I want to talk about an uncomfortable side of the spanking debate. I know it's an aspect of spanking that might not affect every parent or child who experiences spanking, but it needs to be put out there as a possibility.
It's the facet that spanking can be potentially sexual.
I found this article on Project NoSpank called "The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children," by Tom Johnson, that goes into much more depth of why and how spanking can be sexual than I will here. It finishes off with a round of truly horrifying news excerpts of perverted sadists who have used spanking innocent children to get off. That's not even what I'm talking about here, though I take the author's point that as long as spanking is condoned at all, it provides cover for such sickness.
Most parents don't intend for spanking — and by that I mean hand or instrument to buttocks, whether bare or clothed — to be sexual. Most parents, including ones who believe in physical punishment, are not depraved in that way. Even though I disagree with those parents (and that includes my own), I don't suspect the vast majority of meaning anything sinister by their choice to spank minors.
But there is something inherently sexual in spanking, and I sensed that even as a kid. Which is why I call it "just kinda creepy."
It's all so contradictory, right? I was taught that my bottom is one of my "private places," reserved for only me to touch. Only, when my parents are angry at me, then they can touch me there. But not just touch me, but hit me, so that it hurts this "private" place. It's creepy, ya know?
As a prepubescent, it was especially odd, because I didn't know what real sex was all about. I mean, I was given some books when I was 8 and my little brother was on the way, but I didn't really understand it. Spanking and touching people on the bottom seemed like just the sort of naughty thing that people might do for titillation — little did I know at the time, that was actually true.
My parents actually spanked me for the last time when I was about five years old, but I didn't know at the time that it would be the last time. So every time I displeased them, I wondered, would they be hitting me there? And I would feel a white hot shame, a violation, at the thought.
I try not to write about sex much here, except in oblique ways, because I can't figure out how to do it in a way that's not awkward. So, in my typical awkward fashion, I'll say that, in practice, I am not awkward about sex at all and that my early spanking experiences have not irrevocably harmed me sexually. I am not a spanking fetishist, and I do not enjoy pain mixed with my pleasure. (And that's not intended as a judgment against those who do.) But...and this is a big but (get it?)...the rear end still is a (nicely) sensitive spot. So let's reserve it for its intended uses: sitting, you know, and you know #2 (get it?).
Here is a particularly good summarizing section from the article from Project NoSpank:
"Since children are sexual beings and since the buttocks are a sexual region of the body, we should question the propriety of slapping children’s buttocks. We generally understand that fondling or caressing a child’s buttocks is a sexual offense (even if the child does not understand it to be so). We also know that slapping an adult’s buttocks is a sexual offense (even if the offender does not get sexual pleasure from doing so).
"The question, then, is why slapping a child’s buttocks is not considered a sexual offense. Is it because spanking, unlike fondling, is physically painful and used to punish misbehavior? No, or painfully spanking a misbehaving adult would not be a sexual offense. Is it because children are less likely to be sexual targets than adults, less likely to feel violated, and therefore protected less strictly? No, or fondling an adult would be a far more serious crime than fondling a child. A more plausible explanation for this breach of logic is simply that the majority of people are unable or unwilling to believe there could be anything indecent about a practice as old, common and accepted as the spanking of children—something which nearly everyone has received, given or witnessed at least once. And since spankings typically come from esteemed or even beloved authority figures, many people are loath to question this behavior."
So, add this to your list of reasons not to spank. It might not be top of the list, and it might make you feel a little dirty just thinking about it. I want to emphasize again that I'm not suggesting that the average parent is thinking of sex during spanking. I just want to point out that the parent has no control over how it's perceived by the child being spanked. If the child finds it sexual in some disturbing way, then it is.
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