Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm Very Disappointed

I'm very disappointed in Dr. Ruth, the well-known dispenser of advice on all things related to sex.
In this video clip, she addresses the question of whether pornography is harmful to a relationship. Her initial response is that it's fine if both partners enjoy it, and explains how men and women react differently. So far, so good.
Then Dr. Ruth expresses her own personal preferences in porn. She doesn't want to see violence or children. Or sadists or masochists. Then she switches the topic and says that if two people who enjoy giving and receiving pain walked into her office, she would direct them to another psychiatrist. How very open-minded of her. You'll have to watch the clip to hear her reason.
That brings to mind a question I'd like to ask my readers. If you were to feel the need to consult a professional therapist for some reason - not necessarily related to sex - would you divulge the fact that you enjoy spanking? Or would you hide it? Would it depend on the type of counseling you were seeking? Would your preference for spanking prevent you from seeking outside help because of a fear of outing yourself?


Lady Koregan said...

Hermione, I tend to have strong feelings on this subject, so if it is alright with you I'm going to borrow your blog for a moment and explain to your readers why I feel the way I do.

Always, always, always insist on a kink aware professional.

A therapist's take on the subject says a lot about them than just what they think of kink.

Also, keep in mind that if you would not feel comfortable divulging your interest in kink to your therapist it means you probably do not trust said therapist. That is a big warning sign that should be heeded. Trust is vital to therapy being successful, if you don't feel comfortable with your therapist you need to find someone else, whether kink is ever brought up or not.

Ms. Betty

Bonnie said...


When I read your post, my first thought was that perhaps old Dr. Ruth was simply out of touch. Upon further thought, though, it occurred to me that her position is actually very wise and beneficial to her patients. If she doesn't understand kink, she can't help people work through their problems. It's probably better in this case that she respectfully refers them to another professional than attempt to resolve issues with which she has no familiarity.

If I needed to visit a therapist regarding an issue unrelated to sex or relationship, I would focus on finding a professional who could help with the situation at hand. I would not out myself unless I had to do so.

Interesting question...


Anonymous said...

As a trained psychotherapist, I have pretty strong feelings on this one too. I agree that you can not be in productive therapy and keep secrets. It is undermining the process and thus yourself. On the other hand, therapists are people too, and some have prejudices, and all have short comings.

This is not like finding a podiatrist. Always interview a therapist and make sure they have experience in your areas of issue, and that you simply 'click'. You need to work with someone you feel you can like and who can like you.

This link: is an organization that refers to kink aware psychological professionals. Good question Hermione.

Oh yeah...the question. :) Yes I would discuss sexual spanking with no qualms. Any trained therapist is Ok with the basic range of sexual kinks. Domestic Discipline...I would be very very careful to be sure it was someone I really trusted.

Brambleberry Blush said...

I have to agree, you need to fully trust your therapist. I think being a spanko is a lot like being gay. It is your core sexuality, not a choice and not something you can wish away. In order to help you, a therapist must understand it.


Warning actual experience reply.

From the psychologist that I saw, I found it was essential (and it took her some time to get the info out of me). Giving up the spanking lifestyle was one of the major factors that had opened up the chinks in the life armour and let the bad guys of the world get to me and cause the problems.

From the psychiatrist that I saw, no I would not open up to that idiot ever. I have only ever seen one psychiatrist professionally, so I am hoping that the one that I saw was an exception and not the rule. The idiot, after an initial chat of less than ten minutes, mis diagnosed me as having depression and started on a road that lead me to taking ever stronger and stronger pills with names ending in "pam" and the like, all of which did nothing but get in the way of leading my life.

Moral of this - Yes be prepared to open up to a professional but make sure that they are a competent trustworthy professional first.

Happy ending - I took up getting my butt whupped again, got my mind and life back on track and haven't taken or felt that I needed to take one "happy" pill since. Thanks to the psychologist not the psychiatrist.


Em said...

I haven't watched the video as I'm sitting in a coffee house at the moment and that doesn't seem to be the appropriate place to do so (must get headphones for laptop so I can watch videos in public in the future).

So without all of the information, here is my reply:

Yes, I've seen therapists in the past and some of them were told about my kinky predilections and some weren't. I'd say, as a general rule, it would be best to find a therapist with whom you felt comfortable sharing your deepest darkest secrets. You may not think, going into therapy, that they apply to the situation at hand but the truth is you never really know how everything is connected until you start digging through it.

As for Dr. Ruth referring her patients elsewhere. Well, I think if she is really unprepared to handle them then the most professional thing she can do is refer them to someone who can. That said, it's a very vulnerable spot going to someone for help and I can only think it must be detrimental on some level for a patient to be told that their therapist can't work with them over something like that.

On a somewhat similar note - I've been toying with the idea of asking my masseur if he's comfortable seeing me when I'm sporting bruises but haven't found the courage yet.

I find sometimes that after particularly strenuous scenes my butt isn't the only part of me that's sore. I'd dearly love to go in for a nice relaxing massage but don't want to freak the masseur out!

Anyone else broached this subject with similar professionals?

Michael said...

Hermione, very insightful and thought provoking question. I must say the answers from your readers are on par with anything you could get from a therapist. Like Em said it must be very disheartening to have a therapist tell you he/she can't help you because of your special kink. Doesn't that defeat the whole point of therapy and serve as a setback? And like Ms Betty and others said, trust is key so you must feel comfortable with your therapist and be able to discuss everything including that you are a spanko. Defeats the purpose otherwise.

Prefectdt, so glad all is well and you are back on the sunny side of the street again. :)


Anonymous said...

The therapist i was seeing in no way could handle it! lol
She would assume it was my way of dealing with emotional pain..which i guess it kinda is, but knowing her...First of she wouldn't even know what the word kink meant...and then she would probably give me advice on domestic violence. lol
So my answer is uh uhhh, nope. lol


pmduo said...

I'd like to answer the question from two perspectives. My partner is a therapist and has an interesting take on this. Prior to our relationship he hadn't spanked anyone and he said that if someone had told him then they were being spanked he would probably have treated it as a problem. Now that he is more knowledgeable about it (and a happy participant in the process!) he has a different view on why people would want to be spanked.

He believes you should be able to talk about anything in therapy and that a good therapist should not put their personal judgments onto what is being discussed. The more he knows about a patient, the easier it is to work with them, however, he doesn't feel that spanking is necessarily something that has to be brought up in therapy. Certainly if there is a problem, if you are unsure if it ok, if you are having issues with your partner around communication and this is part of it, but it may be completely irrelevant to what you are in therapy for. He says that often patients like to tell therapists kinky stuff just to see if they will shock them, not because it has value to the therapy. He did warn that if you bring it up with a therapist you should be prepared for a lot of questions and concern around the issue of domestic violence. It is appropriate for a therapist to ensure that you are doing this consensually and aren't being hurt (more than you want).

So that in a nutshell is what he told me, hopefully I've said it well - I tried to get him to post this but he wouldn't!

My point of view as someone who has been in therapy is that I wouldn't talk about it. Mainly because I think it is a non-issue. It would be like going to a therapist and talking about my favorite food or books I like to read. What would be the point? I don't have concerns or unresolved issues with spanking - it is something I enjoy that I'm perfectly ok with so there is really nothing to talk about.

Anyway thanks for the question - we both liked it!

Anonymous said...

I actually think what dr. ruth says makes sense. she's not saying that people who enjoy sadomasochistic sex are "bad" or "wrong." she's just saying that she has limits on what she can handle, and that's fine. she doesn't embarrass the couple, but simply tells them a little white lie and refers them to other therapists.

As far as telling a therapist about my kink, i think i might. i think my sexuality is integral to my personality and the way i handle life, so i think it would be a good idea. however, that would be after multiple sessions when i felt comfortable with the therapist.