The first part of Fiona Lewison’s true story about her journey into the world of spanking.
PILLOW FIGHTS AND MIDNIGHT FEASTS
“My journey into the world of spanking began when I was a spirited schoolgirl at a special place called Malory Towers. I was generally studious and diligent, but I could be naughty too and that meant a punishment from the house captain. But this was only fair, and I was, in any case, madly in love with the house captain, even when she bent me over the end of my bed and I felt the sting of a hairbrush on the seat of my pyjamas. Punishment was justified and necessary, and a girl’s bottom was the best and safest place to suffer that retribution. The house captain was just doing her duty. She was looking after me. She loved me too. I knew this because she was kind to me afterwards. I had paid the price for my naughtiness, and the slate was wiped clean. She cuddled me, and I was safe and happy again.”
This was a recurring fantasy as a young girl, and I’m sure I’m not alone in blaming Enid Blyton for a lifetime’s interest in the subject. In my daydreams under the bed covers, I was spanked frequently, always by older girls and always with love. It was this combination that I found so profoundly attractive, even though I had no idea why at that tender age. It is still the case 45 years later. In between those times, my feelings have swung wildly. I have had spankings that were exhilarating and erotic, but the best and most rewarding (and the most useful) were those that had driven my imagination as a child: the elements of love and discipline combined in a punishment administered for my own good. This, for me, is perfection. Of course, the motivations and implications of such an intimate act are very different as an adult. The ‘house captain’ didn’t want to punish me, and she certainly didn’t enjoy doing it, unlike the men I’ve encountered since, but the result, for me, is much the same.
I grew up in central London, just my mum and I, and my childhood was a happy one. There was no formal corporal punishment at either of the schools I went to, and the worst you could get was lines or detention. I suppose I was in trouble about as often as anyone else. Pretty normal, really. My first real experience happened sometime in my mid-teens. My mum and I were staying at my uncle’s house in Worthing. I had behaved atrociously one afternoon, and my uncle lost his temper and gave me a single smack on the seat of my dress. It caught me completely unaware, and I remember being so shocked that I just stood there in disbelief. Then I was overwhelmed with embarrassment, and ran to my room where I burst into tears. My mum was very cross with my uncle, and I could hear a heated discussion downstairs as he tried to defend his actions. But as an adult, I believe that he was right to smack me. I was young and stupid and I’d been deeply offensive. Such methods are unacceptable now, according to most advice on the subject, but this was a very different time.
I still think it taught me a valuable lesson, mainly that I never wanted my bottom smacked like that ever again, or so I thought at the time. It was, of course, the beginning of everything.
In 1977 I was a student nurse at Westminster Hospital, which is now posh flats. I shared a room with a girl called Sarah in what was nurses’ accommodation on Rochester Row near Victoria station. The circumstances of the next shock I was about to receive are still shrouded in mystery, and perhaps deceit, but one of the nurses had somehow come by a rather risqué magazine. It was called Swish!, and it was full of pictures of girls being spanked. I was aware of the concept; I’d been smacked playfully by a couple of boyfriends. But I had absolutely no idea that you could buy a magazine devoted to the subject. They certainly weren’t for sale at WH Smith or John Menzies. Suddenly it all seemed a lot more serious. I leafed through it quickly, feigning a complete lack of interest. I joined in the general chorus of dismissive comments. It was “silly”. It was “perverse”. It was for “dirty old men”. One girl said indignantly: “I’d never let a man do that to me!” We felt a collective sense of virtuousness in our disapproval. Yet someone had bought it, or found it, or borrowed it. I still don’t know the truth.
My ‘problem’ – and I did consider it a problem back then – was that I was deeply fascinated by what I’d seen. The irony, of course, as I learned later, was that Swish! wasn’t a great example of the genre. In fact I thought it was rubbish, and still do. But it was my first, which puts it on a kind of pedestal. It did the job of awakening me to something that had obviously lain dormant for some time. I’m sure it found an audience and enjoyed some success, but for me Swish! just didn’t cut it. It was like looking at a saucy seaside postcard, or watching an end-of-the-pier pantomime. The girls were either giggling throughout their ‘ordeal’, or had an absurdly melodramatic expression reminiscent of an amateur dramatics production. And there was always the suggestion that being spanked was just a bit of fun; an act of foreplay before the ‘main event’, which in those days seemed to be sex with a stupid looking man with long hair and a straggly beard. For me, Swish! missed the point entirely. It belittled what I felt had to be a serious subject.
The next stage in my awakening took place in a newsagents somewhere in south London. I can’t remember exactly where it was, but it would have been sometime in the early 1980s. I was 22 or thereabouts. Alongside the usual top-shelf magazines was something different. I now know that it was Janus 12. I was so captivated by the cover that I lost all sense of reason and bought it. It was the most shocking thing I’d ever done, and I know I was blushing deeply as I handed over the money. The shopkeeper just smiled at me, and slipped it quickly into a brown paper bag. I’m grateful to him to this day for his discretion. I’d had visions of his holding it up and shouting across the shop to a colleague: “Just sold another of those spanking magazines, Fred!” I like to think he was a Janus fan too.
I rushed home to my little flat in Pimlico, poured a glass of wine and sat down to immerse myself in this new treasure. It was everything I’d anticipated. This was not a bit of ‘fun’, this was serious punishment. The girls weren’t enjoying it, they were hating it. They were frightened and embarrassed. It seemed completely real to me. As I expect everyone here knows, the model on the front was Gilly Norton and I thought she was wonderful. I believed in her as a schoolgirl, I believed the look of fear on her face, I believed the pain she seemed to suffer as she was spanked and caned by a man, someone who would obviously be interested in the contents of a young girl’s knickers. I could imagine the shame and humiliation. It was wrong, it was dreadful, it was delicious. And, of course, I wanted to be Gilly Norton.
Not long after this, I discovered, quite by chance, the Janus shop in Old Compton Street. I’d met a girlfriend for a drink, and saw the sign from the other side of the street. It was like a bolt of electricity down my spine. A week later, on a rainy Saturday morning, I was standing in that same spot across the street wondering if I’d ever have the courage to go inside. I imagine I’m not alone in having walked past the door several times doing an absurd circling of the block, trying desperately to suppress my fears. Was there someone I knew behind me, or in front of me? Worse still, would there be someone I knew inside? I was shaking, and thought a drink might help. A stiff gin and tonic later, I took the plunge. It was like an Aladdin’s Cave, and I remember a sense of fear and enchantment at the same time. There were maybe five or six men leafing through the magazines, and they all looked up to see who had come in. This, as you might imagine, was not ideal. To make matters worse, one of them hurriedly walked out. He was embarrassed, I suppose, and that made me feel awkward and guilty. The last thing I wanted to do was spoil anyone’s enjoyment, because I was there for the same reason. I was also very conscious of causing the shop to lose a customer. I considered leaving, but I just couldn’t. It had taken every shred of my courage to enter, and I was determined that it wouldn’t be a waste of effort. In any case, I was drawn to the shelves like a magnet. I quickly discovered that Janus wasn’t the only magazine that took the subject seriously. There were copies of Roué and Blushes that seemed impossibly naughty to me. Like Janus, most of the covers didn’t have images of anyone actually being punished. It was implied, very cleverly I thought, rather than in-your-face. These were covers that resonated directly with the intended audience without explicitly communicating the subject matter. It was sophisticated and compelling: a girl looking down, or into the distance, or over her shoulder at the viewer; an unhappy looking girl taking a cane from a cupboard. It was abstract to the point of obscurity, but I knew what was inside. I felt like I’d joined a secret club, and that I was hugely clever and knowing. It was an exhilarating and emotional moment.
Eventually, I picked two magazines that featured school punishments (I’m afraid I can’t remember what they were) and practically ran to the counter at the front of the shop. It was only then that I noticed a selection of canes hanging up by the door, and for a moment I didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. I’d never seen a cane before, and it forced me to realise that this whole thing was even more serious than I had imagined. I must have been staring at them, because the next thing I knew the man behind the counter was saying (and I remember this vividly): “Just those two, love?” He was a big chap, but he spoke gently and quietly and put me at my ease. Most importantly, he treated me with equality, just like any other customer. No innuendo, no winks, no inappropriate remarks. I was simply a woman buying a couple of spanking magazines. Nothing remarkable about that. If he’s reading this and recognises himself, I would like to thank him very sincerely for being so kind and helping me on my journey.
One of the magazines contained a photo-story about a schoolgirl being punished by her teacher. Nothing unusual in that in the world of spanking magazines, but to me this was in a different class (as it were). It had an atmospheric foreboding that really quite frightened me. The ‘punishment room’ was cold and austere, the teacher brisk and business-like, yet indicating by a glance and a lascivious grin that he enjoyed this aspect of his job perhaps more than he should, and the girl seemed genuinely apprehensive. It almost felt like I was looking at some stills from a documentary on corporal punishment in schools. One photo stood out as encapsulating the awful reality of such an act. The girl is kneeling on the seat of an old school desk, and the teacher is in the process of pulling her knickers down. She is looking round at him with a mingled expression of fear and resignation. Her bottom is a private and very personal place, and it is being stared at by a man. It is horribly exposed and vulnerable, and the reason it’s so powerful is that there’s absolutely nothing she can do about it. There is no alternative, there is no escape. The photo has remained in my head ever since, mainly because I found it abhorrent and stimulating at the same time. From that moment on, I knew something very important about my sexuality.
The second part of Fiona’s story, ‘Dear Janus…’ can be read here.