Note: This is another post that I left nearly complete in my drafts folder over a year ago. It’s really a synthesis of three strains of thought that are related for me in a way that I’m not sure I’ve made entirely clear. It’s a response to a comment Alyx had left on one of my posts, combined with a response to a comment Little Nic once made on an entirely different post that has stuck with me for a long time. Finally, it’s the product of my ongoing attempt to articulate my curiosity about F/F Domestic Discipline stories and fantasies in a way that explains why I sometimes find them troubling and surprising–without stepping on the toes of those for whom they are a core fantasy or a real-life dynamic. I let it sit because I was having trouble with that last part, and I can only hope that the remaining imperfections along those lines will not come across as disrespectful. This week, though, after I spent fair amount of time reading some lovely fiction on an F/F discipline story blog that was new to me (hi, Ash!), I decided I’d take the risk and try to open the conversation.
About a year ago, I wrote a post on my experience at a Littles Party at Shadow Lane. Although that post was primarily a description of that party, it also contained a little bit of speculation about the difference between the most common fantasy figures in M/F and F/F romantic spanking fiction:
The core fantasy figure for women in M/F romances, both kinky and vanilla, is The Man Who Can Read Our Minds. I didn’t find this at all in F/F stories; indeed, we women seem to assume that our women friends can read our minds or will at least provide the emotional support we crave. Instead, the core fantasy figure in F/F stories appeared to be The Truly Toppy Woman. As I started to play with all kinds of men– and a few women– in real life, I began to understand what these women meant. I so wanted to be scolded, dominated, and spanked in a motherly way, but I really didn’t know any women who like to play that way– not even among the lovely group of women who seem quite happy to spank me in more light-hearted styles.
Alyx left an intriguing comment about the post, part of which I dealt with in the comment section. But there was another part of her comment that has led me to this much longer response:
I always like to hear about individual preferences, and in my experience, what you say about [women in F/F fantasies] desiring maternal/governess type figures is true. And (in spite of the fact that I’m a lesbian) my own early fantasies were also about governess figures, rather than partners/girlfriends.
I think it’s fairly common that our early fantasies were about authority figures rather about than partners or lovers of either gender. After all, for many (or perhaps most) of us, these fantasies pre-dated sexual awakening. Nonetheless, I do wonder how that plays out depending on sexual orientation. Are straight women more likely to dream about male authority figures, and lesbian women more likely to dream about their female counterparts? I certainly had fantasies about both in my early childhood, with the m/f ones slowly morphing from featuring teachers and parent-figures to husbands or masters. I still occasionally had fantasies about a male teacher or parent figure in my adolescence. Most, though, were about women, sometimes even an actual teacher. Funnily enough, I can’t recall any that involved being owned by a woman. For some reason, my fantasies involving women were always inherently more egalitarian than those involving men.
As I’ve said before, the F/F stories I read in the beginning of my days on the Internet also tended to be more egalitarian than the M/F stories I read. This was true even in the school stories I read. Little Nic captured this extremely well in a comment she left on this post:
In so far as the influence of m/m stories works for me in punishment scenes I guess it’s in the expectation of ritual; the delay between discovery of crime and being called to account, the formalities,the ordered sense of predictable roles and at some level fair if severe play, uncluttered by too much emotional expression. I think if I am honest though I also take in a morality of the punishment absolves the crime and if I want to say climb on the roof again – know not to get caught at pains of a harsher thrashing. A sort of contract.
Getting me to contrition, crying for something other than the pain…takes something else and I suspect that it is more influenced by headmistresses, real and fictional, who famously had the words to break down the resistances and the sense to distinguish the major from the minor crimes. Both more humorous and yet more profound than the male fictional counter-parts.
That comment captures two aspects of my governess fantasies. As much as I’m drawn to fantasies in which I feel real contrition, there’s a limit to how well they work as spanking fantasy. After all, behavioral modification is all about, well, modifying behavior. So there are only so many times an authority figure can spank a charge without one of them becoming totally unsympathetic. So, even in fantasy, I’m drawn to the kind of “crime” Little Nic mentions in that first paragraph. The sort of thing that isn’t a big deal every once in a while, but would be problematic if done all the time. Then, both governess and charge can know the drill, with the former meting out punishment that the latter accepts as the cost of doing business.
Still, my deeper fantasies do involve real contrition, and Little Nic describes perfectly the kind of figure that works well for me. It doesn’t absolutely have to be a woman, but the classic male headmasters seem to take themselves so seriously as to lack a sense of humor altogether– or to rely too easily on physical force. The headmistress, on the other hand– and the governess– seems more inclined to use physical punishment as an exclamation point– after the charge has admitted wrong-doing. This role isn’t restricted to women, by any means, but it seems like a more common style in both vanilla and kinky fiction for women than for men.
So that’s why it’s surprised me a bit to find lesbian spanking fiction that seems as hierarchical as M/F fiction, complete with the brat/top dynamic that is so pervasive in the M/F spanking scene. I have enjoyed that game, especially in my early days in the scene, when I found it oh-so-hard just to ask for a spanking. It was fun to “earn” one exercising my not-inconsiderable propensities to be a smartass, and the illusion of non-consensuality remains powerfully enticing. But there’s a superficiality to that kind of play that I find extremely limiting. So while I don’t mind playing with it, I no longer find it satisfying as an end in itself. Nor, as I’ve written before, am I comfortable with a domestic discipline arrangement– especially within an M/F dynamic.
I find it easier to deal with F/F domestic discipline fantasies and stories (and probably M/M or F/M, too), but they often contain the same elements that I find difficult in M/F fantasies: an older dominant/ younger submissive dynamic, the use of superior physical power to impose punishment, and the static power imbalance between partners. Now, some of my favorite versions of lesbian DD, like the Lesbia Series by Loki Renard, or stories by Alyx , Ash, and Tenth Muse Top, play with those roles or introduce magical other worlds of the sort that make M/F DD fantasies easier for me to take. Still, I found it surprising that discipline was such a major force in lesbian spanking fiction. I remember chatting about this once with Loki, who opined that, in this way, women are the same as men. I wonder if that’s true, and my difficulty comes from the fact that I’m fundamentally a switch, interested in the flux of roles in my spanking play. Or perhaps the fantasies are a manifestation of that search for The Truly Toppy Woman that seems to underlie so many F/F fantasies, no doubt including my own of the governess variety. I don’t know, but I’m curious to know what those of you for whom F/F DD stories are a core fantasy think.