Smacks, Claps, and Cracks: A Spanky Chat with Mr. Claquements
CW: mention of child abuse
A few years back, a spanko friend introduced me to the work of Mr. Claquements, a French photographer currently living in Hong Kong. His style spoke to me immediately. The aesthetic wasn’t vulgar, extreme, degrading, or even particularly pornographic. It was soft, domestic, innocent, and natural. His blog posts had titles like, “Enlever sa ceinture” (Taking Off His Belt), “Fessée de maintenance” (Maintenance Spankings), and “Une fesseuse aimant fesser” (A Spanker Loves to Spank). No haughty vibes, just sweet spanko goodness. I was mesmerized and felt seen.
At some point, Mr. C and I connected on FetLife and got to chatting. I recently asked him whether he’d be interested in doing an interview for this here bloggy and luckily, he accepted! The result was rather interesting and I’m happy to share our convo with you all.
Sweet Tea: Mr. Claquements, I’m excited to pick your brain. As you know, I’ve been a huge fan of your work for a couple years now. Your style is gorgeous. Thank you so much for making time for this interview!
Mr. Claquements: Hey, Sweet Tea. Thanks for your nice words. I’m a big fan of your spanking erotica and blog, so I am very excited to talk with you too!
ST: Can you talk about your name a bit? What does ‘claquements’ mean in English and how does it relate to your work?
MC: ‘Claquements’ is a French word that means smacks, claps, or cracks. It can describe the sounds of a spanking, a camera shutter, or even a retro typewriter in action. Back in the summer of 2015, I was searching for a name for the website I was building for my spanking photographs and writings. ‘Claquements’ came as an ideal choice. At that time, I also decided to name myself Mr. Claquements so people in the French spanking scene could always associate me with my website and my three greatest passions in life: spanking, writing, and photography.
Later, it turned out that most of my website’s visitors came from outside French-speaking countries and, unfortunately, ‘Claquements’ is a rather cryptic and difficult to pronounce word for non-French-speakers. But now it’s too late and, hey, it’s not good to change your brand name all the time!
ST: Well, I think it's an awesome name and that you chose well. Makes sense to me to choose an onomatopoeia that can refer to spanking and photography at the same time.
Had you done photography for a while before you started taking spanking pictures? When did you get into it and how did your spanking fetish come into play?
MC: It might sound unusual, but to make things short, I came to photography through spanking. I wasn’t a total stranger to photography, as I have many professional photographers among my friends. I had always admired their talent and their technique, but had never thought about shooting pictures myself. I just felt like I didn’t have the visual culture or artistic sensibility for that. I am awfully bad at drawing, and the few photography attempts I had done in my life were not convincing at all!
So, what happened…
First, I have to say that, as is probably the case with every spanko on Earth, I love looking at spanking pictures. I spend a huge amount of time browsing Fetlife and spanking websites, trying to find that gorgeous new image that will rekindle my spanko flame every day... And as you know, you find all kinds of things out there on the internet. Many pics are very graphic or vulgar, others are softer and more suggestive. But they all have one thing in common: they show actual spankings, in order to turn viewers on, to excite them sexually.
The thing is, I don't just want to be turned on or sexually excited when I look at a spanking image. I also want an image to drag me back into my blurriest, misty, uncertain, murky, and dreamlike memories and fantasies that are at the very core of my spanking fetish. So I don’t want just sex drive. I want a strong and very specific mental drive too.
Very few photographs can bring me this kind of mixed mental and physical spanko adrenaline shot. So, at some point, I told myself: look man, you know what pictures you want to see, you know some world-class photographers who can show you the techniques to achieve your goal, so… roll your sleeves up and make your drug yourself!
I purchased my first relatively serious camera, a Lumix GH4, as well as the book DSLR Photography for Dummies and a subscription to a leading French magazine for amateur photographers. I also started to read everything I could about photography, to visit photography exhibitions, etc. And whenever I could, I asked my award-winning – but unsuspecting - photographer friends, in a trivial tone, what techniques they had employed to shoot the pictures I liked the most…
And then… Well, for a couple of years, nothing happened!
To summarize the matter: I was very motivated to shoot revolutionary spanking pictures that would stun the Spanko planet. But then came the facts: I was an unremarkable guy in my mid-40s, totally unknown on the spanking scene, with no experience in photography, probably no talent and, last but not least, no model to start with.
ST: Such a great answer. For me, the niche of spanking is a huge creative outlet, so I think it's cool that you allowed your passion for it to lead you to photography. I think the fetish can bring out the magic in us if we're willing to get vulnerable with ourselves.
Your description of your work matches how I feel about it: It's arousing, but it's more than that. It speaks to me on a deeper, more spiritual level. It's soft, beautiful, and dreamlike. Idyllic. Otherworldly. Your art is a gift for Planet Spanko, no doubt about that.
It sounds like you underestimated yourself in the past though. You certainly have talent, even if you started in your 40s with no photography experience. What happened next? Did you start trying to connect with spanking models? How did you get started with your first shoots?
MC: You are right saying that the fetish can bring out the magic in us, and that many times the only obstacle is ourselves. Bringing out the magic is already difficult when you write erotica alone with your imaginary characters and your laptop, as you probably know. As for photography, there is another big hurdle: you must find real people to photograph.
I had been very active in the spanking scene more than a decade before, but that happened in another country than France. (My job involves frequent international relocations.) Also, I had decided to retire ‘forever’ from the spanko world after a couple of unpleasant experiences there. And now I was wanting to come back, in a country – France – where the spanking scene was very tiny and quiet at that time.
Luckily, in early 2015, the first really organized online spanking club was launched in France. I immediately joined that club and, after a few weeks, I met Rose, the lady who later became my friend and first model.
We had a very nice first spanking session together and found out we had a good mental and physical ‘spankonnection’. We were around the same age, both of us were switches, presumably decent persons, and our tastes were very similar spanking-wise. At the end of the day, I mentioned my desire to start a spanking photography website and asked Rose if she would want to take pictures with me. To my great surprise, she immediately said yes, and sounded quite enthusiastic.
ST: I think we've all been through those "I'm leaving the spanko world forever" periods. I'm glad to hear that things looked up for you though, and that you met Rose. Sounds like an incredible "spankkonnection" with wonderful chemistry.
MC: Indeed. Posing for spanking pictures that are meant for public release requires courage, a big dose of exhibitionism, and an even bigger dose of trust. By chance, all those conditions were met between Rose and me. Our following meeting took place in a suite at the top floor of a Paris hotel, with large windows and lots of incoming natural light. That’s where I took my first spanking pictures, which you can still see on my website. I don't even remember if we discussed the conditions beforehand - something I always do now - as I think it was obvious for both of us that nothing bad was going to happen.
So we shot photos all day, I edited them all night, and Rose came back to the suite the following morning to see the result before check-out. We had an absolutely great time, and both Rose and I liked the result very much. I learnt more during that first shoot than ever since. And I think all the pictures we took together somehow reflect the good vibes and the kindness we have for each other during the spankings. I must also mention that, even if we hadn’t thought much about that aspect beforehand, we realized that we were helped by our physical characteristics. Rose is black, I am white. That was a blessing: contrast is everything in photography, especially black and white. Actually, Rose is the one who advised me to go black and white from the beginning. Brilliant idea.
So that’s how it all started. The Claquements website was successful from the beginning. I have taken many pictures and played with many other people since that first photo shoot in the Montparnasse suite, but I will always remain especially grateful to Rose. Nothing would have been possible without her.
ST: The contrast of light and dark in your photos is a huge part of what makes them so intriguing. I also love the ones that have that blur effect that captures the motion of the hand doing the spanking. So awesome.
MC: Yes, black and white photos and motion-blurred ones are my favorites. I think it’s a way to turn back the clock to the very origin of my fantasies. The roots of my own kink date back to very blurry, old, and quite intimidating childhood memories. Shooting black and white, blurred, sometimes a bit disturbing pictures is my way to make the spankings look like I remember or imagine them.
ST: I know you're not currently living in France, but can you tell me a bit about what the spanking scene is like there? I'm sure it's changed over time like it has here in the U.S.
MC: Well, as you mentioned, I don’t live in France anymore, and I hadn’t been into the scene much since the start of the pandemic anyway. I would say it’s quite tiny and private. That’s not because there is social intolerance against spanking in France or anything like that – the French are liberal about sexuality in general and you regularly find articles about erotic spanking in mainstream magazines and websites. In my opinion, it’s just because the spanking kink is probably not as widespread in France as it is in the Anglo-Saxon world. It’s unfortunate, because French culture also has a very old and rich tradition in terms of spanking erotica and photography. We are the home of the Marquis de Sade after all, and of many lesser known spanko writers. And probably every spanko has seen some of the fantastic retro photographs from the Ostra Studio in the 1910s.
ST: A definite yes on that last part. Those Ostra Studio pics are amazing.
MC: Anyway, for some reason, we don’t have huge spanking parties, spanking movie companies, or spanking clubs that you have in the U.S. Some French spankos cross the Channel to find a more active scene in the UK (and some also do it to visit the professional disciplinarians that are virtually non-existent in France). There is one website (deculottees.fr) where most of the French spanko community gathers, as well as one online private club called Les Lunes Pourpres (The Red Moons!) which is where I met Rose and other spanking friends. There is also a small galaxy of spanking erotica blogs in French. Otherwise, the spanking scene in France doesn’t look very different from other countries: you meet very nice and less-nice people. French spankos find each other online, and as every community that heavily relies on the internet for its interactions, it has as many dramas and bullshit as every spanking scene in the world!
ST: Interesting, and that definitely makes sense. I feel like kink scenes in every country face a lot of the same types of challenges, for the most part. When I lived in Japan and Thailand and explored BDSM there, the bullshit was largely the same. Certain things were unique, though. In Japan, for example, the main fetish is shibari and the kink scene largely revolves around that rather than something like spanking. As someone who's traveled and lived abroad a bunch, have you had any similar observations about the places you've been?
MC: I lived in Japan too, for many years, and I came to the same conclusion as you: the spanking scene there is very discreet, which I always found puzzling in such a large and kink-friendly nation. I know it exists, but it is not very big and, as for so many things in Japan, it is very much out of reach for foreigners.
I now live in Hong Kong where the spanking scene is also quite tiny, but that’s probably because it’s a small city after all. On the other hand, I know that the spanking community in neighboring mainland China is huge. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the spanking websites and forums in Chinese were taken down by the authorities a few years ago, which must be horrible for the spankos there. I heard that some of those forums had several million members, can you imagine?
ST: Somewhat, yeah. Thailand had a similar situation with unpredictable censorship. It makes me sad to imagine spankos in China waking up to find all their work erased forever.
MC: Yes. Obviously, the spanking fetish doesn’t know about borders, or ethnic and cultural differences. But it is also obvious that it is stronger in some countries than in others. The big question is: why?
I am not a spanking ethnologist – though I wish I were! – but my guess is that countries that have a long tradition of ritualized spanking in education – like the UK, the U.S., and China – are where you have a bigger chance of finding spanking fetishists. Fortunately, corporal punishment is now banned at schools in most developed countries, and a growing number of nations, including France, ban spanking at home too. But still, in many places, it seems that spanking has been there for so long that it is now part of the culture or well-fixed in the national psyche. That’s the reason you still find all those spankings in cartoons, in children’s books, etc. So many spankos in Western countries – including the many who, fortunately for them, have never experienced actual spankings – have shivered at an early age by stumbling upon a spanking scene in a comic book or a Disney movie. I don’t think you have the equivalent in Japan, for instance, or in other Asian nations.
Anyway, this is just pure speculation based on travel experiences. The true reasons why the spanking fetish is common in some places and not in others are probably much more subtle and complex. It’s a fascinating and never-ending topic to explore. Also, in every country I have lived, connecting with local Spankos has been a fantastic way not only to have spanking fun, but also to learn more about the place and immerse myself into the local culture.
ST: I appreciate your perspective. It is an endlessly interesting topic and I've thought about it a lot. Connecting with spankos from other cultures is certainly a great means of getting to know locals we might click with. It's always helpful to have a place of common ground to start from, especially one that's so primal and personal.
I usually like to ask other spankos about their 'origin story' and how they came to realize they had a spanking fetish. You mentioned the words 'disturbing' and 'intimidating' in relation to those memories, so we don't have to get into all that if it feels too unpleasant. I know how it is to have trauma mixed in with the roots of our kinks. If you do feel like sharing, however, I'd be interested to hear a bit about your background.
MC: The ‘origin story’ is another fascinating topic. I don’t believe in the theory that we are ‘born spankos’. I tend to be more ‘Freudian’ and to believe all our sexual preferences build up during childhood, depending on our interactions with others and on the cultural environment we were born in. You say you know how it is to have trauma mixed in with the roots of our kinks. Well, my feeling is that’s pretty much the case for all of us. At least, all the spankos I have talked to during the past 30 years had experienced childhood trauma that could easily be linked to their kink: parents who were very distant or indifferent, who died early, or who somehow were away when they needed them, a father or a mother that totally lacked authority... In many cases the spanking need is something like screaming: "Touch me! Hold me! Hurt me to prove to me I exist and that you care about me!" That can apply to many situations.
Now we come to my own background. I have no doubt that my ‘original trauma’ is the spankings I received, witnessed, and was threatened with during my childhood. I was raised in a conservative and relatively wealthy family, didn’t miss anything, and was pretty much a spoilt kid. Surprisingly, and in sharp contrast, the only method my parents believed in for disciplining children was spanking. Very long, harsh, bare-bottom hand spankings that were often given on the spot, without regard for who was there watching. That was a general practice in my family. I was spanked and saw my siblings and cousins getting spanked on roadsides, or in the middle of family gatherings, while everyone at the table kept an embarrassed silence. This was in the 1970s. It didn’t seem to shock many people at that time. Moreover, there was a kind of strange ‘spanking tradition’ in my family and spanking was a topic that frequently popped up in conversation. My parents often talked about their own spanking memories and chatted with their friends on how they administered discipline to their respective children. I remember my mother saying once: “Oh, I think I should spank him (me) more often, but I am sometimes too lazy to take down his pants.”
So, I was immersed in that environment. I can’t remember when I first realized that I liked spanking, but it came very early. I often did everything I could to get punished. I even remember waking up in the morning and telling myself, “Okay, today is a spanking day,” which most of the time was an easy goal. The discharge of adrenaline when I was told I was going to get spanked, the physical sensations, the kind of mental hurricane I felt, especially when I knew that other people were seeing or hearing the spanking, were just pure, irresistible pleasure in my young brain. Then I did what all spankos do: playing spankings with my cousins in the garden, searching for the word ‘spanking’ in the dictionary over and over, etc. The hand spankings ended when I was 7 or 8 years old. After that, and until the age of 13, I was occasionally belted over my father’s desk, especially when my teachers complained about me, but that was not that frequent. I found out later, reading research papers by psychologists, that developing a spanking fetish is not uncommon among people who have experienced spankings during their childhood. A famous French writer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, also wrote about it back in the 18th century. So, the origin of my kink is obvious to me. I think I am part of a minority though, as most spankos I know were never spanked when they were young.
All those spanking memories have fueled my fetish ever since. Nothing turns me on more than remembering my childhood punishments or listening to people telling me theirs. It’s like I am stuck in that obsession, but I am comfortable with that. It’s between me and myself, and it’s not like it’s going to harm anyone.
The disturbing and intimidating thing is that I strongly suspect that my parents, in fact, enjoyed giving spankings. If they’d believed that spanking was a good method of education, it would be different; it was a widespread belief back then, they themselves were raised like that too so, somehow, I could understand and forgive. Same if they just had just hit me out of anger. But their spankings were too ritualistic and sexual not to be suspicious. So, there is where I am disturbed and intimidated: I have the feeling that my spanking kink, my main source of pleasure and the very core of my sexuality and my personality, originated in sexual abuse, in me being treated like a living sex toy by my parents and, even more disturbing and intimidating, enjoying it.
I came to that conclusion quite late, after having my own children. When you love, you don’t hit, humiliate, or objectify. That struck me as evident from the very first moment I became a father and made me start thinking more deeply about what I went through during my own childhood. My parents died a long time ago, so I will never know the answer.
So, to get back to photography, yes, I like blurring, semi-darkness, slightly ominous scenes like the ones I shoot in old ruins or megaliths. I think it reflects well my conflicting and contradictory feelings about spanking. As you wrote in one of your posts, a spanking fetish can be a blessing or a curse. For me, as for many of us, it’s both. But wherever you look at it from, the origin of a spanking kink is always dark.
ST: Wow. That's the most honest, vulnerable thing I've read in a long time. Thank you for sharing that. I have tears in my eyes. I’m really sorry to hear about what you went through.
The theory that we're "born spankos" is one I've considered at length, but never completely bought into. I lean more toward the idea that fetishes result from early childhood experiences and the environment we grew up in, as you do. I once read a writing from a spanko lady whose name I can't remember, but she was discussing the question of why some kids who were exposed to spanking developed the fetish while others didn't. She thought that perhaps we spankos are just more sensitive in temperament, and I found that interesting. I remember being astounded that my friends who were spanked could seemingly move on from it so quickly or talk about it so matter-of-factly. I couldn't. It horrified me to see parents hit their kids and still does.
MC: It is true that many spankos are very sensitive people. This theory makes sense. Sensitive people are probably more vulnerable to trauma, and the effects and consequences of the traumas are probably stronger and last longer on them. But it still doesn’t explain why so many people who have never been exposed to spanking during their childhood develop such a fetish. Also, we all have heard about some horror stories involving very brutal and insensitive spankers, so there are some exceptions.
ST: I think it’s interesting that you consciously developed a liking for being spanked at a young age and wanted it to happen. This is one of the things about the fetish that interests me the most and I wish we could all know more about what happens in the brain there—how and why do we subconsciously turn that fear into pleasure? For me, I needed a mental buffer. Seeing or hearing about real spankings scared me, but fantasizing about fictional ones was pleasurable from the time I was in preschool. Do you have any thoughts on how or why this occurs?
MC: Well, a kid’s brain is not as developed as an adult's, of course. For a 4 or 5 year old, having your pants taken down and getting spanked by your parents, the people who are supposed to love, protect, and take care of you, is necessarily a shocking, staggering, and totally impossible-to-understand experience. To overcome this trauma, or just to find an explanation for it, a common defense mechanism among young children is to sexualize it, to mentally transform it into something pleasant. That’s a well-known phenomenon, and I think that is exactly what happened to me: I persuaded myself that spankings were something good – why would my parents do something bad to me anyway? - and got addicted to it. Also, I have always been an adrenaline buff. I enjoy strong sensations in every aspect of my life, and there is no bigger adrenaline rush than the ones related to spankings.
Another common trait I noticed among many spankos is that most of us suffer some sort of mental health issue. That includes me – I am a solid and stable person in appearance, but I have secretly been through serious addiction problems. Spankings and booze are the two only things that can efficiently calm down my anxiety and overthinking, so for a long time, when I didn’t have one, I tended to take the other! I suspect this issue is related to the murky and somehow unbearable origins of my spanking fetish. And, for years, to the frustration of not being able to satisfy my spanking needs or just to find enough people who could understand. I was a spanko long before the internet came to us, and most spankos in my generation know what it is to feel lost, eternally unsatisfied, and lonely in this world. The younger, digital-native generations are luckier and less inclined to “spanko torments”. But it is still very rare to encounter a perfectly happy and mentally balanced spanking fetishist. Even though there are not necessarily big or threatening mental issues, I think we all hide a skeleton in our closet.
ST: Yeah. I’ve spoken to a couple of others like you, who suspect or know their parents enjoyed spanking them, and that the reasons were sexual. I’m sure that’s difficult to reconcile. Have you talked to many people about it? Do you feel you’ve been able to heal?
MC: I have never been uncomfortable with my fetish. I was never ashamed of it, nor thought I was abnormal. I don’t like the origins of it, but I accept myself as I am, and even though I sometimes feel that being a spanko is just a pain in the ass, I don’t particularly think I need to “heal” from anything. The only way to heal, when you are a spanko, is to practice spanking as much as you can with the right people! I will remain a spanko for the rest of my life, with all the frustrations it involves, but also with all the pleasures. Talking to other people is indeed important. (Well, I mean, talking to fellow spankos. Vanillas never understand.)
ST: I think it’s healthy that you realized how wrong that whole thing was when you became a father. You’ve broken the abuse cycle. Something I wonder about a lot is how much spanking has impacted the greater history of the world. So many people have been through what we’re talking about, but never mention it to anyone or convey how it affected them. I’m of the belief that non-consensual spanking is sexual abuse, but people act like it’s no big deal.
I've been thinking about my "spanko bucket list" recently because I'm writing about the topic for another post. Do you have any spanko stuff in mind that you'd like to do in the future, either in the context of your photography or just for fun?
MC: Spanking-wise, I don't have any particular “bucket list”, as in my 30 years in the scene I have pretty much tried all the things I ever craved to do. Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to explore. I love meeting new spankos, and I think I will only stop doing so when I become too old to raise my hand or to hold a decent spanking-related conversation. I love hearing the very particular story that hides inside each spanko. And more than a few people have brought me ideas and fantasies I never had before, and that I ended up liking.
I would like to explore more outdoor spanking photography. A couple of years ago I shot many outdoor pictures around my home in France, in the woods, or inside old ruins, and I really liked it. There are so many inspiring places here in Asia where I would love to photograph spanking scenes: rice paddies, tea fields at dusk, old banyan trees… The UK is also very high up on my spanko outdoor photography bucket list. There is a great guy on Fetlife (@HenryHiggins) that shoots fantastic spanking pictures near the Adrian Wall, in Stonehenge-like prehistoric sites or in the great northern England landscapes. He is inspiring and I hope we can meet when things go back to normal for good. Also, I am sure you have very nice spanking photography spots in California too, so please give me a tour when I come to visit you!
ST: Photographing a spanking session in a rice patty would be amazing. I would love to see the end results of a shoot like that. Asia is filled with incredible scenery. And yes, here in Cali there are a billion beautiful spots for photo shoots. Spanking in a redwood forest would be rad, or in one of those traditional old-timey gold rush towns where you can still go gold panning!! I think it'd be cool to do spank-shoots in Scandinavia as well. Imagine a very pink booty with the aurora borealis in the background.
Okay, last question: If you could spank ANYONE—like a historical figure, famous person, or fictional character—who would you spank and why?
MC: Frankly, I have never asked myself that question as I am more interested in anonymous, ordinary spankos than in celebrities. Also, I like people who I play with to share their spanko personal story and fantasies. "Spanko pillow talk" is as important for me as the actual spankings, or even more. So that reduces the scope to public figures that have openly confessed to having a spanking fetish... and then the search results are almost zero. Rihanna? Maybe. If I had lived in other times I would have loved to meet people like Anaïs Nin or Sabina Spielrein, the spanko psychiatrist who was featured in the movie "A Dangerous Method" by David Cronenberg.
ST: I've never seen that movie, but it looked interesting. I'll have to give it a whirl sometime soon.
Thank you for the interview, Mr. Claquements. It was a pleasure talking with you.
MC: Thanks to you, Ms. Sweet Tea. It was an honour.
That’s the long and short of it, friends. You can check out Mr. Claquements’ website, including many more of his spanking photos, here. Go peruse and enjoy!
And by the way, if you happen to be bilingual in French and English, Mr. Claquements and I have been looking for a translator so all his website posts can be available to the world in English. If you're interested in helping us with this project, please let us know. Mr. Claquements can be reached on FetLife here.
Much love and thanks for reading!