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by SexHerald Staff
Reprinted with permission from:

Link to the actual article: A Spanking Primer: Part One

I ran across this article completely by accident, but was quite thrilled to notice that they quoted me and mentioned my site rather prominently. I haven't been in the business QUITE twenty years, though... - Bethany

Why a primer? Isn’t spanking pretty straightforward?

Not really. Spanking, like any other form of sex play, is as much of a mental game as a physical one. The lines between different types of spanking are blurred. This month’s article is the first in a series that will discuss spanking, apart from BDSM, and will describe different types of spanking. For the aficionado, choosing a spanking scene is like selecting the proper wine for a meal: there are many good choices, but knowing how best to complement the meal takes skill and experience.

First, some terminology. Spanking enthusiasts are commonly known as “spankos” and “spankophiles.” Most spankos also refer to their partners with terms like top or bottom, or spanker and spankee. The reason is very specific and heartfelt: a great many spankophiles are appalled by BDSM and reject labels that infer an association with that practice. Labels like dom/sub and master/slave are much less common among spanking purists. The point is that one person gets a tired arm, and one gets a pink bottom.

Spanking is first a dichotomy of power. It is this transfer of power, this total surrender that is the hallmark of spanking. Within that concept, there are many levels of submission, and corresponding degrees of physicality. Within the spanking scene, there are two general types of spanking, and several types of spanking relationships to encapsulate them. These two main categories still provide a lot of room for subtle nuances. These main categories are Sensual/Erotic, and Disciplinary/Domestic Discipline. This article will focus on that of the Sensual/Erotic arena.

But since spanking usually involves some degree of nudity and sexual gratification, isn’t all of it erotic, all the time? Yes. And no. This month’s article is all about ‘yes’. Wikipedia defines erotic spanking as “the practice of spanking another for the sexual gratification of either or both parties.” This definition is rudimentary, and mostly separates consensual adult play from actual discipline of a minor, a child.

There are definitions for Sensual/Erotic spankings are all over the internet, and various spanking “how-to” books. Fernando Ecstagony’s site, Agony & Ecstasy, has several articles on spanking. His category on types of spanking is very descriptive, particularly for the novice spanker.

Even in Erotic spanking, there is a form of play that is more of a sensation “heightener” than an erotic act in itself. The intensity of the spanking is very light, and there is little to no overt sexual touching. The spanking is minimal, and the partners either end their play there, or move on to non-spanking sex play. Fernando eloquently writes about this nuance in Erotic spanking. He describes a sensual spanking in his article as very much a part of foreplay prior to sex. The tone is very intimate, and overtly sexual touching is interspersed with spanking. The ultimate goal is sexual gratification for both partners. It is not at all unusual for an erotic spanking to result in orgasm for both top and bottom from the spanking alone.

Fernando’s article also provides illustrations of where on the buttocks to place the spanks for light sensations and for more of a sting. Lady Green’s oft quoted book, “The Compleat Spanker” also includes detailed medical illustrations delineating the areas of the buttocks that connect to genital nerve endings. Which raises the question of intensity. Does light smacking always separate an Erotic spanking from real punishment?


An Erotic spanking can be very intense, leaving definite marks (i.e. bruises and welts) upon the spankee. For many spankophiles, a hard spanking that leaves a well-marked bottom is extraordinarily erotic, and leads to very intense, intimate sex. There are also many spankos who feel that marks are strictly part of BDSM, and have no place in an erotic spanking. Many of these spankos engage in very long spanking sessions that build an intense sensation with the quantity of spanks instead of a shorter, intense session.

Marking is where many new spankos (both top and bottom) can get a negative view of spanking, particularly if they are turned-off by BDSM. There is no question of the erotic thrill that spankophiles receive from percussion on (or percussing) this specific errogenous zone. However, the accompanying marks leave many novice tops and bottoms feeling unsure about the experience, and about whether or not to pursue it again.

The issue of marks seems to be particularly thorny for the spanker. He/she does not actually experience the sensation that accompanies the marks. Therefore, the novice top may have difficulty reconciling the pleasure of spanking with the visual results. And of course, many newbies are understandably reluctant to discuss these marks with anyone, for fear of negative reprisal.

Here then is everything you ever wanted to know about spanking marks, but were afraid to ask:

1) A bright red bottom is the result of dilated capillaries. There is no skin rupture that accompanies this dermal response. This produces the red “glow” highly desired by both spanker and spankee. This bright coloration usually disappears within 24 hrs. This “glow” can produce a sting that lasts even after the color fades. In other words, the spankee can in fact have a very sore bottom, with little visual evidence.

2) Welts are simply a dermal response to a lash or blow. They are most commom after the skin takes on the red glow described above. Welts usually result from canes, narrow types of paddles, or narrow leather strips like floggers. Welts also tend to be quite temporary, lasting no more than a day or two.

3) Bruises occur when blood from damaged blood vessels collect near the surface of the skin. Bruises most often result from intense hand spankings or from broad implements such as paddles, or leather strops. Be advised: bruises are deceptive. What appears to be quite painful, can in fact be more skin coloration than anything else. Bruises tend to be quite sensitive, but do not involve dermal rupturing.

4) Hematomas are a larger collection of blood under the tissue that has formed a lump. Again, they are not necessarily the result of excessive force, but rather an individual reaction to percussion.

Bethany Burke is a spankee who opened one the earliest spanking websites, Bethany’s Woodshed, over twenty years ago. She runs a spanking advice column there, and in one of the letters discusses marks with a freshly initiated spankee. Burke notes in this letter that marking tends to diminish as the body grows accustomed to being spanked. She also notes that women tend to mark more easily closer to their menstrual periods. Lady Green offers the same observations. This slender book is considered a must-have for the novice spankophile. Both of these women are legendary in the spanking scene, and have coached novice spankers for many years.

Marks are clearly a matter of taste. Some tops consider it a hallmark of their craft to make a bottom sting for days without any evidence of their sex play. Conversly, many bottoms take great delight in touching and admiring their well-marked buttocks. What is important is open communication between the partners. This means safewords for those new to spanking and/or spanking together. Separate safewords to stop and slow down the spanking allow both partners the opportunity to experiment with different intensities of play, while still keeping it erotic.

So an erotic spanking is definitely for sexual gratification. What about the scene itself? This is an aspect of spanking that is highly ambiguous. For some practioners, an erotic spanking has no set script or structure; it simply involves spanking as foreplay. Others prefer an emotional backdrop – a scene – to facilitate the eroticism of the spanking. “Bratting” by the bottom to playfully incite the top to administer a spanking is one example. The sassing that goes on in bratting is not intended to be mistaken for genuine, serious infractions, and the spankings are still erotic, and not intended to invoke a genuine punishment. The ambiguity of this type of scene (and others like it) requires very clear communication between partners. Bratting is also one of the more common forms of erotic role playing.

Bethany Burke addresses this grey area in another letter from her advice column, excerpted here:

The first stage, though, is definitely the "play" spanking. It is purely for affection and erotic enjoyment. It may incorporate "elements" of discipline (corner time, "you've been a bad girl," "are you going to sass me again?") but both participants are very much on the same page... it's erotic. This doesn't mean, of course, that it can't be plenty severe. The most severe spanking I have ever personally received was definitely in a fully erotic setting.

This gray area is where we leave off with erotic spanking. As with any form of spanking, there are suggestions for leaving the scene and providing aftercare for both partners. If the spanking leads to other sex play, that can serve as a post spanking “decompression.” Remember, even light spanking serves to heighten sensation and/or sexual pleasure. Even a less-intense spanking requires both partners to physically and emotionally exit the intensity.

It’s always a good idea to soothe the spankee’s bottom with lotion or a healing oil like Vitamin E. This not only helps heal any marks more rapidly, but it also it preserves the healthy texture of the skin. This aftercare also provides a time for the partners to relax together and end the intensity. If you used any implements or other toys make sure they are cleaned properly before they are put away. Even if though spanking implements are not usually inserted into the body, they still come into contact with body fluids and general body oils from the skin.