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Occasional musings on the subject of spanking by CSO Steve Richardson and others.
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The Wee Cooper o' Fife

(traditional Scottish folksong)

There was a wee cooper who lived in Fife,
Nickety, nackety, noo, noo, noo,
And he has gotten a gentle wife,
Hey willy wallachy, how John Dougal
Alane quo rushety, roo, roo, roo.

She wouldna bake and she wouldna brew,
For the spoiling o' her comely hue,

She wouldna card and she wouldna spin,
For the shaming o' her gentle kin,

The cooper's away to his wool pack
And he's laid a sheepskin on his wife's back

I'll no thrash you for your proud kin
But I will thrash my own sheepskin.'

Oh I will bake and I will brew:
And never think more o' my comely hue.'

Oh I will card and I will spin:
And never think more o' my gentle kin.'

All ye who have gotten a gentle wife
Just send ye for the wee cooper o' Fife.

I Know What You Did

Leslie (the POSSLQ) and I know a very nice couple roughly our age who are into spanking. We met them at a SCONY Party. The question came up of what they told their grown children when they went away for a spanking weekend. To much amusement they told us that they simply told the nosey kids that they were going to a nudist weekend. “What,” somebody inquired, “if they want to come along?” “Well, we just tell them it is for our age group.”

Like others in the discussion, I found this amusing, but then I began to wonder, why is being into spanking more to be hid than being into nudism? And further, we all know gay individuals who are quite open about their sexual preferences and rightly so. But do we know anybody who is out to their vanilla friends about their spanking proclivities? If we do, it is a small number of spankos and a limited selection of their friends.

Again, why is a spanking interest more to be hidden than sexual interest in the same sex? Surely it is not physical danger, even in this enlightened age it is not difficult to find stories of gays being insulted, assaulted, or worse. I have yet to hear of somebody having “spanko” painted on their mailbox or being physically assaulted for their devotion to one of the finest things in life.

I have no answer for the question posed above, and like the vast majority of spankos I am extremely discreet about who knows my secret. If anybody out there can speak to this question, I would be pleased to receive such. For the best answer, I am offering a free subscription to this free site.

Connie's Corner #2

Well, Connie fans, here she is again, this issue bringing us her thoughts on spanking instruments.

One of your questions has to do with instruments — "Should an instrument be used or the palm of the hand, if an instrument, do you have favorites?" I expect some day I'll be able to write a whole treatise on this subject! I tend to favor the palm as a beginning, especially when there is going to be more than one spanking over a period of time. The flesh-against-flesh aspect is, to my mind, extremely erotic. However, it scarcely suffices for the long run, or if a severe spanking is deserved, since the spanker will eventually end up punishing his own hand, as well as the recipient's naughty bottom.

My favorite instrument has to be the hairbrush, which is strange, considering that it is one instrument my father never used, as I remember, and if he had, I very much doubt that I would have forgotten. His hand, his belt, a razor strop, a switch, a ping-pong paddle — all of these I vividly remember his using, but never the hairbrush. I just believe, from experience of course, that the hairbrush delivers the most penetrating punishment of any instrument (save one, that I have had only a taste of, but more about that later). It hurts from the very first smack. After a period of time, the smacks are felt, I would swear, right down to the very bone.

Any kind of paddle, on the other hand, seems to have a cumulative effect. It doesn't hurt very much to begin with, but after about 20 smacks, the heat has built up until your bottom feels as though it's on fire. The most stinging punishment is inflicted with the switch — especially a thin, whippy one. I remember one story about a young girl who, when sent out to cut the switch to be used on her, selected the thinnest one she could find, erroneously believing that more was bound to be worse — a serious mistake when it comes to the switch. The thinner the switch, the more cutting the pain, which, unlike the hairbrush or paddle, gets both cheeks at the same time — and both thighs, if the disciplinarian is so inclined.

The ruler does the same, and depending on its length and flexibility, is similar to either the paddle or the switch. I have had spankings with a ruler that scarcely hurt at all, and others that I truly wanted to stop. But, I think I have to say, from my very brief experience with it — and that not as severe as it could have been — that all these would have to take second place in inflicting real pain to the cane. Even the light blows I received were enough to leave welts across my bottom.

Homes & Education

For those of you who are interested in the important factors in choosing a residence we offer the following facts compiled by the U.S. office of Civil Rights (this in the late 1980s).

Starting from the bottom (that pun could not have been intended) there are seven states in which there is essentially no corporal punishment in the schools: RI, NJ, NH, MA, ME, HI, and DC. In addition, seven states reported corporal punishment for fewer than .01% of their pupils: WI, ND, NY, SD, CT, UT, and VT.

On the other end of the scale, four states report corporal punishment on more than 10% of their pupils in 1982: Arkansas led the way with 12.55% followed in order by FL, MS, and TN. All of the other states of the confederacy, except Virginia, had rates of at least 5% as did New Mexico and West Virginia. The geographers among you will have noticed that the south is the area of teaching to the tune of the hickory stick, the northeast leads the way towards abolition and the midwest and far west tend to be intermediate. I hope this note will aid you in choosing a new home.

Article in Esquire Magazine

There is an article by a Bruce Henry in the December 1937 issue of Esquire entitled "Women Are Like Gongs." The author expounds for several pages on the virtue of beating one's wife. The author does say some silly things, e.g. "Grade-A wife-beating is neither erotic nor remotely connected with the sex urge," which leads the unwary reader to think that he may actually be talking about wife-beating rather than spanking, but the bulk of the article makes it clear that he is talking about spanking. It should be available at many local public libraries and I commend it to you.

Old English proverb

A spaniel, a woman, and a walnut tree —
The more you beat them, the better they be.

Ms. and ReMs

A few years ago, Ms. magazine was still running letters reacting to that of the feminist who wrote to state that her husband paddles her and that she enjoys it. However, my sworn duty to truth makes me warn you that they seemed to be falling into a tremendously common fallacy, that of equating spanking with Sadomasochistic activity.

This common error has been bothering me for some time, so you dear reader, get to hear my views. S/M as it is usually understood and practiced has virtually nothing to do with spanking as you and I know and love it. This is sadly obvious when we are misled into purchasing magazines aimed at the S/M crowd. There are no spankings, a naughty girl or woman, ashamed and embarrassed, but realizing that she has erred and knowing deep down that she deserves her punishment. The spanker, perhaps enjoying his role, but also acting because he knows that he must correct her errors. The preparation for the punishment. She is fully clothed, various items must be raised or lowered so that her bottom is bared. The punishment itself, a hand, hairbrush, paddle, or belt used repeatedly until the young lady feels that she can take no more, then used a bit longer. Finally, the unfortunate young lady is let up, the punishment is over, her seat is on fire and she doesn't know how she can look her spanker in the eye again, but she also realizes that she is forgiven and that he cares enough to take the trouble to discipline her.

Compare this with what we find in S/M books, naked ladies bound into various contorted positions, men or women hitting them, perhaps with whips, for no discernible reason. Groups, changing partners, leather get-ups, what have you. I do not mean to poke fun, (well, not too much fun) these are consenting adults and probably what we do seems as odd to them as what they do seems to us. But the point is they are not us. There is a certain amount of pain in what we do, but it is a particular kind of pain and the pain is only one element of an elaborate scene.

It is disturbing that not only lay people who write to Ms. can't make the distinction, but neither can most professionals who write on the topic of sexual varieties. Look in your favorite sex manual. If spanking is mentioned at all, it is assumed to be one manifestation of S/M activity. The author will usually pull his or her skirts up and walk gently around the whole topic, as if avoiding dog mess on the sidewalk.

But this is another problem. The immediate problem is that the expert doesn't really know we exist. Despite untold numbers of movies in which plot development just demanded that the heroine be spanked, despite the fact that hundreds of popular novels contain spanking scenes, not general, where the heroine gets beaten up, but specific, where she is turned over somebody's knee and spanked, despite the fact that Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and their ilk are deluged with spanking letters, despite Nancy Friday's compilations showing the prevalence of spanking fantasies among women, spanking is ignored.

Treated as a variation of S/M, it is rarely explicitly discussed. The Joy of Sex may discuss spanking briefly as sex play, one gets the impression that the authors were under a compulsion to include everything, but to the best of my knowledge there is no serious, scholarly study of spanking as an erotic phenomenon, although Havlock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex does report some case histories which are pure spanking, neither is the phenomenon treated in any serious way in the popularizations of sexology books which are so popular. Even dictionaries, as I show in my work "On Defining Spanking" (a plug), are terribly remiss in even their treatment of straight, non-erotic spanking used as punishment for deserving children. It goes without saying that not one dictionary I came across even hinted at the erotic possibilities of spanking. I want to control my paranoia, there is no question but that creating world peace, eradicating hunger and disease, and solving the population crisis, to name a few, are more important than figuring out why you and I are like we are, but you would think that some ambitious graduate student somewhere might have studied a topic which, I am convinced, touches a sizeable segment of the American public.

Spare the Rod

The subject for today's sermon is the book Spanking: Why, When, How? by Roy Lessin, published by Bethany House Publishers and available from your local Christian book store. If they don't have it in stock, they should be able to order it for you. Price is $2.95.

I am quite certain that you have firm ideas on why to spank and the obvious answer to when, is whenever you get a chance. I will therefore concentrate on how. Mr. Lessin gives eight rules:
  1. Use the right instrument. In the author's view this is a rod which he defines as a flexible branch, twig, or stick. He doesn't like the hand because it is an extension of the spanker rather than being a neutral object and he feels that paddles and wooden spoons don't hurt enough. He does allow that a spanking may leave marks and cautions spankers not to be dissuaded by the possibility.
  2. Spank promptly.
  3. Find a private place.
  4. Clarify the issue, i.e., let the spankee know why the spanking is taking place.
  5. Get into a proper position by which he means get the spankee into a proper position. For younger children he favors "over the knee" but he feels that older children should bend over a chair or bed.
  6. Spank the proper area. Mr. Lessin and we are in perfect agreement as to what is the proper area.
  7. Wait for the proper cry. I quote, "Swats or slaps are not spankings ...A spanking needs to be hard enough and long enough to bring a repentant cry, a cry that says 'I'm sorry.'"
  8. Have a period of reconciliation. I am not certain that he means the same thing here that we do.

Ambivalence and Spanking

Without seeking to frame universal truths in this area (which probably don't exist), I would still suggest that ambivalence is the very essence of many, perhaps most spanking relationships. Thus, to speak of the girls in certain fantasies as "having fun and not suffering," or to summarize the "domination/submission polarity" by saying that "if the victim enjoys the experience, this would spoil it for the other(s)" both imply that for the victim having fun automatically excludes suffering — and also excludes enjoyment for the "other(s)."

Perhaps for some people it does, but for many others, both spankers and spankees, the psychological reality is far more complex — and ambivalent. Rather than "having fun and not suffering," the victim in these relationships is having fun and suffering — indeed it is the suffering that makes possible the fun. Being forced to get the hairbrush, lie down across the spanker's lap, and submit to a thorough chastisement "on the bare" is first humiliating and then painful — but it can also, as many "victims" can testify, be tremendously exciting, not despite the humiliation and pain but because of them.

Equally, the spanker derives fun not simply from subjecting the victim to pain and humiliation but also from the excitement, explicit or implicit, that they induce in the spankee. (In what follows, I shall refer to the spanker as "he" and the spankee as "she" — partly for simplicity and partly because that is the scene I know best. Readers with other preferences can adjust the pronouns to suit.)

At the start, the spankee truly fears the punishment she is about to receive — in part because she knows from experience what it will feel like, and in part because she suspects that this time may be worse than previous experience. (As the authors of S/M: The Last Taboo perceptively put it, the spanking should always be "a little worse" than the spankee expects.) At the same time, she truly wants the punishment that she fears — because she knows she both "deserves" and desires it.

Thus she trembles with fear — but also with anticipation. The prolongation of this fear/anticipation is the major psychological point of the spanking "ritual": the scolding, the recounting of the punishment to come, the orders to get the hairbrush, to "get across my knee," and then the "ceremonial" raising of the skirt to expose the panties — perhaps followed by a "warmup" hand spanking over them. This last not only prolongs the agony but also amounts to a sort of reminder that it is only the beginning: that what's coming will be much worse — and much better. The ritual is also designed to emphasize the victim's helplessness and submission — the fact that she is being chastised "like a naughty little girl."

And this brings in other varieties of ambivalence. Being treated like a child is humiliating, but also reassuring (as children, most of us took for granted that adult family members, though perhaps severe or even cruel on occasion, were basically loving and protective); being helpless is frightening, but also liberating, since it frees her from responsibility, from the need to make decisions. The decisions will be made for her.

Following the "warmup," her panties are slowly taken down, and she is exposed in every sense. Exposure is still more humiliating, but also exciting; if she enjoys exhibiting herself (as she probably does) she can do so without guilt, because it has been "forced" on her. Had she spontaneously bared herself to show off her bottom, she would have been "bad"; this way, she can't help herself. Beyond this, the gradual exposure further intensifies the suspense, because it signals that the really painful part of her punishment is about to start. Knowing what it will be like, she hopes, perhaps begs, for a reprieve — yet at the same time wants it to begin. Before it does, though, she may be ordered to request her punishment, thereby intensifying her humiliation — but also signalling her willingness to be humiliated, and to be punished as she deserves.

The punishment itself is no less ambiguous. It is painful, and grows more so as it progresses, to the point where she feels she "can't take any more" and begs him to stop. Yet if he did stop she would be not only relieved but also, somehow, disappointed. The sting of the brush is agonizing, yet she knows that the more intense the pain, the more intense the subsequent pleasure. Thus as the burning pain builds up in her bottom, she may protest, promise to be a "good girl," weep, and quite sincerely beg to be "let off." Yet in the back of her mind she also knows that for her the ultimate pain is the price of the ultimate ecstasy...

The spanker is hardly less ambivalent: he wants her to fear the punishment, but not to fear him; to feel humiliated, but not degraded. He wants her to feel helpless, yet secure: to know that however painful her punishment, it will not be "too" painful, that however severe he may be, he still values, even loves her. ("Each man spanks the thing he loves.") It is for this reason that the victim's cooperation — her obedient getting of the hairbrush, bending across his knee, lifting up to allow her panties to be taken down, admitting that she is a "naughty girl" who needs to be spanked hare — is essential: it certifies that deep down she accepts, even desires, her punishment.

The spanker's feelings remain ambiguous during the punishment itself. He wants her to feel thoroughly insecure about its ultimate severity — yet thoroughly secure in the knowledge that though her bottom will hurt agonizingly it will not be injured. He intends to give her a little bit more than she can stand — yet no more than she can "really" stand. He enjoys her protests, cries, tears, and entreaties because they show that she is "really feeling it" — but also they show that she is really enjoying it.

From beginning to end, he is, and wants to be, in complete control, wants her to know he is in control — yet also wants her to be "in control," in the sense that her responses will ultimately govern and limit his actions. Spanking, for both spankee and spanker, is both a physical reality and a symbolic drama — and both are ambivalent. Physically, the spankee experiences both intense pain and intense pleasure, while the spanker is producing both — and enjoying both. Symbolically, the spankee is both naughty child and sexually excited adult; the spanker, both stern parent surrogate and lover.

All these ambiguities are bound to be somewhat confusing to those who have not known them from personal experience. We all operate much of the time on the assumption that things are either one thing or the other: night is not day, anger is not love, Good Guys are not Bad Guys, pain is not pleasure. Yet all of us, if we've done a reasonable amount of living, also know that people and life do not always divide into such simple categories. Twilight is neither day not night — and no one can say at what point one becomes the other; few people are purely, "good" or "bad"; pain, for some people, can indeed be pleasure. Thus the spanking relationship, which on the face of it is "perverse," "unnatural," even "inhuman," becomes a metaphor for the ambivalence and ambiguity that are truly central to humanity.

Great Moments in History

When I was just a lad of modest years, I used to search old copies of The Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature for listings of articles about spanking. One of the most provocative was a listing of an article in the Literary Digest entitled "Should a Sixteen-Year-Old Girl be Spanked," or something close. When, with increasing sophistication, I was able to locate the story in question I found it, like most of the similar listings, to be disappointingly vague.

Now, I won't admit how many years later, I have found reprints of news stories relating the event in a book graciously lent me by J.S. It seems the girl in question, Laura, returned home an hour later than she was supposed to. Her mother whipped her with a clothes hanger. The girl, feeling aggrieved went to court and the judge fined her mother $100, but also took the time to explain that although he had fined the woman for being to severe, he felt that whippings were fine punishments for naughty girls. He himself knew at least 150 girls, most between 11 and 16 years old who deserved good whippings.

Meanwhile, the mother appealed, spent a night in jail and then was released on bail. She later went to jail for a while rather than pay the fine although her daughter offered to help pay the fine. When she got out, mother and daughter were reconciled with the daughter asking for and receiving another whipping from her mother, this time with her bare hand. Meanwhile, the mother decided to seek forgiveness from her own father whose house she had left 23 years before when threatened with a flogging. She expressed her willingness, if he wanted to, to receive the whipping which had been waiting for her all that time.

As far as I can tell this story is true and is based on contemporary 1928 news accounts. Oh yes, I almost forgot, the mother was a professional lion tamer with the circus.

Connie's Corner

Here is Connie's recollection of her first spanking.

Although I was never, consciously, turned on when my father spanked me, I began at a very early age to be definitely turned on by seeing or hearing other children spanked, and this happened more often in my childhood than it does today. Gradually, I began to be stimulated by envisioning myself being spanked by someone other than my father, and these fantasies intensified after puberty, when my father was no longer spanking me.

Soon, these desires became as unchangeable a part of me as the color of my eyes — truly. Another factor that I have often thought important in the development of my orientation is that I was always punished for any kind of sexual play or activity. Unfortunately, I turned out to be rather precocious in this respect at an early age. Attitudes were still pretty puritanical during this time. My very first spanking, in fact, came as a result of what was taken as a sexual interest (although it was quite innocent), when I was three and a half years old. I remember it vividly, which in itself probably foreshadows mydevelopmentelpment of this need. I remember it as though it were yesterday, sitting on the sofa in our living room. It must have been around bedtime, because I was wearing those pajamas that children used to wear that cover the feet and have a buttoned flap in the back. I was playing with my doll, and was, at this time, comparing her anatomy with my own. This ended up with my unbuttoning the front of my jammies and reaching down between my legs, because my doll did not look or feel like I did there. I was oblivious to my parents reading nearby, until I heard my mother say "Look what she's doing."

My father threw down his newspaper, stood up and towered over me, as all adults must seem to tower to children that age. "I guess it's time she learned what will happen when she misbehaves," he said to my mother. He then picked up a folding rooftop that fitted over my small dollhouse, and pulled me off of the sofa. He unbuttoned the flap of my pajamas, leaving my little bottom bare. The rooftop made an excellent paddle, as I soon learned to my sorrow. At first I thought my Daddy must be playing some kind of a new game with me, but soon I was screaming, because those smacks hurt so very much. In no time at all, my bottom must have been scarlet. At one point, I recall looking over at my mother through my tears. She had just the slightest smile on her lips, and I have since wondered if she was enjoying the scene, but I don't believe so now, because she never showed any such tendency later on, and in fact, would sometimes prevail upon my father to stop whipping me, when she thought he was too severe. I imagine it was just because it was my first spanking, and it may not have been as hard as I remember it to her eyes. Or, she may have been remembering her own childhood spankings. When my father had set me back on the sofa, he said "Little girls do not play with themselves down there. It is very naughty." Later, when I calmed down, I was put to bed — by my father — with much hugging and kissing. As a man once said to me, "Good God! How could you not have developed these tendencies?"
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