Trading licks (or trading blows, trading punches etc.) is an endurance test in which the participants (usually two boys or young men) take turns, alternating between administering a blow to an opponent. The person whose turn it is to receive the next blow makes no move of protection but holds still in an agreed position. This continues until one can no longer bring himself to endure the gradually increasing pain in the progressively tormented target part of their anatomy. The other is declared the winner.
Trading licks is a rather macho display of willpower, restraining the instinct to avoid pain. At the end of such a contest, both parties will have suffered greatly and may have swollen faces or bruised body parts.
As the blows are not given by the same person but by the parties themselves, the strongest-armed one actually has an unfair (but not always decisive) physical advantage.
When an implement is used, as is common for trading licks on the posterior, the implement will be the same for both parties, often a fraternity paddle. In the interest of fairness the buttocks should be either bared or only covered by a common uniform. The position assumed can be for example bending over an object or grabbing the ankles.
Trading licks can serve various purposes, including:
- a physical punishment, especially for quarreling, possibly the origin of the practice (this ritualized alternative to a more disabling or even lethal duel should also make its participants realize the futility of physical aggression)
- a motivation test, especially as part of an initiation rite, such as hazing
- an obedience test, as in certain paddle games (possibly really an excuse for the rather sadistic amusement of the seniors)
- a duel, either personal or as champions representing similar, especially rivaling, groups; in certain fraternities, refusing such a challenge may result in exclusion from the membership, even for an alumnus
- as a game, either to 'proudly' display one's tenacity (often to impress some audience) or in the pursuit of a sadist and/or masochistic, erotic or pain-addicted, kick
- as a sexual fetish
In spanking art and literature
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