Spanking is the UK's most popular bondage activity. A survey by online sex retailer Lovehoney found that 75% of women and 66% of men have tried it. But how do you spank safely - and get all the thrills experienced in the Fifty Shades books and films and none of the spills?
Here Lovehoney's sex and bondage expert Jess Wilde gives 7 tips on safe spanking.
Choose a safe word
Make sure you agree a safe word - this is a good starting point for all BDSM (bondage/discipline/domination/submission/sadism/masochism) activity. A safe word is a word, phrase or signal which you both agree means ‘stop’. A safe word should be easy to remember, easy to say, and should be a word you’d never usually use in sex.
Thutt marks the (sweet) spot
Your body has lots of sweet spots, one of which is the 'Thutt'. What’s a thutt? It’s the magical area between the bottom of the bum cheeks and the top of your thighs (a crescent moon crease, if you will). As it is the thigh-butt, I have lovingly named it the ‘Thutt’.
No matter who you’re spanking, this is the area to aim for. It’s an area of the body which is naturally soft and fatty, making it great for taking a spanking, and the reverberations will travel across other erogenous zones such as the genitals - bonus!
Never spank the front of the body, above the waist, higher than halfway up the bum cheeks or across the backs of the knees or lower.
When it comes to first-time spanking you should start with palm spanks (using just your hand). This way you spread sensation (which is less painful for the receiver), and also enables you (as the giver) to keep tabs on how hard you spank as you can feel each impact too.
When you’re ready to move on from palm spanks and use a spanking tool, I recommend a paddle. Choose a beginner-friendly paddle that has a broad, padded spanking surface. They absorb some of the impact and provide a similar sensation to palm spanks, without you getting stingy fingers! Lovehoney sell lots of great spanking paddles which are perfect for this for around £15-£20.
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.
More than a psychological thrill, spanking is also about drawing blood to the surface of the skin to make it really sensitive to subsequent contact. Experiment with kisses, strokes, tickles and licks on freshly spanked skin to take advantage of its new receptivity to touch.
A great way to do this is to use ice cubes, a pinwheel, flavoured lubes or a feather tickler after spanking.
Taking it up a level
If feather ticklers aren’t really your bag, then you might like to progress onto harder, more intense spanking.
You can do that by increasing how hard you spank, or by switching to a more advanced tool, like a flogger or a crop.
When progressing play, be sure to check in regularly with your partner to make sure they’re having fun and to see if they’d like you to do anything differently.
A really easy way of checking in is to use the traffic light safe word system. In this set up you have three safe words: “Green” which means ‘keep going / go harder/faster’, “Amber” which means Amber’ for, ‘You’re getting a bit close to my limits, but continue with caution’ and “Red” for ‘Stop everything immediately’.
Mix it up
Technique wise, variation is key. Don’t concentrate spanks on just one area because, even the lightest stroke in one area repeatedly will get irritating or sore after a while.
Move around, focussing spanks on the thutt, the fattiest parts of the bum and (for the brave) the backs of the thighs to ensure no one area becomes ‘over-spanked’.
Spanking is ‘serious’ sex play. It tests boundaries and alters the power dynamic in your relationship. After play it’s important that you resume your normal power dynamic to avoid one or both partners feeling overwhelmed or emotionally fragile.
Aftercare can be whatever you want it to be, but it should be something which you and your partner can do to rebalance your relationship. A lot of couples take this time to discuss what they did and didn’t enjoy during the session, have a cuddle and maybe rub some after-spanking cream on those hot pink haunches!