The Clare Spark Blog

September 21, 2014

Spanking, sex, and the NFL fracas

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 10:00 pm
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Spanking Club, 1935

Spanking Club, 1935

On his Friday “live audience” program, September 19, 2014, Sean Hannity went over the NFL controversy, his attention frequently wandering to child abuse, which he read as part of “Southern culture”; hence the stigmatizing of “child abuse” is  discriminatory toward a region where corporal punishment is the norm. (Hooray for “Southern culture”—that always had a reputation in the North for pseudo-aristocratic conduct, violent manliness, and dueling. I am not fond of theories of regional character any more than I am of theories of national character. See

I then commenced to plotz. For Hannity repeated over and over that his own father had taken the belt to him when he was bad, but he, Sean Hannity, had never laid a hand on his own children. Moreover he had lived in several Southern states where other kids got “whooped” and look how well he turned out, in spite of his childhood travails, which are apparently part of a regional culture, and resistant to change. (For the left-leaning BBC’s view of the controversy, foregrounding black modes of punishment, see For an entirely different view see this infographic disseminated by an online psychology degree outfit:, which I recommend highly.)

Back to the Hannity show. My mind immediately wandered to the sadomasochism collection at UCLA, where I spent two anxiety-ridden weeks looking at the misogynistic and often pornographic collages, photographs, and drawings of Steadman Thompson, a now deceased middle-manager employed by a Pennsylvania corporation. There are 52 boxes of his stuff.

Here is what I learned about spanking from two weeks in another’s sick brain. Children who are spanked cannot have orgasms in adulthood without being spanked by their partners. It was as simple as that—at least in the materials collected by S.T.

Similarly, on the last episode of Masters of Sex, Dr. William Masters gets over his two-year bout of impotence after his alcoholic brother slugs him hard on the jaw. Bleeding, with perhaps a broken nose, “Bill” refuses nursing attentions from his mistress Virginia Johnson, and returns to his former manliness and the performance principle. Meanwhile, his icy wife, Libby Masters is volunteering at the local office of CORE in St. Louis. Let’s see if she warms up after consummating what looks like a budding relationship with a black man.

Image (115)

For more on what I found in the Steadman Thompson collection, see


  1. The major difference between 1935 and our present era—is the brutal candor regarding S&M activities. So-called ordinary people openly discuss them. The author who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey is a millionaire many time over. I can only shrug my shoulders.

    Comment by thomsondavid — February 23, 2016 @ 4:05 am | Reply

  2. A very interesting piece though when you look at the study results of the referenced source they don’t seem to come to any conclusions except the usual liberal one that there are no firm absolutes. If true then where would relativism come from ? Like the idiots who claim only grays but then there would be no grays if there were no blacks and whites.
    I used to be opposed to spanking but now I’m more equivocal since I have witnessed so many undisciplined brats running loose. Only if there is actual serious physical abuse should the state get involved. Otherwise a parent has the right to deliver a normal hands on spanking to the bare behind of a delinquent child. If I had a child and for instance I heard them use the K word to describe Jews, they would receive an immediate spanking with enough serious (not brutal) smacks on their behinds to make the idea known that this is unacceptable behavior.
    My boyfriend was once threatened by some Jewish women militants with a public spanking because of his opposition to Zionism and revisionist views on both world wars. He met with the women and he agreed to be careful to show the proper amount of sensitivity to their concerns without sacrificing the integrity of his own views. They parted cordially exchanging phone numbers. I thought this a reasonable solution with my only caveat being that there are so many quite attractive Jewish women that I hope he doesn’t run off with one of them some day !

    Comment by Marcy Fleming — February 4, 2016 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  3. You write: “Children who are spanked cannot have orgasms in adulthood without being spanked by their partners.” This is of course nonsense. Spankings as sexual acts among adults — indeed, all aspects of BDSM — are a great deal more complex than one would perhaps wish; see, e.g., M. A. Buchanan’s article “Identity and Language in the SM Scene” (Verbatim: The Language Quarterly, Summer 1999). In my own researches I have met people who enjoy such practices who were never spanked as children but for whom as adults it is an integral part of their love-making, and others who WERE spanked as children who thoroughly enjoy it as adults as part of the mix but for whom it is not a prerequisite to orgasm. (This is also true of some other paraphilias as well.) William of Occam famously warned us against multiplying entities beyond necessity; but the opposite is also true: One should be careful not to collapse multiple categories when the distinctions between them are significant.

    Comment by Nick Humez — January 20, 2016 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

    • It was the opinion of the sources I read in the Steadman Thompson S-M collection at UCLA that spanking in childhood required spanking during intercourse in adulthood. I am not a sexologist, but a reader of documents, as are other historians. I do believe that there is much more sadism and masochism in everyday life than many are willing to admit, including intellectuals, who seem to thrive on taking abuse from their superiors and contemporaries.

      Comment by clarelspark — January 20, 2016 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

  4. What surprises parents of my generation — those who got smacks and spankings as kids and who more or less agreed that we deserved it — is how the rules changed somewhere in the mid-80s without a lot of discussion on the proper way to discipline unruly children. Suddenly, everyone from daycare providers to teachers to policemen to doctors — anyone with access to your kids — was on the warpath for evidence of child abuse. We learned that the disciplining behavior of our parents that we attempt to imitate is now criminalized.

    I blame the McMartin Daycare case which had every parent in America concerned that his child was being secretly abused by a nanny or uncle. Much of the propaganda was stating that one in seven children was being physically or sexually abused by a trusted adult. The McMartin accusations were groundless and make an excellent case study in the manipulation of children in “rooting out evil,” but the incident and the subsequent trial created a child abuse hysteria which continues to this day. It also laid a foundation of case law granting social workers and state child welfare departments unprecedented secret police powers to seize, hold, and interrogate children without parential consent. In fact, more often than not, parents became the focus of allegations of abuse, and since the accuser was usually a child or the interviewer of the child, and thus protected, the parents had no way to know what the accusation was, who made the accusation, or even where the abuse was alleged to have taken place.

    I was one of perhaps millions of parents who suddenly discovered themselves facing prosecution. To this day, what I was accused of or even if the abuse ever happened was never made clear to me. Instead a found myself facing a series of false witnesses and untrained (or unethical) “professionals” testifying against me. There was, in essence, a child abuse industry that was geared up to take down the abusive fathers (and some mothers) hiding in the shadows.

    Thankfully, people like public policy activist, Douglas J. Besharov, stepped up to question the tactics used by the child stealers. Besharov made the claim that incorrect investigation and bad prosecution of child abuse cases was harmful to children who were actually being abused. He was one of the few that had any “common sense.”

    Culturally, the psychological damage is done. Adult spanking may once have been a fetish derived from common childhood beatings, but painful sex has gone from a taboo subject to a main stream obsession with a terrible double-bind. Everyone is free to fuck anyone else, but anyone can be accused of rape or abuse on the flimsiest of accusations.

    We have all become the criminals, and a trip to the jail cell is only a phone call away.

    Comment by stereorealist — September 22, 2014 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

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