Bonnie's last week. The topic was the idea of spanking being a kind of "gateway drug" for other forms of BDSM. There were a lot of interesting responses to it if you read through the post linked above. This is something I've heard a lot of different takes on and have thought about myself. In short, my answer is no. I don't believe that spanking has to lead the way to any other activities.
I'll explain why I feel that way. And I'm just talking about my personal take on it and how this all works for me. I consider myself a spanko. It has been my primary "kink" or interest for about as long as I can remember. There are a million different ways to do things within the realm of spanking. We all have our own interests and preferences with everything from implements and positions to types of spankings and individual headspaces. Spanking is an activity, part of a lifestyle for some, in it's own right.
Does that mean I've never changed my mind about something or tried new things I didn't think I would? No. I have. I've found things that I really enjoyed and also found what I didn't wish to do again. But if an initial spark of interest wasn't already there, I wouldn't have tried it. The world of spanking may more easily expose one to all sorts of other things, but that doesn't mean you want to do them all. I hate the saying "don't knock it til you've tried it." I don't need to be stabbed in the arm with scissors to know it'll hurt.
I've attended parties as part of a spanking group and I've attended BDSM events. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Nothing is wrong with one or the other, it's just different. I've seen people suspended from the ceiling with rope. While I can observe the intricacy of these scenes and how beautiful it can be, does that mean I want to participate in it? No. I like chocolate and I like peanut butter and I like them both together. But there are people out there who hate Reese's. You are who you are and you like what you like.
There are no kink Olympics. Not that I'm aware of anyway. Lol. I don't do what I do to prepare for anything else. I'm not training with spanking to work my way up to some other activity. If something else interests me, then maybe I'll try it. But I don't feel like I'm required to experiment with anything and everything in an effort to reach some end goal. There are no kinkster merit badges to be attained. Pandora may disagree. ;-) This thing may be a journey, but there's no obligation to try different paths if you like the one you are on.
I think it's wonderful that there's so much variety in the world of kink. It's interesting to learn more about what other people do, even if I don't wish to participate in it myself. If you like doing one thing, great. If you like doing 20 different things, great. Do what you want to do. Play on. If someone wants to sit and eat their chocolate ice cream in peace, don't try to shove butter pecan at them.