Monday Morning Fika with Korey Mae Johnson: Is Spanking Always Sexual?

Today Governing Ana is proud to host Korey Mae Johnson for Monday Morning Fika*!  On select Mondays, we will sit down with an author or figure of the ttwd community to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting!  Please welcome Korey.  Note:  Fika appears on Saturday this week due to the Spank or Treat Festivities on Monday.

*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends.  It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics.  While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community.  In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.

I’ve gone back and forth with myself for years about spanking, and whether or not the nature of it was essentially erotic. After all, it does seem pretty weird that spanking gets lumped into the ‘erotic’ section of Amazon, B&N, and other booksellers, simply because it’s viewed to be part of the BDSM scene. This is really too bad, since a lot of readers do not think, and do not like it insinuated, that what they’re reading is just smut. They have their reasons why they like reading it, and it’s not just to get off!

The funny thing is, whether or not a spanking book’s got content that’s meant to arouse the reader, it’s still sold as ‘erotic literature’ anyway.

The argument is this: One side says that there are many different kinds of spanking, but spankings aren’t all sexual. There is such a thing as disciplinary non-sexual spanking. The other side says that’s all a load of bull. It’s all sexual.

Honestly, if you go into a BDSM group trying to say that “I want to read about punishment spankings, or I want discipline from my partner, but I don’t view it as sexual,” their eyes are going to glaze, and they’re going to shake their heads and say how cutely naïve you are.

James and I went to a spanking party, and this topic came up during a conversation with a man who had frequented ‘dungeons’ for the last twenty-five years and knew what was what about the BDSM world. One thing he did not understand, even scoffed at a little, was the concept of “domestic discipline”. In fact, he scoffed at using spanking as a punishment at all!

And he wasn’t alone. This is a very common belief in the BDSM world, because they don’t understand how anyone could enjoy the concept of spanking but not like being spanked or actually giving the spanking.

“I… I really don’t like pain,” I assured him, even though he had just caned my ass in front of fifty or more people.  The caning had stung, but it was nothing like the real discipline spankings I’ve gotten from James in the past.  This was, of course, because I don’t like the pain and I jump and yelp and my carrying on had led him to be pretty gentle with the cane.

He winked, thinking I was being cute.

“No, no, she really, really doesn’t like discipline spankings,” my husband, James, assured him. “You don’t understand disciplinary spankings. They’re something different! They work. I rarely have to spank her anymore for discipline because it actually improves her behavior.”

The dungeon-guru nodded and said, “Well, how I punish my sub is by not spanking her. I ignore her when she’s being bad. Spanking is what they want, you know? She likes spanking,” he assured, pointing at me.

Although James liked this guy very much, an expression still crossed James’ face that he could not keep back. It was the expression he normally reserves for lesser mammals, college hippies, and my parents: exasperation with just a sprinkle of pity. It was interesting that both people in this conversation obviously thought the other one had no clue what they were talking about, but both wanted to be nice about it.

I was blushing profusely, of course. I imagined James ignoring me—ever. It sent shivers down my spine. I couldn’t even fathom James turning on the silent treatment every time I did something wrong! It just didn’t seem healthy to me.

Spanking has always excited me, but I don’t like discipline spankings. James doesn’t just flick his wrist and warm me up, he spanks hard. He’s bought me comfortable wrist cuffs to use on the rare occasions when I do get a discipline spanking. The cuffs are not because he can’t hold me in place over his knee without them; rather we use them so that I don’t accidentally pop my arm out of my socket while struggling. A real spanking hurts, and there’s no escape from it.

But still, James’ discipline spankings, looking back on them (never while I’m getting them), always feel like a warm cocoon. It’s a promise that James isn’t just going to give me what I want. He’s going to do something harder: he’s going to give me what I need to be a better person, and a better wife, and that’s all I want to be!

The dungeon-guru assured us that we were wrong, or we were delusional (in a very nice way), and that it’s not possible to use it as a relationship-building technique. Domestic discipline might have existed once in the world, but it didn’t any longer, as far as he was concerned.

We waited another three hours until I found out what he was talking about. I met wives that were in ‘domestic discipline relationships’, but they were bratting the hell out of their husbands, or worse—their husbands enjoyed dishing out pain. James had to yay or nay what implements were used on me, because there were a lot of sadists there, and I am by no means a masochist.

So I was sitting there at breakfast the next morning with James, saying, “I think I get something different out of spanking than a lot of people in general.”

So here’s my argument: I think what charges a lot of spanking-fiction readers isn’t the erotic aspects of spanking. Something else is charging the fascination with spanking, something there’s not a word for.

For my own part, I can’t deny that spanking has elements within it that are actually erotic to me. Being dominated is huge to me during sex. Humiliation’s a turn-on for me if the situation’s done right. At spanking parties, I just like being the center of attention for once, which is what I’m rewarded with through a spanking; I also like the praise, and the fact that people are looking at my ass and liking what they see.

James agreed. He said he had a sadistic side and seeing a girl yelp and cry because “she was naughty” was a turn on. James is a situational fantasy man. “But with you… I can’t stand hurting my honey-bunny!” That’s me. “As soon as you go into ‘sad-flower’ mode, spanking stops being arousing and starts being ‘business’.”

So I pondered. If I don’t get sexual excitement from spankings, then what do I get out of them? It isn’t quite that cuddly-warm feeling I get when I’m sitting on James’ lap and getting snuggled, but I had a feeling that what I liked about spanking was closer to that than to something sexual.

I feel that spanking is what a lot of spanking fiction readers yearn for, the same way they yearn for the embrace in the arms of their hero or direction from their leader. It’s primal. It’s almost like the kiss at the end of a romantic movie—it’s a couple’s happily ever after! After all, if domestic discipline works like it should, then the marriage will be happy. The man tries to do right by his wife and holds himself up to higher standards, and he corrects the wife for wrong-doings.

I remember before I met my husband face-to-face, we were discussing what we wanted in a domestic discipline relationship and decided that thick-or-thin, this is what we were going to do. We arranged our ‘marriage’ with this in mind. “If we hit it off,” we were telling each other, “then we’re gonna go all the way.”

It’s worked for over five years so far.

Besides, it’s easy for me to argue that spanking, for many of us, at least began ‘clean’. I can’t tell you how many people like me started out with an interest (nigh obsession) with spanking from a very young age, even as toddlers.

My own interest dates back to my earliest memories at two-and-a-half. A kid that age does not have sexual thoughts. So, spanking couldn’t have been sexual back then. I guess I liked spanking for the same reason people like horror movies—it excited me, it made me nervous, it frightened me. My brain craved that sort of stimulation. I’ve been writing spanking fiction since I was five, and hiding it from my parents, and that fiction didn’t show one thing that BDSMers claim has to be in a spanking interest: even the slightest hint of anything sexual.

I didn’t even figure out that spanking could be sexual until I was around thirteen. I went into puberty at nine, so I assure you that I didn’t have this eureka moment because ‘everything was beginning to seem sexual’. I had been writing and drawing sexual erotica, too, since I was nine (again hiding it from my parents). This new discovery came far, far later on.

The sex the characters would have would turn me on, but the spanking I just enjoyed like one might enjoy their favorite snack.

In short, I was excited, but it’s not like it excited me in the same way porn does. It was a different sort of excitement; the type I’ve never seen science pin a name on.

The type of excitement I’m talking about hits your system like a drug.

For example: the spanking party really got interesting for me when Dana Specht came on to do her presentation, “How to Scold”. Tons of some of the best roleplay and the best scolding I’ve ever seen anywhere. Including fiction. She opened my eyes to all the potential F/f spanking held!

A lot of these people don’t even react during a spanking, you see. What nerves they had in their asses have been spanked away long ago. It didn’t matter with Dana. She carried these scenes. She was so dominant, so confident, so amazing, that I don’t think I blinked the entire hour. She could actually make these people embarrassed, even if they couldn’t feel pain anymore. It was scrumptious.

I realized it was the scolding and the situation that was really setting Dana apart from the others. This is what I enjoyed. This was my brain-candy. This is what made my stomach turn into knots and put a blush on my cheeks. I felt like I was a kid again, watching a friend getting spanked. I was excited; my heart was racing.

But I wasn’t horny. I didn’t go right back to my room and masturbate or even have sex with my husband. We went out and ate lunch right after, trying to get a grip on ourselves. We were shaking with excitement and giggling to each other like naughty school children. It felt like we were charged with electricity or something!

When writing and reading spanking stories, that’s what I’m looking for. The buzz, the rush! I’m not usually looking for something to actually arouse me sexually. I watch porn videos if I want to get horny, I read spanking books when I want my “electric rush” with a mix of “romantic yearning”.

For example, I love a good build up. I love the main character to deserve it. I like to read non-consensual spankings. I like the hero feeling that a spanking is for her own good. I like him to make it embarrassing, I like scolding, I like that relationship to continue to form as the spanking is going on, or any subsequent punishment like mouth-soaping or even anal-punishment.

I’ve been working with spanking for years, day in, day out, all day. I built Blushing Books’ site, worked with ABCD Webmasters (Blushing Books, Bethany’s Woodshed) for 4 years before this month—it takes a lot to get me ‘buzzing’. Other girls might just need a swat to the jeans.

Other girls just like a man in charge, like they were watching a movie from the 1930s, spankings included, and they get much more of that urge to read romantic yearning than they worry about the ‘nameless excitement’ that I’ve tried to describe.

Any way you look at it, we’re all trying to grasp that something that’s hitting more than just our animal instincts, here. If some ass-slapping for fifteen minutes was all we wanted, we know where to find it, and it’s not normally in whole books. A free short story from literotica is all you need if you just want to get “in the mood”.

No, with spanking novellas and novels it takes someone who has at least touched on this nameless excitement, and likes dwelling in it for some amount of time. Is it always sexual? No. Do some of these books even count as erotica? We could argue not. But do all of these have the nature of this yearning we have inside of them? Oh yes. Nameless excitement, we’re under your spell.


About Korey Mae Johnson

One spell that was cast on Korey years ago was from her husband James, who’s somehow made her obsessed with him, and he shares her fascination with all things spanking. Recently, she left Blushing Books and now co-owns “Stormy Night Publications” with her husband, hoping to help bring more top-quality spanking literature to all naughty folk everywhere.

She can’t carve pumpkins, but she can write otherworldly stories full of discipline that are even a little dark, like Otherworldly Discipline: A Witch’s Lesson which Blushing Books is releasing this week for the pleasure of those who like bratty witches who can’t seem to do what they’re told.

27 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Korey Mae Johnson: Is Spanking Always Sexual?

  1. Alef says:

    This is a question that has puzzled and confused many of us over the years, and although spankos are as different as other people, I feel that there is a clear distinction here between “pure” spankos and bdsm-people with spanking as one of many “outlets”.

    As far as I am concerned, I can not claim that spanking is nonsexual. But I still prefer to keep spanking separate from ordinary sex.

    I think one of the reasons is that for me spanking involves much more of my personality than just the sexual part — it has to do with conscience and self-image, with feelings of guilt, atonement, forgiveness and being unmasked. Deepest down it is perhaps a need to be loved for who you really are and not for the one you pretend to be.


    • Ana says:

      I firmly believe that it is possible to enjoy spanking for its own sake and not just as a part of sexuality. There is a purity and innocence to using spanking purely as an adult discipline affair that I find appealing, though I realize this is a minority opinion.

      Thank you for visiting, Alef. It’s lovely to get your opinion and perspective.


    • koreymaejohnson says:

      Hi Alef,

      Totally, totally agree. The “Pure” spankos and the BDSM folks are looking at sex two different ways. Aw, heck–I’ll just go ahead and say that there’s more groups than just that, everyone who’s looking at spanking a different way. But, as you said, it’s all abot who you are, it’s all about conscience and self-image, and in short, personality. Well put!


  2. Minelle says:

    Hi Korey and Ana!
    Korey I agree perfectly about that electric excitement in reading about spankings irrespective of any cross over sexual mixing. For years I read romance erotica and mild spanking fiction keeping both separate. Only recently have I read the mix! Sometimes I think that it is just too hard to label it and explain it all. However it is in our nature to seek and understand!
    I love your stories, keep writing!
    Ana thanks for Fika dear!


    • Ana says:

      Oh yes, isn’t the electricity a good description? That thrill not knowing exactly what will happen or whether it will happen…that can be more fun (if you play for fun) than the actual spanking.


      • koreymaejohnson says:

        Hi Minelle and Ana!

        As you said; it’s totally in our nature to seek and understand our own selves, huh? 🙂 Actually, sometimes there’s a special thrill when I don’t even expect a spanking or a spanking threat to be found in a main-stream media, and it’s there anyway. The thrill is like 100x potency that. way. 🙂 I’ve been known to be surprised by a sudden spanking threat in a non-spanking book to the point where I’ll hoot. Like an owl. Yep. 🙂


  3. Cara Bristol says:

    There are so many different levels/kinds of enjoyment. As you say, spanking can be sexual or not, but even if it’s NOT, it can still be exciting — like the thrill of a roller coaster ride. Or a kiss. A kiss can be sexual or not, but still enjoyable. The human mind is a complex thing…


    • Ana says:

      As someone who is too wimpy for rollercoaser rides, I agree wholeheartedly. Some people like it, and some people hate it. Like a haunted house or horror movies, too.

      I think the complexity of the human mind is wonderful.


  4. reneeroseauthor says:

    Jeez, Ana – don’t do that to me. I’m confused enough as it is. Today is SATURDAY, dammit! 🙂 Okay, I’ll come back to read Korey’s wisdom later. Got a plane to catch and your post in my email crossed my eyes for a second there…


    • Ana says:

      *giggle* I am trying very hard to give Korey first chance to respond to the comments, but yours needs a response. Sorry. It is confusing. I did consider calling it “Saturday Morning Fika” today but it’s a tradition now so…

      Hope you catch your plane and have a safe trip back.


  5. pao says:

    Hi Korey and Ana! I agree with the effects of a good scolding. Some people can make you feel tiny without even raising their voices! Couple that with a spanking..and I’d wish I disappeared a little more with each swat. That said, yes, I think spanking doesn’t always have to be sexual; it is a tool to be utilised to enhance many aspects of life and that shouldn’t just be limited to sex.


    • Ana says:

      I hope that you haven’t had occasion to need a good scolding lately? 😉 Yes, I couldn’t agree more that spanking can be about life enhancement even without sex. I think we see that more often with F/F pairings.


      • pao says:

        😳 No, not since last week’s monkey business. I’ve been disgustingly well behaved 😀
        I agree with that observation that we see more non-sexual spanking with F/F pairings. However, not many are capable of DD without some kind of erotic aspect. Not that it’s bad/unappealing, just that it is interesting how different people respond to it.


    • koreymaejohnson says:

      Hi Pao,

      Oh, I haven’t even begun to get into it about scoldings! My husband does give me erotic spankings sometimes (they’re more for himself than for me) but the big difference is I only get scolded if I was “bad”. Arguably, it’s the most effective part of the punishment. One of the biggest punishments I got back in highschool was I got called up in front of the class and was literally scolded for about ten minutes. Turned my life around; never turned in anything late again, couldn’t take the humiliation! 🙂 But I don’t think they’re a good bed-fellow with erotic. I mean, without roleplay and more complicated things involved. Scoldings make the spanking itself just so unique… Something to explore further, I think! 🙂


      • pao says:

        Whoa, ten minutes! That must have felt like ages. I agree that it wouldn’t go well with erotic, it might kill the mood if it’s not in the right setting. Yes, it is really unique and also really effective, as you’ve said. I think to scold well is a valuable skill and an art even though it is really scary to be on the receiving end.


  6. Celeste Jones says:

    Interesting topic. Thanks Korey and Ana.

    First—I think that giving someone the silent treatment is cruel and manipulative and, IMO spanking isn’t meant to play mind games with people. It might be meant to adjust their thinking, but it’s not meant to manipulate, particularly with cruelty. It’s one thing for someone to stand in the corner or suffer a silent car ride home while they contemplate their behavior and anticipate (probably with dread and guilt) what’s in store for them. It’s entirely another for someone, particularly a sub, to seek out the reassurance that a spanking might give them and to be rebuffed.

    Ok…off my soapbox.

    I wonder if there needs to be a distinction between reading about spanking and experiencing it in real life. When I read fiction (spanking or otherwise) I want to be taken on a ride and experience something other than what’s happening in my real world at the moment. The whole experience of reading a romance (spanking or otherwise) is to stir those feelings in the reader.

    I’ll continue to ponder this. Great Fika.


    • Ana says:

      Hm…I agree with you that it can be cruel, but at the same time I think that PBDs can manipulate as well. It is hard to know what is which.

      Ooh, soap? Kinky. 😉

      I completely agree about the reading and experiencing. I like to read about a lot of things I wouldn’t like to experience, or at least not in a r/l (vs. roleplaying) setting.


      • koreymaejohnson says:

        Oh, I totally agree. If James started to “ignore” me, I don’t know what I’d do. Probably go into a miserable depression. Cruel is a perfect word for it. I wouldn’t do that to a dog! Nor is it, or could it be, effective. I definitely thought the guy was nuts about that part particularly. I mean, I agree with nobody can have the same idea about spanking, but I can’t see in any sort of relationship in any kink where it would be recommended that someone “ignoring and giving the silent treatment” to their partner would be considered on as healthy. BUT also, this guy was now single. So, it wasn’t working for him, either! 😉


  7. tfd says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    I know spanking is not the same experience for everyone who’s into it. There are so many different aspects and perspectives. Whether a spanking is perceived as sexual or not is only one thing to consider. So it’s annoying and/or amusing when someone insists their feelings about it are universal in some way.

    I don’t understand human sexuality well enough to feel I can just slap labels on other people’s needs, passions, and desires. I think sexuality is too complex to define it based simply on what we enjoy or “like” or whether there is explicit sexual arousal at a particular moment, and an experience, including entertainment, is a sum of feelings, some we’re more conscious of than others. Sexual attraction is all around us, even used to manipulate us, and it’s not necessarily porn or erotica.


    • Ana says:

      Exactly. Why should one experience be designated as universal? Especially when it is generally the most privileged one?

      At one point sexuality was defined as any physical pleasure from being touched. That can mean a very different thing to different people.

      Great thoughts.


    • koreymaejohnson says:

      Totally agree. Everybody LOVES trying to talk about “truth” though, and start confusing “truth” with “knowledge” (It’s been a good 8 years since my philosophy class. Truth is based on personal experience, right?). I remember sitting through a presentation on age-play, for example, where age-play was described as a “This is what it is, don’t argue with a professional” sort of way, when it has been explained to me in a COMPLETELY different way from several other people who I felt were more trustworthy, even in (other presentations). But as you put–they designated their opinions as universal truths.

      I think the label on sexuality is something I tend to battle with because of the idea from so many people in my life that feel that sexuality is something to be ashamed of, or is even sinful. There IS so much to explore, and there’s so many ways of interpreting it, and it’s so dang interesting… But I think porn and erotica has gotten such a bad wrap I find myself struggling to make sure people can give things the second thought they deserve.

      Great opinions! Thanks so, so much for sharing!! 🙂


      • Ana says:

        Oh gosh, Korey, I’ve just been having extended discussions on ageplay and what it might look like. How silly for someone to say that it is only one thing.


  8. jadecary says:

    Hi, Korey. It’s nice to finally ‘meet’ you in a setting like this. My thoughts are that truth, knowledge, whatever, sits with the individual and it is their own. To me, I always enjoy the fictional aspect of spanking where the hero is unapologetic about who he is, and that he will give her what she needs, even if she doesn’t ‘think’ she needs it. That’s the part of non-con I love to see, and what I love to write. Up until recently I was never comfortable with the ‘sex’ aspect of spanking (at least in fiction). I wanted to see it as discipline, period. Sex was sex and never the twain shall meet. I’ve seen it done well where, in the fictional relationship, there are spankings for dicipline/punishment, and there are spankings for sex. I’ve enjoyed writing the secenes where it becomes evident to ‘her’ quickly what the difference between the two is, and she begins to see the benefits of both. That’s fiction.

    R/L, to me, is whatever works. The BDSMers are who they are, and they are varied. Some, like your friend in the story, don’t think spanking for discipline is ‘real’, or should be real. Others incorpoarte it quite nicely into their scenes. To each his own. As a reader, and as a writer, I know what I like and I know exactly where my kink lies. It has changed over the years somwhat, due to good writers such as yourself, who present a different side to things, and I find it hooks me. I find I’m looking into things that I never would have touched before becasue it ‘wasn’t my thing’. Funny how, with good writing and a decent imagination, one can be turned.

    I thank you for that.


    • koreymaejohnson says:

      Hi Jade!

      Actually, when it comes to fiction, I find a lot of times–like I’m dealing with a situation now–where it’s actually really F’ing hard to combine the two (well, at least DISCIPLINE spankings and sex). Because sex is normally “fun” and something a “good girl” gets, and discipline spankings are completely different. In real life for me, never the two shall meet. WAY different than a couple of spankyspanks before we “hit it”. James doesn’t want to “mix signals”, and neither do my main characters.

      But I do tend to write up the sexual tension after a spanking anyway, because it’s there because it’s an intimate thing that’s just happened and occurs to happen through the processes of snuggling. The thing is, I think there’s sexual tension in snuggling, which happens after a good spanking scene… Or in real life. Hell, when I used to be single, a conversation with a guy used to spur sexual fantasies, even if he didn’t put a finger on me. So I think there’s a lot of mixing whether we like it or not.

      The BDSMing crowd sort of treat spanking like it’s a reward unto itself, so sex goes right along with it, like cheese and apple pie. Natural. So, I hear you on the want of separation of the two–you and I are into the DD-type stuff more, it sounds like.

      It cracked me up when you said you could be “turned” by something you’ve read in a book. Ah, man. Me too! I think my kink started out really simple at first. Now it’s so complicated I don’t know which end is up. All because of fiction! 🙂


      • jadecary says:

        Right? Like right now with my WIP my h wants that intimate contact after a spanking. For her it is a way to re-connect, and the H always lets her initiate it. If she doesn’t that’s OK, and when she does, he gives her what she needs. It’s a very tender relationship and it’s a new path for me, but I love it. It’s because I read a great book somewhere down the line that handled this twist very well, and I, as the reader, bought into it. The writer–any writer–does not (I don’t think) have the perspective to comprehend truly how much power they wield with their gift of the written word. To make a reader ‘feel’ is the grandest gift a writer can give. To give the reader a perspective he/she can buy into is huge, too.

        I just finished a book that affected me so profoundly that I have been ‘under the weather’ for days. It is not a coincidence. I am not bitter. I am amazed.


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