Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kaelah's Corner (Jul 2013):
Theatre of Pain

  (The poster for H.M.S Defiant
One of the films that inspired my kinky fantasies.)

In his recent post A Question of Perspective Ludwig asked the intriguing question which perspective our readers take when watching a spanking video – the one of the spankee, the one of the spanker or the perspective of an observer. For me, the answer is rather simple. I am usually an observer when watching spanking clips, and depending on the scene and the people involved I sometimes feel closer to the top's or the bottom's perspective. At times I also think about how cool it would be to meet or to make a clip with the participants or in how far I suppose our chemistry would fit in a scene. But that usually happens after I have watched a clip and I don't see myself in the role of the top or the bottom at the time of watching.

A related question I have been thinking about is which perspective I take in my kinky fantasies in general and during kinky scenes I am involved in. And secondly, how do I see my play partner(s)? The thing is, in many of my kinky fantasies I am not involved as a character. Take for example my naval fantasies. In those fantasies I am a kind of omniscient narrator who switches from mindset to mindset and sees the scene from the different views. The feelings of the bottoms are slightly more interesting for me, but I also need to know the feelings and thoughts of the tops in order to make the scenario complete.

I also have formal kinky fantasies which explicitly involve me as a person, though, or maybe rather an ideal fantasy version of myself. The thing that has given me a bad conscience about those fantasies is that Ludwig usually only appears in them as a background character. He is my partner (and in those fantasies in which I already see myself as a mum he is also the dad of our kids), but the kinky action usually doesn't happen between me and him. In my fantasies I often play with a group of fantasy friends, younger guys who like to be topped by me, a like-minded female friend with whom I top the guys together and who tops me from time to time and maybe also male friends whom I allow topping me.

It's not very different when it comes to more explicit erotic fantasies. Classical intercourse never played an important role in my erotic dreams. When I have sexual fantasies, though, they are more of the rough type and rather semi-consensual. Those fantasies often involve a group of people as well (yes, I am an exhibitionist, never denied that) and I also don't see Ludwig (at least not the real Ludwig) as a person there.

And when I play with others? Well, it's quite simple when it comes to fun play or video scenes. In those cases I usually see the others involved for who they are and not as some kind of fantasy characters. In fun scenes with friends we usually don't use any fantasy scenarios anyway, so it's just us as people. When it comes to video clips, a part of my brain might get into character, but a part of me always remains aware that it is Ludwig, Pandora, Leia-Ann or whoever I am interacting with. That's quite easy for me with friends because we don't have a sexual relationship with each other, so it's easy for me to get into a fun or a formal setting.

It's more difficult with Ludwig and formal settings, though, especially when it's just the two of us, because our relationship isn't formal and it's difficult for me to imagine him as my commanding officer or whomever. I think that's because I am not a very good role-player. It becomes easier when others are involved as well or when we are making clips. Because then the setting is more formal because of the circumstances and that makes it much easier for me.

But how about when Ludwig and I are having sex? Well, that's the part that sometimes bothers me the most. Because then (at least when I am not in a toppy mood) I usually drift away into the rough sexual scenarios I am also sometimes fantasizing of. And then I don't see Ludwig as Ludwig any more. He becomes a fantasy character and I am mixing up the things that are really happening between the two of us with fantasy elements.

It is a bit different when I am topping. Then I am usually more myself and I usually see Ludwig more as himself and not as a fantasy character. Maybe that's because it takes less fantasy for me to get into the right mood for topping and to let myself fall? Maybe it's because my fantasies as a top fit more easily into an equal partnership than some of my fantasies as a bottom?

I guess especially the last part might explain why my kinky fantasies usually don't involve Ludwig and me as partners. The formal fantasies are more easily to imagine with people (often fantasy characters, as I already mentioned) with whom I don't have a sexual relationship in real life. They can be my friends, guides or protégés and our relationships can be rather light-hearted and fun without all the deep-going life questions and issues that come with a love relationship. And the rough, semi-consensual erotic fantasies are only sexy in role-play scenarios with fantasy characters and not in real life with my real, loving mate.

Still it gives me a bad conscience sometimes. Shouldn't I rather be fantasizing about spankings and sex with my partner than about scenes with fantasy characters? Is it okay to drift away into a fantasy world when having sex? Mind you, I don't think there is something morally wrong with this. Fantasies are only fantasies anyway and the mind is free. But still the topic is bothering me from time to time. Especially at times like this when I am not in a good place which also affects my relationship with Ludwig.

I wonder how this is for others? Maybe it is easier for kinksters with domestic fantasies or consensual erotic spanking fantasies to fantasize about scenes between them and their partners, simply because their fantasies fit more into their real-life relationship? Maybe it's because my kinky fantasies only work as role-play scenarios or as formal fun scenarios? What about you? Do your fantasies involve role-play characters or real friends and your real partner? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On the Term "Vanilla"

I hardly ever take part in forum debates about BDSM anymore (see my post Sense and Futility of Online Debates for some insight into why), but I still read through them every once in a while. I saw a point in a debate the other day which I would like to bring up here. The issue of contention was whether or not the term "vanilla" for people who are not into BDSM is derogatory.

One user wrote: "I don't like the term 'vanilla' to describe sex, period. It's part of the pattern that I see with some practitioners of alternative lifestyles who want to believe that their choices are not only acceptable, but superior." Another replied: "On the one hand I have the same problems you have with 'vanilla' as a term, but on the other hand I realize the problem is connotation. 'Vanilla' has come to mean 'bland' in spite of the fact that it's a lovely, complex flavor that's primarily derived from the seed pods of a beautiful orchid through an elaborate process. Yes, it's wordy, and it would take quite a bit of work to alter the 'bland' connotation in peoples' minds, but I think those who are genuinely 'vanilla' should wear the term with pride." A third user added: "Yeah, but anytime the phrase 'vanilla sex' is thrown around, it's in opposition to 'exciting kinky sex'. There's really no way to read it non-perjoratively. All subcultures need to continuously remarginalize themselves in a opposition to normativity in order to maintain status as 'awesome alternative lifestyle'." People in the discussion also pointed out that BDSM practitioners usually like "vanilla" sex as well, and that the boundaries between "vanilla" and "kinky" are fluid instead of the two being a rigid dichotomy.

Personally, I do not feel that the term "vanilla" is inherently derogatory. I frequently use it on this blog as shorthand for people who are not into BDSM, and I do not mean anything bad by it. That said, I am aware that there are people in the BDSM community who use the term disparagingly. Over the years, I have had the misfortune of meeting some of these snotty, big-headed "We are sooo special!" kinksters. You have probably met them yourself. I never liked them. I feel that they are compensating for insecurities and inferiority complexes with their ostentatious looking down on "normal" people, and with some of them, I wonder whether they are really into BDSM or just jumping on the bandwagon of a "cool", controversial subculture. However, those snotty kinksters are a minority, and I don't think that we should shy away from the term "vanilla" simply because a few people use it in a derogatory manner.

A more valid objection to the term "vanilla" is that it really isn't very clear. What is "vanilla sex", exactly? Is it only sex in the missionary position with the lights out? Or does it include, say, oral sex, which is a bit more risqué, but enjoyed by a large number of people and thus statistically "normal"? What about anal sex, is that vanilla? For quite a few men and women, it most assuredly isn't. So how many people do there have to be who are into a certain sexual practice in order for it to be eligible as "vanilla"? Half the population, maybe? If that is so, bondage might be a part of "vanilla" sex - if certain studies are to be believed, fifty percent or more of the respondents have tried it out at least once. Heck, bondage is probably more "vanilla" than anal sex.

There really isn't a clear definition of "vanilla sex", neither is there a clear boundary between it and practices that are usually deemed "kinky". And there is the fact that "kinky" people usually enjoy "vanilla sex" as well - Kaelah and I certainly do. Despite all this, I still hold the opinion that "vanilla" is a useful term. When you come to think of it, most of the words we use are not very clearly defined. That is just the way human language works. But we do know what the words mean from their context. It's like that with "vanilla" as well. I simply use it as a short-hand for people who do not engage in BDSM practices regularly, and I think it works just fine as such. So, in the unlikely case that there are any "vanilla" people reading this blog (why, I wonder?): see, as I said, I don't mean anything bad with the term. It may be the most popular ice cream, but it is nonetheless a pretty complex flavour, so I don't see anything boring about it at all. Glad we could clear that up.

What about you, my fellow kinksters? What are your views on the term "vanilla"? Do you find it derogatory, or do you see nothing wrong with it?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Red Meat

Red Meat by Max Cannon is one of my favourite comic strips (not a huge accomplishment in itself because I only know a handful of comic strips, but this one is definitely great). It features characters with abnormal personalities telling a weird or disturbing anecdote. My favourite among them is Bug-Eyed Earl, a crazed guy dressed in black and described by Cannon as an "overly-enthusiastic pundit of borderline reality":

Another character is Ted Johnson, a middle-aged man, "devoted husband, father and ardent latex enthusiast". Cannon has said that Ted is based on his own father (must be an interesting family):

However, the comic strip that inspired me to make this post is the following one, which should directly appeal to us as spanking / corporal punishment fetishists. It took me a moment to realise that it is not an original creation of Max Cannon, but fan fiction by an author calling himself The Light In Chains. Here is Earl again:

Yep, that one gave me a chuckle. There are quite a few people making their own comic strips like that with the Red Meat Construction Set, which the original author is apparently happy with. So, if you are feeling creative, why not give it a try (I won't, because comic strips probably aren't my forte and I have too much respect for the discipline to throw together something mediocre).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Question of Perspective

 (Still from the movie The Noise by Lupus Pictures)

I would like to ask the following question of you today: which perspective, or perspectives, do you assume when you fantasize about spanking or watch a spanking video?

Do you assume the perspective of the bottom? The top? Do you see the scene from a third-person point of view, whether it is the point of view of another person (in addition to the top and bottom) who is actually present in the scene or an omniscient "god-like" observer? Do you tend to always assume one of these perspectives, or do you usually assume more than one perspective in a scene, in succession or even at the same time? Last but not least (this is a question inspired by Fenris' comment to my previous post), do you think that the perspective you usually assume when fantasizing about spanking or watching a video influences which kinds of stories and scenarios you find hot and which ones turn you off?

I am a switch, and so it is perhaps not surprising that I tend to watch scenes of spanking from different perspectives. I believe that I have always done so. Memory can be deceptive, especially when it is from our very early years, but I am quite sure that I already assumed different perspectives in my earliest spanking fantasies. This was when I was about eight or nine years old, long before I had any idea that there was such a phenomenon as sadomasochism or BDSM and before I even had any interest in sex. Back then, in my earliest fantasies about spanking and corporal punishment, I usually assumed the point of view of an observer or pictured myself as one of the spankees. It took my toppy fantasies a bit longer to develop, which they did during puberty.

Interestingly, even though I am primarily a top in my BDSM activities today and in my self-identification, I think that I assume the bottom perspective more often than the top perspective when watching a video or fantasizing. I was not really consciously aware of this, but now that I think of it, I realise that this is how it is. I find that, during a build-up to a thrashing as well as during the action itself, my empathy usually lies with and probes the experiences of the (often female) spankees. There are probably several different reasons for this, as with most anything concerning psychology and sex. One reason which, when trying to analyze myself, I assume is important is that the spankee, in most stories and scenarios, arguably has the more intense emotional experiences than the spanker, and thus the more interesting emotional experiences from an empathetic point of view. The anticipation, nervousness or fear before a spanking, the feelings of pain and how the spankee deals with it during the spanking, the shame and humiliation, or maybe the pride and defiance they experience... More often than not, this seems far more interesting than what the top is going through at the same time. The tops, in my fantasies, are often mere agents for delivering the CP. In those fantasies, on the other hand, where they experience more intense feelings, maybe because they have conflicting emotions about what is happening or because they take great justified satisfaction from administering a thrashing, I find the top's perspective more interesting and tend to assume it as well.

Quite often, though, I do not assume the point of view of any of the participants, but of a third person who is present in the scene or of an invisible observer. I believe that some kind of voyeurism is an important part of my CP kink as well. I have always been a spanking movie buff, which probably grew out of these fantasies and now generates such fantasies of its own in return. Indeed, even when I am assuming the psychological and emotional point of view of the spankee or the spanker, I often visualise the scene from the outside, as if seen by a camera or an observer.

When it comes to the perspective of the top, I find that I tend to assume it on a more general level rather than during the action itself. Which is to say, I tend to see a scene from the perspective of the bottom or an outside observer while the build-up and the action are taking place, but when looking at the whole story and the whole "universe" inhabited by the characters, including events that take place off-stage as it were, I find myself identifying just as much or even more with the top. This, I suppose, is in accord with how I view my practical experiences with spanking as well. Switching to the bottom side often leads to the more intense experiences (certainly the more painful!) and the ones that generate a more vivid memory of the action itself. However, when I look back on what I have done in my BDSM play, I derive the greater satisfaction from the things I have done as a top, whether it is movie shoots or the special scenes Kaelah and I have done in private.

These are the results of my introspection on which perspective I assume when fantasizing about CP or watching it on video. It is a sometimes tricky affair, because these insights are not always easy to pin down (I am not always quite sure which, if any, perspective I assume) and they are often in danger of being an idealized construction rather than what is actually happening in my mind at the time. But it is intriguing to try this kind of introspection and analysis, and I think it yields quite a bit of accurate insight as well.

How about you, then? Maybe my elaborating on my own tendencies has inspired you to share yours with us. If you would like to, leave a comment and let me and the other readers know which perspective, or perspectives, you usually take.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Whipped for Finding Gold

I was reading up on the history of gold mining in Siberia the other day, for reasons that are too off-topic to go into here (let's just call it a combination of leisurely and professional interests). The following anecdote grabbed my attention: in 1813, a young woman named Katerina Bogdanova found a gold nugget in the basin of the Neyva river in the Urals (one translation refers to her as a "little girl", but because of what happened to her and also because of some other tidbits of the story, I am inclined to believe that she was actually a young, unmarried woman). She immediately brought her find to the local authorities. Instead of a reward, however, she received a whipping and was ordered to not tell anyone about her discovery. Apparently, the authorities feared the disturbances that would be brought on by a gold rush to the region. They were unsuccessful in the end, because other people also found gold in the vicinity and the news eventually got out.

But think about poor Katerina. This has to be the most unfair, most scandalous punishment I have ever heard of. She finds a gold nugget, and instead of keeping it for herself or exploiting the site only for her own benefit and that of her family, she dutifully reports what she found. Alright, maybe she was hoping for a reward as well - which would have been well-justified in my view. And what does she get? A whipping! Life just isn't fair, is it?

There are quite a few people in our spanko community who have a passion for unfair punishments. Our friend and partner in crime Pandora Blake is one of them, for instance, as evidenced by this interesting older post of hers. For Kaelah, unfair punishments are generally a turn-off. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle: I can potentially find such a scenario hot, but preferably if the spankee suffering the unfair punishment finds justice in the end or at least emerges as the moral victor. Lupus Pictures gave some of their classic storylines a twist like that, and I could imagine a number of such possible twists to avenge our gold-finding heroine. Where the official responsible for her treatment ends up getting it worse than she did. Admittedly, it's a kind of straight-forward morality play and rather old-fashioned, but it works well in the spanking genre...

Let me use the topic to pose the question to you: how do you feel about unfair punishments as a kinky scenario? Do you like them or hate them, do you find the idea hot or a total turn-off? Or are you, like me, somewhere in the middle, where a scenario with an unfair punishment might have appeal to you, but only under certain circumstances? Write down your thoughts in a comment if you like.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kinky China (Part 1): The Forbidden City

Visiting foreign countries, learning to know different cultures and getting to see famous sights and beautiful landscapes is something that is an important and special part of life for both Ludwig and me. If the whole thing gets mixed with kink – all the better!

Some time ago, we travelled to Beijing and had a great albeit exhausting time to explore this interesting and busy city. Of course, the Forbidden City was a must-see! As you can see in the first photo, the entrance doors are already very intimidating and impressive. It was hard for me not to picture a whipping scene in my head in that scenery.

And obviously the thought wasn't really far fetched, as you can see from the artefact we came across in the museum of the Imperial Palace. I don't think I would want to try out that one, at least not on the receiving end! But the idea of having a quieting whip to make sure that the rituals at the palace aren't interrupted by someone not sticking to the rules definitely has a kinky appeal to me.

Obviously, we couldn't take any pictures which are too explicit at such a crowded place, but fortunately the Chinese love creative poses on their photos and bending over doesn't attract too much attention (as long as one's trousers aren't pulled down that is ;-) ).

We left the Imperial Palace shortly before sunset and managed to shoot this beautiful final picture outside. It might not be a perfect pose kink-wise, but I love the way the sun reflects on the water.

After having seen the poster above, I am actually quite confident that the Chinese aren't so easily shocked when it comes to kink, anyway. We did shoot some more kinky pictures on our trip – this time on the Great Wall! We will share those with you soon. I hope you like the ones of today's post as much as we do. We might have had sexier and more explicit ones on this site, but it is the special surrounding which makes these ones very dear to us.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July

(Image courtesy of FoxyJacky.com)

Today is the Fourth of July. Most of our readers, being from the Anglo-Saxon world, undoubtedly know what that means: it is the day when the British celebrate that the Americans are no longer part of the British Empire!

As a German, I could decide to not give a toss. Our own national holiday is October 3rd, commemorating the anniversary of the German reunification in 1990. But, this is an English-language blog, Kaelah and I are both Anglophiles, and we have good friends in the spanking community across the Atlantic such as Indy and Mija, so I thought to myself: why not do a Fourth of July post this year! Hereby, without further ado, we would like to wish all our American spanko readers a happy holiday.

I distinguish between the American people and the American government, so I won't hold it against you that your NSA has apparently been spying on us quite extensively, monitoring around 500 million telephone calls, emails and text messages in Germany every month. Actually, as a historian and consummate cynic, I am not particularly surprised. This is precisely how powerful empires have operated since the dawn of civilization: trusting no one and snooping on everyone, including their allies. Especially when that ally is a lucrative target for industrial espionage like Germany. Hell, the NSA is probably constantly spying on you too, their own citizens, it just hasn't come out yet. In any case, a little Paranoia 101 never hurts.

The great thing about America, though, is that throughout its history, time and again, opposition forces have eventually appeared to address and correct such abuses of power. There are enough people who take the "land of the free" thing seriously, which impresses even a cynic like me. I am actually quite hopeful that, this time, in regards to the ever-growing intrusions of the secret agencies and security agencies, it will be the same. The world wide web as a new technology harbours enormous potential for connecting people, spreading knowledge and ideas, creating wealth and progress, but it also harbours enormous potential for totalitarian surveillance and creating the "totally transparent citizen". We should strive to maximize the former and minimize the latter.

But enough about that. Why have I, in five years of blogging, never written a Fourth of July post before? I remember thinking about it once or twice, but I always missed the date somehow. July was often a busy time in the history of Rohrstock-Palast. In my first year in 2008, I visited Niki Flynn as chronicled in The Wolfenstein Experiments, and shortly thereafter made my first visit to SM-Circus. In July 2009, Kaelah made her first official appearance as my mate in K-Day is coming! and Where No Man Has Spanked Before.  In 2012, we published a video with us and Leia Ann-Woods. In other years like 2011, July was just a busy month outside of the blog for us, which is why we only did three posts in July that year. Something always got in the way. But this year, finally, here is our very own Fourth of July post for the Yanks.

I have spent the past hour searching for a good picture with a "fourth of july spanking", a "stars and stripes spanking", "uncle sam spanking" or otherwise American-themed spanking, but did not find anything I was really happy with. The best I can offer is the picture above, which shows not a spanking but a spankable bottom. And just so you don't think that we only feature stereotypical fare of skinny chicks here, let me add, for the sake of gender equality, this shot of a hunk with a body that puts mine to shame (I found it on Roz's blog, so thanks for that).

Happy Forth of July, everyone!