The Lonely Doll Books and Thoughts on Growing Up Kinky

Everyone who is at least twenty-five probably remembers when spankings in kid’s books used to be common. Sometimes they were just brief mentions—other times they were fairly descriptive.

For those of us who developed an interest in spanking from a young age these scenes were gold mines. I still remember being as young as five and absolutely fascinated with spankings in cartoons. When I found my first spanking in a book, I was probably about eight.

It was a scene in the Little House books. It was doubly exciting because there were spankings in the show too, which I had loved. But in a book, you could read it over and over again— exciting!

Of course, at that age you’re too young to know why something excites you. And the excitement isn’t the same kind that an adult feels. It’s a whole mixed bag of emotion. The closest I can come to what it felt like to stumble across a spanking would be giddy anxiousness mixed with eagerness and embarrassment.

That was a lot for a kid to feel, especially when you had no idea why you felt that way. Kids who were kinky from a young age didn’t like being punished. Those who were spanked for punishment (The kinky community seems to be fairly evenly divided on those who were and those who weren’t.) certainly didn’t want it and tried to avoid it.

But reading it or watching it was a whole different thing.

Those growing up now probably won’t get that thrill. You don’t see spankings in kid’s shows or cartoons anymore. They don’t really appear in modern books either. Not until you are old enough to be looking at romance.

Sure, some of the older cartoons still show up on tv. And there are books that are still commonly read so eventually the kid will probably stumble over them, but it won’t be everywhere like it was for the older spankos.

I don’t think that being exposed to innocent punishment style media like that turns people kinky. As the material with spankings gets rarer, the number of people who turn out to have a kinky side hasn’t decreased at all. I think kink goes deeper than that and if you’re meant to be kinky it’s going to happen either way.

It does make me wonder what it would be like to grow up without seeing your friends get spanked, or yourself because that’s also rare now. And to never seen it in cartoons, movies, comics, books… and then hit seventeen and pick up a romance novel and boom—spanking!

You would have had no warnings, no idea that such a thing even existed and then you have this whole awakening. Who knows if that’s a healthier way to realize you’re a little different. I know for me… feeling weird because of what interested me probably had a lot to do with shaping my personality.

I expect I wouldn’t have figured out what I wanted and needed nearly as early in that case. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to articulate it. I would most likely have ended up stumbling through vanilla relationships that didn’t work—like a lot of my friends did—without knowing what was missing.

Eventually I would have figured it out, but it probably would have gone a very different way. I’ll never know because by the time I was a teenager I already knew a lot about myself and what I needed. It was finding out that there were other people out there who wanted the same things that was the shock for me.

Kids growing up now at least have a lot of resources to catch up with once they figure out they have a kink. There are plenty of new people entering the scene who have done their homework online. It just seems like a less innocent way to discover yourself. In your teens and early twenties you’ve already reached the stage where your kink connects with sexual feelings so finding out you like spanking then will automatically make it sexual for many.

For me it was always about discipline first and sexuality second because I knew I was interested in it before I was old enough to think about sex. I’m sure that did help to form how I view kink.

Anyway, I still have all of the books with spankings that I had come across over the years. I go and look through them sometimes, some I reread. I love the nostalgia of it.

I have everything from children’s books all the way up to adult books and I’ve never let any of them go. Because of that… because of this small library, I can tell you that even now as an adult what I get when I look through them is very different. The tone of the spanking and the way it’s presented is different too depending on the age level the book was meant for.

When I read the spanking scenes in a Johanna Lindsey or Robert Heinlein book It definitely hits my adult buttons. Even though they are different genres, one focused on romance, and one on sci-fi, the adult tone of them still stimulates different parts of me. (No pun intended… probably.)

When I flip through a children’s picture book with a spanking I think of comfort, safety, love. I think of a more innocent kind of discipline without any sexual interest attached. Those books almost always present spanking as a positive.

You do something bad. You feel guilty. You get punished. You are forgiven, hugged, loved, and you feel better. It appeals to the lost child inside of me who only ever wanted to be taken care of.

That part of me still connects spanking with love. If you act up and the person in charge of you doesn’t punish you and then comfort and forgive you then… they don’t really love you.

Quick note before I go on: I am not, and will never, debate whether children should be spanked. That is not the purview of this blog, and I don’t think it has a place here. These are just my childhood memories, experiences and thoughts based on my life.

I’m about to get more real here than I had intended to, but just briefly.

As a child I was spanked so rarely that I can remember each one. Spanking here is specifically defined as the hand hitting the butt, over the knee kind of thing.

Being whipped or hit with random objects is not spanking. I was abused in every way possible, but I was rarely spanked so the difference to me was huge.

When I saw friends or kids in the neighborhood spanked it was not the same. That whole cycle of being punished and then forgiven and loved… was something I never got.

I didn’t want violent chaotic adults. I wanted parents who had fair rules and reasonable punishments, including spankings. So on that level I guess I did want to be spanked, even though the rare times it happened I hated it.

The books that I found with spankings in them were important to me because I could lose myself in that fantasy of being loved and wanted. I fixated on them, not just because of the spanking, but because of the whole cycle of repentance and forgiveness.

Enter the Lonely Doll books. Dare Wright was the author of a whole series of books about Edith, the lonely Doll. These books stand out because they are no illustrations. Instead, each page has careful posed photographs with very detailed backgrounds, which Dare took herself.

Edith is a doll who lives in a human sized house, filled with human belongings but we never see them. At least not in book one, which is the only one I’ve read. We know she’s lonely and wants a friend and she seems to act pretty much like a little girl as she wanders alone through the house.

One day two stuffed bears arrive. Mr. Bear and Little Bear. Mr. Bear is very much a grown up and immediately sets about taking care of both of them. Edith and Little Bear become friends.

She’s happy to finally have friends and they do lots of fun things together. But at times Edith and Little Bear get a little bratty and get in trouble. They get into the human’s belongings and make a big mess. And also write mean things about Mr. Bear on the mirror in lipstick.

Mr. Bear reacts the way any adult would at that time and spanks them both. It’s all detailed in lovingly posed photographs and it all feels very realistic despite being acted out by toys. From what I’m told every book in the series has spankings like this.

They also have the whole forgiveness arc where the naughty children learn their lesson. Mr. Bear is … the best parent you could ever hope for and he’s literally just a toy. I cried reading the book the first time because it hit so many tender places for me.

I was maybe ten when I first stumbled over the book. Unfortunately, it was a library book and for complicated reasons I only saw it once briefly and then it was gone. I was never able to find another copy because even then it was an old book, having come out in the 1950’s.

It wasn’t until they did a reprint in the 90’s that I found it again. I bought it immediately. And then my comic book store, of all places, got an anniversary set that included the doll and a small copy of the book—yes, I bought it immediately!

Recently another biography of Dare Wright came out, so she’s been featured in a number of articles and so have her books. I was shocked to see people calling them horrible and disturbing. In the New Yorker I read an article that said it was because the photos are black and white. (https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-cultish-allure-of-the-creepy-childrens-book-the-lonely-doll)

Other people have complained about the sweet little spankings in each book. In fact, the Wiki page has this quote attributed to David Coleman from his NYT article: The Unsettling Stories of Two Lonely Dolls

“When Houghton Mifflin reissued The Lonely Doll in 1998, it was not without a minor battle from colleagues, according to then children’s book publisher Anita Silvey. At the core of the controversy was the scene in which Mr. Bear spanks Edith for misbehaving. As a result, some parents objected to the book. Other parents, such as critic and novelist Daphne Merkin and fashion designer Vera Wang, supported the book.”

I honestly can’t imagine this book being considered controversial. The spankings are done in one or two black & white photos and are simply toys. They are accompanied by a couple lines of text. And they are really a product of their time. Innocent. You’ll see an example below.

I think Dare herself had a very strong inner child and maybe was a Little, or would have been if she’d known it was possible in her time. When people talk about her, they describe her as very childlike. She liked to play dress-up and act out scenes with her toys.

I actually have an older biography The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright ( https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Lonely-Doll-Search/dp/0312424922 ) I just finished reading it and It’s really good; well written. From what it says I have to agree that she never really grew up.

She had a very traumatic childhood and I feel like maybe her focus on these spankings was the same as mine. Wanting the security of punishments that were safe, controlled, and loving—not horrible frightening things. She was chronically afraid of doing anything wrong because if she did her mother might discard her, like she had Dare’s [difficult] older brother when he was a child.

Anyway, since I have the first of the Lonely Doll series, I thought I’d take some pictures to show you. I’m sharing just a few, and not even the whole discipline scene, for the purposes of this review. The books are no longer in print, but you can get them used on Amazon or Ebay, etc.

It wouldn’t be right, or legal, to show you the whole book but I think that’s enough that you get the idea. The story goes like this… Edith is all alone until the bears arrive. She’s very sad and lonely so when they arrive, she’s thrilled they are there.

Mr. Bear makes them do school lessons. He takes them out of the house on adventures. He brushes her hair. He makes them behave and follow rules. And when they get in trouble and make a big mess—and then they are rude to him about it—he spanks them both.

Afterwards he makes them clean the mess they made, and Edith starts to cry because she’s scared that since they got in trouble Mr. Bear will leave, and probably take Little Bear too. But once they report to him that they are sorry, and they cleaned everything… he forgives them.

Edith asks him to promise he’ll never ever leave, and both bears do. And they have a nice happy ever after. At least until the next book.

It is heartwarming and sweet and it has cutesy spankings in it. A perfect book for a Little to read and enjoy—and I think it’s a beautiful example of what most want from a Big/Little relationship: love, acceptance, guidance and forgiveness.

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