One of my favourite things about working at Dreams of Spanking is how varied the content I get to write for is. One week I’m waxing lyrical on the virtues of pornography made by real life couples who are truly, deeply in love; the next I’m laughing out loud at a queer comedy pastiche of a BBC period drama. And then this lands in my inbox: an aristocratic fairytale about the haughty future Duchess of a magical land. Never a dull moment!
I think my favourite thing about this story is that it looks at submission from an angle we rarely see: the focus here is on Riva’s fortitude. She’s portrayed not as someone receiving a punishment they richly deserve, nor as a person having a dream fulfilled; those are both true and excellent stories about people who love to be spanked, but they’re not the only roles submission has to offer. This is spanking as a challenge that can be overcome, and a woman who finds strength in overcoming it.
In a way, this echoes some of my own journey with kink and BDSM. This might come as a surprise to some of my former play partners, but I’m not really a masochist in the truest sense; pain itself is rarely my goal for an encounter, and I’m mostly in it for the power dynamics and headspaces. Some of my most memorable scenes involving corporal punishment have been the ones where I’ve finished the session feeling as though I’ve achieved something; I can take pride in knowing that I have these bruises because I weathered the storm. It was difficult, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I stuck it out and I came through to the other side. There’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
(It’s a mistake, incidentally, to assume that the amount of pain someone is in is directly proportional to the amount of fuss they’re making. For some of us the reverse is true - yelps and wriggles mean we’re still warming up; silence and stillness mean I’ve centred myself to ride the wave. Tops, remember to check in with and get to know your bottoms: this has been a PSA! But I digress.)
Riva might end her spanking crying at her new mistress’s feet, but she is not portrayed as a weak or broken woman. She was strong enough to conduct an excoriating self-analysis without shying away from her worst qualities, she was strong enough to trek for hours through the forest to reach an unknown destination, and she was strong enough to take an hours-long OTK spanking without even shedding a tear till it was almost over.
I kind of love Riva, honestly. She’s got this. And so, perhaps, do we