When we finished reading this week’s Modern Love piece in the New York Times, we almost applauded. Author Jillian Keenan’s well-crafted, intelligent essay on “coming out” as a spanking enthusiast to her partner, David, demystifies fetish in a way that Fifty Shades of Grey perhaps tried to, but in the process did more harm than good to public perception of the BDSM community.
Keenan, a Stanford grad, describes herself as “a nice girl (who also happens to love being spanked)” and struggles to tell her fiancé exactly how hard she likes it…and why, exactly, even though spanking isn’t exactly as taboo as it once was.
Over the last decade it has become fashionable in certain millennial circles to announce an interest in bondage or other forms of sadomasochism. The implications are often tame: A couple buys handcuffs, experiments with hot wax, and tosses in the occasional spanking. So when David heard I was “kind of into S & M,” he interpreted the code exactly how I had expected: from time to time, he spanked me during sex.
This was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t the whole story. While there is a strong erotic element to my kink, sex is merely a side dish to the more absorbing entree of the spanking itself.
Where Fifty Shades of Grey tried to pin Christian’s preference for S&M on an abusive childhood, Keenan emphasizes that is not where fetish comes from.
My kink developed early. As a child, I pored over any book that mentioned spanking, paddling or thrashing. Tom Sawyer went through many reads, as did — believe it or not — key dictionary entries. (Looking up titillating definitions is so common among developing spankophiles that it’s almost a rite of passage.)
We won’t ruin what happens when she finally lets David in on her little secret — read the essay for yourself here — but suffice it to say that we commend Keenan for clarifying what exactly fetish means in such a beautiful way.
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