Check out this awesome article by Jillian Keenan in the NY Times about revealing a spanking fetish to a vanilla partner. Very brave, and touches on a couple of points that really interest me about the Wonderful World of Spanking.
1) The idea that a spanking fetish is both sexual and asexual. I struggle with this one a lot in my books. How do I write an erotic romance if the BDSM activity that interests me most as a writer is the non-erotic disciplinary spanking? Can readers find an activity sexy if the characters don’t? Usually I solve this by having characters engage in both disciplinary and erotic spankings and drawing a line between them. I also like blurring that line. Because for my characters, there is something sexy about discipline—about the trust it requires, and the closeness. And as Keenan points out in her article, spanking is sexually stimulating, from a physiological standpoint.
2) Mainstream culture often links BDSM interests with mental illness/childhood trauma. Keenan mentions 50 Shades of Grey and the go-to movie for all kinksters, Secretary, both of which portray BDSM as a way of manifesting/coexisting with demons. This is a pet peeve of mine, because it often seems like the only way pop culture is okay with BDSM is if it can be explained, a cause identified. BUT, I do enjoy stories where characters who have suffered abuse, depression, and other traumas or disorders discover in BDSM a positive alternative to self-destructive behaviors. It happens in real life. I mean hey, whipping therapy is supposedly a thing in Russia, right? It’s just important to remember BDSM is not a cure for psychoses, or an excuse for codependency. But yes, if we could see more happy, healthy mainstream characters who just happen to enjoy a good spanking, that’d be awesome. Just to balance it out.