Let’s talk about seeing a therapist to be cured of your interest in spanking. If that is what you are looking for—if you, or someone near you, wants a therapist to just make your spanking desires go away—I know that you are in pain. I’ve been there.
You have tried to suppress your interest in spanking and it isn’t working. Perhaps you feel an uncontrollable urge to find someone to spank or be spanked by. Perhaps someone you know learns about your interest and is shocked or alarmed. Your fear, or someone else’s demand, drives you to therapy.
Get rid of it, they demand
Your hope may be to find some way to live with your interest in spanking. But your partner, spouse, or parent is more likely to want you to go to therapy to “get help.” That means, fix it! Get rid of it!
Let me say first that nobody can demand that you give up part of who you are, or become somebody that you are not. Not your parent. Not your lover. Not even you. That demand is both impossible to fulfill and wrong to even request.
But I know that it happens. So let’s walk it through.
What would happen if you went to a therapist and asked her to cure you of your spanking fantasies? You wouldn’t be the first.
You won’t scare the therapist
It wouldn’t be as awful as you fear, particularly if you have a vivid imagination. You may be afraid that if you tell the therapist that you have frequent thoughts about spanking, that she will close her notepad, rise from her seat, and, slowly, never taking her eyes off you, edge toward the door that leads from her office to the corridor. She’ll push it open, back out, and leave without a word.
Trust me, this isn’t going to happen. Your interest in spanking may be a huge problem for you, but it’s not going to surprise or alarm the therapist. It’s the kind of everyday issue that therapists work with day in and day out.
Any competent therapist will help you understand that an interest in spanking is common and does not suggest that you are disturbed. That’s huge, and if other people are pressuring you it will give you a valuable outside perspective.
Can you lose that desire?
But how likely is it that through therapy you will be able to forget about spanking?
Our sexuality begins with who we are biologically. That innate drive is shaped by experience, which includes our sexual and non-sexual experiences and the messages we receive from family and society. So your interest in spanking results from a fundamental human drive that has been shaped by your life so far. And because no two people have identical lives, our interests in spanking can be very different.
For some people in England, being smacked on the bottom with the sole of a slipper is very erotic, and there’s a considerable literature about slippering originating in the UK. There appear to be few people in the US for whom slippering figures in their fantasies; it’s not common in US popular or spanking culture.
So can our sexual drives be changed? We know that while our individual sexual preferences are not necessarily fixed. Alfred Kinsey showed that people frequently changed their sexual behavior over time, including people who were primarily or exclusively heterosexual as adults having homosexual relations as adolescents, and vice versa. Lisa Diamond, in her fascinating book Sexual Fluidity, has traced the sexual identities of young women and found significant spontaneous changes over time.
But these unforced changes don’t tell us if change can be deliberately induced. Could a therapist snuff out your interest in spanking if you requested it?
Between us, my friends and I have frankly discussed our interest in spanking with a wide array of therapists. Some of us, some of the time, wished that our spanking desires would just go away. I was in that group. But I don’t believe that treatment has ever achieved this result, and most therapists are smart enough to not even try. In fact, I have never heard of a therapist claiming to eliminate an interest in spanking.
It’s not about the spanking
Most therapists are pragmatic. They’ll want to know more about why spanking is a problem for you. And is it a problem in your eyes? Or only those of your family? They’ll want to know what has happened, how your family or partner reacted, what conversations you’ve had about it, and what you think might be done to help it.
This last point is the important one. If you are hoping the therapist can help erase your interest in spanking, or change it to an interest in something else, a competent therapist will tell you that the chance of this happening is remote.
I’ve never heard of a scientific study of the treatment of an interest in spanking. There’s been a lot written about BDSM, but if spanking is mentioned in this literature, it is rarely more than one item in a list, for example, “bondage, spanking, domination/submission, and nipple torture.”
Fixing sexual preferences
But we know a lot about changing other sexual interests—the most notable example is homosexuality. Scientists have studied the treatment of homosexuality intensively, and it’s been widely discussed in the popular media.
The experience of gays and lesbians is essentially identical. During most of the twentieth century, homosexuality was considered a mental illness, and mental health professionals of every stripe, from the mainstream to the wacky, did their utmost to help gays go straight.
None succeeded. Not one. And no competent therapist today will claim to be able to change your interest in spanking. It is unethical to try.
The science of how people’s erotic thoughts and feelings change over time is little understood, and nobody has shown how to change them deliberately. Interest in spanking can rise, why couldn’t it fall? It may, just as other sexual drives may lessen, on their own, because of illness, or for other reasons. But no therapist has found a way to shrink your sexual desire.
This doesn’t mean the therapist can’t help you. She might help you understand that being interested in spanking isn’t a sign of mental illness. If your parents are worried, she might reassure them that you are a fine person with a bright future and that the spanking isn’t likely to be a problem. She might help you communicate better with them, not just about spanking but about the other things that families find it difficult to discuss.
If you have broken the law
The only exception to this is if your interest in spanking has gotten you into legal trouble. If you have been doing spanking with children, or anyone under the legal age of consent in your state, that is probably a sexual offense. Likewise, spanking an adult without his or her consent is a crime.
In cases like this, it’s the lack of a consenting adult partner, not the spanking, that is the problem. Therapists have treatments intended to help people who are guilty of this kind of behavior. Their primary purpose is to protect unconsenting or juvenile partners from your sexual acts. And to keep you out of jail.
If you have not been spanking with a child, or an adult who does not consent, this is not relevant to you. It applies only in the specific situation in which you have uncontrollable sexual impulses to be sexual, spanking or otherwise, with children or with people who do not consent. If that is you, or if you are afraid it may be you, then by all means get help.
In all other cases, for the vast majority of people who simply want to spank or be spanked by other adults in ways that both people enjoy, your choices are to return to the strategy of suppression or to look for someone to spank or be spanked by. Your interest in spanking itself cannot be changed, and it does not mean that there is anything wrong with you mentally.
The psychoanalysts have their own theories
Not all professionals agree. A psychoanalyst—someone who practices long-term therapy along Freudian lines—will see your interest in spanking as proof that you are sexually abnormal. The analyst will offer to address (not solve) your problem. The only cost is hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars.
I don’t believe any of this. The only reason I discuss it here is that you may end up seeing an analyst, and if you do I want you to have some idea of where they are coming from (and why I don’t believe their theories).
Analysts don’t even see an interest in spanking as, well, an interest in spanking. They believe that it is a form of what they call sadomasochism, and they define sadomasochism in a particular and peculiar way.
To analysts, people with sadomasochistic personality components—and they say they see this very frequently—habitually function in sadomasochistic ways in many spheres of life: in school, on the job, and with their family. The sadist is aggressive and hurtful; the masochist is forever inviting experiences of humiliation and loss. Analysts see this overall sadomasochistic personality structure as the major issue, and they believe that it can be treated.
The sexual part of sadomasochism plays a small part in the psychoanalyst’s view, and any attempt to change an interest in sadomasochistic activities plays an even smaller role. Although analysts are confident that they can treat the sadomasochism personality, they express no such certainty regarding their ability to alter sexual sadomasochism desires.
What do you want?
Permit me to raise the question, Do you want to eliminate your spanking desires? Would you do it if you could?
If you want to eliminate your spanking desires because you believe they stamp you as mentally or morally defective, you are mistaken. If you want to eliminate them because they are causing problems in your life, I understand.
You don’t need to be cured
But what would happen if you stopped running? There is another possibility – that spanking could enhance your life, make you happier and more productive. Some people in the spanking blogosphere are comfortable with their desires, actively explore ways to bring their desires to life, and use what they find to teach others. That’s admirable. There are many people who have strong spanking desires that enhance their lives and who never say a word about it in public, with friends, or even on the internet. Typically they have found a compatible partner and they are sexually satisfied, doing the kind of spanking things they enjoy. They have withdrawn from the discussions about spanking because they have no issues to discuss. They just do it, happily.
My goal is to help you understand your own spanking desires and give you the tools to manage them well. I want to help you control them, or integrate them into your life, in the most productive way possible, given your individual circumstances.