Friday, July 27, 2012

Still Crying: Spanking and it's affect on sexuality

I recently posted a rather controversial status on Facebook. It received so much traffic and debate that I've decided to re post it here for easy sharing, linking, tweeting, etc. This serves at an introduction to the following posts from readers on this exact subject:
A person's rear end is an erogenous zone. When you strike a child there (spanking), blood rushes to the area and stimulates the genitals. It isn't something you would notice, because the arousal is masked by the pain. But subconsciously, the child's brain is linking sexual arousal with violence, powerlessness, and pain. I have spoken with dozens of people who have experienced this connection between sexuality and violence well into their adult lives due to spanking. A parent's choice to spank their child can literally follow that child into the most intimate parts of their lives. Has anyone else experienced these consequences? So far I have 2 anonymous submissions on this delicate subject to my Still Crying Series. If you have been affected in this way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Please contact me if you would like to share your experience as well. This is an effect of spanking that nobody ever talks about, but i suspect that it is a lot more common than anyone thinks.
UPDATE: I recieved dozens of emails in response to this status from readers who knew exactly what I was talking about. My inbox was full of little notes from people who have experienced sexual damage as a result of thier parent's choice to spank. This note came from a reader named Maria.
"Sarah, your status today sums up why I have not contributed to your series. That is the best summary I have ever heard of the twisted relationship between corporal punishment and sex.... It is just too triggering and the feelings are too intense, for me to be able to write a meaningful contribution. I am fifty years old, and my father has been dead since I was seventeen. That is how deep these wounds can go -- that I still can't talk about it. Maybe you can use this comment as a short contribution... Thanks for doing this. It is important work."

Some of the people who have contacted me have asked to be put in contact with other victims like them. It can be pretty lonely when you feel like you can't talk to anyone about your experiences. If anyone is interested in contacting other people with similar experiences, just email me at and I will do my best to help you out.


  1. Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian community, I noticed there was something wrong when I was a teen about how adults would laugh when talking about if there was a humorous connection between pleasure and causing/receiving pain. I didn't realize the sexual connection until I read the philosopher Rousseau's autobiography. He developed a sadomasochistic complex from childhood spankings.

    Here's a link of other people's admission of the same phenomenon: (it may be either triggering or freeing)

    Also, has other testimonials.

    Lastly! A video I made to raise awareness: ("Spanking is Sexual Abuse") Feel free to pass it along!

    -Sarah Bethany

  2. This makes so much sense to me right now, you have no idea how invaluable this information is to me right now in my healing process. I was spanked from a very young age. My stepfather continued spanking into my teenage years when it was far too inappropriate to continue doing so. If I recall the last time I was spanked, I may have been about 16.

    I have problems in my sex life right now. I am but a young adult who just turned 23, but I want to face my shadows like this one so I can be happy. I have struggled to understand my submissive sexual behaviors and why I am having such a hard time with my partner - why, when I'm not enjoying it, when I'm having a hard time, I don't speak up. Why I feel so empty at the end: is it really him, or is it something I'm doing, something I'm playing out in my head, something I'm repeating over and over that I now know, I don't have to anymore.

    Thank you so very much for this!!

  3. For me it wasn't sexual, it was about power. I recall loving my mother as a pre-schooler. She started beating me before I was 3. Slaps and hand-spanking had begun earlier, but the beating started in the spring and I turned three at the end of the summer. There didn't seem to be any real connection between what I'd done (or not done) and the severity of the beating. The only semi-positive thing I can say is that she didn't specifically strip me for the beating. She would just grab her stick and start hitting. She often said she would have respect out of me if she had to beat it into me. What happened was that by the time I was 10, I no longer loved her. As I reached my teens and the beatings continued I started hating her. But at 13 I was bigger and stronger than she and she made a mistake--she hit me on the testicles. I reacted as is normal in the situation. But the next time she reached for the stick, she got a look that told her it was a non-starter. Beatings continued for the other boys (girls were slapped but not beaten). I left home when I started seriously considering taking away the stick and beating her with it. My only regret is that I abandoned siblings to her tender mercies. I was the oldest and shouldn't've done that, but I was in serious danger of reacting physically. The confrontation wasn't pleasant, but I spoke my mind. Later, my brother--now the oldest at home-- told me she'd moderated for a time after I left, but abandoning the younger kids made me feel guilty in later years.

    1. I still feel guilt about my siblings, too. Some people tell me my parents have gotten better, but then, so many people have told me how wonderful my parents are when I've experienced something very different. My husband reminds me that I am not responsible for my siblings' emotional/physical well being, my parents are. But because my parents made me feel responsible for my siblings, that guilt is so hard to remove.