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...what appears to be a budding spanking interest in her young daughter.


A Note From Bethany: From time to time, questions regarding children arise. The advice column question below is one of those instances. As I have said before elsewhere on the site, Bethany's Woodshed is a site devoted to adult erotic spanking and adult heterosexual couples who are practicing or who want to practice a domestic discipline relationship or are interested in erotic spanking. As a rule we don't talk about children and spanking.

However, there's a bit of a rub when you come to the "heterosexual" part. Adult couples in heterosexual relationships often find out that - (gasp) - babies result. While we do not focus on whether children should be spanked or how they should be spanked, we also do NOT pretend that kids don't exist. Our attitudes towards each other and our own sexuality (including our spanking interest) effect our children. A question such as the one below is, in my opinion, a perfectly acceptable topic for conversation here.


Dear Bethany & Jim,

As I have told you in the past your site has been a Godsend. It was one of the first places I discovered when I first got online (thank heavens 'cause there is so much garbage out there) and has really helped me over the past few years come to terms with my own feelings and needs regarding spanking as well as DD. Like you and many of the members of our former e-list and Delphi forum I too remember thinking about spanking and being fascinated with it as early as I think 2nd grade. Of course I had no idea why back then and really only came to understand it when I found your site and the now defunct LSF. I really do agree that we are somehow *wired* that way which brings me to my need for advice.

Let me first say that my children have no access to my computer where all of my stories, communication, pictures, and such are stored. The few toys we use are well hidden and far away from little eyes.

My husband was spanked as a child- though irregularly and I was not. We both rarely spank our kids but my husband does threaten them from time to time. About 6 months ago our middle child who was 4 at the time was playing over at my in-laws. She was sitting on her uncle's lap, turned herself over and asked him to spank her- laughing the whole time. I was shocked to say the least and of course our family wanted to know if we were regularly spanking our children for her to make such an odd request. I was beside myself and didn't know what to do so I ignored it.

A couple of months later she started saying things like "Oh don't spank me Mommy" laughing again. When I asked her if she wanted a spanking for whatever it was that she had done, she nodded her head yes, but of course ran away when I approached her. I told her to stop saying she wanted one or she would get a real one and that seemed to stop it for awhile. Then recently I caught her looking at herself in the mirror with her bottom stuck out and swatting herself lightly a few times while singing (kind of like women do on the dance floor- I have seen it a few times on television/movie trailers so I am sure she must have as well and lately the topic of spanking seems to be everywhere). I again questioned her and she just laughed at me (she is the clown of the family).

The final straw (and the reason I thought I'd ask you and Jim for advice) came last week. She was taking a shower with her older sister who is 8). I got them out of the shower and noticed that their butts were pink. I asked them why and my older daughter said that her sister was playing a spanking game with her). I told her to knock it off and not to touch her sister again but I swear I just didn't know what else to do.

My husband just shook his head at me and of course accused me of passing on my genes to her. He is completely fine with spanking as erotica (the DD is really not going well because of my pain tolerance but he really is fine with that too), but he is concerned about our daughter as well. She never brings it up to her little friends, I have never witnessed her spanking her dolls, or role playing, and she has never seen it or heard it in the house so I am at a loss. I figure she is proof that it is *wired* into some of us but my dilemma is how do I handle it? When she is an adult and discovers her own sexuality I don't want her to have negative feelings about herself or spanking (if this really turns out to be a need for her later on) because I did/said something wrong when she was a child. But at the same time I don't want to encourage this behavior in any way, nor will I ever be comfortable (in the very distant future) of revealing my own needs/experiences to her.

I know we stay away from the topic of children and spanking so I understand if you don't want to use this in the column. What I am asking for is just your advice on how to handle her curiosity or whatever you want to call this. I may be over-reacting because of my own experiences and if you think so then tell me so. In any case I would appreciate either/both of your thoughts on this if/when you have the time.

Thanks so much and keep up the great work on the site. It really just keeps getting better and better!


From Jim

Dear Jo:

I have reread your post several times and am so impressed with you clear, concise writing style.

My perspective may be a little different from Bethany's. I was brought up in a rural household, where spanking was considered the norm and for a family to *not* spank its children was unheard of. I find today that there is such fear--even to the point of paranoia--concerning child abuse, coupled with the second paranoia that one might be accused of sexual abuse, that spanking of children is rarely discussed openly--and certainly very few would admit to actually *doing* it.

In my culture, your daughter's interest would be completely dismissed and considered cute. Spanking is considered normal here in the Bible Belt, and a bit of nervous interest by youngsters is common--and expected. Bethany and I were at an antique mall last week and bought, among other things, a wooden kitchen stirring spatula--in essence a paddle. When we checked out, my younger son (9) grinned and said, "Daddy, why are you buying that, to spank us with?" I and the store clerk both laughed out loud and I said, "Yeah--so you better be good." Case dismissed.

The second thing that makes us a bit different from many places is that we completely divorce spanking from sex. Yes, if Mr. Jones and his wife engage in a bit of slap and tickle with each other, that's fine. And, I might add, if Mr. Jones occasionally applies his hand to his wife's bare behind when she is being unreasonable, most of the people (and certainly *all* the men) afford him a certain amount of grudging admiration. But nobody here considers the spanking of children the least bit sexual--it is more often thought of as a duty--to be performed if you intend to have well-behaved children--and nobody gives it a second thought.

I have always been able to remember far, far back into my childhood. I have always had a strong interest in spanking, but kept it to myself and for my own enjoyment, and I can not think of *any* negative consequences for me. But Bethany and I have been discussing your letter for a good while, and she feels it is different for females, who often find spanking far more compelling and have had to deal with the emotional burden of feeling different from everybody else as they grow up. But one place we agree is that we both feel that spanking is hardwired, and there is nothing you can do about it. My perspective is that it does no harm, and really enhances one's sexual self. Bethany and I think of it as a kind of lovely conspiracy, just between the two of us--kind of like knowing a wonderful joke on the world. Almost certainly there is some sexual component for children, and we now know that it is perfectly normal for children to experiment sexually--they are often as fascinated with their genitals (or bottoms) as are adults, and a lot less inhibited about it--at least until we make them that way. My experience is that the less said, the better.

Let me tell you what *I* would do--realizing that my culture--and gender--is not the same as yours. Since in the final analysis, this is probably--as we say, "hardwired," there is probably not a thing you can do to suppress it, and attempting to do so could have considerable negative consequences in the future. I would ignore whatever I conveniently could, minimize (especially to others) the more bothersome behaviors, and perhaps have a little talk with her, as follows:

"Honey, I know spanking is fun for you, but some people are bothered by it, so be careful about doing it in front of other people. I couldn't care less myself, but you could get in trouble, so kind of cool it around others." My sense is that, if it is a passing fancy, it is best to let it die without making it a big deal. If it is a hardwired, lifelong interest, try to protect her in the same way you would protect her from any potential danger. Make her aware that there are others who may not understand and may wish her ill, so that she can avoid trouble until she matures enought to make her own choices.

I hope this gives you a little insight. Remember, first and foremost, she is your daughter. Protect her, love her, and keep her safe--and to hell with the rest of the world.



From Bethany


Hi Jo-

Jim and I have discussed your question at length, and much of what he says I agree with.

First, I think spanking interest (fetish interest in general) is "hard-wired" (genetic.) Jim and I knew we were "interested" in this from a very young age, and from a very young age I sensed my interest was not "normal."

I see (she heaves a very big sigh and rolls her eyes) at least some interest in THREE of my four children. (My daughters are all over eighteen - my son is 16.) When my son was about thirteen, I was helping him clean his room. I found under his bed a thin fiberglass rod, something that (I think) is used in landscaping. I went to throw it away. He stopped me, saying, "Don't throw that away. That's my 'whuppin' stick.' " I was, to put it mildly, speechless. Finally, I managed to ask, (trying to keep my tone light,) "Well, who are you going to whup with it?" He gave me the sleaziest grin and said, "I don't know, but I'll think of someone."

In addition, two of my three daughters have shown some interest. One of them LOVES to bring up the topic, and in particular tell everyone how often she was spanked as a child. (Let me be clear here - unlike Jim, who does use spanking occasionally with his sons, my ex husband and I did NOT spank our kids.) So, in fact, the entire thing is a fabrication. Yet she's said, in front of me, in PUBLIC, things like, "Oh you spanked us all the time. Admit it, mom."

And several months ago, another daughter was making a card for her boyfriend on the kitchen table. When she left the room for a few moments, I thought nothing about picking it up and looking at it. Although I do NOT snoop in my kids' things, I didn't think a card that was openly being made on the kitchen table was "private." Well, I was wrong because the card contained a list of things she loved about him - and one of the things was "the spankings." So, Jo, I too have had to deal with spanking interest in/from my kids, though not at quite as young an age as you're having to deal with it.

Now, my current situation is obviously different from most people's. I run adult spanking websites from an office which is in my home. While I know that when my children were young I kept all my interest completely away from them (as you do), it became impossible to conceal what I do for a living about a year and half ago when I stopped working out of an office and brought the business home.

Of course, we do not share computers - my kids have their own. But they are all computer literate young adults - at any point they could get on my machines and see everything and anything on here. I simply have decided that I cannot worry about it.

My perspective as a female is different than Jim's. He really sees no downside to this at all. He was "cool" about it as a kid - he's told me that as a very young boy (seven) he thought a lot about how he could "get" a girl to spank. I however, developed a very strong sense of secrecy and "shame" about this at a very young age, though I can't really say why. I think I sucessfully hid ANY interest from my parents for my entire childhood, so it was nothing they said or did. Somehow I knew just on instinct that my interest fell outside the bounds of "normal." I felt very alone. I barely confessed my interest to my first husband at all in the first twelve years of my marriage. I hope that now, with the Internet, other young women find it much easier to find information on this interest and realize, quite young, that they are NOT alone.

So what can you do about your little girl? First, as Jim says, you're going to have to accept - really accept - that this interest is genetic. You can't change the way she's wired any more than you can change that she's a girl. Second, you're going to have to figure out the best way to help her grow up with a sense that while this is nothing to be ashamed of, it's also something that you just can't do everywhere. As with many things with kids, there are things you can't control and that you do just have to ignore. I think it would be a mistake to overreact to incidents like your daughter's asking her uncle to spank her at this point. Ignore what you can and be matter-of-fact when you can't. Smacking her sister's butt in the shower is probably not a big deal - particularly when sister is older, because the older girl will tell her to quit it if she gets sick of it.

On the other hand if you find her getting younger kids from the neighborhood and spanking them you've got a problem that you can't ignore. In that case, you're going to have to treat the situation the same way you would if they found them playing "doctor," by saying that some things are private and that she can't play that way with kids whose parents might not approve. Take it one step at a time and match the response to the situation. For example, one giggling request to Uncle Bob for a spanking at age four CAN be laughed off; serious and repeated requests for the same thing at age nine can't be.

I don't really have a good answer to how you tone this down without making it into something that she's freaked out about, other than to deal with each incident as it comes up. And as far as your comment about never being comfortable discussing it with her, again, take it as it comes. I consider the "domestic discipline" relationship that Jim and I have very private, and I can't see really ever trying to explain it to my daughters, but at some point, I could see that I might acknowledge the "erotic" part of it with a laughing comment along the lines of, "Hey, spanking is fun. Don't knock it until you've tried it," or something similar IF they brought it up.

Don't be afraid to write back if the situation comes up again, or becomes more troubling.