This piece originally appeared on the Blowfish Blog. I don’t really talk about my own sex life in this piece, but it may still be too much information for family members and others with, you know, boundaries. So be advised.
Since this piece appeared, some changes have been made to the Christian Domestic Discipline website. The half-hearted language about consent being important for legal reasons even though the Bible doesn’t require it has been removed, and replaced with a simple, straightforward sentence that they do not condone nonconsensual CDD. And the porn (excuse me, the “Christian spanking romance fiction”) and the “CDD 101 Handbook” have either been removed entirely or moved to an area where you have to register to access. (I’m not sure, since I wasn’t willing to register.)
I doubt highly that my piece was the sole instigator of these changes, since the Christian Domestic Discipline thing was all over the blogosphere for a while, including sites with a lot more traffic than mine. But since the questionable nature of their consent and the dirty dirty nature of their stories was largely what the blogosphere commentary was focusing on (that and the crotchless pantaloons), it seems likely that these changes were made in response to that commentary and to the extensive critical traffic they no doubt received as a result.
In the case of the consent issue, I’m extremely glad that they changed the language, and can only hope that they haven’t simply removed the “wink wink, the Bible says consent isn’t required so be careful of the lawman” stuff to a less public area. In the case of the stories, I’m sorry that they’re gone, since they were weirdly hot. -GC
Christian spanking porn. Not three words I ever expected to string together.
But that’s what this is. It’s not what the creators call it — but there’s no question in my mind, that’s what it is.
And I’m finding it deeply weird.
Let me explain. There’s a subset of spanking fans who are into “domestic discipline.” In domestic discipline, spankings aren’t just hot sex play: they’re used by one partner to punish the other for actual misdeeds (as opposed to fantasy role-play misdeeds). DD relationships can be hetero, lesbian, or gay, and in hetero ones either the man or the woman can wield the authority and the hairbrush. (In some DD relationships, both partners can punish each other.)
Christian Domestic Discipline is a subset of this subset. A CDD marriage is “set up according to Biblical standards; that is, the husband is the authority in the household. The wife is submissive to her husband as is fit in the Lord and her husband loves her as himself… He has the authority to spank his wife for punishment…” Etc.
“Romances,” with spankings at the core, labeled for sale by how heavy the spankings are (“contains moderate spanking,” “moderate to slightly severe spanking,” “the spanking in this novel is very mild”).
In other words — spanking porn.
And it creeps me out.
So I’m trying to decide whether that creeped-outedness is fair.
I’ll acknowledge here: I’m a big ol’ atheist. Passionate and outspoken. Almost everything involving fundamentalism creeps me out. And I know that’s affecting my reaction.
But actually, my first reaction to CDD spanking porn was: This is porn. And I’m pro-porn. I have complaints about how porn often plays out in our culture… but that’s a complaint about the execution, not the basic idea. The basic idea of porn I’m in favor of.
And the thing that’s interesting? This Christian spanking porn is clearly aimed at women. The curly script and pastel colors of the cover art… it’s straight from romance novels. In fact, most of it’s written by women (assuming the pen-names accurately reflect the authors’ genders).
So this is by-women-for-women porn. Independently-produced, non-corporate, by-women-for-women porn.
Which I’m almost always in favor of.
Now we get to the creepy stuff — in the dirty stories, and elsewhere in the CDD writings.
There’s the stuff about how God wants the husband to be the head of the house. In all households. Not just the ones where the couple gets off on it. All of them.
There’s the stuff about how the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God, valid for all time. Therefore, see above, about how “dominant husband/ submissive wife” is the only acceptable romantic relationship, and everything else — dominant women, homosexuality, ordinary “egalitarian at least in theory” marriage — makes baby Jesus cry.
And there’s the anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-abortion rhetoric that’s all over this website.
So a part of me is going, “If my kink isn’t okay with them, why the hell should their kink be okay with me?”
That’s not very big of me, though. And when it comes down to it, I think everyone deserves porn that gets them off. Even fundamentalists who think I’m going to hell.
But then we have the weird hypocrisies. The weirdest of which is this: CDD advocates aren’t just against gays and feminists and anyone who’s not a fundie. They’re against porn.
Yup. The Christian spanking porn folks don’t like porn. Their site, they say, is for people who want information about CDD “without having to wade through pornographic or warped practices of what God created for marriage.”
I think they don’t want to admit that they’re spanking freaks. That’d give them too much in common with the perverts and fornicators with whom they share erotic tastes. They’ll admit that spanking is erotic… but ultimately, it’s about discipline, and maintaining a Christian household with the man at the head, as God intended.
Bullshit. When you market your stories based on how heavy the spanking is (“contains moderate to slightly severe spanking”), what you’ve got is porn. I don’t care that they don’t include genital sex. The spankings are the core and dramatic climax of the stories, and the tropes — rebellion, resistance, the top’s unshakeable forcefulness, the bottom’s growing contrition and acceptance of the top’s authority, the ecstasy of submission, the obsessive attention to the physical details of the spankings, the classic implements and positions — will be instantly familiar to anyone who reads spanking porn. These aren’t Christian romances. You could find this stuff on the Spanking Blog.
Which bugs me. Hypocrisy always bugs me.
But I could stomach all that, if it weren’t for this.
The “this is consensual” disclaimer on the CDD website has a “wink wink” quality that’s profoundly disturbing. Unlike every SM advice-and-dirty-stories website I’ve seen, these folks do not say emphatically, “This kind of relationship must be enthusiastically consented to by both parties in order to work, or indeed be remotely ethical.”
Instead they say — direct quote — “Though we believe the Bible gives a husband the authority to use spanking as one tool in enforcing his authority in the home with or without his wife’s permission, in today’s world we recognize the legality that mandates that all CDD must be consensual. Therefore we will do not condone nonconsensual CDD as a rule.” (Emphasis mine. Grammatical error theirs.)
That’s not out of context. It’s on their home page. And this “non-consensual spanking isn’t legal, therefore we’re not endorsing it, even though it’s God’s will, wink wink” sentiment appears more than once in their writings.
That’s beyond my dislike of fundamentalism. That’s implicitly condoning domestic violence — not just as acceptable, but as God’s will. (The dismissive line from their handbook “Christian Domestic Discipline 101″ about how “men are thrown in jail for looking cross-eyed at their wives” gave me chills.) I fail to see much difference between telling women they’ll be beaten up or killed if they don’t submit to their husbands… and telling them that if they don’t submit to their husbands they’ll be tortured in hell for eternity.
Which brings me back to why fundamentalism creeps me out.
If people want to be in relationships where one partner submits to the other’s authority — and bare-bottomed spankings — I say knock yourself out. But when you say that consenting to physical punishment is important because it’s legal, not because it’s ethical; when you insist that discipline of wives by husbands is mandated by God for everyone; and when you back up that claim with a contradictory melange of Bronze-age writings, many of which are profoundly fucked-up by any reasonable modern standards… then you’ve gone far outside the territory where I have to be nice and tolerant.
Either of your religion or your kink.