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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Speaking of Spanking

Posted by on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan

Originally published Sept 10, 2009:

As a 43-year-old single gay guy, I recently had my first spanking experience and am feeling extreme self-loathing. I was in a long-term vanilla relationship for most of my adult life and never got to experience anything kinky, but I've had an interest in it.

Long story short, I answered an online ad, went to this guy's house, and let him paddle me. I quickly blew and quickly left. There was no sex other than me jerking myself while getting hit. Now I feel awful. It's not the spanking itself, but rather the anonymous nature of what I did. This type of hookup is not my thing, as I am used to sex in the context of a loving, committed relationship. I feel like I've let myself down, like I dropped my standards, and I fear sliding down a slippery slope into a life of anonymous, kinky encounters. I've never wanted to be one of "those guys."

I can't eat, I can't sleep, and I feel like puking. I can't talk to any of my friends about this—I'm too embarrassed. Please put my mind at ease. Please tell me if getting spanked with a hand and paddles is risky for sexually transmitted infections. Also, what can I do to deal with this guilt? I swear I'm not exaggerating here, and I really do need someone to talk to about this.

Shouldn't Want Anonymous Thrashings

My Response after the jump...

There's no way you contracted a sexually transmitted infection during that spanking session, SWAT, so calm the fuck down, okay?


You lived a little, SWAT, you had a sexual adventure, you took a very short walk on the mild side of the wild side. And you learned something important about yourself in the process: Just having your kink indulged isn't enough. You need your kink indulged in the context of a loving, committed relationship. You want to be spanked by someone you love and who loves you. That's just how you're wired. And luckily for you, there are lots of good, decent, quality guys out there who are into spanking and interested in loving, committed relationships.

Don't believe me?

You're one of those guys, SWAT. You are living proof that a guy can be relationship material and also be into spanking. Put yourself out there, put your kink out there, and you'll meet other guys just like you.


Comments (22) RSS

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nocutename 1
I want to go back in time and give this guy a hug.
Posted by nocutename on September 12, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 2
@1 I don't. The guy is a judgmental fuck. "I've never wanted to be one of 'those guys.'" He's not talking about being kinky. He's talking about being "promiscuous." He thinks he's better than "those guys" because he never fucks outside of relationships. And, anybody who has had a one-night stand and enjoyed it is one of "those guys."

Sorry, SWAT. You're a guy, thusly you're one of "those guys." Because most guys like a bit of anonymous sex.

And, SWAT, fuck you for judging anybody for having one-night stands. Get over yourself, jerk. Or, at least i hope you did and you're now less of a jerk than you were for the first 43 years of your life.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on September 12, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
Mango_Kitten 3
Sort of agreeing with you, TheMisanthrope. The self-loathing is what struck me. How much of that is really internal homophobia finding a place to roost?
Posted by Mango_Kitten on September 12, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
I can sort of relate. I'm fairly sheltered and shy, so when I take a walk on the wild side (and my wild side is also pretty mild, especially by Savage Love standards), I often feel self-conscious afterwards and kind of want to sexually hibernate for a little while.

@2, I can't speak for the letter-writer, but for me that feeling is more about being used to seeing yourself one way and then seeing yourself in another that you're not used to, and when it's something that turns you on, it can make you feel a bit out of control. It's not about judging other people, it's about self-perception, and in the sex-negative culture we live in, indulging in a mild kink can make someone who is a little repressed (and SWAT sounds extremely repressed) feel like they've done something wrong.

So I too would like to give this guy a hug. I hope in the time since he wrote the letter he's learned how to accept his kink and indulge it in ways he's comfortable with, whether it means becoming one of "those guys" or not.
Posted by Daniel_NY on September 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 5
I don't see the judgemental-fuckiness in this letter that you guys see. I see him feeling awful because he did something that he ended up not liking. When he said he doesn't want to be one of "those" guys, I saw that as meaning "because that would make me miserable" rather than "because that would make me a no-good slut, just like them."

He does need to get over himself, though. Sometimes you have to cross a line to figure out exactly where it is. "Tried it once / felt terrible afterwards / not doing it again / life goes on." I had the same experience with cigarettes, for cryin' out loud. Hopefully by now he's regained his composure and maybe even found a spanky boyfriend.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on September 12, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 6
I was working on my reply when @4 posted. He did a much better job than I did.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on September 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Wait, so just because someone decides they don't like anonymous sex, they're a homophobic bigot? wow. speaking of being judgmental...
Posted by calankh42 on September 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
Fortunate 8
There is nothing wrong with him not liking anonymous sex. It was his characterization of those that do.

If he had just said, "I let a strange guy paddle me and I didn't like the anonymous nature of it, help me get over it and tell me if I can find this with a long term partner", that would have been perfectly fine.

But, "...I dropped my standards..." and "I've never wanted to be one of those guys".

That's clearly judgmental.

I'm not into anonymous sex either. Tried it when I was younger, didn't like it. But I don't go around putting down those who do, and there was no reason the letter writer had to. He could have said what he wanted without that.

I feel sorry for him that he feels so bad about what happened, but just because he found that this kind of encounter wasn't for him doesn't mean he has to look at those who do like them as beneath him, which he clearly does with the "dropped my standards" line.
Posted by Fortunate on September 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM · Report this
I'm sorry but I call bullshit on this one. I don't see how you can be 43 years old and not know that spanking is not a risk behavior for STDs. It doesn't matter whether you've been in a long-term relationship or not, you would have to have been living under a rock all your life or be so stupid you couldn't fight your way out of a one-room schoolhouse, and he's obviously not that stupid unless someone did a truly spectacular job of cleaning up his writing.
Posted by Calpete on September 12, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Sounds judgmental to me as well. I have had plenty of anonymous sex and never had the slightest hint of guilt about it. Why should I? We are consenting adults and we had a good (sometimes average) time.

Now I am in a committed long term relationship. Tell, me then, which guy am I? One of THOSE guys or the committed dogs, jobs, walks, sofa, staying in guys? Turns out I am both, or combined, or first one then the other.

He needs to get counselling or never do anything that will make him feel "guilty".
Posted by JJinAus on September 12, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
I'm tempted to give him a Gertrude Award and sum up that to be one of Those Guys is EXACTLY what he truly, deeply, madly craves because of how it scares him, but before doing so feel I should allow anyone in that group who doesn't want the LW for company to veto the idea.
Posted by vennominon on September 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM · Report this
Yeah, count me in for calling this guy a judgmental asshole.

"I feel like I've let myself down, like I dropped my standards, and I fear sliding down a slippery slope into a life of anonymous, kinky encounters. I've never wanted to be one of "those guys.""

So, people who have casual sex have lower standards than people who don't? I don't know about that. I could just as easily say that people who DON'T have casual sex have lower standards for relationships than I do- that is often the case. Also, if you didn't really like it, there's no slippery slope, is there? Or maybe you think there's a slippery slope because part of you wants to go down the slippery slope and the rest of your brain tells you that you'd be a bad person for doing it. That you might, in fact, be one of "those guys."

I get that some people's sexual feelings are all wrapped up in their relationships and if they separate the two, they don't really have a good time. That's fine. But this guy sounds like he liked it and hates himself for it. I hope he's gotten the fuck over it.
Posted by alguna_rubia on September 13, 2012 at 1:24 AM · Report this
I think you're being too harsh on this guy. I (straight female) have had a very similar experience when I was younger - in theory, I had no problem with casual sex. But in practice, when I tried it out a couple of times I discovered it wasn't for me - I was overcome with guilt, self-loathing, depression. Was some of this because I was acting out ingrained anti-sex attitudes? Sure. But the feelings were very real and painful. And it seems to me really unfair to ask someone, in the name of liberation, to overlook profound and deeply embedded feelings of pain just so he can prove his "I'm not repressed" bona fides.
Posted by karinjr on September 13, 2012 at 2:10 AM · Report this
Fortunate 14
Karinjr, the issue isn't that he feels bad about the experience. It's that the way he expressed that inherently used a comparison to others, and put those others down.

If he had just said, "I had an anonymous sexual encounter and feel bad about it because I realize it is just not for me" no one would be getting on his case about it.

What he actually did was to compare himself to other people who do what he did, and basically said he felt bad because he was better than them and one time sunk to their level.

I feel sorry that he feels so bad about the experience, but the way he is comparing himself to others makes him a jerk (or did, I hope he at least had a change in his judgmental attitude since the original letter was written).
Posted by Fortunate on September 13, 2012 at 7:50 AM · Report this
smajor82 15
@2 - Some guy not wanting to live a lifestyle you live doesn't mean he thinks you're a 'bad person'. Case in point: If I started going to church every Sunday, I would hate myself for it because the experience would make me miserable. I don;t want to be one of those church people. I have many friends that go to church and it makes them happy and I think that's great. We talk about them going to church and no one gets upset.

You remind me of the Christians who get offended by someone being an atheist. Other people's beliefs and preferences are about them not about you.
Posted by smajor82 on September 13, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 16
@15 As stated by others more eloquently than I above, it isn't whether he wants to live a chaste life, a life of only dedicated romance, or a life as a complete whore. It IS that he passed judgement on the people who lived unlike he did.

By saying that he "lowered his standards", he implies that he felt he was better than "those people" (his words) who he sees as having fewer standards than he does. He's the one judging other people, and I'm judging him for judging other people.

Let me put it to you this way. If you started going to church, then said that you didn't go to church because you have too high of standards for yourself to go to church, I'm sure your church friends wouldn't take too kindly to that statement.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on September 13, 2012 at 8:39 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 17
@15 P.S. If the guy wasn't such a judgmental fuck about other people's preferences, he wouldn't have been going through his crisis of self-loathing and guilt that he wrote about.

Using your example, if you went to church, would you have a feeling of "extreme self-loathing" being unable to eat, sleep, feel like puking, be embarrassed and feel guilty about dropping your standards and being one of those people? I doubt it...
Posted by TheMisanthrope on September 13, 2012 at 8:45 AM · Report this
You don't have to be a judgmental fuck to be going through such a crisis.

A person can be completely accepting of other people's kinks and habits and feel completely uncomfortable about engaging in those same behaviors. Maybe he does have an unfair or inaccurate view of "those guys" (more of his internalized sex-negativity in action) but to jump to "judgmental fuck" and tear him a new one when he's already tearing himself a new one, is in itself judgmental.

We don't know for sure how he feels about other kinky, promiscuous people. We only know how he feels about himself. Those are not necessarily the same thing. He needs to open his mind and be more accepting -- of himself and perhaps others as well -- but he's also deserving of sympathy for his overwhelming, misplaced shame.
Posted by Daniel_NY on September 13, 2012 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Fortunate 19
I can have sympathy for his distress while still thinking he is a judgmental fuck.
Posted by Fortunate on September 14, 2012 at 7:16 AM · Report this
smajor82 20
@16 / 17 - I hear you, I guess I just don't interpret 'I feel like I dropped my standards' as some comment on people who like anonymous kinky sex (a group to which I proudly belong, btw). Maybe that's how he feels, but that's really a lot to infer from his statement.

If I went to church, I would indeed feel like vomiting. If I actually opened my mouth and chanted along, I would most certainly want to rip my own face off and run screaming. That's why I don't go to church - I read this letter as coming from someone who never really came to terms with / explored / got comfortable with their sexuality, and at 43 that's really too bad.

If he really thought so little of other people that engaged in casual sex, why would he go to Dan for advice??
Posted by smajor82 on September 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
Just a word in defence our judgmental LW.

If you have had a shitty, judgmental Christian upbringing (and/or if you have had the misfortune to be have had judgmental partners) it may be less that he looks down on "guys like that" because he thinks they're scummy and he's not, but because he feels scummy about himself and if they're like him then they must be scummy too. In other words, it is self-loathing directed outwards, not feeling good about yourself and then feeling contaminated by others.
Posted by seeker6079 on September 15, 2012 at 1:17 PM · Report this
Sorry, correction, should read like this:
In other words, it is self-loathing directed outwards, not loathing what is coming it in. It's condemnation of self leaking outwards, not feeling contaminated by others.
Posted by seeker6079 on September 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this

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