Spread The Word (Or Don’t)

Many women in the scene admit that they “talk” about who is a good player and who is not. The flip side is less true.

One of the great things that comes out of a party like Shadow Lane is the fodder for writing about the spanking scene. There are so many conversations surrounding what we do and different people’s thoughts about it that I could write for another month just on what I participated in or overheard.

I’ve heard over and over again that bottoms talk about who they consider good Tops because, in effect, they are trying to help their fellow bottoms find the kind of play they want. This may or may not be one hundred percent true but it’s what I hear. Recently, the discussion turned towards asking whether Tops do the same – do they talk about who is a good bottom to their fellow Tops. Sandy asked me the same question recently and I have to say that in more cases than not, Tops (especially male Tops) do not do this.

I have more than one explanation for this. Somewhat facetiously but perhaps truthfully, males feel a sense of competition amongst each other. If they know a bottom is a good play partner, their thought process is to keep this to themselves rather than spread it around so that they don’t get lost in a sea of requests to this bottom to play. How I put it during the discussion in Vegas was that guys like to “hoard” rather than share and foolishly believe that this particular bottom is uniquely enjoying their attention rather than the fact that there are most likely many Tops out there who feel the same way. In essence, they are trying to gain a feeling of importance by being this persons “special” play partner rather than simply a play partner (albeit perhaps one of their favorites).

I think another reason and one that is not wrapped up in selfishness is that men are raised to believe that talking about what they’ve done with a woman, especially something sexual or bordering on sexual, is impolite and reserved for guys that are crass or have no class at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say in the scene that you don’t “Spank and Tell” as if doing so is a major breach of etiquette. This sense of having to be polite is also a contributing factor for why men don’t talk about partners as much as women do.


17 Responses to “Spread The Word (Or Don’t)”

  1. Unique insight Rad. Women have always done this regardless of whether its a top or a b/f. I think it is our innate maternal instinct that makes us want to take care of each other. A sisterhood of sorts. There is nothing malicious about it – at least from what I can see….but especially in a play scene – we want our fellow bottoms to be careful and get what they want. It’s interesting that even though this is 2008 – we still have differences in the way genders interact. I see it as genetics more than culture based.

  2. barb: I don’t know the breakdown of nature versus nurture when it comes to this sort of thing. I suspect it has something to do with the way evolution has created the human males as well as the way society molds them.

  3. Rad, I have to agree with the second part of your post. Unless I’ve personally established it with a specific partner, I won’t talk about playing with that person in any sort of public setting. I’ll talk about meeting individuals, I’ll talk about playing with someone in a generic fashion without naming them, and I may even talk in private with others I trust and who know of the scene about specifically playing with an individual, but other than that, I don’t “name names” unless it’s clear she doesn’t mind.

    As for the first, I’ve seen that. I don’t personally do it, but I have seen it.

  4. Chris: I agree with that. Although I don’t want women to miss out on the chance to play, I also don’t want them to be accosted by men who might have overheard me say something about a specific person’s play style.

    Like I said, if asked, I might say someone is a good player or good role player or whatever.

  5. Interesting. A decade ago I didn’t say something about a Top I had an experience with and have regretted it ever since, as he went on to duplicate my experience with at least two other women. I might have warned them had I been paying attention in the community instead of hiding my head in the sand and Chris’s shoulder, but I didn’t. I don’t live with regret or anything but I think there is a place for honest impressions on both sides of the table.

    As for the man’s perspective, I have noticed the masculine restraint that you write about, Rad. I admit to having wondered in the past if a sense of pride was involved when things clearly didn’t work out. And I have noticed a cultural reaction even in vanilla situations in which men are either pitied when their partner turns out to be less than ideal (flake, liar, cheat, etc) or admired because the man was able to keep his mouth shut about it.


  6. I had not thought of things quite this way before. In the BDSM subculture confidentiality is key, so I don’t talk about specific people I top though I have no problem if they talk about me (I play publicly alot so folks know I get around anyway). What I had not considered before is asking a good bottom if they want me to spread the word. When I bottom I definitely *don’t* want to be talked about, unless I want someone to help me hook up with a particular top. I spend a lot of time evaluating potential tops and prefer to ask them on my terms and give references if needed.

  7. sparkle: Having a negative opinion about a player is often a judgment call but less so if something dangerous happens. I don’t think it’s out-of-bounds for a bottom to give her opinion about a Top who might not be all that he or she claims to be.

    Wednesday: So it’s not that you don’t want to be talked about when in bottoming mode just that you would like to be in control of who talks to whom and when.

  8. Interesting topic. At a spanking party, it’s pretty rare for me to spank someone more than once or twice. So not sure what the benefit of hoarding would be. Not sure it would do any good to try either… since spankerss seem to have their own ideas. If they’re interested in spanking someone, I doubt I could change their mind with my critique. If I were to say something like… “she’s not much fun to spank”… I’m thinking an interested spanker would want to decide for themselves.

    It’s different for spankees though. They’re in a far more vulnerable position as far as limits and such go. They also only have so much bottom to go around. A bad spanking scene could ruin a party for them. So there is far more risk in the “I will decide for myself” approach.

    I think that has a lot to do with the differences in how information is shared. Though certainly the reasons you outlined are a part of the mix too.

    As for how I approach it… I think I’m pretty open, so long as it’s okay with the spankee. Heck, I’ll often blog about a spanking at a party. Not exactly keeping it a secret. At the actual party though, I think I’m more likely to pass on recommendations ~to spankees~. Like I said… spankers don’t much care what I think.


  9. Todd: Thanks for your comment. I had not thought of the fact that many spankers would not heed a recommendation from another spanker, preferring to see for themselves. Interesting.

  10. I like these comments. I myself, as a bottom, would love to be talked about in a good way. I tend to think it can be one-sided. Women may rave about a good top but i don’t hear the other side expressed as much, so I sometimes take it personally and feel that as a bottom I’m not that special. (I know this is not true; at least I think I bring something unique to a play session, but it can feel that way.)

  11. I will be the first to admit that not all play partners are equal (like that’s some big revelation). There are certain people I love playing with and those are the partners I seek out time and time again. Something about the experience hits all the right points for the way that I like to play. The problem is that I don’t know how to articulate that to someone who may be looking for something else.

    For example, I played with someone this weekend who I feel was a good role player – someone who was able to get into a certain mindset and stay there from beginning to end. Unless I met a guy who wanted to do that sort of role play, I might not suggest this person as a potential play partner because that is not what they are in search of.

    Another example would be the kind of person I like to play with when I want the discipline to feel real. How could I suggest them as a play partner for someone who likes discipline if they are not willing to be disciplined by that person? Tough choices.

  12. The problem is that I don’t know how to articulate that to someone who may be looking for something else.

    One part of the equation that may be missing here is that a lot of the female bottoms in the scene have, over time, narrowed down what they like until they are able to articulate it fairly clearly. Among my female friends I know what they like a lot, what they tolerate, and what really doesn’t do anything for them. It is easy, then, to play with someone and realize immediately that a certain friend would likely totally click with them (chemistry is another story).

    I’m not sure that male tops (don’t mean to be sexist, but this the dynamic I am most familiar with), talk at length (ad nauseum?) with one another about what they like and why.

    Some of the most amazing spanking partners I’ve ever had have come through the recommendation of friends. It adds a lot to my perception of safety, as well as a knowledge that this person might relate to be because we have XYZ in common.

  13. dawna: Good points – especially the observation that male Tops do not speak with each other as much as female bottoms do amongst themselves.

  14. Rad,
    One of the things I absolutely love about FMS is that our tops are so generous with each other. There is no hoarding. In fact, if we have new members (tops), Ian, Tony and others will make sure to take them aside and let them watch a scene -of course with the bottom’s permission- and often instruct them in the use of implements. I’ve never seen anything like this done anywhere else but it’s a wonderful thing to behold.

  15. alona: I’m sure newcomers to the scene would benefit greatly from the sorts of suggestions offered by the veterans.

  16. k (of M & k) Says:

    I appreciate the “don’t spank and tell” code which is honored by the tops I play with. I think it may be a function of my age, because when I was in high school there was no embarassment worse that having your reputation trashed by the guy you necked with at a party the weekend before. I only dated guys who didn’t kiss and tell. And today, even though I am a self confessed slut, I really don’t want someone talking about our scene and naming names. Talk about the scene, talk about how much fun it was, talk about how red my bottom was and how I squirmed across your lap, but don’t use my name. I never play twice with someone who names me afterward and I don’t usually play with someone whom I have observed bragging about their spanking conquests and naming names.

  17. k: Thanks for your thoughts. It really depends on the comfort level of the person being talked about. Some folks don’t mind, others do. However, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and assume the person does not want to be talked about – it’s safer that way.

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