When I first discovered BDSM, I had little interest in spanking or any sort of corporal punishment. The whole idea didn’t make sense to me—spanking was a punishment, and therefore something unpleasant rather than something attractive or exciting. Why would I want to inflict something unpleasant on someone I cared about? Where’s the fun in that?

However, as time has passed, my opinion has changed, and spanking has become both an integral part of my sexual relationship with Joy and highly exciting for us both! I thought it might be interesting and educational to talk about why my view on this has changed, and to share some lessons on spanking that I’ve learned to date.

To begin, let’s set some boundaries around what the term “spanking” means. Spanking is performed by striking either one’s open hand or some sort of spanking implement against your partner’s body in a rapid movement designed to cause a stinging sensation. Generally your partner’s rear end is the body portion targeted to be spanked, but other areas of the body are possible. In BDSM encounters, spanking is a consensual activity, in which both partners desire for the spanking to take place.

Note that deeper pain than a surface sting and/or breaking your partner’s skin are not desirable in spanking and should be avoided! There are BDSM devotees that practice other forms of corporal punishment with goals beyond this surface sting, but those activities are not what this post is about. I’m also going to leave out all types of whips and flogging, as well as caning—in my mind, these are different activities that don’t fall within the boundaries of spanking either. And other forms of sensation play, whether soft or hard, will likewise be excluded.

With our definition and those boundaries established, let’s look at the types of activities included in the world of spanking. Generally, your options boil down to the portion of your partner’s body that you’ll be targeting, and the implement that you’ll use to administer the spanking.

As far as body parts go, far and away the most popular is the bottom. This is for good reason. It’s a lovely target, soft and round, and receives the blows so eagerly! More practically, however, it’s built with lots of padding over the bone structure, and so reasonable blows are less likely to cause anything other than the desired surface stinging. It is also easily accessible from a number of positions, and it benefits from tradition. When one thinks of spanking, one generally imagines it as being on the rear end.

There are other options, however:

  • Breasts can be a target, especially on female submissives—the breasts are sensitive and their sexual connection can enhance arousal. More than that, exposing one’s breasts to be slapped can make one feel highly vulnerable. However, care must be taken to be certain that the spanking is relatively gentle to avoid bruising and/or exceeding the threshold of “sting” and crossing over into deeper pain.
  • The genitals, either female or male, may also be a target, for similar reasons and with similar cautions as the breasts. Note that the genitals are less accessible for spanking, with fewer options for positioning.
  • Other body parts may be spanked as well, with good possibilities including the thighs or feet.
  • As far as implements for spanking go, here are some options Joy and I have played with, listed roughly in order of increasing severity:

    • Open hand – It’s always available, works well, provides maximum sensitivity to how hard you’re striking, and in some ways, is the most intimate.
    • Belts – Leather belts seem like they might be severe (and that perception can actually be an advantage), but in reality, they are fairly equivalent to a hand as far as sting goes. Stay away from any sort of metal belt, and don’t use the buckle end, or you’ll cause more than a sting to your partner and exceed the bounds of spanking.
    • Paddles – Their flat surface can spread the force of the spanking across the skin evenly, doing a fine job of providing a sting but avoiding deeper pain or bruising. If you’re the spanker, though, be careful how hard you wield them—it can be difficult to tell how much force you’re using, and especially with the ones made from a solid material, such as wood, bruising is a real possibility.
    • Hairbrush – This is a traditional tool for spanking, and though one might think that it’s not very severe, hairbrushes are both relatively narrow (thereby concentrating the force of the blow on a small portion of the body) and generally pretty hard. Therefore, care must be used to avoid striking too hard and causing welts or bruising.
    • Switch or Riding Crop—This marks the extreme end of the spanking utensil options, as it begins to cross over the boundary towards whips or canes. The narrowness of the tool can lead to welting quite easily, so it’s important to gauge the force you use accurately and be sensitive to your partner’s reactions. My suggestion would be to work up to these tools, starting with something lower down on the scale to gain some experience before breaking out any option from this category.

      So why would you want to try spanking your partner (or being spanked yourself)? Well, here’s what I discovered that has made me change my opinion of spanking over time.

      First, spanking provides one of the strongest means I know to reinforce the Dominance/submission in a relationship. As I seem to repeat ad nauseum, dominance and submission make up the engine that drives any BDSM activity—they provide it with its power. When you picture engaging in some sort of BDSM behavior with your partner, perhaps some sort of bondage for instance, and you feel a thrill of sexual excitement (don’t tell me you don’t feel a thrill—you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t), it is dominance and submission that calls up that thrill. Anything that reinforces the Dominant/submissive aspect of a relationship also strengthens that thrill you feel.

      Few activities exist that more strongly demonstrate dominance and submission than a good spanking. When one partner turns the other over their knee and reddens their behind, it calls out loud and clear that the spanker has taken control and the spankee has ceded it. Because of this, the spanking generates excitement–sexual excitement–in the participants. As Joy put it just the other night, “I don’t know why, but being spanked makes me feel really sexy.”

      The second reason is that it’s fun for the participants…both of them! Let’s face it—the appeal of being a dominant is that it makes you feel powerful. The appeal of being a submissive is that it lets you feel overpowered. Spanking plays to both these desires at once, letting the dominant revel in their power and the submissive sink into their submission, and because both partners’ needs are being simultaneously filled, both can enjoy themselves. In addition, for the submissive partner, there’s the added element of the sting on their rear end. Pain and pleasure are related in a curious way—sometimes, in some ways, the one can become the other. Spanking is one way (nipple clamps are another) to take advantage of the interrelationship between pain and pleasure.

      When administering a spanking to your partner, it’s important to monitor the amount of force you use. As with most things BDSM-related, you’re really shooting for an “edge”—in this case, the edge between pleasure and pain. Your partner should be able to feel a sting, but not so much of a sting that it’s intolerable or truly unpleasant. However, here’s the tricky part—the amount of sting desired by the submissive is extremely subjective, and can vary markedly from one day to the next. It’s essential to watch your partner’s reactions and adjust what you’re doing based on what you see. Note that you must always have a safe word set up with your partner before any sort of spanking activity occurs.

      Often a healthy spanking will turn the receiver’s bottom a nice shade of pink or red. Lasting marks, welts or bruises, however, are an indication that you’ve gone too far. (And yes, I know there are submissives that take pride in wearing the marks left from the other night’s beating on their asses, but again, that’s beyond the boundaries of what I term “spanking”.) As mentioned above, your goal should be to take your submissive partner to the point at which pain and pleasure intermix, not beyond to the point where pain overwhelms pleasure.

      I have one last observation before I end my dissertation on the fine art of spanking. For Joy and I, at least, spanking is more of an appetizer than the main course. Oh, sometimes it can be mixed in with the main course, especially if the main course involves me entering Joy from behind, but my point is that it’s an addition to the meal, and often serves to whet the appetite before the entree is served. I recommend taking that approach for your own experimentation with spanking as well. While there are some for whom the spanking is the meal, they are not the majority, and most crave something more filling to satiate them.

      Enjoy Yourself!


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