Let me start with a disclaimer and an admission: I make my living writing about the sexual fantasy of male dominance. My books often include scenes of rough sex and punishment. Spanking always factors into these storylines. Sex sells these days, especially sex with spankings. In the wake of the blowout success of the “Fifty Shades” book and movie franchises, there’s no denying that the fantasy of the dominant man who spanks is popular among women.
But today I read something that tugs at the one misgiving I sometimes have about writing in the spanking sub-genre—the existence of those people who don’t understand that this is fantasy, or who actually think that spanking an adult against her will is a good idea.
Matt Forney is a blogger you’ve probably never heard of. But thanks to Slate.com, you may be hearing more about him in coming days. Slate featured Forney as one of the political bros who showed up at the RNC Convention this week to support Donald Trump.
Slate selected Forney to spotlight the kind of supporters Trump attracts —the racist, misogynistic, xenophobic element of the Republican party. Slate also spotlighted some of Forney’s writing, including gems like “Why Fat Girls Don’t Deserve to be Loved.”
But it also included a piece he did called “How to Beat Your Wife or Girlfriend and Get Away With It.”
His “advice,” and the reason I’m feeling physically nauseous at the moment? Spank her.
Forney argues that spanking is the perfect way for a man to “inflict the maximum amount of pain on a woman” while incurring “minimal risk” to himself. In a particularly chilling passage, he argues that such a humiliating, sexualized punishment nearly guarantees the abused woman won’t go to the police, and crows that if she does, her report will easily be dismissed as a lie:
"Since most girls want to be spanked, it’s extremely unlikely that she will ever consider your weekly whippings to be “domestic violence.” Even if she doesn’t like the sting of your palm, her sense of shame will keep her from reporting you to the police. No girl wants her private life to become public knowledge, meaning that unless you’re a complete idiot, she will endure just about any humiliation you inflict on her. For that matter, even if she did report you to the police, they’d never take her seriously, which will further embarrass her. If you’re really worried, making a videotape of the two of you having rough sex will destroy her credibility in the eyes of the police, as if she were making a false rape accusation."
I don’t think I have to spell out the dangers of such logic to my readers or fellow authors. When we write, we cater to spanking fantasies. These never include a man spanking us abusively until we cry. The men in our stories are noble. They are never loutish, nor are they abusive. The trope of the caring dominant is a mainstay in our books, or at least most of them. When I started writing spanking fiction twenty years ago, my first editor gave me a word of advice that I've followed to this day. "Never have the bad guy spank the girl," she said. "No one wants to be spanked by the bad guy."
She was right. Women don’t fantasize about bad, mean, misogynist men spanking them because a bad, mean, misogynist man doesn’t know the difference between a woman’s desire for roleplay or subspace and his need to control through abuse. I don’t believe for a second that any one of my readers who enjoys stories of the cowboy spanking the cowgirl for riding off alone in dangerous territory confuses such a scene with a man who beats his wife’s ass for disagreeing with him. In his column, Forney says, "I wager the divorce rate would be halved overnight if men would just give their wives the occasional backhand." In case you're not perfectly clear, this is the opposite of the caring dominant. Even if - as some have argued - Matt Forney is just a lonely troll, his words pain the image of the bad guy you don't want spanking you.
There's something else I want to point out while getting all of this off my chest. I know that within the community of fans and readers is a dark subset of those who agree with Forney and for very dangerous reasons. I’ve read writings on “Christian Domestic Discipline,” which postulates that Jesus endorses nonconsensual, marital correction of wives by the male head of household. Just for the record, I think anyone who believes that is just as crazy as Mike Forney, and if this hurts my book sales to say so, then so be it. I have never shied away from politics and I’m not about to start now. As a writer and a feminist, this is too important.
Spanking as a fantasy is not about control. It is about surrender, but the temporary kind that brings pleasure to both the dominant and submissive. It’s not about the kind of permanent, fearful surrender and brokenness that men like Mike Forney seek.
The fact that some people may misinterpret my writings as an endorsement of Forney's sick views is why I go out of my way to state on my Web site and author’s page that what I write should be seen for what it is: escapist fiction, and that I do not advocate any adult spanking any other adult who does not give consent.
I can't imagine that any of my readers would agree with Matt Forney. But if you do...if you are in the narrow minority that is in any way wistful for a man who would spank to silence or control you, please stop buying my books. Seriously. Just ... stop. My books are not for people who believe in Real Life non-consent. They are not for women who desire to be ruled by insecure bullies who lack nobility. My books are escapist fantasy meant to turn you on in the bedroom. They are not guidebooks for how to behave outside of it.If you can't tell the difference, please take your business elsewhere. The safety of women is far more important than any money I could make selling a book to someone who doesn't understand.
Ava Sinclair is the bestselling Amazon author of "The Alien's Captive", "Lucy and the Doctors" and the "Little History" series that includes "The Doctor's Little Ward," and "The Highlander's Little Lass." Under her other pen name, Elsa Black, she authored "Big Beautiful Little," as well as the popular age play Eden series. She urges her readers to remember that her books are to be read through the lens of erotic escapism.