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Sunday, September 7, 2014

On my mind (yes, this is a rant)

Been a while since I wrote one of these, so I guess I'm overdue. But I have some steam to blow off. 

Last Friday, I posted a bit of writing on FetLife, asking a question about spanking party etiquette. I had been concerned that I'd done something inappropriate, briefly interrupting a couple of friends on Sunday night during their spanking scene so I could say goodbye. I would never walk into a deeply intense scene, or one that looked like they were trying to keep it somewhat private, but this one looked fairly casual and open and I thought it would be OK. Still, it bugged me, wondering if I'd been wrong, so I put the question out there.

In my writing, I asked what, if any, were the protocols of saying goodbye to friends at spanking parties if they were playing. Then I added that I hesitated to use the word "protocols," because it sounded BDSM-y, but I couldn't think of an alternate term. I mentioned that if you interrupt a scene at a BDSM/dungeon party, God help you, but was it different for a spanking gathering -- did it depend on the type of scene, how close a friend, etc.?

The replies were interesting and surprising. Most of them were tactful and nice, but in varying degrees, the general consensus was no, it's better not to interrupt a scene, and to err on the side of caution. Some said yes, it did depend on the circumstance, how well you know the people, etc. But mostly, it was considered preferable to not distract people who were playing, even if it was public. One of my friends, while politely saying that she didn't think interruptions of scenes were appropriate, admitted that she thought it was a bit extreme that dungeon attendees would "tear your head off" (her words, not mine) if you interrupted them.

That didn't bother me at all. I learned something new, and at the next party, I will shoot my friends a text or an email instead of trying to unobtrusively say goodbye as they're scening. So what pissed me off, big time? I got excoriated for my BDSM comments. I was told that the Shadow Lane party had a St. Andrews' cross and a leather spanking bench, and that's pure BDSM at a spanking party. That I was perpetuating the "us vs. them" mentality with my attitude and I needed to "get over it."

OK, a few thoughts here:

1. I do not have a problem with people disagreeing with me, or disliking something I've said. But there are ways to express that without being combative and in my face.

2. Wanna really set off my inner Hulk? Tell me to "get over it." What a @#$%ing condescending and invalidating phrase that is. Really, is there a more effective way to thoroughly discount someone's feelings?

3. Don't shoot the messenger. You may not like the fact that I mention the elephant in the room, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The differences between BDSM and spanking aren't just things I pulled out of my ass -- they exist. I've seen them, heard them, experienced them. And so have others. I'm not basing my opinions on hearsay; I have been to dozens of dungeon parties over the years and formed my opinions on personal experience. So don't @#$%ing invalidate me by getting angry that I mention these differences. Denying them doesn't make them go away.

YES, there was a St. Andrews' cross in one of the main suite parties at this Shadow Lane. It was rented. Was it used? Yes. Did everyone like it? No, some did not. Some were quite vocal about how it didn't belong there. Me? It didn't really bother me, surprisingly. You know why? Because I didn't notice that it affected the atmosphere any. 

One night, there was a fairly intense scene going on at that cross, with one man and two women, Blaise wrap (plastic wrap), a cane and a Hitachi. There was a small bubble around this scene, as some stopped to watch and give them space. However, just a couple of feet in either direction, noisy, slappy spanking scenes were ensuing. People were gathered around the bar laughing and talking. The foyer was abuzz with guests coming and going. In other words, the whole effing room didn't have to STOP because this one intense session was happening.

I asked John, who has been going to BDSM parties for over 30 years, what would have happened if that same scene were in a dungeon. He admitted, "If it were happening at [our local BDSM club], the room would have been expected to be quiet." Bingo.

THAT's the difference. Sure, there are similar scenes, there are similar implements and furniture, there are crossovers between the two cultures. But the attitude is different. I'm sorry you don't want to acknowledge it, but it damn well IS.

There are more protocols and rules in BDSM. There is a sense of entitlement and arrogance with many when they're scening, and yes, God help you if you interrupt with normal human party interaction. I was once at a dungeon party where several of us, including the freaking party host himself, were at one end of a large room, talking and laughing. And from across the room, a guy who was whipping and caning his partner actually called out and shushed us! I'm sorry, but that doesn't happen at spanking parties. At least, I've certainly never seen it or heard of it. I've also been at dungeon parties where spanking scenes were snickered at. Oh, and regarding entitlement? I was once at a BDSM party in a private home -- we didn't know the hosts personally, but we'd been invited by mutual friends. Once there, I met the male half of the host couple for the first time. He made a gesture that I should turn around, so, a bit perplexed, I did. He then proceeded to lift my short skirt (my panties had been confiscated by one of my play partners, so I was bare-bottomed), leaned down, and pulled my cheeks apart so he could inspect the goods within. And this was within thirty seconds of meeting me. If someone did that to me at SL, I'd report them to Tony and Eve. That would be considered presumptuous beyond belief. But in the home of a BDSM host, it was considered his due and right.

What's my point? OK, perhaps I put some noses out of joint when I mention these cultural differences. You know what? You can disagree with me if you want, and deny the differences all you like. But spare me your goddamn lectures, don't talk to me like I'm a child, and don't tell me to get over it. You get over it. Do not preach to me about how we're all kinksters, we should be one big happy family and accepting of one another. That's a lovely sentiment, but it's as achievable as world peace. When heavy-duty BDSM practitioners stop sneering at us and treating us like we're childish wimps with our silly childish spanking, then maybe I'll consider not separating the two in my mind. I didn't cause the problem. If we weren't different, then we wouldn't have both dungeon/fetish parties and spanking parties. We'd just have... well, parties.

Regarding my note on FetLife: After that one comment, the thread completely died. People didn't know how to follow that. One person attempted to say something placating and nice, and then another person jumped in and seconded the other comments, saying that what I'd written was "uncalled for." By this point, I was so angry, I knew I'd say something I might regret, so I deleted the whole damn thing. I got the answers to my original question; I didn't need to leave this up any longer. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Hence, this rant.

Again, and I can't stress this enough -- I DO. NOT. HAVE a problem with people disagreeing with me. But yeah, scold me and talk down to me and tell me to get over it, and I have one ginormous @#$%ing problem. 

(deep breath) Rant over. 

EDIT, 9/8: Folks, I just want to make things very clear. This rant was not meant to be about BDSM vs. spanking. I've beaten that old chestnut into the ground, I think. I posted it because, in a bit of writing, I had mentioned the differences between the scenes, and, in essence, was told, "No, there aren't differences, you're part of the problem, so just shut up about it and get over it." That was my issue; I don't appreciate being publicly shamed and invalidated, just for mentioning something that exists. There are more tactful and respectful ways to conduct a discussion.


  1. "If we weren't different, then we wouldn't have both dungeon/fetish parties and spanking parties. We'd just have... well, parties." Bingo! I don't see any issue with pointing out that there are differences. There ARE. I've seen many of the things you mention firsthand. That's not to say all dungeon parties are boring, silent, and stuck up. That isn't the case. But there is a difference in the mood, attitudes, even set up of the venue. That doesn't mean one or the other is better. Just different.

    S has only attended parties in our local BDSM scene prior to this past Shadow Lane. One of the first things he said was wow, this IS a lot different. More playful fun attitudes. He noticed the different tone immediately. But he enjoys our local parties too. It was actually your scene where I said quietly to him, "what do spankos do with a St. Andrews cross at a spanking party? Pull an ottoman in front of it and play on that." :-) It sounds like it was used though so that's good.

  2. Actually, I've been concerned that the last two or three months have shown a lot of intolerance in the spanking scene. As a party attendee, I have the right to observe public scenes or not. If it's something like needle play that I consider a hard limit, I won't watch.

    But to criticize consensual play - that's nonkosher. Lately, I've heard intolerant comments about M/M spanking (but F/F spanking is really hot and should be encouraged!), and now BDSM activities. It's the height of entitlement to demand that, instead of it being MY responsibility to control my own eyeballs, it's OTHERS' responsibilities to ensure that nothing untoward ever meets my eyeballs.

    Oh, and that bit you posted about it being okay for some clown to lay hands on you and spread your cheeks because it's BDSM and BDSMers do things differently? No! One of the cardinal rules in BDSM is that you DO NOT touch anything that is not yours, ESPECIALLY people you do not own. If anyone pulled that crap with Tasha, we'd be leaving instantly, after I chewed his arrogant ass out.

    1. I personally think it's okay to limit what kinds of play go on in public spaces at spanking parties. Because the point of the party is spanking. I recently went to a foot fetish party with someone I know professionally. It would have been entirely inappropriate if he had hauled me over his lap and started spanking me there. It would have broken up the energy of the room. I think it's entirely okay for party organizers or suite hosts to ask that certain kinds of play aren't included, and for attendees to expect them not to be. I don't mean certain kinds of people or certain kinds of couples, but personally, I don't think that it's nonkosher to criticize certain kinds of play being done in a public space. It's a spanking party: not a free for all. There are things that I like to do at parties that I don't do in the main rooms: I take them into my own space because they don't fit with the energy of a party suite. I feel like real discipline scenes often fall into this category, or any scene which is overwhelmingly loud (so, most of my heavier play, because I'm not a quiet girl), scenes that are blatantly and overtly sexual in nature and scenes that involve a kind of play that is very drastically different from spanking. Incorporating elements of BDSM or other fetishes into a spanking scene is still a spanking scene. Doing needle play, water sports, fire play... these things aren't really, in my mind, appropriate for a spanking party, unless a space has been set aside for these things. It just changes the energy of the room. Because spanking is such a small and specific subset of BDSM in general, and since most of us have more access to BDSM clubs than dedicated spanking groups, it matters to me that we're keeping spanking parties spanking related.
      To own it, I have had my own struggle understanding and integrating with the BDSM scene, so I probably have stronger feelings about this issue than others do. But if it's not supposed to be about spanking, then why call it a spanking party?

    2. Also: Holy block of text, Batman!
      Next time, I'll break things up more. :P

  3. BDSMers think spanking is wimpy? To me, that's hilarious. I have a very small sample size -- I've attended one dungeon party -- but at it, the spanking was wimpy. It was more like spanking as ritual or art form rather than spanking as spanking. (This may seem an odd analogy, but the BDSM spanking I saw was like "counting coup" combat where you touch the enemy with a stick, versus spanking-spanking which is like actual combat.) I see the two as a continuum; physically many of my interests are considered BDSMy. I have little patience with the absolutism of spanking purists. But I also have little patience with the ornate protocols (as distinguished from common sense courtesy) of hard-core BDSM. (It's possible I simply don't have much patience, period -- perhaps one reason I'm a bachelor.) But, in any case, I can't imagine what premise BDSM could have for looking down their noses at us. It's two different ways of approaching the kink, and a lot of the play winds up being about the same anyway. And at least our clothes are cute rather than ridiculous.

    Michael from Texas

  4. I'm actually finding myself pulling away from the public scene again. It's just not what it used to be for me for precisely this reason. I'm all for being open minded, but I like what I like and I'll be damned if someone can just dismiss my preferences just because they're into the bigger bdsm scene. I've pretty much decided I'm actually a vanilla. I enjoy being spanked to my core, but should I ever find a man that wants a fully committed relationship, and is willing to spank on a fairly regular basis, my friends from the scene will easily become just regular friends. The scene life is just coming with more and more "rules" and they aren't rules that feel good to me. I miss the days when I could share my kink freely with people. Now, I have to weigh and measure everything I do and say because someone might be offended. Well, I can get all that I can stand of that in the vanilla life. I came to the scene to get away from all of the judgemental attitudes. Unfortunately, it seems that ship has sailed.

  5. @StevenHastings: if there was anything left to chew out, that is. bdsm, spanko scene, d/s, high low or middle protocol, anybody who would touch me in that manner with express permission of steven or myself would be eating through a straw for a while.

    as for the st andrews cross, it was used for a singapore caning roleplay, which was intense and fun. as far as i could tell, no one who objected to being there was made to attend -- another reason is was so fun. the 25 or 30 of us who participated had a great time.

    the bench was used for the quadruple strapping, a highly popular event that has taken place for the past 3 parties i have attended. again, its volunteer only, and people are free to come and go as they please.

    now, here's the kicker: the suite in which these events occurred was a private suite, paid for by a private individual. this individual opened the suite for general admission the majority of the party. these two events were not official SL sponsored events, but solely the responsibility of the person who rented the suite and provided it, along with refreshments, beer, and pizza, at his own expense to the SL partygoers.

    this same individual provides a party suite at every party he attends, at great expense to himself. there were numerous other suites available for play, also provided by the generosity of their hosts, for which party goers did not pay a dime.

    ah, the freedom to vote with one's ass, as in moving it from one chair to another, sometimes in totally different rooms!


  6. May be at some stage you could write an Etiquette for Kinksters. Who would be better positioned to do so than you?

  7. Erica, for me personally I have always been into just SPANKING, and NOT BDSM. I have also observed, that BDSM folks sometimes feel superior to us SPANKERS and SPANKEES. And NO ONE, and I repeat, NO ONE, had the right to touch you, without asking permission first, be they into BDSM or SPANKERS. So your RANT was RIGHT. XXX Luv ya.

  8. This further reinforces my self awareness that I am nothing more than an infrequent yet still passionately loving spankee.
    I am SO not a lover of fanfare surrounding my passion. Just the WORD protocol sets my teeth on edge! LOL
    I don't require living up to or for a lot of rules and regulations-ESPECIALLY for something as enjoyable as spanking. NO one, at ANY place should ever feel free to lay unpermitted hands on my body or have the fucking audacity to tell ME to "be quiet" in a "public" location.
    I know of your Fetlife deleted post. All I can say is I have learned to refrain from a lot of public commenting lately. My lamb to lioness transformation can switch on just like THAT! And sometimes I'm stubborn enough to WANT to engage in a verbal battle of wills when I feel I'M right! :)

  9. The next time we are at a party together, and you happen to see me at goodbye time, (ending up in the same room/knowing where people even are at goodbye time is a feat) please, please, please interrupt whatever I may be doing for hugs and love. As often as we've seen each other, I don't care what I was doing or who got their panties in a bunch. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, please do! xoxoxoxo.... And host or not I would have kneed that guy in the face.

  10. Lea -- you noticed the irony of our scene placement, huh? :-) Funny, but it wasn't intentional. It was just a free spot in the room.

    Steven -- just to be clear, this rant wasn't meant to be about the differences or what-have-you between the scenes. It was about my being really pissed off because I dared to mention those differences in a post I wrote and got my ass chewed out publicly for it. As for that party host, I do believe that because it was his home, his attitude was "Everything that is within these walls belongs to me."

    Alex -- thank you; you put your finger right on something that eluded me. The energy is different. You can do whatever you want at a party as long as it's consensual, but it WILL change the energy of the room if it goes too far off the track of the party theme. When people deny that that happens, THAT is what annoys me -- much more than the activity itself.

    Michael -- some do, yes. Not all. I did do spanking scenes whenever I went to BDSM parties. But I know there were comments on occasion. I don't really care -- I know MY spankings aren't wimpy! :-)

    Anonymous -- there's a lot of PC going on now, and people do have to watch what they say. I posted another writing on FetLife a while back, called "Please don't hate me because I have preferences." Overall, the feedback on it was much more positive and understanding than I expected. But one woman came on and chewed me out three separate times, then unfriended and blocked me. Such is life.

    Tasha -- I was not criticizing the St. Andrews' cross, or the host of the suite. Remember, I said I didn't have a problem with it. But a few others did, and not because of the private Singapore scenes. That's not the point. The person criticizing me was using the cross as an example that BDSM and spanking blend just fine and the separatism is in my own mind. My point was to say yes, there ARE differences -- and denying them, or bawling out people who point them out, isn't going to make them disappear.

    MrJ -- Meh. I don't claim to know it all. Besides, everyone has a different opinion on what's what, it seems.

    Six -- thanks. I don't even feel the need to be "right" at this point. I just needed to blow off some steam. I didn't appreciate being publicly scolded like a child.

    Alexis -- you know I don't shy away from a verbal battle on occasion when I'm really stirred up about something. But I can't stand the fallout from these flame wars. In this case, it was a person who is well known for getting in people's faces and being combative, so I decided to cut my losses, bow out, and express my own thoughts here where people tend to be more respectful.

    Sarah -- you're sweet. Duly noted; I will always interrupt to hug you! :-)

  11. I must learn not to have either food or drink in my mouth when reading your posts! While they contain plenty of funny, there is wry truth in your commentary.
    I personally have HAD it with PC EVERYTHING! As long as it's done respectfully you, me and the man on the moon SHOULD be able to express our feelings and opinions without fear of a lynch mob attacking.

  12. Kelly -- I cautiously checked my FetLife friend count this morning. No one unfriended me over this post, hallelujah! ;-)

  13. Hey Erica,

    Sorry, that was meant to just be an explanation of why they were there and how they were integrated into the suite party, etc etc etc, it was intended for anybody who wasnt there or or wondered what they were about.

    I wasnt criticizing you at all, love, and I strongly agree that just not mentioning something doesnt mean it goes away. In fact, bringing it up and discussing the differences in a respectful manner is what *should* happen, and nobody should be telling you to "get over it."

    <3 you sis


    This is what i get for posting on pain meds while the game is on!

  14. ps: i was sitting right next to you watching your ottoman in front of the cross scene. I'm curious, I swore in another post you mentioned you hated having your feet touched, and whomever was topping you had grabbed your foot and was holding it up? or am i just confused yet again? sorry i dont remember who was topping you, as i wasnt looking at *them*!


  15. Tasha -- no worries, hon. As for my feet, you're in the ballpark. Having them touched/caressed/massaged doesn't bother me at all. But having them struck seriously pisses me off. :-)

  16. ahhh, gotcha. mine hurt all the time anyway, as some idiot has been walking on them for a half-century, so i share your anti-bastinado limits lol!

    but a nice foot massage? ~*~heaven~*~


    ps: i really need to set up an account so i can stop posting as anon, i mean its been like 6 months or so lol

  17. Newbie (no parties) here shakes his head and withdraws, pens the letters OT on the blackboard, and says:

    The only thing I want to say is we had the best damn weather day in W. Mass in years yesterday. Neither too warm or cool, no humidity, crystal clear skies and a full moon that came out before sunset. We picnicked on a lookout hill about 400 feet above the valley floor with a 270 degree view. Wife by my side. What's not to love. Dreamy.

    Sorry about your need to rant Erica. All I can say is I hope that the rant helped get all the pus/anger out. Rants are often good therapy, at least when it doesn't becoming whining. A distinction that is too frequently hard for me to judge about myself. Yours sounds like the good type.

    We have an imaginary letter to write to lame judges (I'm in law) that goes: "F* You. Long letter to follow." Another one, not really on point, is used when you hear the receptionist say to a least favorite client: "Hello Ms. X." To which one responds, naturally: "Tell her I died." Never works but feels so good.

  18. "But in the home of a BDSM host, it was considered his due and right."

    I disagree. Doing that to someone else's girl without consent (preferably explicit consent) is not on. At best it displays a total ignorance of etiquette; at worst it verges on assault.

  19. Jon -- well, it's hot, cloudy and muggy here. So there you go. Yeah, sometimes, a good rant/vent feels good. I don't like being a whiner, so I try to blow off the steam before it gets to that point! :-)

    UB -- he seemed to think it was within his right. He did it right in front of John and everyone else standing around in the vicinity. I probably should have said something, but I figured I was a guest in his house and all that... (sigh)

  20. Meh - I have little use for hardcore BDSM-ers. I've been fighting this battle on the local level since the 1990's. It's not a winnable battle; by the same token I'll not be cowed by that lot. I tend to pick and choose my battles with them. Frankly, I'd have fought this one on Fet if I'd seen the comments.

  21. Chief -- it's OK. It just wasn't worth the battle this time. I hate it when people hijack my (or anyone else's) writing, so it seemed best to just cut it off at the pass.

  22. I love your rants; I really do. I quit FetLife a long time ago, because I got fed up with all the creeps and all the entitled assholes on there. I remember posting something funny about spanking on the page of a local BDSM group, and some pretentious asshole felt the need to PM me and tell me how I had "breached etiquette" and that my joke was "in bad taste," even though many in the group had responded to it favorably. I told him, thanks but I didn't need him to mentor my online activity, and to go f*** himself (that was probably in bad taste...sigh). I'm so glad you are willing to navigate through all that sh** on FL and bring us good rants every now and then.

  23. Autumn -- LOL! Good for you, telling him a thing or two. I would have added, "Breach THIS, fucktard." Sheesh! Who appoints these people to police our posts, anyway?

    FetLife is one of those things I love to hate, and hate to love. A whole lot of jerks on there, true. But also a whole lot of my friends. So some days are better than others.

  24. Hi Erica -- You have every right to express your opinion and what really happens at a BDSM party, If they don't like the truth tough shit :-) I never been into BDSM, to me it is creepy, I am only into spanking. I don't like the way those IDIOTS treated you on FetLife :-( SHAME ON THEM. You are way better than those LOSERS anyways :-) Much Love and hugs from naughty girl Jade

  25. Jade -- it's OK. I feel better now. :-)