In most cases, erotic spanking is used as a kinky foreplay to increase sexual arousal, followed by more "vanilla" forms of sexual activity such as petting, masturbation, oral, anal or vaginal sexual intercourse. Another possiblility is to spank a partner during sexual activity, e.g. while having sex in the cowgirl or the reverse cowgirl position, to "bring them on" and add spice to the sex. Erotic spanking can be a form of light kinky play. It can be any pairing - M/F, F/M, M/M or F/F, but M/M and F/F is typically only found in homosexual couples whereas M/F and F/M is common with heterosexuals.
While erotic spanking has a clearly erotic and not disciplinary purpose, it can be given under the pretext and rituals of punishment — with or without the spankee's initial knowledge. Spanking fiction features stories in which a make-believe disciplinary spanking has a true erotic motive, or develops into an erotic activity.
The Kama Sutra goes into specific detail on how to properly strike a partner during sex. It is also likely that cultures in Western antiquity, such as the Romans who were not at all opposed to corporal chastisement, knew about the aphrodisic powers of flogging and spanking. The earliest mention of erotic spanking in modern time dates to approximately the Renaissance, but it did not become too well known until the Victorian era. Sexually-motivated spanking and whipping was called The English Vice in those days.
Buttocks are erogenous zones; as the sexual arousal nerves in the buttocks are buried in a layer of fat and require harder stimulation to trigger them. Spankings of an irregular rhythm in slow pace add to the tension and increase sexual arousal. Erotic spanking also often includes touching the spankee's inner thighs occasionally, and slightly brushing with your fingers near his/her anus and genitals will definitely add sensation.
While a spanker is able to stimulate a spankee to climax from an erotic spanking, he knows his/her partner's symptoms of sexual arousal and can judge when the time is right to switch from spanking to sexual intercourse.
A secret spanking partnership may create a domestic bond between husband and wife. For example, the husband who asks to be spanked or caned in their home. Another example, the husband who knows his wife wants to be spanked on the labia.
 Erotic spanking, spanking fetishism and BDSM
More formal forms of erotic spanking are common among spanking fetishists. Erotic spanking of this kind is generally regarded as a BDSM activity, although many spanking fetishists don't consider themselves sadomasochists because their fetish is on spanking only and not on typical BDSM style activities.
Those interested in giving or receiving erotic spankings are sometimes known as spankophiles or spankos, a term that is often considered synonymous to spanking fetishists, but includes also people for whom spanking is more sensation play than a sexual fetish, and people who never act out spanking in real life but fantasize about it. Examples of celebrity spankophiles include the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and the poet Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909).
 See also
- Therapeutic spanking
- Tantra erotic spanking
- Sensual spanking
- Erotic spanking art
- Erotic spanking on Wikipedia