As many will attest, it is no idle sentiment when Cassandra Park says, “It’s supposed to hurt,” which serves as the title for her new collection of stories and essays by the same name. Be forewarned that Ms. Park has created some genuinely painful images of strict spanking. At the same time, she is good-natured about it and clearly has a sense of humor about herself and the service she provides that is both caring and respectful from her description. She, as the principal character of her book, seems devoted to giving only what the spankee needs and wants. In fact, she gives over a fair amount of her text to the nurturing effects of a good, hard spanking including when it is applied to her own bottom.
It is worth pointing out here that Cassandra Park is not only a member of the BDSM community in New York City. She is one of New York’s divas of domestic discipline with a particular passion for the spanking, strapping, paddling and caning arts. She often appears as a featured player at most of Gotham’s spanking parties and other events. Her fiction appears in print elsewhere such as the recently published Logical Lust volume, Spank!
Thus Ms. Park has not earned her reputation through mere show, but through the diligent application of learned detail from having adjusted the behavior of hundreds, if not thousands, of wayward bare bottoms. Her book, It’s Supposed to Hurt, is a composite of stories and brief essays in which the two forms tend to merge. That is to say that some of the stories clearly feel as though they are based on personal experience while many of the essays are so intense that they acquire the otherworld feel of fiction. It is an interesting approach to an increasingly narrow field of fiction.
Interspersed in and among the longer pieces are photographs, each sporting a short reflective caption that reflects the spanking significance of each image. Many of the essays end in a question about the merits of what the author reports, rather like Camus’s Stranger wondering reflectively about his own thoughts, feelings and reactions.
Her stories and descriptions sometimes contain elements that will seem extreme to some readers such as a young lady who is given a long, hard paddling OTK [over the knee] with a bath brush. In response to that extremity, we are invited by Ms. Park’s book to remember two things. First, that it is the character’s choice to be thus soundly spanked, and secondly that it is the author’s fantasy, not necessarily an experience she wants or recommends for others. The book pleasantly invokes the reader to think about what they really want from BDSM and life in general.Erotica of late has taken on a more and more formulaic approach -- as writers look for more sure-fire plotting for submissions -- and publishers seek out niche audiences for both actual books and online publications. Perhaps the profound instability of our times makes the idea of a guaranteed happy ending more attractive. For those who seek more than simple comfort from their reading, Ms. Park has potentially created a new mode of erotic art, in which expression is neither confessional nor instructional, but designed specifically to deliver the sensual experience of the moment. Thus It’s Supposed to Hurt offers the reader a refreshing immediacy.