Regaining headspace when “life” gets in the way: maintenance spanking
The concept of maintenance spanking is often linked to heteronormative Judeo-Christian marital domestic discipline practices based on biblical gender roles and sustained by bible verses, sometimes found by the name of the “Taken In Hand” (TIH) relationship model.
“Female Lead Relationships” (FLR) might also partake in them; all of which wish to set themselves as far apart from BDSM due to the strong stigma our lifestyle and practices have.
For our purposes, I’m stripping it from all of that and making a point of approaching maintenance spanking from a gender-indistinct point of view focused on power exchange dynamics using the terms s-type and d-type.
While the references I will make from Kink Academy’s* body of work will touch on dynamics such as M/s, D/s, DD, the resources provided are meant to give a starting off point, rather than prescribe what your dynamic should look like.
Maintenance spankings fall within the umbrella of consensual-non-consent practices inside a power exchange dynamic. Mistress Simone provides a general framework in her series on “Domestic Discipline”. I have to stress that this is not role-playing; this is not punishment, “funishment” or an erotic, sensual experience. This is not correction (the s-type has done nothing wrong) and it must never be done out of anger.
A maintenance spanking comes from a place of mutual commitment to the dynamic. In Dan and Dawn’s “Foundations of M/s: Introduction”, there is a line that encompasses the concept perfectly: “I take care of Dan, Dan takes care of the relationship”. It is a tool through which this commitment to take care of the dynamic can be useful.
It has nothing to do with the d-type lacking in authority or failing to provide it. It’s not that the s-type is becoming unmanageable and falling into bratty behavior and needs to be “put back in their place”. Maintenance spankings are an anchor. Something to regain balance when “life” gets in the way and the power exchange layer of the relationship suffers from neglect.
They are a very intimate means through which you reconnect and strengthen your bond through physical contact. Thus, I don’t suggest any instruments be used other than your bare hand.
It can be calming and centering and may serve as a way for you both to regain the proper headspace and reassure each other of your roles, as well as a way to replenish the energy to the dynamic you’ve chosen to live.
This type of tool demands communication.
You’re both responsible for bringing attention to the need for maintenance. Be it the s-type’s feeling that they’re slipping and need a bit of readjustment in headspace, or if the d-type is feeling a disconnect within themselves or picking up on a potential slip in their s-type’s behavior.
In Mollena’s “Sustaining Submission in a Relationship”, she goes into detail on how to handle that kind of communication. To paraphrase: real life sets in and gets in the way and it’s the s-types responsibility to let their d-type know when things are not going well. It’s their responsibility to take care of themselves so they can take care of their d-type so they, in turn, fulfill their commitment to take care of the relationship. There must be a safe space coming out of a place of love and humanity where these things can be discussed and constantly check in when things are going well or not going well if the dynamic is to be sustained.
Quoting Dawn once again as an s-type : “I am allowed voice, we just build structure about how I’m allowed to have that voice.”
It’s ok to slip, it’s ok not to “feel it” regardless of what type you are, however, rather than let things build up and escalate, being pre-emptive about it can reduce those slips. These spankings can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. They can be scheduled according to your dynamic’s needs: a quick spanking in the morning and before bed, scheduled weekly, bimonthly, monthly or on an as-needed basis. It all depends on what works for you.
A ritual can even be made out of it. Amy Jo Goddard in “Rituals for Your Sex Life” talks about rituals as a way to bring intention, connecting to ourselves, our partner, our growth and experience.
Intention and meaning are what make a maintenance spanking different from other types of spanking or impact play in general. In a beautiful video by Cleo Dubois, Madame Dubois gives an example of a ritual she performs pre and post-session. Where she places a collar on the other person to make it clear there has been a change in mood and intent. When she’s done, she removes it and brings the person back to the moment, asking for feedback. This is an example of how you can structure yours.
As with everything, a maintenance spanking must be discussed and negotiated in detail before it takes place, making sure there are no triggers, whether either of you needs or doesn’t need aftercare, as well as any other pertinent information before enacting them in the dynamic.
If aftercare is involved, both of you must be very detailed about your needs for both your minds and bodies to regain balance, harmony and for everything to stabilize.
The following resources are a good starting point if you think this is a tool you’d like to explore:
Mistress Simone’s “Domestic Discipline Series”
Selina Minx’s “Intro to Negotiation”
Mollena’s “Service Submission with Mollena”
Sinclair Sexmith’s “Ideas for D/s Protocol.”
Princess Kali’s “Intro to Spanking”
Scotty and Alex’s “Sensual Spanking”
Dan and Dawn’s “Foundations of M/s.”
Madame Dubois’ “Starting BDSM Exploration”
Daddy Vinnie’s Aftercare
Lucky Albatross’ series “Aftercare: An Overview.”
Sarah Solane’s “Driven to Tears: Aftercare”
Shanna Katz and Ten’s “Aftercare Negotiation” and “Aftercare Demonstration”
Princess Kali’s “Aftercare”
Kitty Stryker’s “Ideas for Aftercare”
*This isn’t a sponsored post