Imprinting the Fetish
Where do we learn our fetish desires? In the white-hot lust of youth perhaps. Those moments of first discovery that continue to resonate down the years, with a non-diminishing echo. The image, the word, the action from which we can date the rooting of a green bay tree that flourishes in the mind and the loins (for the unique and fevered human attribute of imagination will always drive our actions). Such imprinted fantasies may be derided as the products of immaturity, to be dismissed or reduced to trivialities when 'mature' sexuality comes upon us. Yet adult sexuality and power provides us with the means of realising in fact what as adolescents we may only imagine, and the capacity to bless and relish those inappropriate sins of youthful fantasy.
Let Colin Wilson describe his own experiences:
At the time of my own sexual awakening, in early adolescence, the sheer intensity of the drive was a permanent nuisance. I felt like that man in the joke who has to strap his penis to his leg to prevent a permanent bulge in his trousers. Even the sight of women's underwear in a shop window or on a clothes line was enough to cause a rush of adrenalin.
One day when I was about twelve, a girl came round the corner on a bicycle, and her dress blew up in a gust of wind, showing a pair of blue knickers. She smiled with sly amusement, obviously quite unembarrassed, but for me the sensation was like being kicked in the stomach. The image came back to me for weeks afterwards, and it seemed unfair that God should fill the world with these infinitely alluring creatures, but reserve them for older men. What about all the sex-starved twelve-year-olds?
The sight of a girl in her underwear was enough to make me salivate like a Pavlov dog, yet there was no way of satisfying this desire.. Undressing and making love to her was no answer, for that was quite different. It was settling for something far less exciting than my glimpse of the girl whose skirt blew up on her bicycle.
Colin Wilson, The Devil's Party, Virgin Publishing, London, 2000, pp. 8, 9-10
Wilson is less than sympathetic to the young man he was, who persistently found that arousal only came when knickers were present. Nudity was a dampener to desire, a promise of the disappointment and flatness he finds in post-orgasmic lassitude. He does not comment on what to me seems pretty apparent: that his moment of awakening, of seeing that which he was not meant to see, a glimpse of the private in a thoroughly public place, is not a trivial or annoying burden that confines his adult sexuality. But it is the moment of creating a sexuality not authored by grown-ups, morality, or some external authority - a libido which is constructive, not limiting.
In my early spanking-aware days, this contradiction provoked much soul-searching. The image of a naughty, school uniform clad, adult female draped across my lap as I lowered those school knickers with relish. The excitement I felt -- and still feel -- when I recollect childhood spanking experiences. The games which were engineered to require the loser to be spanked. The hours spent leering at the girl's netball team as they practised after school, pleated skirts flipping up to momentarily flash tightly clad rumps. Was I turning into a pervert? Where will it all end?
Many years on, I have been fortunate to exercise my fetish to the full, and exorcise those pangs of guilt. Did any of these experiences involve children? No way. Did I ever feel the urge or the need to involve children? No. I discovered that the true eroticism lay in the donning of a school uniform by a mature female. Perhaps it is in the contrast between adulthood and girlish apparel?
And it is not just the male spanker who wants to dress his subject as a schoolgirl, while she reluctantly plays along. Many a mature female fantasises about having her pleated gymslip raised for a spanking...
Re-Presenting the Past
Let me be clear. I'm a grown-up. Amongst other things, playing the schoolgirl is, for me, wildly erotic. Now this might be a slightly confusing state of affairs because, despite what I say above, I have no erotic investment in the time when I actually was a schoolgirl. Memories of the uniform, the powerlessness, the subordinacy of that time are at best a source of irritation at petty authoritarianism and at worst reminders of some nightmare hours. So if it isn't an act of recreating the erotic thrill of the past for me, what is it about donning a school uniform and playing that role, with chastisement and all the other little nuances we deploy, that I find to be a launch-pad for submissive excitement now?
One obvious answer is that it gives me the kick of erotic humiliation I have written about elsewhere on the site. The uniform and the role give both a defined identity as somebody with no power, and also create an oscillation between the role I play and the person I am in everyday life that is powerfully embarrassing, creating a strong sense of being overwhelmed by the position of submission I find myself prepared for. (It can also disconcert the neighbours entirely by accident!)
But there are other elements than humiliation working in me. I am wearing clothes totally unlike anything I would wear at any other time and I find myself, without play-acting, adopting the body language of a slightly awkward girl-in-trouble, dragging her feet as she brings home a bad school report, tie askew, school shirt not tucked in neatly, socks drooping, delaying the moment when stern judgement falls on my head (my head?!) but knowing full well it will come. And that it will sting. The shorter the pleated grey skirt, the more effort goes into pulling it down to its longest. And the fuller and snugger the school knickers, the more naked and vulnerable I feel when they are lowered.
Being caned is, for me, very submissively exciting. Being caned while playing the schoolgirl can be mind-blowing. The combination of uniform, role and implement, with the accompanying phrases of rebuke and the legitimisation of the cane within that scenario, offers a kind of authenticity (which is of course in literal terms spurious) that constructs a logic, a completeness to the scene where the imagination may draw upon any number of sources, both from experience and culture. As I think about it now, my schoolgirl fetish has a lot more to do with the stories of boarding school life I read as a child than anything that actually happened in my childhood. Yet even with those tales, I adapt, I amend, I augment, fleshing out a skeleton of a role with submissive yearnings to be overpowered, dominated and chastised.
When the World was New
Looking and acting like a schoolgirl are not the same as being one. No way would I ever want to be fourteen or thirteen again for real, no way. But there is a freedom in playing a child (for want of a better shorthand term) with the power I now have as an adult which is an utterly distinct mental and physical thrill. It is the freedom to have all the pleasures of being an adolescent (a hyper-inquisitive child with strong sexual urges and wants) without the disadvantages (maths, acne, bullying, double PE, bitchy girls and ignorance). The body language, the words, the tone of voice seem to erupt out of the past when the uniform is put on. But the memory-bank does not also send the miseries of really being a schoolgirl. It is an idealised imaginative representation of something that could never have been then, but which provides a reservoir of kinky possibilities now. All with that frisson of innocence and newness encapsulated in that uniform and the rituals of punishment.
It is a blissful kind of on-going fiction production, this schoolgirl fetish. It may be such a common fantasy role-play because virtually all of us have been to school. We have a pool of cultural ideas and experiences on which to draw, to transform the mundane real into a sexual theatre with a rich script of behaviour and feeling. Some might make the understandable error of conflating the real schoolgirl with the adult schoolgirl, but we can grant ourselves permission to indulge in a complex negotiation between past and present, to wallow in the never-was and never-will-be of youth, taking the resonating garb or word as the premise for wicked pleasures.
So what are the important components of an adult schoolgirl's 'uniform'? It probably varies between each of us, but for me, my preferences rely on those dimly (and probably inaccurately) remembered schooldays.Knee-socks?Definitely.
The skirt (unlike our young lady opposite) should not be too blatantly short, but perhaps just an inch or two shorter than its wearer would prefer. And here I am in accord with Mr Wilson, since those illicit glimpses of schoolgirl knickers as she is required to carry out some task or other (especially bending over!), satisfy that same yearning which he felt.
And what about those knickers? No skimpy straps of lacy nothingness for me, thank you. They should be full-fitting, and grey or maybe dark blue. And snug, so snug that she is embarrassingly aware of the leg elastic nipping into the tops of her thighs, acting as a constant physical reminder that she is not dressed in her usual fashion.
The shirt should be white or pale blue, but it is easily possible to substitute this item with a business-style blouse, always available on the high street.
And what really turns what may be a slightly inaccurate mix and match of garments, is the tie. Take any mix of white blouse and black or grey skirt (preferably pleated for easy raising when the time comes), and add a diagonally striped tie - instant schoolgirl!
And finally, hair-style permitting, a pony-tail, pair of plaits or bunches will almost certainly convert your favourite sex-bomb into someone else entirely.
Interestingly, recent excursions into the world of "Neighbours" and "Home and Away" schoolyards have produced some fascinating variations on the theme.
Adult Schoolgirls in Uniform
The lamentable Julie Birchill, writing in The Guardian last year, deplored the erotic fetishisation of schoolgirls and their uniforms in kinky culture. She sought to demonstrate the absurdity and sickness of the fetish, which she saw as a kind of misplaced paedophilic fantasy, by asking rhetorically if there were any examples of schoolboys in shorts and grey socks being represented as the object of lust, to which the expected response was of course 'No'.
Well, in the latter case she's wrong, since at least one manufacturer of fetish school clothing is marketing a schoolboy get-up for grown-ups. And in the former case she's so far off base that all she succeeds in doing is demonstrating intolerance and ignorance about those with a sexual inclination towards adult schoolgirls. She also utterly ignores those adults who like donning the gymslip in erotic scenes.
Just what is the thrill of those short, pleated skirts, white socks and sensible school knickers?
Extracts from the editorial to The Schoolgirls/Uniforms issue, #8 of Fresh Petals Spring/Summer 2000
The English school uniform. Promoted as an aid to conformity and regulation in an age of piratical Empire and class snobbery. Yet, as anyone who has ever worn one will testify, uniforms are an enduring palette on which the nascent powers of juvenile subversion and fetishism dabble with an erotic fascination -- for instance, school-children's reaction against school uniform gave us the swaddling-clothes of English punk-rock iconography - the slashed and cut school tie, the scrawled-on white shirt, the drainpipe trousers, ripped stockings and hacked short hair which were any punk's trademark in 1975-6.
On the other hand, school uniform's pristine perfection has featured in countless tacky magazines catering to those with various yearnings and passions left-over from their schooldays, as well as in a few slightly more classy erotic publications and films. A prime example of the audience for such material might be England's beloved poet Phillip Larkin - national poet-laureate in the 1970s - whose love of illustrated magazines chastely depicting the corporal punishment of schoolgirls is well documented. With 'Conquest', a fellow devotee, he scoured the Soho bookshops for suitably arousing stuff, and traded titles by mail. "Bamboo & Frolic are the tops, or rather the bottoms: do pass on any that have ceased to stimulate" he wrote, and "Minuit Cinq has some good rears in it now and again, and I've taken out twelve months' sub." "I got the pictures --- whacko. I admired the painstaking realism of it --- I mean, the teacher did really look like a teacher, and I greatly appreciated the school-like electric bell on the wall..." In hundreds of letters recently discovered, he and novelist Kingsley Amis swapped elaborate sexual fantasies about schoolgirls and lesbianism. Larkin invented a fictional girls' school called Willow Gables, and imagined the sexual goings-on there. Some of this got into his first novel, Jill. Biographies also back up, but gloss over, the fact that Larkin kept drawers full of magazines showing girls in school uniforms.
Such erotic reveries would have had a real-life counterpart for Larkin, living as he did in a time when Englishness had not yet been abolished. Today the schoolgirl novels seem increasingly to be destined to be antiques for book collectors, the old school uniforms are donated to children's museums or the thrift shop, while Mr Chips' mortar-board moulders in the attic, and a generation seems to be quietly fading away.
Mixed schooling in England would have been unthinkable to Frances Mary Buss, progressive & egalitarian pioneer of girls' schools, and it must have been inconceivable to the boy's prep-school masters of 1900 that both the 500-year-old public school system and the grammar schools would pass away in their lifetime. But what was unthinkable in one generation becomes the norm in the next. Perhaps in another hundred years it may be deemed wise to re-create similar institutions of single-sex schools, cultured bachelor teachers, school uniforms, and the cherishing of the more wholesome English traditions such as fairness and tolerance of eccentricity - but hopefully these would also be based on more egalitarian, child-loving, Kibbutz-like tenets than the old ones of 'Empire-building', racial superiority and class-snobbery.
In the meantime, what are we to make of the uniform fetishism which the 20th century leaves behind it? Are there any insights in the medical literature (often itself as tarnished and dusty now as any 1930s geography school-book) and its curiously taxonomic pronouncements upon fetishism?
We are told that fetishists are allegedly 'highly sexed'. But such judgements are variable across time & culture -- what was highly sexed in 1900's Vienna may be thought positively virginal in 2000's Prague.
We are told also that fetishism is a male defence against impotence-fears. Certainly so much personality and energy is often integrated into this kind of fetish, and its repression by the state, that we might suspect that some kind of fear acts as a driving-force. But alternatively some might view it as a sexual equivalent of a male 'hobby', no more psychological than, say, collecting railway-tickets.
More recently, fetishism has been theoretically linked by feminists to wider areas of power and control, dominance and submission, authority etc. These areas may be allied to some fetishes but we should be wary of assuming they are necessarily bound up with them -- lifestyle fetishists tend to be a very exclusive/exclusionary bunch, and it may be that power-dynamics that would lie dormant in a solo fetishist become awakened amid the peer-pressure of 'living a lifestyle'. Perhaps this is more relevant to, say, the bondage scene, but it also has resonances for admirers of school-uniforms - especially considering the sadistic tone in some Japanese school-uniform manga cartoons.
Certainly we can say that fetishism is often a two-way street. Schoolgirls become aware of the fetishistic nature of their uniforms and explicitly enter into play-flirting around the uniform, sometimes causing school-wide outbreaks of "very-short skirt shortening" which has the women teachers in a flap, the schoolboys imprinting their lifelong erotic preferences like crazy, and every adult male within a five-mile radius in a sweat. And many Catholic schoolgirls have testified to the ease with which even a simple plaid jumper [woollen top] can be subtly shortened and accessorised to transmit a variety of erotic signals sure to bewitch the most bashful young Jesuit.
So we can say that uniforms seem to inscribe identity as a fixed category for both parties, and that part of the pleasure (and risk) for both parties may be in undermining the fixity of that identity -- the "beast in the bushes" turns out to be a mild-mannered schoolgirl sock-sniffer, while the schoolgirl may actually be far more sexually experienced and far less innocent than her demure uniform proclaims her to be. There are few fetishistic relationships, real or imagined, where desire travels in one direction only. Consent and collusion are equally part of the fetishistic imagination. We can see this kind of imagined gender/age role-reversal played out across the smuttier kinds of comic portrayals of English sexuality -- humour often takes its power from presenting hidden truths -- in Benny Hill via 'seaside postcards' to cartoons in 'adult magazines'.
Perhaps there is something of a 'power play' in the condition of thralldom, for the voyeur - of being deeply engaged with observing and of a moment-by-moment responsiveness to 'noticing girls', and of the risk of being noticed in return. And one may be equally in thrall to a metaphoric fantasy projection which no 'real' girl could fulfill.
Some will try to bring a school uniform fetish to the status of an 'act' safely, within an existing adult relationship. Where there is an attempt to introduce uniforms into a pre-existing adult relationship, therapists apparently will tell anecdotes of an unsympathetic response or even relationship breakdown. But there is something dishonest about such a reaction. I would argue that in fact it is 'straights' who are just as much heavily invested in, and fetishize, clothing - but their fetishism is perceived as "normal". Whereas 'out of bounds' fetishes around clothing - school uniforms for instance - are assumed to be 'symbolic' of some deeper darker drive. Yet a uniform fetish may ultimately only be 'symbolic' of something as innocent as fond youthful remembrances of heavy-petting with little Julia Smythers-Hyde behind the school's bike-sheds.
Ianthe. May 2000.
The lucky few will find that the young lady in question still has her old school uniform tucked away at the back of the closet. And maybe it still fits!? And why has she kept it all this time anyway? Maybe some unspoken yearning to be tipped across a firm knee and spanked in it has been gnawing away all this time?
But for many, the old uniform is long gone, or would look foolish on a more mature figure. So now what, you can't exactly pop down to the local M&S to kit out your 40-something lady in school-wear, can you? Although, I wonder how many 'Large' size grey school skirts have been purchased for an absent "niece" over the years?
The following is a list of possible sources for a 'mature' school uniform:
- Typical High Street stores should never be ignored
- Discount stores selling "out-of-fashion" clothes can be especially rewarding
- A couple of yards of material and a sewing machine can yield useful results
- Traditional school uniform suppliers may well be able to equip a suitably-sized young lady (My! Aren't those absent nieces getting larger these days??)
- Ann Summers is not completely oblivious to our penchant, and some of the better-stocked sex shops carry a range of garments
- and finally, specialist web-based 'kinky' clothing suppliers:
Your own personal recommendations would be most welcome here!
And finally. Not realistic enough for you? What about this for vanilla authenticity?
Victorian School Museum
Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
Tel 01834 811310
Open the door on a genuine Victorian School classroom, sit at a 100 year-old desk, take up your slate and pencil and get a real taste of school days in the nineteenth century - both young and old will be captivated by this unique step back in time.
The museum features an artefacts room with displays of toys and memorabilia from school life throughout the years. A videoroom shows a documented view of those early school days, and our Victorian classroom brings it all to life! We've even recreated the playground so you can relive their light hearted moments. There's so much to do and see...