Spanking! probably the most common and the most accepted form of BDSM that there is. Spanking doesn't scare the vanilla population...you hear about it on TV, in the movies, in books. It's something that is familiar from our childhood. If you are in my generation, it is associated with both pleasant and unpleasant moments - punishments, and birthdays!
Spanking is also about being controlled, and there are a lot of roles where that is played out. You have the 'brat' role...the bottom who is 'forced' into the spanking, resisting with tears or laughter, but resisting strenuously! There is the 'submissive' role...the bottom is taking the spanking to please the Top. There are dangers to both roles if carried too far. The brat can become pushy, start topping from below. The submissive can be too passive - not much fun for the Dominant. This isn't exactly a 'role', but spanking can also be a catharsis, an opportunity to release pent-up anger, frustration, a place to struggle and cry and beg, a place where you can do all that and feel safe and protected.
Catharsis can be scary for both the top and the bottom, it can happen unexpectedly. An emotional trigger is hit, and boom...the scene takes a huge turn. Lots of cuddling is needed when that happens, lots of soothing noises and rocking.
Spanking can also take the role of an ordeal. A test of strength, courage, stamina. "I can take anything you can dish out." This can be really tough on a top, not only wearing out the arm, but the danger of a submissive who refuses to admit what they are feeling, when limits are being pushed or even exceeded. And the final spanking role - humiliation. Embarrassing positions, humiliating costumes, scornful lectures, or any combination of the above <grin>. Roles can also be traditional fantasy roles. Age play - the authority figure and the child figure, or even 2 children. Teacher/student, parent/child. There are captivity roles - the pirate and the princess, etc. and ownership roles - a Master and slave, an Owner and puppy, a Boss and secretary. The possibilities are almost unlimited...we all have spanking somewhere in our background, we can relate to the situations.
With any BDSM activity, you have to start with negotiation. Spanking seems so simple...but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of things to talk about before the scene. The spanking itself should be discussed. Is it going to be hands only? Or using other implements? What is ok to use, what is a limit? Are there parts of the body that are off limits? Spanking isn't always confined to just the ass. A very important topic - is marking OK? If you have a doctor's appointment, or will be showering at the gym, you don't want to have to explain marks from a spanking. Sex should be discussed... will it be part of the scene? If so, safer sex needs to be discussed? Roles should be discussed, whether or not they will be acted out. Even who is top and who is bottom, in some cases. Related activities should be discussed...will bondage be included? humiliation? Physical limits are an important discussion. Heart problems, back problems..those apply to both top and bottom! Does the bottom bruise easily, do they have breathing difficulty, any circulation problems? Emotional limits need to be discussed - was there any abuse or assault in the bottom's past? Any known triggers to prevent (or deliberately lead to) that catharsis we talked about?
You need to discuss how you will communicate during the scene. Whether you will use plain language or safewords. Lots of spanking scenes get most of their fun from the bottom struggling, crying, yelling 'no!' Often Dominants will want another form of communication, a way to tell how hard is too hard. A scale of 1 to 10 for instance. A way for them to find out how YOU respond, because you are different from every other sub. That applies more to first-time scenes of course, but it can also apply if you are introducing a new implement. Maybe you are going to use a hairbrush for the first time. What feels gentle to the Top could feel a lot different to the bottom! Another thing to discuss is noise....how much is too much and what are you going to do about it? Spanking makes noise. Bottoms being spanked make noise too. Paddles are loud.... hands and straps are softer.... canes and floggers are softer still. [editor's note... auditory "soft" is the only reference here] How much noise is acceptable could have a big effect on what implements you use. As for the subbie.... well gags are NOT always the solution. You can make a LOT of noise through a gag. So if you really need to be quiet, you need to talk about that and pace the scene accordingly, perhaps pausing more often to help the bottom gain control.
It's important to include a warm up. Slow gentle caresses.... lingering pats. Little smacks that ever so gradually get harder. It lets the bottom relax, particularly if this is the first time you have scened together. It gives the endorphins time to start flowing. If you are playing roles, a bit of warm up first can help you relax and stop feeling 'silly' about getting into the role. It can let the cares of the day sink away, and get you ready for the scene. From the top's point of view the warm up is also important. It helps them get in touch with the bottom. It limbers up their arm. Can't have them pulling a muscle! It also helps establish a rhythm and flow for the scene.
Some people say that if you aren't using the bare hand, its not a spanking. It is a grey area when a spanking becomes.... something else. If you put on a glove, most will agree its still a spanking. If you start using a hairbrush.. again, most will say 'spanking'. But if you start using a paddle.. is it still a spanking? If you use a cane, or a flogger...is it still spanking? You could debate a long time about that!
The bare hand is a wonderful way to spank. The feel of the Dominant caressing your bottom, the warm hand delivering the smack...its lovely, warm and personal. Of course the Dominant is stinging the hell out of their hand. Wearing a glove can help that, it can cushion the palm a bit, and add the feel of leather to the spanking experience. Even with a glove you still have that personal connection, the tactile sensation. Hairbrushes, even though they are pretty traditional for spankings, are really intense. A hairbrush has a small area, it can deliver a hell of a sting. A paddle will have a larger area and spread out the sting, and the bottom can probably take more from a paddle than from a hairbrush. You can also use straps....who hasn't at least THOUGHT about the moment when the Dominant slowly pulls that belt free from around their waist? It's a lovely mind trip before the leather ever touches your skin. You need to be careful with belts however, to be sure the buckle doesn't hit the skin. Either double it up, or wrap it partially around the hand.
A way to intensify the spanking is to add water. Wetting the skin makes the sensations more intense. Spank the bottom after they have left a long hot bath, with their skin all rosy and warm. Or keep a spray bottle handy, and spritz the skin during the spanking. Of course there are ALWAYS ice cubes! Other implements that can add to the fun are soft furs, fingernails, the bristles of a hairbrush drawn across the skin. The only limit to sensation play is your imagination.
When most people think of spanking, they think of 'OTK' - over the knee spanking. This is far from the only position you can try. The position that works best for you and your Top depends on the two of you - your physical characteristics, your physical limitations. You can have a spanking with the bottom standing upright. With spread legs, you have some balance.. but you are going to rock, particularly with harder blows. The Top needs to take that into consideration and either allow you to brace yourself, or use their free hand to steady you. Another position is for the bottom to bend slightly, with hands on knees or braced against something. With males, in any bent position you need to protect the testicles. A popular position online is to have the bottom grab their ankles. It looks and sounds lovely. Unfortunately there are few people who are limber enough to actually DO that, and balance really becomes a problem in that position.
The classic over the knee position might more accurately be called 'over the lap.' Most adults just don't fit over someone's knee. There can be breathing problems, or it can cause stress in arms and legs if you aren't in a comfortable position. Use a bed or couch so the bottom can support most of their weight there if you like. There is a spanking bench...but even that won't fit everyone. The position IS something you have to think about, if you want a nice long session. Of course you can also try lots of different ones in the same session.
Where to hit and where not to hit! Avoid the coccyx (the tailbone). Look for it about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down the ass crack. You also need to watch out for the sciatic nerve. It runs from the pelvis down the back of the thigh, and usually its well cushioned by muscle. Avoid spanking above the ass crack (that's the kidney area). The lower inner portion of the butt is the 'sweet spot.' This muscle group is the same nerve group as the genitals.
Marks.... if you don't want to leave marks, you need to think about how you are spanking. A mild spanking is going to increase circulation, turn the skin rosy, make it warm. It will last only an hour or 2. Heavier spanking can raise welts, usually pink or red in color. These go away right away or last weeks. Hot water from a shower or tub can bring a healed welt back to the surface. Spankings can bruise, if they are heavy enough or go on long enough to break blood vessels. You can also get abrasions, or blisters. Novices usually have tender butts <grin> you need to go gently.
Aftercare. Cuddling is important, and nurturing each other. Leave the talk and analysis of the scene for another day. Use lotions on the skin, drink water, be sure to treat any abrasions or bleeding if you had a rough session.