Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kaelah's Corner (Sep 2010):
I Don't Need No Education

Recently I've read several posts written by various bloggers which made me think about how my kink works for me exactly and what I get out of it. I think by now I've got quite a clear picture not really about why I am kinky at all but about why my kinky fantasies are as they are. Some of the thoughts that came to my mind during my recent analysis were actually quite liberating. I will try to put them together on the blog and to sort and structure them. But I have to warn you: First of all, my remarks might still remain a bit inconsistent in places due to the complexity of the topic. Secondly this piece of writing is going to be so long that I have to split it into three parts which I'm going to post in time intervals of three or four days. And third, in case you had a rather positive picture of me so far, it might be shattered into pieces once you read all three posts. However, at least I warned you...

The first post I read titled Do you like spanking? Do *I* like spanking? was written by Zille. In essence it was about some of our fellow kinksters who not only say that they hate being spanked, but pretend to get absolutely nothing out of it whatsoever. I absolutely agree with Zille's advice for them: If you really hate it, then don't do it! Of course there are many bottoms who don't like the actual spanking itself (it hurts!), but in the end they are getting something out of it. That can for example be the empowering feeling of survival. Like Niki Flynn once put it in her book Dances with Werewolves: I don't actually like being caned; I like having been caned. Or maybe it's the feeling of relief after having cried, or forgiveness for those among us who are into real life punishment and domestic discipline. Zille aptly called this a love/hate relationship with spanking. I was never in any danger of denying the positive outcome I get from a spanking. But the topic of loving or hating being spanked led me to further thoughts about where I am standing in that continuum of love and hatred. And I found out that I usually prefer to have something I would like to call a love/love relationship with spanking. Or in other words: I can't enjoy having been spanked if I didn't enjoy the spanking itself!

Let me try to explain what I mean using one example where I'm drastically different from many others in our scene: My relationship to domestic discipline. Real life domestic discipline and punishments are very common among kinksters and kinky couples. And spankings for real life offences are the most obvious example for scenarios in which the bottom has a love/hate relationship with spanking. Bottoms who take the DD lifestyle seriously definitely don't enjoy the CP that goes along with it. On the contrary, the spanking is feared in this case. But still they get something out of it in the end. It might be the feeling of being cared for, the relief that comes with forgiveness or an improvement of their behaviour.

However, my relationship with Ludwig and our kinky play work very differently. I became aware of that when reading another two posts, one being written by Bogey from “Our Bottoms Burn” and one from Poppy. Bogey's post titled How We Do It is about the spanking play he and his wife Bacall enjoy. Bogey points out that the majority of spanking blogs he has discovered deal with one form of domestic discipline or another. He and Bacall however only play for fun and sexual pleasure. Bogey developed the theory that this is the reason why, unlike many other couples, the two of them can switch roles.

I had put up the same theory about Ludwig's and my relationship in a comment I had written on Poppy's post From Top To Bottom. Under this title Poppy explained why it is important for her that her partner Devlin doesn't switch. As she put it: I don’t understand switching. (Not the use of a switch which I think is just mean and horrid but rather the swapping from Top to bottom and back again.) I think switching is neither right nor wrong, but a way of doing and being that I find it hard to understand. I think that may be because for me being spanked and told off is a way I live, and I need to see the Top in my life as being in charge of me. We have an intense relationship. I don’t want to think of him being spanked because that would reduce my trust in him. Is that silly? I don’t think so because I want to look up to him all the time. I don’t think he is perfect and I know he makes mistakes, but I do not want him to be accountable like I am accountable. The thought of him being told off, let alone the physical aspect of it, makes me shudder and turns me off utterly. I do not know why that is but I feel it deeply. […] If my lover switched I would hate it for many reasons. I think I would feel too far below the bottom of the pile. I do not want to be a bottom’s bottom. I feel too emotional about it. I like the linear structure of the relationship. I like the faux traditionalism, the “father knows best” aspect of it. I like that he is stronger than I am and taller. I like that he always wins; that gives me tremendous comfort, and the idea of losing that makes me feel sad.

I realised that my relationship with Ludwig is very different and wrote: I’m a bottom and I started to explore my kink about 1 1/2 years ago. But from the beginning I assumed that there might be something else as well. A few weeks ago I made my first experience with topping (with my partner Ludwig on the receiving end) and for me it was a great experience. Now, first of all, Ludwig and I don’t live in any kind of DD relationship. I always wanted a partner who is eye-to-eye, I wasn’t looking for someone who would look after me, just someone who wanted mutual care. Luckily, Ludwig was looking for an equal partner, too. Of course he holds me tight when I’m sad and he cares for me, but I do the same for him and it doesn’t mean that I’m constantly looking up to him (I often look up to him because he has some abilities I don’t have, but I think it’s the same vice versa). What made me look up to him when we played for the first time, though, was the fact that, despite of being a top, Ludwig had made several experiences as a bottom in order to find out how a spanking feels like. I’m not talking about submissive experiences, I’m talking about severe spankings to see how it feels and to learn more about the bottom side. I’m very much into heroine scenarios and the fact that Ludwig had taken even harder spankings than the ones he dishes out made me feel like he was very experienced, safe to play with and that he had the “right” to dish out spankings like that because he knew what it meant. […]

Ludwig doesn’t switch very often and that is completely okay for me. But the fact that he had done it was very important for me when we started to play. As a matter of fact I think I would have a problem to submit to a spanking (at least a severe one) from someone who hasn’t experienced it him- or herself. Ludwig had lost a football bet long before we met and we decided that I should take part in the resulting clip with him as a bottom. So I flogged him together with Leia-Ann Woods. Ludwig had never done a scene with two tops and was interested to see how it feels like. It turned out to be a great experience for me! I obviously have a top side (I think especially concerning scenes in film clips), although I still believe that in our relationship I’m going to remain 95 per cent bottom. And I have even more respect for Ludwig now, because he showed the reactions I’m longing for in my “heroine” fantasies as well. He was very brave and took the spanking with a lot of dignity. That was wonderful to watch and made him a role model for me once again.

These two posts and the thought fodder they provided reminded me that I'm definitely not craving any kind of domestic discipline in my relationship with Ludwig. I'm an adult woman and I don't want my partner to hold me accountable for anything! As a matter of fact, I expect Ludwig to love me despite of any probable lapses on my behalf and without having to make up for them by facing any consequences. I don't believe in the effectiveness of spanking as an educational instrument, I totally disapprove of any kind of CP in the education of children and I don't think that an adult woman has to be educated by her partner at all. By saying this I don't want to hurt the feelings of those among you who are into real life DD. I'm just talking about my point of view about my own partnership here. Of course everyone can live the lifestyle that works for them and makes them happy! For me, however, the only way of dealing with situations in which one partner (usually unintentionally) hurt the other is talking it through, apologizing if appropriate and finding better ways of treating each other in the future. Because that's the adult way. And unintended mistakes do happen within a love relationship! If they don't, it either means that the partners match each other perfectly or have clairvoyant abilities or, and I think that's the most realistic explanation, they don't really care about each other any more and both live their own separate lives.

And concerning the things which I should or shouldn't do for my own sake? Well, of course, Ludwig tells me when he is of the opinion that I should or shouldn't do the one or other thing, for example for health reasons. I learn a lot from him and the different way in which he deals with certain things. But I'm an adult which means I can decide whether I want or don't want to follow Ludwig's advice. As Ludwig would tell you, I usually don't, but to my defence I would like to point out that he doesn't usually follow my advice, either! Of course that means that I'm fully responsible for my own behaviour and for taking care of my health, duties and so on, and that I can't rely on Ludwig for that purpose. Which is fine for me. It's the price of being an independent, self-reliant adult.

Why am I discussing that topic in such a great detail? Because when I wrote down my thoughts about domestic discipline it once again became clear to me how important my self-reliance on the one hand and being loved without having to prove anything on the other hand are for me. What's behind it is the fact that I am the one who usually sets herself under pressure well enough. I am the one who believed for a long time that I am valuable only as long as I don't make any mistakes and perform extraordinarily well. I am the one who is likely to feel guilty in case I can't meet my own high expectations or any expectations others might have. So, the last thing I need in my partnership and my spanking play is a second person who holds me accountable, scolds me for mistakes and makes me pay for them in order to earn forgiveness. Then the spanking would only add to my unhealthy behaviour and the resulting fears and negative experiences instead of helping me to overcome all that in order to be a happier and stronger adult.

As a matter of fact I need someone who shows me how to loosen up a bit, someone who reassures me that it is normal to make mistakes and that I should grow from them but don't have to feel guilty about them. So, I know that, given how I am wired, using my kink for disciplinary purposes and relief from guilt would be dangerous for me and my relationship with Ludwig. Not only would I hate the spanking itself, I would not even feel better afterwards. I want spankings to make me feel good, to be a positive experience. Not only in the end, but also in the process. I want my kink to provide me with a happy little universe that stands against the negative things and the fears I experience in real life. No surrounding outcome could be high enough to outweigh the negative feeling that letting me being spanked up to a point were I really hate it would generate. That's why I stick to Zille's advice concerning real life DD: If you hate it, don't do it!

Okay, so far we know that I crave a love/love relationship with spanking and that real life punishments don't work for me because they wouldn't give me the kind of empowerment for my adult life I'm obviously looking for. But which kind of play does work and how does it work? And what does that say about other aspects of my personality? Those are the questions I would like to look at in my next two posts.
[To be continued...]


Rich said...


I think it's good that there are different forms of this in the community and that the community is big enough to accept others that have different ideas about it. In my life, I've found that having a submissive is very satisfying to me. OTOH, at the same time, I have enjoyed other relationships, including occasionally bottoming for others. But, I find a special closeness I get from the girls that have, over the years, given themselves to me for their discipline.

I think that having an open mind on this is a sign that the person has healthy self-esteem. They don't have to feel that everyone else should be as they are, which they might if they were a little more insecure. It sounds like you have a good idea of what you like for yourself and are therefore open to others having a different type of relationship.

This type of relationship involves a lot of trust and a very high degree of acceptance of the other person. When you can make a BDSM relationship work, I think that's a sign of love for each other.

Ursus Lewis said...

Once again a very interesting post Kaelah. I'm looking forward to reading part 2 and 3.

simon said...

i think discipline in a relationship has to be enjoyed by both of you be it giving the spanking or taking simon.

Ewa Munchkin said...

I've been reading this blog for a long time but this is my first comment.
I loved this post, you are a woman after my own heart. Looking forward for parts 2 and 3!

Kaelah said...

@ Rich:
I absolutely agree with you on the topic of variety! Luckily people are different (otherwise our world would be very boring). What doesn't work for one person, given their needs and personality, can be exactly the right thing to do for another person. As I wrote in another comment on Poppy's post:

“It’s indeed great to see how different relationships can be. And despite the differences they work for the partners involved. I think that is because they are all based upon love, care and erotics. To my mind the important factors are that the basic needs of the partners involved fit together and that the partners are willing to talk a lot to each other and to find compromises where their needs are different (to my mind there usually isn’t a 100 per cent match).”

I think it is not only trust that is absolutely necessary for a relationship involving spanking in one form or another, it's also very important that both partners understand and articulate their own needs.

@ Ursus:
Thanks, I hope the next two parts will complete the picture.

@ Simon:
You're right, DD (like any other form of spanking) only works in a relationship if both partners get something out of it!

@ Ewa:
Thanks a lot for delurking and welcome! I'm glad you liked the post and I hope that the next two parts will be interesting for you as well.

Peter8862 said...

Kaelah - Before I started reading these erodite blogs by Niki Flynn, Ludwig and now yourself, I had never realised the depths to which spanking relationships can be disected and analysed. The problem of course is that one eventually risks intellectual dishonesty but I'm sure your innate scepticism will warn you if you ever get near that stage.
George Bernard Shaw in "Major Barbara" suggested that we tend to be utterly logical in all matters except the central cause we wish to advance, which in Major Barbara's case was the Salvation Army. Could it be true of spanking ?
Thank you for all the hard thinking on our behalf. I'm looking forward to Parts 2 and 3.

Pandora Blake said...

Fascinating post! Thanks for taking the time to respond in such depth to the topic :)

As I've said elsewhere, I think our attitude to our kink is pretty similar. I'm not sure if you would describe as "submissive" though? You have described play in which you were motivated by wanting to please Ludwig (although of course this wouldn't persuade you to do anything you actively were set against; it might persuade you to do something you otherwise had no real urgency to seek for yourself), which I would describe as submissive, but then I reject the implication that being sexually or emotionally submissive to a partner on one's own terms means that one is submissive to anyone else, or in any other way!

Domestic discipline is something that makes me really uncomfortable when it appears to reflect a genuine imbalance in the relationship. However, most of the couples I know who practice it (and this has included myself in the past) are equals who are choosing to play a game of inequality. I doubt any of them would say that DD can replace talking an issue through - but it can aid the process of emotional resolution, relieving self-anger and guilt for the spankee and permitting him or her to make a clean break. It also acts as a re-connector, in much the same way as make-up sex. Of course make-up sex can't replace talking an issue through, but like punishment play, it can really help emotionally smooth things over and re-ignite intimacy and affection.

When I've been involved in DD bargains, they've been very explicitly bargains. Tom introduced me to this concept as an absolute condition of any DD relationship: it is a relationship of equals, freely entered, and the terms of the agreement are up to the sub as much as the dom. These days, I might give certain areas of my life or self-improvement to a Dom, both for my own sake and as a gift to them, a bond which strengthens our relationship. But if I let my Dom punish me for not going to the gym when I said I would, or drinking more than I said I would, I'm not disappointing them - I'm disappointing myself. It's like asking a friend to call you on it when you're doing something you wouldn't do, but with the added intensity of sexual power exchange. We are all accountable to our partners, at least on certain things, and that always goes both ways. DD encodes that in a one-directional power relationship in which each partner has an end of the bargain they've agreed to keep. The dom can fail in holding up his or her end, and let their partner down in the process, just as much as the sub can.

There's more I could say but this is too long already. Thanks for the interesting post - I'm looking forward to reading what else you have to say!

Indy said...

I enjoyed this post very much, Kaelah! I think I would say the same if I didn't happen to feel the same way on every point you've raised. I've been contemplating a post on switching for some time, and now given me fodder for a couple more. Can you also provide me with the time to write them, please? :)

Like you, I would have a very hard time with the alpha-male in charge kind of DD. I have a much easier time seeing the appeal of the kind of DD Pandora describes. For me, though, I can't see it working for much the reason you described-- that my tendency is to be too hard on myself, a trait that is not easily addressed by punishment. And of course, I'm not all that submissive, either...

Thanks for this very thoughtful post! I look forward to reading the next installment!

Kaelah said...

@ Peter:

You are right, there is always a risk of intellectual dishonesty, of blanking out desires and personality traits which, from what we have been taught, are undesirable or even anti-social. But I think that, as you wrote, I really have quite a good internal warning system which makes it difficult for me to interpret my observations only in the most convenient way. And my second control system is of course Ludwig, with whom I often discuss my theories and who usually reads my posts before they are published. In my opinion it is absolutely possible to analyse one's own kink and the motivations behind it. Of course one doesn't always see and understand everything right from the beginning, but I think that over time the process of self-reflection and the feedbacks from others help to gain more and more insight and to see new aspects which one didn't take into consideration earlier.

@ Pandora:

Thanks a lot for your elaborate and interesting comment (and for providing me with thought fodder for my post in the first place)! Yes, I also think that our attitude to our kink is quite similar. I wrote more about the question of “small vs grown-up” and the attitude behind the two forms of spanking play in the second part of my little series because I think it deserves some space of its own.

The question of submission is going to be a main topic of the final part of my analysis. I haven't written the final version of that post, yet, and I'm still in the process of thinking about the topic. But I guess that I can't really call myself submissive because I don't have the attitude that to my mind is required for “real” submission. I'll try to explain what I mean in more detail in my next post.

Your description of the way Tom and you understand DD is very beautiful! And I can relate to spanking play after a real life quarrel as being the equivalent of reconciliation sex. Ludwig and I used it like that once. But for me it only works if it is absolutely clear that everything is already settled and that this is just play and no real punishment. Otherwise the spanking wouldn't help me to let go and to reconnect, I would just feel bad afterwards.

Question: Are you sure that the majority of people who practise DD really see it as a “game of inequality”? Because when I read accounts of real life DD it often doesn't sound to me like a game in an otherwise equal relationship. To me it often sounds like many of the people who write about real life DD rather seek a relationship in which the stronger/older/more experienced partner generally looks after and cares for the weaker/younger/less experienced partner. But maybe the descriptions are so much “in character” that I get them wrong?!

@ Indy:

I definitely plan to write a post on the topic of switching, too! It was such a great experience for me and I would love to write an account of my thoughts and feelings during that scene with Leia-Ann and Ludwig.

I can relate to your time problem, though! Writing down my thoughts about complex topics like the one of this post and finding the fitting formulations costs me a lot of time and energy! I'm sure I'll need a break, once this little series is finished. And I don't know for how long I'll be able to keep up the more regular writing. I get a lot out of it, but it is also very exhausting.

I'm going to address the topic of submission in the last part of the trilogy and I'm eager to know whether we are wired in a similar way concerning that issue as well.

Our Bottoms Burn said...

You are doing the thinking to reach type of spanking YOU want. Good for you!

Kaelah said...

@ Our Bottoms Burn:
Welcome at the Rohrstockpalast! :-) Indeed I try to find the way of spanking that works for me. And in addition to that I try to understand why certain things attract me while others don't. I think that helps me to get a better understanding of who I am and what I need in order to be happy. To my mind, knowing about these things isn't only good for me, it's also good for my partnership with Ludwig.