HER: On a recent weekend trip with our new favourite couple, I found myself on all fours while you knelt behind me, spanking my ass and pussy. I looked around at one point, and you, without anyone near your cock, were rock hard. Our friends were offering occasional touches, but mainly standing back to enjoy the show. In the midst of all this, I wondered, ‘what is it about pain that can be so arousing?’
HIM: I have to admit that I love the visual aspect of spanking, seeing you on your hands and knees with your ass in the air. I also enjoy making just the perfect slapping sound with my hand on your flesh (I guess that’s the musician in me). However, I’ve always found the basic premise a little troubling. I would never hit a woman in anger in a million years, so why is it so much fun to make a sex game out of it?
HER: I think, like so many of our turn-ons, it’s the appeal of the forbidden. It’s the wrongness that makes it so fun.
HIM: I’m sure that’s a part of it, but there are other bad things I could do to you that don’t turn me on. Like verbally abusing you, for example. That sounds frankly miserable. So let me turn the question around: what do you get out of being spanked?
HER: I guess there are several appeals. I like to put on a show — whether it’s just for you or a room full of people at a club — and the combined sights and sounds of spanking really lend themselves well to that exhibitionistic side of me. Another appeal is that I get to indulge my incest fantasies. I like to imagine you’re the daddy who has to spank his bad girl, and, to his horror, finds himself getting hard. After, I sulk and want daddy to kiss it better, which he reluctantly agrees to. And it proceeds from there. The final thing is the anticipation of pain. I think anticipation is always good, but in that moment when you draw back and I don’t know where the next slap is going to land, all my nerves are exquisitely on edge.
HIM: For me, everything I love about spanking you has been enhanced since we bought a flogger at the local sex shop. Which is strange since almost everything about it is the opposite of sexy. Consider the name: a flogger sounds like an instrument of discipline made for misbehaving muppets. And it’s hard to look manly making the flicking or sweeping motions involved in actually using it (note to self: put a blindfold on her next time you use it). But setting all that aside, inserting an inanimate object between my hand and your ass adds a certain distance that makes me feel your vulnerability even more.
HER: Is that what it’s about for you?
HIM: Sure, absolutely. But it’s not the simple fact that you’re vulnerable, but that you choose to make yourself vulnerable to me. That’s an important difference. Having something in my hand that increases the potential for harm really amplifies that dynamic.
HER: I definitely notice what it does for you. These days, that seems like the most sure-fire way to turn you on. So tell me, then – is it the same for you when you’re on the receiving end? I’m not the only one who gets spanked in this relationship. Do you like feeling vulnerable?
HIM: Yes, I do. But that dish comes in many different flavours, and I would say the potential for physical pain is not the particular flavor that has the strongest appeal for me. I like it, but I don’t fantasize about it. What I do fantasize about, my most potent experience of vulnerability, is when I see you having sex with another man. In a way, it’s also about exposing myself to danger, but it’s danger of an emotional kind. Swapping for me is like flogging for you. It’s like walking right up to the edge of a devastating scene just to take a peek. You could say that, in both scenarios, we’re each enacting a different kind of abuse.
HER: That actually explains a lot. When you’re spanking me, I’m often urging you to spank me harder. I really want to test my limits with the person I trust most in the world. We are in no way hard core BDSMers, but I don’t want to play it safe either. And I see the same thing in you. When we’re going into a situation where I’ll be fucking someone else, you’ve got all kinds of advice for me – that I should caress the other man, compliment him on his body, make as many appreciative sounds as I feel like. You really want to see me freely enjoying myself with him, without holding back. Let’s call it for what it is: you want me to create the illusion of being in love with another man.
HIM:So, the flogging situation does something different for both of us. You’re excited because we’re simulating what is perhaps a woman’s worst nightmare: being abused. And I suppose I experience a transgressive thrill from doing something that is completely against the rules of proper behavior – striking a woman.
In the wife-sharing situation, I’m excited because we’re simulating what is perhaps a man’s worst nightmare: being cheated on. So do you, in turn, feel a transgressive thrill from doing something that is completely against the rules of proper behavior – having sex with another man in front of your husband?
HER: Well, I hate to mess with your carefully constructed parallelism there, but no, that’s not exactly how it works for me. My turn on is all about making others happy. I love hearing the appreciative sounds I can draw out of my partners, the way I can make them shudder. And that extends to you, even if you are sitting across the room watching. I want to make you just as happy and turned on as the man whose cock is in me, so if being really into that man makes you happy, I’ll gladly amp it up.
HIM: That’s not surprising. I think a lot of these scripts kind of play out in the background without us being consciously aware of them. What I find very positive about both of these scenarios, however, is that they are very much about trust. If we’re going to flirt with major taboos – with real vulnerabilities – it can only be done when you absolutely trust the other person. I know I feel that with you.
HER: And I feel it with you. But I sometimes worry that we’ll just keep going and going with our experiments – that our spanking and flogging will turn into me hanging upside down in our fully equipped basement dungeon, or that our wife-sharing experiences will eventually lead to a sordid gang bang with a dozen masked men.
HIM: I’m not worried. I think a noisy segment of society is eager to pathologize sexual desire, looking at it through an ‘addictive behaviors’ lens. They see every step outside of conservative norms as a step onto a slippery slope that leads to total debauchery. Yet I don’t think either of us have personalities that are given to extremes, in any area of our lives. Our sexual experiments so far have been pretty measured, without a rush to continually up the ante in everything we try.
However, no one knows what might turn them on in a year, or in ten years. Sex has that wonderful potential to surprise us. Something we’ve never even heard of before can suddenly become our obsession. What I do know for sure, however, is that whatever we get up to, it will be because each of us thinks the other will really get off on it. The consensual element seems to be essential to making something enjoyable to us. That’s just who we are.
HER: I agree. And it’s not like I’m against having a gang bang, baby, but maybe we could limit it to three men. Three nice, polite men. Without masks.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.