Episode 059: Jillian Keenan

Episode the fifty-ninth; wherein the Pageist talks with author and spanking enthusiast Jillian Keenan about spanking, Shakespeare, consent and all sorts of other things.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Hello and a big welcome to the new Patreon supporter, Devan!
  • Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belize
  • Jim liked the Facebook page. Hiiiiii, Jim!
  • Two very positive survey responses–thank you! You can take the quick, anonymous survey about the show here.

4.01 Interview:

  • Jillian Keenan is a freelance journalist, author of Sex with Shakespeare, spanking enthusiast and children’s rights advocate.
  • I reviewed Sex with Shakespeare in episode 42. The text of the book review is here.
  • You can find her on Twitter: @jilliankeenan
  • Her website is jilliannyc.com
  • Her interview with Tina Horn on Why Are People Into That?! on spanking is here.

46.15 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Mike Merrill, the publicly-traded guy.
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Sex with Shakespeare by Jillian Keenan


[This is the text of the book review from episode 42 of the show.]

This week’s book is Sex with Shakespeare: Here’s Much to Do with Pain but More with Love by Jillian Keenan.

I received this book as a gift from a listener who is a very kind, gentle Englishman. Thank you, friend. I loved it, just as you thought I would.

The listener of my show had mentioned Sex with Shakespeare and how it was about spanking and Shakespeare and he thought I would like it and a few weeks went by and I was listening to an episode of Why Are People Into That?! Tina Horn was interviewing Jillian Keenan about spanking and she mentioned she was writing a book about Shakespeare (I was listening to a quite old episode).

Horn also mentioned an article Keenan had written for Slate about whether or not BDSM was a sexual orientation.

They discussed this a bit. The premise is that, for some people, being kinky is as part of your identity as any other part of yourself. Some people it’s just a fun thing they do sometimes to spice things up, but for others, it’s immutable.

That would certainly explain the people (ahem) for whom kinky proclivities have been present long before they had words for it or even what we’d think of as budding sexuality. I was walking to my coffee shop, listening on my headphones and nearly stopped walking this concept (which seems rather obvious in retrospect) so blew my mind.

The ramifications for kink being an orientation, though, that would be something. Where they couldn’t take your kids away from you for being kinky anymore than they’d take your kids for being straight.

You’d start a new job and someone would find out you were single. ‘I should set you up with my brother!’
‘Oh, I’m an asexual lesbian service-submissive.’
‘Oh, he’s vanilla. Are you any good with leather, though, because these boots look like hell!’

So that was my introduction to Jillian Keenan. I liked her from the interview and this book is great.

Sex with Shakespeare is a memoir of the author working to accept her orientation as a spankophile. (She hates the word ‘spanko’ and thinks it sounds like a processed food product.) For, if ever someone was oriented towards kink, it is she.

Spanking is the only thing that interests her, sexually. It’s what she thinks about every day, and has done since she was very young. Single digits young.

But she’s not comfortable with this side of herself—she’s not, ‘I am kinky, hear me squeal.’ She tries to be vanilla and that’s not a great time.

But I’m getting ahead of everything.

The reason the book is titled Sex with Shakespeare is because Keenan is a Shakespearean scholar. The book is divided into five acts acts and within most acts are a few chapters, each named after a play. The author uses that particular play to examine whatever part of her life she’s talking about at that time.

It’s much more interesting, poetic and less-snooze-worthy than I’m making it sound.

One thing Keenan does that I sympathise with is she has conversations with various characters as though they’re actually there with her.

There’s a hilarious argument that nearly turns into a fist fight in the back of a cab between herself and about ten characters. Something that can only happen when everyone you’re arguing with is fictional. She calls Lady Macbeth ‘Purell’ at one point and I laughed out loud. Nice. Keenan is a funny lady.

I so identified with this habit because my entire life I’ve created characters—usually when writing—that are so real to me that I’ve had conversations with them in the car, or the store, (which I keep in my head) but then I’ve gone to open the car door for them. Then remembered I was alone and had to pretend I was putting my bag on the passenger’s seat so I didn’t look like I’d completely lost my mind.

Her characters recognise they are fictional and reference it occasionally, as do mine. Freakin’ self-aware imaginary friends. Mumble grumble.

This book is one way to learn about several of the plays—as she gives a plot synopsis of quite a few of them, as well as some rather interesting readings of certain plots. You don’t have to already know Shakespeare to read this—she explains everything.

I realised while reading this that I had neither read nor seen Hamlet. Somehow. I knew all the plot points and the big soliloquies and slings and arrows and all that, but I’ve never seen the thing.

Plays mentioned: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Love’s Labour Lost, Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, As You Like It.

If nothing else, you will come out the other side knowing more about many plays than you did before. Probably. I don’t know what you know. She makes some compelling cases for certain female characters being masochists or submissives, though. It may change how you look at fusty old classics. Keenan also tells you about many of the sex jokes.

She didn’t cover my favourite, though. Titus Andronicus. Now that is a play. It’s the first tragedy and it’s as though the man thought he would get to write another so crammed everything in that one—human sacrifice, multiple mutilations, rape, cannibalism. Jeez, dude. Relax.

If I ever have Keenan on the show we’ll talk about spanking because oh yeah we will, but I want to know her thoughts on Tamora. Tamora is one of my favourite fictional characters ever. She could eat Lady Purell for breakfast and not belch. She’s my woman.

Let’s do some quotes.

We start out in Oman, where the author has taken some time out from university. She’s trying to rid herself of her impulses. She says:

In Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky wrote: “There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”

Look, lady, if you’re going to quote Dostoevsky at me in the first chapter I’m going to buy you a Valentine. Watch yourself. She continues:

That’s true. Here’s what I, for decades, was afraid to tell myself: I’m obsessed with spanking.
My fetish is my sexual orientation, or maybe just my orientation. It isn’t something I chose, or an experimental phase, or a “preference,” or a trend that I opted into. It’s the core of my sexuality, and an innate, unchosen, and lifelong center of my identity. … If I had to give up sex—all kinds of sex—or spanking, I’d flush sex like a drug smuggler ditching his stash in an airport bathroom. My fetish isn’t something I do. It’s something I am.

I’m not sure something can be a fetish if it’s an orientation. But, simultaneously, the definition of a fetish includes being unable to have sex without the fetish. However, if it replaces sex… It bears more thought.

After introducing us to why she’s writing the book and how entrenched her interest in spanking is (and how Helena and Demetrius are a couple of assholes in some kind of D/s weirdness in A Midsummer’s Night Dream), we’re off to the second act.

In which she talks about the way her fetish (I’ll use the word she does) was present from very early on:

In one mortifying childhood memory, I told a friend that I wanted to rewatch the paddling scene in Dead Poets Society three or four times because I was “curious about the sound editing” of that moment. I did lots of “book reports” and elementary school projects on corporal punishment. Many, many “book reports” on corporal punishment.

Oh god. I wrote all of my book reports every year on Edgar Allan Poe while wearing all black like some Lydia Deets freak before she was a thing and here’s Keenan and her reports on caning techniques from eighteenth-century Britain.

As mentioned in the earlier section of the episode, the author came to kink through the bedroom. She met someone and had her first spanking after nil proper negotiation. She observes:

If I’m honest, that first spanking, as cathartic as it was, was also a mild disappointment. It just didn’t quite match my fantasies. (Fetishes are nothing if not detailed to the point of absurdity.) It didn’t hurt as much as I wanted it to, for one. John, to his credit, had proceeded with caution—it was our first time, and it’s far better to hurt someone too little than to hurt her too much.


Then there’s also some nerdage. (Ha! Some!)

There is an artery in the pelvic region called the common iliac artery, which supplies blood to both the genitals and the butt; when blood rushes down that artery to one of the two regions, it also rushes to the other region and can cause a kind of blood engorgement.

Her husband (not the first-spanking guy) is a doctor and she learned this from him—she discusses it in the interview with Tina Horn.

First-spanking guy, whose name is John, introduced her to Russian literature saying:

“Promise me you’ll start with The Brothers Karamazov,” John told me. “You’ll love it.” And I did love it. Masochists love Russian novelists.

Oh. Perhaps I am a masochist. That was the first Russian novel I read as well, though Crime and Punishment is my favourite. Dammit.

In this chapter she points out something people really need to realise, which is that Romeo and Juliet is not a love story—it’s about a thirteen and seventeen year old who throw a hissy and several people die because they’re impulsive. Keenan calls it a ‘bloodbath’. Yeah.

She also calls Hamlet a douchebag. Yeah. From what I know of him—a waffling douchbag. He can’t make a decision so everyone dies. That’s not a spoiler—everyone knows that.

There is one piece of information that’s incorrect and I’m going to be that person. She says:

According to the Internet, figging began life as a disciplinary tactic in ancient Greece, and was widely used in Victorian England to dissuade spanking victims from clenching their butt cheeks during their punishments. (That’s probably apocryphal; I can’t bring myself to make the phone calls necessary to confirm the historical origins of anal ginger play.)

Everything I’ve heard or read says figging originated in Victorian England and involved inserted peeled ginger in older horses’ backsides so they’d appear spritely when at market. Which I’m sure worked quite well.

There are a few older poems about kink or same-sex love that I don’t have time to read, but they’ll go into a poetry for Patrons segment because they are naughty and HOT. People knew what kink was and gay people were.

In Act Four, we’re up to Macbeth, which I’m not superstitious so I’ll say if I want. She’s in Singapore now where they have very restrictive laws about LGBT people. The law is called 377A. There are still gay clubs, though. You just have to know how to find them and, apparently, the law is rarely enforced. She says this:

Whenever Singaporean friends tried to defend 377A, they always emphasized the fact that it is rarely enforced. “Homosexuals can do whatever they want,” a colleague once told me. “They just have to keep it private.” … I recognized the expression. “Privacy” is one of the most potent and insidious weapons a sexual majority can use against people with nonnormative sexual identities. “Privacy” sounds good. It sounds responsible and mature. But “privacy” is tied up with isolation and shame. It drives people underground. It puts people in danger.

Well, what does that sound like?! It’s cool. It’s cool. I’m fine.

She continues:

Sexuality doesn’t just appear at age eighteen. Like everyone else, kinky kids grow up with questions about our emerging sexualities. The difference is that, unlike people who grow up with normative sexual orientations, we can’t turn to pop culture for answers. There are almost no books, TV shows, or movies that show people like us, or relationships like the ones I craved, in a healthy or positive light. Our fear and shame doesn’t just come from negative messages; it comes from the lack of positive ones. When culture insists that people keep their “private” lives “private,” those who fall outside the norm fall through the cracks. We have no way to learn how to explore our fantasies safely. One thing we do have is the Internet. Sexual minorities feel “private” online. Predators feel “private” online, too.

We take risks because the isolation and emptiness of the alternative is worse.

This is the time in the story—after many, many years—she got around to Googling ‘spanking fetish’. It didn’t go well. Because there are always going to be Judgersons. I’m sorry she didn’t find Fet or a munch rather than a bunch of shaming dickweasels.

She again talks about the silence we impose upon ourselves:

The hardest part of “coming out kinky,” if such a thing even exists, isn’t coming out to other people. Beyond sexual or romantic partners, coming out to others isn’t even necessary. The hardest part is coming out to ourselves. Many never do. I didn’t share my obsession publicly in the hope that other fetishists would do the same. I did it in the hope that, despite our national epidemic of sexual repression, a few others might feel empowered to confess their desires to themselves.

Coming out to others make not be necessary, but if everyone who had a kink or fetish were to be out—if the truly vanilla people out there saw just how common kink was they wouldn’t be so threatened. They’d see we’re not shadowy monsters. The concept of coming out not being necessary falls into the ‘privacy’ idea.

There were many more quotes that were worthy but I don’t want to keep you here for another half hour.

It seemed the author was still struggling with her orientation—even though she’d written a book in her own name and published articles about spanking and everything. There was an undercurrent of … not shame so much, just… a difficulty with who she is. That is no judgment. I struggle with parts of myself all the time. At once, it clearly makes her so happy and answers a profound need, but she also seems torn by the possible motivations for her desire. Some people would say, ‘This shame proves you have something to be ashamed of,’ but it’s more—if someone receives the message that there’s something wrong with the very core of who they are withstanding that requires a diamond-based constitution.

Sex with Shakespeare is, at times, laugh out loud funny and at other times, poignant. Then other times heartbreaking. If you’re interested in spanking, Shakespeare or memoirs of kinky people, this is a must-read 5/5.

Episode 042: Sex with Shakespeare

Episode the forty-second; Wherein the Pageist comes in through the library, issues a warm welcome to her guests from Malaysia and looks forward to mangling a dead language. The book this episode is Sex with Shakespeare: Here’s Much to Do with Pain, but More with Love by Jillian Keenan.

.48 Intro & Announcements:

  • One new Facebook like. Welcome to Anonymous.
  • The show is now in Chile!
  • Apparently, the show is quite popular in Malaysia. Hello and welcome and I’m so glad you’ve found us.
  • Many thanks to the person who took the survey! The survey is quick, anonymous and gives me useful information on the demographic who listens to the show and what works/doesn’t work for people.
  • The Cage is slowly picking up members. Happily. Hop over and see what’s going on over there.
  • The mobile version of the site has been radically updated and hopefully the experience is much-improved. If you’re not currently looking at the website on a mobile device, check it out here.
  • More info on Romance Languages.

7.31 My Submissive Life:

  • Episode 36 where I mentioned Sophie Morgan’s memoirs amongst many other books.

14.20 Book Review:

33.07 Closing Remarks:

Spanking for Lovers by Janet W Hardy



In the most recent episode of The Pageist I reviewed Janet W. Hardy’s Spanking for Lovers. Per usual, here is the text version.

Hardy also wrote The New Bottoming Book and the New Topping Book with Dossie Easton. Those two are must-reads for anyone in the scene.

As is this one if you’re into spanking, which Hardy defines in Chapter One as:

striking the buttocks and sometimes upper thighs with a hand or other implement.

This was originally published as The Compleat Spanker, it is now published as Spanking for Lovers.

In Chapter Two: Who Spanks Hardy talks about something she calls ‘pleasant pain’.

The experience of pleasant pain is familiar to many, perhaps most, people. (Not you? Think again: ever enjoy the pleasant muscle ache of a good day’s exercise, or the challenging burn of a spicy curry?)

I’ve always related it to scratching a mosquito bite. First it feels good, but then, if you keep scratching, it still feels good but it also hurts, but in a good way. I hope that’s not just me.

This book introduced me to a phrase I will be using for the rest of my life–”sexually relevant”. It was originally coined by Staci Newmahr and refers to:

activities that are not genitally sexual but nevertheless plug into participants’ erotic selves.

In this chapter there is a list of ten types of spanking or reasons to spank that come from C’s Loving Domestic Disciple. Oh Lord, sign me up. Fantasy fodder, ahoy. New to me was the introductory disciplinary spankings, which is a

ritual at the beginning of a discipline relationship to reinforce the new relationship dynamic and to learn the spankee’s emotional and physical reaction to discipline.

Also mentioned is one of my favs: Maintenance spanking.

to be given as a reminder of the relationship dynamic and also to fulfill the spankee’s spanking desires so that they don’t need to act out in order to get spanked.

Chapter Three: Why Do We Like Spanking, has this paragraph:

For many spankees, the script of spanking has to do with being controlled. They may or may not like the physical pain of being spanked, but they do like knowing that their spanker is administering the spanking as a symbol of her control.

YES Sorry. That was loud wasn’t it? Sorry. I mean, yes. I agree with this.

Earlier I was talking about why I love reading and how it affirms who you are when you find yourself in a book well this part is referring to submissives who are being spanked.

They are rarely resistant or mouthy; instead they get their script from gamely doing their best to please.

I’m not sure I’d use the word ‘gamely’ to describe my approach to submission, but obedience is my thang.

This book isn’t just geared toward bottoms and their bottoms. I am so sorry, but it had to be done. There is a lot of advice for tops, as well.

There’s a bit about catharsis during spanking scenes and includes this paragraph, which is directed at bottoms, but it’s with the safety of the top (and yourself) in mind.

Catharsis can be scary for all concerned: pity the poor top who thought he was just administering a nice simple straightforward spanking, and who suddenly has to contain and comfort a sobbing, incoherent wreck. If you suspect that you have a lot of pent-up emotion which is just waiting for a nice spanking to explode out of you, it’s essential to warn your top first—to ensure that they give their consent to be around such strong stuff, and that they’re willing to support you as you release it.

Speaking of tops, I didn’t know that endorphin highs were transmittable. Hardy says she’s given heavy spankings and ended up with a contact high. That is fascinating. I wonder how that works.

Then there’s this:

When we find that within the clear boundaries of the spanking scene these personae are not just accepted, but lusted after and loved, a tremendous sense of healing and wholeness can result.

And let’s face it: the sounds and sensations and sights of spanking someone—the whimpers and moans and cries, the writhing and wiggling and clenching, the skin turning rosy and warm—are very, very sexy. It’s not really very surprising that so many people are erotically attuned to an activity that involves so many sexual cues (in fact, it’s sort of surprising to me that there are people who aren’t.)

Word, my friend.

The first part—about being seen for who you are and accepted is a big part of the appeal of kink for me, and I assume for other people. We live in such a culture of shame and pretending to be who we’re not—or to only be one thing—that to be with someone—or around a group of people—who say, ‘You can explore all of these difference facets of yourself and that’s okay and that’s really sexy.’ is enormously freeing and ‘healing’ to use a fuzzy-wuzzy term.

The second part. I mean. Come on. Yeah spanking is sexy as hell.

Safety is well-covered in every section of the book. Hardy addresses harder-players thusly:

If you are one who craves the edge, allow me to share two points from my own experience. Point one: it is essentially impossible for ethical players to dispose of safewords or do ‘consensual nonconsent.’ There is always a way for a bottom who is truly in trouble to communicate withdrawal of consent, and an ethical top will act on that communication. Impasse.

Point two: the passage of time will naturally and effortlessly resolve the impasse. As partners play together, and trust evolves, the top’s ability to read signals will evolve, as will the bottom’s ability to relinquish control and to go into the realms that formerly seemed unattainable, the red-misted territory that lies beyond ‘I can’t stand this any more.’

Chapter Four: Anatomy of a Spankee includes an illustration of what Hardy calls (and I’ve heard it referred to this elsewhere) the sweet spot. It’s the best place to spank for pleasure. It’s sort of where the butt meets the leg and just inside the thigh. The illustration as a dotted line to show you where to aim.

While on the topic of the illustrations—they’re done by ‘Barb’–Barbara O’Toole and they’re excellent. Done in grayscale and photorealistic I wouldn’t mind having a few as prints. The subjects range from men spanking women to women spanking men, to men and women spanking members of their own sex. Bare-handed or with toys. And in a variety of positions.

I enjoyed the illustrations. Ahem. Sniff.

But back to the Anatomy of the buttal region. This chapter focuses on nerves and tissues what is most exposed in which positions so everyone can have a good time without needing an extra trip to the doctor. Marks are covered, as well as advice on how to deal with them.

Chapter Five is about Communication and Mood. Man, us kinksters love communicating, don’t we?

I mean, the non-psychopaths who want everyone to have a good time, anyway.

This book is funny. Hardy definitely has a sense of humor. She tells this story in the margin of chapter five:

I once negotiated a whole scene with a friend at a play party. We walked out into the middle of the dungeon to set up our toys, then stood there staring at one another. Turned out each of us thought the other one was going to top.

Look. If you don’t think that’s funny you need to get right outta town.
I would give anything to have heard the negotiation. Was it like that Jeanette Winterson book where the narrator’s gender is never revealed? From the conversation neither of them could tell? It was open for interpretation? That must have been a brilliant conversation.

I love it because it’s the sort of thing that would happen to me. I am that kind of, ‘I was paying attention… to what I wanted to hear…’ I felt closer to the author after reading that.

Anyway, back to the book. Chapter five has great advice for what should be included in negotiation including how you will communicate during a scene.

This chapter also includes the one to ten technique, which I’ve heard called ‘calibrating your bottom’. This is how it’s described in Spanking for Lovers:

In this technique, the top delivers one extremely gentle stroke, hardly more than laying the hand or implement onto the bottom’s skin, and explains, ‘That was a “one” on a scale of one to ten. “Ten” would be the hardest I’m willing to hit you. For the next few minutes, I want you to use that number scale to tell me how hard a stroke you want to feel. I wont hit you anyplace but on your butt, and I won’t hit you until you tell me to.

After a few minutes of this type of communication, the top has some idea of the bottom’s desires, and the bottom has had a chance to relax into the idea of being spanked. Both partners can decide together when it’s time to stop one-to-tenning and to turn over more control to the top.

This is obviously the chapter that includes safewords and over in the sidebar Hardy says she’s heard some people use ‘411’ for information and ‘911’ for emergency. That’s a creative way of yellow or redding.

In Chapter Six: Spanking Fantasies. Hardy divides scenes into two types—Losing Scenes and Winning Scenes. In the former, the bottom eventually gives in to the spanking or whatever is being done to them. In the latter, the bottom prevails over whatever is being done. Erotic or sexual spanking falls into this category. I thought that was an interesting way of looking at scenes—or a good question to ask during negotiation—what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to prevail or do you want to be conquered?

Chapter Seven is addressed to bottoms—pain processing, how to care for different types of marks, that sort of thing.

Chapter Eight is geared toward tops. It includes information about warmup, tips on turning the both of you on, skin-watching (for different types of marks) and aftercare.

The warmup section included this:

To take your bottom to bliss, you have to start slowly, with a nice warmup—bringing up their circulation, letting their endorphins rev up, helping them relax into the sensation.

I’ve seen tops linger for as much as an hour over warmup, starting with gentle caresses, escalating slowly to little pats, then to light smacks, then to harder spanks…progressing to the intense stuff only when the bottoms are so thoroughly blissed out that they’re pushing their backsides out to meet the paddle, and laughing ecstatically as the strokes fall.

I’m fine. I’m totally fine. Just leave me with my pain.

The next section is turn-ons, or the things that really get people going. I think my favorite part of this is the word ‘denuding’. As in, to remove clothing. ‘Denuuuding.’ That is a glorious word. A glorious word for a glorious action. In this context, it’s when the bottom’s pants are taken down to reveal their oh-so-vulnerable hindquarters.

‘Denude yourself, slave.’

I did not like this book at all, I don’t know if you can tell.

Then Hardy gets into the skin watching section so tops know what to look for when it comes to marks and normal skin reactions. I’m not going to read it to you because it can get a little stomach-churning. I didn’t know so much damage could occur from a spanking, but this part also covers how to minimize and avoid damage as much as it possible. I haven’t yet had my first spanking, but I’m so white my inner wrist can be used to hail passing ships and I bruise easily so I’m sure I’ll be a rainbow even though I’m not madly in love with marks. Oh well.

And of course this chapter includes information on the all-important aftercare.

Chapter Nine: Implements.

I have heard that there are primarily two types of pain: thuddy and stingy. Well, in this chapter, Hardy defines those two more precisely:

Stingy toys are felt mostly on the skin, with a sharp sensation; thuddy toys echo down into deeper structures of muscle and even bone. As a general rule, the heavier a toy is in proportion to its breadth, the thuddier it is. Stingy toys tend to leave welts and, with extreme use, can open skin; thuddy toys tend to leave bruises and can, with extreme use, cause damage to nerves and bones.

Y-yeah… I should start getting more comfortable with the idea of bruises. Thuddy sounds good to me.

The chapter on implements also has information on how to aim properly.

And in addition to what to expect and how to handle various sorts of toys, there’s this about the ever-popular hand-spanking:

You can spank with fingers only, with the palm, or with the heel of your hand; with the hand flat or cupped; with a glancing blow that slides along the skin, or a straight-smack; with a popping motion that snatches the hand away from the skin almost on contact, or with deep follow-through; with many quick little smacks covering wide areas, or with slow, hard spanks with long pauses between. Experiment with keeping your hand and wrist rigid, or leaving them floppy. What does it feel like when your fingers are held tightly together, or spread loosely apart? Try drumming with two hands, like you would on bongo drums… using the heel of your hand to deliver a heavy jolting blow upwards against the base of the butt…alternating hard strokes with caresses to keep your bottom off-balance and guessing.

Holy moly. A round of applause for hands, people.

Chapter Ten is Positions. This chapter taught me a lot about myself. Mostly that I am not creative in this way. I find something that works for me during my adventures in wankland and stick with it.

This chapter was an introduction to all sorts of new spanking positions—the most… interesting of which were the diaper position and the wheelbarrow position. The diaper position is achieved by the bottom lying on their back and the top holds their feet in the air as though changing a diaper. This looks as though you’d get a looot of upper thigh, which is a little more owie than I think I’d be up for, perhaps.
The wheelbarrow has the top sitting and the bottom’s legs either side the top’s lap while supporting their own upper body weight on the floor with their arms like a wheelbarrow. It’s probably a good thing that that particular one didn’t necessarily appeal to me because I have the upper body strength of a pillow.

I would not object to seeing a really buff dude getting spanked by, like a burly Leatherman while in this position. Just, like, all glistening and oiled up. Maybe being commanded to hold that position while he’s taking his punishment… Maybe having to count off the strokes and thank his top every time. Mmmmm that’d be all right.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Most of the positions, once they had been pointed out to me, were fairly obvious, but one that I simply would not have come up with was this one:

Some bent-over positions work well when the top helps provide support. In the head-between-legs position, the spankee bends over as though they were going to grab their ankles. Then the spanker stands in front of them with legs spread slightly, and with the bottom’s head between their legs.

Dear sweet lord in heaven, I thank you for these gifts.

Hardy divides positions into three types—weight on feet (or positions where bottoms support all of their own weight on their own feet), partially supported positions and fully supported positions. She gives advice for each position, as well as multiple variations with regard to height and weight disparities between tops and bottoms.

Chapter Eleven is about Spanking Relationships, which are examples of some D/s style arrangements some people have and a note about how you don’t have to have anything like that to enjoy a proper spanky-spank now and again.

Chapter Twelve is Troubleshooting or the random things that can go wrong because humans are involved and humans are fallible.

Emotional problems, physical problems, Hardy shares what she’s learned over her decades of experience so both sides of the equation can come out the other side with as little long-term injury of any sort as possible.

Chapter Thirteen is called Tips, Tricks and Fun Things to Try, which includes some ways to enliven your spanking sessions. This includes figging.

Start with a fresh ginger root of an appropriate size, and peel off the skin and any branches or protrusions. Whittle it down to the approximate shape of a butt plug, with a flange at the bottom and a narrower neck.

I presume anyone listening to this show understands how a buttplug works. What I thought was useful info was this bit, which was in the sidebar:

If you whittle the neck too narrow, it could possibly break off in the bottom’s ass—but this is not a medical emergency; the root will almost certainly pass with the next bowel movement.

So, save yourself some embarrassment if you ‘lose’ your DIY ginger buttplug. Just relax and wait it out.

Another sidebar piece of info was this:

My sources assure me that organic ginger is hotter than conventional, and that freshness matters.

So, there you are. Saute your nether regions with some fresh, organic ginger today.

There are other suggestions in this chapter, but I particularly enjoyed the entry for ice:

Trailing an ice cube across hot reddened buttflesh is guaranteed to get a gasp from your bottom. You can spank for awhile, then use ice to wet down the butt, then spank some more. Whee!

The ‘whee!’ was in the book. I told you she was funny.

Then there are Appendices.

Appendix A is how to find others who are interested in spanking—this section includes how to vet Pro Dominants.
Appendix B is how to clean spanking implements properly.
Appendix C are the very basics of combining bondage with spanking.
Appendix D is a special section set aside just for caning. The same length as any of the chapters, it covers history and appeal and other information about the thing that shan’t approach my backside. It originally appeared in the Toybag Guide to Canes and Caning which Hardy also wrote.

And everything is wrapped up with a Resource Guide that includes a list of BDSM groups, spanking clubs, non-fiction books (not fiction because, as Hardy says “there are about three zillion hot erotic novels that are either entirely or mostly about spanking, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to list even a fraction of them here.”)

Spanking for Lovers is 167 pages long, but with a larger font and wide margins for the notes in the sidebars, along with the occasional illustration, it’s a fast read. It’s also a must-read for anyone interested in learning how to spank or be spanked safely without skimping on the hotness.

This book definitely gets a 5/5

Episode 004 Spanking for Lovers

Episode the Fourth. In which The Pageist registers for her first kinky conference, talks about why books are her BFFs and learns a whole dang bunch about spanking.

00.00 Intro & Announcements

  • I corrected some info about the Philly GRUE–which actually begins the night before the dates I’ve been stating with a meet and greet. Have a link!
  • The podcast received its first Facebook like. This was a big moment for me.

00.45 Diary Pages

  • I talked a bit about signing up for my first kink-based conference Power Exchange Summit, which is a yearly event for people in (and interested in) power exchange dynamics. I’m so excited!
  • After giving a bit of my background in books–working in book shops and how the publishing industry works–I explained my philosophy of book reviews. Short version: I’m not going to lie to you.

08.30 Book Review

  • This episode’s review is Janet W. Hardy’s Spanking for Lovers. It went on a little longer than usual because she had a lot of (good and sexy) things to say about the topic.
  • Support The Pageist! Order the book through this link and the site/podcast benefits, as well.

33.00 Closing Remarks

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • The next episode will include a review of Cooper S. Beckett’s A Life Less Monogamous, as well as some revelations about my own life.
  • Things you can do to the Pageist:
  • Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar
  • Subscribe and rate on iTunes here.
  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.

Thoughts on Secretary: Then and Now


When Secretary was released in 2002 I was immediately intrigued (because the idea of being someone’s secretary greatly appealed).

I remember liking it immensely upon first viewing, though for the life of me I can’t recall if it was in a cinema or on DVD. I do remember renting the DVD from Netflix and watching it a couple times in a row plus once with the commentary track.

This is one of many indicators of my pageism to which I was oblivious for years.

Initial thoughts were swoony ‘why can’t I have a dominant boss to organise and fetch for who will spank me? Life just isn’t fair! Hmph.’

I re-watched after my revelation about pageism being on the D/s spectrum and having learned a bit about BDSM and D/s.

This review will be a recap of the film including my original thoughts, current thoughts from a sub’s point of view and some notes from the commentary of the DVD.

[Commentary notes are in brackets and is provided by the screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson and director Steven Shainberg, who also helped Wilson to adapt Mary Gaitskill’s short story of the same name.]

—My original and current thoughts will be between emdashes.—

Needless to say, spoilers ahoy, Ahab.

This is also an extremely long post, as it’s a recap with commentary and so on (I do break it up with images and gifs from the film so it’s not the Great Wall o’Text) but so it doesn’t take over the front page I’m putting it behind this fancy break.

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