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Friday, April 5, 2013

Relativity: Defining a hard player

(Please note: The following is not a judgment post about how hard some people play, about marks or damage, etc. It is simply an observation, and me wondering where I fall on the spectrum. So please, no negativity/judgment -- don't want any flame wars erupting!)

I used to call myself a hard player. People told me I have a high tolerance. The one and only Keith Jones bestowed upon me the nickname of "Bionic Bottom." I broke implements, I made hands look worse than my bottom. So I figured, OK, I'm a hard player.

These days, I'm not so sure. Like everything else, "hard" is relative.

It's quite the pictorial world online now, thanks to FetLife photo albums and the countless spanking photo blogs out there. I don't have time to look at all of them, but there are some I view regularly (admittedly, to see if any of my pictures turn up on them). I see an amazing range of spanking evidence, shades varying from pink to red to purple. I see marks that go from surface streaks to deep bruises and welts that look like they will take a long time to heal. Occasionally, I see broken skin and blood.

Has it always been this way? Or is there a newer trend, a sort of competition to see who can take the most, who can get marked the most? Is pink now considered wimpy? Is there so much content out there now, that players feel the need to up their game in order to stand out?

I can take a fair amount of spanking. But lately, as I read and observe, it seems my tolerance has many limits. There are implements out there that go so far beyond your usual paddles and hairbrushes. The sjambok, for example -- I don't even know what that is or how it's pronounced, but apparently, it's nasty. Wood and leather? Meh... old school. Make way for the rubber, the lexan, the Delrin. Unbreakable, unshatterable, formidable. For every implement I can take, these days there seems to be another I can't. And yes, sometimes I feel like a wuss.

Another observation I've made, and please correct me if I'm mistaken: Has spanking territory (skin-wise) expanded in recent times? I admit to being old school about spanking -- for me, it's on the behind, and directly underneath it (the sweet spot). Not too high, not too low, concentrated thoroughly on the cheeks. But now, I'm noticing that many include the thighs. And I don't mean the upper-upper thighs, just in the vicinity of the sweet spot -- I'm talking all the way down the back of the thighs. And sometimes on the front of the thighs as well, or the inner thighs. I used to see this extension of punished flesh only in the BDSM realm. Now, it seems more and more spankos are venturing into it too. I saw a lot of thigh bruising in the recent party I attended.

Now I don't mind the occasional hand slap to the thigh, as an attention-getter. I even volunteered to take a "thigh turkey" (hard hand slap to the inside of the thigh, creating a hand print), because I was curious about how it felt. But implements on my thighs?? AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH! I don't know how people take that pain. I bow to them. I cannot.

I'm also concerned about damage, honestly. The bottom, fleshy as it is, is made for quite a bit of pummeling. The backs of the legs, though, have underlying bone and muscle. The skin is more prone to broken capillaries and spider veins. And those don't go away -- you have to have them zapped with a laser, and that costs $$$. Also, the sciatic nerves run down the backs of the legs.

Let me reiterate -- I can take some thigh attention. One of my favorite scenes last year at BBW was with the lovely gentleman who had a collection of implements and was giving me 12 with each one. I had to count, and he had a firm rule: NO kicking. If I kicked at any time, he would give me 12 punitive smacks with his hand... on my legs. Guess what? I kicked... once. Those 12 slaps were measured, not super hard, but they stung fiercely. I did not kick for the rest of the scene (and he tried damn hard to get me to do so, too!).

That was fine. Like I said, attention-getters. Something off the beaten path (har!) to make a point. But then we have the guy I played with a few years ago, who went to town on me with a wooden spoon. All over my thighs and hips as well as my bottom. I'll let you guys be the judge. I thought this was ugly. But some might think it's neat, I don't know.

He contacted me a while after that and asked if I wanted to play again; he was genuinely surprised when I said no. He thought this level of marking was just fine. Don't get me wrong -- it's not the marks themselves I objected to. On the bottom, they would have been fine. Not all over my legs and hips, though.

So I'll ask again -- is it just me, some isolated incidences, or is the spanking area broadening in general?

Let's review, as Jules from BBW would say. I can't take heavy wooden paddles and I can't take rubber. I am fine with deep redness and some marking, but I don't want to look like I was hit by a car walking across the street, sent flying and then skidding for two city blocks on my ass. I am a thigh/leg wuss. I don't want anal play in any way, shape or form, and don't even think about parting my cheeks to slap in the tender areas there. Hard player? I don't think so. I think I'm going to have to reclassify myself as a medium player. 

Then again, for some, my "medium" is beyond the pale (so to speak). So really, how does one define play levels?

Things I ponder when I should be working. Your thoughts?

EDIT: Would like to hear from the folks who do like the broader range of spanking area as well; interested in hearing what you like about that. Makes for a well-rounded discourse, getting various opinions!

Have a great weekend, y'all. :-)


  1. Sjambok is pronounced shambock. I know, I have one. LOL Helen (remember her from the newsgroup?) sent it to me as a surprise. I had no idea what it was, and it looked like a psychotic plastic pool cue! Very intense, which is good in limited quantities.

    As far as hard play, I thought I'd become wussy, but then a couple years ago I went to a party for the first time in eight years, and I took as much as I always could. I wore out a Top who used a razor strop on me. It was one of the few things I hadn't experienced before, so I was eager to try it. He got tired eventually. Other Tops like to bring out what they call the "Heavy artillery" when I show up, because they know I like it. The only time I couldn't handle more than twelve with the heavy cane was the time the Top used the rubber strap on me right before the cane. Otherwise I can go way too long with the cane, until I fly. I don't like wood, and I don't like sting. I love leather and thud. I own a Lexan paddle that G. LOVES and I hate. He also found an indestructible plastic spoon last year that's just downright wrong. I love marks, so to have some that look really bad the first couple days afterwards is fine with me. I guess playing with G. for so many years has made me love playing hard!

  2. I consider myself a fairly light bottom, though my friends seem to think I have the steel bottom. I also have the world's tiniest spank zone - bottom ONLY - no sit spot, no thighs, no hips, no crack. Not even something that goes across the crack. I dislike/hate wood, rubber, metal, plastic.....

    I think, as spanking becomes more accepted and more folks venture into that realm, it is only natural that we will see a wide range of preferences. Everyone is different, after all.

    I worry sometimes that I am so light and picky a bottom that I am boring, but I never seem to lack for willing play partners. I doubt you do, either.

    Just be you and have fun!

  3. Erica, sjambok, pronounced (jambok). A heavy leather whip, made from the hide of a hippo. Origin. South Africa. Used in the olden days in the slave trade. Nowdays, prodding cattle. And at other times, on naughty ladies bare bottoms. Most painful, so please be careful when someone wishes to use it on you. XXX Luv ya.

  4. Jen -- yup, I'd say you qualify as a hard player! :-)

    Laura -- my concern isn't so much finding willing play partners; it's a worry that my reputation precedes me and some tops will think I'm up for a lot more than I really am! LOL

    Six -- I think I'll pass on that!

  5. I'M WITH YOU ...I used to take it a lot harder, but being 64 and having bad hips, I don't take it as hard anymore...I do get pink to light red and I don't like Wood implements at all...I see some of my friends getting deep marks and bruises and some blood and That's ok for them,because it's what they want. I feel some of the guys no longer want to play with a wimpy player when they can beat hard on others. I want it to be fun. I can take discipline spankings, but without the marks. I think, I'm in that boring stage too,,,Thanks for posting this...I was able to vent about this subject which bothers me!

  6. Erica,

    Each person has a level that satisfies them. Most of my friends are not hard players. As a top, I want them to enjoy the play. I do not have to beat someone to feel good, in fact I would feel awful if I hurt someone.

    I was injured with a wood paddle so I am very sensitive to spanking in safe zones of the butt. And, I do not want to bruise a bottom or mark them.

    Spanking is not a competitive sport. If you want competition and lots of pain, run a marathon.

    I have been accused of spanking like a bottom. I plead guilty.


  7. Nancy -- it's a fine line for me. I like to be challenged. There are some hard(er) players whom I enjoy, because they're very skilled and measured (Strict Dave comes to mind; he is amazing!). But others scare me. And I don't like feeling wimpy or boring because certain hard play scares me. (sigh)

    joey -- no marathons for me! Perhaps I'm too hung up on labels once again.

  8. I'm pretty open to trying any implement in the SKILLED hands of a favorite top. I DO love wooden paddles the most and enjoy both sting and thud sensations, but I actually think I have a bit more stamina to take longer thuddy spankings vs stingy ones...yet the thuddy ones seems to leave more lasting bruising and soreness. But that's just pleasant reminder of my spanking.

    I have ZERO interest in getting spanked anywhere else other than my ass and the first 2 inches below on the backs of my thighs.


  9. Just my own opinion here , what people want / do is their business . I PERSONALLY feel that when marks that turn to deep purple and blue bruises are the result , its tantamount to abuse . I have never and hope never do leave a bruise when I spank my lil one. I find it a turn off to see and usally when i come across a site that goes into the "play" that far i will make a mental note to shy away from that site . AGAIN I am NOT condemning anyone , just stating my PERSONAL viewpoint .

  10. First of all, every wish is an individual one. regarding the welts on the thighs, they may be seen by someone, while the bottoms are covered as a rule. Many years ago, when I was a schoolboy, I liked a girl more, if I learned, that sometimes she was punished with a belt by her parents at home. If I see the welts on her thighs, which would be continuations of the welts on her bottom, I would be excited very much and I would fall in love with her more probably. Anyone guess right never, how to become desired. Always it's possible to make a mistake.

  11. Kelly -- you and I are opposites in that instance. I hate thud! I like the soreness, but I can get that from hand and stinging implements as well. Different strokes...

    D -- I understand. But bear in mind, it's consensual (in most cases, anyway). I have to remind myself of that as well.

    Chat -- that's another concern; I don't want marks that show when I'm wearing shorts, a skirt, etc. I like marks, but I want them to be my own and not for the vanilla public.

  12. Hi Erica -- I am glad you brought up this subject :-)As for me i like getting spanked on the bum and some slap's to my thigh's,but i agree with you and Jule's about not wanting to look like i been hit by a car and sent flying 2 city block's on my ass, hehehe LOL.Back in the day i took some really hard spanking's in which,one of my bruise's was as big as a large coffee cup lid that was from getting spanked with a paddle,my welt's from the strap was quite big too.My opinion is to just be you and have fun that's all that really matter's :-)The mark's on you in your pic's sort of look like big red wax candy lip's.You will ALWAY'S be Queen bionic butt to me :-)Much Love and hug's from naughty girl Jade

  13. Jade -- they sure didn't FEEL like candy lips! :-) Actually, Jules didn't say anything about being hit by a car. She is known for saying "Let's review" in the SSNY videos, and the way she says it always cracks me up.

  14. "The bottom, fleshy as it is, is made for quite a bit of pummeling."
    May I cite that, Erica, whenever that comes in handy? Of course, wity proper reference to the original, authoritative source.

    But seriously: here too difficxulgthy wigthy serious damage: I somehow find that really iting - a turn-off, even. May be the point is that I find pleasure in emphagthy, accurately monitoring her responses so as to lead her where I wangt her to be - while, somehow, certain implements feel like no allowing the type of subtle control needed to that effect.

  15. I always feel like a wuss compared to what I see others do. But as you wrote, it's all relative. Some people look at my marks and say "wow I don't know how you handled that!"

    I don't let people spank my thighs. My butt has built up tolerance so I can handle implements, but my legs have not and that's not a goal for me.

    I'm not into any anal play either. I like my spanking to be a spanking and that's that. That's what works for me. There are certainly things I've tried that I didn't think I would years ago, but I still have a lot of personal limits.

  16. Erica, Personally, I don't like to see marks. Some people mark with very little effort, while others only get to bright pink with the "heavy artillery" and in little time are back to near white. The extreme variations are a riddle to me.

    As to thighs, Bacall originated this in our play maybe 10 years back, asking for light to moderate pops high on her inner thighs with a light wood batten. She says that area is directly connected to near by more sensitive parts. The pops, on her, leave a faint pink line that is gone shortly.

    I tried her idea and found I did not like the batten on my inner thigh, but find it delightful on the front of my legs. It's like getting two spankings, one on the legs and another on the bottom.

    I would not call either of us hard players having known a few, like you, that could tire me out before they got enough. That's another riddle to me as how some can take say a frat paddle and never move during dozens of licks. I much prefer to spank someone that reacts to each spank.

    Good topic

  17. I can take quite a lot, but only on my bottom. I sometimes get a swat or two on thighs or lower legs, but only as a playful reminder when I kick. I hate it, because it seems to hurt so much more.

    We have a heavy wooded paddle that is at the upper end of my tolerance, and a thick rubber paddle textured like rough brick that I really hate. Marking is fine, but again, only on my bottom. When I see pictures of heavy marking on blogs, I move along quickly.


  18. Bravo Erica, I am also with you 100%, this is a terrific post and while not blasting the harder is not for everyone but so many folks just don't get that. Communicate and let the spankings begin but when someone takes the liberty of moving along too far, not right. I hate to hear those words, "well I thought I would take you a little further this time..." No thank you and if I want to be challenged I will ask. Equally I am do not like when my bottom is critical because I may not spank her that hard, especially the initial play, just explain and tell me...don't critcize and blast me for it.

    Well said, thank you.

    And oh by the by, except for the marks, lovely bottom and panty!

  19. Hi Erica,

    I used to think I might be a hard player, but I doubt that's the case today. I've concluded that labels of this sort don't much matter. What we do works for us.

    As for the target area, I agree with your boundaries. I have the benefit/curse of a wide, round, fleshy bottom. There's plenty of surface area for spanking. There's no need to resort to striking my hips, thighs, or (shudder) lower back. I'll accept a few swats on the tops of my thighs as an attention-getter, but I don't expect to see a lot of damage there.

    I hope you don't mind, but I would like to use this latter question as our brunch topic this week (with full attribution, of course). After seven years, it's difficult to find relevant subjects we've never discussed.

    Have a great weekend! :)


  20. Hi Erica,
    Just wanted to say, (I guess considering what I’ve seen out there), that you are probably in the center. It’s just my opinion and I also hope not to offend you or anyone else and I’m also not looking to past judgment or negativity. From observing and reading it seems my taste for this subject varies also. I definitely start to get turned off beyond “pink” so you could just put me in that “wimpy” category. I guess since I’m more into another fetish, seeing anyone getting “bruised or marked” is just a turn-off for me and beyond that forget it. The limits start with some site, or blogs (Dana Kane) is probably the most hardcore that I’ve seen as far as Femdom. With other spanking sites or blogs again as soon as the marking beyond pink happens I just stop observing lurking, or reading. You seem not to cross that line which is why I continue to read your blog topics. Oh, by the way the last couple of topics that you wrote about were also interesting. I just never have the time to let you or any other bloggers know, since I prefer to just lurk on Fetlife, or similar sites.
    Take care,

  21. Erica, I'm just really impressed that you got "beyond the pale" into a post :)

    Guess I lean toward the light side. I like to see a pink spanked bottom, but not see bruising, blood, or marks elsewhere. Recognizing others have different preferences. I've appreciated many of your photos posted on the blog BTW.

    Also, I find the idea of "pleasurable torture" exciting. So, the thought of slowly spanking a woman on the bare bottom as she closed in on orgasm, using my hand to bring her closer, but drawing out the spanking until an OMG moment :) is a hot thought for me. And it's obviously not real torture in any sense.

  22. MrJ -- of course, cite away! :-)

    Lea -- you do mark intensely! But I know that's just the nature of your skin. I know you're not getting anything more than what you desire.

    OBB -- tolerance variations are fascinating, aren't they? I have watched some people play and I am practically beside myself feeling sympathy pain, and they're absorbing it happily and wanting more. It's rather mind-blowing.

    Hermione -- see, I can't take rubber at all, so you got me there!

    Ron -- I would much rather have a new spanker err on the side of caution and be a little too light, before he gets to know me and what I can take, rather than going full bore right out of the gate. If he stays light, I'll just tell him he can ramp it up a bit. And if he still stays light, then I'll pretend to fall asleep. ;-)

    Bonnie -- Mind? I'd be honored! :-) I suppose there are disadvantages to having a "smaller target" -- it takes a rather skilled top to avoid wrapping me, or going too high or too low, with implements. Every top I've known has had a misfire or two on occasion! I figure it comes with the (smaller) territory. (eye roll) Oh, and hips and thighs are one thing, but strike my lower back and we're done (unless it's with a gentle flogger). That is dangerous.

    Milt -- I'm certainly not offended, being considered in the center. What fascinates me (and I wish we'd hear from some of them) are people who enjoy the more extreme photos. I see it all the time on FetLife -- a photo of someone beaten, deeply bruised and even bloodied, and people comment, "Oh, that's so beautiful." What are they seeing that I do not? I wish I could get inside their heads and comprehend it.

    Anonymous -- pleasurable torture may sound like an oxymoron, but I get it! And it's delicious. :-)

  23. I have always had this weird feeling that I've been somehow responsible for a lot of the popularity of thigh spanking in the scene these days, although I do think that might be a bit egotistical to say. All I know is that being hit on my thighs in certain kids of scenes/relationships is a core part of my kink. A smack on the bottom can mean a lot of things, but to me, getting hit on the thighs always sends a message of Dominance (this is why I don't let just anyone do that to me, either). When I got into the scene, I didn't hear a lot about spanking thighs. It didn't seem unheard of, but it wasn't a big thing. The more I did it and the more I talked about it and shared my experiences (even though I've never posted photos anywhere of the upper end of my play spectrum, I have posted things that include me looking pretty marked up), the more people I heard about trying it. Maybe it's just me noticing things more the bigger a part of my identity they become. I'm just not sure.

    Another thing to remember is the body's ability to mark. A lot of girls walk around looking like they got beaten half to death on their thighs just from regular spanking there simply because it's not territory that usually gets hit for them. After just a month or so of not playing that way, a simple hand-spanking left my thighs marked up. I think that can make it look worse than it actually is. On the flip side of that, I've gotten to the point where takes a lot of hard play to mark me in any significant way. This is a great thing for me as a model: it means that I can enjoy playing at a party and still be able to shoot in a couple of days, or that I can do shoots back to back without getting all purple and black. It also means that when someone looks at a photo of me after a spanking, it will never look like it was as severe as someone who hasn't been playing as long and as often as I have. You can give the exact same spanking to me and to a girl who is newer to the scene or hasn't played as much as I have and she'll be red, swollen, glowing and maybe a bit bruised, where as I'll look charmingly pink. Sometimes, this is disappointing to me, because I want to be able to take credit for the intensity of play that I engaged in and people sometimes don't believe me after the fact when I tell them that I've been spanked very thoroughly. There have been times at parties where I've been played out. In my mind, I should look horribly marked, but in reality, I'm just a bit pink and rosy. It can be hard to convince people that I'm actually really sore.

    I feel like I kind of just rambled here. Sorry about that.
    <3 you!

  24. Alex -- you can ramble on my blog anytime you want! I was hoping to hear from you, as I know you engage in thigh spanking. And yes, I do think you have an impact on the scene! Your blog is immensely popular, you attend many parties and do a lot of shooting, you're well loved. So when you try something, when you like something, people go "Hmmm."

    Very true about the different bodily reactions, and how tolerance builds. I'm often annoyed that I come to the end of a party weekend sore as hell, but with nothing to show for it, and no one believes that I'm hurting! Arrgh! Maybe people move to the outside areas in order to mark again? Trouble is, I really can't take it on my thighs, not like I do on my bottom, anyway. Hard thwacks to the backside put me deeper into the zone; the same to the thighs jerk me right out of it.

    I sometimes read on your blog about how you settle into the pain and accept it, ride with it. I definitely do that with bottom spanking, but wrap me, go too low, hit my lower leg, and my mind screams and screams NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! So I do admire what you take, and how well you transition into being with it. ♥ you too!

  25. People play at all different levels (as you well know) and those levels change. People have every right to say, "hey, I'm not where I used to be, let's go a bit easy here." If expectations are one way from a prior experience and a person has changed (either through tastes, physiology, mentality or whatever) then it's back to good ole' communication again. I'll gladly adjust if I know. What sucks is expecting to play the way I've grown familiar to play with someone and have them let me know after that it was too much. I feel horrible!

    There's another angle on this: the top can change too, and I don't mean in terms of wanting or expecting to play harder. They may not even know they're playing harder. Remember playing with me after I'd been doing weights for some time? I literally didn't even know my own strength. I had no idea I was hitting harder.

    Finally, to your initial question: has spanking changed? I don't think real spankos have changed. What's changed is porn and people's acceptance of certain things. Remember when spanking videos were just spanking videos? (I don't, as you know, but you know what I'm getting at.) Now they're as much about hardcore pornography as spanking. And as porn gets more niched and extreme at the same time, people's willingness to view, accept and potentially try new things has changed, too.

  26. Craig -- I do remember purely spanking videos. At that time, they were fresh and new and exciting and I guess people were happy with that. Then competition grew, the market flooded and things had to get more risqué in order to sell better. I do think they sacrificed some of the pure joy of a spanking-only video, but business is business, I get that.

    Communication is always key. I know some consider it "topping from the bottom" (another subject), but I'm all for whispering "Time out" to a top in the middle of a scene in order to tell him to please, please slow down or lighten up a little. A moment of awkwardness is a lot better than a ruined scene, I think.

  27. I refer to the changes and more hardcore stuff as the "Gladiator Syndrome." Back in the day of the Roman version of the "Tuesday Night Fights" (yeah, I am dating myself here), the bloodier it was the more the people cheered. I think there is a bit of that now, considering all the violence in Hollywood movies.

    Compared with you, Erica, I am a wimp! I put myself in the light to slightly moderate category, though. I certainly can take more than I could when I first got into the scene.

    I wish some of the harder players would comment, too, as some of what I have seen to me is way over the top. I, too, have to remind myself that it is what those hard players want whether I "get" it or not. I just know where I don't want to be spending my time.

    I also understand players that are not severely hardcore who bruise easily. Or being sore and not having a bruise. I have experience that, but it wasn't all that bad and gone after a couple of days. As for my first spanking, the bruises showed up the next day. I was sore for four days and the bruised lasted about a week. That doesn't happen now. In fact, I have had a couple of spankings where I wasn't sore at all. I don't care for the marks, but I do like the feeling of being a bit sore for a day or two. :-)

  28. Bobbie Jo -- interesting comparison to gladiators. It's true; there are those who seem to cheer on and encourage the hard-core photos. I don't get it, but I know it does something for them. I wish they'd tell me.