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?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the privilege of being included in your insightful post. There are many essential components in a successful spanking relationship and you have addressed the component of trust eloquently.

Erica said...

I too am quite honored at being included and quoted. It really is amazing, the places we can go with those we trust. And most important, that trust can never be demanded -- it must be earned.


The trust bonding element, in play, is one of the most important aspects of spanking interaction. Be it between a couple in a relationship or just between playmates. It has to go both ways as well, a Top must be able to trust the bottom/sub that they are playing with to be honest and not expect crystal ball reading style intuition from the Top. Thinking about this, it is a complicated issue.


Respecting Mistress said...

Thank you Kaelah for such an insightful post. It's is, as you say, all about trust and we are lucky people to have partners or friends who share out interests. I was moved by your original question to Burl and, thanks to Burl, looked into Julnick's writings. It prompted to me to write my own humble post on the subject. So I really have to thank both you and Burl for encouraging me to explore my own trhoughts more closely

Kaelah said...

@ Burl & Erica:
It's my pleasure, thanks for the inspiration and thanks for stopping by! :-)

@ Prefectdt:
Yep, you are right, on the one hand this is absolutely simple, for any spanking play you need trust on both sides, on the other hand the topic of trust can become quite complicated once you take a closer look... I'll write a bit about the topic from the perspective of a top in my next post!

@ Respecting Mistress:
Thank you very much for stopping by and I'm honoured that my simple question inspired you. Your post is very insightful indeed and I already wrote a comment on your blog!

Underling said...

Kaelah, very thought-provoking stuff - both yours, and the posts you linked to.

Like you, I don't want to be 'broken' by a spanking - in fact I'm not sure it fulfils any wider psychological purpose in my life at all, beyond the immediate rush and a euphoria that lasts for a few hours afterwards. I enjoy being a little afraid, and I like to test my bravery and tolerance for pain (that is, very specific pain applied in a specific place!) Oh, and it turns me on, of course :).

Sometimes when I read blogs by true 'lifestylers', or people who like Burl are seeking a transcendent experience, I feel a bit of a tourist by comparison. But I don't mean that to sound apologetic - there's definitely room for all of us, whatever it is we get from this. :)

Kaelah said...

Underling, I can relate to your feeling of only being a “spanking tourist” compared to others who seek more psychologically intense scenarios. I sometimes have that feeling as well (especially because I've got this “brave girl” kink and sometimes ask myself whether I just haven't got the guts to try the more edgy things). But lately I understand more and more that my desires are just different and that it doesn't make me a lesser spanko.

And I think the same is true for you as well. You might not seek these intense scenes, but you have very vivid spanking fantasies which are a part of your life, and you use them to create wonderful pieces of art (stories and drawings) for your blog. I'm sure most of your readers don't see you as a tourist but rather as a tour guide, telling them exciting little stories about that big city called “Kink”. :-)

Hermione said...

Kaelah, that was a very comprehensive post. It's interesting that the same theme appeared in so many very different blogs.

I really can't imagine a scene in which I am totally powerless and in the dark about what might happen next. It's simply not our dynamic, and so I can't relate. Not that I top from the bottom; we simply don't go beyond simplespanking into punishment or mind games. But Emma Jane's upcoming scene does sound frightening.


Respecting Mistress said...

Hi Kaelah,I couldn't agree with you more. And Underling, you are no spanking tourist.

But I can relate to your feelings. I don't think the scenes Mistress and I act out are particularly severe compared to some of those we've read about or have seen in video clips on the net.

I read or watch thinking I have a pathetic tolerance level and I'm kidding myslef thant I'm some kind of CP aficianado?

They are severe for me but Kaelah, I've seen yours and Ludwig's punihsments and they look intense to me!

But as you say, the thing that drives us all to correspond with each each other is a fascination of corporal punishment and we should all celebrate that.

Let's face it, one person's 100 lashes from a cat of nine-tails is another's six of the best from the school cane. Enjoy!

Underling said...

Kaelah - 'spanking tour guide', haha! I like that a lot. What a thoughtful lady you are :).

Yeah, you can rely on me to show you the little-known corners of my own back yard. But if we stray beyond that then expect lots of dead ends, retracing of steps and suggestions that someone else should take over!

Kaelah said...

@ Hermione:

Thank you very much for commenting! Like you we don't do any "real" punishment scenes and I wouldn't like to play out a scene in which I'm totally in the dark about what's going to happen.

But I find it interesting to read about how these things work for others, knowing that this is what they seek and that it won't do them any harm because they do it with people they can trust. Emma Jane has already done the scenario she was talking about and has written a very fascinating account about how the scene unfolded which you can find here.

@ Respecting Mistress:

"Let's face it, one person's 100 lashes from a cat of nine-tails is another's six of the best from the school cane." Wonderfully said!

Most of Ludwig's and my play is erotic or fun play and isn't about severity, anyway. Ludwig enjoys more severe scenes on film from time to time, but in our private play this only happens on special occasions because he is very careful and doesn't want me to be bruised too often. I have done scenes which were a bit more severe, but only a few ones. On the receiving end Ludwig usually likes to play harder. But, first of all he only switches on very rare occasions and secondly often for video clips which he thinks are worth "going the extra mile".

@ Underling:

That's the great thing about the kinky blogosphere – there are lots of different tour guides, so no one needs to know the whole city! We can start the tour in your backyard and neighbourhood and then Ludwig and I can take over and guide the tourists through our street and so on... Maybe we should found a new company "Spanking Tours Inc."?! And the advertising slogan could be "Spanking tours – visit our backyards!" or maybe backsides or something like that... ;-)

Anonymous said...

From Annapurna


Like a moth to a flame, I’m writing yet again, but I feel this time my comments are either too late for your topic or are too much like the views of an outsider looking in. I hope the latter is not true.

Is there a broken-empowerment continuum to spanking from a bottom’s perspective and if so, what obligation does the top have toward the bottom in achieving either aim?

Many of us seek the removal of the barriers that prevent us from experiencing deep-seated feelings while also witnessing a complete loss of control that is believed to result from a severe spanking at the hands of a caring top. While this experience does occur, I believe it to be rare and can only happen when a strong bond of trust exists between top and bottom.

In order to let go, we must first feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that we will not be judged when the tears begin to flow and that we will be held so our sense of self will not disintegrate when we feel unbearable anguish. This observation, I think, has already been made, and I certainly endorse it.

The regression part of this picture, however, is another matter, and may be difficult to achieve during a spanking because of two possible confounding factors: 1) the spanking itself may trigger a natural flight or fight response, thereby making it nearly impossible for us to relax into a catharsis or become a helpless child; or 2) there is insufficient repressed emotional material waiting to be released in an uncontrolled abreaction that is induced by the sensation of pain. We can, therefore, suffer many long and hard beatings while never sheading a single tear, a condition that’s not too uncommon for adults but is all too common for children.

The obligation of the top in this process is to attempt to satisfy the desires of the bottom in achieving a catharsis; but the top also needs to know when to bail on the whole proceedings to avoid undue damage to the bottom’s flesh and soul. Engaging in spanking interruptus by the top, however, may elicit anger and frustration in the bottom. But an astute top can redirect the bottom’s raw feelings in this regard toward inner process using touch and words, which may have the effect of igniting a catharsis through comfort, kindness, and carefully focused introspection.

The empowerment side of the continuum is new to me so whatever observations I might have may be of little value.

I can’t say I feel much empowerment when the first resounding smack rings out or when I feel the undeniable sting of the implement on my bare flesh. Eroticism and subspace consciousness are more of what I seek and experience, but then perhaps my individual scenes are not as severe as others?

Because I play with only one person and that person is my spouse, trust is never an issue even after my limits were inadvertently exceeded on one occasion, leading to an ER visit for me several hours after a very intense session, a session that caused my coronary arteries to go into spasm and my heart to fibrillate uncontrollably. Since that episode my spouse is reluctant to spank me at all for fear of killing me; whereas, my obsession to spank or be spanked is as strong as ever. Yet, I can’t say that I’m a thrill seeker or someone who is always looking to push limits beyond all endurance. Nor am I one to lust after an experience devoid of all self-control, handing the reigns of my soul to the stewardship of someone else. The minute I lie across my partner’s lap, I have already relinquished control and await the spanking I so deeply crave. Yet, I can say with all honesty I’ve never cried after having been spanked as an adult. That’s not a summit I long to climb.


Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:

As I already wrote, becoming a helpless child and letting go is not what I usually seek as a bottom. That's why I can only look at this subject from an outside point of view. But I think you captured the essence of that kind of play very well in your comment. What I usually seek is either empowerment in combination with a feeling of safety, stress relief, a bonding experience with my mate Ludwig and/or sexual pleasure and thrill. And there are the photo- and film-making experiences which are about bringing stories to life and creating art.

I can absolutely relate to your spouse's fear of spanking you, given the dangerous situation which the two of you experienced. I cross my fingers for you to find a good way of bringing your fantasies to life without risking any physical damages. To my mind safety, taking care of one's health and respecting one's physical limits are utterly important tasks for every spanking play!