Cassandra Marks – Bare Bottoms!

It’s about time I found you. Hi.

About time indeed! Hello!

Is it true you received a degree in psychology?

It is! Both my undergraduate and my Masters!

And now you are a Master! Then help us understand this spanking kink of ours, why do we crave/need it so much?
Oh boy, this is about to get very long winded! I think you may have hit a jackpot question for me, so I hope you enjoy the ride!
First, let’s take a look at the human brain itself. When a human being experiences pain, their brain’s dopamine centers become activated. As you may know, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in our brain’s pleasure and reward centers. The response and level of activation can vary person to person, but many people (more than maybe even know it) will experience significant dopamine flow as they receive pain. Evolutionary psychologists believe it’s basically the brain’s way of keeping us calm during times of high stress or pain. But a side effect is, of course, that at some point, the dopamine may cause things to tip over into the pleasure territory, or for those wires to get crossed.  
So we are looking for a spanking high? Go on….
Let’s also take a look at adrenaline. Adrenaline is known as the energy molecule, and it becomes activated during times of “fight or flight.” In other words, when we face something that could cause us pain, distress, danger or is simply unknown and mysterious, we get a surge of adrenaline. The fun side effect of adrenaline? It makes us feel revitalized and alive! Why do so many people bungee jump and skydive? Why do we love going to scary movies? Why do people love the anticipation and the sensation of receiving pain? It’s at least partially because we love the adrenaline rush…the spike in energy, the departure from boredom, the feeling of being reawakened. It’s all incredibly powerful.
I’ve never thought of getting spanked as an adrenaline rush. But now that you mention it, it makes sense. More?
Yes. There’s also a bit more of a psychoanalytical component to it. Many people experienced, or were at least threatened with, a spanking as punishment in childhood. And when it comes to sexual interests, that’s where the seed is planted most of the time. Now, not all people who experienced or were threatened with one will make that leap into an interest in spanking as adults, but since it’s so commonplace, enough will, Plus, children are rebellious and love to push boundaries, to test their control over adults. So, as a way to rebel against their punishment, some children will insist that they actually enjoy the spanking as a way to maintain control over their parents. And for some of those kids, it may just be a lie that morphs into the truth eventually.
 
This is not to say that all those with a penchant for spankings must have been spanked as children. Many were not. What usually happens here is that, they may have heard about friends or classmates being spanked and thus became curious about it, even though it was meant to be a punishment. As Esther Perel says about adultery, “Monogamy may not be a part of human nature, but transgression surely is.” In other words, the mere fact of doing something naughty or that you aren’t supposed to is appealing in it of itself. 
Also, we have to admit that, despite the pain and adrenaline, there is a relaxing component to it. Between the flood of dopamine and endorphins, to the rhythmic nature of it, it can send people into a meditative state. This happens with other similar types of activities too. Many people who get tattoos report that after a certain point, the pain almost becomes relaxing and they are able to almost meditate while it’s being done. 
Finally (I swear, finally!) with all of this said, no one can fully know all the reasons they like what they like. We can come up with our best guesses and hypotheses, but in the end, getting to the bottom of it in a way the quells all questions is impossible. And I believe that, at a certain point, you have to embrace the mystery and weirdness of it all. After all, what is life without some mystery and weirdness. 
So the short answer is you don’t really know either?
I would say I have some very informed and knowledgable scientific theories that are based on both my studies as an academic and my years in the BDSM community, both as a lifestyle and professional practitioner. But in the end, we are all individuals, aren’t we?  So, while I believe that one or more of the answers I have above will resonate with most spankos, if not all on some level, in the end it’s going to be near impossible for me to make a universal declaration that applies to every single spanking enthusiast. Furthermore I think that trying to figure out every single motivation behind what we are drawn to sexually is not only an exercise in futility, but takes the fun out of it quite frankly. Mystery in it of itself is intriguing and fun, isn’t it? And wouldn’t analyzing your particular kinks to the Nth degree just end up taking that away, thus making it all less enjoyable? As the great Stanley Kubrick said of art, “How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: ‘The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover?'” I think, in general, we can maybe understand about 90% of it (individual results may vary, of course). That extra 10%? Embrace it and revel in the unknown!
Ah, putting your Masters to good use. Do you think spanking could be a useful tool, both to spanko’s and non spanko’s as therapy or life coaching?
Yes of course I do. But I do think it’s a bit like hypnotherapy or meditation. You can go into it with reservations, but in order for it to work you do need an open mind, a willingness to give it a go. I would never chase an unwilling or unsuspecting person down and spank them against their will (well ok, besides a few specific politicians, but that’s a separate issue!). I think most people I see, especially those who are new to this are amazed at how it really isn’t just about the physical sensation. That flood of dopamine and adrenaline, that sense of relaxation and peace, that feeling of having a truly clean slate, and to be able to obtain all of that naturally is all really healing. Also, to be able to take more than perhaps you thought you’d be able to is often a source of pride. I see many people say after a session with me “OK, I made it through that. I endured more than I thought I could. I can endure anything life throws at me now.” How empowering is that? 

You are the Tony Robbins of discipline. If you start classes I want a cut! How do you use spanking?
Much of the time I use it as a punishment designed to lead to true redemption and catharsis. But not all the time! Every once in a while, I may determine that for someone, it would actually be their reward! Or, again, sometimes it may be a vehicle for more meditative thought.
How do you use spanking as a reward?
If someone comes to me and leans more towards the masochistic side of things, then they’re going to really enjoy that pain, aren’t they? So in that case, their punishment would be more geared towards lecturing, corner time, line writing, mouth soaping and perhaps some humiliation. Then if they do that well, they get that pain that they crave!
And should a top enjoy spanking?
I’m trying to understand the question. If you mean should a top enjoy giving a spanking, then my answer is of course they should! We talk a lot of “sub space” in spanking and BDSM circles, but rarely do we talk of “dom(me)” or “top space.” There is a very specific thrill to topping and spanking someone. There’s a scene in the movie “Black Swan” that’s always reminded me of that feeling. When you see Natalie Portman come out on stage as the black swan and she starts to transform, the grace, the sheer confidence, the feeling of being so in control of every little movement you make, every decision you make and just owning it without any reservation or self doubt is also very intoxicating and powerful. 
 

What do you get out of the experience?
Again, the feeling of going into top space is truly something special and unique, and that’s why I’ve been doing it for so long!
But specifically when it comes to discipline, what I love is that it goes deeper than that. It’s never just about that one moment in time. Instead, it’s usually a catalyst for someone to break free from social constraints, to take charge of their lives after the session and feel alive again, to find a way to release fear, self doubt, low self esteem…a host of different things that just need to be expelled from one’s psyche. And that truly is a gift I am proud to give. Not only am I proud to give, but I have the ability to give that and many people just don’t. In other words, it truly takes some skill to give physically and emotionally in that way. I hate to sound like a braggart, but it is not something that everyone can do, and I am proud to be a person that can provide this very sort of specialized and cathartic relief. And it that way, it truly is about the joy of giving. 

When did you first realize you were into spanking?
I knew that I was into darker and alternative things since I was about fourteen. That didn’t necessarily translate into sexuality at that age, but I was fascinated with punk and alternative music and their subcultures. And I already was very interested in LGBTQ rights at that age. Even then, I couldn’t figure out how who you loved and what you do in private with other consenting adults was any of the government’s business, and why certain people felt it appropriate to admonish such things. 
As I came into adulthood, I began to hear and read about BDSM and learn more about it. So pretty much as soon as I moved for college at 18 I attended my first munch and not too long after that, I went to my first play party. I suppose that’s when I first knew that it was more than just a mere curiosity and fascination.  
What was it then?
At the time, I really just wanted to find myself and be open to everything I could possibly experience (within reason of course). And so I did experience spankings and different implements. While I am certainly glad I got to experience what I did, and got a better understanding of both sides of the coin, as time when on it became clear to me that the “top space” that I described was really what did it for me, and really what I craved from these experiences. 



Because you are a giver! And how long have you been giving them professionally?

It’s been a bit on and off. I started in the professional BDSM scene when I was 22 (just out of undergrad) and I am 33 now. I did that pretty consistently for about 6 years. Then I decided that I wanted to go back to school and needed to take a bit of a break, but I did manage to see a select handful of people. After that, I noticed that all of the clients I kept definitely leaned towards the discipline side of things. And when I sat down and thought about it, that’s really what I missed more than anything. So long story short, if you add it all up and account for breaks, it adds up to about 9 years.

Do you remember the first spanking you ever gave?
Yes. It was with a woman I met at a munch. We were around the same age (18/19) and we were both very new and curious about BDSM. So we actually both spanked each other and both tried our hands and dominance and submission, topping and bottoming. It was a really fun, no pressure experience for both of us. It was such a wonderful way for us to try different things and figure out what we liked. We’re still good friends to this day!

What have you learned since that first one?
While I didn’t hate being on the receiving end of a spanking, I quickly learned that what I got out of the experience of topping and/or dominating far surpassed what I got out of bottoming/submitting. Also, my technique has obviously been refined since that first one. I think my palms were bruised for a good three days after that first one!

When did you know you wanted to do this for a living?
Again, I did get into professional BDSM right out of college and did that for a while before going back to graduate school. It was a really natural choice for me. I’ve just never been any good at doing things that I’m not passionate about, things that bore me or reduce me to just going through the motions. And I knew I wanted to go back to school at some point. So it really wasn’t a decision that I had to weigh or think about at all. I just thought “what do I do before going back into graduate school?” And that was really the only thing that came into my head. What did take me by surprise is that my education gave me even more of a sense of purpose with this career path. I assumed that once I left school for the second time, I would have to sadly give this career up. But the truth is, I didn’t want to. And so at this time, I find myself balancing the two career paths, joyously of course!

How do you make that move?
I never totally left the industry. I did go under the radar for about three years while I focused on my studies. But my goals and objectives definitely evolved during that time. So it was a very easy transition.

 

Any tips for newbies?
For newbie tops, do take the time to know what different things feel like and learn about safety. I know it’s tempting to just dive right in, and some of it looks very simple, but there are some technical aspects you should take the time to learn first, and take your time to learn. From there, be confident and believe in yourself. I think listening to my intuition and trusting that all the answers were within me if I choose to truly listen and be open took me from a good top to a fantastic top. That’s the wonderful thing about dom(me) or top space: it’s a place where you are free from inhibitions, free from second guessing yourself.
Good advice and for bottoms?
For newbie bottoms, don’t bite off more than you can chew when starting out. You may have been watching certain movies with heavy implements and it may be very arousing to you to watch. But that doesn’t mean you are ready to go from zero to 60. There’s nothing wrong with starting slow. Also, be honest. Communicate your limits, experiences and expectations. You may think that doing so means you’re not really a bottom or submissive, but really it helps the top create the best scene possible for not only you, but for them as well. Freedom certainly helps creativity, but so does form and structure. Think of Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays. Would they be the works of genius that they are if it weren’t for the structure? With that in mind, be open to things going in a different direction than you have mapped out in your head. It should be a creation and an experience crafted by both you and your top. There’s nothing fun about being with someone who tops from the bottom and treats their top like some sort of topping robot. After all, if you’re with a top that truly enjoys dominance, they are most likely creative beyond your wildest dreams. And why would you want to rob them or yourself of that beautiful creativity?

Where are you located and how do we see you?
I am based in Chicago, but tour somewhat frequently. My vanilla job prevents me from traveling as much as I’d like, but I aim for once or twice a month, depending on my schedule. You can contact me: www.professionalspanker.com

Do you have a style? Lecture, warm up spanking, safe words?
As a rule, I do not play with safe words in my scenes. Instead, I choose to have a detailed pre session process so I can really get to know someone and know their wants, needs, desires, curiosities and limits before going into a scene. This allows for the spankings and punishments to be as real as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I think safe words have their merit. At play parties, for example, you may be playing with someone you just met and haven’t had the time or occasion to really get to know. And so in that case, I do think it’s important to be able to slow down or stop. But again, in my scenes, I would much rather have all the information I need before anything even starts and determine the best punishment from there. Beyond that, I don’t really have a set style. I prefer to let the moment inspire me, and base punishments on the behavior that my subject presents to me then and there. 


Is the best client someone who knows what they want, or someone who just puts their fate in your hands?
i
I think the best client has a mix of both. Even people who say “do whatever you want” usually have some sort of desires and expectations. Even if it’s “I want you to have as much fun as possible.” I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with having hard limits. That said, I do not want someone coming to me with everything scripted down to the last detail and not let my imagination take over. So in short, the best client is honest and forthright about everything up front, but still will let go enough to truly trust the process. 
i
You enjoy role play?
Very much so! I took some acting classes in college so, not to brag, but I’m a natural at it!

Is it better than just giving a spanking?
Not better or worse, just different. I think it’s always fun to step into a role outside of yourself, and to add that bit of drama to a scene. But it’s also just as fun to wail on someone with no pretext or narrative. 

Favorite scenario?
It’s hard to choose just one, but if I had to, I like scenes involving interrogation. So really, that can be a part of a lot of different roles. Teacher/student, mother/son, cop/criminal, mob boss…the list goes on. I like that, in those scenes, there’s a slow reveal. You learn more about motives and desires organically as the scene and the punishments progress. And of course, a therapist/patient role play comes very natural to me, for obvious reasons!
I think spanking is mostly a guy thing. Do many women come to you?
Not as many, but yes, women come to me.

Why are guys more twisted than females?
That’s a bit of a loaded question!
I assume you are asking about sexuality and kink, and not just in general, so I will just stick to that. First off, I do think men generally tend to fixate and fetishize things far more often than women. Women tend to be a bit more omnivorous in their appetites. And that’s not just me saying that. One of the most wonderful books I have read in a long time is Daniel Bergner’s “What Do Women Want?” where he interviews many different women and researchers about female sexuality and desire (a subject that has received far too little attention from even sexuality researchers up until now). One of the studies focused on women watching a variety of different types of pornography. And women of all different sexual orientations were aroused by pretty much everything they saw: man on man, woman on man, woman on woman. Men do not react the same way. So, when I am approached by a woman who is into spankings, while it may be a primary interest, it’s rare that it is her only interest. 
 
Also, even though men are victims of sex shaming, they still have been given permission to find outlets for their sexual desires; it’s been assumed for a very long time that women are the keepers of sexual morality, that they are essentially blank slates when it comes to desires and interests. And if a woman deviates from that, she is written off as a slut or whore of no moral value. But with men, it’s just been seen as part and parcel of their selfhood. So it’s not that women don’t have their fantasies and interests, it’s that many of them don’t feel like they can fully own and admit them to anyone. This of course is changing, but really, we’re only at the beginning. I’ll be curious to see if you’re compelled to ask this question again in about 20 years!



I’ll be happy to be asking any questions in 20 years. Let’s talk implements. Which ones do you use most? Your favorite? The meanest?

I probably use my hairbrushes and leather paddles the most, just because they can be used really effectively for warm ups. And they allow for building intensity to they suit spankos of all different types and pain tolerance levels. 
I love my wooden paddles with holes in them, especially the one I splintered! I’ve had it for a long time and it has so many good memories. I also love my canes and really savor each chance I get to use them. For a lot of people, caning is a hard limit. It does have a powerful sting, people are afraid of how they look, and they cause marks pretty easily. That’s why I’m so fond of them!

Can you give a sound hand spanking?
Yes, and the bottoms I’ve made red are likely to agree 😉
Does getting a spanking make you a better top?
I think all tops should at least give it a try and understand what it feels like on the receiving end. On a technical level, it gives you an idea of what different implements feel like. I mean, how really do you know what the difference is between a cane and a paddle is if you never experience it yourself? Best guesses and other people’s accounts just won’t cut it. Now that’s not to say that the top has to enjoy it, but I think it’s best they have a personal reference and know firsthand exactly what they’re doing. But if they do in fact actually like it, that doesn’t take anything away from them as a top either. Different strokes for different folks (no pun intended).
i
Do you still take a spanking from time to time?
I wouldn’t say a spanking per se. But whenever I get a new implement I have a very trusted, kinky friend test it out on me. Just so I know what it feels like and how intense it is. And while it’s all in good fun and I enjoy it, it is more for research purposes than anything. What can I say? I am a top, through and through!



Do you have a spanking philosophy?

I don’t know if I have a philosophy per se. But I suppose that, tied into it, that the reason that spankings and punishment appeal to me more than simply dishing out pain for pain’s sake. I’ve never been into violence for violence sake. That said, I also do what I do because it’s fun for me. 
So perhaps, if I do have a philosophy, it’s to always balance purpose and joy. Purpose without joy is simply droll. And joy without purpose is fleeting. 


What do your friends and family think of your job?
With my family, many of them know and while the support me, they’d rather not hear about the details, which is totally fair. Most of my friends think it’s really cool and interesting. 


Have any of them been over your lap?
My family certainly hasn’t! But I’ve had a few friend who wanted to see what the big deal was. Many of them now totally get it now! 😉
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4 Responses to Cassandra Marks – Bare Bottoms!

  1. In my opinion women are just as kinky 😀

  2. baxter says:

    interesting interview

  3. franzcoughka says:

    Very interesting interview!

    I read through Ms. Marks’ website, and I was impressed to see she does not allow safe words. I know that’s not for everyone or every situation, but to me it is real discipline. I imagine a disciplinarian would be able to draw more clients, or have more to choose from, if she was more flexible, but Ms. Marks states clearly up front that, once the punishment begins, she is completely in control. Those are HER rules, accept them or leave. So she is not just doing it for the client but for her own satisfaction as well. The idea of being spanked by someone who isn’t personally invested in the role to that degree doesn’t work for me.

    Conditions like that could be seen as dangerous or sinister, but not when taken in context with what is being offered. Ms. Marks says that a client goes through a detailed application process that allows her to get to know that person and their needs. She cares about that person, is safe and not interested in cruel and unusual punishment. To find real discipline, one must first find someone to trust, and I feel this is what that looks like.

  4. Robert says:

    Great interview. Have any SGGT readers seen her?

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