Spanking Negotiation


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ASK THE THERAPIST

March 1998

by William A. Henkin, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1998 by William A. Henkin

<Q> When I got into the scene one of my recurring fantasies was that I'd be able to spank my girlfriends silly and they'd love it, maybe even enough to come from it and then, presumably, they'd want me to spank them some more. But every time I spank some woman she struggles and wails so much I really have to stop. Truth is, in the half-dozen years I've been playing I have yet to find a single woman who wants my hands on her ass in exactly this way. What am I doing wrong?

<A> From your query I can't tell what you're doing wrong, but if you've been playing actively for six years with these results it's hard to imagine you're not doing something wrong, so what have your bottoms told you?

Aha! That's it! I'll bet you haven't asked the people who would know, the women who have had your hands on their asses in exactly this way. C'mon now, have you?

We talk a lot in SM courses about the need for clear negotiation as part of any successful scene, but sometimes people think negotiating stops when the play begins. Not so. As long as people play with each other their negotiation never really ends. Sometimes the ongoing negotiation is explicit, as when the top checks in with the bottom in the middle of a scene and adjusts the scene to incorporate the bottom's newly stated needs, and sometimes it's implicit, as when the top notices how the bottom responds to some form of input and adjusts the scene accordingly.

One place it's important that negotiation be explicit is at the end of a scene, after everyone's had a chance to come down and regroup. At that time the players will do themselves, each other, and all their future play partners an enormous service by checking in with each other to learn what about the scene worked and what didn't work. What worked is whatever you'll both want to do again when you play together, whether you "liked" it or not (some bottoms are very enthusiastic about having tops do what they "don't" like), and what didn't work is what you won't want to do again with that person, or to learn to do differently so that it does work.

I can't say for sure because my crystal ball's grown a little cloudy with disuse, but my guess is that you haven't found out from the ladies you had lie across your thighs what it was you did that they didn't like, or what it was you didn't do that they would have liked. If you'd asked you might have gotten ten different answers from ten different women, suggesting a need for more or clearer pre-play negotiation and, perhaps, a need for you to pay more attention to your bottom's bottoms during a scene. If you'd gotten one answer ten different times you would know exactly what the problem was.

The most common problems bottoms have with spanking include a top who warms them up insufficiently – zero to sixty in the first five slaps – or simply spanks too hard for part or all of the scene so it's all pain and no gain for the bottom; a top who spanks away from the buttocks area on the thighs or the outsides of the hips where the skin is thin and the pleasure usually meagre; a top who doesn't pace the spanking – harder, softer, slower, faster – so the bottom has no chance to process the impact; and humiliation – spanking, like belting, face slapping, and a few other activities can bring up memories for some people that they'd rather have left forgotten. A few bottoms have very different complaints, of course, including the desire to be spanked harder, spanked outside the sweet zone, and warmed up less.

There can be plenty of other problems too, but I think you can probably solve all those that pertain to your spanking scenes by using the other end of your tube: talk – and listen – to your partners, and adjust your practices with a hand to what they say.


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