BDSM and spanking: Is spanking a gateway drug?

All sorts of kinkiness

This blog was partially inspired by a piece written a short time ago on FetLife by a spanking fetishist I know, titled Celebrating Being a Spanko~! He writes that he’s sometimes heard the phrase, “Spanking is the gateway to kink,” which of course is not true. We all have different paths. If you’re interested in various things but spanking is the first thing you try, you could call it the gateway. But you could just have easily have tried bondage or wax play first.

There are perpetual intellectual debates about the differences between spanking and BDSM. I’ve said it before—I believe spanking is part of BDSM, but for the sake of simplicity here I’ll refer to one realm as spanking and the other realm as BDSM.

For me I came gradually into spanking, having explored many types of kinky sexual play when I was younger. My first public parties were spanking parties because they seemed safe, and there seemed to be a big emphasis on keeping sex separate. Even if couples were combining sex and spanking in private, there was no visible sexual play at these parties.

More than spanking

But soon I found myself at PaddlesNYC, probably within the first month of coming out, and my play that night was not just spanking play. (There’s no sex at Paddles, either, but there is more sexual touching and play allowed there).

As far as the condescending notion about spanking being a “gateway drug,” I’ve never heard a mainstream kinkster say anything like that to me, but then again, my immersion into the scene went the other way: S&M was more my gateway to spanking.

I feel more at home at spanking parties—it’s sometimes easier to find play partners at spanking parties than at larger kink events. And I’ve gone to many more weekend spanking parties than weekend BDSM parties, so I’ve gotten to know a core group in the spanking community.

Worlds colliding

However, I feel reasonably comfortable in both worlds. In local BDSM circles, I have known for being a spanko. And I like that people seek me out for canings or strappings or OTK spankings.

Last weekend, at the TES Fest, I had the pleasure of topping a rather well-known member of our community (he needed a hard caning), as well as a lovely young woman who needed a nurturing OTK spanking.

I feel it is when I am seeking Tops or Doms in the BDSM world when I run into trouble. As a bottom, I enjoy spanking play, often severe, and I have a punishment fetish that goes along with that. I often run into Tops who don’t want to spank me because “it’s not a punishment if it’s what you want.” I’ll tell them that I want to be spanked hard enough that I am struggling … hard enough that during the spanking I won’t like it.

Still, they say, “But it will turn you on later.” And … your point? All of it’s play—even the punishment part. So it’s OK to pick a punishment that turns me on, if you ask me.

But if a top insists on “punishing” me in some way other than spanking, it will probably still turn me on because he’s making me take pain. My fetishes—spanking, punishment, being controlled, fear, and pain—all sort of melt together. It’s hard to explain this to some BDSM doms. Still, none of them ever put me down because I’m a spanko.

There are actually a lot of spankos who go to these “other” events. Some of them may be spankos plus something else, some not. And there are spankos who only go to spanking parties … but do various other types of play behind closed doors.

So no, I don’t think spanking is a gateway drug, but many of us go out and explore other play even if our first love is spanking play. And others stick just to spanking. It’s all about what turns you on.

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