If you've been around the kink community for more than a few minutes, you've probably already heard about spanking and impact play. Not only is it one of the most-approachable kinks for beginners, but it's one of those kinks that's so common in the BDSM world that everyone will assume you're into it. In fact, if you hang around us kinksters, you'll start to see topics like "Can I Be a Submissive If I Don't Like Pain?" become a constant discussion point.
So, what is spanking, how is it different than general impact play, what are the potential dangers, and how can you enjoy your next spanking by tonight?
What is Spanking?
Simply put, spanking is consensually hitting the body, repeatedly, for pain or pleasure. Unlike slapping, a "spank" is struck in a way that's intended to be repeated - over and over. While a lot of spanking can be done with just your hands and some available flesh to hit, a lot of people choose to purchase paddles - which are the toy of choice for spanking kinks.
You'll note that a location wasn't included in that definition. While spanking often happens on the butt, that certainly isn't a requirement, and lots of people enjoy "spanking" in different areas of the body - like the fleshy thighs or the breasts.
That definition also doesn't require a second person. Spanking can be done solo. In fact, if you've ever watched an erotic striptease where the person spanks themselves for the hot visual, you know exactly how spanking can be done solo. While spanking is certainly less predictable when done with a partner (like all things about BDSM!), spanking can be done completely solo too.
What Can I Use to Spank Someone?
Well, your hand is completely free and available with no extra cost or work. Try it! Flatten out your hand and hit the skin of your thigh. There you go! That's really all you need to do. Experiment with which parts of your hand strike the skin to change up the sensation - you can even try a "cupped" hand to see how that changes everything.
However, if you keep spanking an area with your hand, you'll quickly figure out that giving any spanking with your hand is actually going to hurt your OWN hand too. For a lot of people (especially those into Over-the-Knee spanking), the fact that the giver has to receive some pain in order to "punish" their partner is a huge part of the kink. For a lot of people, though, who want to provide an entire spanking scene and find that the super-sensitive skin of their hand gives out before their receiving partner is done, the pain of a spanking on the hand is a problem.
That's where spanking implements come from. We're pretty sure you've seen of (or thought of!) using a hairbrush for a spanking. The flat-side of the hairbrush makes a pretty easy-to-use, easy-to-find spanking implement that takes your hand out of the equation. Just be aware that most hairbrushes aren't designed for spanking - and you'll likely break it in the process of using it.
Otherwise, kinky people are very crafty people when they want to be, so paddles specifically for spanking are out there as well. We're talking hundreds of thousands of different options.
If you're brand-new to spanking and looking to pick up a paddle, I recommend a dual-sided spanking paddle - preferably with faux fur on one side and a faux leather on the opposing side. Not only are these cheap AF, but they let you experiment with softer sensations and ouch-y sensations in the same purchase. Whatever you do, most of the super-solid paddles (like wood or acrylic) are probably not the best purchases for you at this stage. They're unforgiving, hurt A LOT, and can do some serious damage if used incorrectly.
Does Spanking Have to Hurt?
No, it doesn't! While a lot of spanking CAN hurt and cause pain, there are lots of ways to spank someone without pain. In fact, for some people who love spanking, the pain isn't what they're after; it might be the helplessness or vulnerability of receiving the spanking.
Imagine "spanking" someone with a cardboard tube from your paper towel roll - or spanking them with a flat, sturdy, piece of cardboard. That probably wouldn't "hurt" much, right? It'd feel more thuddy and pressure-focused than sharp, stinging pain, right? That's the idea behind non-pain spankings. It's so common that the impact play community has terms for the different sensations: stingy and thuddy.
"Stingy" tends to be what you imagine when you imagine a stereotypical spanking sensation. It's a sensation that hurts - and leaves your skin stinging even after you've felt the strike of it. Stingy sensations hurt - and that's the point of them. If you go hard enough with stingy sensations, you can draw blood or cause welts.
Thuddy, on the other hand, isn't necessarily painful. Instead, think of it as a deep muscle sensation. Some kinkster says thuddy sensations feel almost like a deep tissue massage - and can feel very relaxing. Thuddy sensations are felt deep in the muscle and skin, and don't feel as "surface" as stingy sensations. If you go hard enough with thuddy, you might end up seeing bruises - or watching your partner react with soreness when moving around the next day.
In fact, if you're someone who loves doing entire scenes focused solely on spanking, the biggest secret to making those "last" without exhausting your bottom is switching between stingy and thuddy sensations. Most people can't take pain-after-pain-after-pain in increasing intensity. However, if you give people a bout of thuddy, relaxing sensations in-between bouts of stinging pain, the body can go a whole lot longer - and process a whole lot more pain in the long run.
What Areas Can I Spank?
Especially as a beginner, you'll want to keep your spankings to the core of the body. Consider the limbs off-limits - and especially the face. Not only do they tend to have bones and nerves closer to the surface, they just aren't particularly pleasurable for spankings - which defeats some of the point.
The butt tends to be the go-to spot for spankings. Not only does it have a close proximity to some pretty erotic spots, but it also tends to have a lot of extra squish that can make spankings feel pleasurable - and improve the longevity of the spanking. If your partner is on the slender side, when spanking a butt, make sure to avoid any areas with prominent bones. You'll also want to ensure that the spanking stays on the butt itself. The lower back has the kidneys - and some close-to-surface nerves - that you don't want to be striking.
The thighs also happen to be great areas for spankings. Again, they're pretty close to pleasure spots - but they also have a lot of squishiness to them. Stay away from the knees (or back of the knees), but the rest of the thighs can be fair game! Most people can take more pain on their butt than on the thighs, though, so beware!
Other common areas for spanking can include the breasts, stomach, or upper back, but as a beginner, I don't recommend those. There's a lot more knowledge that goes into that (like not harming the mammary glands, ensuring your aim is true to avoid harming the spine, or knowing the exact intensity to play with to avoid harming internal organs through impact). So, stick with the butt and thighs for now. It's closest to some of the most sexual spots on our body anyway, so it's a fun spot with lots of options!
Beginner Positions for Spanking
Really, you can spank someone in any position. As long as you're able to spank them in the position they're in, that position is pretty much fair-game for spanking. So while these positions are helpful, don't think that your spanking position is "wrong" - especially if that's the position that's featured in your fantasies.
However, I highly recommend these three positions for partnered spanking if you're just-starting and unsure what position to take. These three positions provide stability for the recipient (so they're less-likely to lose their balance and get hurt) as well as easy access to the butt and thighs (where spanking is common). Each one of these spanking positions also tries to keep the spankable area at a comfortable angle to improve accuracy of your spanking - especially when you're first learning.
First off, we have the bent-over position. This is exactly what you imagine when you think about a spanking. The receiving-a-spanking person is bent over an object with their ass on display. This position is so popular that kink communities dedicate an entire type of furniture to this position (spanking benches)! You can easily do this with your partner kneeling on the floor and their upper body resting on top of the mattress - or anywhere else this position makes sense. The bent-over position puts the butt on display for a great visual - but it also makes the thighs very accessible.
Next, we have a standing position. In this position, the receiving-a-spanking person stands up against a wall - either facing towards the wall or away from it. This makes the majority of the body available for spanking, but the wall provides a perfect stability point during the spanking. Especially if the spank-er is also standing, this puts the butt at a comfortable angle for spanking. You can also transition this position into other positions with ease. It just takes seconds to walk someone away from a wall into another spot in the room if you prefer to mix things up.
Finally, for the most comfort and stability, you can lay the receiving-a-spanking person flat on a bed. Now the entire body is easily on display, and the receiving-a-spanking person has less wiggle room while laying on a bed compared to the first two positions. Laying the spanked person flat on a bed is also really comfort (for both you and them!), so you can easily sustain this position for long periods of time if long spanking sessions are the desired outcome. This position also transitions really well into a lot of sex positions - if that's your thing!
Any Other Tips for Giving My First Spanking?
Well, I already recommended a good paddle choice for beginners. The dual-sided design of a faux fur and faux leather paddle lets you experiment with sensations - especially if you're on a budget. Not only is this type of paddle much cheaper than a lot of sturdily-made BDSM paddles, but it also has two sensations in one - and one of those sensations happens to be perfect for learning how to swing a paddle with minimal risk of damage.
As a beginner, I also recommend spanking your partner while clothed - and using that clothing as an intentional barrier against no-no zones. For example, if you're going to be spanking someone's butt and they're wearing a heavy denim skirt, you can easily roll/fold that skirt up and out of the way along the lower back. Not only do you have a bare butt to spank now, but you also have thick layers of material protecting the kidneys from any errant hits.
Mistress Kay lives in the world of sexuality and kink. With a house that's quickly running out of space for things that aren't sex books and sex toys, she spends what free time she has writing femdom help articles (https://kinky-world.net/category/bdsm-advice/femdom-advice/), trying the latest and greatest in sex toys, and exploring the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World (https://kinky-world.net/).