Monday, July 6, 2009


Hitting in relationships bothers me. Oh wow, what a courageous and novel stand, I know. But I'm not just talking about blatant abuse. There's two kinds of hitting I see a lot that don't really reach the level of domestic violence but still bug the shit out of me.

1) Girl hitting. "Tee hee, I'm just a little girl and he's a big strong boy, when I get angry it's just a cute angry and when I flail my fists at him it's just cute little blows!" I know an unfortunately large number of girls who think it's just fine when they get frustrated in an argument--generally not a serious emotional argument, but a disagreement--to sort of ineffectually whack at the guy and think it's funny. Like a goofy cartoon "snap out of it, sillypants!" head-bonk. Only real.

First, you're discounting your own power. The idea that girl-hitting is okay hinges on the idea that girls are harmless. Maybe you're not as strong as him, but even if you're tiny (tiny girls do seem to have particularly poor hit-inhibition), you could do some damage if you tried. You could leave a mark. Respect that. Your fists, even small untrained fists, are weapons, and you don't goof around with weapons.

And second, you are, in anger, touching someone in a way they don't want to be touched. The fact that it doesn't do real damage doesn't make it all okay and adorable. Violence isn't just about injury, it's also about violation, and cute little "ooh you rascal" swats, when unwanted, are a cute little violation. It's not okay for him to hit you as long as it doesn't really hurt--so it's not okay to hit him. Ever.

2) Dom hitting. I've experienced this one. He's so used to hitting you during sex and giving playful swats or full-on "punishments" for "infractions," that you're out of role and you genuinely displease him and he spanks you. (Or you're just walking around and he sneak-attacks, which is not morally offensive but is very annoying.) The problem here is pretty self-evident, I think: a sub's consent isn't carte blanche, and sexy-hitting should have absolutely nothing to do with real hitting.

Like the girl hitting, dom hitting in my experience is usually meant to be silly and not physically dangerous. He's not deliberately being cruel, he's just failing to realize that the difference between a little spank for being such a dirty slut and a little spank for sass mouth is huge. It may hurt the same or less, but it's crossing the consent line. And it's scary. A lot scarier, I think, than he realizes. I've ditched guys over this; if I can't trust a guy when we're out of role just messing around, how can I trust him to tie me up?

The bottom line is basically don't hit people even a little bit unless they have very specifically and explicitly asked for it. It's a pretty easy rule to remember I think.


  1. Ok, I agree...except:smack on the butt( pain, no discomfort) with a lingering grope because, well its just a nice ass.(WITH PERMISSION)
    Hitting someone in anger or frustration is never a good thing regardless of age or gender.

  2. Vinnie - Of course! Hell, I would (and have) go a lot farther than that with permission--with permission you can cut me with knives and piss on my face.

    Without permission, you've got no business touching me at all.

  3. Well I can't get away for a couple of weeks but it sounds like fun!

    What I am saying is that a FIRM pat on the ass is NOT violence. A spanking is not violence if it is consensual or your juvenile offspring. Hitting me because your pissed is a violent act. No matter how hard or where. I learned that violence begets violence. It does with me. Every time. Violence is non-consensual, Its done to you not with you.

  4. Being smacked on the ass during sex-play excites me to no end but when it happens out of context of that it hurts.
    I guess it can be hard to understand how someone can beg for it in one situation and get really pissed and grumpy the next but it's a matter of state of mind.
    At least for me.

  5. Oh, God, that first one bugs me so bad. Both for the reasons you mentioned, and also for another one--a lot of guys will let a girl get away with that, and a lot of small, untrained girls end up with the notion that they could look after themselves in a fistfight when they really couldn't.

    I've got two (large) younger brothers with martial arts training who never learned to play nice. Which means that whenever we spar, I end up pretty bruised, but I've also got a fairly good notion of where I stand in terms of defending myself. I've met girls who are 5'5" and skinnier than me who think they could take down the average guy just because no guy has ever actually defended himself against them.

  6. Aebhel - I dunno. I certainly have met girls with that attitude (and been one of them myself--something BDSM has actually cured me of, because that's how I found out that when a 220-pound man wants to hold me down, he's going to hold me down), but I don't think they get it from thwacking their boyfriends.

    I think they get it from self-defense classes, unfortunately, and from movies. I've taken self-defense classes and they certainly teach important skills but they can also create a sort of false confidence where you think "hey, no problem, elbow strike, knee strike, fist to the face and I can beat anyone," not fully realizing just how hard and fast someone in a real fight will be beating back. You practice escapes from someone who holds you loosely and lets go when they're supposed to, and you don't understand how utterly fucked you can feel when someone doesn't want to let you go.

    And in movies, of course, there are a ton of hand-to-hand fights where bad guys go down at a tap. There are a lot of scenes where, if you pay attention, the stuntmen are taking huge falls after getting barely brushed by the tip of a 100-pound heroine's toe. And then they're totally unconscious and stay down.

    Real fights are hard, they hurt, and reality doesn't know that you're supposed to be the good guy. I wish self-defense teachers, at least, communicated this better.

  7. I once seriously saw it suggested in some guy's article on "how to deal with women" (not even PUA stuff, more "how not to be drug around by the nose by hot chicks") that the guy spank a girl when she did something he didn't like. Much like your dom-hit example.

    Yeah. I was creeped. Moreso by the knowledge that he wouldn't be giving the advice if it hadn't *worked for him* and more than once.

    As to the girl-hitty thing- I don't regard myself as harmless, therefore it's never even occurred to me to strike out during an argument. In my head force means business means any disagreement turned physical may lead to weapons, which means I never take it to that place.

  8. See Bullshido for a million and one examples of smarmy guys who make a lot of money teaching children and small women that they can destroy the average adult male attacker, and they never have to get hit or kicked or cranked while they learn to do it.

  9. Also see Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller for a wake up call on how real fights are different than everything you've every told yourself. It was an uncomfortable eye opener for me.

    He also has a blog.

  10. This reminds me of what my mum told me as child "Keep your hands to yourself."

    Sadly enough , like Holly pointed out there are many adults who need to learn this.

  11. I do think things can get a bit fuzzy around the concept of "Implied Consent". For example I once slapped a girl on the ass as part the flirtation ritual. She never actually told me "It's OK to slap my ass" but given that A)We had been routinely engaged in tickle fights at this point B)It was Halloween and she was dressed in a school girl outfit that she had asked for my help with I figured it would be ok.

    Since we later ended up naked in bed together I think the ass slapping was OK. However had she gotten upset and yelled at me I would have felt really bad and apologized.

  12. I'm a big guy. I'm over six feet, and urhm, urhm pounds. I learned long ago that I needed to control my anger and temper, and that raising a hand in anger would get me into trouble. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

    And I really have very little patience for people who strike in anger. We have big frontal lobes for a reason, and as an adult if you cannot outwit your child or pet, you gotta problem. If you start slapping your partner (without their consent) you gotta bigger problem.

    That's one of the problems I have run into with women who identify as tops. They have never been socialized in the use of assertive/aggressive behaviour, and it seems to me have a problem with turning it off when it is inappropriate. Perhaps the influence of team sports on female socialization will make a difference. I don't know.

  13. DG - I love that link! Although it is a little suffused with tough guys going "this guy is so wrong... I know the real way you kill someone with your little finger."

    Keith - I'm talking about hitting in anger--maybe silly play-anger rather than fury, but anger nonetheless. That's different from hitting in flirtation. I don't think it's necessary in every situation to get explicit verbal permission for every step you take, not if you're a reasonable judge of body language and context. But hitting in even faux anger is hitting when you know they don't want it, which is very different from merely having shitty intuition.

    William - I've never seen poor physical impulse control with female tops (then again I've never really played with any), but I have met quite a few who forgot that they weren't everybody's top and were socially insufferable as a result. Maybe you're Godly Queen Mistress to wormboy over there, but to me you're just some person and I'm not amused by your "I have descended from on high to grace the mortals" attitude, lady.

  14. Holly-

    I do agree with you for the most part (God knows how many women I've met who have the 'Lara Croft did it and I took a five hour self-defense class so I can TOTALLY KICK ASS' attitude) but I do think a lot of it is socialization. A lot of girls are never trained out of hitting guys (because it's 'cute'), while most guys are trained not to hit girls. Add that to a size difference, and most men won't physically defend themselves against a woman, which leaves some women with a very unrealistic notion of how a real fight might play out. Not that the size difference has anything to do with whether or not you should smack someone in anger, because, dude, grownups don't hit. Didn't we learn this one in pre-school?