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I've never hit a woman in my life, and abhor those who do, including those who emotionally abuse their partners. In a 2011 article in Salon, Debby Herbenick, a research scientist and sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, was quoted as saying that no study has ever been done that would give a solid figure on how common spanking is.
That's the essence of my shame, deepened by the impossibility of trying to explain it to someone who is not a spanko, someone who isn't wired to understand. A few playful swats during sex seem fun, while serious spankings seem damaged and perverse. I can tell you that just one of the many spanking subgroups on the adult website Fetlife contains more than 17,000 members.
Another heaping of shame from my girlfriend, and a horrifying diagnosis from a professional. The thing is, I was beginning to suspect I wasn't sick.
Or, if nothing else, that there were a lot more sick people like me out there.
I didn't want to have spanking on the side; I wanted it front and center.
Last November, the New York Times' Modern Love column ran an essay by lifelong spanko (official term) Jillian Keenan, called "Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish." As she put it, "For as long as I remember, I’ve been fairly obsessed with spanking.
Let me clarify something: I'm not "into" spanking the way you might be "into" Celine Dion or “The Bourne Identity.” Spanking is a part of my psyche, an essential element of my sexuality.
The way I saw it, homosexuals had their closet and I had mine.
I dated Jennifer during the advent of the Internet, and when she was out of the apartment I'd spend hours in spanking chat rooms or looking at spanking photos.
A couple of times I met people, real live girls, who liked to be spanked.
At one point, I was in a hot tub with a woman who acted in spanking films and the female host, a retired police lieutenant.
But as exciting as that was, I wanted to experience spanking with someone I loved.
Only mine was a lot smaller, and I was the only one in it.