Both top and bottom (spanker and spankee) are responsible for the safety and success of the spanking.
The top’s duty
If you act as the top, you are largely responsible for your bottom’s physical and emotional safety. Your bottom may
• have a panic attack
• have a medical emergency
• be experiencing the wrong kind of pain
• and much more
Most of the work in ensuring a safe spanking takes place before you pull down your bottom’s underwear. Ask about medical problems. Ask about positions that might cause problems. Ask what the bottom does and doesn’t want. And learn as much as you can about this persons previous experience: I spank beginners very differently from the way I spank experienced bottoms.
Checking in with the bottom
Start the spanking with a warmup. After you start spanking, stop long enough to ask how things are going. New tops sometimes worry that checking in with the bottom like this will somehow spoil the scene. Nothing could be further from the truth! When you ask if your bottom is doing all right it serves as a powerful affirmation of your concern for his or her well-being and will help them give up control and relax into role.
An alternative inquiry is the hand squeeze. You squeeze the bottom’s hand once; two squeezes in return means “I’m OK”; any other response (or none at all) means the top must immediately stop and find out where things stand.
The bottom’s responsibility
The bottom has a general duty to inform the top of any significant problem. But tops must understand that sometimes bottoms will say nothing even though they are in (unwelcome) distress.
The bottom who doesn’t reveal a problem could be
- So deeply into the scene as to be unable to communicate that there is a problem or even unaware that a problem has developed
The top therefore has an independent duty to pause, or stop the scene, if in doubt about the bottom’s condition.
Health and safety
The bottom has an absolute duty to inform the top of any health or safety problems that occur during the spanking, and the top has a corresponding absolute duty to respond immediately. This is better done with plain language than with safewords.
Suppose the bottom suddenly feels nauseated. The best thing to do is to say “I think I’m going to throw up.” This is clear and much more informative than calling, “Yellow!” or whatever safeword is in use. The same is true for problems such as muscle cramps, feelings of faintness, and similar physical problems. The bottom must communicate and the top must respond.
Things are a little trickier in the emotional realm. Some tops want their bottoms to be afraid, and some bottoms relish fear. In this case, saying, “I’m afraid” may be an erotic statement for both top and bottom. On the other hand, if the fear is overwhelming and the top doesn’t understand that, the bottom should use a safeword—that’s what it’s there for.