Before you start spanking, you need to be confident that your partner is trustworthy. That’s an absolute. For more, please see Finding a Spanking Partner Safely.
Once you have a trustworthy partner
The spanking itself is safe, by which I mean, if you use proper technique the odds of injury are very small. That’s why it’s been used as a punishment since the beginning of time: a hard spanking will hurt a great deal, but unless you strike in the wrong way or with the wrong implement there will be no lasting damage.
Major risks of spanking
I’m going to assume that you have found a reliable person for spanking. What risks remain?
Let’s suppose you wake up in the mood for spanking, and discover that your buddy is available. You drive over and the two of you enjoy a hard, long spanking, and follow that up with some hot sex. You go home.
The obvious risks are the automobile ride and the sex. Nobody has ever gotten HIV, or pregnant, from spanking. The most serious physical problem I’ve been personally acquainted with was my spanker’s elbow. The spanking itself should be low risk.
Here is how to be sure that the spanking you do is low risk.
Safe spanking methods
I’m going to assume your disciplinary efforts are confined to ordinary skin in the area between the waist and the knees, not to any of the interesting body parts in or near the midline; that’s a topic for another day.
Where to whack
People are always talking about damaging the kidneys. Draw a line between the tops of the hip bones across the small of the back. If you whack below that line, you’re clear of the kidneys.
The upper, central part of the ass lies over a broad bone called the sacrum, which connects the hip bones. If you’re using something thuddy like a paddle, don’t whack higher than the midline of the bottom. Anything higher will strike over the sacrum. It’s a lot less fun for the bottom to feel those blows over bone, and there is a chance of injury.
You should also avoid using heavy implements in the ass crack. From the asshole on north, the ass crack lies directly over the tailbone and you do not want to be hitting that.
If you’re using something light that can’t project force below the skin’s surface, such as a light belt, then you can whack wherever you want, although it’s considerate to restrict your efforts to areas that the bottom finds erotic.
The bottom’s role
If you are the bottom, remember that you have a right, and a duty, to let the top know if they are doing something that does not feel safe to you. You don’t have to use a safeword for that. You should be able to just say, “That’s too high” or “That doesn’t feel right.” Of course the safeword should be there if you need it—see Safewords. ADD LINK
Bruising and other local damage
It’s not dangerous to be spanked till you are bruised, but it can be disconcerting and there are some special angles you should be aware of. So read on, whether you find this interesting and informative or simply a topic of morbid fascination.
Here’s my rule: Everyone bruises either too much or too little.
People who don’t want to bruise but who are spanked or paddled with even moderate force often bruise, sometimes a lot, and are horrified by this. Perhaps they associate bruising with abuse. I get it. Or perhaps they just worry that bruising is an indication of serious harm. It isn’t.
Many people in the scene love to be bruised, twisting and turning (or using suitably placed mirrors) to admire these indications that they’ve been well spanked. “Better than flowers!” These are the folks who bruise too little.
People who welcome bruising find that with repeated hard spankings their asses become tougher by degrees until even quite intense paddling leaves only transient redness, and perhaps some low-grade torn up skin, but no bruising. Those who love to be bruised are horrified by this, of course, but there’s nothing to be done. Well, they could refrain from being paddled until their bottoms recover their original tender and vulnerable condition; but nobody that I know of has the faintest interest in waiting that long.
It’s impossible to be positive that a spanking won’t leave bruises. If you whack less hard and less long, bruises are less likely, but there are no guarantees. Even if you have no bruises at the end of the spanking, they may develop over the next day or so. If you must absolutely avoid bruising, you should do something else.
People promote various remedies to reduce bruising (apply ice immediately afterward, treat the skin with arnica, etc.). Since bruising is caused by small blood vessels being popped open, which happens during the spanking and won’t be undone by ice or skin treatments, I have trouble seeing how this sort of treatment would make much difference. Still there’s no harm in trying.
I’d like to see an experiment in which both ass cheeks were spanked equally and one was then treated to reduce bruising and the other wasn’t. If you’re interested in undertaking this research, let me know and we can talk about the methodological issues involved and how best to measure the results.
Some people have no problem being bruised but want the bruised areas to be covered by shorts or a swim suit. There’s a trap here. Remember that bruising is caused when tiny blood vessels are torn open, releasing blood under the skin. That blood isn’t held in place and over the next few days it will respond to the pull of gravity. That means that if you paddle your girlfriend just before she leaves on a Sierra Club backpacking trip through the Rockies, in which she spends most of every day hiking, the blood under the skin of her ass will migrate down, leading to spectacular bruises visible well below her shorts.
Medication and bruising
Some medications make bruising more likely. Aspirin and the nonsteroidal inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) and Naprosyn are the most commonly used nonprescription medications that have this effect.
Prescription blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin) can make you much more likely to bruise. I don’t see any reason why you can’t experiment with spanking if you’re taking warfarin, but you should definitely take small steps rather than beginning with heavy paddling.
It’s easy to cause bleeding if you use thin, whippy implements like switches or canes; but even ordinary paddling can result in bleeding. This is particularly true if your partner’s ass has a vulnerable spot like a mole. Blood carries a risk of infectious diseases.
I’m not going to give a full discussion of blood safety here. Suffice it to say that the top should avoid getting the bottom’s blood on his or her skin, and that any implements that have contact with blood should be carefully cleaned and then either sterilized or, better, dedicated to use only on that lucky bottom.
Hard spanking with implements will sooner or later cause skin damage. Welts are not a problem, but if the skin becomes torn, bleeds, or is just paddled away, it’s wise to stop while there is still some skin left. Major skin damage can lead to permanently weak spots that bleed easily when whacked in the future; this is a result you do not want to be responsible for. If the spanking just has to last longer, find something else creative and enjoyable.
If you are spanked hard enough, long enough, and often enough, not only will you stop bruising, your skin will become thicker and tougher. It’s just like the callouses you develop on your fingers when you play the guitar, or on your hands if you work as a mechanic or stevedore. Some people say that applying lotion or Vitamin E cream after a spanking reduces this skin thickening.
A good way to help your bottom last longer, so that you can be spanked more, is to use tight gym or yoga pants or, if you like a fetish look, snug latex shorts.
Drugs and alcohol
It can be risky to mix drugs or alcohol with spanking. The top may be less able to read the bottom, the bottom less aware of physical damage is being done. The risk increases if you are inexperienced, or if you and your partner do not know each other well.
Just how significant the risk is depends on the situation. If you are at a spanking party, and you agree to an over-the-knee hand spanking with other guests milling around, it’s hard to imagine anything going seriously wrong. But some implements, like canes and paddles, can cause real harm, and people die when gags, or bondage, go awry. If you or the other person are tipsy, stick with the simple stuff.
Remember the big picture
Do these possibilities—bruising, bleeding, and more—make you wonder if this is really a sane activity? If you’re looking just for pure risk, you are far safer being spanked than any athletic or outdoor activity I can think of.
People get hurt hiking or playing basketball. Not over someone’s knee.