Chicago Spanking Review

How To Paddle, Strap, and Cane

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By Web-Ed

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The phrase "safe, sane, and consensual" is often used within the BDSM community, and anyone reading this article understands and agrees that (1) he has the responsibility to play safely; (2) the players must be of sound mind; and (3) the players must be consenting adults. The reader further agrees and understands that this article is a discussion of spanking techniques as they are currently used and does not constitute a recommendation that he should attempt them himself. The reader assumes any and all liability and responsibility should he choose to attempt anything described herein. If the reader does not agree, it is his responsibility to exit this page now without reading any further.


This article is about how to give a good paddling, strapping, or caning. By “good”, I don’t mean excessively severe, just effective and satisfying for both parties. Although there are of course differences between these three implements, there are so many similarities in the actual mechanics of applying them that it makes sense to consider them together in one article. Separate articles will deal with the questions of selecting a suitable implement from the many types and models available.

The person giving the spanking will be referred to as the Top or Spanker; the person receiving is the Sub or Spankee (the term “Bottom” is often used paired with "Top" but is too ambiguous in this context). In the discussion of position, the Top is assumed to be right-handed. Left-handed tops should reverse all mentions of “left” and “right”. Pronoun gender will assume the Top is male and the Sub female, but everything said here generalizes to orientations other than male/female (M/F).


There are many spanking positions that can be utilized, although some will generally be preferred over others for reasons of practicality or to fulfill a particular fantasy. Position is important both physically to facilitate the mechanical aspects of applying the implement, and psychologically because it can subtly but very effectively emphasize the all-important aspects of Dominance and Submission that play such a large part in consensual spanking play.

Physically, every workable position serves to give the Top convenient access to the Sub’s bottom by putting the Sub within easy reach, and bending the Sub over at the waist, causing her bottom to protrude and making it a better target. At the same time, bending over prevents the Sub from “clenching”. This is sometimes thought to be disadvantageous to the Sub, on the theory that clenching will lessen the sting, but in fact it is actually bad for the sub to clench, since it is better for her bottom to be relaxed and cushion the effect of the implement when it is applied. Think of the difference between striking a hard surface and a soft one. The angle of the bend, measured between the upper and lower portions of the body, may vary considerably, but will probably not be far from 90 degrees (note: 180 degrees would be straight with no bend, 90 degrees would be bending halfway over, and 10 degrees or so would be bending over as far as possible, as with the hands grasping the ankles). 90 degrees (bending halfway over) or less (that is, more bending) are desirable. Psychologically, making the Sub present her bottom this way is valuable because it forces greater awareness of the inherent humiliation that is the very essence of spanking. Different spankees interpret this humiliation in different ways: for some, it is an end in itself; for others, a part the punishment they feel they deserve; for still others, a lesson in humility.

Stress positions, designed to cause muscle cramping and other discomfort to the spankee, will not be covered here because I strongly disfavor them. Their place is with the CIA and Enhanced Interrogations, not the home and playful spanking or loving discipline. The Top should care about the Sub and not want to cause her any discomfort except where she sits down. Even such a traditional and useful position as holding ankles cannot be used for long periods because it is rather tiring.

Now for the positions themselves:

  1. Lying on back with feet in the air (the infamous “diaper” position) – I hesitate to even mention this one, but have done so in the interest of completeness. The Top places his left arm behind the Sub’s knees and pushes her legs up and backwards. This position has its devotees despite having virtually nothing in its favor. It is very tiring for both the Top and the Sub; it is unappealing visually and makes misalignment of the implement all but certain because of its sheer awkwardness.
  2. OTK (Over The Knee) – the all-time favorite for hand spanking, this position also works with implements if they are fairly short. Longer implements applied OTK will invariably cause azimuth misalignment (to be discussed in more detail below), with the problem becoming worse the more forwards the Sub is positioned on the spanker’s lap and the greater the implement's length. Suitable implements are the traditional hairbrush, short paddles (up to 12”), etc. See articles on OTK spanking for more on this position.
  3. On hands and knees – this highly practical position is infrequently employed, probably because it is not traditionally used at home or school. An exception is the spanking machine, a part of some children’s games such as "Spud", in which the person crawls on all fours in between the legs of the spankers in what is basically a continuously moving version of this position. As the name suggests, the sub must kneel down on her hands and knees (forearms rather than hands may be used to take some strain off the wrists). A bed or couch works well with the couch somewhat preferable because it is at a lower height, which will be more comfortable for the Top since it is easier to swing an implement at waist height than shoulder height. If a hard surface is used, some kind of padding should be placed under the knees (never kneel on a hard surface, for spanking or any other reason as it is very hard on the knees, over time causing permanent injury). Because the shoulders are forced upward, this position has the advantage of naturally tending to arch the back (more on the importance of this below), and this arching can be accentuated by instructing the sub to lift her head up. Also, because the biceps femoris (back of thigh) is contracted, the bottom is slightly shortened and compressed, causing it to bulge outward. (See Illustration 1.01.)
  4. Lying on a Bed – a very simple position in which the sub merely lies flat on the bed, optionally placing a pillow under the hips to lift them up a little. This position finds favor mainly with those who were subjected to it as children. The strap is probably the most commonly used implement in this position. The bed provides good support for the Sub, and the bottom is relaxed. The one potential problem is the vertical distance between the Top and the Sub, which can easily lead to alignment problems with a non-flexible implement like the paddle. This problem is discussed in more detail below.
  5. Bending Over – the single most important position, or really, group of closely related positions for using the paddle, strap, and cane. The reasons for this preeminence are first, that it is traditionally employed in such varied institutions as home, school, and fraternal organizations, and second that it is a very practical position, both presenting the Sub’s bottom at a convenient height and preventing her from “clenching”. In all variations, the Sub’s thighs should be vertical and toes should be aligned (i.e. one foot should not be further forward than the other) with the feet positioned anywhere from close together to somewhat more than shoulder width apart. The wider apart the feet are positioned, the less the amount of bending required to prevent clenching. Important note:   in all these variations, the knees must be kept straight!!  Any bending at the knees not only gives a very bad line to the body, it angles the hips downward, forcing tilt misalignment and therefore sloppy, incorrect application of the implement. Now for the variations:
    1. Touching Toes (or holding ankles) – the sub must bend over from the waist keeping the knees straight and touch her toes. Used for many years by U.S. and British schoolteachers. (See Illustration 1.02.)
      Advantages: the derriere is stuck out as far as possible, to the delight of the spanker and the humiliation of the sub.
      Disadvantages: gluteal muscles are stretched tightly, so lighter strokes only should be used; very tiring, so cannot be used for long sessions, although it can be used for penalty swats (see below for more about this).
    2. Hands On Knees – same as a) but with the hands placed on or slightly below the knees. Sometimes used in the child’s game of “Spud” in lieu of the spanking machine (the ball is thrown at the person’s fanny instead of sending her through the spanking machine). (See Illustrations 1.03 & 1.04.)
      Advantages: easier to hold than touching toes; head and shoulders are forced upwards, producing a good back arch.
      Disadvantages: less traditional than other positions; no real support for upper body.
    3. Over a Desk or Table – same as above, but the upper body is positioned flat on a table.
      Advantages: the table provides valuable support, comfortably permitting a nice, long session; the bending angle (at the waist) is close to 90 degrees, which may be the best compromise between protrusion and stretch. (See Illustration 1.05.)
      Disadvantages: requires a surface free of tableware or other junk; must have sufficient access around the table for both the sub and the spanker.
    4. Over the back of a chair or couch – same as above, but the hands are placed on the seat of the chair or the couch (from the back).
      Advantages: the seat provides support for the upper body.
      Disadvantages: back (of chair or couch) may be too high, causing the back (of the sub) to be rounded rather than arched; in most cases couch has to be moved away from the wall to permit access.
    5. Over a spanking horse – (see illustration 1.06) similar to above, but the sub is placed over a specially designed piece of furniture.
      Advantages: the horse provides support for the entire body, in contrast to the other bent-over positions; the hands and/or feet may be fastened to the horse’s legs, introducing a new element of bondage, restraining impulsive subs who want to take a real punishment but have trouble holding still for it; emphasizes the disciplinary aspect of the session.
      Disadvantages: expensive if purchased, requires a fair degree of carpentry skill to build your own (but see Cody’s simple plans here); difficult for Sub to arch her back; unless very carefully designed the Sub's thighs will be angled rather than vertical; clashes with other furnishings (if you own a Louis XIV chair, forget it); presence of spanking horse in your living room hard to explain to in-laws and casual visitors.
    6. Hands on a chair or ottoman – similar to d), but the hands are placed on the seat of the chair (or the ottoman if you want to make her bend over farther!) from front instead of the back. (See illustration 1.07.)
      Advantages: Provides support for the upper body; traditional for caning but equally good for other implements; permits good back arch; probably most useful position over all.
      Disadvantages: none, except that as in all bent-over positions without a spanking horse, the weight is largely borne by the legs, preventing the bottom from relaxing completely.

paula meadows on hands and knees bottom raised for the cane Illustration 1.01. Paula Meadows (Lynn Paula Russell) shows us the kneeling on hands and knees position. Notice that her thighs are vertical and her head is raised up, giving an excellent back arch which turns her bottom up and sticks it out. The cane had just landed (rather too gently, in my view) a fraction of a second before this still was taken. The spankee's back should always be arched this way if possible when using any of the bending over positions. Really, hands and knees could be considered another variation of bending over. Paula does it so well here that the only thing I would change is to provide some padding under the spankee's knees.
paula meadows touching her toes Illustration 1.02. Touch your toes, Paula! The artist demonstrates the undeniable merits of this position while she awaits the paddle. With the knees kept straight, which is absolutely essential, the bottom is presented beautifully, but notice that little back arch is possible when the spankee bends this far over. Paula is actually being a very cooperative spankee by raising her head and arching her back to the extent possible in this position. If the spankee isn't flexible enough to keep her knees straight when touching toes (or holding ankles, which is almost the same thing), use another position like hands on knees with less bending. Better to have less bending over with straight knees than more bending over with bent knees - knees MUST BE KEPT STRAIGHT!
ingrid with her hands on her knees in a railroad yard Illustration 1.03. A model named Ingrid demonstrates the hands-on-knees position. Again, notice that her head and shoulders are raised up, arching her back. This is almost automatic with this position, which is a strong point in its favor. Don't try it next to a railroad track like Ingrid did, though - you might cause a train wreck.
one girl straps another in the hands on knees position Illustration 1.04. Here is another illustration of the hands-on-knees position, also outdoors. You can see how practical this position is as one girl straps another. The spankee should be instructed to "look up" or "look straight ahead" as she is doing here.
girl bending over table from firm hand productions Illustration 1.05. Bending over a table provides plenty of support for the spankee. This is a fine position if you have a suitable table (a pool table is shown here). "Elbows on the table" is the command frequently given to ensure that the entire forearms and not just the hands rest flat on the table, which serves to make her bend over further. The spankee should be near the left end of the table (from her point of view) so that the (right-handed) spanker has the clearance to place his left foot forward of her feet. (Reverse if the spanker is left-handed as is the case here). Correct foot placement will be discussed later. Notice that once again the spankee (Chloe Elise) is being made to look straight ahead. (Photo courtesy of Firm Hand Productions).
woman bent over the spanking horse Illustration 1.06, The Spanking Horse. Makes you want to reach for your cane, doesn't it? The only problem is that with many horses the thighs are not nearly vertical enough. The thighs should be as close to vertical as possible to ensure enough bending at the waist and to allow the implement to be applied squarely. This is more critical with the paddle than the cane, because the cane is invariant with respect to rotation and the paddle is not (i.e., the flat side of the paddle must meet the buttocks squarely). A cane was used in this over-the-horse video, "luckily" for the model. From Moonglow, a British producer of spanking videos.
drawing by kavanagh of girl bending over with hands on ottoman for the cane Illustration 1.07. Bending over with hands on a chair is a very practical position. Here we see the variation in which an ottoman is used instead of a chair. I very much like this variation because the ottoman, being lower than a chair, forces the spankee to bend over further. This illustration was done by one of the few artists who seems to understand this, Kavanagh, who didn't sign his work here for some reason. Traditionally used with the cane, it works equally well with the paddle. I actually witnessed it being used in Junior High School in conjunction with a platform tennis paddle!

Notice also the use of high-heels: they have the effect of making the spankee bend over further, which is always a good thing. Absent heels, the same effect may be produced by requiring the spankee to get up on her toes; however, this only works well if she has support for her upper body to help her maintain her balance (i.e., if she's bent over a chair, table, stool, or spanking horse).


We have mentioned the importance of having the Sub arch her back, which turns her bottom up and out, maximizing her humiliation at having to "stick it out" and giving the Top the best possible target. Illustrations 1.11, 1.12, and 1.13 should help to make this clearer. One traditional method of getting the Sub to arch her back after she has been placed in one of the bent-over postions is to instruct her to "look straight ahead" or "look up" (i.e., at a spot high on the wall in front of her). This action pulls the head and shoulders upward, which gives the desired back arch. It is tiring to hold the head in that position, however, so be sure to allow the sub to lower her head to a more comfortable position every now and then, perhaps after a group (or set) of swats. Other phrases that I have heard used are "Head up" and the very direct "Ass up!"

rounded back

Illustration 1.11. Rounded Back (incorrect)

arched back

Illustration 1.12. Arched Back (correct)

arched back

Illustration 1.13. Arched Back. Note raised head and shoulders which have produced the arch. The bottom is well turned-up and the spankee's humiliation is increased by having to stick her rear end out like that. (photo origin unknown)


So far we have been discussing the position of the Spankee, but the Spanker’s position is equally important. This brings us to the subject of alignment, which refers to the position of the Spanker’s body, arm, wrist, and implement relative to the Spankee’s derriere. The idea is to deliver nice, evenly-distributed strokes precisely on target. Most of the time, the implement should be guided to the lower central portion of the buttocks; occasionally certain types may be applied to the backs of the thighs, but many Subs find this unpleasant, and as a general rule it is best avoided.

We must be careful not to apply the implement too high or to low, or off to the side, or allow it to wrap around the side of the hip (this problem of wrapping can only occur when the implement is flexible, e.g. the strap or the cane). In general, the paddle is more difficult to align properly to the target but cannot wrap, while the flexible implements are easier to align but introduce the possibility of wrapping, which must be avoided. Illustrations 1.14 – 1.19 illustrate the basic alignment problems that may be encountered.

too high

Illustration 1.14. Too High

too low

Illustration 1.15. Too Low

too left

Illustration 1.16. Too Far Left

too high

Illustration 1.17. Too Far Right

too low

Illustration 1.18. Non-level

too left

Illustration 1.19. Correct position

The faults shown in Illustrations 1.14 - 1.18 are a potential problem with any implement; however, there are two other kinds of difficulties that are peculiar to the paddle and, to a lesser extent, the strap. I have coined the terms tilt and azimuth misalignment to describe these problems.

Tilt Misalignment occurs when the paddle is rotated so that the flat side is no longer vertical at the moment of contact (we're assuming here that the spankee's thighs are vertical). The Top should hold the paddle so that its flat sides are absolutely vertical, and be sure not to rotate the wrist during the stroke so that the flat side meets the buttocks squarely. Remember, you’re giving a paddling, not throwing a slider! This problem does not occur with the cane, which as we noted above, is invariant with respect to rotation.

Azimuth Misalignment is difficult to describe in words, but easy to understand with some simple illustrations (refer to Illustrations 1.21 - 1.23). It is caused by the Top’s hand, wrist, and forearm not being in a straight line exactly parallel with a line drawn through both hips (from left to right or right to left) of the Sub at the moment of impact, resulting in one side of the bottom absorbing too much punishment and the other too little. As strange as it may seem at first, this problem springs principally from the incorrect positioning of the Top’s feet. The classic example of this is the school-type paddling where the Top stands too far backwards, and the unfortunate Sub gets a “bullseye” shaped bruise on the right side of her bottom. This common fault is easily corrected by the Top moving his left foot in front of (that is, forward) of the Sub’s feet. In general, the longer the implement, the further forward should the Top’s left foot be placed.

The characteristic rigidity of the paddle makes azimuth alignment most difficult with this implement; the flexibility of the strap and cane are more forgiving of minor azimuth misalignment, although the Top needs to bear alignment in mind even with these implements.

both buttocks struck simultaneously

Illustration 1.21. Correct Azimuth (bird's-eye view; foot position correct)

left side gets too much

Illustration 1.22. Incorrect Azimuth (feet too far forward)

right side gets too much

Illustration 1.23. Incorrect Azimuth (feet too far backward)

correct foot position

Foot Position Correct

feet too far forward

Feet Too Far Forward

feet too far backward

Feet Too Far Backward

The important point in Illustrations 1.21 - 1.23 above is the position of the Top's feet relative to the Sub's feet; the relative positions of the Top's left and right foot can be adjusted for comfort. Similarly, the Sub's feet can be wider apart than shown in the diagrams where they are pictured close together; a wide stance can be most attractive. Also, of the two faults illustrated, having the Top's feet too far backward is far more likely to be a problem than having them too far forward, because there is a natural tendency of the Top to stand back where he can get a good look at the target.


Although special dispensations may be granted for the extremely shy Spankee to allow her to retain a single layer of clothing during her first session, my feeling is that spankings of all kinds should be on the bare bottom, and for two reasons:

  1. Baring her bottom will further increase her awareness of her own vulnerability and submission, which is psychologically of the greatest importance. Having her bottom bared is usually acutely embarrassing for a woman, which makes it a very effective procedure!
  2. Safety - the Spanker needs to see the effect of the correction being given so that it does not inadvertently become too severe. The Spankee may "zone out" to such an extent that she isn't fully aware of the pain any more, so her reaction to the strokes, though important, is not enough of a guide by itself.

Whether the Sub must bare her own bottom or the Top does it for her is largely a matter of personal preference. With a shy, inexperienced Sub, it's probably better for the Top to take the initiative, since the Sub might find it very difficult to do it herself. Where a couple is more experienced together, the range of possibilities is necessarily greater. One type of disciplinary fantasy that will appeal to some Subs is to be ordered to go into an already-prepared chamber, bare her bottom, and place herself in position (e.g. bending over a chair, a stool, or a spanking horse) to await the Top's arrival several minutes later. During those few minutes, the Sub will find herself unable to think about anything but the paddling or caning to come, making for a wonderful sense of anticipation!

The session can also begin over clothes and gradually proceed to the bare-bottom stage. This is yet another way of building anticipation as the spankee will be worrying about having her bottom bared all the way to the time it actually happens.


The Spankee is in position with her bottom bared and the Spanker has the implement of choice in his hand - now what? I like to give some preliminary light taps, leaving the implement in contact with the bottom for a few seconds after the last tap and just before commencing the first actual stroke. This builds anticipation and emphasizes one of the humbling aspects of any kind of spanking session, namely that the strokes are to be applied to a very personal portion of the anatomy. Some spankees like feeling this preliminary "touch" of the implement, and it can be done at other times that a slow pace is being followed, for example before "hard" swats (see "How much sting to give" below) or during a sensual-type session.

Aim carefully, then bring the implement backward and immediately forward again. Control is the object here – the implement must be applied on target and with the correct degree of intensity (to be experienced as sting by the Spankee). Exactly where to apply the stroke depends on the implement used, which we now discuss.

Paddle or Strap: these are large enough that I feel each stroke should be applied to the lower central portion of the buttocks (a narrow strap, a small paddle, the hairbrush or the wood spoon can be moved around more). If used in this manner, the paddle will produce two round areas of blushing pink, which should look nearly identical. The strap will produce distinct stripes of its own width unless it is very wide - strive for evenness and avoid wrapping with this implement.

I once saw a video in which a fairly well-known actor was using a large oval-shaped leather paddle (a very fine implement, by the way). He applied it high, then low, then repeatedly way over on the side of the hip, to the Sub’s evident distress. Finally he gave her one swat dead center on the fanny where it belonged. Unless you are trying to make it a bad experience for the Sub, this isn’t the way to go. Large paddles cannot be moved around from one location to another - every swat should land very close to the same place. If you want an extremely fine and delicate control of placement, use a small implement that can be moved all over the map - a hairbrush, a spoon, a paddle-ball sized paddle, or a miniature strap.

Cane: By tradition and because we don’t want to injure the skin, the strokes should not be applied to the exact same spot over and over. Our goal should be a nice, even series of stripes ranging from the upper portion of the buttocks to the lower – not too high and not on the dividing line between the buttocks and the thighs. You can go from upper to lower, or vice-versa, or if you want to get fancy, alternate between upper and lower, ending in the center. As noted above, the tip of the can must not be allowed to strike the Sub. Position the cane so that the tip extends about 1 - 2” past the right buttock. With a thin cane, if the tip is extended too far, the cane may wrap around the right hip. A thicker cane is less flexible, so the tip may be extended a little further if desired, but there is no particular advantage in doing so. Accuracy in caning is achieved through practice. When just starting out, it is desirable to practice caning on an inanimate object such as a pillow. Believe me, your canee will be glad you practiced on something other than her bottom!

Intensity can be controlled in three ways: changing the amount of force used, altering the length of the stroke, and changing the thickness (hence the weight) of the implement used. Regarding the last of these, a more thorough discussion will be made in a separate article, but here are some quick guidelines regarding implement thicknesses:

  • Paddle: ¼” wood is light, 3/8’’ wood is moderate, ½” wood is heavy. Actual fraternity or school paddles are generally ½". For lexan the figures for moderate and heavy would be ¼” and 3/8” respectively, with 1/4" being strongly recommended. For leather paddles (and straps) no thickness guidelines will be given here because there are too many variables in the construction of these implements; instead, they should be thought of and judged in terms of weight.
  • Rattan Cane: ¼" is light, 5/16" is moderate, 3/8" and 7/16" are heavy. Bamboo is a problematic material, while the synthetics nylon, delrin, and lexan should only be used in the 1/4" thickness!
I have found the most precise control of intensity can be obtained by keeping the amount of force (muscular exertion) constant, and varying the length of the stroke. Short strokes produce less sting; longer strokes will give more sting. The length of the stroke is usually determined by how far back the implement is drawn prior to the stroke, although the length of the implement itself is an important factor. In the case of the traditional crook-handled cane, it can also be lessened by “choking up” (holding it further up from the handle), which is the same thing as using a shorter cane.

Those just starting out in spanking would be well-advised to begin with lighter implements. It's not that heavy implements can't be used, but they do have to be used with care and respect and there is a tendency among beginning Spankers to use too much force. Lighter implements tend to be a little "stingier" while heavier ones have more "thud" and also a somewhat greater tendency to bruise.

The warm-up: It is well-established that a good warm-up greatly helps the Sub to take a longer, harder session. The warm-up is simply a period of lighter spanks, perhaps five minutes of hand spanking or 50 light swats with a paddle. A hand spanking can itself be used as a warm-up for the paddle or cane, or a lighter paddle can be used before a heavier one, for instance. The warm-up makes the experience much more comfortable and pleasant for the Sub. The extreme opposite is the "cold" caning (no warm-up at all), which I would imagine is very unpleasant for the Sub, but there are a few Puritan-Penitent types out there who seem to think this is the only way to do things. Why does the warm-up work? It is probably a combination of factors: a loosening of the muscles, capillary dilation (this is what causes the bottom to redden), and the release of endorphins.

How much sting to give during the main part of the seesion depends on the purposes of the Top and the Sub: mild stinging is generally more pleasant and sensual, while a more intense stinging is more disciplinary. Of course this varies with each individual, and each couple must experiment to find what works for them. I like to start out lightly and gradually increase the intensity until I reach a point where the Sub makes a little pained exclamation (“Ouch!”, “Ow!”, etc.), which usually indicates she’s feeling the right amount of sting. Note that I said “a little pained exclamation”, not “a scream of agony”! Remember that any implement can be used well or badly, and it’s up to you to know the difference. Be kind to your Sub – if you don’t genuinely care about her, you shouldn’t be disciplining her at all. It is your responsibility to play safely, and always use a safeword (a safeword is simply a prearranged signal between the Top and the Sub, such as the words "mercy" or "red light", that lets the Top know the distress of the Sub is so great he must stop whatever he's doing immediately). Also, encourage your Sub to let you know if she’s uncomfortable, even though she may not actually have reached her limit. Non-verbal cues are equally important, and more so with some rather non-vocal women: watch for any movement of her hips in response to the stroke; if her hips move, you can be sure she felt the sting! Make adjustments as necessary.

Also, the amount of sting need not be kept completely constant. Let's define a few terms relating to intensity:

  • Sensual - no real sting. Typically achieved with an implement like a fur-covered paddle or a soft leather flogger.
  • Light Sting - the point at which the stinging sensation first becomes perceptible.
  • Moderate Sting - the stinging is more intense, but still easily handled by the Sub.
  • Comfort Limit - this is the most the Sub can handle without becoming seriously distressed both physically and emotionally. It definitely smarts quite a bit! A swat at or near this level will be considered "hard".
  • Tolerance Limit - this is the absolute limit of what the Sub can take. Beyond this point the pain and the fear of injury become alarming to the Sub, and there is definitely some physical risk. The Sub should sound the "yellow" alert before reaching this point. We most definitely do not want to exceed this limit for any reason.

Sensual, as the name implies, would normally indicate a sensual-type session. Nonetheless, Light Sting and even Moderate Sting are appropriate during this type of session, either after the sensual strokes or alternated with them. Both fun-type and disciplinary sessions should dwell most of the time at the level of Light Sting and Moderate Sting, with the occasional swat deliberately pushing up toward the Comfort Limit. An important point for Tops to grasp is that there may not be much distance between Comfort Limit and Tolerance Limit from the Top's perspective, even though the difference to the Sub is huge! In other words, a relatively small increase in force may take you from Comfort Limit to Tolerance Limit.


For a paddling, after I reach the point of Light to Moderate Sting described above where the spankee definitely feels it, I like to hold the intensity right there for a large number of swats! There is a cumulative effect that I feel is a better way of doing things than giving her a small number of hard swats at her Comfort Limit. At the same time, both Tops and Subs enjoy some harder swats near the Comfort Limit every now and then. The session can be broken up into "sets", say of 25 or 50 swats each, with the last swat being a hard one. It is good to draw these hard swats out a little to build anticipation. The Top can say something about the next swat being a "good one", reposition the Sub slightly if desired, give the bottom a few preliminary taps to represent careful aiming, etc. Or the Top can do a slow count to three: say "One" and carefully fit the paddle to the Sub's bottom, perhaps with a few pats; say "Two" followed by more fitting; and then instead of saying "Three" - WHACK! The swat is delivered on target! Nothing could be more fun than that!

When it comes to caning, I prefer to cane in what is known as "British-style," that is, I proceed in almost the opposite manner I do with the paddle: a small number of strokes, typically 12 to 18, as near the Comfort Limit as I can get. (The traditional "six of the best" in British schools were, by all accounts, given at an intensity that exceeded the Comfort Limit, as prefects, masters, and headmasters did not generally concern themselves with the canee's comfort). As mentioned above, the caning should be preceded by a warm up with the hand (the leather paddle works well also).

There are some Puritan-Penitent types (not all) who believe that that only a very intense pain is appropriate, and that anything less is somehow illegitimate. At the risk of digressing from purely technical matters to the philosophical realm, let me say I strongly disagree. These people are, consciously or not, striving to re-create what was obviously an unpleasant and often a traumatic childhood experience, bordering on abuse (and sometimes crossing the line). Isn’t it better to have a mutually satisfying, pleasurable, and above all safe experience? There’s certainly nothing wrong with a session which emphasizes discipline and punishment, but in my opinion this can be achieved through strictness of manner and by giving enough sting so that the Sub perceives that she is being disciplined. The point here is that a bringing a pleasurable fantasy to life is far superior to re-creating an unpleasant reality which, ironically, was probably responsible for warping the Top and/or the Sub in the first place.

How many strokes to apply: There is no set answer here as it depends on the Sub, the implement, and the intensity of the strokes. The higher the intensity, the lower the number will be. Actual school paddlings were generally 3 – 5 swats delivered very hard with a heavy (typically ½” thick) wooden paddle. Traditional school canings were "six of the best", delivered pretty much full force, with more strokes being given on occasion. As discussed above, I don't believe that school paddlings or canings are a good model for an adult spanking session, although role-playing that re-creates certain aspects of these traditional punishments is certainly fine, as is reproducing some of the elements that give the "feel" of a traditional punishment. The very use of such implements as the paddle and cane in the first place is an example of this, along with traditional positions and phrases such as "bend over". But I feel we should be striving for something much better than an authentic re-creation of an actual school corporal punishment session could ever be.

As mentioned above, I think the ideal paddling consists of a large number of swats at the level of Light to Moderate Sting, with a small number of harder swats mixed in. Any woman should be able to take at least 50 swats like this, with some being able to handle 100 or more (remember that we are not talking about anything close to full force swats here). A session can be broken up into distinct sets with rest periods in between, thus allowing for a greater number of swats to be given in toto. A lot depends on the tolerance of the Sub, and this varies greatly.

The ideal caning is a little closer to tradition, but still not quite as hard. I usually employ only a wrist stroke, leaving the stronger muscles of the upper arm and shoulder out of play. If necessary, somewhat more force can be used. Much depends on the length and thickness of the cane, and of course the tolerance of the Sub. Those desiring a sensual type of session can certainly strive for this by lessening the intensity of the strokes. But to me, this rather negates the whole point of selecting the cane as your implement in the first place, since the cane's claim to fame is the rather intense pain it produces. The cause of sensuality would probably be better served by the birch (not covered specifically in this article) or an implement of very soft leather.

Sometimes an exact number of strokes is specified right at the beginning of the session. This would normally be done in two cases:

  1. The Sub is known to find this especially exciting.
  2. In the setting of a formal disciplinary session within the context of a Domestic Discipline (DD) relationship, perhaps resulting from the violation of certain rules which were previously specified and agreed to.
For example smoking a cigarette could result in 3 cane strokes. We know of one case in which for each instance of indulging in junk food, a very sweet young lady was assessed 10 swats with the paddle, plus 50 swats for maintenance! Another young woman was once driving around town without wearing her seat belt. Fortunately, it was a small town, and her caring Top happened to pull up next to her at a traffic light and noticed the unfastened seat belt. She was busted, and not long afterwards that little joyride cost her 50 swats on her bare bottom, if we remember rightly. A thorough discussion of the DD lifestyle is beyond the scope of this article; suffice it to say that the Top in these cases must do his duty and not let the Sub off the hook, which would greatly disappoint her.


Again, there is no set answer here as it depends on the Sub, the implement, and the intensity of the strokes. The general rule to remember is that the greater the intensity, the longer the time in between strokes should be. At the level of Light Sting, the paddle may be applied with a frequency of up to 1 swat per second. At higher intensity levels, proportionately more rest time must be allowed. With the cane, 30 seconds in between strokes will let the sting really sink in and allow time to rest while at the same time build anticipation before the next one. Experience is the best teacher here. One of the advantages of playing with the same Sub many times is that you gradually get a feel for what works best for her.


This is a very controversial topic, and there is virtually no agreement within the spanking community on the subject. First, we must define what we mean by “marking”. Even the mildest spanking will result in a reddening of the bottom, which will last at most for a few hours. We do not consider this marking at all. A light session with paddle, strap, or cane will do the same, and in addition may leave some slight marks that will last at most 24 hours. This should be considered acceptable by the Sub. A moderate session with these implements may leave slight bruises (paddle, strap) or welts (also known as weals) with the strap or cane lasting a couple of days. Our view is that this is acceptable provided the Sub understands that this may occur and is agreeable. We have found that heavier implements are more likely to bruise than lighter ones, and if a Sub requires a fairly intense sting, we try to achieve it by applying a larger number of strokes with a lighter implement.

A heavier session can result in marks lasting for many days or even several weeks, and/or the skin actually being broken. In our opinion, this is unacceptable even if the Sub understands and agrees to it. We consider that marking to this extent represents physical injury, and it is always wrong to actually harm someone, even if that is what she desires. The Top must always place the health and welfare of the Sub above all other considerations, including whatever desires either or both of them may have. Again, while we note that not all would agree with this view, we have yet to see anyone come up with a satisfactory justification for such heavy play. "I felt like it” or “She wanted it to be that hard” or "That's how it used to be done in school" are not serious moral arguments, only empty rationalizations.

We close our remarks on this subject by mentioning that many women find the idea of being marked strangely appealing. Note that it is the idea rather than the actual process of marking that has the appeal, and on closer examination it does make sense when we take into account female psychology as a whole. Women like to have something tangible to remind them of an important emotional experience, which is what a session with the paddle, strap, or cane represents to them. This is very much like having a letter or a present to remind them of a special evening. The marks in this context represent the man's caring, his concern for her, and the attention he paid her.


This applies usually to disciplinary-type sessions, although if a couple finds it fun there's no reason for them not to do it. No general rule can be given - some people love counting, some people hate it, and some are indifferent to it. If the Spankee enjoys counting, then make her count at least some of the swats or strokes. Note that I said “make her count”, for being instructed to count the strokes is a very exciting part of the experience for this type. She wants to be told what to do and made to comply – actually this is true of any woman into spanking. “Don’t ask her, tell her” is the best advice here and good advice during a session generally. Tell her how she is to count the strokes for you. Some examples are “One sir, Two Sir," etc.; ”One, thank you sir, Two, thank you sir,” etc. What if she fails to count a particular stroke? Then give her the “same” stroke over again and again until she remembers to count it!


It is impossible to overestimate the effect that words have on a woman. Women are extremely verbally oriented – notice that spanking stories are often written with female readers in mind, whereas spanking pictures and videos tend to have a greater appeal for men. A good pre-spanking lecture is generally imperative in a disciplinary session. Emphasize what she has done wrong, tell her that this is unacceptable, and that you are now going to discipline her because you care about her. In both disciplinary and non-disciplinary sessions, particular words or phrases may carry great emotional weight with a Sub, for example “this is for your own good.” Why is this so? Usually, the answer lies in actual childhood experiences or in spanking fantasies that develop during adolescence. Remember, we often tell a spanked child that the spanking was for her own good, and these words, spoken initially so long ago, can continue to have great emotional resonance for the adult Spankee. With some women, it can be regarded as an absolute necessity to actually use the words “this is for your own good” or “I’m going to spank you now for your own good” etc. Some other examples of phrases that are important for certain Subs are “You’ve been a (very) bad girl”, “Turn over my knee”, “Bend over”, “Assume the position”, “Look straight ahead”, etc. These must be discovered over the course of time with the particular Spankee.

Once you begin applying the implement, less talk (but not stone-dead silence) is usually desirable. If the Sub begins to “zone out” (that is, appears to become gradually lost in a world of her own), talk less. How do you know if something you say is a turn-on for your Sub? Watch her reactions very closely – a sharp intake of breath, a nervous laugh, a little exclamation, or if she appears to be experiencing a “weak-in-the-knees” sensation, indicates that she found those words or phrases exciting for whatever reason. Be sure to use those same words again in the future!


Good communication between Spanker and Spankee is essential, but should be handled differently during the session than outside it. During the session, Tops need to be concerned primarily with what the Sub is feeling just then, particularly regarding intensity and how much more she needs to take before it's time to wind things up. This is not the time to ask her about her preferences regarding implements, positions, etc. which should be done outside the session - remember, "Don't ask her, tell her!" is good advice during the session proper. But outside the session, the Top should find out as much as he can about the Sub's preferences, which in some cases won't be easy. She may find it difficult to talk about desires that she finds embarrassing, such as being told to bend over or having to say "Thank you" after receiving a swat. Nonetheless, the Top should persevere until he has a good understanding of her needs.


In a disciplinary session, isn’t everything a penalty? In a way, yes, but in addition to rules whose violation results in the discipline, there are rules during the session itself, and breaking any of them calls for additional discipline to be applied. And never underestimate a woman's ability to brat! Common sense would suggest that when you're bottom up before a man is not the time to continue bratting him, but sometimes a Spankee will do just that to "test" her Top. The bratting impulse runs deep, and even women who are normally quite submissive during a session will occasionally give into it and indulge in provocative behavior. This can catch the Top off-guard, but he must recover and respond with firmness in the form of extra discipline we usually call Penalty Swats (paddle) or Penalty Strokes (cane).

One rule I always enforce regards position: it must be held at certain times. Right after the swat is applied and the stinging is most intense, I allow the Sub to move around a little - it would be pretty unkind not to. But once she settles back into position, that position must be held steadily while I aim and apply the next swat, otherwise it might land off-target. Other rules can cover things like the use of profanity, failing to comply with instructions, getting out of position without permission after the "last" swat, allowing either heel to touch the floor if the Sub has been instructed to stand on tiptoe (with one of the bent-over positions), etc. Whatever rules there are must in fairness be carefully explained to the Sub before the session begins. Ask her if she has any questions and if she understands all the rules. That way, she can willingly accept any penalties she earns as just.

Penalty Swats may be applied immediately after the offense, although I prefer to wait until after all the “regular” strokes have been administered. How many penalty swats to give? I recommend 5 – 10 paddle swats or 1 cane stroke for each violation of the rules. I always make the Sub count penalty swats regardless of how she feels about counting. Other things the Top can do to make the penalty stand out from the rest of the session include making the penalty swats more intense or giving them in a harder position (like touching the toes), or using a heavier implement.

Sexual Contact: Unless the Top and Sub are already lovers, there should be no sexual contact (touching, etc.) during the session. For the Top to initiate such contact is entirely inappropriate and represents a breach of the trust the Sub has placed in him. It may very well result in the Sub terminating the session and gives a bad reputation to Tops generally. Clear enough? I don't want to misunderstood here: I am not saying that spanking cannot be combined with sex, only that the Top may not assume from the Sub's consenting to be spanked that she is in any way consenting to sex as well. Among committed couples, sex may very well follow spanking. Non-sexual spanking relationships are quite common, however, a prime example being the submissive wife married to a vanilla (doesn't spank her) husband, who finds the discipline she needs with another man who acts as a friend and disciplinarian only.


Like all good things, eventually the session must come to an end (so to speak). How do we treat the Sub then? As remarked above, a spanking is an emotional as well as a physical experience for a woman, and in some cases the emotional aspect can be quite intense. One thing that should never be neglected in my view is the post-session hug. The Top should take the Sub in his arms, and (in case of a disciplinary session) reiterate that he had to discipline her for her own good. Remember that your Sub needs to know that you care about her. On the physical side, comfort may be given through the use of linaments and rubbing oils. If the players are also lovers, the session may of course be followed by whatever activities they prefer.

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