Wednesday, May 2, 2012

the future of spanking... 2 competing trends

Trend #1... childhood spankings are becoming far less frequent.  Trend #2... The internet has brought together folks interested in spankings.  What does that mean for the future?

This is not a lighthearted post with lots of sexy pics... And although I've said (and stand by) the justification for spanking as an unpleasant but useful tool in a parent's toolbox for dealing with little children... Just so you'll know.  This is about the exposure of older kids to spanking, and whether that leads to an adult interest in it.

What makes someone interested in spanking?  It's a question that's been discussed and debated over and over.
  • Is it a gene some people have?  
  • Maybe some unexplored mommy/daddy psychological issues?  Maybe (like me) you were familiar with spanking, and were reintroduced to it via porn including spanking as you were entering puberty, and were hooked.  
  • Maybe a partner introduced you to spanking later in life.  
  • Maybe you were familiar with spanking as something that supposedly nice and caring parents/teachers inflicted on others and always wondered about it because you somehow survived childhood and "missed out" on the experience and so have always been fascinated by it.  
**Note that I refrained from linking to any of those ideas that have been discussed on numerous spanking blogs because I don't want to pigeon-hole any blog post authors, but there are several out there expressing each of these ideas.**

It's fair to say that there are a number of theories, and a variety of correct answers, although I don't think that any answer is correct for everyone.  However, I also think it's fair to say that if one were born to people stranded on a desert island and had never been exposed to spanking, that it would be unlikely that an interest in spanking would develop.  I think it's also safe to say that there is most likely a link between hearing about/experiencing a spanking and an adult interest in it.  

Which brings us to Trend #1... spanking of children is on the decline.  Not too long ago, I wrote a  post  about a recent article based mostly on this paper that stated the percentage of American parents that approve of spanking was still over half at the time the paper was published (1995) but had declined significantly from a similar study thirty years before. I made a quick little excel chart showing the results of the two studies, as well as a trend line extending to the present:
But that's just a couple of studies... one can also read Steven Pinker's best seller about the decline of violence and fewer wars and a lower crime rate... and the decreasing spanking of children.

Here's another graph taken from this blog that shows trends in American attitudes toward spanking. From 1986 to 2010, the percent disapproving/ strongly disapproving (green and yellow) almost doubled from 17 percent to 31 percent.

So there's a downward trend in "real" spanking of children.

On the other hand, the adult spanking world is more active and connected than ever.  Prior to the internet, there were a few spanking groups, and I even ordered some stories in the mail... but there weren't a bajillion blogs and fetlife and spanking video sites and bunches of munches and parties everywhere.  It's possible for someone that's had this secret kink to act on it in ways that were virtually impossible just a couple of decades ago.  Spanking is just now on the outer edge of mainstream.  Sure, there've always been a few spanking scenes in movies (McLintock! etc...) but the movies didn't have spanking as a central theme like "Secretary" until after the dawn of the internet.   I was reading an account of the latest MadMen episode on a website ultimately owned by Disney that referred to a character "topping from the bottom." just yesterday.  There's a best seller about a woman who experiments in spanking play. So there's an upward trend for adult spanking.  I could not find a decent graph of this, but I dare someone to prove this hypothesis wrong..  

So what do these two trends mean to us spanking enthusiasts?  I read something not too long ago by a spanking blog author saying she didn't understand people that got into spanking later in life.  She'd always been fascinated and had a love/hate relationship with spanking since childhood.  I get that confusion, because I've been interested/fascinated in it about as long as I can remember.  But I think it's possible for someone to first be exposed to it later in life and find they like it.  At least, I hope so... because otherwise based on these trends, and based on my assumption that a lifelong interest in it has some connection to exposure to spankings during childhood... the pool of folks exposed to it at an early age will quickly virtually disappear, and those interested in it now will enjoy the connectivity of it but then find that it quickly vanishes as future generations don't suffer childhood spankings.

As an aside... That 1995 study showed that in addition to a declining acceptance of spanking as a response to childhood misdeeds from similar responses 30 years ago... there was a big difference in the socio-economic responses.  Whereas fifty years ago the responses were the same, in 1995 the proclivity to accept spanking was much less among the more educated and Caucasian respondents.   However, (not passing judgement here, just posting another interesting graph I found)... Maybe since America is growing more conservative, the attitude toward spanking will change.  There seems to be a clear link between voting for the Republican in the last presidential race and willingness to spanking children...this from a Washington Post blog.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this one...


  1. Nothing like a new post from you to cheer me up!

    First of all, I have to disagree with your claim that thus post lacks sexy pics.  As someone with a nerd fetish, those graphs are hot!

    I'm not sure if we can ever say with any amount of certainty that the two trends are completely unrelated.  I think with our country's puritanical roots, we tend to repress all things sexual, yet it has become the visual soundtrack of our lives.  From a personal standpoint, I was spanked as a child and had no confusion about liking it...I hated it.  As a teenager/young adult I was not exposed to spanking porn, rather just knew I loved the feeling of being spanked.  I don't think they're related, but I'm not so arrogant as to say they absolutely aren't.

    Also not making any sort of political or religious commentary, but as for the chart regarding McCain voters, you can't discount the heavy presence of the Religious Right. I would be curious to see a chart that would graph Christians and other religions vs. Agnostics vs. Atheists.  Admittedly, the Pearls are an extreme example (their methods are controversial even within the Christian community), but their books advocate "the rod" to "Train Up a Child" (the title of their book). The point I'm making is that I'm not sure if a graph with McCain voters that are fiscally conservative and socially liberal would yield the same results.


    1. glad you liked those "sexy" pics. Yes, there are plenty of different types of McCain supporters. That's probably beyond the scope of this post, but I think there are plenty who vote one way just because of party affiliation, others with single issues in mind, others who make the best logical choice they can. At one point I thought fiscal conservatives and social liberals were the wave of the future, but see Giuliani and Ron Paul- guess I was wrong.
      I just thought the graph was interesting, and probably something more than just a statistical anomaly, even if I'm not sure what that something is. After lots of consideration, I do think there's a connection between being spanked as a child or at least exposed to it, and an adult interest in it. (This coming from a person who was spanked as a child and hated it too.)

  2. A very interesting and difficult topic!

    I would like to support SpankCake's suggestion that having an interest in erotic spanking and having been exposed to spankings as a child are two things that don't have to be related. Ludwig and I both weren't exposed to spankings in our childhood but we still held an interest in erotic spanking from a very early age on. The "most extreme" real spankings I ever witnessed (and, as I have been told, in one single case experienced) as a child were a slap or a few slaps on the hand or the bottom, and in all cases even those very light forms of spanking seemed horrible and wrong to me. I think my very early fantasies weren't exactly about spanking, anyway, but they already involved kinky elements. Then I stumbled across books with references to spanking and realised that the images that were created in my head caused a positive thrill. Thinking about the real thing was horrifying and I was glad not to be exposed to it. But the fantasy somehow was something completely different (at that time I didn't know about consensual adult spanking play). So, over time, my erotic fantasies started being about spanking, even though I had never heard about the term erotic spanking and had never come across any spanking porn. It was only much later that I discovered the online world of erotic spanking.

    My conclusion is that one obviously doesn't have to be exposed to real spankings as a child in order to become a spanko. I think that I was wired as a kinkster from a very early age on (maybe it's inborn, maybe it is caused by things that happen at a very early age but don't have anything to do with spanking or the like). The only "exposure" to the concept of spanking that I needed in order to focus my fantasies on spanking were references in history books and fictional books. I'm not even sure whether witnessing or being exposed to more severe real-life spankings would have made it more difficult for me to enjoy my fantasies because, as I already said, I always found the real, non-consensual thing horrible.

    As far as the future of erotic spanking is concerned: I think it is easier for people to live out their kinks in societies that support a positive view on sexuality as a whole. An important precondition that made it possible for me to live out my kink without a bad conscience today, is that my parents never made me believe that sex or self-love are bad or wrong. So, when I found out about the term erotic spanking and the online community, and finally met my mate Ludwig through his blog, I didn't feel guilty about trying all these things I had fantasied about for real. I had no idea how my first real erotic spanking would feel like, though, and whether I would like it or not. But obviously my fantasies led me the right way, and it turned out that I like the real consensual erotic adult form of spanking very much indeed.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Kaelah. (and welcome to my little blog, by the way.) I think you're absolutely right in saying that one doesn't have to have personal experience in being spanked as a child in order to have an adult fascination/fetish for it. However, even though you'd never heard about erotic spanking, you said you stumbled across references to it in books and those gave you a thrill. My point was that without any reference to or knowledge of "real" spankings, the folks wired to get a thrill out of it will be increasingly less likely to be exposed to it, and therefore less likely to have that door opened for them into the kinky thrill of adult erotic spanking.

      I think there are plenty of people with an inherent desire, but without that spark of a childhood experience, or exposure, or stumbling across a reference in a book- that inherent desire would remain a latent desire and never realized, much less fulfilled.

      This topic fascinates me. But I have a limited time late at night for private internet naughtiness, and sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting my time contemplating this when it's really more of a dissertation topic than a blog post and I could spend my time rewatching that video of yours!

    2. I agree with you, Secret Spanko, of course people have to come across the basic idea that something like spanking exists. But I wouldn't worry too much about that. I think kinky people even take up very little hints, a picture in a history book, an occasional slap between friends in a sitcom or whatever. And I'm quite sure that these things will always be around.

      I know that problem of writing "dissertations" about spanking instead of having some lighthearted fun. ;-) But, quite frankly, I often find these though-provoking topics so much more interesting than watching a spanking clip although that can of course be a lot of fun as well. You have seen one of ours? Wow! :-)

    3. I love your dissertations and your spanking clips! I'd seen your blog way back when, and then seen the crazy name several times, but I spent a long time on there last night. (hope that doesn't sound creepy!)

      This is a topic I think we could write about until or fingers bled but still not know what the answer is. It's fascinating though. I read an article awhile back about how several years ago they outlawed spanking of children in Sweden, and that it's been a very positive thing. I'm not exactly an advocate of childhood spankings, but I think society is moving in the direction of Sweden on this issue, and just wonder what that means to those of us who enjoy it as adults. The next question- with the elimination of childhood spankings, would society view adult spankings more positively? or see it as even more antiquated and bizarre? (like maybe the way we'd view someone into bloodletting- a pretty common but similarly misguided practice in normal society many generations ago.)

  3. Great post and an interesting reframing of this so widely discussed question. I understand your premise but personal experience leaves me little concrete to add. We were never spanked as children, never threatened with it, none of our cousins was spanked. It didn't happen in our family.

    But from earliest memory anything that happened into my sphere referencing spanking, or even the words "spank" or "spanking" hit me like a cattle prod and elicited a very intense sexual response, which is quite confusing to a child of that age.

    By 4 or 5, when I could read "big kids' book's" I was a warrior hunter always on the trail of spanking elements in stories, any spanking reference. I had the hunger and I had to feed or I would feel lost and ill. I would get disoriented in the world without my diet of fantasies. It led very naturally into the physical expression as an adult. We're all unique cases but I was hard wired into this with no physical or conceptual childhood experience at all, just what was born in my head.

    Great post. Great comments. So enjoy it here.

    1. Thank you Emen, I enjoy having you here, and was right there with you in reading books in a hope of just one scene (and I found a few in my Mom's "bodice-ripper" romance novels- but that's probably another post. By the way- a cattle prod?! that's a little too extreme and kinky, even for me!

  4. Wow this was honestly a GREAT post. It was really interesting to read and to see the graphs as well. You make some very good points and I never thought about how the decline in spanking children could lead to that generation not having anything to shine the light on this kind of interest. It's the age old question about why us spankos (yup, you're favorite word!) are wired this way, and maybe one day it can be answered - but I think it'll be a long time until that really happens because i'm not sure if there really is one concrete answer at all. Again, great post!

    1. Thank you so much for your compliments - I was honestly afraid this might be seen as a boring post. While half the spanking blogger world was in Atlantic City it seems, I was at my computer looking up studies and graphs like the spanking nerd I am!

  5. Neat issue, complicated though. It's pretty much inevitable that there will be a decrease in spanking paraphilia because extreme obsession almost always comes from some form of exposure. Of course it will always exist because there will always be some parents spanking some children, but as long as trends continue away from physical punishment it will certainly be less frequent.

    That having been said, sexual liberalism tends to increase over time and to that extent people will indulge more in kinky things because I really don't think (as some do, admittedly) that it's going to turn out that sans sexual oppression people magically just suddenly all become sexually liberal but also 'pure'. People are far too weird for me to believe that. Instead I think open perversion in general will increase.

    On the specific subject of spanking in contexts other than paraphilia, I think that it will stick around. The fact that women are into it and don't just tolerate it because men are obsessed with it strongly suggests that there is something to it that goes beyond childhood memories.

  6. A very intriguing topic... i remember two instances of my youth in the late fifties. i was probably 7 or 8. a boy a year older spanked a female classmate of mine. though i couldn't have told you back then, i found this to be very erotic and possibly the first erotic experience of my life. it was playful and i'm sure quite short, but erotic just the same. a year or so later my buddy was paddled at school. this experience was far from erotic and though we were best friends, we NEVER spoke of it. Another thing i remember from those times was playing "house." i'll be the daddy and you be the mommy and so and so will be the baby. in this game i spanked most of my cousins more than once and many of them spanked me as well. i think with today's generation and video games and so forth, children are not being taught to role-play. ultimately it's trends like that, that will have a big effect. but i will agree with others that there will always (hopefully!)be those playful moments with friends and birthday spankings that will continue to nurture our "kink" for generations to come.

  7. Qal- welcome to the blog, and thanks for the comment. I'm not sure one can generalize that "sexual liberalism tends to increase over time" though- I think the pendulum swinging is maybe more accurate - The puritans came after the victorian era, and heck, they both came long after the Roman orgy era.

    Anon- thanks for the comment. I'm not sure I'm in favor of childhood spankings for the purpose of nurturing our kink for future generations, but I hadn't even thought about the more innocent birthday spankings traditions.

  8. Fantastic post! Loved the graphs - more kinky nerdery please :)

    I've had a similar conversation with several members of the older spanko generation, chiefly men who were whacked at school and trace their kink back to those experiences. Many of them have asked me, now that spanking is banned in schools, won't spanking die out? My reply to them is that I wasn't whacked as a child, and I'm as kinky as they come.

    It works both ways. I know many people whose childhood experiences, being non-consensual and traumatic rather than sexy and fun, put them off their spanking kink rather than nurturing it. These people have said that they believe that if they hadn't been spanked as a child, they would have accepted and acted on their kink sooner. So it seems to me that it's impossible to generalise. Childhood experiences, and our reactions to them, are so broad and varied that they contain numerous contradictions. Spankos react in a myriad ways to different stimuli.

    I do agree with you that without cultural references to spanking, I think it's unlikely someone will come to a spanking kink. But it doesn't take much. Didn't most of us, when young, having been exposed to one or two references in passing, think we were the first person ever to have felt this way in response? I know that when I was 13 or 14, before I got online and discovered I wasn't alone, thought I'd invented kink and was the only person on the planet to be so freaky and strange.

    As long as CP is carried in our cultural memories, and told in stories of the past, there will be spankos. But yes, absolutely, we are formed by the references we encounter while young. It's no accident that I particularly fetishise the cane, and people from other cultures are drawn to the contexts and implements which are present in their own culture. But are there any cultures on earth which don't have any references for corporal punishment? At a guess, I'd say it's fairly universal.

  9. Thanks for the comment, Pandora. I think it's an interesting point that you're into the cane because it's a cultural thing, whereas I'm a fan of sorority paddles, which I'm guessing aren't too common in Britain. Also interesting that you mention the cultural references and stories of the past- it makes me think of the Christmas ornaments we had growing up that had an antique Santa pictures, one of them had Santa carrying a bundle of switches for naughty children. (And yes, it probably says something about me that I remember it so specifically.) I can't imagine someone having that now, even in an old timey collection of ornaments.

  10. Perhaps it is up to us spankos to carry the flame forward then, and make sure that corporal punishment is not forgotten. But frankly I think it's no accident that spankos are more likely to enjoy historical fiction and vice versa. And I don't think historical fiction is going anywhere.

  11. Don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon either... speaking of carrying the flame, I imagine that corporal punishment has been around longer than the olympics!