Psychology behind fetish spanking and d/s

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q: I know that traumatic childhood experiences can influence sexual desires in adulthood. I was spanked as a child, probably to the point of abuse. But, I was never docile about it; I never accepted it as being normal or beneficial in anyway. I had a deep sense of embarrassment about it. It caused me to hate my parents, and instead of being sorry for anything, it always made me more hateful and revenge-seeking. I still don’t completely trust my parents. I became suicidal when I was 14, trying to deal with growing up, their ‘authority’, and my distrust of them. I moved out when I was 15, and in with my elderly grandmother to help her out around the house. After 6 high schools (all by choice), I decided I had had enough. I tested out when I was 16 and started college. I grew up because I felt I had to, but have always lacked self-discipline and have never felt safe enough with anyone to admit my faults/be seen as weak. I need some kind of accountability, because in a lot of respects, I’m apathetic about almost everything, and there is no limit to my ability to fail. My boyfriend brought up a couple months ago spanking in sex, which I liked because we’re both fairly aggressive and it’s just another form of play. I started thinking though about spanking as more than just foreplay, something closer to d/s. I thought about spanking as a ‘punishment’, a way to be accountable for the little things I need help with. I talked to boyfriend about it, and he wasn’t adverse to the idea, but we haven’t tried it yet since he’s 3000 miles away right now. I’ve stood up to probably every authority figure that has ever been in my life (from teachers, to coaches, to scout leaders, to drill sergeants). The difference for me in wanting to be accountable to my boyfriend, for him to be an authority figure when necessary, is that I trust him. I know he won’t abuse the power I give him; I know he loves me and would do anything for me. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it more, and I know general society considers things like that abusive, that most people would probably think I’m seriously disturbed for wanting something like this. I just wanted more of an outside opinion.

A. This sounds very much like D/S to me. These feelings are occurring in the context of sex and as such are sexual feelings. Please don’t ask me why they occur because the explanation has been debated by no less an authority than Jung and Freud. This type of sexual feeling seems to predate even written history, and once writing did occur it has been the subject of texts and passages in every following century. Sexual behavior is generally considered acceptable if it does not do any real harm to the individuals involved. Monitor your feelings, perhaps in counseling, to see if you are harming yourself in anyway. Do your feelings have anything to do with your parents spanking you? Potentially, that could be the case. Will that create problems for you? Maybe yes, maybe no. I can’t tell you what to do. If you were in counseling you could develop the personal relationship which would allow you to be very open and discuss your sexual feelings with complete freedom. I would recommend counseling. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Oct 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Psychology behind fetish spanking and d/s. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/10/20/psychology-behind-fetish-spanking-and-ds/