Shutterstock

How A BDSM Course In Spanking Taught Me To Stand Up For Myself

By

It was the afternoon of my first-ever BDSM class. It was class I had initially attended solely for the sake of writing. I had no idea that it would be one of the most mind-boggling and possibly best things I’ve done for my personal development all year.

We had just finished rope play. It was time for spanking. Om Rupani, our instructor, started out by going over the rules. It turns out spanking isn’t as cut-and-dried as you might think.

For example, an open hand isn’t as enjoyable as a cupped hand. Also, when spanking, you want to make sure you aim for fat over muscle over bone. You never want to hit bone. This is why spanking the butt works, and spanking the lower back is a bad idea.

Om called up one of his assistants, Rachel, to the front of the class to do a demo. Naked from the waist-down, Rachel walked up and bent over the table ready to be spanked. Her vagina was out in the open and 1 foot away from my face.

Om started demonstrating how to pulsate the movement, increasing the intensity and frequency of the spanking. As a strong feminist, I found myself immediately having a negative reaction to Rachel being spanked.

In my mind, here was just one more example of a woman having less power than a man. A woman was being subjugated and disrespected because a man wanted to spank her.

“What kind of weird psychological or self-esteem issues must she have to let him do that?” I thought.

When the demo was over, another woman asked, “BDSM is all about consent. I can see how this is enjoyable for Om Rupani, but how is it enjoyable for you, Rachel?”

“Well, to be honest, when I get spanked, I feel pain and a little bit of humiliation, fear and danger. And I like that. Those feelings really turn me on a lot.”

Her answer was simple. And quite frankly, it challenged and changed many of my preconceived notions of what sex and should and shouldn’t be. Rachel liked getting spanked. It turned her on. It was as simple as that.

I had so many associations about what it meant psychologically and emotionally to be spanked. Was it respectful? What was the significance of that power dynamic outside of the bedroom? What did it signify about your relationship with that person and how you valued yourself?

The honest to God truth was that none of that mattered. It turned her on. That was it. Nothing else needed to be attached to it.

Holy sh*t. My mind was blown. Now it was our turn. I wanted to work with the cute Irish man who was my partner during the rope exercise. But the man sitting next to me asked first. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I said, "Sure."

I wasn’t super attracted to him, but I figured it didn’t matter for the exercise. I was wrong. It mattered. We were both doms and wanted to do the spanking instead of receiving the spanking. For his sake (and because I wanted to try new things), I offered to let him spank me first.

“Are you gonna keep your pants on?” he asked.

“Yep,” I responded aggressively. I leaned against a wall, ass out. My partner started spanking me. Within 30 seconds, I realized I totally wasn’t in to this.

“Try moving here. Faster. Never mind. Move here. Do this,” I instructed. “Shhh, you’re supposed to be the sub,” my partner said in a voice he thought was sexy.

Oh yeah, I forgot. That’s why I’m not a very good sub. I’m too bossy. I rolled my eyes at him and snorted out-loud.

My mind started to wander to something that happened earlier in class. A shy woman named Cody was telling a story.

“I was at a cuddle party once, and...” she started to stutter.

“What happened?” Om Rupani asked. “Well, we were cuddling, and he started touching me.”

“You didn’t want it?”

“No. Yes. Well, no.”

“You need to claim your clarity. Let’s be very clear about what happened. He was touching you. You didn’t want it. Did you tell him to stop?” he asked.

“No.”

“Why?”

“Well, he seemed enthusiastic, and I thought maybe I could get in to it.”

“You should have said something. Women have been supporting the egos of men for thousands of years. You should never do anything you don’t want to do. From now on, you say something.”

There were so many things about the class that made me think, but this was one of things that really stuck out. Women in particular feel some sort of weird obligation. I remembered a friend telling me once that she had been dating someone she wasn’t really into, but she still gave him a "courtesy blowjob.”

I remember thinking, “That’s your body. You don’t owe anyone anything.” It was nice to hear Om reaffirm that this is a problem deeply embedded in our society. It's something we as women need to change.

I want to repeat that you don't owe anyone anything ever. Not if someone took you for dinner, not if someone paid for a show and not if it's an alternative to sex.

That's also especially the case when you just don’t know how to say, "I don’t want to have sex.” Even if you went upstairs because you thought you wanted to be physical, you can change your mind. Same for you, men.

But, back to spanking. I wasn’t enjoying it. But, I was going through the motions to spare my partner’s ego. Om Rupani was right. That wasn’t my job, so I needed to claim my clarity.

“Yeah, I’m not really feeling this. I want to stop.” I said.

“Are you sure? Maybe if I—”

“Nah, I’m sure. It’s not my thing,” I said firmly.

I thought maybe I would enjoy it more if I was doing the spanking. My partner decided he wanted to be spanked while lying across my lap.

I started spanking him, but I felt ridiculous, like a parent spanking a small child. I just wasn’t attracted to him.

“I think I’m done. Let’s stop. Sorry, it's not my thing.” We stopped, even though everyone else was still going.

Shortly after that, we debriefed and then class ended. My mind was racing with all the things I had learned not about BDSM, but about sex in general. I thought about the notions we think something means or doesn’t mean. I thought about when we feel something is “right” or “wrong,” or why we analyze these things in the first place.

But, it was also bigger than that. I learned about shame and guilt. I learned about vulnerability. I learned about claiming your clarity and speaking your truth.

I’m not sure about my future in BDSM (though they did invite me to a dominatrix den). But, I am going to continue to challenge myself and the stereotypes I have in general. I’m going to be more vulnerable in my relationships. I will be more open-minded.