10 years ago today, I got my first ever spanking. I’d met a wonderful man on the Shadow Lane personal ads, impulsively went to a hotel in Virginia and got spanked! I was 18 years old, and as eager as they come. A lifetime of fantasizing and longing come true.
And I’ve never looked back.
Four or so months later I started this blog, got naked on the internet, and went from there. During that time, I’ve had 9 kinky relationships, hundreds of play partners, multiple businesses, a couple parties, some internet fame, some internet shame, a yearlong catfish relationship, abuse, love, fidelity, infidelity, 3 months tops of being actually single, and a very loud voice. I’ve learned a lot, and come a long way. I’ve literally made my dreams come true, and I’ve sat on my floor crying in despair on multiple occasions.
I wouldn’t trade a second of it.
But in the honor of 10 years, and me feeling like a sage old lady at the ripe old age of 28, I’d like to share with you 10 things that I’d like to tell 18 year old me if I had the chance. Maybe, dear reader, you’ll also like what I have to say.
But this is for her. That wide-eyed, eager, innocent young girl who had no fucking clue what she was doing. Thank you, young girl, for answering that ad, and for going to that hotel. Thank you for starting us on this journey. You wouldn’t believe how far we’ve come.
10 things I’ve learned in my 10 years. For my younger self:
1. You’re monogamous or you’re poly. Figure out which, and stick with it.
Let’s start with the obvious here: this is an oversimplification. But my point stands. There are very few people that I’ve met that are truly poly/mono neutral—those who could happily be either. The vast majority of people are one or the other. And there’s nothing wrong with either; you just need to be true to who you are.
If you’re a poly person, you need to be up front about that with yourself and with your partners. You’re not a bad person, or a player, or any of those things. You just have different needs and you need to get them met.
Likewise if you’re a monogamous person, you need to be up front with yourself and your partners about that. You’re not overly jealous, or possessive, or a slave to the patriarchy or any of that. You just have certain needs that need to be met.
And while a poly and mono person can love each other, they probably shouldn’t date. I tried for *years* to be poly, to fit into poly relationships, because I loved people, and I was told that I would get used to it. But that’s not how it works. Those people weren’t wrong for wanting to live their life, and I wasn’t wrong for feeling hurt by it. But we were all wrong for having tried to push the other to be something they weren’t.
So, try things, experiment, and figure out how you feel and what you want. You might be able to be poly about sex, but not about kink or vice versa. I had a poly friend brilliantly tell me, after I indicated that I wouldn’t care if my partner had casual sex with someone, that I’d, “basically just said I wouldn’t care if he got a new tennis partner for all [I] care about sex.” What are your priorities? What are your limits? Are you ok with play at parties? What does play mean to you?
Answer those questions for YOU and then stick to your truth without compromise.
2. Someone else’s kink doesn’t have to be your kink. Go get a cookie.
You are not the arbiter of what is safe or sane. You can’t even always tell if someone else’s play is consensual. Just like you don’t want someone making moral judgements about your play, don’t make moral judgements about someone else’s. You don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to watch. As long as everyone is actively consenting, and the play isn’t breaking any of the rules of the play space they’re in, if you don’t like something, go get a cookie. Take your butt to a different room and keep your opinions to yourself.
3. You don’t know shit.
There is nothing that will teach you humility quite like having a very large platform from which to express all of your opinions loudly starting at age 18. And then having to look back at all those opinions you shouted and seeing how many of them you no longer hold.
I said a *lot* of things on my blog that I don’t agree with anymore. I was young, and opinionated, and I thought I had it all figured out. Surprise! Turns out I still had a lot of growing to do. That isn’t to say that my values have changed (they haven’t), or that I was all wrong (I wasn’t). But what I see as being in line or not with my values has shifted. Things I thought I would never want, I now want. Things I thought I would never do, I now do.
But I like having opinions, and I like shouting them (*cough*thiswriting*cough*). So I subscribe to the notion of “strong beliefs loosely held.” I believe something until I’m proven wrong. If someone makes a compelling argument, I will change my position on something. But until that happens, I will go hard for my side.
Just remember, half the things you think you know are probably wrong. You’ll disagree with a lot of your own opinions 10 years from now. And what you want in life, and in sex, and in a relationship evolve over time. So when someone offers you a large audience to listen to your teenage rants, say yes, but get ready to eat a lot of humble pie.
4. It’s a long game, play it that way.
Everything feels so important in the moment. Every argument, every slight, every hurt feels like the war that must be won now. But life is long, and the arc of history bends towards justice.
You don’t have to fight every battle. You don’t have to drag every hater. You don’t have to take up every mantle. You don’t have to hurt everyone that hurts you.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just be still, and be quiet. The fire will burn down, and people will move on when there’s no one there to fan the flames. And you might have to suffer some in the short term, but people will eventually see the truth on their own. And they’ll know you were right the whole time. But you won’t have had to get yourself dirty to get there.
5. Being a fetishist is a sexual orientation. Treat it that way.
There aren’t enough words for me to write on this one.
Let start with: there is a difference between being kinky and being a fetishist. And there are actually varying levels of fetishism (aka paraphilia). The most intense one, the one that I am and that most of the people that I know that call themselves “spankos” are, is called an obligatory paraphilia. When you literally can’t cum without it. When your entire sexuality revolves around your fetish, and everything else is basically irrelevant. Often this means gender is irrelevant. Sometimes it even means top/bottom is irrelevant. You just want the goddamn spanking!
This is why my favorite pairing is disciplinary m/m, even though it has no sex, and I have no part in the actual scene. It’s why when I went to a sex cabin weekend I stood quietly watching 10 gorgeous, young, wonderful friends of mine have mutual respectful group sex as though it were a fucking nature documentary. They asked if I wanted to join and I just shrugged. Meh. I’d gladly spank someone if they wanted it. I’d choke someone if it would be helpful to them. But I didn’t really care about the sex. And I didn’t join in.
Because I’m an obligatory spanking fetishist and sex is entirely irrelevant to me. (Cumming is relevant to me, but cumming is not the same as sex.)
So, when you’re contemplating dating a vanilla, or contemplating dating a kinky non fetishist, remember: you don’t have the same sexual orientation. You can love each other, you can try to make the other happy, you can do your best. But at the end of the day, you don’t speak the same language, you don’t have the same cultural norms, and you don’t see sex as the same thing. And that means you probably shouldn’t be dating that person.
6. Come out if you can.
Coming out as a spanking fetishists (or a fetishist of any kind) is scary, and hard. And it’s not going to be the right choice for everyone. Coming out as any sexual minority can (in certain circumstances) put you in physical, social, or economic jeopardy. But I would say, take a hard look at your situation. Are you really in danger or are you just scared? Are there small steps you could take, like just telling a few close friends? How much of your life are you hiding?
I came out to a few friends in college in 2010, and then to my family in 2011. I came out because I had started doing films and I’d been blogging for a few years then, and I was scared that I would be outed, and I didn’t want my family to find out that way. And I was exhausted from lying.
And after all my agonizing, everything has been fine! My family is the best about it, as are all my friends. I put my kinky businesses on my resume when applying to grad school and gave a talk there about being a fetishist and what that meant. My current employer knows my background. I don’t go around shouting that I’m a spanko at people, but I don’t hide or lie either. And while my situation is probably not going to be the norm, I also have a lot more to come out about than most would.
I’ve found that coming out has two key benefits, one for you, and one for all fetishists.
a. Dear lord, being out feels amazing! My life and my relationships have improved astronomically since I made the decision to come out as a spanking fetishist (and a sex worker). It’s amazing how much lighter I feel every day not having to think about what I’m hiding, or who I’m hiding it from, or to keep my lies straight. I meet new people and am able to bring my whole self to the table, and I think it’s made me a better person overall. It’s also useful to not have people wonder if I’m going to Las Vegas and Atlantic City 3 times a year because I’m a degenerate gambler. Now they just know it’s cause I’m a kinky fuck who likes to be hit with things, and they seem totally fine with that.
b. Being out helps all fetishists. Study after study has shown that the movement in the gay community towards coming out is one of the key causes of the overall cultural acceptance of homosexuality. Why? Because people fear what they don’t know, and trust what they do. It would be easy for my father to say that he’s against bdsm and sex work if he didn’t know anyone who did either of those things. Why would he fight for those people? But it’s a lot harder for my father to not fight for his own daughter. The more visible we are, the more normal we become, and the more likely we are to be treated fairly by the laws in our countries. Every step you take paves a path for the person behind you.
7. Get out and meet people.
Being in a room with more than one spanking fetishist for the first time is absolutely terrifying. It’s overwhelming and impossible feeling. These people know your deepest darkest secret. These people share with you a cultural backstory of looking the word spanking up in the dictionary as a child, of watching McClintock way too many times, of loving Tom and Jerry more than is reasonable, having watched every episode waiting for another spanking reference. These people also felt shame, and felt alone. These people also tried awkwardly to get their neighbors to play house in a way that involved discipline somehow. These people you’ve never met somehow know you in a way that your best vanilla friend doesn’t.
And you’ll come to learn that this immediate intimacy is a bit false and can be misleading (you really aren’t that person’s new best friend despite how awesome it feels right now; friendships take time and work), but it’s nevertheless amazing. I’m at a point where 80% of my friends are kinky people that I’ve met through various events. And they aren’t even all spankos; many are just kinky fuckers that I’ve enjoyed spending time with. It’s like the benefits of coming out to a friend without having to come out. Everyone just knows to begin with.
Events are also a great way to learn, and to figure out what you want and what you don’t. So get out! Go meet people! We’re all just like you- normal people living our lives and trying our best. We just all also happen to love spanking.
8. Domestic discipline is a problematic fave. And you don’t really want to be saved.
Do you ship Cersie and Jamie Lannister from Game of Thrones? Do you find yourself rooting for Dexter? Do you love the song Blurred Lines? Are you super excited about Johnny Depp’s casting in the new HP movie? Do you have really intense rape fantasies? If so, Congratulations! You have a problematic fave! I know that I personally have lots (Wincest anyone?)!
And there is nothing inherently wrong with a problematic fave. You can like something, love something even, without it being perfectly pure and good. But it’s generally a good idea to recognize that something is problematic before you go loving it so unendingly hard.
Domestic discipline is the backbone of my fetish. It is the core of my kink, as it is for many spanking fetishists. My deepest fantasies involve being “fixed” by my partner, being corrected for things I did wrong, and being able to change my behaviors. And more often than not, the most intense of these fantasies involve me being punished for doing something reckless or dangerous.
We’ve all read those stories. Girl drives drunk, speeds, texts and drives (wow there are a lot of things with cars…), goes to confront the murder suspect, doesn’t sleep for days, does drugs, goes to the bad part of town…. We get the point. And then guy comes and gets her, usually saves her and spanks her for putting herself in danger. *Swoon*
Or even simpler things like not paying the bill on time, cursing, not doing homework, being late to things, procrastinating… I’ve read a lot of these stories. It was how I spent the majority of my teenage years to be honest. Though in those it was usually m/m fanfiction for Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, or NCIS, but same idea.
And never once reading these stories and watching these videos growing up did I ever thing, hey this might be a little problematic. I never stopped and thought, what does this tell me about my autonomy? My responsibilities to myself? My own personal accountability? What is this going to mean for my actual relationships?
I’m not going to come here and say that discipline doesn’t or never works. Because that would be untrue. There are things that I’ve been spanked for that have changed my behavior. And I’m not going to say that spanking can’t be punishment for a spanko because we like it too much, because that’s also not entirely true. But let’s be honest here: spanking isn’t a great real life discipline technique in any circumstance, and we do fetishize discipline.
After many years of being punished for everything from not doing my homework, to talking back, to “being an argumentative person,” and my own reckless behaviors, I realized something. I was tired of waiting for someone to save me.
In order to keep needing to be punished, I kept having to do things that were wrong or bad. And in order to keep getting the same high from the spanking, I needed those things to be more and more serious. I kept having to make myself less than so I could make my partner more. I kept doing things I wouldn’t have otherwise done because I wanted the discipline and the attention. And I was tired of it.
I am competent and I am capable. I’m a grown ass woman, and I don’t need someone to save me.
…But I *want* those things.
And that’s ok. I can want those things. I can have problematic faves. I just need to recognize the pitfalls, and the potential issues. To see where I stumble and lie to myself. I need to remember that no man is going to save me. That only I can save myself. And for fucks sake, to stop breaking myself just so that I’d need to be put back together.
9. Kink is not a substitute for mental health care.
I have ADHD, and a generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks. I also can fall into depressive spells. I’ve been in and out of mental health treatment for much longer than a decade. And I’m guilty of attempting to fix my mental health issues with kink. Particularly my ADHD, even though I didn’t quite realize that was what I was doing.
My ADHD manifests itself in a few main ways: a lack of executive function, poor time management, and an inability to focus on priorities. And while I’ve known I was ADHD since I was 6, and was on medicine from age 6-15, I apparently didn’t really understand what any of that meant until like 6 months ago.
What this means is that I have really poor impulse control, and go from need to want to have very quickly. It means I misestimate time requirements for things. It means I’m terrible at keeping track of to do’s. It means my brain is constantly running and is never ever ever quiet. It means that I procrastinate, even when I don’t want to. And most importantly it means that none of those things are my choice or my fault. I’m not lazy. I don’t lack work ethic or respect for people’s time. I’m not purposefully being bad.
And it’s that last bit- the part of about it not being my choice to be this way- where I dropped the ball. How many times have I been spanked for procrastinating on doing my homework? How many times have I been spanked for being impulsive? How many times have I tried to make myself do something and just somehow been unable, and felt so helpless and frustrated, and then turned towards a Daddydom to make me do it. How many times have I just used my Daddy as my executive function? And how many times has my Daddy been so frustrated by my apparent disobedience and refusal to learn a lesson?
Just like spanking (or punishing in any way) a child for having ADHD accomplishes absolutely nothing, spanking or punishing and adult for having ADHD accomplishes nothing. Spanking me for not focusing on the right thing won’t fix it if the reason I’m not focused is because of my mental health issue.
Kink cannot solve that problem. It can’t make me not ADHD, and thinking it will just frustrates everyone. Kink can help with mental health—I believe strongly that being spanked and having those needs met was one of the key things that helped me begin my recovery from bulimia. But kink is not a substitute for proper mental health care.
10. Just because something ends doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile.
If there’s one lesson I could teach above all, it’s this. You will have many relationships, many friendships, and many loves. They will come and they will go. You will have projects and ambitions and homes. And they will come and they will go.
And every single one of them was worthwhile. Sure, you maybe could have done without that one asshole… but it has all led you here.
Enjoy the moments you have with the people you love while you can. These people are in your life for a reason, though possibly for only a season. Hold tight and fast and bask in their love. And when it ends, cry because it hurts when things end. Because change is scary. But never regret having loved because it’s been lost. Time is not the only measure of what makes something meaningful.
So enjoy the things that you know will end. Finish this chapter, then turn the page.