Someone (who can identify herself if she so desires) I met at Shadow Lane sent me a questionnaire to fill out. Although this wasn't completely about punishment, I thought it might be interesting to post it here. So here are the questions and my answers. Pablo also answered the questions and his answers are on his blog. I found it interesting that we had quite a bit of overlap without having talked to each other about this.
Then again, maybe it isn't too surprising.
Explanation: In this paper, I’m looking at sexuality as identity—specifically in the BDSM and spanking communities. Identity is different than action: a man who had sex with another man once does not necessarily identify as gay. I want to tease out what that looks like in the scene in terms of actions versus identity. I’m also interested in theological and spiritual issues that come up in the different practices.
What name would you like used in the paper?
Mija is fine. You’re also welcome to use Annie or Annemarie.
1a.) How do you identify in the scene (e.g., top, bottom, switch, Dom(-me), slave, Master, Mistress, slave, etc) and why?
I’m a bottom with some submissive and occasional bratty and sadistic tendencies. But I really tend to have a hard time with most of the BDSM labels. That may be my problem with being labeled in general.
How does BDSM/spanking fit with your sexuality? (i.e., Is it the same as your sexuality or different? What’s the difference?)
Spanking / BDSM is my sexuality. I don’t think there’s much else – everything I’m into can fall under the larger heading of submission or discipline. Discipline and punishment is definitely where my sexual buttons lie.
How does BDSM/spanking fit with your sexual orientation? (i.e., Is it the same or different? What’s the difference?)
BDSM is definitely my orientation. Apart from that, to the extent there even is an apart, I’ve always been attracted to both men and women. I’m not sure if the ratio is 50/50 or not, but it’s very close.
I’ve done scenes with both men and women. While my enjoyment of being physically overpowered tends to mean that I like playing with men more than women, I’ve had some great scenes with female tops (and in some ways more traditionally sexual scenes). I think my sexual orientation is to bottom – that the right person for me can be either male or female.
Where does sex (intercourse) fit into this for you?
It doesn’t. I could happily live without ever having it again. My partner brings me to climax sometimes and that’s wonderful, but it’s always all about spanking (or some other sort of punishment scene) in my head. Spanking can happily exist without sex for me. But there’s no sexual arousal for me without at least the fantasy of spanking.
I have had conventional sex, but it’s never been very good for me – just something to sort of put up with when I had to. I can imagine having sex after a good scene with my partner, but I’m not sure there’d be any point other than it stemming from a desire to please him. Giving oral sex isn’t especially fun for me. Receiving it is something that I find kind of boring and unpleasant. Actually, that’s sort of how I tend to think of vanilla sex in general.
How does BDSM/spanking fit with your identity? (i.e., Does it fit with who you are all the time, some of the time, or does it depend?)
It’s pretty much who I am all the time. I’m not a pro-sub and I don’t feel submissive in my job, obviously, but I tend to be thinking about spanking on some level the way that I understand other people are thinking about sex on some level pretty much all the time.
I’m not embarrassed about who I am or what I do, but I do find that I don’t talk about it very much with people outside the scene. It feels like my private life and a bit uncomfortable to share with strangers. My vanilla friends tend to know, but it isn’t something discussed very often. Then again, neither are their intimate lives.
How long have you considered BDSM/spanking to be a part of yourself or your life?
I’ve been active in the scene (on-line at least) since my late 20s (about 9 years). But it’s always been at the center of my fantasy life. I just didn’t know it would even be possible to find someone else. The internet was a total revelation to me.
How does pain fit into the picture for you? (e.g., Is it the focus, a main goal, an unwanted by product, not a part of the experience, or something else?)
I’m not someone who gets pleasure out of pain in the sense of conventional (to the degree I understand it) masochism. Everything about this actually hurts me, sometimes to the point where I feel a bit ill or faint. But it has to really hurt otherwise it doesn’t feel real or right. Someone said it was about “suffering” for them and that rang true for me as well. I like scenes to be as much like “real” punishments as possible – no gentle warm-ups, no erotic stroking.
What do you do with pain? (e.g., Do you channel it, ignore it, fight it, surf it, bypass it, or something else?)
What I do with the pain is experience and embrace it. And then I remember it. Generally with a lot of pleasure because of how much it hurt and how it didn't stop even when I wanted it to.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between BDSM/spanking and spirituality/religion? (i.e., What have you or people you know experienced in this area and what do you think about it?)
There’s some religious elements in my fantasies. I’m Catholic so there’s a connection for me between school scenes and my religious tradition. Also the idea of repenting, confessing, doing penance and then being forgiven is definitely part of my fantasy life. I suppose it’s even there in the elements of ritual I’m so found of.
But for me BDSM and spanking are less about something spiritual then the profoundly human connections that can be made by sharing these intimate and painful moments.