Question:

Hello,

My question is relating to your topic of spanking as a form of discipline. I was disciplined in exactly the way you describe on your site. The implement, the process, all of it. Both parents administered them until I was about 12, then my mom took over, though dad stepped in at times.

When I was 14, I received access to the family computer. One day I looked up spanking and was exposed to a plethora of sites with stories of children receiving bare bottom spankings from their parents. I was fascinated and had no idea that it was a form of erotica. I am still not sure if it is, but what else would that be? I wasn't aroused that I know of, but I had some sort of intense reaction to reading them.

I printed them out and read them at night. My mom found them within a week. I remember her calling me to my room and freaking out, demanding an explanation, which I could not give. I wasn't sure what I had done wrong. Once my mom realized that she told me that she was confiscating the stories. She didn't tell me what I had done, but I knew from her reaction it was bad. (This all may sound unbelievable, but I was very naive, homeschooled, knew nothing about the reproductive system, and very innocent.)

A few years later, my younger sister found those same stories on a high shelf in mom's room. She came to me and told me reading them made her feel very emotional, but in a good way, and she didn't know why. (I should add, absolutely nothing about receiving a spanking was enjoyable for either of us.)

Now I'm grown, with a family of my own. I am worried about spanking being harmful to my children. Not only do my sister and I often feel tempted to read those stories, but at least three of my friends from my childhood have shared that they have the same temptation. I still don't know why these stories exist, or why I'm drawn to them. I'm not interested in consensual, erotic spanking. I have no desire to physically discipline my own children.

I don't know what's wrong with me, or my sister, or our friends. All we have in common is the style of upbringing. I often feel a huge lack of confidence in my abilities, and crave the rigid structure and punishments of my childhood, even though I absolutely hated it at the time.

I want to add that from your teaching I see a lot of very good, biblical advice for parents. I also wanted to add a few more things for the sake of clarity.

In our house, we were never made to reveal ourselves inappropriately during discipline. Spanking certainly was more of a go-to than you advise, but I think for the most part it was fairly consistent with what you have taught. It was until I left home.

We were raised as Christians. The Bible was a staple of daily life. I wanted to bring honor to God and was a very soft-hearted child. I was isolated, apart from the church, which was small and there was no one in my age group. I was painfully awkward around others my age, but I could get any baby to stop crying in moments and carry on conversations with mothers in the church.

I don't spank my children. They are very young still. I don't want to take it off the table completely, but I am scared that whatever went wrong with me could inadvertently be inflicted on them. My oldest is not yet five and very tender-hearted. She's been easily managed. My second is not walking yet. I would love to resolve this issue before he is much older, so I don't fail my children. That's why I've written, to try and discern where the flaw came in that messed up something inside of me.

I would like to add that I understand that a lot of people email fake scenarios to you. Mine might be seen as such.  I don't know how to assure you it's honest. I did have a lot of resentment for my parents for a few years after leaving. I also resented God, and I became incensed at the idea of spanking a child because of my own experience. Also, I did satisfy my desire for stories like the ones I described. I think of those years as some pretty bad ones. Now I am older and realizing the importance of balance.

Reading your site has been an eye-opening experience. Rather than teaching spanking for every infraction, you have a strong sense of balance and justice. I see why you are respected and the focus is not on fear. I want that for my children. I also want to avoid opening the door to bad influence for my children when they are older.

You might wonder why I know intimate details of my friends. I grew up with them. After my mom and sister discovered the stories I was reading, I sought advice from others who were strong in their relationships with God. Two of them are now married and doing very well. One is unmarried and now cut off contact with her family. At the time of my opening up to them, none of them had indulged their sin, beyond, I guess, fantasizing -- imagining scenarios of being punished. As I said, it doesn't seem sexual, but I don't know what else it could be. They admitted their only advice was to abstain from indulging the desire and pray.

Currently, one friend practices Christian domestic discipline. They are doing a wonderful job in life apart from this (I did read that is sinful). The second married woman has never strayed although last we spoke, she still had the desire. The unmarried woman is much like me in that it's a struggle, but she does not want to give in to temptation. She is sickened by the idea of spanking children; in fact, this is why she refuses to start a family until she can find and resolve the origin of this issue.

I have not spoken before to any man regarding this. I've spoken to an older woman, but her only advice was the same: pray and abstain. I feel like it would be awkward and humiliating to speak about this to any elder that I know personally. If I need to clarify anything further, please let me know.

Answer:

I suspect that your fascination with spanking stories was due to sexual arousal, though at the time you probably could not label the cause. It was not the spankings themselves, but the stories that grabbed your interest. In a quick look on the subject of attraction to spanking stories, I ran across research that stated that whether a person was spanked or not as a child had no bearing on a person's interest in spanking stories. Thus, the discipline you received as a child did not lead to your interest in spanking stories.

Your interest in spanking stories started when your sexuality was developing. I suspect you will find this also true of your sister and others. Even though you could not name it at the time, you did recognize that the stories produced an intense reaction in you, which was sexual arousal.

Sexual arousal is caused by numerous factors. At its core physiologically, arousal involves an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Erotica stories, including those involving spanking, are written to provoke shock at the things described, all with a sexual connotation. As you mentioned, the stories involved things that you had not considered before as even being possible. There is also a thrill gained by rejecting societal norms, which is particularly attractive to teens who are wanting to do things differently from their parents. Others describe a thrill gained from dominating another person, while still others find submitting to another attractive.

While you didn't understand your reaction, you did keep it a secret by keeping the printouts hidden away and reading them at night. As the seductress says, "Stolen water is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" (Proverbs 9:17). As we relax before going to sleep, our bodies are also more prone toward sexual arousal. Thus, there were many factors involved.

The thing about sexual arousal is that once we associate something with it, we tend to repeat it, seeking out the original thrill. But it is never quite the same because the shock is not as great. This leads people to search out things of progressively greater shock value.

It is the formula used in romance stories, pornography, and other erotica. The reader or viewer is hooked by his own desires and he keeps returning for more. "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust" (James 1:14).

As you noted, things that should be normal and without sexual connotation are twisted. I suspect this is why boys goofing around are now worried if they appear to be homosexual. Or why open showers used in the past are now walled off. Erotica is infecting the minds of many in society and it is hard to extract once in place.

In regards to your own children, understand the dangers and attempt to keep them innocent as long as you can. At the same time, do not let your fears prevent you from doing your duty as a parent. Spanking has a proper place in the rearing of children. There are going to be times when it will obviously be the most effective form of discipline in some situations. But when there are alternatives, there is nothing saying you have to use spanking. Remember that discipline is about molding children into being sound, responsible adults. It isn't about the parent or the parent's feelings.

In your own life, recognize that erotica stories are temptations to indulge in lust. The advice you had been given to not continue reading these stories is sound. "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3).

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