Monday, February 28, 2011

Kaelah's Corner (Feb 2011):
I Did That!


Maybe you know the following situation from your own experience: It's the end of a busy day and you decide to relax a bit and read some kinky stuff and/or chat with some kinky friends before going to sleep. Suddenly you stumble across some pictures or comments which make you feel uneasy, provoked or even disgusted. Maybe you can't even tell exactly what it is that causes this bad gut feeling, but it is there and your evening is ruined.

Erica Scott wrote about such an experience in her post Correspondence Hall of Shame, 2/25: So I try to distract myself and go on FetLife last night, attempting to have some fun, and all I see on the activity feed are graphic, gross and extreme photos, with severely thrashed bottoms, tops bragging about having made them that way, and other bottoms oohing and ahhing over how pretty they are. You know... I wish I could understand this. I wish I knew why it offends me so. I mean, these are clearly consensual scenes and the bottoms aren't upset about them. So why should I be? Ack. Perhaps I should stay off FL for a little while and clear my head. When I'm in judgment mode, I know I'm a bit off and I need to be quiet until it passes.

The more regular readers of this blog know that I have struggled with the more severe form of CP play myself, but that I also strongly believe in the protection of everyone's right to live out their kink as long as it is safe, sane and consensual. That's why I liked Erica's insightful description of her thoughts and feelings very much – she very clearly distinguished between her personal gut feeling and moral judgements. And of course I could relate to her struggle, especially since I had the feeling that it had been rather the comments made by the tops and the bottoms which had caused her negative emotions, not the pictures per se. In a comment, I told her about my point of view and about how much I appreciate her clear distinction.

I wanted to add a sentence about the attitude of a top which was more important to me than the severity of someone's spanking play. But my comment was long enough already, so I erased the sentence. Erica's answer however showed that my suggestion had been correct: Kaelah -- thank you for acknowledging and appreciating my struggle. I really don't like myself when I'm being judgmental. I think it was just a last-straw kind of thing the other night. Someone had pulled up about a dozen different photos of bottoms that looked like raw meat, and commented on each one, "I did that!" "I did that!" "I did that!" etc. With grin emoticons. That upset me, and I really shouldn't have paid it any mind. It's not my business.

With that additional explanation it became even clearer to me what had upset Erica so much about the pictures. To my mind, the comments made by the top who posted the photos lack any sign of attachment to the bottoms he or she had played with. Instead, the sentence “I did that!”, which from my point of view comes very close to the “I was here!” scribblings on toilet walls, doesn't sound very adult. The association which comes to my mind is in fact that of a teenager trying to look cool in front of his or her peers. And that picture in combination with severe CP play makes me feel uncomfortable because it makes me wonder whether this top only uses severe pay and the bottoms who put themselves in a very vulnerable position for very selfish reasons and to cover her or his personal image neurosis.

But, stop, doesn't all play as a top at least partially fulfil very egoistic desires? Doesn't everyone have a dark side and isn't sadism (= the desire to cause pain) always a part of it? Leia-Ann Woods recently did her first interrogation scenario in the position of one of the interrogators. She had done several of these scenes as a victim, but this was her first time “on the other side”. It made her think about her dark side and she wrote a very insightful account of the scene and her feelings afterwards titled The dark side of the Moon: I was very nervous before, worried I would not have the skill to pull it off. However, when the scene began I was quickly immersed in it and before long I was enjoying taking an active role. I found I revelled in throwing buckets of water on a subject and was happy to take part in the psychological tricks we had up our sleeves to break them down. The scene culminated with each subject undergoing a session of waterboarding […] I happily watched all four subjects go through this and even chuckled when one sobbed after being instructed she would have to suffer fifteen further sessions (we did not do this but it must have been psychologically painful).

The scene ended, there were hugs all round and off we went back to London. It was late when we arrived so I thought little on what we had done and headed straight for bed. The following afternoon I had a crisis of conscience and was highly emotional about the events of the previous evening. How could I have done such awful things? Worse, how could I have done such awful things to my friends? I had watched four people be broken and taken an active role in it. I believed I was a terrible person. I talked with the other members of the team which really helped clear my mind. I realised that if asked to do this to an unwilling person I could not do it, so the major difference here is consent. These people all wanted to go through this and would get something out of it, both physically and mentally. So, is it a bad thing to have a dark side? Well, yes and no. It depends on how the dark side manifests itself. Mine only comes out to play with those who wish to see it.

Now, I can only look at this from an outside perspective because I'm not interested in this edgy type of play (in fact, I am quite sure that I'm one of those people who would be harmed by the experience). But I can absolutely relate to the questions Leia-Ann asked herself. When I started exploring the world of spanking, I had similar questions on my mind concerning a slightly different topic. At the beginning of our relationship, I was quite confused about Ludwig's fascination with severe play. And I asked him questions like: “Do you enjoy other events where people are physically harmed, too? Where is the limit?” And Ludwig's clear answer was that he wouldn't be able to enjoy it if there were no consent or if any permanent harm were done.

Now that I've started switching, I found out that I can enjoy topping, and I'm talking not only about the joy of giving the bottom an experience he or she seeks, but also a more egoistic form of joy, like the joy of causing reactions or marks. But, and that is the important point, I can only enjoy topping at all if I know that the bottom is okay and that the experience won't do him or her any harm! And I know that the same is true for Leia-Ann. When Ludwig did a short interview with Leia-Ann after our fun shoot last year, she said that she enjoyed topping now because she could take people to the places she liked to go to when she played as a bottom. So, it seems like the well-being of her victims is always in the back of her mind, even if and when she also enjoys a scene for more “selfish” reasons.

So, what is sadistic play? Something dark and (potentially) dangerous, something dark but absolutely not dangerous or maybe nothing dark at all? Well, to my mind real sadism always has at least a selfish component. Maybe one can also call it dark because it involves a desire to hurt others. But, and that is the important distinction between pathological sadism and attached sadism, the attached sadist feels with his or her “victim” and can only enjoy a scene if it is consensual and if there is no permanent physical or psychological harm done. On the contrary, usually attached sadists enjoy a scene much more if they can give their “victim” a good and special experience.

Still, to my mind, even erotic sadism can lead to dangerous play if the sadistic top is a careless person, doesn't put the bottom's needs before his or her own or isn't capable of critically questioning his or her play and limits. That's why I found all the questions on Leia-Ann's mind good and important nonetheless because even though her fear of having done something wrong was unfounded I think that the questions will make sure that she'll only do these edgy scenes with people who really want to do this and who won't be harmed by it.

Of course the wording used in a comment doesn't say too much about someone's real attitude. In his behind the scenes report from his Mood Pictures shoot, Ludwig made a lot of tongue-in-cheek comments, for example in his conclusion about the shoot: I closed my eyes and saw Rita Goord's tear-soaked face before me. The blood splatter on the cane. I knew that I was lost. Only then, too late, did I realise what topping for Mood Pictures really means. It is not just another kinky adventure. Nor is it strictly a professional job. It is, in truth, a vile, sinister, corrupting influence on one's immortal soul. As you can see, Ludwig also didn't deny the fact that having done such a severe scene and having produced these heavy marks gave him a lot of sadistic joy and was a dream coming true.

But at the same time you'll find that a much bigger part of his report is about the safety measures, the aftercare for the models,  their mood during the shoot and after the action scenes were shot. Even concerning the marks, Ludwig was not only attracted by the severity. What was at least as important to him was his accuracy, which allowed him that grade of severity without any risk of causing unintended harm to a model through mishits. Ludwig also mentioned that Rita was a very experienced model and how well she took the caning and he was very glad that even his second “victim” Tammy, for whom this was a first and who struggled much more during the caning, made a second video with Mood only a few weeks later. To my mind all these things show that despite of his selfish joy and his tongue-in-cheek comments Ludwig thought a lot about the well-being of the models and obviously needed the reassurance of them being well in order to be able to enjoy the whole experience without regrets.

So, maybe the “I did that!” comments on FetLife were only tongue-in-cheek as well. That one sentence doesn't provide enough basis for a safe judgement about the attitude of the top who wrote it. What causes a bad gut feeling nonetheless, when I read comments like these, is that they reminded me that not every top is safe to play with. Most of the bottoms I know, especially those who try more edgy types of play, of course select their play partners very carefully. Emma Jane, who was one of the “victims” in the scene Leia-Ann wrote about, published a wonderful post about the aftercare that was provided by the former “interrogators” after the scene. Mistress Switch, one of the interrogators, commented on Emma Jane's description of the scene and pointed out how important it is to try something like waterboarding only with people whom one can absolutely trust and who would only do this edgy form of play with someone they know well enough to be sure that this person won't be harmed by the experience.

But unfortunately, I also know a few bottoms who have made poor choices about the tops they trusted. They played with people who just satisfied their own pleasures without caring about the bottom's limits and well-being. And so these bottoms got badly hurt. But even then, they are adults and I'm not in the position to tell them with whom they should play or which safety measurements they should take. The only thing I can do is write about the topic and hope that this encourages people, especially the newbies among our readers, to select the people they play with carefully and to make sure that their limits are respected.

Yes, sadistic tops might release a bit of their “dark side” in their play. The fact that they feel joy during a play session and that they are proud of causing reactions and marks from my point of view is a normal part of attached sadism. But, tops who loose their self-control during play, tops who disrespect the bottom's limits, tops who aren't 100 per cent accurate and safe in the forms of play they practise, tops who don't question their play and the safety measurements they take at least from time to time, tops who try to tell bottoms that “real” bottoms don't have any limits or that “real” bottoms do everything to please their top and tops who obviously use their spanking play to show how tough they are and to cover their image neurosis aren't “cool” or maybe “excitingly edgy”. They simply aren't adult and sane enough to be safe play partners!

Scribblings about your thoughts in the comment section are of course very welcome!

29 comments:

senorrose4 said...

Kaelah, thanks for making this post! I am familiar with the photos and the top that you are talking about! I have observed his vids for over a year. Overall this top has been very responsible for his actions. Outside the scene he is a very kind and generous person. I believe that he really cares for the people that he tops! Many of his "bottoms" will defend him to the hilt, and he has several "bottoms" that return to him for additional experiences. However, a few experiences were considered "over the top" for SOME first-time participants.
He DOES TRY to identify each "bottom's" pain tolerance and TRIES to stay within those limits!! He claims that he DOES NOT make a point of marking someone, but if that is what it takes to inflict real punishment, then he obviously is okay with it!

I sincerely believe that the comment he made: "I did that!" was intended to be humorous with the intended audience his "bottoms," his supporters, and his friends. I have a hard time believing that he is a hard-core sadist. He is too much of a well-liked and respected top.For a fact the "bottom" that he had "played with" has a genuine positive relationship with him and misses him dearly when he is away!

I just thought I would clear up this matter since I actually have some insight.

Bob

Leia-Ann Woods said...

kaelah - An EXCELLENT post. You are indeed correct, extreme play is not bad with the right subs and the right Dominants. A dominant must, in my opinion, keep in his/her mind the safety of the submissive(s). It is essential in ANY scene for a top to read the reactions of the submissive(s), be that vocal or body language (often the more accurate of the two, as I find body language rarely, if ever tells a lie). It is also essential for both submissive and dominant to make informed choices about the scene in which the plan to embark. If the dominant receives an 'ask' from their sub that they think will be physically or psychologically damaging then they must say so, just as the submissive must try to recognise their limits.

When I was younger I made some poor decisions in play partners, where I ended up being pushed to beyond my limits. If I had not found a way out this would have been psychologically damaging. God rest close scene friends.

Finally, I think if we all live by safe, sane and consensual then the scene world will be a great place to play. It is once any of the above are no longer adhered to that things fall apart. Trust me I have got the T-shirt!

xxxx

Erica said...

I know I overreacted a bit, and I'm not thrilled about that. And I do realize the top in question is well-liked and well-respected. Bob made a good comment about the other side of the things and I appreciate that he did that without telling me I'm a hypersensitive beeyotch. :-D

But yeah, I do think that the series of "I did that... and that... and that... and that too!" was a lapse in something... judgment? taste? All I know is that it disturbed me profoundly, on a visceral level, and I couldn't shake it, so I mentioned it in my blog. When I struggle with a scene issue, I find it helps for me to put it out there.

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

I love your topic!

I'm working on a writing deadline right now that has me overly preoccupied, but I'm looking forward to responding to both you and Erica very soon concerning the subject you have raised.

Rich Person said...

Kaelah, I like the way to so thoroughly examine each topic. You seem to be able to go around the entire thing and see it from all sides.

This is a very deep question that really goes to what's right or wrong about BDSM. I think we have to think carefully in each case about how to distinguish "hurt" from "harm". This is going to vary from one person to another and one situation from another.

I was uncomfortable reading about Emma Jane and her experience. That would certainly be over my line. But I make allowances for what she feels about the experience and what it would mean to her.

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

I am happy to see yet another in-depth and thought-provoking post from you. I must admit that I now look forward to reading your blog because what you write helps me better understand myself and touch places inside of me that would go otherwise unexplored.

After talking with you this past week, I have changed my view about extreme play, not that I will take up its challenge anytime soon, if at all. Rather, I have managed to better separate my own preferences from the practices of others so that I no longer project my own limits onto those who seem to have very few if any.

I spent more time this past week than I care to admit scanning the spanking scene for material that I will use for my up-coming blog. Yes, I have encountered some stark examples of extreme play, but my reaction to such material is usually one of uneasiness, not disgust or a feeling that my entire evening has been ruined. All too often I find myself identifying with the bottom whose anatomy is usually bruised or cut beyond my own personal limits. However, I must remind myself when I see these scenes that some people actually enjoy experiences involving bodily injury and serious pain. I will certainly not stand in their way, let alone judge them. Yet, over time such hard play may have unintended and unforeseen consequences.

Notwithstanding my new-found open-mindedness, I fully understand Erica’s reaction, for I, too, do not fully comprehend the motivation for extreme play, nor do I need such comprehension. On the face of it, however, such play does seem to be non-life affirming; that is, it appears to run counter to the natural order of things usually found in nature. Such play also seems to suggest a shunting or a diverting of our natural tendency to thrive, grow, prosper, and develop into something more than what we are today and what we may become tomorrow. Extreme play reminds me of where we have been as a species (and may still be), mired in aggression and adversarial rivalry in which the weaker have been the object of subjugation, rape, and torture.

I hope you don’t misinterpret my life-affirming position as a wholesale condemnation of extreme play based upon some misplaced morality of mine or based upon my desire to legislate such behavior out of existence. Nothing could be further from the truth. I defend the rights of others to explore their reality as they see fit, provided they do so in a consensual manner with other consenting adults. Beyond that, I have no position. I also agree with you fully that your rights to explore the more sever forms of CP play in any manner you deem fit should be protected.

It’s getting late; I hope to post more tomorrow. Thanks so very much for giving me this opportunity to share my feelings with you.

Our Bottoms Burn said...

Funny, we both did posts today based on Erica's post.

Of course, yours had more meat in it. While mine was just my personal POV.

Kaelah said...

@ Bob:
Welcome and thank you very much for your comment and the clarification! I don't have a FetLife account, so I didn't know whom Erica was talking about and had no idea about the background of the top in question. It's good to hear the opinion of someone who has some insight. And I'm glad to hear that the “I did that!” comments were most probably only tongue-in-cheek comments and not a sign of a lack of care for the bottoms shown in the pictures.

What you said about the reactions of some of the first-time participants made me feel a bit uneasy, though. Because I would expect every sensible top to hold back a bit during a first session with someone, to ask the bottoms to talk openly about their status during a spanking or to give them an easy to remember safeword and the clear instruction to use it if necessary. To my mind it is always better to err on the safe side.

But these are my safety rules for my spanking play and of course I don't know enough about the scenes to have an informed opinion about the case. From your comments it seems to me that we might be talking about real life punishments here? This is a form of play I don't practise, as well as I don't play without the option to stop the scene any second (as some people do in punishment scenarios). Furthermore, I know that it can be quite difficult to read the reactions of some bottoms (I'm one of them). And I know that some bottoms might think that they are okay during a session but looking back afterwards they might come to the conclusion that it was a bit over the top and that they don't want to do it again. Still, the fact that you are talking about “SOME” bottoms and not only about one makes me feel a bit uneasy nonetheless.

@ Leia-Ann:
Thank you so much – I'm very glad that you like the post! :-) And you raised a very important point: It is very difficult to read the reactions of some bottoms! I'm definitely one of them and I know that Ludwig sometimes has a hard time telling whether I'm still relaxed or whether I'm already struggling. I think that the body language is indeed the most reliable indicator. Of course in play scenes one can easily establish additional safety systems, like simply asking the bottom about her or his status or other kinds of verbal interactions which allow the top to find out what's going through the bottom's mind, whether he or she is shocked when threatened to be spanked harder and so on. I guess it is much more difficult in punishment scenarios and/or scenes with no safewords. I don't practise either of them which might be a good thing, given the fact that I can (and will) suppress my reactions quite long, even when I'm already at my limit, so the risk of going over the top would be quite high.

@ Erica:
I don't think that you overreacted. What you saw caused a bad gut feeling and you just openly admitted that, clearly separating your reactions and emotions from any moral judgements. To my mind there is absolutely nothing wrong about that! The fact that you wrote about your thoughts on your blog led to my post and thus finally to Bob's comment which clarified a few things. And how should people realize that their comments which where supposed to be good fun might disturb others unless someone tells them about it? So, from my point of view your emotions aren't somehow “bad” or “wrong”, it's simply how you feel. And to my mind discussing your thoughts openly the way you did is definitely a good thing.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
I can absolutely relate to the fact that pictures of severe play cause a negative feeling when you see them because this kind of play doesn't hold any appeal for you and would be beyond your personal limits. So, the following might be difficult for you to understand, but I would like to tell you this nonetheless, maybe it makes sense to you one day (it took me a while as well):

More severe play doesn't have to be about aggression and destruction. For Ludwig, for example, marking a bottom (with a cane, the only implement he is interested in for this form of play) is a rare and special form of adorning the bottom while leading her or him through the unique experience of playing at her or his limits. “Adorning” because the marks are a visible sign of this special experience and of the bottom's bravery to explore his or her limits. Mind you, for Ludwig this isn't the regular form of play, it is something one does once or maybe very few times in life. That's why the health issue doesn't come up, either, there is a lot of time for the body to heal and Ludwig of course insists on 100 per cent accuracy in the administration of such a spanking and additional safety measures, anyway.

As I said, maybe this doesn't make sense to you, but I just wanted to show you that severe play doesn't necessarily have to be driven by aggression or destructive elements.

@ Rich:
You are absolutely right, what causes real harm and what doesn't seems to vary widely from one person to another. And I can relate to your feeling of uneasiness when reading accounts about forms of play which are beyond your limits. Sometimes I can distinguish my own limits very well from those of others, especially when reading a written account about a scene involving people I know. I think it becomes even easier if a scene is so far beyond my limits that there is absolutely no connection to my personal kink.

What can sometimes make me freak out, though, are certain spanking films because I can get completely lost in the storyline when watching a film. If a spanking film depicts severe scenes with bottoms who show very strong reactions and maybe also a scenario which scares me, the negative emotions can be completely overwhelming. That's why I better stay away from some films because no rational argument really helps me to overcome my bad feelings – and why should I do that to myself? That's not what kink is for (and that's not what these films are made for, either). So, to my mind it can also be a good solution to simply stay away from some things one doesn't feel comfortable with and leave them to those people who enjoy them.

@ OurBottomsBurn:
My posts always tend to become long philosophical ramblings... ;-) Thanks for bearing with me and for your comment! :-)

Rayne said...

Kaelah -- thank you for your thought-provoking post!

You have stirred in me a desire to share some of my own experience :) I started my journey into spanking through the world of BDSM. I knew that my niche was spanking, specifically, but when I first started looking, the broader BDSM scene was much more accessible -- in both information about it and people who were into it. Finding another spanko was much more difficult than finding someone who was into spanking as just another facet of BDSM-play.

My first introduction to the more public scene also evolved through BDSM -- as such, I have been to parties where all manner of consensual play was happening around me: whips, chains, candle wax, needles, collars, masks, etc... ranging from "light" to quite "severe," and some disturbing enough that I simply chose to leave the room while it happened. But, and this is true of multiple circumstances like this in my experience, the community surrounding events like these was so supportive and close that never once did I feel pressured, never once did I see anyone treated poorly -- even in the more severe play. Many of my very close friends underwent quite severe physical scenes -- scenes that I would never attempt myself -- with tops who took great care of their physical and psychological safety both during and after. If a rare case ever arose of a top overstepping his/her boundaries, the entire community turned that person out, warning people to stay away from him/her -- no matter where I was, it was always a community of looking out for the safety and health of everyone, whether new or more experienced. When entering into a new geographic location of BDSM community, as I have done a few times, I knew within minutes on every occasion, from word of mouth, who was "safe" to play with and who to watch out for, unless I was absolutely sure of what I wanted out of a scene.

I suppose this kind of experience may give me a slightly different view when I peruse sites like FetLife, and see the different levels of consensual play...

I have, however, had the experience of falling prey to a predator -- not just an "unsafe" top, but someone looking specifically for novices and isolating them from all contact with other voices in the community which might warn them to stay away. This happened to me very, very early on, just as I was beginning to discover this kind of play, or "lifestyle." Had I had the support of a larger community (like the BDSM one I discovered later and the Spanking one I am discovering more of now), or even like the kind of Facebook-ish atmosphere of FetLife, I may not have fallen so easily into that kind of trap. It may not be so evident on an online network like FetLife, where the culture is really more like that of Facebook and being "cool" is the hottest behavior -- but in reality, at least as I have experienced it, it takes an incredibly supportive and watchful community of players to successfully carry out extreme play like that.

Thank you again for awakening these thoughts! :D

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I appreciate your insights and the perspective you have kindly shared with me.

I understand, at least in a theoretical way, that extreme play for the bottom may be a way to test physical and emotional limits as they apply to pain and the loss of control. Spanking, like any other human endeavor, can be experienced as a means of testing one’s tolerances and resolve under challenging circumstances. When a bottom emerges triumphant from a particularly demanding session, which may leave the submissive with months of healing ahead, there must be a sense of jubilation and accomplishment for meeting and then exceeding what was once thought impossible. Such a victory must also give the bottom an elevated stature among his or her peers, and places that individual among the chosen few.

For the top, there is always the satisfaction of a job well done, the experience of having participated in something larger than one’s self, and an opportunity to express, for a little while, a sense of immeasurable control and command that one seldom enjoys in life. Sure there’s always that devilish glee over having had the opportunity to really pour it on, as it were, with a considerable degree of impunity along with a certain pride in one’s work by saying something to the effect, “I did that!” Loosely translated, this statement may mean I am the one responsible for this creation; I am the doer of this action and not a mere observer in a world whose sole obsession seems to be fixated on tame and tepid pastimes, like watching TV.

Perhaps you’re right about my not fully understanding severe play, for my limit testing, either intentional or unintentional, has been in other areas. But my own experience of testing limits has given me at least a glimpse into the possible dynamics behind one’s wish to receive as much damage as is tolerable and live to tell about it.

It has been in the area of unintentional limit testing where I have grown to appreciate just how really limited I am. I remember the time when my former wife and I went snow trekking in the Sierras above 3,000 meters, only to have my wife fall into an ice-swollen creek, pack and all. I was slow to react to her misfortune and the water was soon over her head. I pulled her out with difficulty; we were both soaking wet. Luckily, we had only five kilometers to go in sub-freezing weather to reach our car. But by the time we arrived at our vehicle, both of us could not control our limbs, making walking difficult and opening the car door nearly impossible. Perhaps this episode doesn’t count? The pain was certainly real and the frosted grip of hypothermia was closing quickly upon us.

Kaelah said...

@ Rayne:

Thank you very much for your comment and for sharing your experiences! :-) I absolutely agree with you, the online and local communities are good sources to check the credibility of potential play partners. When I decided to exchange mails with Ludwig and to ask him to introduce me into the world of spanking, I already knew quite a lot about him from his blog and the accounts of other credible scene members like Niki Flynn who had played with Ludwig.

And I think that knowing people who are into different forms of play and being able to talk to them about their experiences makes it easier to become comfortable with all variants of BDSM play, even those which would be beyond one's own limits! Especially if these people are caring.

The first time I watched more severe play live was at Ludwig's shoot for Lupus Pictures. I was quite scared that this might be too much for me, since I had never seen any live play of others before. So, during the first action scene, in which Ludwig was actively involved, Abel was at my side and took care of me. And Adele, who was one of the "victims" in this movie, reassured me during a break that I didn't have to worry about her. She told me about her usually more vocal reactions and thus prepared me for her action scene. That's why I finally wasn't scared when I watched that scene, this time with Ludwig being at my side. And being able to watch all the "victims" after their action scenes also reassured me that they were alright. To my mind this experience helped me a lot to become more comfortable with severe spanking play.

As interrogation scenarios go, that is definitely not part of my kink. But knowing what a wonderful person Leia-Ann is and having had the pleasure to meet Emma Jane and Catherine, two of the "victims" in that recent scene, as well, makes me feel at ease when reading their accounts of that experience. And, as you said, knowing that none of the people I know will put any pressure on me to watch or try forms of play I'm not comfortable with, makes me feel very safe and relaxed.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:

I can relate to your decision of not wanting to use your spanking play for testing your limits. Actually, it's the same with me. I have made negative experiences with not being careful enough about my limits in my real life and it is something which I want to avoid in my spanking play. When I did that one very severe scene (50 cane strokes) about which you can read here and here if you like (please don't do it in case you don't feel comfortable reading it!), my reasons were the following ones:

1. Ludwig had done severe scenes with others and he enjoyed them, so I wanted to do at least one similar scene to share that special experience with him. 2. There had been a lot of discussions about the question whether severe spanking scenes might harm the bottoms. Since Ludwig had topped in such scenes, I wanted to have an informed opinion about the topic and I wanted to be reassured that one can do such a scene and be okay afterwards. 3. I wanted to become more comfortable when watching more severe scenes. 4. I wanted the experience for my own self-confidence. 5. I wanted to find out whether doing such a scene was possible without the extreme reactions that scared me. 6. I wanted to share my thoughts with those who were also scared when watching more severe scenes and hoped that I might be able to make them feel more comfortable with these kinds of scenes, too.

So, actually my first aim was to show that with the right care one could do such a scene without overstepping one's limits and without feeling panicked or loosing control. Unfortunately this didn't work out 100 per cent because I started hyperventilating during the first 25 strokes, and since I had never experienced something like that before, I didn't know how to react. That made me feel very helpless. I simply should have asked for a break after about ten strokes and continue some minutes later. That's what I would do today, should I ever do such a scene again. Because during the second set of 25 strokes I felt much better and even enjoyed staying on top and of having found a way to deal with the scene without having the feeling that I was beyond my limits.

My second aim was to take good care of my body and to take all the safety measures that would help me to heal as soon as possible. That worked quite well, nearly all the marks were gone after two weeks, only some slightly differently coloured spots on my skin lasted for 4-6 months. Looking back the scene really helped me to become much more relaxed about my kink and it took away the feeling of wanting to share such a special scene with my mate and of having to prove something to myself and others. Unfortunately, the negative memory concerning the first part remains, but as I said, it helped me to understand how I would design a more severe scene with which I would feel completely happy and which I could even find sexy!

(to be continued...)

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
(...continued)

As for Ludwig, his aim as a top is neither to cause long-lasting marks, nor to go beyond the bottom's limits. He likes a certain form of marks, which means accurate cane marks, only covering the bottom with maybe some little bloody spots that show that the severity has been right at the limit, but without bleeding (= blood running down from the little open spots). And he is of the opinion that 30-50 strokes are a good number for creating such marks. More strokes wouldn't add to the experience, but cause unnecessary physical damage that takes longer to heal. So, in Ludwig's case this isn't about more and more and more. It's about just a certain level which is intense and creates certain marks and is something one wouldn't do very often, but which isn't dangerous to one's health and doesn't produce any permanent marks. And Ludwig also doesn't want to take a bottom completely beyond her limits or break her. That doesn't hold any appeal for him. What is much more interesting for him is to lead a bottom to the edge of her limits, but finally watch her survive and win the battle.

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I really appreciate it!

I was not at all uncomfortable reading about your caning experience with Ludwig and your subsequent description of the events, including your prior posts. Considering what you endured, your bottom didn’t look all that bad, but I want to add quickly that by no means am I trying to diminish your achievement. Yes, without a doubt, you are brave; I think there’s no question about it.

What concerns me a little was your description of the caning event as told in scenario D. Some of your reactions reminded me of medical shock; that is, the impact of the cane on your bottom not only had an effect on your emotions and bottom, but on your entire body. If the caning had been any more severe or was of longer duration, you may have succumbed to medical shock, as described in an excerpt from “The Free Dictionary.”

"Shock is a medical emergency in which the organs and tissues of the body are not receiving an adequate flow of blood. This deprives the organs and tissues of oxygen (carried in the blood) and allows the buildup of waste products. Shock can result in serious damage or even death.

There are three stages of shock: Stage I (also called compensated, or nonprogressive), Stage II (also called decompensated or progressive), and Stage III (also called irreversible).

In Stage I of shock, when low blood flow (perfusion) is first detected, a number of systems are activated in order to maintain/restore perfusion. The result is that the heart beats faster, the blood vessels throughout the body become slightly smaller in diameter, and the kidney works to retain fluid in the circulatory system. All this serves to maximize blood flow to the most important organs and systems in the body. The patient in this stage of shock has very few symptoms, and treatment can completely halt any progression.

In Stage II of shock, these methods of compensation begin to fail. The systems of the body are unable to improve perfusion any longer, and the patient's symptoms reflect that fact. Oxygen deprivation in the brain causes the patient to become confused and disoriented, while oxygen deprivation in the heart may cause chest pain. With quick and appropriate treatment, this stage of shock can be reversed.

In Stage III of shock, the length of time that poor perfusion has existed begins to take a permanent toll on the body's organs and tissues. The heart's functioning continues to spiral downward, and the kidneys usually shut down completely. Cells in organs and tissues throughout the body are injured and dying. The endpoint of Stage III shock is the patient's death."

(To be continued)

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

By my last post, I don’t want to imply that you were in shock in any way. If anything, you handled the entire affair quite well indeed. My intension was to highlight the possibility that if play goes too far, especially if the bottom is a quiet, stoic type by nature, the bottom could get into serious medical trouble as a result of the “trauma” inflicted on the body as a whole. I admit, however, that such an event is probably rare, but it did happen to me. But then I have a heart condition, which now limits what I can safely do.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
I agree with you, one should always be very cautious when doing more severe scenes because there can be strong physical and mental reactions. Your own example proves it.

In my case the situation wasn't really dangerous because all the bodily reactions I had (the numbness in my hands and feet and the dizzy feeling) were solely caused by hyperventilation. To make sure that I was okay Ludwig stopped for a while after stroke number ten, looked after me, caressed me and told me to calm down. Unfortunately I didn't manage to stop the hyperventilation completely at that point because I had never experienced this before and didn't know that I would simply have had to reduce the amount of oxygen. That's why the hyperventilating became worse again during strokes 11-25 and why my limbs felt numb afterwards.

But I didn't feel any pain in my chest or in any other part of my body (other than my bottom that is ;-) ) and I was still focussed enough to count out clearly and steadily. That's why I decided not to stop the scene and why Ludwig didn't stop it either. He had also seen this kind of reaction on film and therefore knew that it doesn't cause any permanent harm (as long as it doesn't become too extreme). Still, we would both react differently today. Today I would ask for a break after ten strokes in a similar situation and only start again once the hyperventilating would be completely gone. Because even though the hyperventilation never meant any real danger for my health, it wasn't a pleasant experience and I would have enjoyed the scene and the resulting video much more without it.

As for the marks: You are right, they don't look as bad as those of some other people. For example I think that the marks which the two models at Ludwig's Mood Pictures shoot had looked much worse than mine, even though one of the canings was exactly as severe as mine and the other one even lighter! I believe that there are several reasons for that. First of all, my bottom is a bit bigger and rounder than those of Rita and Tammy. So, there is a bigger target area (which means not so many strokes hit the same single spot, especially with a skilled and accurate caner like Ludwig) and to my mind there is also less visible damage because of the higher amount of fat. Secondly, the picture was taken in a warm and bright light which makes the marks look less dark. And of course the third reason could be that different people simply mark differently. Ludwig for example marks much worse than I do and his bruises are much darker than mine. My bruises only become darker the next day...

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

Perhaps I should tell you more about the episode that caused my ER trip.

Tigger and I did an OTK scene using a bath brush. With little fanfare, I simply lay over Tigger’s lap and she began spanking me with little-to-no warm-up. The episode lasted an hour, and I really have no idea how many swats she gave me (Was it four or five hundred?) because I quickly went into subspace and stayed there for the duration. We stopped only because Tigger got tired. It was simply heaven.

Three hours later, while we were both asleep, heaven turned quickly to hell.

I awoke from a deep sleep. My bottom was still on fire. I felt considerable pressure on my chest, a shortness of breath, and an overwhelming sensation that my heart would soon begin fibrillating.

I put a nitroglycerine pill under my tongue; I keep a vile of the drug by my bed. I got worse. I stood up and put another nitro in my mouth. My childhood began flashing before me, and I was overcome by fear.

This was it. My life was about to end, and everything that had been me, was now me, and would be me was going to be obliterated. I nudged Tigger awake. She quickly recognized my state, threw on some cloths, and helped me to the car.

By the time we got to ER, only two miles away, I was convulsing; my vision was reduced to a small circle. The night guard rolled a wheel chair to the open passenger door, picked up my weightless body, put me in the wheel chair, and shot me into an examining room where I was greeted by piercing eyes and ashen faces.

I vaguely remember a flurry of activity, my clothes being pulled off, and heart-monitor leads being stuck to my chest and legs.

After that event, Tigger and I didn’t play for a year. Only now have we begun again, but Tigger is still very much afraid of a repeat episode.

I agree that in your case, hyperventilation was the cause of the numbness you felt in your hands and feet, not to mention your dizziness. I think it’s admirable of Ludwig that he stopped to check in with you and to assess your condition.

Tigger did not do that with me, but her omission was not due to any disinterest or sadistic streak on her part; she simply didn’t know any better, but she checks now, which does lessen the mood for me. Nevertheless, I think you did extremely well, better than I would have in your situation, and it speaks highly of your determination and bravery, which is considerable in my opinion.

Because you are a young and strong woman, I feel you were never in any real danger, but once again I don’t want to sound as if I’m minimizing your experience.

(To be continued)

Annapurna said...

(Continued)

In the short run, the only real danger of a severe caning lies with someone like me who has a medical condition and should know better than to go willy-nilly into a scene without first thinking of the possible consequences.

You, indeed, pondered and weighed the consequences; whereas, I did not.

Was my situation an act of bravery? No.

I’m reminded of a line out of “Forest Gump” in which the boot-camp sergeant asks Forest, “Are you crazy or just plain stupid?” I think that question applies to me with equal measure.

I don’t know what type of relationship you have with pain. I am able to disassociate from it, and if the beating is strong enough, my nerve endings stop firing. That doesn’t mean I can’t be broken; I break easily in regards to emotional trauma, especially abandonment. Physical pain is another matter, but even there I have my limits, like the time I had viral meningitis, which caused me to have delusions and hallucinations. The pain in my head was so severe I had to fight the urge to walk off the third floor hospital balcony onto the parking lot below in order to escape my ordeal.

Marking is a strange thing and is so highly individual. Some mark easily, and others, like me, don’t mark that much at all. That doesn’t mean, however, I can’t be marked. When I try out the cane, I’ll let you know.

As a test run, I took half a meter of oak dowel, which was 55 mm thick, and proceeded to whack my bare bottom with it as hard as I could, maybe 18 times. I liked the whoosh-thud sound and the pain was not that bad. Better still, I really liked the red lines and welts that the implement left on my bottom and hind legs.

In absolute terms, I can only guess that the force was about moderate, for there is only so much that one can do to one’s self because of angle, leverage, and available force. So maybe hard strokes are in the cards for me? I will leave the severe strokes to the more able bodied among us. The only thing I need do now is to teach Tigger how to strike after I get a real rattan cane to use on me.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
Now I understand why your wife is so scared! Since your health problems can occur several hours after a spanking, it is almost impossible for her to make sure that a spanking isn't too severe and that you are alright, because even checking your state during the spanking regularly doesn't guarantee that there won't be any health problems coming up later.

The spanking Ludwig and I did (both parts together) was only a bit more than three minutes long. The break between the two parts was about nine minutes long and I only started hyperventilating during the first part and calmed down within the first two minutes of the break. So, there wasn't any danger for me, but I don't know whether the situation could have been dangerous for you.

So, please be careful when trying canes. It is absolutely possible to use them lighter, though. And I think that it is even easier to go into subspace when not using them overly hard.

Annapurna said...

Hi Kaelah,

Thank you for your very kind words and for your concern. I will try to be careful, but I am going to live my life despite the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. No matter what happens, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As for your caning being done in a matter of minutes, it only underscored the severity of the experience! No wonder you hyperventilated! You had a lot to deal with in a very short period of time. You are a superstar!

Peter8862 said...

Kaelah - This really is a monumental blog and as usual extremely well thought through. Severity is perhaps the major problem in spanking play, concerning as it does not only the strength of each stroke but also the concomitant risk factor. Just what liberty has a top to take risks with the well-being of the bottom ? Accidental mis-hits do happen, even with the most practised top, and the scary accounts in the Comments both of your and Annapurna's medical experiences further illustrates my point. The rule that concensuality and avoidance of permanent harm are the two prime constraints for a top somehow side-steps the subject of risk. There are limits to be observed here too.
No doubt it will need another monumental blog to define the term "undue risk" !

Thank you for all your penetrating thoughts, as ever.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:

I can understand that you don't want to do without spanking, but I'm glad to know that you're going to be careful!

As for the speed of the caning: I'm not sure whether that made it easier or harder. Actually, Ludwig increased the speed during the first part in order to make it a bit easier for me. I think sometimes it is easier to know that the ordeal will be over soon, sometimes it is easier to be given more time to recover from each stroke... Today I would ask for a bit more time between the strokes in the beginning. And after a while the rhythm can become faster.


@ Peter:

I think that the point of “undue risk” depends from one person to another. As Annapurna pointed out, he has to be a bit more careful as others because of his health situation. In my case there was absolutely no undue risk because I am healthy, I was in control the whole time, Ludwig checked with me regularly and he is so experienced that there wasn't any risk of a mishit, no matter how hard he hit.

The point is that I have different fantasies than many others. I only like a scene afterwards if I have felt in control during the scene as well. So, the real risk during my scene wasn't a physical one, the real risk was the fact that I didn't know my mental limits so well back then and that I didn't want to cut the scene.

But I think learning about these things is part of exploring one's kink. And situations in which not everything works out as planned can occur, no matter how light or severe and how light-hearted or dark a scene is. To my mind the important thing is that both, top and bottom, are aware of these risks, that they try to take care of each other and that they talk openly about what did or didn't work. This way both can learn more about each other and avoid the things which didn't work so well in their future play.

Annapurna said...

@ Peter8862 and Kaelah,

I have to agree with Peter that Ludwig and Kaelah’s blog is first rate; it’s well thought out and compassionately written, making it one of the more interesting and fascinating reads in the spanking blogosphere!

I think it’s perfectly okay for the top to take some risks at the expense of the bottom, provided the top does not overly exceed the limits of the bottom. Otherwise, where’s the fun in it for the top? Is the top simply an order taker, a giver of pleasure without getting much in return? I say “no.” And isn’t the bottom really fulfilling the role of accommodator in traditional sexual relations, gay or straight, regardless of who might take in the phallic organ, real or artificial? When my wife assumes the role of accommodator in our love making, for example, which is a traditional role for most heterosexual women, she certainly gives me leeway in what actions I might take without being overly proscriptive or without trying to direct our activity. Is it not the same for us bottoms? Are we not the accommodators? Is that such a bad situation in which to be?

Sometimes, unexpected intensity or a well-delivered line can really add meaningful impact to spanking play, keeping it from becoming routinized or even monotonous, which can be the ban of sexual relations between vanillas who have run out of imagination or creativity in their intimacy? Even my vanilla wife improvises in ways that really surprises me at times. For example, she will request that I count; she will give me extra swats if I make a mistake; and she may even add more spanks at the end simply because she can, making the final two or three swats an all-out effort!

(To be continued)

Annapurna said...

(Continued)

@ Peter8862 and Kaelah,

Because of my current health limitations, it’s up to me to monitor my internal physical state and my responses to the kinetic energy I’m absorbing. It’s up to me to keep my anxiety in check so my coronary arteries don’t constrict too much. Yes, my stomach still does a flip-flop before any spanking, even the ones I request, and if I didn’t react this way, then where would the fun be in it for me? I already know that Tigger (my wife) is not going to beat the ever-living daylights out of me, but I’m still nervous, nevertheless, because no two spankings are ever alike! Thank god for that!

Peter is right of course that spanking should be safe, sane, and consensual, and to that I would also add that both the top and bottom be healthy and fit, for I consider spanking to be a sport of sorts. Nevertheless, spanking, like any sport, is not without risks. Even tennis can be dangerous. For example, when my cousin was playing a tennis match in high school against her best friend, her friend accidentally hit herself in the temple with her own racket. Two days later my cousin’s friend died from an undetected head injury at only seventeen!

Kaelah, you bring up a good point about the mental-emotional aspects of a scene. While such elements are not of concern for me with Tigger, I can fully appreciate how they could be in another context, especially if both the top and bottom don’t know each other that well. (Tigger and I have been married over 12 years; besides, she doesn’t have a “mean” bone in her body!) However, when we are pushed too far and too hard emotionally we can easily be traumatized in a way that can be more damaging than an extra sore bottom or a few marks or busies. In fact, I believe emotional trauma is far more lasting than any physical discomfort. Here again the top needs to check in with the bottom, and better still, it might be a good idea if both the top and bottom go over the spanking scene before it actually occurs. However, there could be surprises. For example, a scene could trigger repressed memories that are simply too painful and disturbing for the bottom, or even the top for that matter especially if the top is cajoled into playing a role that makes him or her feel like a monster.

So Kaelah, you and I may not be that different after all concerning our needs during a scene, for we both require some control over our emotional-mental experience while being spanked. I don’t know about you, but I have had all the experience I care to ever have in which I am at the mercy of someone else while my emotional integrity is put into jeopardy as a result of someone else’s libidinal impropriety.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to go perhaps a little off-thread, but when you were talking about trust, sadism and severity, you mentioned Ludwig's “Inmates” experience at Mood Pictures again (described in his most interesting writings some time ago). I think the severity, or certainly the apparent severity, of a spanking (thrashing?) can be made significantly worse by inaccurate placement of strokes. Like Ludwig, I strive always for perfection; and from long experience with various instruments, over (far too) many years, I can exercise considerable control over positioning and strength - not that I get many opportunities to use my skills these days, unfortunately. :-(

Although the “Inmates” canings by Ludwig and Lady Jessica (Kyra) were nominally similar, and all the results were fairly thought-provoking, I am sure the models caned with Ludwig's carefully placed strokes must have ultimately felt better than those in receipt of Lady Jessica's slashes. Although she is an awesome domme, Lady Jessica, in spite of her obvious experience, rarely keeps all her strokes nicely positioned in relation to one another and her “victims” nearly always end up with the back of their right thigh very painful and with numerous unnecessary “tip digs” - nasty, deep, little injuries which can take a very long time to heal. Do we know whether she does this on (sadistic) purpose to increase the severity of the canings or does she not have Ludwig's skill in placing the strokes?

Also, in relation to “top” / “bottom” trust, it is generally agreed that in order to feel empathy with the recipient, it is desirable for tops to have experienced the same sort of punishment as they mete out. Do we know if Lady Jessica has ever been spanked the way she spanks others? Talking about caring for the recipients, Ludwig wrote at some length about all the precautions Mood take in respect of the models' well-being, applying cream beforehand, etc. But do they do this for all the casting candidates too? If they do, it is not at all obvious. I must admit I find the casting sessions a little disturbing, even though the candidates are apparently in control and able to bring the session to an end whenever they need/want to. Few seem to be seen in films other than the casting sessions themselves and I wonder whether (a) many are disappointed not to be called back or (b) they have had enough pain from the casting session to put themselves right off the idea of being spanking models.

Finally, I hope there are no longer any who think the Mood stuff is faked. My own view is that these people simply cannot believe (or don't want to believe?) that anyone would voluntarily submit themselves to such “torture” nor that anyone would be cruel enough to inflict it to the extent seen in the sessions. Someone suggested forensic analysis of the video footage would prove their point about fakery. Any such doubters should do their own forensic analysis by simply selecting a few strokes and watching them frame by frame. As Ludwig has said several times, just imagine the effort it would take to fake something like this and make it convincing. Still, no doubt someone will come back and say I'm wrong and that Ludwig bends the truth as much as Kyra bends her canes!

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
I guess people are quite different concerning how they see their role as tops and bottoms. I have to admit that I don't really see myself in the role of an accommodator when I'm playing on the bottom side. And I expect the top to stay completely within my limits and to avoid any risk as well as possible. Actually, I like to top from the bottom. The more physically demanding a scene is, the more control I need. But of course there can be surprises as well, especially in lighter scenes. We often use a mixture by setting the frame for a scene together which still gives Ludwig enough space to make some decisions on his own. It's the same vice versa. And I can enjoy topping very much, even if many parameters have been agreed upon beforehand. I would say in Ludwig's and my play the top usually serves the bottom's needs as much as the bottom serves the top's needs.

@ Anonymous:
I absolutely agree with you about accuracy. I wouldn't do a severe scene with a top who isn't 100 per cent accurate. Lady Jessica for example is one of the people whom I wouldn't even let come near me with a cane. I asked Ludwig about her, but he doesn't have any information about Jessica's background, either. We both assume that she has no experiences as a bottom and that the misplaced strokes are a sign of a lack of skills and not of sadism. But that's just our guess.

Concerning Mood Castings: First of all, the cream obviously isn't part of the safety measures, it's only a visual thing. Secondly, Ludwig hasn't got any concrete information about the procedures of the castings, so we can only guess here as well. I'm quite sure that the canes used for the castings are also strictly kept clean and that there is a similar aftercare as there is after the action scenes at the film shoots, though. And, as you mentioned, the models can quit any time, so that is similar to the films as well.

Indy said...

I'm very late to this post and to the discussion that follows, so I haven't made it through all of the latter. I very much enjoyed the post!

I found myself intrigued by the notion of sadistic urges as at least partly selfish. Are they really any more selfish than masochistic urges? It seems to me that any form of sexual play is at least a little selfish. After all it's about desire-- our own, and that of our partner(s). It seems to me that failing to care sufficiently about the latter is the problem.

Of course, when one is playing as a sadist, that problem can lead, as you say, to people being badly hurt. So I definitely agree that BDSM play requires particular caution on the part of both tops and bottoms.

Kaelah said...

@ Indy:
Of course you are absolutely right, any form of sexual play is at least a little selfish! And that's nothing negative at all.

But when I started exploring my kink, the thought that someone who spanks me partly fulfils selfish desires scared me nonetheless. At that time I wasn't sure whether this could be in any way harmful for me since as a spankee I make myself vulnerable during play. It took me a while to realise that there is no such danger as long as the top is a responsible person and cares for the bottom.

And I thought that other newbies might have similar thoughts on their minds. That's why I focussed on the question of selfishness and topping in my post.