Monday, July 12, 2010

From the Top Shelf - Highlights

One of my favourite books on the top shelf is one I bought at the campus bookstore while I was at university. It's called S-M: The Last Taboo, by Gerald and Caroline Greene. Published in 1974, it is largely a scholarly study, relying heavily on the thoughts and findings of Havelock Ellis, the Marquis de Sade, Sigmund Freud, Krafft-Ebing and several others.

The most enjoyable (and the most re-read) part of the book was the section devoted to examples of spanking erotica. The two scenes from O, Calcutta that I posted here and here came from that book.

What I want to share with you today and over the next few weeks are the passages that I highlighted with a pink felt marker over thirty years ago. My thoughts, desires and feelings have matured and evolved over time, and I find it interesting to be reminded of what was so important and significant way back then.

Today's excerpt involves the concept of pain.
But first, a word about terminology. Sadist and masochist are the words the authors use as general terms for the person who inflicts pain and the one who receives it. Those words might just as easily be spanker and spankee, or top and bottom in today's vocabulary.
Accidental pain is not perceived as pleasurable or sexual. The average sadomasochistic session is usually scripted: the masochist must have allegedly done something meriting punishment, there must be threats and suspense before the punishment is meted out, etc. Often the phenomenon reminds one of a planned ritual or theatrical production... When one appreciates this one realizes that often in the relationship the sadist is merely servicing the masochist. The sadist must develop an extraordinary perceptiveness to know when to continue, despite cries and protests, and when to cease.
Interesting that the writer calls TTWD theatrical. I suspect I highlighted this passage because of my desire for roleplay as part of spanking. The top servicing the bottom? I never thought of it that way, but he does have a point.

What do you think?

From Hermione's Heart


Scunge said...

I have often read that the bottom is actually the one in charge,um not sure who "these people" are but I know who is in charge in our relationship AND it is NOT me!

Hermione said...

Scunge - I suspect it all depends on your perspective and whether you are doing a scientific study or are actually in a relationship.



The "theatrical" thing seems very valid. All of the best roll play scenarios have a strong amateur dramatics vibe to them.


ronnie said...

Very interesting Hermione that you highlighted this passage so many years ago.

I think I can see why the writer would liken it to a theatrical production, with planned rituals. I think it's true, when you break it down doesn't most spankings - punishment, fun, sexual appetisers whatever - have similar elements? As for the sadist just servicing the masochist, I hadn't thought of it like that either, personaly, prefer to think there is mutual satisfaction probably more or less evenly balanced, but in most spankings the top is expected to take the lead and instruct, chastise, dominate etc, it probably seems weighted in his or her favour.


Hermione said...

Prefectdt - Yes, that's what I gathered.

Ronnie - I must explain about the highlighting in the next post. And I agree about it being mutual rather than one servicing the other.


turiya said...

I think perhaps both are servicing each other like Ronnie said... after all they're both getting something from the experience, so both participants needs are being met in some form or another.

I find it interesting how so many people are into the role play aspects... especially since I love role play, but not in the context of TTWD. I like my "play" spankings to be more on the serious side... more of a meditative spiritual experience I guess is the best way to describe it.



Anonymous said...

I don't need the theatrics. Whatever makes you happy, that's great for you & your partner.

But all I need is to be draped over my honey's knee, my bottom exposed, caressed, spanked, maybe lotioned, more spanking, more caressing, rinse and repeat.

Beth said...

Someone once said to me that in a good scene/relationship, the bottom is really in charge, because s/he is getting exactly what s/he wants. I think this comment has always stuck with me because of how true it seems. For me, the wanting to not want it is the fun part. :)

indy said...

Thanks for pointing this book out, Hermione. I'll have to see if I can dig up a copy!