Jesse Thomas-Hall is a Zen Spanker. If you’re like me you won’t know what the hell that is. Just what does a fellow who’s been following the path of inner alchemy who has mastered meditation, martial arts, Chi Gon, sexual alchemy, energetic healing and self-transformation mean when he tells me he’s a Zen Spanking practitioner and instructor. I get the feeling this was not a suggestion from his school guidance counsellor. Okay, so my pants aren’t down but I’m bent over in anticipation…
‘Zen spanking is in the niche that I refer to as conscious kink,’ says Jesse.
Jesse explains how he tries to marry kink, as in BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Sadism & Masochism – basically being tied up and punished), with Tantra.
‘Tantra is very yin,’ he reassures me. ‘It’s very holistic. With kink, it’s much more yang – basically it’s about intensity.’
Weirdly I’m more comfortable with kink.
Okay. I think I am going to need more information. I can tell that Jesse has done this before. I guess that makes me submissive. But interestingly in his play, the submissive maintains control.
So what actually happens in a Zen Spanking session?
‘In the format you explore impact play – pretty much any sexual play that two people or more engage in where one of them is getting struck by the other – that can be done by all sorts of implements, floggers, paddles… you can spank with your hands.’
You will be relieved to know that in Zen Spanking it’s just bare hands. Put your floggers down. (I really have to get a flogger.)
Jesse classifies the body to help keep the Zen Spanking ‘safe’.
‘You have different areas of the body classified in the different ways. The buttocks are a green zone; they are fleshy and you won’t do any damage by striking them quite hard.’
I think we can all attest to that.
‘The buttocks can take a lot of intensity,’ says Jesse. Once again I have to admit he’s right. The butt can really take some punishment.
‘The base of the feet is also a green zone. They are the only two green zones,’ according to Jesse. Then we move onto yellow.
This is still an area that is safe to strike but can’t take as much as the green. Here we are talking about backs of calves and thighs.
However if you are in the red zone, you have to be really careful; you can’t really spank but if you do you have to be very gentle. Red Zone is a place like the anus or vagina. Ay Caramba!
And there’s a purple zone too. The testicles.
Generally the Purple Zone is off limits. Unless it was communicated otherwise. Communication is key in Zen Spanking.
‘You have to communicate what you are comfortable with,’ says Jesse.
‘We pair up and start connection practices. We talk about the structure of the experience – in connection we practise meditation.
We do eye-gazing with the partner to meet them in the space and feel into them and we connect the breath to energy. These are ways to create opening; it’s designed to help people open and to connect energetically.’ Jesse demonstrates with a partner before the Zen Spanking begins.
Now you have to decide. Are you top or are you bottom?
The top is the person giving the spank and the bottom is the person receiving. This is where Zen Spanking differs from kink.
‘Normally the top would be in charge; they are the boss and there would be a safe word in place for the bottom.’
In zen spanking top and bottom switch it up in the power department and its the bottom person who is empowered with the control.
‘The top is in service to the bottom,’ says Jesse ‘and tries to create an experience they want to have because the person on the bottom has to keep letting them know.’
From what Jesse says, your idea about what is going to fulfil you can be very different in practice. Hence the need to have the connection with your spanking partner.
‘You have to feel into it,’ says Jesse. ‘You want the greatest opening, and that is tuned in on the bottom, and feeling if the experience is open or closed. Likewise the person on top has to feel into it as well. You have to ride the edge of what you can handle. The real gift and the real power in the experience is in the space held by the bottom; they are in surrender and experience opening – you can reach altered states of consciousness. The person on the top has to support that. Sometimes it’s pleasurable. The person on the bottom will be having orgasms without genital interaction. Sometimes the people have processes where they break down and cry. It can bring up unresolved emotion and it will pass. You want to allow them to express themselves.’
So I still can’t decide if I’m top or bottom. I’m thinking I’m more of a top, but then the bottom has control, and I do like a fair whack of that. Oops, pardon the pun. (That’s my safe word.)
And I do have a pretty substantial green zone.
I could be a park.
What I want to know now, is it pants on or pants off?
‘It depends on the context,’ says Jesse. ‘I usually make people keep underwear on although at Taste of Love it could very well be naked. I will feel into what the feel is with nudity and how comfortable people are with being nude.’
As I suspected, it’s more fun nude. Everything is more fun in the nude. Except perhaps parent–teacher nights.
‘Skin on skin is a deeper connection than skin through cloth…’
Something Jesse is keen to communicate is something he calls ‘aftercare’.
‘The other massive gift in this experience is not just the gift of being spanked, it’s the aftercare. I feel aftercare is even more important than the spank itself. If someone has an opening they can be vulnerable and after each practice we have 5–15 minutes of aftercare time when the top holds the bottom like a baby and they care for them. This is a time where you reflect experiences and say what felt good.’
Nothing like a loving cuddle after a good hard spanking. I’m there.
The Art of Zen Spanking is one of the unique experiences available at the Taste of Love, Australia’s biggest Tantra Festival.
20–22 January at the Byron Community Centre. For ticket and program information go to tasteoflove.com.au.