WHAP! & The Art Of Domestic Ordeals Pt 3

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

“When you marry a man you are presuming to take over as the maternal disciplinarian in his life; acting in a capacity similar to his mother, who for twenty or more years set & enforced the household rules. If, like a good mother, you are strict & consistent from the start, you’ll have a happy marriage, one with no doubt who’s in charge.”

                                                          —WHAP! Issue 6

When my wife & I play, it is charged on two levels. At the level of actual spanking, no mention is made of arousal or sex, no matter my physical state of excitement. My punishments are played out as chaste & maternal encounters between wife & husband. On the other, unspoken level there is a powerful erotism grounded in our deep & abiding attraction to each other. That attraction is rooted in more than physicality, although I admit to being in thrall to every specificity of my wife's gorgeous form. Nonetheless, our attraction continues to flourish because we are committed to each other heart & soul. There is something sexually exciting about sharing this kind of intimate mutual trust.

The irony of course is that the psychological texture of our play must be entirely chaste in order to access the erotic component. Where spanking is concerned, for me, the chaste & the erotic are forever intertwined. They feed one another. This is the shape of my kink. If I am, broadly, a spanko, my fetish, more precisely, is for chaste maternal discipline applied by wives to husbands. While certain other, related dynamics do make their presence felt in my imagination, the maternal wife remains my beau ideal. Because my wife embodies empathy, intelligence & love in all respects, she has always been the disciplinarian of my dreams. For in the last accounting it is empathy & love which the adult disciplinarian seeks to impart.

Perhaps this is why there are elements of WHAP! which for me never held an appeal. Much was made of premature ejaculators, masturbators, porn addicts & cheaters. Because, infidelity aside, I don't conceptualize such things as problems, per se, scenarios centered on sexual failure or premised on erotic degradation never had meaningful resonance. Additionally, the tone of the ordeals that my wife & I enact is very firm but also very warm. I am never insulted or treated as anything other than someone beloved who's veered a bit off of the course. In their chastity, my domestic ordeals allow me the spiritual peace of absolution, & the general high spirits that accompanies such well being. In their eroticism, I feel deliriously aroused by my wife in her guise as my disciplinarian. The domestic ordeal is a powerful event in which a chastity of spanking blends together with the eros of our twenty year romance. I succumb to the unsparing love of my wife, & in this absolute surrender there's an ecstasy sweeter than any that I've ever known. 

Perhaps it's unsurprising that something as intense as the domestic ordeal would induce ecstatic feelings. The word has long implied a kind of mystic self-transcendence. For ages human beings have contrived & performed varied rites & rituals in order to induce ecstatic states. Such rituals are also used for therapeutic reasons, to heal a sick soul or to enliven the anatomy. Often, these rites would incorporate trauma or lack into the ritual's environment, neutralizing or even converting its hold on the subject into new forms of emotional relation & relief.

So while the domestic ordeal is drawn entirely from a repertoire of child rearing practices thankfully now (mainly) out of circulation, it is proof that these practices, once passed through the looking glass of real adult consent, become transformative modalities for people who are wired for, or simply enjoy, the unlikely ecstasy resulting form their careful application.

Sometimes more mysterious still are the roots of such desires. I was not subject to physical discipline growing up. Yet I have no memories of a time when spanking did not hold a special fascination for me. It always induced an uneasy excitement, unprovoked by any knowable events. I have a healthy & happy relationship with my mother, untroubled by all but the most ordinary, minor irritations. I will admit that she was rather lax. Is some element of this an attempt to make up for needs I still feel are unmet? To experience the consequences, limits & boundaries I might have lacked ask a child? Perhaps, in part, that is the case? I do know that I am in no way attempting to recover from a deficit of love. Quite the contrary. Finally though, my biological mother simply never occurs to me in these contexts. Much of what subtends my spanking desires, either knowable or not, remains entirely remote from my conscious experience.

There is a part of me that thinks that the absence of limit & boundary is in essence the absence of protection from the death-drive, the negative part of our psyche that always strains toward our own self-destruction. The maternal acts as counterweight to this. That's why being spanked for some act that, in essence, will cause harm to oneself, is a powerful moment for me. It is my wife saying, on some kind of primal level-- "I love you too much to let you die. I'll do what must be done to intervene." Our play scenarios are manufactured doses of that love, love that I have longed for since before I even knew what longing was.

I read a spanking novel many years ago, the name of which escapes me. The protagonist, a young woman, enters into a spanking relationship with another twenty something man. He's a warm hearted person, empathic, & their spanking romance develops at pace that is consistent with her own sense of well being. As their relationship develops, the protagonist, a lawyer, is also attempting to track down her father, who had abandoned her when she was very young. At one point, after a particularly sound spanking, the young woman breaks down in tears about her long awaited reunion with her father, which had gone horribly wrong. She blurts out something about how she's just some stupid girl with daddy issues, & probably something much worse, a sick puppy of some sort or another.

Her lover soothes her by saying something like--"So what? We all have mommy & daddy issues of some kind or another. Yours just happen to take this particular shape. & there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's part of what I love so much about you."

The young woman was comforted by what he had to offer. I must admit I was as well. Knowing what psychology tells us about adult relationships, such entanglements are probably inevitable really. At times, they might even be thought of as sweet. They're like a little scar raised just above your lover's eye, the spot you kiss gently, the spot you know still hurts. "It's part of what I love so much about you." A spanking is a way of sweeping other pain away, at least for awhile, until that rosy glow has faded. A spanking is a way of being known.

I recognize my speculations here are all romantic. As I said in a previous post, I'm a bit of a dreamer. My ruminations here are also serious in tone. WHAP!, on the other hand, was funny. Very funny. So much so that I assume some readers took the whole thing to be a lavish but salacious little joke. It could be read as nothing more than a satire of adult male immaturity. The satire though only went so far to dampen the obvious fact that these women gave actual spankings to men. In real life. The blunt truth of it thrilled me.  The women of WHAP! seemed sincere in their investment in adult maternal discipline. That sincerity was crucial. Reading the magazine, I never felt as if I was abjectly being laughed at. Lightly scorned perhaps but not coldly mocked. I was simply being exposed to the other side of comfort, to the secret reserves that await in its cunning inversion.

I'm in love with the way my wife dresses. Her wardrobe is attractive & plain: sweaters & jeans in the winter, shorts & t-shirts in the summer. Yet all of it for me is redolent of her, of her own, lived in version of domestic femininity. I'm aroused by the smell of her soaps & shampoo. I feel dizzy when I look into the colorful array of her laundry basket or closet. Anything that somehow speaks the language of her being is indelibly erotic to me. I have a made a fetish of her feminine oeuvre, born of love for who she truly is.

This means, for our spanking play, my wife need not dress up in elaborate outfits. In fact, almost anything that detracts from her everyday look serves to undermine the feeling of real domestic discipline to which I'm so attached. Anything, save for one addition. A headband. I've always found women in headbands incredibly attractive. As with my spanking paraphilia, I've no clue where this comes from. The sight of it effects me in a way I can't describe. It's a mystery, but one my wife & I have put to use. Now, when she slips on her headband, it means that we've entered the world of our play. She becomes 'mommy' in the WHAP! sense of the term--a wife who spanks her husband very hard when he's been naughty.

Maybe the women of WHAP! would have appreciated this little contrivance. For at the center of every domestic ordeal is the disciplinarian herself. In keeping with the artfulness inherent to the task, these disciplinarians were fastidious & purposeful where wardrobe was concerned.
For editor Keri Pentauk, this meant combining 40s ingenue glamour with the pleated skirts & flowered dresses of the 50s suburban housewife. These looks were meant to induce & re-emphasize the "submissive reverence" men naturally felt toward such women.

In issue 11, an interviewer asks Ms. Pentauk about her style, which the interviewer describes as "June Cleaver meets Betty Page." "Isn't it a little bit regressive?" the interviewer asks. Ms Pentauck responds--

              "I don't think so at all. When I think of the post-war mom, I see a certain
                manifestation of pre-feminist, matriarchal power, not a repressed house-
                wife. Similarly, Betty Page, to me, has always suggested the idea of the
                bold, sexually audacious woman. These are my interpretations, & apparently
                I'm not alone. There are quite a few people, men in particular, who view
                these & other female icons--the businesswoman, the school teacher, for
                example--with what I would call submissive reverence. The idea is that
                these women are to be respected & obeyed. That's what the magazine's
                playing on."

"I'll tell you a secret about most men," she says later on the interview, "they know they've been bad & they want to be disciplined for it."

Aunt Keri's outfits were a way of disclosing this secret. Modeled on authority figures from their youth, & from the movie stars of their dreams, these outfits spoke to certain men about their deepest held desires & most fundamental needs. They purified the focus their focus, allayed confusion. They told a man just what he needed to know--the whole world revolves around her.

As our spanking dynamic has flourished, so has the quality & terms of my attention. With every domestic ordeal I experience, I become less focused on myself, my own hang ups & neuroses. These days, my heart feels refreshed. I've never been so focused on my wife--her happiness, her well being, her thoughts & feelings. It's not that I somehow love her more because she spanks me. Love isn't quantifiable. It's that the spankings she administers allow for a level of emotional clarity that I have lacked for my entire life.

At the center of that clarity is her.  I do indeed feel a form of the 'submissive reverence' that Aunt Keri mentioned men often feel for the maternal figures in their lives. Thus my wife, in her daily look & manner, arouses in me the sorts of feelings of respect, as well as, yes, obedience, that Aunt Keri meant to inspire with her wardrobe. More than anyone else, it is my wife who gives meaning & shape to my life, & if some of that meaning is received via that flat side of a hairbrush, well then, so be it. Nothing else touches me quite the same way. So, in a certain sense, the WHAP! philosophy has worked for us. While spanking is only one part of our lives, its has undoubtedly contributed to our 'marital bliss.'

WHAP! was a startlingly original magazine. There has been nothing quite like it since. Keri Pentauk shared something in common with my wife--an intuition so refined it borders on uncanny. WHAP! is powerful because the insights that animate its pages are so pointed, so specific & so realized. Which is to say, Aunt Keri could see through certain men. Men like me. She knew more than just what makes us tick. She could see the smallest interlocking gears inside the clockwork. For us that meant, when we nervously paged through an issue of WHAP!,  there was no quarter. We were utterly revealed before her eyes, & to her we looked like little more than naughty little boys. She would deal with us accordingly. In the end, that was all there was to it.

Aunt Keri's message to women was complex & multi-layered, filled with intellectual nuance & psychological insight. Women were plainly superior, & Aunt Keri spoke to them as such, as peers & equals.

Aunt Keri's message to men was both pointed & simple. You better behave. Or else.