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Venus gives Eros a spanking. (16th century illustration)

Spanking is the act of repeatedly striking a person's buttocks, with an individual strike called a spank. Traditionally this method of corporal punishment is used as a parenting tool to punish children when they misbehave. Spanking can be done with the palm of the hand or with a suitable implement, on the bare or on the clothed bottom, in a number of spanking positions.

Spanking is one of the most embarassing and humiliating forms of punishment. Often, the mere threat of a spanking is sufficient to correct undesired behavior, without actually having to execute the punishment.

Spanking can be quite punitive and solely disciplinary, but it can also be a comprehensive human sexual behavior in relative contexts and situations.

The word "spanking"[edit]

Severe F/F hairbrush spanking from the fetish film Ms. Holly Beats the Slut (Southeastern Woodshed).

The verb to spank has been known in English since 1727 and is possibly onomatopeic in nature. Not all languages have a word for spanking — see "Spanking" in other languages for more on this topic.

See also looking up the word "spanking".

In British English, the term "spanking" is used primarily for hand-spanking, which is also known as "smacking". In British English, spanking with implements is rarely called "spanking" ; instead more precise terms are used such as "caning", "cropping", "birching", "tawsing", or "strapping".

The following uses of the term have nothing to do with the action of spanking. When doing a Web search (e.g. using Google), you may need to exclude these phrases to filter out irrelevant results. In Google, you can do so by adding e.g. -"spanking new" (note the minus sign and the double quotes) to your search keywords.

  • "spanking new"
  • "brand spanking", "brand spanking new"
  • "spanking the/his/my monkey"

See the Wiktionary entry below for some of the other meanings and usages of the word 'spanking".

Spanking in parenting[edit]

While the practice of spanking children was widespread in western society for as long as written history goes, it has been gradually abandoned in many countries throughout the 20th century. The continent that saw the most dramatic changes here is Europe. From antiquity through the middle ages and renaissance up to the age of enlightenment and the Victorian era, heavy use of spanking was the societal norm.

Then suddenly, from the late 19th century to the second half of the 20th century, came an abrupt change. In some countries this process was so dramatic that it reduced spanking "from 100 to 0" within just two or three generations. Today, in 12 countries (of about 200) all forms of corporal punishment are illegal and in these countries spanking one's children is considered child abuse. These countries are Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel, Estonia and Latvia. In 2004, Canada has tightened its laws such that spanking is now forbidden for infants and teenagers, but nonabusive spanking of preteens remains legal. The remaining countries make a distinction between legal, nonabusive corporal punishment and illegal, abusive corporal punishment. Of course, the line of distinction between acceptable and abusive forms varies among countries. In many cases, the local laws don't give parents and judges any clearly defined criteria.

Today, spanking as a parenting tool is still widespread in North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. In many western countries including the U.S.A. and Australia, there is a trend to reduce spanking, but compared to Scandinavia and Central Europe it has not yet reached a level where spanking is dismissed by a clear majority of parents.

Within the U.S., there are also considerable regional differences. Generally speaking, spanking is more widespread in the southern "bible belt" states than in the northern states.

Spanking can take many different forms which strongly depend on local culture. One of the most obvious differences is the implements used. Some spanking implements are only used in some countries and unknown in other countries. A typical example of this is the paddle, a spanking implement that is used mainly in the U.S., or the martinet, which is mainly used in France.

Adult spanking[edit]

M/F OTK: Uncle spanks adult girl

Apart from its use as a method of punishment (so-called disciplinary spanking), there also exists therapeutic spanking, erotic spanking (among adults), as well as the use of spanking in adult BDSM play together with bondage and other BDSM techniques. Perhaps the domination-submission and power-exchange nature of spanking, as well as nudity and involvement of buttocks which are private and sexual parts of human body, are the special key characteristics that make spanking a sexual behavior known as erotic spanking.

For the issue of the noise made by spanking, see spanking noise.

Types of spanking[edit]

Vintage birching erotica, probably French (c. 1900).

Main types:

Other types:

Effects of spanking[edit]

A F/F spanking drawing by Eric Galton (1914).

Spanking increases the circulation of the skin, resulting in redness similar to blushing (a so-called red bottom, although the color is more often only a rosy pink). Spanking with implements can also leave marks on the buttocks, such as welts, bruises or blisters. In extreme cases, it can break the skin.

Typical physical reactions to getting spanked are :

  • facial expressions of pain ;
  • clenching of the buttocks muscles to counteract the impacts ;
  • sweating ;
  • increased breathing ;
  • involuntary body movements (back, head, legs, arms)
  • involuntary sounds, such as "ow" or "aah"
  • increased circulation (getting a red face) ;
  • pleads to stop the spanking, promises to be good ;
  • attempts to escape or to block the spanks ;
  • tears, crying, sobbing, blubbering, and runny nose ;
  • in a late, "well-spanked" phase : giving up all resistance, also known as broken will, characterized by exhausted relaxation, passiveness, and difficulty to move or speak

Long-term physical after-effects of spanking :

  • redness and higher temperature ("warm glow") of the buttocks for several hours ;
  • pain (and sometimes, itching) in the buttocks, causing a desire to rub ;
  • marks such as welts or bruises that are painful to the touch for several days ;
  • discomfort when sitting

See also[edit]