Lindsay touches on some very difficult questions about issues and about how much can or should spanking really accomplish in anyone's life? A very tough question. 



Dear Bethany –

I want to share with you a journal entry that I wrote for my husband. I have shared it with others for some feedback on my feelings and for the most part have been told that this is a pretty common feeling among submissive women. However I have also had some tell me that I have loads of underlying issues that need to be dealt with first without spankings. What are your comments on this?

Journal Entry:
She sits here and wonders what it is that is troubling her so. It's been weeks since PMS, but yet she feels like she is on a major emotional roller coaster ride.

She thinks about how wonderful her Master is and how loving and patient he usually is, so what is it? Could it be the new medication, or maybe no real quality time together. Or is it just the weight of everything going on lately with her Master and his job. With the lack of drive that she has lately, it is so hard to even think about work. She feels worthless. She feels like she is a very bad sub/slave and that her Master is not pleased with her. She has made of total mess of her checking account. She hasn't a clue as to where the money goes, only that she knows she really has been trying not to spend any on herself lately. She does not obey the simple tasks that her Master gives her. She is totally defiant lately only looking for trouble. What is she missing???????

He gets frustrated at her because when he tries to discipline her, he says she makes him feel terrible as well as when he doesn't do it. She wonders if maybe he is not really firm enough.........I know he will say when he is firm she pouts and makes me feel guilty. Why is it that she feels the need to push him to the edge? Why does she feel the need to get that full blown punishment, not just a slap or two here and there or 10 minute time outs. Why does she want those heart wrenching cries to escape her lips as he truly punishes her with his paddle or belt making the pain so unbearable she wonders why she ever desired it. Why does she want to be begging for forgiveness and truly mean it. Why does she feel this need to be cleansed by this pain that only he can give her?

She thinks that maybe she has gone over the deep end and wonders if others have similar feelings. Why would a grown woman want to be treated like a little child? Why does this make her feel secure when it does happen? So many questions that she cannot answer only that she knows that she needs this.
She doesn't want to burden her Master with any more than he already has, but yet she feels she does burden him with her lack of obedience and defiance. It's like a vicious circle that has no end to it.
Her rules are pretty simple but she finds them hard to achieve. Where is the drive she should have to please him. She is selfish and inconsiderate. She wonders why he even tolerates her. She found a letter that another sub wrote her husband/master and wonders if it isn't so uncommon for some of the things that she feels. She wants to show it to you. Please don't hate her. She truly loves you.

Bethany's response:

This was sent to me by Lindsay many months ago, and I have come back to it time and time again, not knowing how to respond. I've talked it over with several others and I feel I have a response, though I will be the first to acknowledge that I am really going out on a limb with this one. I TRULY hope that others will send input and feedback on this question/concern.

First, what really IS Lindsay's question? To me, what she is saying is this: I have loads of issues. Deep inside, I feel that these can be and should be resolved by strict at times even severe spankings. But not only do I not feel comfortable in reality with this solution, my "Master" also is reluctant. Again, the "fantasy" of spanking crashes with the "reality" of domestic discipline.

First, a word about the men in our lives. It's easy to need and want the dom to be aloof, almost unemotional about this whole thing, to be able to matter-of-factly reduce the sub to a jelly of profound tears of repentance and the backside to a throbbing mess, but that's not the way it works, ladies. He's got feelings, too, and if he really loves you, it's going to be difficult for him (AS IT SHOULD BE!) for him to hurt you, to inflict emotional pain and distress. He's not a robot, but a thinking feeling guy with issues of his own.

For those of us who have an interest in spanking – a fetish, if you will - at times we can look to spanking, possibly unrealistically, to deal with more serious problems in our lives. For example, a woman has become "trapped" in a bad marriage. It becomes easy to pin the "problems" on a lack of the ideal mate and BECAUSE we have a spanking fetish that "idealness" manifests as spanking. "If only I had a husband who understood me – and spanked me – things would be fine." By contrast, the same woman, in a happy marriage, might enjoy the occasional erotic spanking session, and spanking would never elevate to that next level of supposed problem solver. Another woman, equally unhappy, but not "into" spanking, might believe that HER problems would be solved if her mate made more money or was more sensitive. So it's a two step process. First spanking exists in the psyche, then, because it is such a big part of the world view, it BECOMES a solution to external problems.

In Lindsay's case, it sounds as if she and her partner are having difficulties – as so many couples do – figuring out what spanking really means for them. Lindsay's partner doesn't understand that there are some really serious underlying issues and that the messy checkbook is just the tip of the iceberg. The checkbook gets messy because Lindsay isn't sure how much she really means to her man. If he loved me, he would put his foot down, she thinks. If she really loved me, she would be more "functional." Why is she so needy, he thinks? It is, as Lindsay says, a vicious circle.

It doesn't sound as if Lindsay is truly unhappy in the relationship; it's more as if she is experiencing a general sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction with life in general and she's looking to spanking to "take that away." Will it? Possibly. If the "thing" that is missing is a truly rigid and defined structure to be the cornerstone of her life, it could be that once that is provided everything would build solidly from there. Of course, we are again ignoring her partner's feelings, his weaknesses, his preferences. To be blunt, he simply may not be "able" to provide this.

I realize this answer is quite a bit at odds with current thinking, which would probably say that Lindsay should spend eons in counseling to come to terms with her issues. Maybe, but if a couple good wallopings would accomplish the same thing – and her man can be made to see that – it seems like a much cheaper and quicker solution. There have been many times in my life, when wallowing in one crisis or another, I WISH there had been someone in my life to say, "Get your head on straight or you won't sit for a week." Period. Simple, direct, and ultimately, probably every bit as effective as hours of pathetic introspection in which everyone in my life except myself gets blamed for everything.

For those of you who are members of Bethany's Woodshed, there is a character in one of my stories, The Vacation, that has prompted more reader mail than any other: the character of Stephanie. Stephanie is portrayed as one tough cookie to crack, a woman who needed (and, through misbehavior, initiated) spanking after spanking early in a relationship, until finally she became convinced that he did care, he would stand up to her, and he would spank AGAIN AND AGAIN – until she finally learned that ... what? Ultimately, I guess it was that she was loved. So many women have written: I'm just like Stephanie. How can I make my partner see that?

The husband in the story, commenting on his wife's behavior, says, "Right after that first trip over my knee, she got a hundred times worse. I swear to Christ I was spanking her three, four times a week for a while. Spanking her hard. Sometimes more than once a day. She got more perverse, more stubborn, more foul-mouthed... you name it. It was like a dam broke. I think that once I let her know I meant business, it was like she had to play this game with me... to find out if I REALLY meant business."

Of course, he has it all wrong. Stephanie didn't want to know that "he meant business." What Stephanie wanted to know was that no matter what he wouldn't leave. She wants this demonstrated through specific expectations, firm involvement in her life and spankings when she falters. EVERY time she falters.

So spanking becomes yet more complicated. It's now not a game, not even about "punishment" for a specific offense, it becomes the ultimate manifestation of love and commitment.

Is this bad, wrong, sick? Does Lindsay have "loads" of underlying issues to resolve? She probably has a few. But don't we all? To me, however, the biggest issue here, unfortunately, is that she needs to figure out what spanking means to her, and communicate that to her partner, who then will need to make a truly difficult decision of whether he is able to provide that "kind" of domestic discipline.

COMMENTS ARE REQUESTED. Please send them to

An anonymous reader sends these comments:

I think what you say about Stephanie pushing because she wants proof that no matter how badly she behaves her husband will deal with it but NOT leave, is dead on. I also think she is looking for reassurance that her man is strong enough to deal with any of her bad behaviour without giving in. Women push and push a man and if he doesn't show his strength EVERY time she loses faith in him. So even if he stays she feels he is inadequate and he feels that judgement. At least this has been my experience.

As far as Lindsay is concerned, there is just this tremendous need sometimes for a huge release from a build up of tension which can be for many reasons both external and internal and a blistering spanking that reduces you to a sobbing mess can provide that release. For others it can be a punishing run that leaves you panting, coughing and spluttering your exhaustion or a pounding aerobic workout and/ or a wild sex session. These are all manifestly physical solutions to emotional tension problems that create the emotional turmoil Lindsay describes, but which can be helped by a physical release and counselling just can't provide that. The fact that the release is provided by a man who loves you makes the release secure. I have experienced the same desire for my tension to be dealt with in a severe manner and I know other women have as well. I think its a bit like the toddler who has built up a huge well of frustration all day and just pushes and pushes for correction from Mommy because she can sort things out.

Bethany's comments: I think this reinforces what I said above that for "spankos," spanking becomes the solution. This reader makes the point well: for someone else, a "punishing run," or aerobic workout might provide the same release. But for us, the logical "solution" is, as she says, an "event" spanking... not a few swats that just make you feel pouty and crankily horny, but a real "attention getter."

And this from Kristin:

Dear Bethany--
I just read Lindsay's question, and your very thoughtful
comments, and wanted to add just a thought of my own.
Lindsay's mention of a new medication, and her seeming
inability to concentrate on something as simple (well,
not always simple!) as the checkbook made me wonder
about her emotional state. As someone who lives with a
diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I am familiar with the
effects of depression. You find yourself listless and
unable to concentrate. Sometimes it seems hard to even
think straight. So, I have to wonder if Lindsay could
possibly be suffering from clinical depression. If so,
I seriously doubt being spanked is the cure all that she
would like it to be.
Another thought was about the letter she mentioned in
her journal entry. Is Lindsay sharing her husband (and
master) with other subs? I can't speak for her, but I
doubt very much that I would find that comfortable. It
could be an underlying reason for depression.
At any rate, my heart goes out to Lindsay. As someone
who struggles daily with similar issues, I would very
much like for my husband to understand and meet my
needs. However, as you mentioned, he has needs and
feelings of his own that make giving me a discipline
spanking very uncomfortable for him. I certainly don't
have any answers, but I offer my sympathy to Lindsay.
Oh, and one more thing. Therapy might be warranted, but
clinical depression can be diagnosed and treated by a
medical doctor and/or a clinical psychiatrist. Hope
this helps!

Bethany's comments: Kristin is right on the money, of course, that at times medical problems can be the true culprit, and being spanked in unlikely to make things better. And, as Ann Landers would say, "Forty lashes with a wet noddle" for missing the comment about the "new medication." I should have picked up on that right away. (And fortunately, there are a whole lot more interesting things in THIS office than wet noodles!)

The problem is, of course, how do you know? The image of sitting there with a therapist saying, "Well, I might be depressed, but I also just might need a spanking," while tempting, is pretty far-fetched. As I said when I tackled Lindsay's question, there are no easy answers to this one. The ideal situation is for Lindsay to have in her life a partner or a friend - who she knows well - with whom she can share this very question.

I've got a question for all the readers: Does anyone have experience with sharing the need/desire for "real" domestic discipline with a vanilla therapist? Please write me at I want to write something on this.

And this from DogLover:

I would like to comment on *guilt.* Both Susan & Lindsay mention feeling guilty,
and I think their feelings are offering them some very
valuable clues to resolving their difficulties.
Lindsay, for example, comments that she may be too
"needy"--although she clearly doesn't want to believe
this. Maybe she *is* too needy, though, in the sense
that she wants her partner to "prove" his
love/commitment/whatever to her. Why should two people
in a loving relationship have to prove anything to
each other? Imagine being on the receiving end of all
that testing: eventually, unless you're a saint,
you're going to get tired of it. And that in itself
doesn't "prove" anything, except possibly that our
partner is human.
In my experience, the drive that Lindsay feels (and
I do believe she's driven) stems from a deeper need in
HER, not in her relationship, and she needs to address
it that by HERSELF, possibly with the *support* of her
partner, and possibly through therapy.
She may, for example, need to grieve over not
having had the kind of parents growing up that she
wishes she'd had, and begin to understand that as an
adult, she can provide that care to herself. Partly
through forming satisfying, respectful relationships,
yes, but I think she also needs to learn to love and
accept herself for who she is. She should know that no
single person is ever going to be able to fulfill all
her needs.
So in Lindsay's situation I think her guilty
feelings are a warning that she may truly be expecting
too much from her mate.
Not that I think she doesn't still need to be
punished!~just that it ought not to be an imposition
on the person doing it.
When she gains more respect for herself, I think
this will become obvious to her.

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