Subject: The Vanishing Father-figure

I'll begin by paraphrasing something which a woman said recently. She lamented -

"When you blokes want your bum whacked it's easy, if you've got a bit of money. You just lookup the personal columns and take your pick from all those professional women. But say you're a stressed-out business-woman - like me - and you're absolutely hot for it. You want to be caned 'til your nose bleeds. What do you do? Trying to find a professional dom or top in this country [Australia] is like looking for rocking-horse excreta - very difficult to find. Yes, I've got wimpy boyfriends who would 'try' it, but they go right off it when I say I'm not interested in sex afterwards. They just can't understand that what I want is a good responsible caning, with no strings attached"

She has framed her 'problem' as though it has an easy 'technical' solution. All she 'needs' is a competent (presumably male) caner. 'Can you put ten consecutive full-force strokes into a two-inch-wide strip on my bum?' And who can blame her. We live in a technological age, where everything has a technical 'fix'. And I have seen many men step forward, believing they had the credentials. Unfortunatley, they failed to notice that the ground they were walking over was strewn with the picked-clean bones of predecessors who had made the same fatal misinterpretation.

For I believe that men and women are looking for entirely different things in a caning experience. And I'm here using 'caning' in a generic sense. It includes any flagellatory experience.

For men, a caning is entirely punishment. History and society favour them, because the archetypal disciplinarian is a woman, in the form of mother, nanny, nurse, teacher, guardian, governess, mistress. The male's need of punishment is very well catered-for. Perhaps significantly, I have NEVER heard a male requesting a sensuous caning.

If there is an equivalent archetype for the female it is very hard to discern. Her needs are seen as inextricably linked with sexual connotations. Now I'm not implying that no woman contemplates sexual coupling as the joyful sequel to a caning. But I am saying that is it is VERY unwise to assume she does. In fact, I'd go so far as to say she would forego the caning entirely if she could get what I believe she is really after - the vanishing father-figure.

Psychologists tell us that father-daughter relationships are the least satisfactory in any family. Young women are growing-up without the benefit of an adequate male role-model where they need it most - right there in the home. Generalising from a small number of cases is dangerous, but all the 'successful' father-figures I have heard of shared two things in common. They were great providers and preparers of food. And they were great conversationalists. They could tinker with the family car, and then go and select the best fish from the markets. And they could enthrall their families - especially their daughters - with inspiring stories and speeches. Those daughters would have followed their father anywhere.

I believe that, for the female, the caning experience is largely cerebral. All of her great canings occur in her brain - her largest sexual organ. She desperately seeks a male figure she can respect, without risking abuse. Sadly, she may as well search for the elusive rocking-horse excreta. I imagine that what she yearns for lies deep in our beginnings. When the women and children huddled around the camp-fire, straining for any sound of the returning hunters.

If the men were sullen and silent, the women and children would respectfully avoid angering them, but at the same time be grateful that somebody had tried for food. On the - probably rare - occasions on which the hunters were talking excitedly, and displaying the results of the hunt, there would be much rejoicing. As the women accepted the food they would be participating in the great universal act of submission by all species - the taking and eating of food. And when they had gorged themselves, they would sit comatose around the fire, and listen in awe as the men related and embellished stories of the hunt.

Perhaps, for women, these are their archetypal disciplinarians. Not the stern cane-wielding teacher, but the confident male who can both feed them and their offspring, and fire their imagination. The father-figure, who seems sadly-lacking in our culture. If a caning was necessary, it would seem as natural a part of the scheme-of-things as the mist that came with the morning.

So these days, if asked by a male how they might find a caning partner, I reply, slightly tongue-in-cheek, 'Well, you might begin by growing a herb-garden, and doing a course at the National [Australian] Institute of Dramatic Art' :-)

Eric Carwardine, in Perth, Western Australia (who hopes his epitaph might be 'He taught her to enjoy her food again')

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