Chicago Spanking Review

The Whys of Spanking - Chapter 1 - What is Spanking?

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By Web-Ed

male stripper has just given woman a hard swat with a paddle

Figure 1.01. What makes the modern party rock? Spanking! Here a male stripper has just applied a swat with a paddle, the stinging effects of which are being felt by this party girl. Notice that both participants and the only visible onlooker seem to have enjoyed the experience. (click to enlarge)

Most spankos probably believe that whatever questions they might have, they certainly know what spanking is. But how many have ever really thought about it? Of course we all know what "spank" means in the purely physical sense - to strike someone on the buttocks with the hand or a hand-held implement. But what does it mean on the psychological level? In order to fully understand why people enjoy spanking, and how they come to do so, we must first answer the question of what spanking is at its core.

There has to be some reason why adult spanking is as common as it is - in addition to the erotic spankings we're familiar with, think of all the "for fun" paddling in fraternities and sororities, birthday spankings, and the recent explosion of bar paddlings. And probably one in four women can be persuaded to accept at least a light spanking under certain circumstances. We should note also the overwhelmingly positive response from both true spankos and nominal "vanillas" to well-deserved spankings in the theatre and movies such as the one given by Fred to Lilli in Kiss Me Kate. Clearly, audiences derive a certain satisfaction from these scenes just as most of the spectators to "for fun" spankings do.

sorority girl gazes lovingly at a hugle pile of spanking paddles

Figure 1.02. A sorority sister gazes lovingly upon a pile of about 40 extra-long paddles - there'll be at least 40 sore female posteriors once they're put to use! Sorority paddling is enjoyed by many like her, at least as long as they're swinging the paddle instead of receiving it. Clearly, not all of them can be hard-core spankos, so how do we explain these "for fun" paddlings? (Photo from Richard Windsor)

While no precise figures are available (the biggest problem facing the investigator of spanking psychology, by the way), it's clear that a large chunk of humanity enjoys at least giving someone else a spanking, and a fair number don't mind receiving one, but probably not all of them enjoy it quite much as we true spankos do, nor did they fantasize about it from an early age as we did. Experience and common sense tell us that not all these people could be as deeply into spanking as we "hard-core" spankos are. Does spanking mean something completely different to them, or is it merely a variation of what it means to us - and what exactly does it mean to us?

Before answering this question, we will point out that we have accidentally made our first discovery: there are, broadly speaking, two categories of adults who enjoy spanking, the true or "Natural" spankos who show an intense interest from an early age, and people who come into it later in life with varying degrees of interest (the "Learned" spankos). We will return to this idea in later chapters.

Let's consider two very important clues:

  1. Many women do not enjoy the spanking at the time it is actually happening even though they wanted it beforehand and find it satisfying afterwards.
  2. Most of us spankos are not into applying or receiving implements like the ruler, tawse, or cane to the palm of the hand, even though these (similar) forms of discipline are used in schools, or at least were until relatively recent days. (Yes, there are a few exceptions, but these individuals usually have dark dungeon and punishment fantasies rather far removed from what we might call the mainstream of spanking activities). And of course it is unthinkable to replace "for fun" spankings with, say, the ruler across the hand.

Now taking these two facts together, we see at once that pain cannot be the lure; that is, spanking is not really a pure form of sadism (spanker) or masochism (spankee) as is often believed, for if it were, women would surely enjoy the pain of being spanked, which they clearly don't, and both Tops and Subs would be as much into punishment applied to the palm, or the back, as they are into spanking, which they're certainly not. (Again, light flogging of the back could be seen are purely sensual and would explain the small number of spankos who also engage in this activity. Also, we are not considering for the moment spanking so light that it is obviously purely sensual, even though we must return to this subject later.) Similarly, adult spanking for pleasure cannot be about pure punishment although obviously adult spanking, like child spanking, could be undertaken solely for such purpose and sometimes is, that is not our focus here. Since many who would never dream of applying (or taking) an implement across the palm welcome applying it to (or getting it upon) the buttocks, it is apparent this region of the body is the sine qua non of true spanking.

Many others have pointed out the neurological connection between the buttocks and the genital region, so I won't belabor that particular point at length here, but while it may indeed play a part in the creation of true spankos, it is only indirectly related to understanding spanking's psychological meaning. The plain fact is that this portion of the anatomy is generally off-limits - you don't just go up to some girl you don't know and whack her on the butt, or pinch her there, unless you want to get arrested or at best be thought extremely rude. But in spanking we become authorized, so to speak, to trespass upon this forbidden territory, and the act must be seen as a violation of the spankee's private space - this is the key insight that carries with it enormous psychological consequences. Let us consider a few of these now.

  • The recognition of this violation leads immediately to the emotion of personal humiliation, which then has consequences of its own.
  • Within certain limits, the greater the pain of spanking, the greater the violation, hence the greater the humiliation.
  • Such a violation of a private region of the body could be seen as analogous to sexual intercourse, but it would not be seen that way by all persons or under all circumstances. Thus, spanking is a decidedly ambiguous activity whose exact meaning depends upon the circumstances and the people involved. It could be seen as (1) purely disciplinary; (2) disciplinary but with erotic overtones; (3) erotic with disciplinary overtones; or (4) purely erotic.
  • There is a common predilection for inflicting humiliation upon one's fellow human beings. That is why the spectators enjoy seeing someone getting spanked, and in fact why so many people can learn to be Tops.

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking
diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.03. The psychological interpretation of spanking, from the spankee's point of view. Note the number of branching paths once the emotion of humiliation is experienced.

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking
diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.04. The psychological interpretation of spanking, from the spanker's point of view.

The Explanation of "For Fun" Spankings, and the Beginnings of an Explanation for M/F Erotic Spankings

We are still very early in our study, but even with only the two discoveries we have made so far we can already explain "for fun" spankings as an immediate consequence of the process outlined above in Figures 1.03 - 1.04. When I say "explain" I mean we can explain what people are getting out of the experience in certain types of spanking - the other types of spankings and how true spankos are created will be taken up in later chapters. Let us consider some specific cases.

Case 1: M/F (male spanks female) "for fun" Spankings

Look at Figure 1.01 again. The spankee there seems to have enjoyed her swat even though it obviously hurt. We have seen that getting spanked could be interpreted as a form of submission, and most of the women I have observed getting such swats seem to like it (and I have looked at every paddling scene I could find), provided they were not overwhelmed by the pain. They can't all be major spankos, so I will suggest that the major spankos among them see the act in sexual terms, at least vaguely, and are probably aroused by it, whereas the minor spankos who enjoy the swats are less consciously aware of the connection and perceive the activity as a kind of "naughty" fun. With only a slight extension of these ideas, we can largely explain M/F erotic spanking as well, and we do so in Case 3 below.

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.05a. Diagram of the M/F "for fun" Spanking.

Case 2: X/M (M/M, F/M) and F/F "for fun" Spankings

We come next to the unpleasant (for many of us) question of the male spankee. Putting aside until a much later time the question of the male spanko "Sub," we are still left with trying to explain fraternity and bar paddlings involving male spankees. Why do these spankees put up with the humiliation we have established as a central part of being spanked, when from everything we know of male psychology they should rebel against it? Having reviewed innumerable bar paddling videos in search of an answer, I will suggest that peer pressure plays a large role - the spankee feels that cooperation is expected of him (such pressure is likely to be even more effective on the female). Notice also that conscious awareness of the humiliation involved seems to be avoided by the psychological defense of turning the experience into a sort of rite of manhood in which pain is met by macho defiance - I am thinking here of certain rituals among the Indian (First American) tribes, or initiation rites occasionally seen in certain units of the armed forces in which the initiate is stabbed in the chest with a small pin (more painful than it sounds, I'm sure). Many male spankees in bars (and probably in fraternities) seem to take pride in "taking it like a man". This sort of ritual may sound strange to female readers, but it will probably resonate with male readers and I believe this explanation is very close to being correct. A similar but less intense process would seem to lie behind F/F "for fun" spankings.

It should be emphasized that sexual domination and submission is not a part of what we are describing here. The "Top" role in these cases, whether taken by male or female, involves the near-universal pleasure in inflicting humiliation upon someone else.

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.06. Diagram of the M/M "for fun" Spanking (F/F similar).

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.07. Diagram of the F/M "for fun" Spanking. Similar to M/M, except there is no male bonding, just "taking it like a man" defiance. At times, a strange male-female bond seems to be attempted, but is not really convincing.

Case 3: M/F Erotic Spanking

Now let us return to M/F erotic spanking. It has long been observed that ordinary heterosexual sex involves male domination and female submission, namely, in physical terms the male penetrates and the female is penetrated. During millions of years of evolution, this physical fact has come to be reflected in the differing psychologies of the two sexes as well, thus males are normally sexually dominant and females sexually submissive. Combined with the basic understanding of the act of spanking we have just presented, the rough outline of an explanation is already beginning to take shape: spanking between lovers becomes on some level analagous to sex, with the male taking the dominant role and spanking the submissive female. Thus ordinary sexual feelings become actualized through spanking.

diagram of psychological interpretation of spanking

Figure 1.05b. Diagram of the M/F Erotic Spanking. Very similar to Case 1 (Figure 1.05a) except the eroticism is more out in the open (spankee fully aware).

To summarize: spanking is understood cognitively as a violation of a private region of the spankee's body; it is experienced emotionally as a humiliation; where eroticism is involved it is a consequence of the violation/humiliation being understood as sexual domination/submission.

The only missing pieces in this picture are explanations of precisely how sexual feelings become attached to thoughts of spanking for the intense M/F erotic scenes (i.e. the "hard-core" spankos), and why there are so many variations (positions, styles, implements, etc.) And of course we have as yet had very little to say about spanking orientations other than Male Top and Female Sub. It turns out that to take up such questions in the order that will yield the answers we seek, the next area we must explore in depth is exactly how hard-core spankos come into being - are they born or made? The next chapter will provide the answer.

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