I read an interesting article a few hours ago that says yes to this very question. One I’d never even considered until this read. A woman identified her spanking fetish at a very young age… around 5 or 6 years old. She identifies spanking as her sexual orientation because sex has no interest to her at all… spanking is her sole path to sexual gratification and the person delivering makes no difference at all. The point she’s putting out is that associating sex with spanking at a very young age meant that being spanked as a punishment non-consensually had the same emotional and psychological affect on her traditional as childhood sexual abuse. She made me stop and think. Here’s the link to the article: https://medium.com/the-establishment/its-difficult-to-admit-that-childhood-spankings-can-be-sexual-assault-702d96c4617a
She touched on some really important points about childhood spanking in general and how we treat the rights to body autonomy of children across the board. I like how she treated the subject of spanking as sexual assualt. She started by saying that the vast majority of kids are spanked with absolutely no negative effects from it. Her case is rare, but there are likely others who have developed along the same lines she did. If illegalizing spanking can stop the feeling of being sexually assaulted by even one child isn’t that worth it?
This is a new topic, at least for me, and not one I’ve ever heard people talking about. It’s uncomfortable and controversial on so many levels. The very fact that it makes me uncomfortable and not want to talk about it screams that there is something to consider at the very least.
I just about jumped for joy when I read my first article about parents not passing their children to people that make them cry or forcing hugs with Grandma when they don’t want to. The reasoning parents were giving was allowing children the choice of who touches them. As adults we have this choice and enforce it ruthlessly. We try to teach kids what good and bad touch is and it’s ok to tell someone no, yet we force kids to let people touch them that make them uncomfortable to the point of being punished for not allowing it when told to. This seems so intuitive when you hear it, yet we somehow don’t think about it in daily life because for many of us it’s never been considered. Acknowledging that children have a right to choose what happens to their bodies is huge!! I think this is the very first level to be considered in this conversation about spanking in general and the potential for sexual assault.
I think the biggest issue being raised by this woman is sexual orientation. She’s introducing an orientation which is considered a fetish or kink by most people. I struggle to wrap my head around the concept of this being a sexual orientation. It doesn’t begin to fit into my concept of what sexual orientation means. Adding in the factor of a child identifying with this orientation is beyond my scope of processing at the moment. I can’t begin to imagine how parents who disown their non-hetero kids would react to this coming out?! It’s not comfortable to think of a child having a fetish, but it makes more sense to me than calling it a sexual orientation.
The more I think on this topic, I don’t struggle with the concept of a child being sexually assaulted by spanking based on their sexualization of it. Fetishes are common and many start very young. If an act is forced on a child which intentionally, or not, hits on a fetish then it’s sexual assualt. I liken it to a woman orgasming during rape. The pleasure response creates even more shame and extreme confusion because it wasn’t consensual.
Big topic. I’m curious to hear what others think. Especially those of you with spanking kinks/fetishes. A perspective I don’t have.
5 thoughts on “Can spanking a child be sexual abuse?”
I have not broached this subject because of cowardice. So I applaud your bravery.
I have been a parent for twenty two years and in that time my opinion of spanking has changed significantly. My older two daughters were spanked. I was, now I recognize it as abused, because my parents would loose their tempers and hit me with what ever was handy. So I recognized that as not something that was going to happen in my house when I married my wife. My younger children have never been spanked and my older children look at that as favoritism. I have explained it is not and I have become a better
parent. I can use the skills my oldest had forced me to learn and apply them to the raising of the following four or so children I now have almost raised to adulthood. Is the use of spanking against young children sexual abuse? I disagree. Yes, there can be sexual aspects to the practice but to apply that line of thinking to a child is preposterous. To do that simply means you were wired that way to begin with. I spank my wife occasionally as part of our bedroom antics but that in no way related to the physical punishment I dished out to my oldest daughter when I was a new parent and didn’t know any better than to give what I got.
So if your posting of this was to spur conversation, congrats. 🎉🎊🍾. 😂
But to answer your question, sure. Anything to do with spanking could be related to sex. But it was not in my and I am sure many others experience. Happy Easter my friend.
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Yes, my thought was to spur conversation. Get other’s thoughts. It’s so controversial I wanted to hear what others are thinking on the subject. You were the only one willing to bite and say anything. 🙂
I was swatted a few times as a kid and it sure wasn’t sexual. I think for the masses it’s a mute point… aside from the obvious thoughts about corporeal punishment being appropriate.
It surprises me in the community we find ourselves in that no one else took the bait. Well, I did, and I am glad for it. Not to belabor the point but there are skills one learns as one parents. I married Laura with three children. They learned me as I learned them and unfortunately, my oldest felt the brunt of my lack of communication skills. She is an adult now and I can chat with her and have about this very point. I have seen her discipline my grandson and on occasion spank him. But she has learned as I have.
Dealing with children is getting down to their level, explaining things in a way they can understand, and teaching them how to act. It takes years of learning for both the child and the parent. God bless.
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I have thought about this post from time to time since then. I have thought about it from my perspective. My mother is gone now. And it was hard to think of her as a child abuser. She was a loving and kind , caring soul. But when I was younger and I crossed her which was a lot of the time, she beat the living hell out of me or tried. It was non consensual. It was beyond my control and afterwards learned nothing but fear and how to be sneaky. So I have to change my position. Any non consensual beatings have to be abuse. And by default was guilty of it when I was young.
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It’s a tough subject, MJ. One most of us don’t want to think about. I have a hard time seeing the sexual component of abuse, but certainly the physical. My mom only hit me once or twice as a kid with the back of her floppy house slipper. I think that fact that spanking and corporeal punihsment weren’t part of my upbringing makes me more aware of how unacceptable it is. The one time my mother hit me out of anger when I was older I struck her back to make a point. Violence doesn’t teach anything except fear.
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