I love the prompts that Lillith comes up with for No True Way because they swirl me into a temporary, yet incandescent, rage every time. The phrase for NTW #13 is exceptionally infuriating! But let me tell you why …

“Maintenance spankings are necessary.”

No they fucking aren’t. Spanking itself is not necessary in D/s dynamics. Pain is not necessary. Nothing is necessary beyond what you and your partner deem necessary. *shakes fists at the heavens* Okay let’s break this down…

What is a maintenance spanking?

A ‘maintenance’ spanking, sometimes called a ‘therapy spanking’, refers to a non-punishment spanking administered by the Dominant, often as a way to comfort or ‘realign’ a sub. Let’s bear in mind that there are as many ways to do D/s as there are D/s practitioners, so this is obviously not something every Dom does or every sub needs.

A common, almost ubiquitous, feature of submission is the need or desire to hand over some, or all, power and control to their Dominant. For many, there is a sense of relief and reprieve from the everyday stresses of life in doing this. For those who are into being spanked, a sound spanking in times of stress can alleviate some of that external pressure and help ‘clear their head’, much in the way that some people de-stress through physical exercise. The principle is the same: that relief and “high” of more positive feelings comes from the rush endorphins brought on by the spanking.

To spank or not to spank

Spanking is not for everyone. Not every Dominant is comfortable providing impact play, and not every sub wants to be struck. Opting not to have spanking in your D/s dynamic does not mean your dynamic is less legitimate or less valid. It does not make you a “bad” sub or Dom. There are loads of reasons to not spank, and they are all personal and specific, and that’s okay. I personally love to be spanked. I enjoy the intimacy, the intensity, the pain, and the aftermath. For me the thrill of spanking lies in endurance. In theory, (because of distance), I want to give of myself to Him by taking everything He dishes out. Because spankings are positive to me, they are not a part of punishment (not that there is much of that because I am a world-class Good Girl), instead, they are a reward or they are maintenance. As a masochist, pain is not a threat (even though not all pain is good pain) but it can be incredible cleansing and cathartic. In a long distance dynamic like Ours, He cannot reach across the Atlantic to spank me, but He can and does, allow for other safe and self-administered pain like nipple clamps. It doesn’t have the very same weight or effect of a maintenance spanking but it does help and contributes to the intimacy of the dynamic, despite not being within arms reach of each other. Self-spanking is a topic of recent discussion that will require some more thought and research before it feels like a safe and positive outlet.

Why I believe in maintenance spankings

As someone with a Highly Sensitive Personality (HSP), I can be easily overwhelmed. When I’m feeling like the world is all too much and my head feels like it is full of bees, a brief, firm spanking wit lots of affectionate aftercare is a surefire way to lift my mood (endorphins!) and remind me that my submission is purposeful and valued, even if I feel undervalued or exhausted in other parts of my life. For me there is an undeniable “head clearing” effect. It calms me, it confirms the D/s bond between us and it is a way of making dedicated time, even just a few minutes, to block out the background noise and just be His.

But are they necessary?

No, not in the sense that all dynamics need to have them, and that all subs should accept them. For me personally? Yes. But I am not everyone and there is no one true way to do kink.

Red flags in D/s language

It is a massive red flag to me when people discuss kink in absolute terms. Kink and BDSM are highly nuanced activities with as much variance as is imaginable. The only universal rules are that kink is for enthusiastically consenting, risk aware adults only. Anyone who says that their opinion of a kink is The Right Way or that you are doing it wrong because you don’t subscribe to their way is someone to be wary of. It’s fine to have firmly formed opinions about things and it’s 100% okay to have boundaries and rules for what you will and won’t engage with in the kink world, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that your risk aware consensual kink is “wrong”. You and you alone know what you need, want, and can handle. Make sound choices about who you play with and how. Now your limits and play within them.

Aftercare, always

I am of the belief that aftercare is essential in any instance where the sub has experienced anything intense either physically, emotionally or mentally. Impact play like spanking, even “happy spanks” like maintenance spankings or ‘funishments’ (light hearted pretend punishments), still require aftercare. That delicious endorphin and adrenaline blast can be followed by a significant low, a state that can be prevented or mitigated through aftercare. Knowing what you and/or your partner need in terms of aftercare is essential and it should be given without fear of reprisal, guilt or shame. Let’s also not forget that sometimes Doms need aftercare too, so a cuddle and some debriefing about the scene/spanking and mutual affection and reassurance can go a long way. Communicate, listen and respond with care and intention – oh, and water and chocolate (or other such treats) help too.

Final thoughts

Kink is complex. Spankings are not ‘necessary’, regardless of their purpose or intent. There is no one true way to do any of this and no one should tell you otherwise. Keep it safe, consensual and risk-aware and keep learning! Trial and error is often necessary, and not everything will work or feel good. Take what works and leave the rest.

Be well, friends. Play safe, and have fun!

This was written for No True Way, the fabulous kink writing prompt by Lillith Avir, that supports the concept that there is no true way to do kink. 

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Violet Fawkes

Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.