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Romantic historical F/M

We managed to squeeze in one more shoot with Zoe Montana before she ends her UK tour. This time I invited Adele Haze and Jimmy Holloway to join us too. In a unique, gorgeous location we filmed two romantic, historical F/M videos based on Adele's and Jimmy's fantasies. Although our photogallery Her Ladyship's Breakfast explores the sort of beautiful, intimate and respectful F/M I want to become known for, this was our first chance to express the same dynamic in film.

The location was truly stunning and fired all our imaginations. With our low operating budget we weren't able to create the sort of perfectly accurate historical fiction we prefer to watch, but I hope that the fantasies will be enjoyable despite the odd anachronism.

In the first scene, Adele played a highborn lady who summons a young bridegroom from the local village to her presence on his wedding day. Her husband, as lord, has the right to take first pleasure of his vassal's new bride. But Lady Adele has taken a fancy to the young man, and offers him the chance to save his bride by offering himself instead. He has to prove his devotion to his lady - and he beseeches her to use him as she will.

This was a hot, edgy, semi-consensual scene which included back whipping, hand spanking, the riding crop and no small amount of groping and molestation. Jimmy's nude figure was beautifully offset by the amazing sandstone architexture, and he took his punishment uncomplainingly. I've put together some quick previews which I think give a sense of it:

The second film continued the theme of historical class dynamics and proxy punishments. In this scene a different Lady Adele, being too well bred to be thrashed herself, had a whipping boy as a child. By adulthood the two have fallen in love, to the displeasure of her father and governess. When her young ladyship causes further uproar by stirring up political scandal, governess Miss Montana decides that rather than make a martyr of the girl, the punishment will be more effective if given to her old whipping boy instead. 

The resulting scene was incredibly emotional, with Jimmy taking Adele's punishment bravely, and both young lovers weeping as their governess told them they were never to see each other again. The spanking, paddling and caning that Miss Montana dealt Jimmy was severe, but it was her sharp tongue and the tragic romance of the scenario that put him in floods of tears which continued throughout the punishment. It was intense and very very hot to watch, and left all of us on a high.

Thanks to Jimmy and Adele for writing such imaginative, delicious storylines and for performing them so beautifully, and to Zoe for her help in making this shoot happen. I'm so excited about both of these films, and can't wait to start editing.

I've heard a lot of people talk about the sort of F/M film they'd like to see. I'd really appreciate it if you could take the time to reply and tell us what you think. We're shooting some shorter domestic F/M films next month - if you want to see something in particular, leave a comment and let us know. 

New blog: Holloway's Road

Male spanking star Jimmy Holloway has just announced the launch of his very own blog. This is exciting news. Not only is it rare to find bloggers writing on kink from a male submissive/switch perspective within our spanking niche, but I know Jimmy to be a remarkably insightful, perceptive person, with a valuable contribution to make to the world of sex blogging.

Despite being brand new, Holloway's Road already has some excellent writing to offer. Check out his thoughts on sexuality and kink, feminist porn and the female gaze, male submission, polyamory and pegging. But this isn't just a kink blog - it's also a showcase for his original BDSM art, which illustrates many of his posts.

He also, of course, offers a fresh, male spankee gaze perspective on filming for this site, as with today's very personal post, Crying On-Set: A New Dreams of Spanking Shoot.

As good as the first scene was, and it really was, it was the second which really blew my mind. Although we had played with some of my favourite themes – chivalry, martyrdom, victim substitution – in ‘As You Will’, we had really run riot with them when it came to plotting out what turned out to be the last scene of the day. I was playing a young man, a servant of the house, who had used to be Adele’s character’s whipping boy. They had known each other since forever, were obviously becoming inappropriately fond of one another, and had allegedly been involved in various kinds of unacceptably political behaviour. The governess, played by Zoe Montana, is called, and after some back-and-forth it transpires that my character is to be punished for the young lady’s misdeeds, even though it hasn’t been done that way for years. At first, after the deeply ingrained deference of the first character, I was finding it difficult to be as mouthy and outraged as the scenario dictated, but eventually managed to get deeply enough into the head-space that it was all coming naturally, before we even got to the CP.

Incidentally, I should mention at this point that we were running with two video cameras, each of them being operated by a different cameraperson, and a separate stills photographer, so we were able to get the whole thing done with as few cuts and changes as possible, which only helped to get deeply into character, which perhaps explains what happened next.

When we were through the hand-spanking, which – as SnowdropExplodes has commented [in this review of Taking the Blame] – Zoe is particularly fierce with, and into the paddling, when Zoe chipped in with the notion that we would have to stop seeing each other completely, although if we were particularly good she would arrange for us to see one another roughly annually. Until that point, I had been taking the beating as stoically as I could, which is pretty damn stoically even if I say so myself, but when she came up with that I just burst into tears, and couldn’t stop myself until quite some time after we had stopped filming. I think it was because we were so deeply in character, or because I was concentrating so hard on withstanding the physical aspect, but it completely blind-sided me and I just couldn’t bear the thought of it, in fact there are tears coming to my eyes now even as I am writing this. By the end, Adele and I were just clutching at each other, wide eyed, and nearly unable to speak. I have rarely been through such an intense scene in the bedroom, let alone on film. 

Click here to read the rest of the post »

I think Holloway's Road is going to be a blog to watch in 2012, and you'd be mad not to add it to your feeds. Perhaps you might also leave a welcoming comment - all new bloggers love feedback. I'm greatly looking forward to reading more of what Jimmy has to say.

The mistress, the maid and the wardrobe

If you like Downton Abbey, you'll like our latest update, period upstairs/downstairs film The Secret in the Wardrobe starring Caroline Grey, Adele Haze, Thomas Cameron and yours truly.

With her father away, young Miss Caroline Grey is left in the care of the household staff and to the companionship of her lady's maid Dora. The two young women are close friends, and the impetuous Caroline often leads them into adventures. But this time, it's soft-hearted Dora who hatches a plan to help out those in need. Their conspiracy must remain secret if it's to succeed - but to their dismay Caroline's strict governess Miss Haze uncovers it, and is greatly displeased.

As Caroline is taken over the knee by Miss Haze for a hand spanking and the hairbrush, Dora pleads on her mistress' behalf, but their protests only land the girls in more trouble. In her father's absence it is Mr Cameron the butler who is responsible for maintaining order in the house. He takes his duty to the family very seriously, and after dealing with the hapless maid Mr Cameron turns his attentions to the wilful young mistress.

Although there are some edgy moments in this scene, there's also a lot of humour, especially around the secret itself.  We had great fun filming it, particularly the sequence involving the actual wardrobe. Members can check out some goofy out-takes in the behind the scenes material.

I also want to take this opportunity to share a photo which didn't fit in anywhere else, of governess Miss Haze looking delightfully stern as she orders her charge over her knee:

Also starring Caroline Grey this week is a new bonus gallery of lost photographs, taken during the filming of The Prefect's Revenge - part 1. I didn't realise I had these images when the film, in which my character blackmails her rival and fellow prefect into taking a caning, was originally published. When I found them I asked our twitter followers if they were worth putting up, and the answer came back yes. So here you are.

The gallery also includes some behind the scenes photos, including Caroline modelling a bold new look in kinky fashion: a frock coat over gym slip and knee socks. I think it'll catch on, don't you?

Twenty minutes of hand spanking

After all the detailed creative fantasies I've explored so far on this website, I found myself yearning to make a video that was a celebration of spanking, pure and simple. I love creating elaborate, imaginative punishment scenes in a variety of settings, but I also want to make films which show the sort of spanking play I enjoy in real life.

Over%20His%20Knee

When Tom spanks me, it's usually in the bedroom, it's never "in character", and it rarely takes less than twenty minutes. Sometimes I'm submissive, sometimes I'm cheeky, and sometimes I'm both. He takes me over his knee and talks to me affectionately as he reddens my bottom. He has a ridiculously hard hand and he knows how to put it to good use, but his skill with warm ups enables me to take far more punishment than when starting cold.

Recently, he's been training me to take harder and harder spanks on the highly sensitive skin of my thighs. This is hugely erotic for me - but shockingly painful. I love the feeling of helplessness as he holds my knees in a leg lock and exposes the ultra-sensitive backs of my thighs to hard, stinging spanks. No matter how brave I try to be, thigh spanking always pushes beyond my control and makes me wriggle and howl. It takes a lot of trust to submit to it, and the sensation of surrender is as hot as the red welts from his fingers that pattern the backs of my legs.

I invited Tom and Tricia over for a simple bedroom shoot. This was the only film we shot that day: I wanted to start out fresh and not have to worry about "saving" my bottom for future scenes, giving me the freedom to get properly marked up for once. After twenty minutes of solid spanking that escalated in severity, my whole bottom and most of my thighs were pink and mottled with purple. In the week following this shoot I had bruises from Tom's hand up both of my thighs. I cherished the marks. 

This video celebrates the way that Tom and I play together, and hopefully shows that loving, consensual, "good girl" spanking can be no less intense than discipline or punishment. 

The Condemned Playground

I've just read a haunting, compelling story about school corporal punishment called The Condemned Playground. Despite the title it's not a ghost story: it's about activism, rebellion, compassion and hope. It's an M/M spanking story, although the primary relationship in the story is male/female. It also evokes the chilling horror of real corporal punishment better than anything I've read since Roald Dahl's autobiographical stories.

It's so genuinely powerful that it almost leaves me feeling guilty about my spanking kink. But the moral argument of this story is against the non-consensual, brutal use of CP on children, and that is a world away from consensual adult fantasy.

Which is convenient, because this story is hot.

On that day when the boys of IIc were particularly unruly, Mme Maurais wrote four punishment orders - called "chits", or sometimes "chitties", slips of blue paper the size of a banknote. Halfway through morning French she called a boy up to her desk who had just struck the blackboard with a paper dart, barely missing her right ear. She took a blue chit from a small wad in her handbag. Under "Name" she wrote "R. Barrett". Under "Offence" she wrote "Repeated Misbehaviour". Under "No. of strokes" she wrote "2", and put a ring around the number. Then she signed and dated the chit with great firmness and handed it to R. Barrett. He returned to his desk with a grin while she made a great show of writing his name in her notebook. This was the first chit she had ever written, and she wanted the boys to know that she meant business.

R. Barrett now had twenty-four hours in which to "redeem" his chit, which meant turning up to one of three daily sessions in the Games Room where one of the two designated executioners - usually Mr Mackay, sometimes Mr Terris - would carry out any canings ordered for that day, enter the details in the punishment register and counter-sign the chits, which would then be distributed to the mailboxes of the teachers who wrote them. Mme Maurais could then cross R. Barrett's name off the list in her notebook. That was the administrative loop. What goes out must come back - a conveyor belt that processes forty orders a week needs an efficient bureaucracy. It was the circular paperwork of a beating factory.

I can't show you more, because I'll give away some of the twists, and this piece of fiction is delightfully surprising and too carefully crafted to spoil. Set aside an hour or so for it because once you've started reading, you'll probably find it hard to stop.

I tackled the themes of justified schoolboy rebellion, activism, and a sympathetic female teacher who does not personally like corporal punishment, but administers it anyway in Non-violent Resistance. The Condemned Playground does it so much better.

Editing woes and some new figure nudes

My video editing has thrown me a loop this week. On Tuesday I started putting the film together, in good time. The editing software on my computer was barely functioning. So I did a bit data storage overhaul and cleared out space on all my hard drives to see if that made any difference. No dice.

On Wednesday I was at a wedding at a beautiful medieval priory. Believe me, making spanking films gives you a different perspective on everywhere you visit. We showed up with an hour to kill before the ceremony, a rambling old building in stunning grounds with beautiful antique furniture, and I found myself seriously wishing I'd brought my camera! I'm sure we could have found an unused room where no-one would have noticed...

Thursday, back to the drawing board editing suite. Everything's still playing up. It's not just software lag and slow playback, but weird shit like the audio being out of sync with the waveform and video files importing at half the duration listed in file properties, but playable at full length in VLC. I've been having these problems on and off for a while and suddenly the common factor occurred to me: it's all the shoots I've done this year, i.e. files I've converted using new free software I downloaded after re-installing my OS in December.

So I bit the bullet and bought another copy of my preferred Xilisoft Video Converter, since my old licence had expired, set everything re-converting and prepared to start editing again from scratch. Each conversion takes a few hours. But when it had completed I ran into more problems. The frame rates of the new files were all over the place. They'd been set to auto (which should have been 25fps, the same as the originals) but most had come out at 30 and some at random numbers like 7 or 9. Totally unusable.

So I lined them all up to reconvert again, manually adjusted all the settings this time, and started the whole thing from the beginning. At this point I gave up on having a new video finished and ready to upload by Friday evening!

I didn't want to leave you hanging until the end of the weekend, so last night I uploaded a bonus minigallery of submissive figure nudes by Janus photographer Roy Tersley. It's only small, but fans of BDSM and bondage should find something to enjoy.

Am I a captive awaiting punishment, a slavegirl being put through her paces, or simply modelling for a slightly kinky artist? The choice is yours.

The truth is somewhere between the second and third options. In actual fact I was posing for kinky artist Loge's slavegirl collages. Roy, along with other European models and photographers, had provided nude source images for him before. The end results are pretty cool:

29 paddle swats to save the planet

The weekend's film will appeal to those of you who like some wit and humour with their spankings, caring domestic discipline, women spanking women, and environmentalism. Zoe Montana plays a dippy hippy earth mother type, but her fluffy exterior belies a core of steel.

Zoe works hard to live in a sustainable, ecologically aware way, and has told her disorganised housemate Pandora how to sort out the recycling and composting time and time again. When talking fails, Zoe realises she's going to need to take a more controversial step to drive the message home. Normally Zoe deplores violence, but in this instance she considers a sharp lesson justified for the sake of the planet.

Click to view the free trailer in our popup video player:

Eco-Spanking

We shot this on our recent F/F shoot and had a huge amount of fun making it. Zoe isn't really that dippy, and I do actually recycle. But if I didn't, I would definitely consider myself in need of a sound over the knee spanking and some hard whacks with the paddle.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, the wooden paddle was ethically sourced: it's from Sh! (although they don't stock it any more) and made from reclaimed wood. :)

Eco-Spanking: saving the planet one paddle swat at a time »

SleekImages exhibition at Wicked Grounds


Zille Defeu being punished in Caned in Jodhpurs

We have been lucky enough to work with kinky (and very sexy!) performer and producer Zille Defeu and her husband Duncan here at Dreams of Spanking. Zille is the star of our most popular scene to date, Caned in Jodhpurs, and we had Duncan's talent behind the camera during that shoot. Zille acted in two scenes, and for the last film of the day she moved behind the camera to work alongside Duncan. Together, the couple form fetish photography team SleekImages, capturing kinky play in and around San Francisco.

SleekImages Fetish Photography has been exhibiting on the walls of kinky coffee house Wicked Grounds since its re-opening in January, but I only found out about this when I heard about their artists' reception, which took place a few days ago. It sounds like it was a blast, and I'm very sorry I was across the ocean and unable to make it. But guess what? It turns out some Dreams of Spanking photos are included in their show!

Both of these shots are from forthcoming scenes from the shoot with Zille and Duncan. The 1920s film starring Zille and I is due to be released in the next few weeks.

The SleekImages website has a display showing many other images including in the exhibition, from spanking to age play, suspensions and latex catsuits, live stage shows and fetish events. Click through and take a peek:

The law of the first night

This week's spanking scene is finally up - not before time. I finished editing over 24 hours ago, and since then it's been a battle to get my slow, outdated computer to export this unusually rich and complex film. I've finally managed it, although I had to compress the file a bit more than usual, so you may notice a difference in the film quality as a result. Still, lower download times are never a bad thing... and the full resolution, high-quality, glorious technicolour version will have to wait for the DVD.

This film is called Primae Noctis, also known as droit du seigneur, the right of the lord. This was never law in Britain, but there's evidence of it being an embedded custom in some places. It refers to the right of the feudal lord to take his pick of new brides in his fief, and, if he wishes, claim the virginity of a peasant girl before her husband.

This scene, however, isn't about the lord and the peasant girl. It's about the lady and the bridegroom.

Click to view trailer for Primae%20Noctis

The full movie has a running time of 21 minutes 43, and includes 75 exclusive images by talented new photographer 'Fforbes'. I'm afraid it's not the most historically accurate medieval film ever made - we did our best with available resources, but I hope you can forgive the odd anachronism of dress and location. For me, the relationship and personal chemistry between the performers are the heart of this scene, and those are absolutely genuine.

Adele and Jimmy wrote this scene together, and it expresses the full intensity of many of their shared kinks: complex consent, emotional dominance and submission, class politics and social injustice, female sexual desire, masculine honour and devotion, self-sacrifice. It also includes Gregorian chant, ironstone pillars, back whipping, hand spanking, Jimmy's naked form and Adele wielding a riding crop. Among other things.

This is also the most sexually suggestive F/M scene we've released to date. It's filmed quite discreetly, but if you're offended by the idea of male spankees having their cocks touched, there are some bits you should probably skip.

It's quite rare for me to publish a scene which I neither wrote nor performed in. I was involved, of course - as director, producer, camerawoman and editor. But I don't claim creative ownership of this scene. It belongs to Jimmy and Adele, and it expresses a powerful facet of their fantasies and relationship. 

I find this scene remarkably powerful to watch. There are subtleties which I missed while I was concentrating on the technical side of filming, camera angles I didn't get to see. I have greatly enjoyed editing it and selecting appropriate music to accompany it. The couple and the location are both stunningly beautiful, the punishment is hard, Jimmy's reactions are raw and heartfelt. But it's the injustice, the emotional edginess of this scene that gets me. The part where the Lady makes her serf beg her to use him as she will is profoundly touching, and the first time I watched the footage I was actually moved to tears. 

But then, I like helplessness, martyrdom and humiliation as much as Jimmy and Adele do.

Mike and Dana

Yesterday I had the pleasure of shooting with two new cast members, Dana Kane and Mike Stryker. Mike had replied to my ad on Fetlife for male bottoms, and Dana kindly agreed to shoot with us on the first day of her current London trip.

I was excited about working with both of them for the first time. It was slightly nervewracking writing scenes for two people who hadn't met before, especially since I hadn't even met Dana in person myself until the day of the shoot. But it all worked out even better than I'd hoped. 

This was Mike's first ever dedicated spanking shoot, although he was no stranger to either spanking or filming kinky video. Partly to put him at his ease, I decided to co-bottom in two of the scenes and take part in a third as an observer. Not having worked with Dana before, it seemed only fair to sample her spanking style myself first. Our scenarios with a girl and a boy being punished together have gone down well so far - and I still don't know any other spanking site to explore this avenue - so it seemed worth doing while we had the chance. And with two experienced crew behind the camera in Jay and Tricia, I felt that I could step in front of it and leave the videography in safe hands.

The result was that I spent most of the day simultaneously acting/getting spanked and directing. And you know what? It worked fine. I was able to keep the script and storyboard in my head even during my own punishment sequences, directing the shots and thinking ahead to how I was going to edit it. I kept an eye on Mike's tolerances and changed the shot when I thought he needed a breather. At the same time, I didn't struggle coming up with ad libs for my characters or taking my spankings. The scenes flowed beautifully and everything felt calm and efficient.

It was a far cry from my first ever video shoot as both spankee and director, when I got totally overwhelmed and ended up breaking down in tears. I've come a long way in the last three years.

Yesterday was a long, busy, energetic day, and by the end of it I was exhausted. But it was also organised and relaxed, full of laughter and conversation. We stayed on schedule and everyone got on well.

Of course it helped that everyone I shoot with is awesome. That's why I shoot with them! But I never tire of putting talented, likeminded people together for the first time and watching new connections forged and new friendships start to bloom. From start to finish, although we all worked hard, the day never really felt like work. Hanging out with cool people, playing hot scenes, creating kinky works of art ... this is why shooting is still my favourite part of the process.

It was a gloriously sunny day, prompting us to make use of the great natural light. Dana and Mike both blew me away with their performances. Dana is a total pro, warm and funny off camera and taking on the persona of a strict disciplinarian at a moment's notice. Her toppy dialogue and pacing and control of a scene are remarkable.

Mike was a star. You guys are going to love Mike. Beautiful big blue eyes, a sunny smile that lights up his face, and a round bubble butt that quickly turned cherry red under Dana's hand. He took four hard punishment scenes like a champion, and from the smiles I was pretty sure he enjoyed himself. But you can make up your own mind when you watch the behind the scenes material.

We filmed four clips, from an election campaign office (Dana for president!) to a college student in trouble, gender-bending teenagers being taken in hand by a strict new governess, and loving marital discipline. The latter is very special indeed, and shows just how game Mike was. Although they'd just met, he and Dana turned this scene into a sizzling, sexy, consensual domestic discipline storyline full of affection and trust, with a delicious mummy/boy dynamic just breaking the surface. I believe this may be the first ever spanking film to feature a male bottom having his beard shaved off on camera:

How awesome is that? I can't decide whether Mike is more handsome with the beard or clean shaven, but his spanked bottom looks amazing rising out of those adorable dropseat jammies.

My only regret is that it was over so quickly. I hope the time doesn't pass too slowly until I can get both Dana and Mike back to shoot with us again.

Spanking as discipline

One of our members has asked an interesting question in the comments of The Secret of Success, our film about a student exploring consensual adult discipline for the first time. Ernest asked,

Can you explain something to me? I can understand how spanking can be a deterrent to improve behaviour in a DS relationship (which is, after all, how punishment has normally been understood), and I can understand how it can be an enjoyable game to play (as I and you and others find it, the observance of appropriate limits being always understood) - but I honestly don't understand how it can be both for the same person.

In my experience this is one of those age-old questions, and I've seen it addressed on numerous occasions. But those recurring topics are also often the ones worth revisiting, as your understanding evolves over time. I gave a stab at an answer in reply to that comment, but I want to expand on it further.

The discipline paradox is, exactly, a paradox. I don't know anyone who engages in consensual, functional, non-abusive CP discipline who isn't kinky, so I would venture that it's not attractive or appropriate for people who have no interest in power or pain play. But I do know people who aren't spankos, but have other kinky interests, who use CP for discipline rather than play, and other activities when they want to have fun. In those cases CP has been selected as something that isn't a direct source of eroticism or pleasure. If you have, say, a spanko bottom and non-spanko top, an eager-to-please bottom might want to avoid the top having to do something they didn't enjoy, and this would act as an effective deterrent. But I thinkboth parties need to have some positive associations with the idea of dominance, submission and discipline for the practice of administering real life punishment to be a healthy and successful choice.

Personally, I enjoy spanking in sexual and theatrical contexts, and can be quite masochistic for it. But spanking also works for me as discipline and deterrent. For me, a discipline spanking is usually:

  • harder than normal
  • delivered without a warm-up, or without other comforting/soothing/erotic interaction which would normally make a spanking easier to take
  • with an implement that is particularly severe, or delivers a sensation I don't find erotic
  • accompanied by an awareness of disappointment from the top, or an acknowledgement that one can do better.

In my experience it's that last point that makes all the difference, and it can range from full-on scolding to a quiet "I'm looking forward to the week when I don't have to do this."  A spanking might tick all the boxes of a "fun" play session in physical terms, but if the emotional context is one of disappointment or regret, it stops being fun.

As a bottom, I allow a top to share the responsibility of my life because I respect them and value their opinion. Admitting fault to my top is often the real deterrent; the spanking is just a sharp reminder. In a heartfelt discipline dynamic where the bottom wants to make their top proud of them, a sincerely meant scolding is often punishment enough. Once a bottom feels genuine remorse for their mistakes, the purpose of the spanking is only partly punitive; it also operates as an emotional valve and way for them to let go of guilt and start afresh.

Basically, if we care about pleasing our top, and I would say that's an essential foundation for a discipline dynamic, then punishment is punishment when our actions have failed to please. Everything else is just window dressing.

A good discipline dynamic is entered into consensually to help the bottom improve themselves. The primary motivation shouldn't be the threat of spanking, but the desire to improve. The spanking just helps focus the mind a little. If I didn't take the arrangement seriously, was cavalier about the prospect of punishment or deliberately sought it out because I wanted a spanking, that would imply I didn't care about my top's opinion, and wasn't genuinely motivated to improve. Any partner who was paying attention would notice, and they'd be wise to start a conversation about the arrangement and ensure that I was truly committed to it before continuing.

For me, a discipline arrangement is most successful where I have a say in what I am punished for, but not in how I am punished. My top is helping me fulfil stated goals within consensual parameters: they can't impose arbitrary punishments or write new rules without prior negotiation. But reason I've sought out this arrangement is that I don't feel able to do this alone. I have asked for help. If I not only decide what I'm punished for, but how I'm punished, then I'm not giving my top any authority; I might as well be in charge after all.

"Tell him to keep it at game level" therefore isn't something I can do. Since I have control over what I get punished for, my top needs to have the final say on sentencing. If I feel a punishment has been too harsh or not harsh enough, I can raise my concern afterwards, and find the right level over time (or, if we prove incompatible, a new top). Sometimes a set punishment might be agreed in advance: "If you fail to do X, I will do Y". But if I've said to my top "help me do X, please", then I'm showing I trust them enough to make a fair decision about the consequences if X is not done.

I suppose in theory, if I hadn't agreed to strict boundaries describing what I could be punished for, I might have more leeway to negotiate the nature of a punishment on the spur of the moment. But that feels to me like quite an adversarial way to approach things. I believe that discipline agreements, at their best, are co-operative, with both partners working together to help one of them achieve a stated aim. For spanking as discipline to work, in my experience, it requires mutual trust and respect, commitment to the terms of the agreement, and the ongoing willing co-operation of both partners.

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