A spanking is a curiously laden term. From a childhood punishment to an adult pleasure activity, this worldwide cultural action can mean whatever you want it to.
Spanking is mentioned in the bible. It is recorded in ancient Egypt and China. The simple hand spank has been embellished with the use of tools throughout history to save the hand of the spanker and make the pain more intense for the receiver. From rods, to whips, to the cat o’ nine tails, the administration of corporal punishment to adults has not just been acceptable in society, but considered virtuous action since time immemorial.
Yet let us consider the fine, subtle art of spanking for pleasure.
What is your earliest memory of a spanking? As a bewildered toddler? A schoolchild receiving discipline from the Headmaster? Perhaps a young teen subjected to a novel combination of parental humiliation and control, while experiencing an unexpected and exhilarating rush of tactile sensation, awash with adolescent hormones?
Though studies have shown that regular exposure to pain as punishment for a young child can alter the development of the brain, there are few who have never experienced a spanking in some form.
Why allow yourself to be spanked?
Someone is touching you. Usually on the buttocks. Human contact, attention and interaction of any kind is a reward in itself, as we have come to realise more after the last long few months of lockdown.
Spanking as part of an elaborate role play. From a St. Trinian’s miscreant to a servant to any number of playful yet taboo fantasy scenarios, the use of light pain and physical control can form part of the scene and heighten arousal.
Being spanked allows the receiver to submit to the will of the giver. To offer contrition, to demonstrate submission and servility, if they wish. It is a physical manifestation of handing over control. And, in the words of Carl Sagan, ‘Everything in life is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.’
Conversely, receiving spanks allows the spankee to demonstrate toughness. to resist, to struggle, to show heroism and playfully battle the abilities of the spanker.
Vibrations. The vibrations from spanking can run through from the buttocks to the genital regions of the receiver, arousing them, heightening sensation and preparing the area for more exciting activity.
Sensation. The stinging sensation to the surface of the skin causes the area to plump up and swell, drawing blood flow to the area. As well as stimulating pelvic engorgement, this surface sting heightens the sensations that come after, which may be pleasurable. Anyone who has had a stinging slap followed by a tickle with a feather toy will know that without it, the feather is not nearly so effective.
Explore power, control, and even one’s own past. To recreate a situation and be in control of it can be both highly therapeutic and relaxing- almost hypnotic.
Being spanked can make you angry. If you are interested in primal play, or just need to get your blood boiling to have amazing sex with someone you don’t otherwise feel a strong connection to, a spanking is a great way to do it.
What’s great about spanking someone?
- Spanking is an easy skill to learn to do well, though as with all things, it improves with regular practice. This should be part of everyone’s sexual toolkit.
- It can be done from any perspective. It can be purely playful, sensual, dominant or even submissive. Though the last one sounds counterintuitive, it is an act which can be directed and arranged by another person for you to perform, so it is not entirely contradictory.
- You can introduce some spice into a sexual routine that has fallen into a rut by exploring spanking with a partner who is likeminded.
- Spanking can definitely be a sexual activity, but it is not exclusively sexual. As anyone who attends kink events can tell you, it is quite normal and acceptable to do a spanking ‘scene’ that involves no sexual elements.
- Being in control of a partner’s pain and pleasure can be both arousing and create a sense of accomplishment and expertise.
How to spank
There is an art to spanking well. Though styles and scenarios vary, here are the bare bones of things you should know to leave your spankee impressed:
- Get the enthusiastic, explicit, continuous consent of your subject. Establish what they like, what they feel like trying today, and what their safewords are. Plan your repertoire accordingly, but always be prepared to respond to your subject, stop or slow down if desired, or change the way you are doing it.
- Position your subject – though many spanking positions are possible, it is safest and easiest to position them in such a way that they are bent forward, exposing the buttocks, at a height that will be easy for you to maintain your strength and angle from. Though short spanking sessions are possible, a good session should usually last at least 15 minutes, and as much as two hours. Bent over your knee, crouched on the bed or bent over a spanking bench are great positions to try.
- Warm your subject up – This often involves softly stroking, circling the buttocks, tickling, scratching, using different fabrics or textures to enliven the skin, and then gently, lightly pinking the skin using small, fast, light slaps all over the area, or using a ‘stingy’ implement softly to draw blood to the skin and engorge the area. Not only will this warm your subject up and make the sensation better, it will relax them and cushion your target by plumping it, which helps reduce the risk of bruising or injury. Their buttocks will become pink, warm and more receptive to what comes next. Try to keep continuous physical contact- with the other hand if necessary- to help your subject relax and enjoy the experience.
- Location – You want to avoid any bony areas- the pelvic girdle, coccyx or higher on the body. Also avoid going in too close to the anus or genitals (that’s a whole different type of play). Aim for the fleshy meat of the mid to lower buttocks. The upper thighs can also be used but are often more sensitive. Hitting around the sides of the hips can hurt and mark more. Keep your aim straight- there will be plenty of room to work with!
- There are many options for intensity, rhythm, pace and style. It is better to start slower, and finish with strong slaps near the end. Slaps in a circle, either in a rhythm, to the music, or with your subject counting down (you can tell them exactly what you are about to do for each round if it suits the scene you’ve both agreed on- it can heighten their anticipation!) help to relax your subject and focus them on what they are experiencing. They may build in intensity, or all be much the same. Listen and watch your subject to see how they are feeling about the spanking and adjust accordingly.
- Consider the way you hold your hand. Unless you spank regularly, it will get sore pretty quickly. Creating a slight cupped shape helps to make a wonderful noise without causing too much pain for either of you, and will help you to continue. A leather-look spanking glove can be helpful, as can additional toys like vampire (studded) gloves which are great for light scratching of the skin surface or a very intense impact, and vibrating gloves, to mix the pleasure back in with the pain. You might change hands, but you will usually be stronger and more accurate with one or the other.
- The spanking need not be continuous- You can mix it up with gentle sensory playwith a feather tickler, the bristles of a hairbrush dragged over the skin or even cool the skin down with ice. The sensations after spanking will be so much more intense for your subject, and it allows you both to rest in the scene before you restart. You might consider whether you want to move to using a paddle or other flat implement (even a spatula!) to mix up the spanking sensations. Be careful with what you select, make sure it is clean and that your subject is happy with it. Some things hurt a lot more than they look!
- Depending on the scene or role play you have chosen, don’t forget to speak to your subject and play the character you have decided upon. They can do the same, and the spanking and role play work wonderfully together
- Never forget that it is the one receiving the sensation, not the one performing the action, who has the ultimate say in duration, intensity and style. Your subject is always in complete control of the experience they want, even if that means they want you to temporarily take responsibility for orchestrating it. All forms of impact play and BDSM, from the light to the intense, are ultimately built on trust. Your subject must trust you to provide them with the experience they want, not the experience you necessarily feel like you want to give them.
- Slaps during sex, if your partner has consented to it and enjoys it, can be wonderfully fun. It is an opportunity to play with power, gender roles and also to liven things up mid-coitus. Many people find the act of expressing power over another physically can be very arousing, which can lead to some amazing orgasms.
- Aftercare- as with all kink, aftercare time is needed after you have finished your session, whether it is playful, sexual or transcendental. Sit or lie quietly together. Have water. Have a cuddle. Ask each other how you are feeling. Discuss the journey from each other’s perspective. Put some ice or soothing balm on each other’s hands and buttocks. Think of this as a special bonding time, where you both feel close, relaxed, and open. Take as long as you both need until the world feels normal again. Aftercare is non-optional.
There are a number of wonderful books and workshops which teach the intricacies and advanced techniques of the art of spanking. Unlike some riskier experimental activities, spanking can be practiced with relative safety in privacy, at beginner level, with some minimal reading. As with so much of BDSM, spanking expertise isn’t about the hardest slap, or leaving a handprint. It is about crafting a journey together, that you both enjoy.