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!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just a Little Hand

Feeling the warmth of your skin -
touching you;
running my fingers over your flesh.
Withdrawing my hand for a second -
making contact again;
a crack echoing from the wall.
Following the wave of pain
running through your body;
wincing and a suppressed gasp.
Resting my burning hand on your bottom -
feeling close;
watching your naked body relax.
Knowing I'm in control -
just for a moment
you've given yourself into my little hands.

When Ludwig allowed me to practise the handling of several implements on him as a living target, I brought out nearly all the different things I could find: Flogger, hairbrush, belt, switch, cane and some more. I neatly placed them on the table. Ludwig stripped and bent over, hands on the sofa stool which was standing in the middle of the room. I know that Ludwig doesn't like hand spankings. They remind him of domestic discipline scenarios which definitely aren't turn-ons for him. But I really wanted to try it, at least just once. I wanted to know how it feels, wanted to find out whether my small hands with those little fingers (little girl hands, as they have already been called) could make any impression.

And Ludwig gave me his permission to have a try. I placed myself behind him and started to spank him, trying different variants. “Does this hurt more or that?” - “The latter.” So, I kept the latter variant (flat palm) and got into a steady rhythm. And to my big surprise I managed to elicit some reactions from Ludwig. A bit of wincing here, a suppressed gasp there – without the help of an implement, just with my own little hand. A wonderful feeling ran through my body, a fascinating mixture of being in control and closeness to my mate. I watched Ludwig's skin redden, aware that it was just me who was responsible for this to happen. When I finally stopped, my hand was a deep shade of red as well and it stung. But that just added to the feeling that I had done my job well.

After the warm-up I gave Ludwig six of the best with each of the implements. The strokes weren't extremely soft but also not overly severe. The mood was a light one, there was no roleplay or any psychological topping on my behalf. And I learnt a lot from Ludwig's feedback. I once applied the hairbrush too high and my caning technique did not allow me really hard strokes, yet. The accuracy was fine, but with my technique I simply did not manage to achieve a very high velocity. Before anyone asks, yes I have already changed my technique! Oh, and the most difficult implement for me to handle was the belt.

But no matter how much I enjoyed trying out the different implements, the hand spanking caused the most wonderful feeling. I love hand spankings as a bottom as well, preferably lying across Ludwig's lap. Being so close to him during a spanking is a highly erotic experience for me. But I can understand that the picture of a man being hand spanked by a woman, maybe even OTK (a total no-go for Ludwig, even more DD- or age-play-like than the hand spanking itself), is completely different to that of a woman being taken over the lap of her physically stronger partner. As a top I'm not into DD scenarios, either, at least not with my mate, and I don't want Ludwig to switch for a scenario which he doesn't enjoy. The feeling of power and closeness, however, that went along with that hand spanking experience was amazing nonetheless! Damn it, why aren't there any judicial scenarios that give a convincing reason for a hand spanking?!

What are your experiences with hand spankings and maybe OTK spankings? Which images do these kinds of spankings create in your mind? For which scenarios do you use them? And do you also see a difference between male and female spankees and spankers? Bring on your thoughts, please!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trust - The Bottom Perspective

(The trust fall.)

In the recent days I read some very different posts which all touched me by some means or other. When I think about them now, I find that they have one thing in common, something that touches me whenever I read about it – and that thing is trust. So, this is what today's post is about: Spanking and trust, this time from the perspective of a bottom. There will be a second post in a few days, discussing the topic of trust from the perspective of a top.

Burl Apsack published a post titled Pushed in which he wrote about his last session with his disciplinarian and how it brought him closer to his aim of being broken. The post came along with a picture showing the rather nasty marks that had been produced by the spanking. Now, the more regular readers of the Rohrstock-Palast know that I'm not into the idea of being broken and rather into the idea of feeling empowered by a spanking. But I was curious what Burl Apsack found so appealing about the idea of being broken during one of his sessions with his disciplinarian and so I decided to write a comment on his post and to ask him about it.

Instead of answering my question in the comment section, Burl Apsack decided to write a complete post about the subject, quoting an excerpt of a text about different types of spankings written by an author identified as Julnick. Here are some parts of what he wrote about the meaning of what he calls “breaking spanking”: Breaking spanking - Basically meaning a spanking designed to break down the will, break down emotional barriers. This is designed around specific psychological elements. There are two subsets of this spanking type, there is regression, and there is simple compassion/safety. Within the group of men who desire this spanking, there are some who need to be regressed, psychologically, brought down to a child-like state, where it is acceptable to cry. And some just need to be taken to a place where they feel safe enough, and insured enough against ridicule that they can let go and cry. […]

Touch is vital, the top is taking the bottom to a very frightening place in his head., tearing down that wall is going against very strong, nearly survival instincts. There is going to be a lot of panic and resistance as that begins to happen. The top needs to "hold the hand" of the bottom throughout, constantly reassure the bottom, constantly, touch, pet, give physical comfort., as well as verbal comfort, constant reassurances, soft tone of voice, as if speaking to a terrified child, because that is what it can be equated to. Also, the top needs to know how to push and back off, in order to get through strong resistance, without driving the bottom to try and get up. […] It is a constant balancing act, pushing hard, but keeping the bottom feeling safe enough to get through it. 

The text continues with some very interesting and touching further explanations about this kind of spanking from Julnick's view as a top about which I will write in the second part of this post. What struck me about the description was the beautiful image of the safe environment that the bottom needs in order to achieve his goal of letting go. And I realised that while Burl Apsack's and my desires and goals as spankees might be very different, the environments that we both need in order to get there are quite similar.

In my comment I wrote: I guess that a basic difference between us is that I don't need to be spanked in order to release my fears and cry. […] What I'm not good at, though, is releasing aggressions and trusting myself to be strong enough for the challenges of life. […] So, what I am looking for during a spanking is a safe environment and someone who guides me through, just like you described in your post. But the aim is not to let go, well, or maybe one could say the idea is to let go, but to let go of my fears! My aim is to feel strong during the spanking, to feel that I can take challenges and stay on top, that I can trust myself and my partner who might take me to my limits but will always respect them and won't break me. […] To my mind it is always fascinating to see how differently spanking works for different people. And at the same time it's interesting for me that even if two people seem to enjoy completely different scenarios, there can still be at least some similar desires behind it.

Another post that made me think was written by Emma Jane and called Control freak, freaking out! In that post, Emma Jane wrote about a very scaring upcoming scene: [...] I have a scene coming up soon where I have absolutely no control over what happens. I have no idea what will be done to me, how long it will last or how I will react. I don't even know for sure who's actually going to be there as the tormentors. I try to visualise the scene but can't, having never done anything like it before. And others who've gone through it are careful not so share any details. So I'm left with fearful anticipation and wild guessing. With no idea what end of the spectrum my guesses are landing. The control freak is freaking out. […] I'm going to have to block her out, because for reasons I can't really explain I want to go through with this. I want to turn up blind and put myself through the unknown. I will try to stay strong and endure bravely. If I cannot endure bravely, I will endure anyhow. I'm genuinely curious to know how I will react to this complete and utter lack of control, to know how the control freak will cope.

Again, what Emma Jane describes is nothing I would want to put myself through. Quite frankly, my control freak almost freaked out only reading her post! But when I read Emma Jane's thoughts about her upcoming scene I knew she would be alright. Because first of all this is something she seeks and I'm sure that she can trust her instincts. Secondly I'm very sure that she will do this with people she can trust. People who will make sure that at the end of the day no real harm will have been done and that Emma Jane will finally leave the battle field feeling empowered and happy. So even if the scenario scares me, I'm glad to know that Emma Jane can explore her reaction to the complete lack of control in a safe environment with trusted people.

I also read three very different posts about punishment spankings. Leia-Ann Woods wrote about her shoot for Strictly Spanking videos, a website focussed on real-life punishments. Leia-Ann was punished for smoking and it seems to have helped her to at least reduce the number of cigarettes she smokes. I watched the preview clips and came to the following conclusion: I'm not into real life discipline, so the Strictly Spanking videos most probably aren't for me, but the video seems to be beautifully shot and I like the caring and respectful undertone. I think that this is very important, especially when such a personal thing as real life discipline is mixed up with a video shoot. 

Later, I stumbled across another account about real-life discipline, this time written by Mija and posted under the title Demon Torrents on The Punishment Book. She was punished for illegally downloading Criminal Minds episodes using Paul's account. What touched me the most about Mija's post was her final conclusion: And then it was over. We hugged and I curled up against his chest, sulking a bit. Not because the punishment was unfair or undeserved. But because it happened at all. Yet as I think about it today, I can't help but imagine what would have happened without it. Paul's resentment of my thoughtlessness. My guilt coupled with the resentment feeling guilty creates. The hours or even days it might have taken for life to be back in balance. I hate stories about spanking that end in feeling of gratitude. But I am grateful. Not to Paul, who enjoyed last night, but for this scene that exists between us as both play and reality. It's not at all a bad life.

And finally I read another fantastic post written by Pandora titled The evolution of punishment; or how I came to like it. It's about a punishment she received from D mainly for missed back exercises. But this wasn't the cathartic kind of punishment spanking, it was a motivational spanking which finally led to arousal, fun and lovemaking. The essence is beautifully caught in the following excerpt: Then it was over; and as I cuddled up to him I realised that I hadn't cried, hadn't had the catharsis experience I usually associate with punishment. This was less distressing and less complex than that. On one level it was wholeheartedly, straightforwardly consensual. This whole thing was my idea. D wasn't being domineering, making me do things I didn't want to do; he was my team-mate, my equal partner, working with me to help me achieve my aims. On another, my crime was not emotionally distressing; a minor blip in my striving for self-improvement, but I hadn't hurt anyone and had no reason to be overwhelmed by remorse or regret. This punishment was a tool in my arsenal; it was part of the plan. It wasn't anything to feel bad about. And I didn't feel bad. I felt relieved, satisfied, loved, reassured, safe

Three very different kinds of punishment spankings. Some very far away from my kink, some very close. But no matter how much I could or couldn't relate to the scenarios, the signs of safety and trust which I found in all three accounts together with the knowledge that these scenes worked for the people involved touched me.

And last but not least there was a wonderful account written by Erica Scott about her last play session with her regular play partner New Guy. To Erica's complete surprise New Guy had decided to turn into a rather mean person, almost a stranger, to tie Erica up, to scare her and of course spank her. Obviously Erica Scott's account scared a few of her readers at first, until they came to the part where she wrote about how much she enjoyed this unexpected rough scenario. Erica wrote: I have been tied up before. But I'd never experienced it like this, as part of a roleplay scene, sprung on me so unexpectedly. It was different. It was rougher than I usually play. But I could do it with him. I could go there. I trusted him. I knew I was safe, so I could fully immerse myself in the fantasy.

I couldn't imagine to enjoy a scene like that before I met Ludwig. Even today I'm not completely sure why I seek these scenarios. But I know that the better I got to know Ludwig and the more I trusted him the stronger these fantasies became. Today I wouldn't mind at all to make myself vulnerable to Ludwig and to give myself into his hands. Because I know that he won't hurt me. Ludwig knows so much about me, my fears, my weaknesses and my sore spots that it would be very easy for him to hurt me, not only during a spanking scene, but, even worse, in our real relationship as a couple. I trust him not to do it, as well as I trust him to take care of my well-being in our play.

Our desires as spankees might be very different: letting go, stress relief, catharsis, empowerment or sexual pleasure. And the core of our kinks might be very different as well: for example pain, dark scenarios, sensual spankings, feeling small or testing our limits. But what struck me when I read all those different posts was that there is one common base for all spanking play as a bottom: Trust into the top and his or her ability to create a safe environment in which we can explore our kink. Sometimes the accounts written by others about scenarios that aren't my cup of tea tend to scare me a bit. But as soon as the posts remind me of the trust between the people involved I relax. What could be a more beautiful essence of our kink than trust?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow-White and Rose-Red

It seems like these are the last winter days with snow here in Germany. Time for some inurement practise for what seems to become another very exciting but also demanding year. And what is better for that purpose than martial arts training in the snow? I'm sure all Karate Kid training sessions would have looked like that – had Karate Kid been a girl!

Of course it is very important to be well-trained. Otherwise one might lose the fight and end up tied  helplessly to a tree like this!

To prevent this from happening it is very important to have a mentor who knows the art of motivation. So, if the cold makes it difficult to concentrate on the training, he might provide help by letting his pupil bend over...

… and warming her bottom with six of the best with a switch. This doesn't only increase the motivation, it also creates a beautiful picture – snow-white and rose-red!

A little time of meditation helps to get mental strength as well.

And finally some cool-down in the snow after an invigorating lesson. Bring on all your challenges, 2011, I'm ready!