Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking

Ruminations, opinionated observations, darkly humorous blathering and the occasional rant from an outspoken spanko and unapologetic attention wh–, um, hog.

Catch and release

I’m in a reflective place, thinking back on certain encounters in my life. Warning: this is really long. And probably boring. You may want your beverage to be alcoholic for this one.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was a late bloomer in every way, including with men. I didn’t date in high school. I had a couple of crushes, but nothing came of them. I went through most of college in a haze of depression and eating disorders and had no social life to speak of. I never learned how to relate to boys, and I found myself as an adult completely in the dark on how to relate to men. I was naive, took people at their word, and took any attention I got far too seriously. In my early 20s, I was still a virgin, didn’t know anything about orgasm, and had barely kissed a man. I knew I was supposed to be feeling something, but I was damned if I knew what it was or how I was supposed to go about it. And of course, the spanking fantasies were well closeted and wouldn’t come out for years.

When I was 22, just before my last year of college, I was in school full time and working part time at the hardware store where I’d been for several years. Mostly boys/men worked there and there had been plenty of banter and flirting over my time there… again, nothing came of any of it. But then there was Barry. Tall, dark and handsome, 19, had a girlfriend. And flirted like crazy with me. I remember coming in one day and overhearing him say to another coworker, “Is Erica here?” When they said yes, he blurted, “All right!!” My stomach jolted. I became aware that I had been looking forward to seeing him, too.

I ended up quitting the job at the beginning of summer. My friends there suggested we all go out for drinks and dinner as a goodbye thing. Several of the guys went, including Barry. He did not bring his girlfriend. Instead, he sat next to me at dinner, drinking daiquiris and flirting blatantly with me. At one point, in front of everyone, he picked up my hand and started sucking on my fingers.

Four of us went back to my apartment after dinner, played some music, talked. When it was time to go, I walked the three of them down to the front gate. Two of them hugged me goodbye and left, but Barry hung back. So I turned to him and started to say, “Well, I guess this is—”

I didn’t get to finish that sentence, because he grabbed me and kissed me so hard, I damn near saw stars. Kissing me all the way, he walked me back to my apartment and back inside.

No, I didn’t lose my virginity to him. But we made out until 3:30 in the morning. He took my phone number. He told me how long he’d had a crush on me and how hot I was. When he finally left, I shut the door and leaned against it. A minute later, there was a knock. I opened it, and there he still was. “I didn’t hear you lock the door. Lock it.”

I was in love.

For the next week, I floated on Cloud Nine. I had hickeys all over my neck and chest. I couldn’t wait until next Friday, when I was going to go back to the hardware store to visit my friends, and see Barry again. He hadn’t called that week, but that was okay. Figured he was busy and knew I’d be coming in.

Friday came. I dressed up, went in to the store, greeted my old supervisor and everyone else on shift. No Barry. I went looking for him, and found him.

And he looked right through me. There was no warmth or recognition or attraction on his face. He was clearly uncomfortable. And my stomach dropped into the soles of my feet.

He felt guilty about his girlfriend. Said he was sorry that had happened.

Remember, I was naive. My brain and heart could not accept that he’d been so attentive, so passionate, so INTO me, and within a week it was completely shut off. I figured he must have feelings for me and was just denying them. And I’m horribly embarrassed to admit I spent the rest of the summer pining over him, going into the hardware store ostensibly to visit friends, scoping him out, trying to talk to him. I finally went as low as I could go when I invited him over one weekday, saying I wanted to talk to him, and then when he cautiously but graciously showed up, I did everything I could to seduce him. It almost worked. We were actually in my bed together, I was down to underwear, and that was just about to come off… and then he stopped. Said he shouldn’t be doing this, that he couldn’t do this, that he was with me and thinking of his girlfriend, and he couldn’t do this with me, ever.

Somehow, I got over that. I’m not sure how, as I had no coping mechanisms, no experience to help me make sense of it.

But I didn’t lose my virginity until four years later.

Then when I was 33, it happened again. The sexy waiter at my favorite restaurant, the one where my girlfriends and I would hang out for hours talking. The one who flirted with me, who wrote provocative notes to me on napkins, and who ultimately left me his phone number on a napkin. The one who became my lover, showered me with attention, told me I was “special.” Until I wasn’t. Until about six weeks later, when he drifted away and eventually disappeared.

Again, besides being devastated, I was baffled. How? How could he be that into me and then just shut it off? Where did all those feelings go? That lust? That attraction? That interest? I’ll never forget telling an older guy pal about some of this, and after hugging me hard, he said, “Oh, honey. You fell for the ‘you’re special’ line? Everyone uses that line. I’VE used that line.”

Stupid, naive me.

At 37, I befriended a coworker. When he had a birthday dinner he invited me, and I met his roommate, who was 11 years my junior. Who lavished attention on me, sweetly and adorably. Called me. Sent flowers to me at work (unbeknownst to him, that was the first time I’d ever gotten flowers from a man). Invited me over to watch his favorite movie, and then thoroughly seduced me.

It was hot and heavy and sweet and fun and so damn delicious. Until, two months into it, I made the grave mistake of saying “I love you.” We were in bed. He didn’t answer, just hugged me. And everything went downhill after that, until he broke things off a couple of months later.

By now, I’d gotten a clear message: For whatever reason, men only like me until I like them back.

Until John, of course. The man who stayed. The man who got to know me better than anyone else, who not only saw sexy and funny me but sick me, sad me, cranky me, insecure me… and stayed. Why did he stay? I still don’t know. But I’m glad he did.

But of course, all the aforementioned experiences happened before I came out as a spanko. And then, over the years while I met and experienced various play partners, I discovered the “catch and release” phenomenon doesn’t just happen with lovers; it happens with play partners too.

I know a lot of people don’t get what I have with John and how I compartmentalize play partners. It’s a sort of poly thing, but it isn’t. I made up the term “polyspankerous,” which works as well as anything. The love I have for John is in its own space, untouchable. No one is a threat to him, and he knows it. The test of time has proven that. But do I love my play partners? I have, yes. Not like I love John. But when you have that degree of vulnerability, of closeness, of trust with someone, you can’t help developing feelings. In my case, they have varied. Sometimes, it was deep friendship, like with Danny. Sometimes, it was flat-out lust. Many times, it was a mix of the two and more. Play partnerships are complex. Each one is different.

Why don’t I play with John? I certainly used to. That too is complicated. But I discovered a long time ago that, once we became a serious couple, I felt differently about playing with him. For whatever the reason, he seemed to get it, and so we’ve spent most of our years playing with other people — me with male tops, him with fem-dommes. Until his health issues arose, and he had open heart surgery. He has not played in years. But my desire to play is as strong as ever.

It’s a lot more challenging now. I’m older. I’m not involved in the public scene anymore. I’m in decent shape, but there’s no denying that I’ve aged. And, sadly for me, I am not drawn to most men my own age (John being the one exception). So I play with younger men. Which can be lovely, but it also sets me up for insecurity and self-consciousness.

And then there is that ethereal quality of play partnership. It’s a nether region — it’s not quite a relationship; it should be a friendship but many times it isn’t quite that either. It’s intense, but also easily discarded, it seems. It’s a “until something else comes along” relationship, a lot of the time. I’ve never understood why. I’m able to compartmentalize; why can’t others? A brief memory from about 15 years ago; a play partner with whom I had fabulous chemistry, but who abruptly cut off all communications when he got a girlfriend who was insanely jealous of me. That really, really hurt — I mean, again, I wondered where all those feelings went, how they could simply turn off like a faucet. Interestingly, when that relationship imploded, he contacted me and blithely suggested we “take up where we left off.” I told him I couldn’t.

And now… it seems the “catch and release” has happened again.

When we first got in contact, the messages flowed. He asked a gazillion questions. We met for coffee, sparks flew, and he sent a lovely follow-up message. When we played for the first time, that same night he sent a beautiful email, asking about how I felt and expressing his own feelings about our play.

When we met, he was very busy. He had two jobs and almost no free time. But when I said I didn’t see how we could play with his hectic schedule, he said he didn’t think there would be any problem making time for play; we were local to one another, and there would be a way. I continued to get emails and texts, unprovoked. Compliments. So many sweet compliments. Being 13 years older than he, I had my usual qualms about that, but his messages made me feel sexy and desirable.

And then they slowly dwindled. They got shorter. And then they stopped, unless I initiated contact first. He said he was slammed with work.

We played two more times. As with the first time, the chemistry and attraction were off the charts. I was able to be vulnerable with him very quickly. I wept in his arms. I trusted and I let go.

But after the play, nothing. Always a polite response when I would write, but if I didn’t write, weeks went by with nothing. Again, slammed with work.

I didn’t want to bother him. I didn’t want to be that needy, annoying person. I would wait it out. I would… oh, fuck it. I wrote and said I missed him.

The note I got back was sweet and kind, but impersonal. He enjoys playing with me. But he’s just too busy. Work. Life. Balance. Etc.

I get that. I do. But… he was busy before. It’s not like when I met him, he didn’t have two jobs; he did. And yet he had plenty of time to communicate then. When I was a mystery. When I was still interesting and attractive and compelling. Before he got close and then backed off. Before I got into him.

Catch and release. Yeah, it would be easy for me to say it’s a guy thing, that men are capable of turning feelings and attractions on and off at the drop of pair of panties and it’s just the way they are, it isn’t personal, it isn’t me. But it sure as fuck feels like me. Because it keeps happening. And every time it does, I feel a little older. A little less attractive. A little less confident. And a lot more sad.

From afar, I am intriguing and attractive, it seems. Up close is another story.

Do I want too much? I don’t think I do. I don’t need reassurance every damn minute of every damn day, truly I don’t. I don’t need to hear from someone constantly. I just need to know they’re still there. If they can’t see me, if life is interfering, I get it. I just like knowing that they want to see me. And that eventually, they will. When I have that confidence in a friendship, relationship, play partnership, what have you, my needy side recedes into the background. But this business of lavishing attention on me and then fading out is fucking wrecking me from the inside out.

Especially when I know, no matter how many people say “It’s not you, Erica,” that somehow, it has to be me.

Anyway. I don’t know where I’m going with this, only that I had to get it out. We are as sick as our secrets, as they say. I have prided myself on my honesty over the years, and I’m not going to stop now. I wish I had answers, but I don’t. And I just have to deal with this pain and emptiness, as I have on and off throughout my life. Because the only way out is through, and all those other fucking clichés. Because no matter what, I function. Because responsibilities don’t stop. Because life goes on, even when it doesn’t feel like much more than an existence.

Because no matter how much I want to be lovingly beaten into subspace and then crawl into a strong pair of arms and just disappear and be taken care of for a while, that is not an option right now.

For those who are still reading, thank you. ♥

P.S. — This blog is coming at the tail end of a really intense work week and then a weekend that was fraught with stress over a flat tire and worries about John, who had a violent reaction to a shingles vaccine. So I’m a bit raw, an exposed nerve. Still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to leave this up. But thanks for bearing with me.

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25 thoughts on “Catch and release

  1. I feel every word of your second to last paragraph. I’ve definitely asked myself how do these guys move on so fast. From my experience, even years together can mean nothing after a few weeks. I have no answers and no excuses, but I am here to support you and let you vent whenever you need. Lots of love to you! Hang in there, my friend.

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    • Jay — thank you, sweetheart. I love you too.
      Thing is… I just don’t want to do the “it’s a guy thing” thing. It’s too easy. When something happens once or twice, yeah, you can say it’s them. When it happens repeatedly, it’s time to look inward. I really do think this particular gentleman of late is one of the good guys. If he weren’t, I wouldn’t feel so damn bad; I’d be like, oh well, his loss. It’s not. It’s mine.

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      • In which case, I would argue/debate that it appears to be the nature of the situation/relationship rather than finding fault with either party. When it comes to lovers, perhaps I can still say “it’s a guy thing,” but with a play partnership is does seem different, more like a friendship in that friendships can fade in and out depending a great deal on what else is going on in each person’s life. Friends often get cast aside when life and love happen…but that’s just to say, honey, maybe it isn’t all your fault. Unfortunately, maybe this shit does just happen. Has a poll ever been taken to find out just how many people have regular play partners?

        I’m pretty sure I’m doing a terrible job of making you feel better. 😕

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  2. Jay — taking the time to comment and express caring DOES make me feel better. It makes me feel loved. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous on said:

    Heartfelt and very honest. I have been a Spanking enthusiast nearly all my adult life, but never had a relationship with a woman which featured it as a primary part of our sensual life. Now in my late fifties, that may never happen but at least my understanding of the dynamic is made easier by post like yours. Cheers.

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  4. Like Churchill said, when you are going through hell, keep going. Life is a journey. Flat tires and all.

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  5. “I discovered a long time ago that, once we became a serious couple, I felt differently about playing with him.”

    I have noticed the same thing in myself. I don’t understand it. Given long experience with my own mind’s tricks on me, maybe the explanation is one that I don’t want to understand. But if that is it, it does not get me closer to understanding that about myself.

    For me, spanking is not inherently catch and release, that isn’t the explanation.

    Also, women do the catch and release thing to men too, and often. I’ve had the same puzzling experience with it, and so has just about everyone I’ve ever been close enough to know.

    I have no answers on this, just my own questions.

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    • Mark — I certainly can’t explain what changed with John and me. But it was definitely on my end, in my head. Somehow, as I fell more in love with him, I couldn’t, I don’t know, take him seriously as a play partner anymore, if that makes any sense. I like the air of mystery, a bit of edginess, of the unknown with my play partners, not knowing what they’re going to do. With John, it was like I knew him too well, and instead of his spanking me getting me aroused and making me happy, it got me upset.
      We are strange creatures.

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      • Perhaps what we need from and give to a significant other is different from and inconsistent with what we need from and give to a spanking partner.

        What all those things are could fill volumes.

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  6. Erica,
    I haven’t read the others’ comments yet, so I apologize if I am repeating what anybody else is saying, but I want my response to you to be in its purest form…….

    Have you ever thought that some of these men actually wanted MORE of you and not less, but because you have your solid relationship with John, they eventually just back out of their spanking relationship with you? Do you think from the beginning of each new relationship, even though you are honest with them about John being your steady guy, that they are trying to get some of their spanking and emotional needs met by you and that is enough for them ….until it’s not?

    For you, it’s polyspanking and you can somehow compartmentalize and not cross sexual boundaries you have in place for your self even though you admit (I think) that you have those feelings, but maybe it is too painful or confusing to them because they DO feel emotional and sexual things for you and they want to act on them with you, but they can’t ….. so perhaps they think it’s actually you rejecting them, but they know they only have themselves to blame.

    Take care of your heart. I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. It’s understandable the way you feel. I just think from the reasons I stated above that perhaps it truly isn’t you or anything you did or that you’re easy to leave at all …….. maybe they wanted the parts of you that belong to John. Hugs and hang in there. Windy

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  7. I am so very sorry.

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    • Windy — you’re very sweet. I so appreciate your thoughtful input. That’s an interesting take on this, and one that is very flattering to me, but I just don’t believe it. I am no great prize in the relationship lottery. Yes, I am loving and fun and empathetic and giving to those I love. But I’m also neurotic AF, scared of many things, a depressive, moody, reclusive, a lot of things many men would not want to put up with. So why on earth would any of my play partners want more of me? They get to have the fun stuff — me half-naked sprawled over their nether regions. They get to see me happy and blissful and playful and at my best. John’s the one who has to put up with all my crap. I’m not trying to put myself down, just trying to be realistic. John and I are oddballs in this world. We fit together and complement each other well. But I don’t think I could ever find another man like him in my lifetime, who would love me so unconditionally… and stay with me.

      Pam — thank you, my friend. Just emailed you.

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      • “a lot of things many men would not want to put up with”

        So who isn’t? Point to me this paragon of womanhood.

        While you’re at it, point to a man so gifted. You are not so loving of John out of a misguided notion that he is perfect, any more than he thinks that of you.

        I know my wife’s many faults, and she knows at least one of mine for every one of hers. It’s a choice. We made it.

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  8. Leave it up! You are describing the human condition so beautifully, the things that many of us feel, but are too scared to admit to others. I love it!
    I find that this pain, loneliness, the feeling of not being just quite good enough is equal in all relationships. And when we are somewhat dismissed like this, we can’t help but take it entirely personal. Because we are incapable of not getting emotionally involved. Otherwise we wouldn’t do it. I sometimes wonder do I envy the people who can be so detached.
    I guess we all just want to be loved, accepted, appreciated and knowing we matter. And for the other party of any relationship, regardless of its nature to be genuine, true and to care about our best interests. If it ends then, we wouldn’t feel hurt or discarded. If that makes sense.
    Keep up the great writing! 🙂

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  9. Anonymous on said:

    Yes, women catch and release too. Been there, done that and was hurt more than I’d usually care to admit.

    You are a valuable and courageous woman. I agree with Jen. Leave it up

    Anon E. Mouse

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  10. Mark — I know that no one is perfect, male or female. I’m just saying sometimes I think I’m more imperfect than average.

    Jen — thank you. I suppose laying myself out like this makes me even more vulnerable, but I don’t know how to be anything else. I’ve been expressing myself through writing since I was a kid.

    Mouse — thank you. It seems I was mistaken in assuming the catch and release thing belonged to just one gender. Maybe I need to talk with more men…

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  11. Through the years I’ve been lucky to know you, this sort of sharing of your heart has meant so much, and I hope you don’t delete it. First of all, it’s pretty brave to be so open in a public forum, vulnerable, showing some profound aspects. I always love your stories, and how you tell them, and your razor wit delights and inspires me, but being let in like this engenders an even deeper love and respect, especially when I think that there might be someone else going through similar experiences that will know (s)he is not the only one.
    I think I’ve written what I was feeling without being too corny about it.

    Like

  12. Anonymous on said:

    I enjoy reading your blog. Your posts are always well written and often thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  13. Erica,

    I believe the original context of that term was that anglers were required to free any fish they caught that was smaller than a specified size. The idea was that the fish should be allowed to thrive and grow. Perhaps that analogy is apt. I suggest that you have plenty of adventures, both spanko and vanilla, yet to be experienced.

    Please know always that we, your loyal friends and fans, love you regardless of any distractions life throws in your path. I wish your mirror showed you what we see. You are a treasure. Sending you big hugs and wishes for happier days ahead.

    Bonnie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie — I like your take on the phrase. I knew it was about fish, but I figured it was more along the lines of “the catch is fun, but we don’t want to keep it.” Thank you for the kind support. I wish I knew more of you guys in person. I could certainly see myself having a coffee with you.

      Liked by 2 people

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