In her weekly brunch, Bonnie has asked readers this week a question that I think most of us here on the PB have discussed at one time or another (and for some of us, numerous times) on the soc.sexuality.spanking newsgroup. Namely, if we spankos actually enjoy being spanked, can punishment spankings even work? I left a short comment on Bonnie's blog but the more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted to write more, especially as it coincides with something I've been thinking about for a few months.
This particular question is an interesting one for me as my partner and I switch but I alone get punished for real life transgressions. It's not because he's perfect and I'm not. Far from it (though not too far...::smile::). We are both equally human and fallible. Indeed, we even have a lot of the same bad habits. We both procrastinate. We both markedly underestimate how long a task will take. We can both be slightly impulsive shoppers. We are both extremely competitive (though I'm not sure that's necessarily a fault...)
We also, of course, have our differences. I can be a bit of a neat freak (A. teases me about being almost "Howard Hughes"-like in my hygiene), while he, though relatively tidy, is oblivious to small bits of dust and debris here and there. I tend to need to control space, while A. is more accommodating. I crave structure while A. is more about the general outline. I tend to worry about what other people will think and attach my self worth to external forms of approval (grades, awards, etc.), while A., though very polite, is more into his own thing. And I absolutely can't stand being in trouble, while A. is able to shrug off almost anything.
My experience with other spankos has been that those who share my distress about being in trouble or having disappointed someone, who crave structure, who attach their self-worth to external forms of approval, and who have a hard time letting go of their failures are generally the ones for whom punishment spanking is very effective (though note, as with all generalizations, there are always exceptions). People like my A. who may have momentary regret over failings and disappointments but brush them off pretty quickly, and who have a solid, innate sense of self worth that, though they may enjoy accolades, rarely changes one way or another, are those who have a difficult time ever divorcing sexual pleasure from a beating.
That's not to say I don't get sexual pleasure from a punishment. Indeed I would argue being punished is my primary form of sexuality. My core sexual fetish is not so much spanking but punishment. And I find punishment so hot that role play is not enough for me; I want the real thing. However, the context of the spanking -- disappointment, failure, frustration -- during a punishment overrides mentally whatever sexual pleasure my body may be showing. In fact, I'm generally unaware that I was even aroused during the ordeal until a half hour or so afterwards. And, of course, thinking about being punished -- both of my past punishments as well as fantasized ones -- is always hot. Though I also tend to think of past punishments with a great deal of warm, fuzzy, gawd-I-love-being-taken-care-of-by-such-a-loving-human-being sorts of feelings.
Cuddling after a punishment spanking is so much more intense. Comes with such a buzz. As if something transcendent is happening. A form of communion, if you will. I never get that from role playing, even though I love how much fun role playing is. And as horrible as punishment may be, there's something so special about it afterwards that I can't ever replicate it in any other way. I can't fake a misdemeanor in order to get punished and get that buzz, though I do admit there have been times I've wanted attention so much I have subconsciously done something naughty (and that's happening less and less as I've become better at articulating my needs and wants). But it never works if I do it intentionally.
And that's the paradox of punishment. I only get the post-punishment buzz after having been punished for a real transgression. Yet the being in trouble and having transgressed is so awful, I avoid punishment like the plague, even though spanking and punishment are very arousing.
Perhaps there is something validating about punishment. Something that acknowledges the little girl in me who still lives with her primeval fears of being bad and abandoned. That acknowledges her internal distress with a palpable sign of disapproval that is, in turn, a powerful expression of affection and commitment. And by doing so, allows me to let go of my fears and distress, even if my lover let go of my faults a long time ago.
He always has been better than I am at letting go of things. Not that I'm competitive or anything...