[Picture: “Princess Tapeface” blushing and squirming as she stands on display in front of her class.]
Even if we’ve never met in Second Life, you can probably figure out from my store, and the pictures I’ve posted here on my blog, just how much I love gags. I knew I was into getting tied up since I was little, and gags are probably my biggest fetish.
Although I do a lot of roleplay on Second Life, I’m rarely sexual with anyone outside of Zennaka and Silka. This has posed a problem for me in the five years I’ve been on Second Life, because there seems to be an assumption among many on Second Life that if you walk around in bondage of some kind that you want sex (or worse, you want to roleplay a rape scene), and overzealous avatars will often come up to me when I’m gagged and stick a hand between my legs when that’s pretty much the last thing I want in my role.
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to get involved in sims devoted to discipline roleplay, as a fair number of them specify that they don’t want any kind of sexual activity going on, just discipline. The problem I’ve run into there is that at these places “discipline” seems to be a synonym for spanking, and they either can’t or won’t understand the use of restraint by itself as discipline. Some people refuse to see restraint as anything but sexual, even while they explain that for them spanking is “clearly” not sexual.
I understand where this comes from, at least in part. When I’ve run into friendly avatars and spoken with them OOC, we’ve discussed where our predilections come from. One possibility we’ve discussed is the effect that punishment has on us in our formative years, that people who were spanked as children have an easier time considering spanking roleplay as non-sexual because they have that previous association of having experienced spanking in real life as a clearly non-sexual activity. I was spanked when I was very young, although I was one of those kids whom spanking really didn’t work on. (I tend to use the word “restraint” in these discussions because even the word “bondage” seems to be sexualized in a way that “spanking” isn’t, at least for some of the people I’ve spoken with.)
Although it’s fallen out of favor even faster than spanking, using restraint as a disciplinary tool, even for children, wasn’t so uncommon in past decades. These days when a teacher tapes a student’s mouth shut in class there’s always a big news story and possibly a lawsuit, but if you look at online discussions about these incidents there always seems to be someone who posts that s/he had his/her mouth taped shut in school a long time ago and it didn’t harm them any. I saw one boy in my elementary school get his mouth taped shut, and heard of another, although I never experienced it myself.
From my real-life dealings with people who practice domestic discipline (and its variants), it seems like they don’t really consider restraint as one of their disciplinary tools, except to hold down someone receiving a spanking or paddling or whipping or birching or what have you. That strikes me as odd, because restraint can often be a much more practical punishment than something painful like a spanking. In the roleplay pictured above, in addition to the shaming and humiliation of being seen by my “class” in that silly princess outfit and gag, my teacher also knows I won’t be talking too much for the foreseeable future simply because I won’t be able to talk until she takes that tape off of my mouth.
In the end this could just be a simple matter of affinity. People who like spankings are drawn to spankings, while people who like bondage are drawn to bondage. This still leaves the whole issue of trying to do non-sexual bondage and finding a community of like-minded people to do that kind of roleplay with. I’m having some measure of luck with that, but for the most part it seems like domestic discipline and other forms of non-sexualized discipline are mostly the domain of spankophiles.
Do you have any thoughts on why spanking seems to be easier to de-sexualize than restraint/bondage? Why do you think there isn’t as large a community for non-sexual restraint as there is for non-sexual spanking?