I love keychains. I have several different items that I carry with me besides keys. Among these include my London Tanners piece of leather and a bear in bondage. I also have a little paddle that says “OTK” on it. I’m not really shy about my kink. In many ways I’m fortunate because I can afford to be so open about myself. That said I wouldn’t take my keys out in front of my parents at Thanksgiving dinner and I would never want someone to approach me on the street with my family.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking today about symbols. How do people living certain lifestyles or having similar interests indicate this to people of like mind? Some codes and symbols are well known. Most people know what a wedding ring is. Religious symbols are highly recognizable. Some gangs have tattoos and/or colors. Most people know about the gay pride symbol. Does the kink community have anything similar? Sure.
The leather community often uses a hanky code in order to indicate specific interests. There is also a leather pride flag. Members of the BDSM community often use tattoos, collars or brands to show their commitment. There are symbols for polyamory and for swingers. Yet, I’ve never found anyone claiming to have a specific symbol for spanking.
The closest I’ve come across are the OTK bumper stickers you sometimes see online. I suppose it is also fair to say that if you see a grown woman walking down the street in a school uniform you may be able to guess her interest. Still, I question why it is no symbols have developed. Why is it that some groups feel a need for codes and symbols while others do everything they can to hide?
Do spankos have more inherent shame about their kink than those who identify under the broader BDSM umbrella? To a certain extent I think the answer is yes. There are other reasons of course. Maybe some spankos simply don’t feel comfortable with the broader kink community and don’t want to have to explain their limits. Some may simply not want to expose their friendly community to that much exposure. There are any number of reasons why we may not have a symbol.
Still, I’ve been to spanking events where there were rules against collars and other BDSM symbols. I’ve seen rules against homosexual play and I’ve watched those with whips shunned by those with paddles. I think part of the reason we as spankos reject symbols is because we are afraid of being labeled as “like them” - and “they” are to be feared because we don’t understand them. If we were to embrace our kink and make it recognizable someone might associate us with gays, or swingers, or BDSMers. Heaven forbid! Symbols often separate as much as they unite.
Am I saying I think we need a symbol? No. I don’t think anyone should be forced to label or define themselves if they don’t want to.
This is turning into a very different entry than I intended when I began writing so I hope you all forgive me if it doesn’t flow totally logically. I guess I’m just finding myself appalled lately that kinky people are turning against other kinky people. It’s so cliche but it’s also true. The standard attitude nowadays is, “My kink is OK but your kink is not.” I’m sorry, but I’m tired of it. The rest of the world already thinks we are freaks, do we need to do it to each other?
None of us chose to be this way. We all have to struggle every day to reconcile our needs with a need to fit in and pass in vanilla society. Those who are spanking purists are not better or less creepy than those who like to dress up in leather and use bull whips. They also aren’t any more normal than foot fetishists or people into age play. There are people out there with rape fantasies. This is OK. Any fantasy and any kink is OK.
Let’s be grownups for once and recognize everyone else’s right to the same. Do what turns you on. Enjoy it. Just remember that the sick freaks that you are uncomfortable sharing a ballroom with at the next spanking party are judged no less harshly by you than you yourself would be in vanilla company.