Trigger warning for Hurts Me More Than You series: posts in this series may include detailed descriptions of corporal punishment and physical abuse and violence towards children.
Additional content warning for Polly’s story: descriptions of sexual arousal from corporal punishment.
My mother hitting me in the face with a vacuum cord and giving me a bloody lip, and then apologizing that “she was aiming for my leg.” Screaming at her that good parents don’t hit their kids with vacuum cords. Then guilt as she cried and my father said I made her feel like a bad mother. Having a massive bruise as an elementary student and my mother clinically asking my Father which spanking it was from. It wasn’t from being spanked, but because they often were no one would believe me and told me they were sure I deserved it even if they didn’t know what it was from.
Wooden Spoons, Paint Stirrers, Cooing utensils, Chopsticks, Dowel Rods, Hangers, Hands…
Pretty much everything that COULD be used to hit a child was. Nothing was sacred. Listening to my baby brother scream and scream as they laid into him. Listening to them tell him if he screamed the police would come and put them in jail and then everyone would blame him, so stop screaming. Trying to hide the evidence of something my little siblings had done wrong because I didn’t want them to get “spanked”.
Even when my little brother threw a tonka truck at my face, trying to hide the blood that was streaming down because I knew they would beat him. Screaming into pillows, biting my arms, scratching my face, anything to stop my heart from ripping apart as I listen to them. Holding them as they shake afterwards. Spending over a decade planning out how I would go into my father’s room at night and stab him to death. Anything to stop my siblings from getting hurt. Guilt that I didn’t kill him. Guilt that I didn’t tell anyone. But who would I tell? Everyone had bruises. Everyone had welts. It was part of growing up. Guilt as I grew up and spent more and more hours outside of the house, so I didn’t have to live in the oppression and pain. Guilt that I got married and left them behind. Guilt. Pain. Anger. Desperation. Hopelessness. You asked how it makes me feel to remember and there it is. Hopeless. Desperate. Afraid. Ashamed. Guilty.
I was 6 years old the first time I told my mother “I like being spanked”, to which she replied “Then, I’ll make sure to go harder.”
I quickly recanted and said I was “just being silly”, but even at 6 I knew that even though I hated them hurting me, and I despised my siblings being hurt, there was something exciting about it. Not while it was happening, but on the “long walk to the bathroom”, watching them pick an implement, comparing marks with my sister later in the day”…didn’t everyone get butterflies in their tummy and “have to pee” when they were scared. That’s what it was, right? I was scared. And yet it wasn’t scary at all when I read it or saw it when it wasn’t coupled by anger. It was exciting.
By 8 I was sneaking my mother’s parenting books, looking up the word spanking in the encyclopedia and dictionary. Anytime someone was spanked in a book I would read it over and over and over. I wanted to discuss spankings for hours with my friends, but they didn’t have the same response as me. They were more like “Everyone gets spanked, it’s not a big deal.” By 9 or 10 I started to hold back on talking about it, I might mention it casually “Oh yeah, did you know they actually mentioned spanking in that book… it’s so… Biblical.”, but mostly I kept it to myself. And I was ashamed. I did not connect it as something sexual until my late teens/early 20’s. I just thought of it as another aspect of my weirdness, I never fit in with the pure sweet little homeschool girls, so another level of “Polly is a weird one” was expected. I tried to hold back my excitement over spanking, it wasn’t any different than holding back my bubbly outgoing loud personality, it was just another thing that made me different and “bad”.
I was in my late teens the first time I read a spanking story on the internet. I felt so happy and free I cried tears of joy. I wasn’t alone!
There were other people like me who just loved reading and writing and thinking about spankings. I stayed up until 6amjust reading and reading. But I couldn’t figure out why it had a disclaimer on it “We do not condone the spanking of real children, this is only fantasy”. I woke up the next day to reread when all of the sudden the disclaimer made sense. “Fantasy” meant sexual. “Fantasy” meant fetish.
I was a freak.
I was a sinful, disgusting, gross freak, and maybe even a pedophile because it only turned me on when the person had no choice and all of the “adult spankings” I could Google were fun and flirty. They didn’t even hurt. So they didn’t make me excited. I threw up. I confessed to my friends. Later in life I confessed to my Bible study leaders. But I couldn’t stop. I would go awhile and then was right back to it.
Eventually, I found “Christian Domestic Discipline” sites where the husbands would spank and punish their wives in other ways. Again I felt relief and happiness that I was not alone, and there were not children involved, so maybe I wasn’t actually a pedophile — just a freak. There were other people like me in the world. But again, I felt shame. By this point I had started rejecting much of the “patriarchial bs” that I had believed for most of my life, I was a proud “feminist”, God made men and women equal, and a woman who allowed a man to hit or demean her wasn’t free. So for me to not only allow a man to hit me, but actively seek it out. That didn’t flow. Plus, it was still a sin. It still defiled the marriage bed… or did it? Well, it didn’t matter because *I* was a single virgin. I had never been kissed. I had no business having any sexual thoughts or desires and this was obviously sexual.
I was also a self-injurer (bulimia for a few years and then cutting), and that was shameful, but at least it wasn’t sexual.
When I was in my mid-20’s I was asked to be courted, and I said yes. And on our second date I said these fateful words “I have always wanted a man who would spank me” and he said “and I have always wanted a woman who would let me.” We have had many MANY ups and downs, but we have been married for several years now. And my love for spanking hasn’t diminished a bit. At times there are still twinges of “how can something that destroyed so many childhoods turn me on”, but overall I have accepted that consent is the key here.
As a little kid I couldn’t consent.
I couldn’t say “stop, don’t, RED”, and now I can. I enjoy giving up the control at times, but if I am ever feeling like I can’t handle this or don’t want this I hold the power to stop it. And that makes all the difference in the world.