A letter of concern from a self-described spanking fetishist
Mr. Jordan Riak

2000 October 28

Dear Mr. Riak:

First off, I wish to explain at the outset that I am a paedophile with a spanking fetish. While I long had suspected that my erotic interest in spanking, especially of male children or youths, had a paedophilic component, it is only in the last few months that I have grown to acknowledge and accept that label. You see, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time in the past several years surfing the Internet, UseNet and Undernet world searching for, downloading and cataloguing images and stories depicting spanking of children, as well as photographs of buttocks and pictures of boys in “spanking” suggestive poses. That is my chief and exclusive form of paedophilia, as the very thought of anything more obviously and overtly sexual with a boy is morally repugnant to me. But, it has the markings of a full-fledged addiction, this; and while I have been a “spanko” (to use the term those afflicted with this fetish often use) for many years, it has been the arrival of the non-regulated and non-policed Internet that has caused my fetish to grow to its current proportions. I have often been surprised at the sheer volume of spanking related pornography available to me, and in the last three years, such pornography increasingly involves children, many from real spankings a parent has videotaped or photographed. This observation, coupled with the number of other “spankos” I have exchanged communication with has been both alarming and reassuring: alarming insofar as that there are REAL children and REAL victims of this fetish out there, reassuring AND alarming in the sense I discovered I am oh-so-far from alone in suffering from it.

So my goal here is to explain what this fetish is like from the inside; to look inward, get it outward, and then move onward. To be honest sir, I am not entirely sure why I am writing this letter. Perhaps to assuage a guilty conscience, perhaps to further my own self-understanding through the catharsis of baring my innermost self to someone else; perhaps, even, for some deeply rooted psychosexual reasons I am not cognizant of. In any case, I want to personally thank you and the PTAVE organization for giving me some serious opportunities for self-reflection and examination through its website and publications, and for advancing the cause of eliminating corporal punishment of children. I am hoping that through what I am writing I may in some way contribute to the understanding of parents, educators and medical and psychological professionals about just how damaging and dangerous the practice of spanking and it variants can be.

Where to begin?

I come from an only-child family, growing up in Western Canada in the Seventies and early Eighties. I have often said that I was both spoiled and abused at the same time. While I came from upper-middle class parents and wanted for absolutely nothing, I was also variously struck, spanked and otherwise frequently hit by my mother who was legendary for her temper (and who came from a home where she and her siblings were poor AND abused). My earliest recollection of a spanking was one I received in front of my aunt and uncle, both teens at the time, when I was four. I remember clearly the shame and humiliation of being denuded more than actual pain. My mother has told me, though, that she spanked me as early as two using a wooden spoon when I ran into the street. A spanking, when I was growing up, always involved the use of a belt on my bare buttocks, and I would be left with welts that persisted for hours, even to the next day and in one case, days. I recall at least 12 such incidents and know there are more that I have forgotten. The political and professional opinion regarding the acceptability/legality of such punishments during my childhood was decidedly neutral. While the public-school system here abolished the “strap” when I was still a preschooler, many of my friends also sustained parental spankings of similar severity and kind. It is this fact that is the reason why none of us complained to our teachers, grown-ups etc., that we were being abused-it simply was accepted as “normal” in our families and widely tolerated by most everyone as long as it was “deserved”.

“Deserved.” That is an interesting word. In many of my conversations with spanko’s and parents who spank I have postulated two questions that have never been satisfactorily answered. One, in a society where adults cannot strike each other in their spousal relationships lest they be legally penalized, why do adults feel they have a right to strike their children in the name of punishment? Surely a child is less able to defend himself/herself than an adult (but then it is the resistance of a child or spanking victim that is a part of the erotic aspect to those with the fetish). Secondly, how can we reconcile the paradoxical message we send to our children about the sovereignty of their bodies, “private parts” and modesty while at the same time we can arbitrarily violate those very things when the child is “bad”-when he “deserves” it? How confusing and contradictory.

I read the essay on the PTAVE website dealing with the sexual implications of spanking and was immediately overcome with self-recognition. To me, spanking has been a sexual, if unpleasant, act since at least age 7. I grew up regarding my buttocks as a part of me that God provided for my parents to hurt, ostensibly to teach me right from wrong. How absurd. A human’s buttocks ARE an erogenous zone, connected to the brain along the same neural pathways that serve the genitalia. Painful as they may be, spankings are a powerful stimulant to those nerves. My own experiences and those of other spankos will confirm that.

I had a group of friends who would spank me, and me them, in play situations, most of which were of the “playing house” variety. I would sustain erections during such play and on a few occasions this lead to mutual masturbation and fondling. From there, despite ample “real” spankings from Mom, I progressed to self-spanking purely for sexual gratification, a practice that persisted to adulthood. On several occasions during my adolescence, I entrapped children younger than I (including family) into accepting a spanking from me under the pretence of punishment. I can tell you that the mere word “spanking” itself, repeated in my head, or when accompanied by other phrases such as “bare bum”, “pull down your pants”, etc., could cause a state of arousal. As a pre-teen and young teen I developed a fascination with watching the buttocks of boys in change rooms, showers, gym class and the like, and would silently wonder if the owner was spanked. I engaged others in voyeuristic dialogue on the subject of spanking in their homes; read many articles, magazines and journals; drew pictures of spanking and masturbated to a spanking fantasy at least daily. To the exclusion of normal heterosexual development, this fetish grew and grew. Nowadays, I am unable to become erect without some mental spanking imagery, again usually involving male children. Lest you wonder, I rush to reassure you that I have not actually spanked or fondled the buttocks of a child who was not mine, and for “legitimate” reasons, in over nine years. But as I have stated, the fetish is worse than ever thanks to the child pornography I can so readily access. It is that very material I was seeking when I stumbled across the PTAVE website the first time. My personal psychotherapy and the no-holds barred discussions in which I have engaged other “fetishers” in has made me take a long hard look at myself. Whither me, and why?

I have absolutely no doubt that many people spank because they themselves were spanked. They spank because it is quick and efficient. They spank because they see children as needing to submit completely to the authority of the adults in their lives, without question. And, they spank, I would submit, because they are subconsciously stimulated sexually by the power and control, domination and submission elements of S&M. It is hypocritical for me to say so, admittedly, given the fact that I have and do spank my own sons despite the fetish I possess. I have recently had a lengthy email exchange with another parent, of grown children, who despite his admission of being a spanko, never resorted to spanking his own children. I wish I could say that was true for me, but I cannot. As you are aware, the covers of parental/educator duty and the historical acceptability of spanking are used by many as an excuse to spank. My correspondent has chided me for being unaware of my own motives, and I have to admit he is right-although I believe I spank only as a last resort, and then in a manner consistent with minimum titillation for me, the fact that I am a spankophile calls even those two statements into question. And so it goes-for many others and me. It’s true dichotomy, as my correspondent has said. I can openly and completely agree that spanking is a sexual act, if an unconscious one, that is fraught with the risks of fetish development and other S&M tendencies, yet I live in a society where people (myself included) continue to spank. In most cases, to make up for poor parenting skills in the first place.

Thus, I have reached a decision today that I will no longer view spanking, any spanking, as an acceptable practice. I am already receiving therapy and will redouble my efforts. I have chosen to share my experience with you in the hope to help further PTAVE’s cause in re-educating people and breaking the self-perpetuating and trans-generational spanking myths. In the meantime, I will continue to share my experience strength and hope with those similarly afflicted, ever mindful of the fact that it is children, the most vulnerable members of this or any society, who are being victimized “for their own good.”

B.W., Calgary, Canada

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