is the king of procrastinators!], we were finally able to do it as a Christmas gift for you.

One of the reasons why we took so long is that we wanted to give you both perspectives, so we worked together on the whole thing. [Read: Ludwig wrote his account and then generously allowed me to add some comments.] My majestic monologue is in the normal text format, and Kaelah is going to make some annoying interruptions using bold text in square brackets. [First of all, I'm not making annoying interruptions. I'm just adding the zest that turns good food into a delicacy. Secondly, I'm quite sure that they already got the bracket thing, Ludwig.] Predictably, because we are both so powerfully eloquent [Some would call us verbose smart asses!], the write-up ended up being a wee bit longer than planned. [As I already predicted days ago.] Instead of doing it in one post, we're doing it in three. However, they will come at shorter intervals than usual.

Without further ado, the tale of Kaelah's first ever spanking... [Don't worry, we won't really get to that part in the first post!]

Losing one's spanko virginity is such a Big Event. For most of us, it is bigger and more life-changing than losing our "vanilla" virginity. It certainly was for me. [Yes, I agree. Although today I'm of the opinion that, with the right partner, “vanilla” sex can be almost as ... ahem ... satisfying as a good spanking.] The same weighting of importance applies for me when it comes to the helping-to-lose part: I never obsessed over "deflowering" a girl (an ugly term, in my view!), the way many men apparently do. [That said, you didn't seem too unhappy at the time it was due to happen...] However, being the first to spank a girl was an idea that held immense appeal, both as an erotic fantasy and in terms of more general values and emotions. Being the first to chastise her with the dreaded cane, my favourite implement, was an alternate fantasy that seemed almost as good.

If you asked me to state, in one simple sentence, what I really want as a top (in private play, not in filmmaking mode), I would say: "To give a special experience to the spankee." Well, what more special and memorable experience could you possibly give someone than their first ever spanking? Conversely, what greater gift could you receive than the trust that you are the right one to administer it? Granted, not all first spankings take place after such careful considerations (in other words, not everyone is a perfectionist control freak like Kaelah and me). [Perfectionist? Control freak? Me?] But many do, and there is something romantic about the idea.

First times are life-changing, but not always in a good way. They are delicate moments. A lot of potential joy can be ruined, or even worse, a lot of long-term damage can be done if things go wrong somehow - if it turns out that that you were with the wrong person after all, or if the circumstances are not what they should have been. So, giving someone their first spanking is also a challenge for the top. As the top, even more than usual, you want everything to be just right, just about perfect. You want to reward the trust that has been given to you.

In several years of exploring my kink, I had done quite a few things already. I had played as a top and as a bottom, I had corresponded with and met various people, I had started the blog, I'd had a play relationship with Josephine, I had shot video clips with Niki Flynn. But I had never helped anyone to lose their spanko virginity, or even their virginity with any particular type of implement (the one downside of being friends with veteran kinksters like Niki is that you are unlikely to ever be first at anything...). I admit that, whenever I read exuberant stories about "my first spanking" or "my first caning" in the blogosphere, I felt a surge of envy for the top. Envy is my favourite deadly sin, anyway.

Then, in the last days of 2008, Kaelah sent me her wonderful "looking for unknown top x" mail (see Where No Man Has Spanked Before for the full quasi-mathematical breakdown). She wrote that her resolutions for the new year included getting her first spanking, that she had decided to definitely try it for real - and that she wanted to get to know me in person, because she felt that I was probably the right x for the task. [You wouldn't believe how nervous I was after I had sent that mail. Usually, I don't ask complete strangers to meet me and to introduce me to any kind of sexual practise. Thinking about it, I'm quite sure that most people don't do that very often, right?] Predictably, I was delighted at the delicious prospect. From our previous correspondence, it was clear that Kaelah was a smart, interesting girl, a fellow science fiction geek, and judging from the photographs she had attached once, also quite attractive. Being the one to initiate her, of all people, was an even hotter fantasy than usual.

But more than excitement or gleeful anticipation, I just felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Above all, I was flattered by Kaelah's trust and openness. I wanted to be absolutely sure, probably even more than she herself, that it was justified. I was going to meet her, and if I had any doubts that I was the right guy, I would back out. Rare as these opportunities might be, I was going to do what was good for Kaelah and place my self-interest strictly below that. [Believe me, I did everything one could possibly do to make sure I would be choosing the right guy for the job. Okay, I am a control freak! Remember the control phone calls I got from my family and friends when we met for the first time?! ;-)]

When you accompany someone through their first spanking experience, you are faced with one dilemma to begin with: to a certain extent, you have to give contradictory impulses. On the one hand, you have to try and take all the self-applied pressure away from the spankee and make them feel comfortable. All the more so with someone like Kaelah, who is Ms. Self-Applied Pressure personified. [Hey, I'm already so much cooler and more relaxed than I was ten or fifteen years ago! You should ask my former classmates how I look like under real self-applied pressure...] I would reassure her that there was no hurry and no foregone conclusion, that she should take her time to think everything through, and that it would be perfectly alright if she changed her mind at any time before or during the spanking.

At the same time, I would point out that, if she really wanted to find out, then sooner or later, she would simply have to make the jump - with me or someone else. You can prepare, plan and deliberate, you can build self-confidence and trust, you can listen to the stories of others for months or even years. But ultimately, there are no guarantees and you just have to try it for yourself one day. Only then will you know whether you like spanking and CP for real, whether the reality matches fantasy. Careful preparation is all fine and necessary, but one mustn't fall into the trap of eternal postponement, as some would-be-spankees do. [Hmmm, I think about eight months between reading about the concept of erotic spanking for the first time and trying it for real isn't too long, is it?]

When Kaelah and I met for the first time, I spelled out these contradictory advices to her, and why I felt that they were both sound. We also heeded them in practice: we talked about potential scenarios, implements, limits and so on in concrete terms, because I wanted to get to know Kaelah's preconceived fantasies, insofar as they existed, in as much detail as possible. At the same time, we only spoke in the subjunctive mood, because that made it all a bit less daunting for her. "If we were to play together, what would we do?"

So, we established that - if we were to play together! - some kind of "initiation ritual" would probably be the best way to go. Without actual role-play, but with the two of us being ourselves in front of a ritualised, festive backdrop. [Yeah, that conversation was really strange! Can you imagine how it feels like to have a man whom you just met for the first time sitting on your couch and asking you for what exactly you would like to be punished? ;-) That question was the weirdest one you asked me because I suddenly realised that I didn't want to be punished at all. I just wanted someone experienced at my side to lead me through my first spanking.]

We established that Kaelah was especially curious about the cane, which pleased me a great deal, even though I was too discreet to say it aloud at the time. [Yes, the cane. It looked so elegant, but after all I had read about it I wasn't sure whether I could take even a single stroke.] And we established that she didn't have a problem with nudity. "Getting it on the bare is the whole point of a spanking, isn't it?" she said, and when I asked whether she could imagine being fully nude, she added: "Possibly... After all, I go to the sauna!" I thought that was a droll reply.

[Well, actually I didn't want to be spanked on the bare only because it was such a hot fantasy. I never thought about doing it with the clothes still on because I thought it would be much safer, especially for an inexperienced bottom, if the top could see the marks and possible damage. And the question about full nudity caught me flat-footed! Then I thought about the sauna and that being nude in front of others was something completely natural there. So, why not? Actually, since it was one theoretical question among many others, I didn't expect you to go that far right at the first time, anyway. Yes, I am a bit naïve sometimes!]

Fundamentally, we found out that the personal chemistry seemed to be fine. A few weeks later, Kaelah repaid my visit and came to Munich, where she wanted to get to know me in my "home environment". We talked some more and the initiation ritual idea began to take a more concrete shape. "Do you want me to stop talking in the subjunctive?" I asked her. She smiled and shook her head: "No, keep it for the time being..." [I already had some very concrete ideas in my mind at that point. But I remember that it was still strange to tell you about them because while there already was a quite detailed scene in my head I still wasn't 100 per cent sure whether I was ready to try it for real.]

Later on, Kaelah showed me some Tai Chi exercises with a martial arts-type folding fan she had brought along. She was extremely graceful and the performance seriously tested my professional, unselfish detachment. Damn it, I thought while I sat there watching, wouldn't it be a pity if she decided to back out after all this? I couldn't keep my mind from wandering off and picturing how great she would look bent over [with all the distracting clothes removed], for the cane.

As it turned out, Kaelah decided to go ahead. We exchanged some more emails, fixed the last details of our chosen scenario and targetted late February for the date. If everything worked out as planned, Kaelah would start a new occupation then, one that required responsibility and leadership skills. So it made sense to schedule our spanking initiation ritual around the same time - it paralleled the other development in Kaelah's life, gave the ritual a sort of grounding in reality, and provided us with a definite time frame to prepare for.

Then, the new occupation failed to materialise. It was no fault of Kaelah's and she wasn't even very disappointed in the end, except for the fact that we had lost the "real" background for our play. However, as she told me on the phone that evening: "We will do it, anyway. I'm not calling it off now!" It was one of those cases where you plan to do something one way, you end up doing it another way - and somehow, with hindsight, it all fits together.

[That was an interesting development. At first I needed that real-life event as a kind of fortune wheel to take the final decision on when to make the jump away from me. “If and when the new occasion comes that'll be the time to perform the ritual and I won't have any excuses to back out...” But when the situation changed I realised that I already had made up my mind and didn't need any event to confirm my decision any more. The train was running and there was no way to stop it...]

(to be continued)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

Ever since 2006, Abel and Haron give out the annual Spanking Writers Awards to honour their personal favourites in the kinky community (and a few more in the wider vanilla world). I just found out that Kaelah and I are among the winners this year, in the newly created category Most Romantic Blog Story. In the words of Abel and Haron: "Just great to see a spanking blog bringing such lovely people together." Moreover, the Best Spanking Video award went to A Garden Party by Lupus Pictures - it seems as if my guest role as Hans the Dragoon was not enough to deter the jury.

Many thanks from Kaelah and me for this early Christmas present. We feel happy, proud and thrilled. Head over to The Spanking Writers to find out all the 2009 winners. And in case you haven't done so already, you can read the most romantic blog story of the year and the Garden Party BTS report right here on Rohrstock-Palast...

Speaking of Christmas presents, here is another early one from the two of us to all of you: the first fully nude photograph of Kaelah to be published on the web.

What? I wasn't talking about full frontal nudity! And you have to say, those cane stripes on her derrière are just lovely.

The picture (and the marking) is the result of a session we had a couple of weeks ago. There was no role-play involved, neither was it a punishment for anything "real" [note from Kaelah: we are past the point where we always have to find excuses for a spanking]. It was simply a caning for its own sake, which ended up being a fair bit longer and harder than either of us had originally planned, because the stubborn girl insisted on being extra-brave [note from Kaelah: Klingons don't whimper!].

It started out as a casual trying out of a new cane, a very thin and flexible kooboo specimen, which I had never used on Kaelah before. I gave her twelve moderate strokes with that one, not too light, not too hard. Then another twelve moderate ones with a dragon cane - I don't care much for dragon canes myself (too rigid), but I wanted to show the direct contrast between the heavy, blunt implement and the lighter, sharper one. We were cruising along nicely by this point and as the saying goes, all good things are three, so we decided to do yet another dozen, with a regular rattan cane which Kaelah already knew well. It's my favourite type and falls between the other two in terms of size, rigidity and sensation. The strokes I dished out were somewhat harder this time, gradually increasing in force, and quite hard by the end.

I was about to end the session there, when Kaelah asked me if the last couple of strokes had already been Mood-style severity. "Not quite..." I replied, and instructed her to stand in a different position, in a different part of the room where I had more space to swing. I then gave her another four with the rattan cane, pretty much full force. Three times twelve plus four equals 40, which would be a nice round number to stop. Kaelah gasped and winced under the Mood-style strokes, a little more than previously, but she was still remarkably resilient. "Call me crazy," she said afterwards, "but they were almost easier to bear, because they feel more blunt somehow..."

"So, you want more, then?" I quipped, mildly incredulous by this point. The reply was silence. I operate by the ground rule that silence denotes agreement (except in cases where it obviously doesn't), so I positioned myself anew and took aim: "Alright, we'll make it a full 50!" I added ten final strokes, once again, at full force. It was my first time wielding a cane with such ferocity since my visit to Hungary ("A Garden Party" had been quite a bit lighter). More gasping and wincing from Kaelah, and I managed to elicit a strained "Mein Gott!" through clenched teeth one time, followed by "Shit...!" after another stroke. But she remained very, very brave. They were magnificent reactions, neither hysterical nor stoic, suppressed but not totally silent, never losing her grip, but clearly struggling. The sadist in me and the admirer of brave girls were both pleased. As was Kaelah, when she saw how immensely content I was afterwards. After some hesitation, she even went as far as calling her reactions "acceptable" (which wins the 2009 Rohrstock-Palast Award for Understatement of the Year).

Unplanned as it was, it turned out to be the most extensive caning we had done to date, because we both suddenly found that we wanted to push the limits a bit. It wasn't Hungarian-style, but getting close. The kind of session that you don't do very often. Before I fetched the arnica ointment, we took some pictures to commemorate the occasion. Among them the early Christmas present which you can see here.

Now, we're off to finish our work on your proper Christmas present - yes, there's another one in store. It should be ready for posting on the evening of the 24th, when the Germans celebrate. If not, we'll adopt the UK tradition this year and we'll postpone it for a day. Look for it around that time.

[Edit: I'm running a little late. Kaelah and I are having a busy Christmas. The new target date is the 26th. Well, at least it's symmetrical that way - you get one early Christmas present, and one that is late!]

Friday, December 18, 2009

Website Review: Real Spankings Institute

As you can easily guess, Real Spankings Institute is a sister site of Realspankings, the famous American CP site created by Michael Masterson aka Mr. M. I already reviewed their "flagship" earlier this year. The Real Spankings Institute, or RSI for short, features videos with a very similar style, many of the same participants, and a girls school theme added on top. It is well worth a visit in its own right - I remember first subscribing to it years ago, I came back after a long break for the purpose of this critique, and I still like what I see. Some of the best work in the RS network can be found here.

The site is divided into sections like "Classroom", "Dorm Room", "Detention Room", "Library", and so forth, each of which has videos in a different setting, a different part of the "building". New residents receive their welcome (and their first RSI spanking) in the "Arrivals" section. The "Dean's Office" shows Mr. M himself in action, while the "Coach's Office" is inhabited by Mr. Daniels, another well-known spanker from the network. The "Dorm Mom's Office" used to be run by Lady D, who is now retired. Today, Ms. Burns and Ms. Baker have taken over her duties.

Alternatively, you can find the videos you want to see with the help of a search function, and I think that this is how most members will actually end up navigating the site. You can search by section, by model, by implement, by position (OTK, bent over, kneeling on a chair, etc.), and with combinations of these filters. It's a nice feature and becoming pretty commonplace on older sites like RSI, where large amounts of content have to be made easily accessible. There is also an alphabetical "Model Index", and a big "Updates" list that includes all the scenes ever posted from the inception of the Institute to the present date.

There are more than 60 models on the site at the time of this writing - most of the ones who stay with Realspankings for more than one or two shoots make a visit to the Institute sometime. Old fan favourites like Bailey, Brandi, Claire, Jennifer, Jessica, Kailee and Monica have all done a lot of work here. I used to be infatuated with Donna and Kathy, two girls who did some nice clips back in the early days. There are interesting new models as well: Mr. M seems quite taken with Lila, and she looks promising indeed. Not just very pretty, but also highly enthusiastic about filming and getting spanked, apparently. Keagen is another relative newcomer. She has her own blog, which is worth a read.

The archive goes back to 2003, and if my calculation is correct (86 pages on the list, with 12 entries each), RSI has just passed the 1,000 scene mark. The girls are punished for all the usual infractions - sleeping late, goofing off, drinking, obscenities, writing in a book, snooping around the teacher's lounge, and so on. Most scenes are between 5 and 10 minutes in length, a bit shorter than the industry standard. Nonetheless, there is a fair amount of lecturing to go along with the action. RSI usually show the spanking from different angles, with one clip focusing on the buttocks and another on the facial reactions.

The hand, the leather strap and various paddles are the most common implements, but occasionally, you can also see a crop, switch or birch in action, which one wouldn't necessarily expect in light of the school theme. Canings are also fairly frequent, even though they are (unsurprisingly) somewhat rarer than on many European sites. In terms of severity, the average scene is middle of the road - some are lighter, some are pretty hard. There is M/F and F/F action, there are one-on-ones and punishment sessions with more than two participants. Picture galleries are available alongside the clips. All in all, Real Spankings Institute offers a good amount of content and nice variety.

All videos are in Real Media format, the older ones at 350 or 450 kb/s, the newer ones at 700 kb/s. This is my only significant complaint about RSI (and about the main site, Realspankings): in this day and age, .rm files with these kinds of bitrates are simply not up to standard anymore. Now that we are about to enter the year 2010 and more and more spanking sites are starting to offer high definition, Michael Masterson would be well-advised to upgrade the video quality by a step or two. All the more so because the camerawork itself is fine - it would be nice to see these scenes in their full visual glory.

Even in its present from, though, Real Spankings Institute remains one of the better sites on the web. And its future looks quite interesting: according to Mr. M's blog, material with the Coach and Ms. Burns is being phased out, and new spankers will be introduced, including an assistant dean. They also recently tried out some judicial punishment-type spankings, voyeur spankings, and a scene where a boy and a girl are punished together ("Monica sneaks a boy into her dorm room"). The latter, in particular, should find plenty of fans, given what a common female spanko fantasy it is, and how rarely you see it for real.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Klaasohm Festival

Do you remember last year's Night of the Krampus post? I wrote about the tradition of St. Nicholas Day, which the Germans and other central Europeans celebrate in early December. That one is, of course, interesting for us spankos because of the Krampus, the birch-equipped helper creature of St. Nicholas. In the post, I also mentioned that I want to go to one of the Krampus processions in Bavaria or Austria someday, "maybe next year". Watching brave, intrepid young women being chased around by (and getting a few playful lashes from) the local lads dressed up in these silly costumes, well, that certainly sounds like loads of fun.

Alas, I didn't make it this year. It would have been awesome to go there with Kaelah, but we're both pretty busy at the moment. As for me, I've been doing academic work, and answering kinky emails on the side - I still have a backlog of stuff that piled up during my recent break from blogging. There were 71 mails in the beginning, and while not all of them warranted a long and detailed reply, some did. It adds up to a lot of work. I'm not complaining, mind you. I enjoy the correspondence. Just don't expect an instant reply. Anyway, I'm done with most of the backlog now, so my response time is getting better again. The academic paper is coming along nicely, too. As for the Krampus processions, they will have to wait until 2010.

Speaking of emails, though, and speaking of local traditions, here is something that should interest you: the Klaasohm Festival in Borkum. Never heard of it? Neither had I, until one of my German readers mentioned it to me. She's from the North Sea coast, pretty much the opposite end of the country from where I am. To us landlocked Bavarians, the sea is an alien and mysterious entity, and so are the people who live near it. We affectionately refer to them as "fish heads" or "shell kickers", and they refer to us as... Well, you don't want to know! But seriously, all joking between northerners and southerners aside, I would love to go to the North Sea coast someday. I've heard many stories about how beautiful it is (the Wadden Sea was recently placed on the Unesco World Heritage list), the locals are supposed to be very hospitable and friendly, and now that I know about the Klaasohm Festival, I have one more incentive to travel there.
Thank you, Katja, for your email!

I think I can be forgiven for not having heard about Klaasohm before. It's a tradition that seems to be virtually unknown outside of Borkum, where it originated. I only found one single English-language source on Google, a "Destination Germany" information site that devoted half a sentence to it, and even the number of German sources is insignificantly small compared to the thousands of websites dealing with the history of St. Nicholas Day. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, I'm really breaking new ground here. The historian in me is delighted. I just hope that the Tourismus Marketing Gmbh of Lower Saxony is equally happy about the results appearing on a BDSM blog, if they ever discover them!

So, what is this Klaasohm thing? The name is a combination of "Ohm", the old German word for "uncle", and "Klaas", which refers to St. Nicholas. Literally, it is the "Uncle Klaas Festival", and it is a regional version of St. Nicholas Day celebrated in Borkum, a coastal island in the North Sea. Borkum is the westernmost inhabited island in the German East Frisian island chain, right on the sea border with the Netherlands. It has a population of 5,300 and is mostly known as a holiday and health resort these days.

There is no consensus among historians about where, exactly, the Klaasohm Festival came from, but it seems to have originated during the era of the whale hunts, between 1700 and 1780, when most men from the island made their living as sailors aboard Dutch whaling ships. Like the rest of East Frisia, Borkum is predominantly Protestant and doesn't have any other festivals for saints. The theory goes that the sailors brought the tradition of St. Nicholas from the Netherlands. Known as "Sünterklaas" in Dutch, he became "Klaasohm", Uncle Klaas, in the tongue of the people of Borkum. Among other things, Nicholas of Myra is venerated as the patron saint of sailors, which helps to explain his popularity in the region. Klaasohm is celebrated on the evening of December 5th, around the same time as St. Nicholas Day in the rest of Germany. It combines Christian elements with various local, and perhaps older, traditions. Such as "driving evil spirits into the sea" with noise from horns and drums, and other sailor's superstitions.

Here is what happens during the festival. Like I said, these northern affairs are deeply mysterious to me as a Bavarian, so I hope I was able to piece everything together correctly from the articles I found: six young, unmarried men from the island dress up as Klaasohms. Yes, there are several of them! Their identity is kept secret. Even the men themselves, who are all members of the Verein Borkumer Jungens (the Borkum Boys Club, basically), are only told at the last minute who gets to be a Klaasohm this year. After dressing up in their costumes, the six Klaasohms and their helpers meet at the hall of the local railway, where they hold boxing and wrestling matches. Women, tourists and the press are excluded from this part of the event - only men from Borkum are allowed to watch. In the ritualised fights, it is determined who will take the leadership during this year's festival.

The costumes are worth mentioning in their own right. To hide their faces and their identities, the Klaasohms wear masks. Because the islanders didn't have much suitable material, these masks are made out of parts from the two most common animals of the region: sheep and seagulls. So, the Klaasohms are walking around with barrel-shaped "helmets" on their heads that are up to three feet in height, wrapped in sheepskin rugs and decorated with seagull feathers (sometimes entire wings from seagulls). How you can have a boxing match dressed up like that is beyond me, but hey, I'm basically a mountain dweller compared to these people, so what do I know... In any case, it doesn't bear much resemblance to the usual Santa Claus costume, that's for sure!

The Klaasohms can hardly see a thing behind their huge, cumbersome masks, so they have helpers who lead them through the streets during the subsequent festive processions. Once the ritual fights are over, they parade through the streets of the town with their comrades, making lots of noise to drive the evil spirits away, visiting all the pubs and private residences along the way - and spanking girls. This is where it gets interesting for us.

(The harpooning of a whale.
Copper engraving by Adolf von der Laan, 18th century.)

This part of the tradition goes back to the whale hunting days as well. The sailors were away at sea for months at a time, and when they returned home in the autumn season (sometimes, fittingly, as late as December), they discovered to their horror that the women had taken over the reins in the families and didn't want to subordinate themselves anymore. So, the men had to reestablish their authority. It is claimed that the spankings during today's Klaasohm Festival go back to this "reconquest" of the island from the women. Some historians argue that this doesn't make sense, because the Klaasohms were always unmarried young men - they believe that the whole thing has another source, perhaps ancient fertility rites. Does it really matter? The scholar in me may care about such distinctions, but the spanko doesn't. Regardless of their origin, be it male reconquest or fertility rites, the spankings are his favourite part of the festival.

Again, the men dressed up as Klaasohms are too visually impaired to do much running around, so they rely on their helpers to do the chasing. Once the helpers have caught a young female who was careless (or foolhardy) enough to get close to the procession, they bring her to the Klaasohm and she gets her bottom thrashed - with a cow's horn! Well, they don't seem to be squeamish in their choice of implements, these whale hunters. A German website I found advises: "Girls, be on your guard! The cow horn is still standard equipment for every Klaasohm." Later on, it describes the results of such encounters during the festivals of earlier years: "Often, tears flowed, and sometimes the blue and red welts had to be treated soothingly at home." Not too squeamish, no. The website leaves open whether or not the Klaasohm spankings of today are still that hard. One never knows! I just thought I should mention it to those kinky female readers of mine who are, by now, thinking of going to Borkum as a tourist.

Maybe next December? In the meantime, the whole Klaasohm tradition certainly makes for a nice erotic fantasy. And since we are living in such enlightened, emancipated times today, you can change it around if you like: there is nothing that prevents you from imagining a bunch of female whale hunters taking back the island from their men who stayed at home, if you are into F/M scenarios. I'm all for gender equality, as you know.

Before I close for today, I should mention that the women who had to endure swats from the Klaasohm receive "Moppe" afterwards, a kind of honey cake. So it's not all bad! Oh, and at the very end of the festival, a big crowd gathers on the central square of Borkum, the six Klaasohms climb on top of a tall advertising column that is located there, and then, one by one, they jump off the column into the arms of the crowd.

Sheepskin helmets, spankings with cow horns, and now stage diving? It sounds like these shell kicking northerners really have us Bavarians beat when it comes to St. Nicholas Day...