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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.

Comments

Condemned playground

I have read the story, it is stunning and - of course - raises questions. There is a contradiction between what all of us are practising and our conviction that violence against children is out of the question - regardless in what form or severity.
I venture to say that nearly every kinkster connects adult spanking with childhood fantasies; many stories even have as a theme what the authors will condemn in real life.
How can we resolve the contradiction between what we are doing and our fantasies?
That question has been bothering me for a long time. What about you?

It used to bother me, but the more kinky people I meet and talk to, and the longer I live with my own kink and perceive how much real joy and intimacy it brings me, how good it is for the communicative health of my relationships - and that there are no harmful consequences except, if you succumb to it, this needless guilt - the less I see the need to worry.

Fantasy is fantasy and harms no-one. I think it's acceptable to fantasise about pretty much anything. It's fiction, it's private, it exists in the realm of your own head and has nothing to do with the outside world. The line between acceptable and unacceptable, for me, is that of consent. Fantasising about experiencing punishment as a child is a world away from inflicting violence on a human being against their will. Writing stories about it isn't the same as doing it, or every crime or horror writer would be a murderer.

We can't help our sexual response any more than we can help what makes us laugh, or makes us cry. It's physiological and involuntary. Getting aroused by the idea of an act is not the same as condoning that act in reality.

Many human stories have as their themes things that the authors would condemn - abuse, rape, violence, war. We tell stories about the human condition, and we empathise with the characters. Sexual fantasies are no different. We tell each other stories about extreme experiences that stimulate the imagination and, in the case of kinksters, the body. We empathise and identify with the characters, imagining ourselves in their place. That doesn't mean we would wish non-consensual violence on ourselves, or on anyone else. It's fantasy, escapism.

You can find a war story or horror story exciting, stimulating or therapeutic without wanting it to really happen to you, or condoning acts of war or horror. Sexual fantasies don't operate by different rules to everything else. Our attraction to stories that turn us on has no moral difference from our attraction to stories that make us laugh, cry, shiver or feel any other emotional response.

The line about boys growing up perverted by school punishment was a pointed barb, but misplaced, I think: possibly a symptom of the author's own anxieties or guilt. I genuinely think kink is something you're born with, like any other aspect of sexuality. It's influenced by formative culture and experiences, so kinky people who were punished at school, or heard/read about school punishment as children, are more likely to fetishise school punishment than kinky people who weren't exposed to it.

Exposure certainly affects the images and details of our kinks. But I absolutely do not believe that non-consensual experiences have the power to somehow "convert" people into kinksters.

Perfect

Incredible response, I could not agree more. My QOTD for today is now: "Getting aroused by the idea of an act is not the same as condoning that act in reality." Might turn that into a mantra of sorts. It's applicable to so many fields of human interaction, you could switch "aroused" with "excited" or a synonym and it could apply to many of the myriad things we fight with each other over.

This is my third attempt if my comment shows up all over the place. Sorry about that.

Anyway I agree with just about all you have said. What I am not so sure of is the question of where we born or made. I have tired, by asking people at parties etc. how they felt. I cannot remember being not interested, but I also cannot remember not being spanked. I can not find many instances of it running in families. I have not asked but I see no evidence that my not spanked kids have any interest.

Do you think that humiliation has anything to do with it? That is if the spankee felt humiliated by the experience it formed a kink for him/her.

Well, I wasn't spanked either! I've talked to a LOT of kinky people, although obviously not all of them, and I genuinely haven't seen any pattern so far. Some were spanked or watched others being spanked as kids and later fetishised the memory. Some were spanked as kids and hated it, can't eroticise the memory but are kinky anyway. Some, like me, never encountered spanking in real life, only in books and films - and devoured any cultural references to it hungrily. Spanking in schools was banned when I was little, and my friends weren't spanked or whipped by their parents, although a few of them were smacked/slapped occasionally. So to me growing up it was a romantic, forbidden, historical thing that never happened any more.

But I've spoken to so many people who either hate what happened to them as children, and struggle to reconcile those non-consensual experiences with their adult kink.... and with people who saw/experienced spanking and now return time and time again to those memories as their most powerful fantasies. The same with (non-consensual childhood) humiliation - some may eroticise it and for others it's a big turn off that appears to contradict their underlying kink. Really I think everyone is different.

The only thing I'm sure of is that the particular fetishes are culturally defined. I like public boarding school beatings and the cane because I grew up with Roald Dahl; I like Victoriana because I read so many Victorian novels as a child. I don't have a particular thing for, say, tawses because I didn't encounter those until later.

That said, you can definitely catch fetishes later in life. Since I started working in spanking video I've developed a kinky interest in many things which weren't on my radar before, like Spencer paddles and hand tawsing. The fact that my interest is CP rather than, say, piss is, I think, genetic, but the details within the umbrella of CP are entirely down to cultural exposure and open to change over time.

I'm sorry, I was not very clear. I was spanked, and in my late teens/early twenties I would recall some of it, and it would either turn me on or make me feel shame. My adult spanking life got intereting early when I met a girl that liked it hard and often. (For quite a while I let her think that I was just doing it for her, no internet in those days.) Once I had a playmate I no longer thought much about my childhood stuff and even now writing this it holds no interest for me.

I would really like to know, are we made or born. Maybe both, but there are a lot of people like you. I have known women that had no interest until the man in their life talked them into trying it and then they went wild. That really puzzles me.

Yes, but.........

I agree with all you say in theory and am really happy that you, and anyone else who has done so, has worked out the contradictions between their politics/beliefs and their kinks. I think the way you incorporate into this into your art is brilliant. But, sadly for me, I have never managed this psychological feat. When I was young (55 now) I tried consensual play with my partners (who admittedly were not into spanking - hate term vanilla) and it always left me with overwhelming guilt, especially if I was topping which is my preferred (about 60/40) role. So I gave up. Weirdly when I discovered I could pay :) this was much better : I suppose I felt that in some way this absolved my responsibility and consent was much clearer. But most of my life haven't had the money to pay (or blew it on other pleasures). Ah well. I suppose if your politics and your kink don't clash then there is no problem - and the whole identification of spanking with right-wing politics (pre-internet and your time Pandora :)) was very strong and yet another problem for me: but then I wouldn't want to be one of those people! I never suspected there could possibly be other left-wing spankos pre-internet.

Non-violent resistance is brilliant btw.

I was a left wing spankoo until I was about thirty or so, now I'm a conservative one.

What do you make of that?

Did you get disillusioned with the left, or did something else change for you?

Disillusing with the left and it's ideology mostly.

Since labels are ofthen misleading let me add that I am my own man, I'm an atheist, know a lot about and firmly stand for evolution, am somewhat of an environmentalist, obviously like some porn. My conservative views are very small government, very little regulation, stay out of my life period.

'A man may pass from radical to conservative in 40 years without changing a single opinion'...

Or, in a more modern case, left-wing ideologies appeal to those who are young and have little (money, assets, status in society, freedom to follow their own will, etc.), and conservative ones appeal to those who are older and have more of the above.

I can imagine that if your initial encounters, even consensually, were with people who didn't have a yearning for the experience themselves, that would leave a bad taste. I can definitely understand why commercial relationships are simpler for you - you are not the first person I've encountered to feel this way.

I am well aware how lucky I am to have entered puberty just as the internet was becoming a household thing. I genuinely believe the internet is triggering a sexual revolution similar to the one faciliated by the Pill. I hope that it continues to get easier for coming generations to accept their sexualities and be at peace with themselves.

(Thankyou! Very glad you enjoyed it :) )

Condemned playground

Since I started this fantastic discussion, I might be allowed to close it too.
My heartfelt thanks and great admiration for your feat, Pandora, to put into words what had unsettling me for a long, long time. Perhaps, I simply did not want to really think about it in depth. You did. Thank you again.
By the way, your second reply is just as valid. I have been witnessing actual spankings and thrashings in school, but have not been touched once. How I became a kinkster is still up for guessing.

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