An illuminating debate at

Jordan Riak writes:
I can't understand how spankers can log on to the Internet without even a twinge of uncertainty that, thanks to their own behaviors at home, their well-spanked children may one day join the pathetic clientele of the whipping dungeons here in cyber-sex fantasy land -- a sizable crowd judging by the number of sites that compete for their patronage. Surely no one supposes that sadomasochism springs out of a vacuum or from a genetic mutation or from any source other than early childhood experiences. Author David Bakan writes in Slaughter of the Innocents:

"The buttocks as the locus for the induction of pain (is considered) a safe locus. However the anal region is also precisely the major erotic zone at the time at which a child is likely to be beaten there. Thus it is aptly chosen to achieve deranged sexuality in adulthood."

There is an excellent post "Spanking: harmless?" by Linda K. Guy on a small fragment of this forum that got lost in the shuffle when there was talk of closing it down. It is no longer accessible through the main table of contents, but can still be reached by going to: I will quote a portion of that post. Ms. Guy writes:

"...Sites propounding the joys of sexual spanking (between consenting adults) abound yet despite the emphatic insistence on consensuality...almost every story, account, fantasy and image deliberately evokes a dynamic essentially parallel to that of parent/child, teacher/pupil etc. in the minutest detail. So, though by all accounts a voluntary exchange of power, the practice of this particular sexual preference resonates with echoes of the inequity and non-consensuality of childhood spankings..."

Spankers should pause and reflect on the fact that the fantasy lives of flagellants hark back to real experience in childhood. Pause long and reflect hard.

Jeffrey responds:
I suppose the reason some people are gay is because of early childhood experiences, also. To make the statement that spanking in childhood causes it to become a sexual fantasy is just plain silly. How, then, would you explain the fact that so many people who were spanked find no sexual stimulation whatsoever from spanking? And, of course, there are those who were never spanked who find it fascinating, such as myself. The people who do find that consensual spanking is erotic are just like everyone else, some were, and some weren't spanked as children. Fantasies are just that, fantasies, and a way to explore the real world in a safe way.
My ex and I have never spanked our children as a personal choice. We just don't believe in it. Our children are well adjusted, polite, loving, and can be just as annoying at times as any kids. However, I have many friends and acquaintances who do spank and were spanked who are fine, happy, non-violent, successful people who genuinely love their parents, and also have wonderful children. As for consensual sexual activities, isn't it quite presumptuous of you to pass judgement on other's abilities to make decisions for themselves? As in every other aspect of our lives, there are those who are perfectly healthy, and far fewer who have serious problems.
The fact is that corporal punishment has been used in a vast majority of households for the entire history of the world. It is also true that only a small minority of people have severe psychological issues. So, I guess, using your anecdotal research technique, everyone should be spanked!

Tom Johnson, joining the debate, responds to Jeffrey:
Dismissing a cause-and-effect relationship just because it may not be exclusive is -- you'll forgive me for saying so -- just plain silly. Academic research has long established childhood whipping (usually on the buttocks) as a standard etiology of the adult flagellant fixation and sadomasochism. However statistically marginal such cases may be (and with this highly taboo subject, who knows how many cases go unreported or undetected?), the utter gratuitousness of spanking demands that the practice be re-evaluated in light of these unseemly associations.

Jeffrey responds:
In your own inimitable words, "Dismissing a cause-and-effect relationship just because it may not be exclusive is -- you'll forgive me for saying so -- just plain silly." So I suppose we should outlaw cars, alcohol, skiing, volley ball, space exploration, etc. because although a vast majority of people who engage in these activities don't get hurt, some do, and sometimes quite seriously. Then again, what should we do about the children whose lack of discipline causes them to harm themselves and others? Perhaps spanking those children would have prevented more unwanted effects than not spanking would. Granted, there are many forms of discipline, but, statistically, a vast majority of those subjected to spanking have learned lessons and become responsible, healthy citizens.
As for "academic research," since psychology is far from being an even slightly exact science, if a science at all, any postulations are no more than opinions about observations. And were we to go by observations alone, we would have to conclude that spanking is healthy and those who developed what you would clearly consider aberrations, are mere anomalies, and statistically irrelevant. I am not referring to ritualistic beatings, or "whipping," a word you use to infer that spanking and whipping are one and the same, or any other clear abuse.
The "academics" (who would have real jobs if they were smart enough to do anything more useful) can see anything they want to see. Those who are against such practices, find the negatives, those in favor, the positive ones.
As I have said, I do not choose to spank. I do believe that there are better alternatives. However, I also believe that many of the alternatives, time out, grounding, etc. can also have serious side effects. Unfortunately, our "academics" and "psychologists" have their own agenda and looking at things in an unbiased way isn't one of them.

Tom Johnson responds:
Ah, but you're forgetting that spanking -- unlike "cars, alcohol, skiing, volleyball, space exploration, etc." -- is both gratuitous AND coerced. The risks of motor travel are accepted because it is currently essential to society's functioning. Space exploration, for all it offers, may not be so essential, but at least no one is forced onto the shuttlecraft. The risks of sports/recreation, which few would dispute has intrinsic value, are generally limited to those who freely choose to participate. Alcohol is arguably gratuitous or even destructive, but again, drinking is a personal choice (as long as not combined with, say, cars). Receiving a spanking, by contrast, is not (usually) a free choice. And as for spanking's gratuitousness, you yourself acknowledge that there are other means of discipline available. (For that matter, there are other ways of inflicting pain besides buttock-slapping that are far less likely to take on the sexual aspects which are so plentifully exhibited on this board.)
Alternative punishments could conceivably have adverse effects, as could just about anything. But is this negative potential equal, or equally probable? I would contend that physical punishment of any kind has a uniquely personal impact not shared by non-physical punishments (and in any case, I doubt there's a forum for "" or "" Why do you suppose that is?).
You're right that psychology is a highly interpretive science, but I'm sure you don't reject all "opinions about observation" of human behavior on these grounds. The academicians you so sweepingly insult include a number of medical doctors (a "real job," I think you'd agree). How much objective scientific thought went into your own skeptical opinion?


Return to Spanking Can Be Sexual Abuse