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Monday, May 30, 2011

Is spanking an "addiction"?

Today's topic/question comes from a reader's private message to me. It used to be that when one talked about addiction, they were referring to the chemical type -- alcohol, narcotics, tobacco, etc. But these days, it seems that any time someone really likes something or perhaps indulges in it more than the average person, it's slapped with the addiction label. People are addicted to sex, to shopping, to texting, to navel lint gathering. Is the term overused, or is there some truth to it?

Granted, exaggerating addiction is nothing new. This weekend, John and I watched the cheeseball cult classic "Reefer Madness," the anti-marijuana "message" movie from 1936 (not to be confused with "Reefer Madness: The Musical," which is fairly recent and intentionally funny). Talk about melodrama! Warning! One puff of this "demon weed" and you're on the road to juvenile delinquency, depravity and criminal insanity! You'll laugh maniacally, have indiscriminate sex and run over old men with your car! Tell your children -- this unspeakable scourge could affect your son, or your daughter. Or yours! Or YOURS!

(Double-click on the picture and you can read all those hilarious blurbs a little more easily.)

Still, overblown as this is, at least it's referring to substance abuse, a physiological addiction. So what about these so-called addictions that have nothing to do with substances? Are there different types of addictions -- emotional, psychological? When does something go from being something you need for a happier life, something you enjoy, to an addiction? What's next -- claiming we're addicted to oxygen because we need to breathe?

I am currently missing New Guy very much. But along with missing him personally, is it the spanking, or something else? Is it touch? No... anyone who has seen John and me together knows that we are as touchy-feely as a couple of high-school kids. Is it the attention? Probably, since I crave that as well. The endorphin high, the stress release? Yup, there's something to that. The blissful relaxed feeling afterward? Well, who wouldn't want that?

Granted, if I go spankless, I don't suffer from hallucinations, nausea and delirium tremens. But I get damn cranky.

Still... addiction? Or just wanting something because it makes me feel good?

It seems to me that something, anything, is an addiction only when the need/urge for it interferes with one's functioning or causes reckless behavior. Picking up strangers in a bar and having unprotected sex, for example, due to a sexual addiction. Endangering others by driving drunk. Screwing up on the job because you can't put your iPhone down for two seconds. But where does spanking come into this? Thinking about it too much? Spending too much time online reading about it? Feeling like if you can't get a spanking, you have to self-spank to release the tension?

OK, some would say I've engaged in reckless behavior by having men I really don't know all that well coming to my apartment. I've never set up a "safe call," even though many think that is essential. However, I don't think those actions are born of being out of control; I have gut-level instincts and I follow them. It's not like I've been online with a stranger and he says, "Can I come over now?" and I say yes and give him my address because I just HAVE to be spanked by him right this minute and if it doesn't happen I'll lose my mind.

For those who engage in spanking or other types of BDSM play regularly, how do you feel when life interferes with your fun and you have to go without it for whatever reason? Does it affect your mood? Do you indeed feel a sort of withdrawal?

What do you think of the loose interpretations of "addiction"?


  1. You don't suffer from hallucinations? One of your stories begs to differ. Hehe.

    "It seems to me that something, anything, is an addiction only when the need/urge for it interferes with one's functioning or causes reckless behavior."

    I totally agree with you there. I think "addiction" is a serious term and don't like it labeling my spanking desires. If I'm supposed to be getting a spanking and life gets in the way and delays the plans, am I happy about it? No. It can bother me. I may be a bit cranky. But it doesn't halt my whole life.

  2. Lea -- LOL! That was a daydream, not a hallucination! :-D

  3. Erica,

    I have no idea if spanking is an addiction or not. I suppose it can be if it is all encompassing and the individual can't think or do anything else except when the next fix (spanking) is coming. I believe all addictions are due to humans trying to fill a need in their lives or numb some kind of pain, be it emotional or physical. When it gets to the point where a person will end up destroying themselves for "their drug of choice", then you have a full blown addiction. It is when things get out of control, the bills aren't being paid, the boss warns about too many absent days from work and poor work habits, the family is ignored, the house is about to go into forclosure for non-payment of the mortgage because the boss eventually fires the addict. Then the addict can not only lose a job, but everything. It is a sad situation.

    For me, I have had a few times when this spanking thing hit me fairly hard and they were years apart. This latest episode occurred after my DH died and I found out that it is not unusual for a spanko to have this happen. It was one of the first things my therapist asked me was if I had a trauma of some kind. It is easing now, though I find myself craving a spanking and I have no partner. I have not had a spanking for probably over 30 years! It comes and goes. I didn't even think much about it for about 20 years and then it hit my like a baseball bat to the head. I did some research then and it sort of went away again. This time I am getting help with a therapist who is also a spanko and knows what it is about. I am also getting input from some of the blogs; this one being the major one I go to and post to the most. There are a few others I go to, also. This one is my favorite.

    So is spanking an addiction? In some cases it probably is because I think it can be carried too far. In others, no. It is something that is enjoyed once in a while with a partner or between husband and wife in sensual/sexual activities, play or the DD lifestyle; the later which is not my forte.

    TTWD is complicated and simple at the same time. We want it, we like it, and the complicated part is "why on earth do we like/want this?" and that answer I doubt we will ever know. Maybe some day and the answer is probably different for each one of us.

  4. Well I've heard spanking does lead to the release of endorphins, which are a naturally-occurring opiate-like substance. I guess whether it becomes an addiction is a matter of degree. We can quit whenever we want, right?

    Karl Friedrich Gauss

  5. You'd best be careful! Getting spankings can lead to...drinking beer!

  6. Hello my Erica, I know how you feel when you say that you feel damn cranky when you don't get spanked cause i feel the same way, it's been 10 or 11 years since i was last spanked but DAMN IT i still crave it and want it i really miss it in my life :-( For me i like the attention and the discipline cause i can be very cheeky and naughty and need to be put back in line hehehe, To be honest i don't know if it's an addiction, I watch spankingtube alot and i go on other spanking website's and while i am watching the clip's i am wishing it was me otk :-( I also miss the endorphin high. Big hugs to you my dear friend from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  7. Bobbie Jo -- I think true chemical addiction can destroy lives... but if there is such a thing as emotional addiction, how far does it go? Or is that just psycho-babble for really, really liking something a lot? I have a feeling there are no definitive answers.

    KF -- I've been called an "endorphin junkie"; I suppose that could be for real. Sure, I could quit. But I sure as hell would hate doing so. :-)

    Craig -- HA! Blechhhh... not with this spanko, it won't!

    Jade -- I suppose you have a preoccupation with it, as I do. I just wonder if "addiction" is the appropriate term for that preoccupation. It seems a bit drastic.

  8. I don't think that spanking is a true addiction, though it may be an obsession. There are definitely cravings to be endured during periods of drought, and there are endorphins to be enjoyed. Runners typically experience an endorphin high, but are not usually labeled addicts. You can crave certain foods, and there are some folks out there who claim that they are addicted to chocolate, but just because a person has cravings, I don't believe that makes them an addict. I haven't been spanked in quite a while, but I think about it every day and miss it and wish for it. When I have been spanked in the past, I find myself wishing for more of the same in short order. But basically, I don't have what is often called an "addictive personality." I don't smoke, do drugs, or gamble. I can take pain killers and not abuse them. I guess I'm kind of lucky in some respects. It makes feel frustrated and sad that I might never again have the kind of spanking relationship that I desire. I do feel at times that I "need" to be spanked, but now that I'm in menopause my general libido has plummeted, and along with that the acute excitement that I used to feel about spanking.

  9. If you say you have an addiction.. wouldn't that then mean that you are in need of a cure for it?

    I don't wanna cure my spanking addiction.. or should I say "affliction"? Yes, that's it! I'm afflicted with the need to be spanked! I don't just 'want' spanked ... I 'need' spanked to keep me on an even keel. (endorphin rushers are so "balancing") :-) I hate when the apple cart is upset. LOL

  10. Dana -- I come from addictive personalities in my family, but never got into substances. I've been known to be obsessive, though... As for menopause, my spanking mojo disappeared briefly, and then came back with a raging vengeance! LOL

    Zelle -- I'm with you! Whatever I have, I wanna keep it, thank you very much! :-D

  11. I think there is an important difference between a chemical (physical) addiction and an emotional craving. Things like coke or beer or cigarettes can lead to chemical dependency and that would be an addiction. But just enjoying a past-time, whether it's spanking or bike riding or sex isn't an addiction. It's just enjoying something because it makes you feel good. Now, if you were so into something you were doing harm to yourself or damaging your life, I think that would be considered more obsessive/compulsive than an addiction.

  12. Hi
    I think that the endorphin rush from the spankings is addictive but then again I have an addictive personality.
    I have been "addicted" for years now and my cravings can get severe!
    My partner has used this addiction to get me off another addiction - namely smoking. She was happy to cane me daily for nearly 3 months provided that I reported faithfully that I was off the smokes. When I said that the morning craving for nicotine was particularly heavy she would give me a harder thrashing. Interestingly I came across a learned journal article when I was going through this process which talked of some Russian scientists using the cane to get drug addicts to get off their addiction. Regular beatings with the cane of over 60 strokes were administered to patients seeking treatment(they volunteered) and they all admitted to not needing a fix or being capable of resisting the urge for the 24 hours until the next thrashing.
    Maybe the problem is that in order to stay off the drugs once they were away from the institution, they would have to have a daily visit from a caning therapist. Sceptics might say they just liked the spankings. Who knows but yes I am a spanking addict.
    Michael M

  13. Maybe rather than calling it an addiction, it can be called an obsession?

    I definitely believe people can be obsessed and/or addicted to certain behaviors. Whether or not they are interchangeable terms is another thing entirely.

    While spanking may not be 'chemical', so to speak, it does cause chemical reactions similar to those produced by certain drugs, and a subsequent 'crash' when those chemicals dissipate. I do think, like Michael M says, that addictive and/or obsessive personality types are more at risk.

    Is it being loosely used? I don't know. If a particular activity or thought consumes your life to the point of interfering other aspects of your life, especially if it detrimentally interferes, and you are unable to pull away from it then I think 'addiction' may be an appropriate term to use.


  14. Anonymous -- that works for me.

    Michael -- I admit, I'm a little nervous around the idea of using spanking to cure a chemical addiction. But hey, if it worked for you, then that's all that matters!

    Sarah -- obsession works better for me too. Addiction still has a chemical connotation, as far as I see it, and it's become too much of a catchall term.

  15. I think there were addictive personalities in my family too, though I'll never know for sure since they have all passed away. I'm really looking forward to reading your memoir!

    I'm glad that several of you agree with me about the spanking obsession vs. addiction--in particular, Sarah T. Nowadays, I find myself increasingly obsessed with what I cannot have (i.e. spankings); the subject is never far from the forefront of my mind.

    A couple of years ago, I was in contact with a high level CEO who employed various personal coaches including one who would cane him regularly to help him stay focused for work, etc. At that time I thought it sounded excessive, but my experience with others since then seems to indicate that it was a sound personal decision. He never described himself as an addict, though it could be perceived differently. I do believe that spanking has many beneficial effects. :-)

  16. Dana -- everyone is so different, it often makes me wonder how we ever find compatible play partners. Me? I don't want spanking used for breaking bad habits or making me do stuff. That would take the fun out of it and make it a negative thing for me.

  17. Yes, it is an addiction, and I think you need to go on a twelve-strap program.

  18. Wolfie -- (groan) Can I go to rehab instead? Perhaps BUTTy Ford would take me.

  19. 1/ I believe that most of us in this lifestyle are addicted to it in different aspects. As a Dom / Top I think it drives me a little crazy when my girl and I can't play or I can't "straighten her out" now and again.

    2. Having seen the blogs of the various submissive females here, I can state unequivocally that none of you are in danger of running over an old man with a car. This, however, does not guarantee that I will be riding in the dodge 'em cars at a carnival if I know any of you are there (never again, I still can't straighten my neck to a normal level).

    3. I believe in the old school cure. We inundate you with your addiction. I, and a select group of Doms will spank, strap and generally punish you all until you ask us to stop for good (note the "for good").

    Any volunteers?

    Oh, and Erica, there is nothing wrong with you! You're about as perfect as they come.

  20. Chev -- good points! And thank you. :-)

  21. I guess I have answered this post today, haven't I?
    I'd even sign up for the old school cure.

  22. Poppy -- ah, sweetie, I don't think you're addicted. You're in need. Big difference there. (hugs)