Spanking has a different meaning for each of us. We may use the same term—“spanking”—but we have different ideas of what that word means, of the specific thoughts and actions and emotions it brings to mind.
What is adult spanking?
I define “spanking” as smacking the buttocks, with the option of including nearby areas like the thighs. This website is concerned only with activities between consenting adults. Sexual spanking between an adult and a child, and the spanking of one adult by another without consent, are forms of sexual assault, criminal, and outside the scope of this discussion.
By my definition, spanking includes bottom smacking with the hand or any implement, including hairbrush, paddle, cane, birch, slipper, and strap. Some of these activities are more commonly called paddling, caning, birching, slippering, and strapping, and the nomenclature of all of these activities differs from country to country. I use “spanking” as a general term for all of these activities.
This definition’s strength is that it depends on behavior, so it is easy to apply. If a willing adult’s butt is getting whacked, that meets my definition of spanking.
Varieties of spanking
This definition is concrete; it nonetheless allows for limitless variations in attitude, mood, and action. The sex and gender of the people doing the spanking are irrelevant, and they can say or do whatever pleases them. Some people consider a spanking to be incomplete without humiliation (usually with erotic overtones); others don’t. For some people, a spanking should feel like a punishment, for others, like a reward. Some people want to be restrained during a spanking, others prefer to be free to move if they choose to. For some people, part of the thrill of spanking is the submission of one person to another; for others, that’s irrelevant.
Some people believe that a real spanking must involve a certain position, perhaps over-the-knee; for others, a real spanking involves the use of the hand alone. Everyone has a different ideal spanking. We don’t have to settle these questions of taste or preference, for they will make little difference in our exploration of spanking. Queer theory taught us that sexuality—and our lives and behaviors in general—needn’t fit into a neat box.
Some people feel that spanking is not just sexual; it is sex. They may enjoy both sex and spanking, but their first choice is always spanking. When they are meeting new people in a casual setting, they may engage in spanking without any overt sexuality. Once they are in a relationship, they may be satisfied with spanking alone, or they may routinely combine spanking and sex.
The spanking itself can be erotic. When it isn’t, anticipating it, and remembering it afterward, can be exciting. In another variation, the spanking itself is not perceived as erotic, but it leads to sexual afterplay. There are, again, an unlimited number of variations, with arousal common but not universal.
Some people love spanking without finding it erotic. For them, spanking is a punishment or a way to do penance, and what, they ask, is sexy about punishment or penance? Or they may see spanking as a means to increase self-discipline or a way to willingly submit to a caring but dominant partner. They may have other perspectives, but in any case, for them, spanking and sex are distinct experiences.
There are some people for whom spanking is entirely disconnected from sex.
Arkham has been a thoughtful blogger about spanking. (As I write this in January 2017, I can’t find her online. If you can point me in her direction, please write me!) In a blog post in 2014, Arkham explained her own sexuality candidly:
I tend to leave my gender ambiguous, to be honest I don’t know myself sometimes LOL…I feel like a gay man…but I am a woman….so what does that make me? I don’t classify myself as a lesbian because I am not attracted to women….but then again…I am not attracted to men, I am not attracted to anyone and thus that leaves me with apparently being Asexual, all my spanking partners in the past and present have been non-sexual ones because I frankly don’t care for sex…and its not because I haven’t tried it previously.
Arkham does have a partner. As she says,
our relationship as a partnership, is not sexual, due to the fact my partner is asexual as well, we enjoy our companionship, sharing household chores and closeness, we even cuddle and are affectionate and share the same bed, but we neither desire to go further, (not to say we did not try a few times, but we really didn’t care for it, so don’t). Being asexual doesn’t mean you can’t…it means you just don’t need to, or desire it, and are content with simple cuddles.
Asexuality is a valid choice
In our hypersexualized culture, people who have low or no sexual desires can easily feel marginalized. But asexuality is a valid personal choice; for more, see Asexuality Visibility & Education Network.
Arkham finds spanking exciting. But it isn’t sexual for her:
Some people then wonder how can I enjoy spanking in a non sexual way?…I guess the best example is a roller coaster ride, I don’t know many who find sexual fulfillment from a roller coaster ride, but its still fun, it makes you scream and cry and you get a rush of fear and adrenaline, then when it’s all over you want to go again. THAT is how I enjoy my spankings….they feel like coaster rides 😀
This is a beautiful explanation of how someone can love spanking without finding it sexual.
Integrating spanking into your life
If you have a strong interest in spanking, whether it is sexual or not, many people feel the same way as you. And just as we learn, beginning in adolescence, how to integrate sexuality into our lives, so we must learn how to integrate spanking.