Today's topic is a very controversial one. As a matter of fact I assume that some readers might even be offended by the mere fact that I'm going to ask certain questions in this post. Mind you, my intention isn't to say that things are either this or that way. But I've made some observations and experiences in our community that made me wonder. And I've decided to share my thoughts with you and ask for your opinion.
I guess all of you have heard or read about stress-relief spankings, spanking for the purpose of releasing otherwise suppressed emotions, spankings that helped people to get rid of a bad mood and even spankings that worked as a kind of therapy against forms of chronic pain. And I assume that it is widely agreed in our community that many kinksters don't only use spanking as a part of their sexual play, but also, at least from time to time, for the one or other of the “therapeutic” purposes mentioned above.
But these aren't the forms of therapy I want to talk about today. So, what is today's post all about? Basically, it is about the question whether spanking and the frameworks of kinky relationships are used, much more often than one might assume at first sight, as a kind of self-therapy that helps people to cope with negative experiences, personal insecurities and even potentially damaging behaviour in a controlled manner. And secondly, it is about the question whether there is a significantly higher amount of people with certain forms of insecurities or a predisposition for certain forms of self-violating behaviour in our community compared to society as a whole.
The observations I am going to share with you touch completely different aspects of kink and our community. My intention is not to say that these aspects are in any way correlated with each other. And this is not about a moral judgement, either. However, all of these observations fed similar thoughts and questions. I'll share them with you one by one to show you what I'm talking about.
The first observation is one that I have made about kinky relationships, in the online community as well as in one of the local communities here in Munich. In both environments I've been confronted with many relationships that involve a permanent unidirectional power dynamics. I'm not only talking about kinky play here, I'm talking about concepts for a partnership as a whole.
A form that seems very common to me and which Ludwig has often come across at the local community is the daddy-girl dynamic. I'm well aware that many people only use that dynamic for role-play scenarios, but there also seem to be a lot of couples for whom this is a permanent part of their relationship. From my observation, these relationships tend to be between rather young women and men who usually are at least a few years older than their partner.
Several of the women I know who are in such a form of relationship admit that they don't feel like adults (yet) and that they are looking for someone to protect them and care for them. Someone who is older and wiser and can teach them things about life. And someone they can call whenever things are getting rough and who will, like a friend aptly called it, “jump in on his white horse, wearing his shining armor, and go to tilt at windmills”.
Ludwig has made the observation that, in his view, many of the women he knows from the local scene seem less self-reliant and less adult than the average women their age. Another observation we both made, when listening to stories about their background, is that many of the women seeking this form of daddy-girl relationship apparently did not have a caring father figure in their childhood and deeply missed that experience.
From my observation, there seem to be certain types of tops that are involved in daddy-girl relationships as well. I've got the impression that often the men in these relationships seem to seek not only the feeling of being loved, but also the feeling of being needed, of being looked up to and of being superior to their partner concerning life experience, knowledge and the like.
What makes me think even more about the question whether both parties use the power dynamics of their relationship to deal with certain insecurities is that I have seen women outgrow this form of relationship, which usually led to a split-up. While the women, from what I have seen, then usually looked for a more equal partnership, it seems to me like the men involved often found it more difficult to cope with the end of the relationship and tried to overcome the loss by looking for a new girl to care for.
Of course, the daddy-girl relationships are not the only ones with a permanent power dynamics like this. Forms of relationships which seem to be much more uncommon among our local friends, but about which I've read a lot in the online community are HOH (head of household), FLR (female led relationship) and 24/7 master-slave relationships. I don't have as much knowledge about the background of the people involved in these kinds of relationships, but what strikes me is that the submissives often describe certain similar-sounding needs.
Those are: the need for leadership in their lives, the need to be given rules and to be held accountable, the need to be helped with improving their behaviour and with getting rid of bad habits. What I've heard quite often as well is the wish to please their partner in return. I've read much less from people who are in charge in such a relationship, but it seems to me that what they seek often is caring for and helping another person, but also obedient behaviour and (unquestioning) submission from their partner. So, it seems to me that the power dynamics in these kinds of relationships are quite similar to the one in daddy-girl relationships.
What I'm asking myself is: Why do there seem to be so many relationships with that kind of power dynamics in our community? Does submission often go along with insecurities and the wish to give up a certain amount of responsibility for one's own daily life? Does dominance often go along with the wish to feel strong through caring for and having the obedience of another person? Or am I completely wrong about the power dynamics and the underlying motives of the kinds of relationships I've described? Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle?
Power dynamics in relationships are not the only thing that made me think, though. I have to admit that I have never read and heard as much about horrible experiences of real abuse during childhood / adolescence as in the kinky community. And I've never come across so many stories about, and evidence of, self-harming behaviour as I did here. In both cases, I have no idea whether this is just because we generally talk more openly about life experiences in our community or whether there is indeed a significantly higher number of people with bad experiences in our community than in the general population. The self-destructive behaviours I'm talking about are, for example, self-cutting or beating oneself up mentally with permanent feelings of guilt.
So, the question is: Is there a statistical correlation at all or is it just co-incidence? And can spanking be used in any way to deal with horrible memories or to control potentially self-harming tendencies? Furthermore, can spanking play also be dangerous in case someone has a tendency towards a certain form of self-harming behaviour? I know at least one woman who eventually interpreted her tendency of getting involved in increasingly dark play scenarios as a self-destructive pattern and then turned away from that form of play.
I've also come across some self-descriptions of tops that were quite similar and to me sounded like they somehow used spanking as a form of therapy. Basically, these tops admitted to having a kind of dark side, “inner demons” or an “inner werewolf” with which they dealt by letting it out in a controlled manner in their kinky play. I don't know how common this experience is (and I'm not sure how many people would admit to having made that experience), but I know at least two tops who described themselves this way...
So much for the diverse observations that made me wonder about possible common patterns. Of course, I thought about my own kink and possible motives for my personal fantasies as well and I found the results quite revealing. I'm going to share them with you in another post.
For today I'd like to leave you with my different observations and these questions: Do therapeutic effects explain a (smaller or bigger) part of our spanking fantasies and the power dynamics of kinky relationships? If so, what are the advantages and possible risks? And, the certainly most controversial question of all: Could there be a statistical correlation between kinkiness and certain problematic character traits (like being easily stressed out, or even a tendency towards self-harm), negative experiences during childhood or adolescence, and / or feelings of insecurity? I don't think that anyone knows the ultimate truth about these questions, but I would very much like to hear about your personal experiences and thoughts.