I walk into a bar:
I sit down at the bar.
Me: Are there any cowboys here?
Bartender: Yeah. Plenty.
Guy: What do you want with a cowboy?
Me: I'm trying to save a horse.
I'm glad I stumbled across another essay about Buffy's 'attempted rape' by Spike. There was a lot of talk about him redeeming himself by seeking his soul. But I wonder why everyone assumes Spike wanted his soul back? I never got the impression that was what he wished to gain by succeeding in the demon trials.
Didn't he say something like "make me what I was, so Buffy can get what she deserves?"
I thought he was fighting for a chip so that he could get his revenge. He got the soul instead. Which hurt him, much more than it helped her. In my opinion anyway.
Plus, like so many others have said, he was immediately contrite, and horrified by what he had done. The soul was not necessary for penance.
It was the other's assumptions that he would naturally do something so horrific to someone he supposedly loved and 'would never hurt' that really got to him, I think. Xander jumping him, and his inability to fight back.