Taking a shower offers an effective method of personal hygiene through a spraying of the body with hot or cold water as desired, often in combination with soap, shampoo or shower gel. It is also a more efficient use of water and the power necessary to heat it than taking a bath.
Showering in the Western World is mostly part of a daily routine, but is also practiced for wellness and relaxation. Showering has today largely replaced bathing. Many households today no longer own a bathtub, and thus use a shower to rinse their bodies. In other places, it is common to use a bathtub both for bathing and showering.
In countries with an established tradition of public bathing, the shower is an important component of the bathing 'ritual'. In Japan and Korea, the bather typically showers prior to immersion, ostensibly for hygenic reasons, but chiefly to observe long standing social custom (ie, the body must be thoroughly cleansed before entering the 'spiritually pure' bath waters). In such cases, bathing is often a long and complex affair, lasting several hours if not an entire evening. A second shower is frequently taken to complete the final ablutions, allowing the bather to return to the world 'purified' in every sense of the word.
As with the more common Bath-Time Fantasy, Shower Spanking scenarios tend to involve some degree of ageplay, often (but not exclusively) involving an adult/teen pairing. The most prevalent archetype revolves around a parent disciplining a naked teenager in the bathroom, sometimes dragging them from the shower to administer 'instant' punishment. Equally popular scenarios include married couples and teacher/student combinations.
In each case, the fantasy assumes an intimate familial relationship between the participants (e.g. an Olympic freestyle coach may adopt a parental role in a swimmer's life). Humiliation is a major component in shower-based fantasies; the subject is not only naked but completely vulnerable, effectively reduced to a juvenile status by the situation.
The scenario also adds a sensual dimension absent from many other spanking-based fantasies. The luxurious warmth of the shower may be a form of 'pampering' enjoyed prior to the spanking, preparing the body for the more intense experience to follow. Where the spanking is unexpected, the sudden, painful discipline stands in shocking contrast to the relaxing flow of the water. In both cases, the juxtapositioning of pleasure and agony plays a central role in the fantasy.
Alternately, the subject may be required to undergo a cold water shower in order to increase their level of discomfort. Under these conditions, the subject would experience the effects of mild hypothermia (shivering, gooseflesh and breathlessness), thereby simulating the symptoms of extreme panic and magnifying the sense of anticipation. In addition, it is generally assumed that drenching the flesh with ice water would enhance the pain of the forthcoming spanking (although the effect is probably more psychological - the lowering of the body's temperature is known to numb the sensory system).
Shower scenes in anime
Shower scenes are extremely common in Japanese cartoons, particularly those featuring young female characters. While viewed by Western observers as simple eye candy, the prevalance of such imagery is also due to Japan's long-standing custom of group bathing. Hot springs (onsen) and bath-houses (datsuisho) are an integral part of Japanese society, and are therefore a frequent subject in the popular culture. As bathing sequences have been commonplace in manga and anime since the 1970s (Shizuka in Doraemon being a prime example), shower scenes were a necessary inclusion, given the nature of the activity.
Following existing stereotypes, female anime characters are often depicted as being utterly preoccupied with bathing. Again, such imagery is casually dismissed as gratuitous fanservice by Western critics, but such a view is something of an over-simplification. A deeper reading suggests that bathing scenes are used to reinforce traditional Japanese gender roles, particularly the long-standing perception of young girls as being essentially 'pure' by nature. From this perspective, the accompanying nudity is viewed in terms of child-like innocence. While there are obvious sensual and voyeuristic elements in the representation, it is significant to note that nude bathing scenes have been accepted by the Japanese public since 1970 (Mahou No Mako-Chan, Toei Doga).
By contrast, shower scenes first became prevalent during the 1980s, when overtly risque themes rose to prominence. This apparent dichotomy implies that while bathing imagery was structured in non-sexual terms, showering sequences were considered somewhat more voyeuristic. The nude content was treated more openly than in previous years: showering became a recurring plot device in numerous shoujo anime (even those aimed at very young children). At the same time however, the convention was more than a thinly-veiled excuse to show the heroine naked.
As mentioned above, bathing imagery of any kind is used to establish feminine stereotypes. Even in the most explicitly pornographic material, young girls are usually portrayed as innocent, helpless, and innately sensuous.
Shower spanking in anime
While exceedingly rare, bath-house spanking scenes are not unknown in Japanese animation. One well-known example occurs in the popular children's comedy, Maicching! Machiko Sensei (Studio Pierrot, 1981). In a typically risque storyline, mischievous sixth-grader Kento-kun sneaks into a local datsuisho to spy on his teacher and several female students. Following a number of amusing mishaps, Kento finds himself naked in the women's section, where he is eventually caught by his (equally naked) mother. The comedy of errors finishes with Kento being disciplined in front of his classmates.
(each episode begins with a nude shower scene)
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