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The Art of Spanking

A spanking weaves an erotic theme using the position of the bodies, force of the slaps, cadence and ritual.

Man holds woman on his legs on sofa and wants to spank her.
Shutterstock ID 1571192299, by Estrada Anton.

What do we like in a spanking?

If you like spanking, you are in good company. Most people do. A recent study (Herbenick et al., 2020) showed that 77% of men and 54% of women had spanked somebody, and 46% of men and 66% of women had been spanked.

People like spanking for different reasons, but they usually include some of these things:

  1. Erotic pain. A sexual spanking doesn’t need to be painful, and most spankings involve only light pain. However, for a lot of people, the quality and intensity of the pain are important parts of the spanking.

  2. Physical contact. Besides pain, a spanking involves many physical sensations and skin-to-skin contact between the spanker and the spankee. The butt is an erogenous zone and a target of sexual desire. It becomes the focus of attention during a spanking.

  3. Vulnerability. Among the psychological drives of a spanking, there is the feeling of vulnerability brought by exposing an intimate part of the body to the touch and infliction of pain by the spanker.

  4. Humiliation. The positions in which spankings are given are embarrassing. The spankee is partially immobilized or compelled not to escape, making her or him feel defenseless. Baring the bottom is intimate and sexual. Moans, cries and struggling elicited by the spanking add to the humiliation.

  5. Submission. For some couples, spanking represents dipping their toes into the power exchange of having one partner take control over the other. The ability to undress, embarrass, infantilize and give pain to somebody are powerful and tangible ways to demonstrate dominance.

  6. Infantilization. The fact that a spanking is traditionally a punishment for children is another thing to consider, even if this is kept out of mind. Some people may do spankings as part of age-play or a Daddy-little interaction. However, most people who are into spanking prefer not to think about its connection with the corporal punishment of children. I am completely against spanking children and non-consensual spanking of adults.

  7. Punishment. Another important facet of spanking is that it is a traditional form of punishment. While some couples may brush over this fact, for others is central.

Positions for spanking

I wrote another article about this, Eleven Great Positions for a Spanking, including illustrations of each position. Here is a summary of these positions:

  1. Standing. Both the spanker and spankee stand. This is normally used for a quick, impromptu spanking.

  2. Under the arm. Also used for a short, impromptu spanking. The spanker stands and forces the spankee to bend over, holding her under one arm while hitting her bottom with the other hand. Works well when the spanker is strong and the spankee light, in which case the spankee may even be lifted from the floor to increase her vulnerability.

  3. Bending over furniture. The spankee is bent over a table, desk, bed, back of an armchair, etc. A hand on the lower back can hold the spankee in position quite effectively.

  4. Over the lap. The spanker sits down and pulls the spankee face down across his lap. This is the most traditional spanking position, but only works well if the spanker is bigger and heavier than the spankee.

  5. Over the knee. This is a better alternative to the over the lap position if the spankee is heavy. Instead of sitting on a chair, the spanker sits on the floor or the bed with support for his back. Then the spankee can lay across his legs with most of his or her weight on the floor or the bed.

  6. Straddling the thigh. The spanker sits on a chair or armchair. The spankee faces him, straddling one of his thighs and leaning on the back of the armchair. This position opens the crack and puts pressure on the genitals, something women may like and men find uncomfortable.

  7. Leg lock. The objective is to partly immobilize the spankee to increase vulnerability and minimize struggle. From a sitting position, the spanker puts the spankee between his legs and bents her over one of his thighs. Alternatively, in the ‘straddling the tight’ position, the spanker traps the leg of the spankee caught between his legs with his free leg.

  8. Leg scissors. On a flat surface, like the floor or the bed, the spankee is placed over the lap of the spanker. Then the spanker traps the leg of the spankee further from him with one of his legs. This opens the legs of the spankee at the same time that immobilizes her. This position can be done in such a way that the crotches of the participants are in contact, making it very sexual.

  9. Straddling the spankee. The best way to immobilize a spankee is to straddle her on her lower back, facing her feet. Then her bottom can be beaten like a drum. The problem is that a heavy spanker can hurt the lower back of the spankee. This can be solved by finding ways not to put the full weight of the spanker on the spankee, for example, by straddling her while the spanker kneels or stands.

  10. Diaper position. Unlike other positions, the spankee lies on the back and faces up. The spanker then lifts the legs of the spankee until the bottom is exposed for a beating. To free the hands, the spanker may place the ankles of the spankee on his shoulder. One advantage of this position is that the spanker can see the face of the spankee. It stretches the butt and the upper thighs, increasing the potential for pain and vulnerability. Bending the legs further down towards the head opens the crack and exposes the genitals.

  11. Wheelbarrow position. The spanker sits on an armchair, sofa or bed, and the spankee sits on his lap facing away from him. Then the spankee bends forward until she is upside down, head on the floor, hips trapped between the spanker’s thighs, and legs are under his arms. The bottom of the spankee is now on the spanker’s lap, crack open, ready to the beaten like a drum. This position may be a bit difficult to achieve, but unsurpassed for the feeling of vulnerability and humiliation.

Pain in spanking: sting or thud?

Strictly speaking, a spanking is the beating of the buttocks with the hand, and not with a paddle, belt, flogger or other implement. This limits the amount of pain that can be delivered, given the weight, softness and fragility of the hand of the spanker.

Pain given to the butt can be of two different qualities. Stinging pain is produced at the skin by the compression of air over it. It feels sharp and prickling, and leaves a tingle and a warmth. Thudding pain is produced by a blunt impact on the deeper layers of the skin and the muscle. It’s a dull form of pain that leaves an ache and no warmth. The lash of a light whip is pure sting. A kick in the butt is pure thud.

You can find information about the nerve fibers involved in these two kinds of pain in The Neuroscience of Spanking.

I used to assume that the erotic quality of the pain of a spanking was because it’s mostly sting. However, I have met a lot of people who prefer thuddy pain. They like being punched or even kicked in the butt. However, spanking is not a good way to deliver that kind of pain. Still, these people may enjoy being spanked with a rigid hand, glancing blows, or receive an occasional punch. In any case, the following recommendations are to deliver a stingy spanking.

How to use your hands for a spanking

To maximize the stinginess of a spanking and the subsequent warm afterglow, the whole surface of the hand should impact the skin at the same time, trapping the maximum amount of air underneath. Keep the fingers together and cup the hand to match the curvature of the buttock. Relax the wrist to allow the hand to flop over the butt, instead of hitting it like a rigid paddle.

Hitting from a short distance allows more control and does not produce much pain. Lifting the hand high in the air lets in gather more speed and recruit the momentum of the arm, so the impact will have more force. However, this allows less control on where and how the hand will hit the butt.

Normally, the butt is hit perpendicularly to the skin. Some people like to use glancing slaps, which provide a more thuddy sensation.

Topography of the bottom

What part of the bottom is hit is also important for a spanking connoisseur.

An artful spanking hits different parts of the butt with different frequency and force, and this depends on the preferences of the spankee and the effect we want to achieve.

The parts of the butt are:

  • The cusp is the top of the buttocks, the area of maximal curvature.

  • The crack separates the two buttocks and hides the anus.

  • The crease is the wrinkle that separates the buttocks from the thighs. Some bottoms have two or even three creases.

  • The sweet spot or sitting spot is the area between the cusp and the crease. It’s what comes in contact with the chair when we sit.

  • The sides of the buttocks are to the left and right of the cusp, towards the head of the femur.

  • The upper buttocks are above the cusp toward the hips.

  • The upper thigh is not part of the butt, but it is often hit in a spanking.

Usually, a spanking is delivered to the sweet spot and the cusp. Hitting the sweep spot will leave a reminder for when the spankee sits down. It will be also felt by both partners during doggy style intercourse.

On purpose or by mistake, slaps aimed at the sweet spot often hit the crease and the upper thigh. This is also erotic. But keep in mind that the thigh is more sensitive to pain than the buttocks, and also more fragile because the hamstring muscle is tighter and more dense than the glutes.

The sides and upper buttocks are also more sensitive to pain, and less erotic. They are often left out of a spanking, but a few slaps can be delivered there to produce a full-bottom spanking.

The crack is extremely sensitive and intimate, so hitting it is normally reserved for hard-core spankees. Hitting the anus is very painful because it’s made of mucosa - the same thin skin found in the inside of the mouth or on the inner labia of the pussy. Some people call hitting the anus “penalty slaps” but this should be done with caution. Spanking the crack requires a position that opens it, like straddling the thigh, the diaper or the wheelbarrow positions.

Other parts of the body - inner thighs, calves, sole of the feet, pussy - can be spanked, but this is a different matter from the one addressed in this article.


Another important part of a spanking is the rhythm with which the slaps are delivered.

There are many possibilities and countless combinations.

  • An even rhythm lets the spankee know when the next slap is coming. A hard, even spanking maintained over a long period of time creates a feeling of inevitability and defenseless. If it’s less hard, an even spanking lets the spankee becomes lost in the sensation and the fantasy, possibly leading to sexual arousal and sub-space.

  • An uneven rhythm, especially if combined with spanks of different force, keeps the spankee on edge. It forces her or him to pay attention to the spanker. It prevents going away to become lost in fantasies.

  • Very fast spanks quickly build up the pain, transforming it into a continuous sensation. However, if the spanks are not hard, this can provide an erotic stimulation of the butt that can feel playful, even funny.

  • A slow, hard spanking lets the spankee recover from the pain of the previous slap and start anticipating the next. Combined with raising the hand high in the air, this conveys a message of power, domination and punishment.

  • A burst of quick, hard spanks is great when we want to elicit a response from the spankee, like answering a question.

It is common to interrupt a spanking to gently stroke the bottom. This allows the spankee to take a break from the pain and reconnect emotionally with the spanker. Some kind words help. It is also a good moment to ask the spankee if she is okay - in most positions the spanker will not be able to see her face. While doing this, the spanker enjoys the softness and the warmth of the skin.

However, interrupting a spanking when the spankee is deep into the fantasy, especially if it is a punishment or power play, can totally ruin the scene.

Structure, theme and ritual

By structure, I mean what happens in a spanking, from beginning to end.

Normally, we want to begin with a warm-up, with soft, slow slaps, building up the force and the cadence to a climax, then continuing with caresses and softer slaps to a soft landing. Then there should be aftercare and, possibly, sex.

However, it is more complicated than that.

An artful spanking has a story to it, a theme. It often follows a certain ritual.

  • For example, it can be a punishment or pretend punishment (‘funishment’) in which the spanks are intermingled with scolding, and doesn’t end until the spankee promises to mend her ways.

  • Or it can consist of dominating a brat who talks back and rebels until the pain reaches an intensity that subdues her.

  • It can be a wrestling spanking, in which the spankee has to be overpowered and immobilized before being spanked, and may eventually escape and need to be recaptured.

  • On the lighter side, the spanking can be purely erotic, and the communication about how aroused the spankee is getting.

Spankings often incorporate an undressing ritual. The spanking may start over clothes, with the spankee fully dressed. This also ensures that the first slaps are not too painful. After the warm-up period, when the sexual tension starts to build up, pants are lowered or skirts are raised. The spanking proceeds over the panties or the underwear, which are eventually removed to announce the culmination of the spanking. The removal of clothes may be used as a threat to increase drama.

Ideally, a spanking is a form of communication in which both the spanker and the spankee are active, each in his own role. The communication can be partially verbal. But the most important part is the spanker delivering an ongoing message with the force of the slaps, their cadence, the parts of the butt being hit. The spankee responds to this message with moans, cries, clenching and relaxing the glutes, kicking the legs, curling the toes, and many other non-verbal clues. One of the key skills of a good spanker is to be able to read these clues to empathize with what the spankee is feeling. This increases his pleasure and at the same time lets him introduce changes in the spanking for the enjoyment of the spankee.


In my opinion, one of the most erotic aspect of a spanking is that red-hot, hard-to-sit-on bottom that it leaves behind. I call this ‘afterglow.’

Scientifically speaking, what is happening is inflammation, characterized since antiquity as “calor, dolor, rubor and tumor” - heat, pain, redness and swelling. I explained the biochemical basis of this in The Neuroscience of Spanking.

The afterglow may last from a few minutes to a day or two, depending of harshness of the spanking and the physiology of the spankee. Many spankees really like it, and it’s a turn-on for spankers as well. It makes doggy-style intercourse really hot.

Afterglow can be increased by applying hot peppers (capsaicin) to the butt after a spanking.


An important part of any BDSM scene is the aftercare. It consists of comforting and bringing down the bottom partner from the state of pain, vulnerability and excitement achieved in by the scene. The top partner may also need aftercare to come down from his or her own high, reestablish emotional connection, and assuage feelings of guilt.

Even if you don’t consider spanking BDSM, aftercare is necessary. If the spanking had a punishment or funishment theme, it may require clarifying that the debt has been paid (punishment) or that it was all a fantasy (funishment). If there was a domination theme, equal roles may need to be reestablished. Above all, tenderness and communication need to be affirmed.

If the spanking was foreplay, sex would ensue. Aftercare can take place after that.


A spanking should be fully consensual, and the spankee should be able to withdraw consent at any moment. The best practice is to give the spankee a safeword to interrupt the spanking.

Done correctly, spanking is a safe activity. Of course, there are always those who manage to screw things up.

Spanking is hitting the butt. If you stray away from that cushiony area, you quickly run into trouble. It is unsafe to hit the hips, the sacrum or the lower back. These areas have no padding of muscle or fat, so you are hitting the bone. Impacting the kidneys - situated under the lower back - can be extremely dangerous. The lumbar area also has important nerves, like the sciatic nerve.

Hitting the anus too hard may produce anal bleeding or anal fissures, which may require medical attention.

Some people worry about bruising, because then others may see them and know that they have been spanked. On the other hand, many spankees relish their bruises and will proudly show them to anyone who asks.

Bruising changes a lot from one spankee to another. The yellow-and-blue bruises happen when the capillaries in the skin break or leak red blood cells into the dermis. Hemoglobin - the red protein that carries oxygen in the erythrocytes - then degrades into a variety of compounds of different colors. That’s what gives bruises their colorful look.

Bruises may take a week or more to disappear - the time it takes from those colorful compounds to be fully degraded and be washed away. Unless there is substantial internal bleeding - which is highly unlikely with a hand spanking of a healthy bottom - this process is not particularly dangerous.

One safety issue that it is often disregarded concerns the hands of spanker. Spankers may develop tendinitis in the hand, the wrist or the elbow after administering a hard spanking. There is little warning. Tendinitis usually develops one or two days after the spanking, and may last a few days.

Think about it… While the butt has all that nice cushioning to absorb the impact, the hand and the wrist are concentrated bone, ligaments and nerves. The laws of physics dictate that the force of the impact is equally distributed between the butt and the hand.

This is why when a spankee wishes to upgrade to higher levels of pain, implements like paddles, straps or canes need to be used.

But then we have upgraded to full BDSM territory.

Note: Spankings occur in all possible gender combinations. I tried to avoid using gendered pronouns. When that was not possible, I assumed that the spanker is a man and the spankee a woman, which is somewhat more common.

Copyright 2022 Hermes Solenzol.

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