Spanking: Everything you need to know (& the answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask)

Hannah O'Neill

Spanking: The ultimate guide to introducing some discipline in the bedroom? Here are some tips from the pros...

When Swedish intimate lifestyle product provider LELO carried out a survey of its customers, asking them about their bondage and sex life preferences, they found that 84% of respondents had tried spanking in the bedroom. No longer soley the reserve of committed Fifty Shades fans, being taken across the knee for a spot of disciplining has gone mainstream. It’s also the easiest way to experiment for first-time BDSM play – all you need is a hand, a buttock and some momentum. So where to begin?

Kicking things off..
To start with, if you’re not quite feeling up to a spank, feather ticklers are a great way to experiment with skin sensitivity. Lovehoney.co.uk’s bondage expert Jess Wilde says, ‘When people think of sexual organs, they think of their genitals and various sensitive spots all over the body. But your largest sexual organ is your skin. Your entire body is a receptive organ.

‘You want to try and increase blood flow to an area to make it really sensitive and as pleasurable as possible, so a feather tickler is a great way to create that pins-and-needles type feeling across someone’s skin. They’ll then be really sensitive to kisses and licks and tickles, and all the things that follow. It’s all about heightening what you’re already doing – like seasoning.’



Taking it up a level...
Once you’re happy with that, try moving on to some light spanking. ‘When it comes to beginner’s spanking’, says Jess, ‘you’re trying to find something that’s going to spread the sensation as far as possible, so a widespread sensation rather than something narrow and intense. You’re looking for something gentle, and ideally something that’s padded and will absorb some of that spank, because you don’t necessarily want all of that impact on your lover’s skin for the first time.’



Breaking the taboo
According to Jess, half the fun comes from simply breaking the taboo of spanking. ‘At this stage, it’s actually more about the thought of doing spanking for the first time. You’ve broken that threshold of, ‘We did a spank!’ It’s only later when you start thinking whether you want sensation, and maybe pain – and that’s fine too. But for now, it’s just going, ‘Oh my god, we did it!’

Another tip is to give the area you’ve spanked a stroke or a tickle.‘Spanking is about drawing blood to the surface of the skin, making it really sensitive, so a spank followed by a tickle is going to feel much better than the tickle on its own.

Sweet Spots
‘The other thing we talk about is sweet spots across your body. I use the term ‘Thut’ – it’s that magical area between the bottom of bum cheeks and the top of your thighs, so it’s the ‘Thut’, the thigh-butt. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, if someone spanks you in that spot, all the vibrations travel straight through all the right bits.’

Harley Street psychotherapist Dr Karen Mann agrees: 

'The reason why spanking is so enhancing ( as long both parties agree ) is because there is a fine line between pain and pleasure, and spanking releases dopamine which makes us happy and crazy about our partner . The bottom is near the genitals so when spanked there is an increase of blood flow through the whole area causing intense arousal.' She says that spanking is part of keeping a relationship fresh, alongside more 'vanilla' sex acts: 'It's no good having steak every night - couples need their hamburgers too.'




Regulating traffic flow
'It’s good to start light with spanking,' says Jess, 'but as long as you’ve set up a safety word you’re both comfortable with, there’s no reason why there can’t be some mild progression throughout play.'

'Don’t go in all guns blazing’, she advises, ‘think about how you would want to be spanked if you’re the top in this situation. Read your partners body language. If they haven’t used their safety word and they seem to be enjoying it, keep going and maybe increase it, vary things. But always be listening out for that safety word because the minute they want you to slow down or be gentler, you have to listen. If you don’t listen, you won’t be doing it again.’

One system that works well in this scenario is the traffic light system. Besides Green for ‘Harder/faster’, and Red for ‘Stop everything’, there’s also the option of ‘Amber’ for, ‘You’re getting a bit closer to my limits, but continue with caution’. It doesn’t have to be ‘Stop’ or ‘Play’.



Mix things up
Technique wise, Jess recommends mixing things up. ‘Variation is key. Don’t concentrate on just one area, because even the lightest stroke in one area repeatedly will get irritating after a while.’ She also stresses that it’s okay to ask your partner if something was too hard: ‘There’s nothing wrong with checking. I’d hate to think of someone being like, “I’m the dom so I can’t check is she’s having a good time, or if he’s having a good time”.

Communication
As with bondage, communication is key in spanking – whether that’s verbally, or with your body language. According to psychologist and relationship expert Dr Sandra Wheatley, ‘The benefits come from the fact that you are communicating with your partner. It’s like discussing whether you want spaghetti Bolognese for dinner or not – it should be that open of a discussion, non-emotional and in the cold light of day. At least then it is out in the open, and it will show that your relationship is strong enough to withstand that kind of conversation.’

She emphasises, however, that both partners must sign up for spanking: ‘It must be consensual, and you must be prepared for the tables to turn – it might be that one partner was enthusiastic to begin with and the other wasn’t, but once they’ve tried it then actually it’s the other way around, and you have to be prepared fort hat and prepared to re-adjust.’

The most important thing, says Sandra, is not to be pressured into anything by warped ideas of what your sex life should be like (we’re looking at you, EL. James): ‘There’s this idea that people think that they should be talking about it and trying it, and they might have doubts – ‘Am I boring? Is the fact we’re happy in our relationship enough? Should I be pushing the boundaries?’ You shouldn’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.’

Ready to spank? Jess recommends padded products for first-timers: ‘One of our paddles has one side that’s completely fluffy with faux fur, so you can kind of imagine what that would feel like – it’s not going to be painful at all.’


Tease by Lovehoney Feather Tickler



Silent Spank Furry Paddle

And remember: Always aim for the 'thut'.

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