Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sex, spanking, and guilt in the 1950s

It’s been said that the romantic novel has had its day as romance needs obstacles to surmount before couples reach happy ever after. Barriers add an edge to their passion for each other, and that in these days of divorce on demand and where social and racial barriers have largely been removed, there is nothing to write about.

The same thought process could easily apply to sex. If it’s hard to come by or even forbidden, then its all the more desirable and exciting. This takes me back, yet again, to the nineteen fifties, a time of stifling respectability when nice girls didn’t and young men had to try and keep themselves under control. Sex outside marriage was a sin, and girls who had strayed would literally be thrown out of their family home. For the poor frustrated young men of the time, not only were real live flesh and blood females off limits to their roving hands and simmering libidos, visual and other stimulus was also careful rationed. Yes, metropolitan sophisticates could take a trip to Soho to purchase dubious books and magazines, but metropolitan sophisticates are a breed who generally find ways to feed their appetites, unlike say a boy working in a butchers shop in Cleethorpes. As for films and TV, simply forget any question of nudity or sex. Even if a couple had a passionate kiss on screen it was never staged within a bus journey of a bed as that could imply that when we turned our back for a second they were straight into the cunnilingus.

And this is where spanking comes in. Ever keen to find some way to keep viewers stimulated without falling foul of the sensors, what was wrong with film makers showing a girl being given her come- uppance across the knee of a clean jawed right thinking man who was only doing it for her own good. Girls really were spanked in those days, often with their skirts pulled up and nothing but the protection of their knickers, and if the household was strict, these were pulled down as well. That being the case, just as these days its easy to find a flimsy excuse for a girl to take her top off on camera, there was always some way to fit a smacked bottom into the plot somewhere.

It's important to get this in context. Skirts were long in those days and although underneath girls were sexualized by the hidden erotica of stockings and suspenders, they were strictly out of sight and stayed that way. Bottoms and thighs were a no go areas to be fantasised about and not seen or touched. The most a boy could expect from his girlfriend on a Saturday night was a modest feel of a breast outside the blouse when kissing her goodnight. A lot of boys had never seen their girlfriend’s legs at all, but if circumstances lead to an authority figure giving her a spanking, the man in question got to see the lot, stockings, knickers, suspenders and if he had taken it to the limit, her bare bottom as well. Film makers understood this all too well and knew exactly how to stir up seething adolescent hormones, so when the hero said to a feisty female “I’ve a damned good mind to put you across my knee and spank you!” a lot more was being implied than simple punishment. Not only was he giving himself the moral right to restrain and have intimate physical contact with her, depending how far he took it he might even get an eyeful of her virgin vagina.

In the nineteen fifties, spanking was everywhere, in comics for both adults and adolescents, in TV and films; it featured in cartoons, and even an advertisement for coffee suggested that wives who bought he wrong brand of coffee should be taken straight across the knee. No wonder that young men had a pavlovian reaction to just the thought, salivating at the word alone. For them it was a quasi legitimate excuse to do to their girlfriend what dad did to their sister, and the thought of wrestling a wriggling squealing girl across their knee and wondering how much of her they dare expose for punishment had them weeping in their pants. Never mind the nineteen fifties being the golden age of spanking, I’ve little doubt it was the golden age of masturbation.

I had a drink recently with an older man I know who has no idea about my blog or my erotic writing, and as subtly as I could I pumped him for information about domestic spanking in those days. He clearly wasn’t keen to talk about it but after a few glasses of wine, I carefully let slip that a boyfriend or two had made up for what my parents hadn’t ever done to me and that frankly I’d quite enjoyed it. It was all he needed to hear and gradually he got round to admitting that he had suffered enormous guilt for most of his young life because he had a spanking fetish brought about by all the stimulus from his young days. The problem was that because (like nudity in modern films ) spanking references were disguised as a necessary plot device and not specifically as an erotic turn on, he thought he was the only person in the world getting excited by it. He had managed to spank a number of girlfriends, but always got away with it by disguising it as a joke, and it was only in later life when people became more open about the sexual tendencies and inclinations that he realised that he was far from alone.

He doesn’t use the internet, but if he did and googled “spanking” he would find that there are more than 23,000,000 entries, which possibly means that when in those up tight days he took a risk and put a girl across his knee and spanked her he was part of an erotic vanguard.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Go to and see "How The Beatles Ruined Spanking". It's posted under author--Rollin.