Spankology 101: The Psychology, Physiology, Art, History, Politics and Eroticism of Spanking
“I got so mad at my wife, I turned her over my knee and lifted up her skirt to spank her…. then I forgot what I was mad about!”
The 1930s Grand Ole Opry audience roared with laughter at Bashful Brother Oswald’s spanking confession between bluegrass tunes.
Did Oswald go on to actually spank his wife, have sex with her–or both? It really didn’t matter to the crowd of country music connoisseurs and voyeurs who guffawed at this very old—and doubtlessly male-chauvinistic—joke. They recognized the powerful eroticism in spanking an upturned, ceremoniously unveiled set of adult buttocks… as well as the innate absurdity of the old-time “wisdom” that spanking can solve a real problem.
Yes, this 90-year-old joke is sexist, especially to our 21st century, #MeToo-sensitive, kink-positive, consent-conscious ears. Oswald doesn’t say if the wife goes over his knee consensually or if, when she gets “mad,” he goes over her knee. Then things could get interesting.
Still, nobody gets hurt, or at least not abused, and the playful, transgressive eroticism of adult over-the-knee (OTK) spanking comes across loud and clear as a good sound smack across a nice bare bottom.
Ahhh… the thrill of the spank!
What is it about spanking that turns so many people on?
What are the best ways to spank and get spanked?
Why does spanking sometimes feel so good even when it hurts so bad?
How effective is Spanking Therapy?
What’s the big difference between spanking helpless children and consenting adults?
What might spanking an insatiably narcissistic billionaire future president with a rolled up Forbes accomplish?
In an attempt to answer these eternal and evermore relevant questions, this Speakeasy Journal edition endeavors to explore the art and science, the philosophy, psychology, physiology, theory, history, practice, politics, poetry, culture, emotion, eroticism and—as one of my sex therapy clients puts it—the “slightly deviant naughtiness” of spanking.
Don’t Spank Children!
The word “spank,” both verb and noun, has been a part of the English language since 1727 and appears to be onomatopoetic in nature. To spank, according to Webster’s, is “to strike or slap the buttocks, usually with the palm of the hand.” Spankings may be given for the express purpose of punishment—as in spanking a prisoner or child against his or her will—or spankings may be given for pleasure—as in spanking your adult lover who enjoys being spanked, whether or not you make believe that it’s a “punishment.”
Spanking, paddling, whipping, whupping or otherwise beating children is always a bad idea. Why? First, because it tends to hurt, and deliberately hurting a vulnerable, defenseless child is the essence of cruelty. Moreover, spanking children teaches them, at an impressionable age, that physical aggression is an acceptable answer to problems. It gives them a deeply wired, internal excuse for violent behavior, a rationale that their victims (from spouses to immigrants to entire foreign countries) “deserve” it, like a disobedient child “deserves” a spanking.
No one truly deserves a spanking, except in consensual adult roleplay.
Of course, many people who were spanked as children manage to keep their violent, punitive impulses at bay. As none other than Dr. Sigmund Freud, Father of Psychoanalysis, observed, one common adult result of being spanked as a child is the development of a raging spanking fetish. As side effects of childhood spanking go, an interest in spanking, as long as it’s between consenting adults, isn’t such a bad one.
In terms of other effects, a meta-analysis of child spanking studies conducted by Elizabeth Gershoff, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, found 93% of child development studies agree (an extraordinarily high figure for consensus) that spanking leads to delinquent and anti-social behavior in childhood along with aggression, violence, criminal behavior and spousal and/or child abuse as an adult, as well as risky sexual behavior and a tendency to favor authoritarian solutions to social problems.
It would be interesting to do a study on warmongering politicians to find out what percentage were spanked as children.
Chances are many of them were, especially if they hail from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri or Mississippi, 19 U.S. states that currently permit public school teachers and administrators to spank children and teens from preschool through 12th grade.
Ironically for these school systems, studies show that spanking kids also makes them stupid… or at least not as smart as they would be if they weren’t spanked. Professor Murray Straus from the University of New Hampshire tested the IQs of 806 children ages 2-4 and 704 ages 5-9; both groups were then retested four years later. The IQs of the spanked toddlers ages 2-4 dropped by 5 points, while the IQs of spanked kids ages 5-9 dropped up to 2.8 points. The IQs of youngsters who were not spanked stayed essentially the same.
So, if you want your kid to be less intelligent and more violent, spanking is the child-rearing (pun intended) technique for you.
But what about spanking grown-ups?
There is something exceedingly different about spanking consenting adults, even if they pretend to be children. Part of what makes the Grand Ole Opry joke funny is that Oswald is getting ready to spank his adult wife; if we substituted “daughter” or “son” for “wife,” most of us wouldn’t be laughing, and some of us would call the police. But everybody knows, even if we think it’s kind of kinky, consensual spanking can be fun for adults.
Why? A good spanking feels good. Even when it feels bad, it feels good, at least for some pain sluts. And usually it doesn’t feel so bad—at least not compared to getting smacked on other body parts—what with all that nice butt flesh cushioning the blow.
Then there’s the psychological thrill of the spank, the transgressive taboo turn-on so many spankophiles feel, mixed with the spanker’s dynamic expression of power and the spankee’s magnetic delight in surrender.
In his landmark book Eroticism, 20th century French philosopher Georges Bataille (who was spanked by his father as a child) calls spanking “the illicit pleasure of all pleasures.”
Many have said that pleasure doesn’t equal happiness. However, engaging in a consensual spanking with a trusted partner can be more than pleasurable; it can be very therapeutic, enhancing mental health and happiness. It can even help an adult who was spanked as a child to erotically transcend some of the negative effects of his or her traumatic childhood.
Of course, it’s not your fault if you were spanked as a child. Nevertheless, many people feel guilt or shame for having been spanked, especially if they were aroused by the experience or even just the memory. As a consenting adult, you can turn spanking from a bad thing that made you feel helpless to a good thing you choose to experience of your own free will—something that turns you on, empowers you and helps you release guilt and shame—“freeing your inner bonobo.”
Even if you didn’t have a traumatic, abused childhood (and many, if not most, of us didn’t), recreational spanking can be more fun than a rollercoaster ride and a wonderful, relatively safe way to channel violent impulses.
In sum, I agree with the late great Gore Vidal: “I’m all for bringing back the birch, but only between consenting adults.”
Erotic Adult Spanking
How might I spank thee? Let me count the ways…
The piquant, pain-laced pleasures of adult recreational spanking can range from light slaps on the rear, mixed with squeezes and caresses in the midst of lovemaking, to more elaborate, roleplay-rich, over-the-knee, panties-down spank-a-thons, to a mistress or master whipping their whimpering slave’s reddened rear end with a cat o’ nine tails, to a book-spanking with The Bonobo Way (read it or get red from it!).
Serious sadomasochists might also use a leather belt, riding crop, rubber snaketail whip, cane, paddle, switch, strap, bullwhip, shoe, hairbrush, ruler, chain, pingpong paddle, fiber-optic flogger (with appreciation to Goddess Phoenix), Nerf darts (with a hat tip to Mistress Porcelain), or Gore Vidal’s beloved birch.
You can even spank someone with fire.
On the other end of the sensation spectrum is a fluffy feather-spanking, a petal-soft flower-whipping or a sensuous flogging with a deerskin leather flogger that feels like a silky waterfall cascading luxuriantly across the buttocks. If you think that spankings are always painful, try exposing your delicate derrière to one of these sweet bum strokers.
Light or hard, OTK or tied to a cross, spanking is a great form of “outercourse” with something fun for (almost) everyone. That includes the spanker, the consensually spanked adult spankee and the spanking voyeur who just likes to watch.
Personally, I love the physical sensation of a light spanking or flogging. It’s a real key in my ignition, gets my motor going, skin tingling, blood circulating, synapses firing and desire flowing…sometimes literally, warming me up for sexual intercourse, or just the sheer joie de la fessée (joy of spanking), as they say en français.
Even more, I enjoy giving a good spanking to a warm, willing behind, relishing the power and joy of giving pleasure… with a little bit of pain.
The joys of sexy spanking are natural and not peculiar to the human race.
Non-human primates, such as chimpanzees and monkeys, have been observed swatting each other’s hind quarters with an open hand or a whip-like vine. Yes, actual monkeys have been known to “spank the monkey” in more ways than one. Sometimes it’s nonconsensual and abusive. However, at other times, especially among the Make-Love-Not-War bonobo apes, the swat or spank to the rear is a form of erotic teasing or a playful prelude to coitus.
You can tell that bonobos are enjoying the spanks when they are accompanied by squeals of glee, rather than cries of pain. Maybe “the bonobo way” of incorporating spanking, tickling, wrestling and other forms of erotic “rough play” into interpersonal interactions is one reason that bonobos have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity.
Interestingly, female bonobos are more likely to spank than get spanked, even though the males are larger and stronger. Between the spanks, female empowerment, male well-being, resource sharing and erotic inclusivity, bonobos show us the way to peace through pleasure.
Let’s call it: Peace through Spanking!
Lupercalian Valentine’s Day: A Festival of Flogging
Among humans, the art of erotic spanking is prehistoric.
One of the earliest surviving images of spanking for pleasure is found in a sixth century BCE Etruscan burial site called Tomba della Fustigazione, or “Tomb of Flogging,” because of its portrayals of sensual flagellation scenes. One fresco shows a sexy naked young woman bending over and grasping the hips of an older smiling man as a young man flogs her from behind.
Some scholars say that scenes like this depict the pre-Roman holiday of Lupercalia, the original pagan Valentine’s Day, featuring light, consensual, public spankings and whippings instead of (or in addition to) the traditional kisses and candy of our modern V-day. The early ancient Roman Lupercalians believed that such gentle, playful whacks provided the willing whackee with luck and fertility.
Sure, it’s not as scientific as an IVF clinic, but Lupercalia certainly did whip up the local populace into a sexual frenzy.
Presiding over all of that lucky whipping and spanking hot sex was the great horned and horny goat God of Nature, Pan (from whom bonobos derive their Latin classification Pan paniscus). Called Faunus by the Romans, Pan was Lord of the Wild— and the Lupercalia often got rather wild, releasing steam from life’s labors, like Valentine’s cards, candy or diamonds never do.
All in all, the Lupercal was a little too steamy and wild for the early Catholic Church which squelched Lupercalian enthusiasm by not only making it illegal, and replacing it with the saintly, unspankable Valentine’s Day, but by turning poor, horned, horny Pan into the Devil. The rest is Satanic history.
Since Capt’n Max and I first learned about the ancient Roman Lupercalia in 2006, we’ve celebrated it every Valentine’s Day with lots of wild whipping, steamy spanking and communal ecstasy for all. Many of our guests—literally sick of the artificially sweetened, unrealistically romantic, high-priced commercialism of V-Day—really appreciate this.
After all, if love is going to hurt, as it so often does…
‘Tis Better to have Your Buns Beaten (Consensually) on Lupercalia than Your Heart Broken (Badly) on Valentine’s Day.
At least one central symbol of Valentine’s Day and love in general seems Lupercalian in origin. According to Christian tradition, the classic Valentine “heart” logo represents the valve-riddled cardiac organ that beats within our ribcage which we call by the same name… even though it really doesn’t look like that heart.
It does, however, look very much like a set of well-formed, well-spanked buns.
Bottom Line: It’s no wonder we call the perfect derrière “heart-shaped”—the Valentine heart is shaped like the perfect derrière.
The Passion of Medieval Flogging
In the post-Lupercalian Middle Ages, with most overt pagan pleasures denied to them on pain of eternal damnation, Roman Catholic true believers, monks and penitents indulged in auto-flagellation, a type of “mortification of the flesh,” to reach states of mystical consciousness that bordered on the erotic… and often crossed that border right into climax.
These may have been “hands-free orgasms,” but we can rest assured that at least some of those holy saints were probably “flogging the hog” in ecstasy as well as flogging their backs in penance.
They would also flog each other, turning some monasteries into the holy cloistered equivalent of a spanking play party, though all to honor and emulate the sacred suffering of Jesus Christ, of course. Indeed, the Latin root of the word “passion” is passio which means “to suffer.”
And it’s not just those slap-happy Italians. During these same Middle Ages, on the other side of the world, Tibetan monks were also whipping each other for medicinal, spiritual and (I would say) erotic purposes. Even earlier, Taoist Chinese engaged in rituals of spanking and whipping during the Spring Festival of their lunar new year, a kind of Taoist Lupercalia, with the stated purpose of spanking away “bad luck.”
Farther to the south in India, the Kama Sutra, believed to have been written in the third century, treated the fine art of spanking as an integral part of sophisticated lovemaking. The “Blows and Sighs” section contains multiple descriptions, in loving detail, of how to “strike” your lover’s buttocks, as well as other body parts, during sex, as well as how to respond erotically to the striking. A good spanking is said to awaken the kundalini or “chi,” sending sexual energy from the lower chakras up the spine into a mind-blowing orgasm, and—if you’re really “lucky”—enlightenment.
Back to Europe where, in Latvia, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic, it has long been customary for young men to awaken young ladies on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Shrove Tuesday or Easter Monday by spanking them on the butt and legs with colorful, light, braided Easter whips (called Pomlázka in Czech) made out of pussy willow twigs. If the men arrive after noon, the women throw buckets of cold water on their heads.
Spank right or get soaked!
Enlightened Euro Spankings
In the 17th century, two German authors made their name in scientific spanking research: Dr. Johann Heinrich Meibom, who wrote a best-selling treatise on flagellation as a medical and sexual stimulant, and Dr. Kristian Frantz Paullini, whose Flagellum Salutis praised flogging and spanking for their curative use in treating diseases as diverse as melancholia, paralysis, toothache, sleepwalking, deafness, and so-called “nymphomania,” as well as for pleasure and sexual arousal.
French philosophers of the Enlightenment savored their spankings—les Fessées—like fine wines… or perhaps a well-sauced rump roast.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, wrote as “romantically” of spankings as he did of democratic government and social empowerment. In 1782, he published his Confessions, notably confessing his love of spanking, stemming from corporal punishments he received as a child from a Miss Lambercier:
Who would believe this childish discipline, received at eight years old, from the hands of a woman of thirty, should influence my propensities, my desires, my passions, for the rest of my life, and that in quite a contrary sense from what might naturally have been expected?”
The notorious Marquis de Sade was much more extreme in his spanking preferences—having penned many of his more sadistic fantasies while imprisoned in the notorious Bastille, where he was on the nonconsensual receiving end of many such painful punishments. On 2 July 1789, he is said to have shouted from his cell to the French Revolutionary crowd outside, “They are killing the prisoners here!” Twelve days later, the mob “stormed” the Bastille, “spanking” the authorities, toppling the aristocracy and triggering the French Revolution,
In Bonoboville, we celebrate Bastille Day, when the prisoners were released (ironically, de Sade was not in the Bastille that fateful day, having just been transferred to the Charenton “lunatic” asylum a couple days after his shout-out), by spanking each other with fresh loaves of French bread. The iconic phallic baguettes make great spanking paddles… until they break apart. It’s messy, but a lot more bonobo than the Guillotine.
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité…Sexe!
As de Sade is to sadism, so the Austrian writer and socialist philosopher Leopold von Sacher-Masoch is to masochism. He willingly endured many spankings, whippings, along with humiliation, bondage, cuckolding and other painful punishments (usually at his own instigation), and wrote about them lyrically in his masterpiece Venus in Furs.
Even more than the Austrians, Germans or French, the British have long been known as devoted spankophiles, what with all those disciplinary nannies and schoolmasters pulling down the knickers of bad boys and naughty girls for bare-bottom spankings they would “never forget.”
The Victorian poet Algernon Swinburne and 20th century military adventurer T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) were just two of the more famous Brits who weren’t too embarrassed to confess, more or less publicly, that they relished an honorably earned whack or 50 across the bare behind.
English literary giant and social justice activist George Orwell painted a vividly bleak picture of a horny but severely subdued citizenry entertained and controlled by “Spanking Stories” in his powerful dystopian masterpiece, 1984.
In more modern times, we have the critically panned mega-bestseller 50 Shades of Grey, originally penned by an Englishwoman as Twilight “fanfiction,” much to the chagrin of those spankophiles who wish to preserve the dignity of literary British spanking culture. Author E.L. James’ turgid prose is really what “deserves” a spanking—from an English teacher. Though I’m impressed by the sheer number of James’ enthusiastic readers around the world, especially women, for whom this poorly written tome awakened their otherwise dormant passion for spanking.
American Spanking Queen Bettie Page
Meanwhile, across the Pond in Puritanical but exuberantly sexual America, folks have long enjoyed consensual erotic spankings—though nonconsensual scenarios were and still are roleplay favorites since, unfortunately, spanking children is as American as apple pie. Indeed, pie servers make great domestic spanking paddles.
Here in repressed but rocking 1950’s America, strikingly pretty fetish model Bettie Page was doing for spankings what Lauren Bacall had done for cigarettes: making them look a little edgy, but like a whole lot of hot sexy fun.
In 1996, I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing the living legend Bettie Page live on The Dr. Susan Block Show. Though she wouldn’t admit to being sexually aroused by spanking, she said she enjoyed the wild, burlesque, erotic theater of impact play.
Bettie starred in some of consensual American spanking culture’s most iconic images, the great majority of which were shot by brother and sister team, Irving and Paula Klaw, who were investigated, censored and prosecuted during the McCarthy-style Kefauver hearings in the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, which attempted to link youth problems to pornography.
Certainly, spanking was more likely to arouse the youth than curb their so-called delinquency. Capt’n Max, who has been a big Bettie Page fan since he was a young man, can attest to that.
The Puritanical Kefauver hearings marked the end of Bettie’s spanking “career,” but the all-American images of spanking and bondage that she and the Klaws created live on, exciting new fans every day.
It’s our duty to spank booty on Spanksgiving!
Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners, on Thanksgiving, let us give thanks. And on Spanksgiving, let us give spanks. Let us spank away the hate and fear that divides us, and let us practice the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure… with a little spanking. And let us spank our hands together across a nice willing warm ass, moaning “Oh God!” or “Goddess!” in rapture. And let us say: Amen and Awomen. Praise be to the power and glory of spanking!
Ever since we realized that spanks rhymes with thanks, we’ve been celebrating Spanksgiving on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Bonoboville.
Like Lupercalia, Spanksgiving weaves festive fun with impact play, but America’s preeminent autumnal holiday has its own special, sublime, personal and political meaning.
For many Americans, Thanksgiving, while delicious, is a deeply conflicted, stressful, often hypocritical, overstuffed family feast when most of us tend to repress our real feelings for fear of triggering some obnoxious relative.
Then there’s the hypocrisy of American history. In a way, Spanksgiving has more of a reality-based historic precedent than Thanksgiving. The feel-good Turkey Day tale of Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans holding a bonoboësque feast of togetherness has been revealed to be almost entirely whitewashed mythology. Rather than sharing corn and pumpkin pie, those pious Pilgrims were actually slaughtering as many “savages” as they could with their matchbox muskets and “gift” blankets filled with smallpox. Thanks, but no thanks for that.
On the other hand, according to their own town records, the Pilgrims and Puritans did administer many spankings, paddlings, canings and whippings, most of which were nonconsensual punishments for criminal offenses and sexual “sins.” Sometimes they even put the very unwilling spankee’s head and hands into stocks during the procedures, so passersby could throw rotten fruit at their helpless heads. This was “public disgrace,” Pilgrim-style.
On the Native American side of Spanksgiving culture, many indigenous tribes incorporate ritual pain into their cultural practices—maybe not so much through impact play, but by piercing and other painful rites that open the doors of perception to altered states of consciousness. Modern BDSM kinksters might call it sub space on steroids—“sub space” being that state of bliss that a well-dominated submissive experiences—a hidden chamber of “the zone” that many enter when spanked on Spanksgiving.
For some of us, Spanksgiving spankings are a playful but meaningful form of “penance” for the Pilgrims and other settlers’ original “sin” against the Native Americans, raising spankophiliac awareness of the genocidal, ecocidal history of the holiday.
Just like many family Thanksgivings often turn into debates, politics usually gets walloped into our Spanksgivings. Our most recent Bonoboville Spanksgiving involved spanking and stuffing a big fat naked “Trump Turkey” (Michael Q. Schmidt)—truly the sorriest looking slab of white meat with orange dressing ever to sit in the White House.
First, Madame Raven Rae, Rhiannon Aarons, Christine Dupree and I spanked the squawking, mango-feathered, barnyard-mannered fowl. Then we stuffed it with extra-large carrots, zucchinis and dildos, and spanked it some more.
A good cathartic Spanksgiving Trumpocalypse Therapy session was had by all, especially the turkey (other turkeys should have it so good).
Seasons Beatings and to All a Good Spank!
Krampus, Pesach, Full Moon & Birthday Spankings
In Bonoboville, we integrate celebratory spankings into a variety of other holidays and festivities. Just before Christmas on December 5th, we sometimes celebrate Krampus. Weeks before Santa even plots out his route, the devilish Krampus spanks the “naughty,” usually utilizing Vidal’s beloved birch for the task.
On the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover), we enjoy the Sephardic tradition of smacking our dinner partners with scallions during the singing of “Dayenu,” something I learned from a family seder with “America’s Rabbi” Shmuley Boteach. Though in Bonoboville, we take the practice to new heights… or new lows, since rather than just hitting the shoulder or back, we take it down to scallion-spanking the behind. Sometimes this leads to kinky reenactments of Egyptian taskmasters whipping Hebrew slaves, as described in Exodus 1:11 and 2:11.
Of course, on birthdays, we give spankings galore. Nobody knows the exact origin of quasi-consensual “birthday spankings,” the number of playful swats matching the birthday girl or boy’s age, plus that extra “one to grow on.” Perhaps it stems from the old tradition of greeting newborn babies with a welcoming spank into the world. Though infant-spanking is hardly consensual and not practiced by many modern obstetricians, the medical idea was to discharge any after-birth-related gunk that might be obstructing the throat.
Though I didn’t grow up with birthday spankings, I received my first public birthday spanking as a consensual adult in 2004 from DomCon Head-Mistress Cyan, and I’ve been giving and getting some pretty sensational birthday spankings ever since.
Thank You, Mistress, May I have another?
There’s nothing new about spanking for pleasure. But it seems that more and more politicians, pop stars, guests on my show, clients in my sex therapy practice, friends, lovers and millions of random folks on the Internet—are confessing their lust for a little impact play. Celebrity spankings appear to be on the rise, or maybe it’s just more acceptable to discuss in the gossip mills. In 1990, Madonna sang “don’t take out your handkerchiefs” just because she enjoys a little spanky-wanky with her hanky-panky. Actor Patrick Dempsey also freely confessed to relishing a good “spanking now and then.” Pop star Kei$ha told Paper Magazine she enjoys picking up guys, buying them a drink and “spanking them.” On “Kocktails with Khloe,” Carmen Electra admitted she likes to get spanked with a cane while handcuffed, whereupon Khloe Kardashian chimes in that she keeps a “rhinestone whip” by her bedside, ready to crack.
Unfortunately for 50 Shades of Grey (the film) fans who like a little realism with their pablum, leading lady Dakota Johnson ducked out of her spanking scenes, substituting a body double—or butt double—because she was afraid to take the pain.
Maybe the filmmakers should have cast Rihanna. “I like to be spanked,” naughty Ri-Ri confessed shamelessly to Rolling Stone just before they slapped her spankable bottom on their cover.
Coming out as a spanking enthusiast is more problematic when you’re in politics. In 2010, conservative California assemblyman and family-values crusader Mike Duvall of Yorba Linda, a married father of two, lost his job and derailed his entire political career over spanking a female utility company lobbyist 19 years his junior—because she’s “such a bad girl”—and then bragging about it in spanking-hot detail over a broadcast mic that he didn’t realize was live.
And then there’s Trump.
Stormy Spanks Trump
The most notorious political spanking of modern times would be porn star Stormy Daniels spanking Trump’s rump.
According to Stormy’s story, the spanking occurred with pants down but undies on—probably to cover up the future President’s notorious shortcomings, later revealed in Stormy’s memoir Full Disclosure to be “smaller than average” capped by “a huge mushroom head, like a toadstool” with “Yeti pubes… a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart.” Nintendo fans report being traumatized by this revelation.
As Stormy tells it (and as “David Dennison” (Trump’s hush money alias) paid $130,000 to try to keep her from telling it), when the porn star visited the Apprentice star’s Vegas hotel room in 2006 during a golf tournament, the big bombastic blowhard couldn’t stop bragging about being on the cover of Forbes.
Interestingly enough, a 2006 cover of Forbes’ “400 Richest People” issue features Papa Trump, Don Jr. and darling daughter Ivanka, whom Trump said that Stormy reminded him of. Of course, he said the same thing to Playmate lover Karen McDougal, this apparently being his preferred compliment to paramours for distastefully obvious reasons… but enough about incest fantasies and back to the spanking.
Stormy reports having gotten so fed up with the über-narcissist’s incessant boasting, she picked up the Forbes, playfully roleplaying the stern but sexy “governess” type she sensed that Trump feared but craved, and declared, “Somebody should spank you with this.”
“You wouldn’t!” dared the Trumpus, just before he dropped trou, and then she did. After a mild but meaningful swat or two, they resumed their conversation but the dynamic had shifted. Apparently, a little spanking made this exceptionally self-absorbed big baby behave more like just a regular, run-of-the-mill, philandering billionaire.
In other words, Stormy’s “spanking therapy” cooled him out so he could stop bragging about himself long enough for them to have some sex… which wasn’t even as “impressive” (for Stormy) as that half-assed—but rather effective—spanking.
Then it became the Spank Heard ‘Round the World!
All was quiet on the posterior over several years, broken Apprentice promises and that $130,000 hush-money payoff. But then the pussycat was out of the bag, and the Pussygrabber-in-Chief’s porn star spanking went more than viral; it embedded itself into our collective understanding of him, of porn stars and of spankings.
Not only that, but figuratively speaking, Stormy has kept spanking Trump’s rump—and other parts—with her constant stream of tweets, interviews, disclosures, revelations and pretty effective provocations.
Keep on spanking, Stormy!
Why Does Being Spanked FEEL So Good?
Politics aside, what makes spanking so effective and so arousing—at least for some people? Naturally, there are corporal as well as cognitive reasons, so let’s start with the body before we move into the brain.
Physiologically speaking, the butt is truly the “seat” of human pleasure, with lots of touch-responsive nerve endings that are in deliciously close proximity to the genitalia. Spanking and other forms of butt play elicit what physiologists call “crosstalk” between afferent and efferent nerve tracts at the S2 spinal level (posterior superior iliac spine), where nerves supplying both the butt and the sexual organs enter and leave the spinal cord. Such crosstalk causes stimulation of the buttocks to trigger sexual arousal.
Your bottom is very sensitive to erotic pleasure, but because of all the padding you have down there—fat and/or muscle—it is not so sensitive to pain. Unlike your face, say, or your stomach, someone would have to whack your butt pretty hard (unless you’re Dakota Johnson) before it really hurts. And, if you’re a spankophile, long before you feel the smarting pain of that whack (or maybe right afterwards), you tend to feel the stimulation and excitation, the catalyst to sexual pleasure.
For more masochistic spanking enthusiasts, aka “pain sluts,” the pain is part of the pleasure, and the more it hurts, the better.
It’s astounding how much walloping, searing pain masochistic spankees can tolerate and even relish, under the right circumstances. One reason for this is that the body’s biological reaction to pain is to send pain-killing endorphins through your bloodstream. This is why, physiologically speaking, the pain really does feel like pleasure, as it triggers natural, pain-killing, pleasure chemicals.
In a “sensuous spanking,” where the impact builds slowly, pain and pleasure are felt in teasing tandem, as the spanks are interspersed with squeezes and caresses of the buttocks as well as touching the inner thighs and brushing against the genitals or anus. This kind of gradual endorphin build-up can take the spankee into that state of trance-like sub-space, aka “spanking heaven.” As the spanks get harder and the caresses more sensuous, building up to even fiercer spanks and more intimate touch, pain and pleasure mix into a delicious, spicy cocktail of arousal, struggle, surrender and the challenge to take whatever the spanker can give.
This is all well and good when a spanking is consensual. But why does spanking so often make the spankee sopping wet or rock hard, even when the spanking is not consensual nor even consciously pleasurable? Increased blood flow to the pelvic region that accompanies spanking induces penile and clitoral erection and lubrication. This is why spanking enthusiasts sometimes say that their buns are “wired” to their genitals, referring to the lower inner portion of the buttocks as the “sweet spot.” Because of its proximity to the genitals, getting spanked on or near the sweet spot feels especially erotic. It’s also one of the reasons why people—especially young people—are often mortified by their own aroused reaction to an unwanted spanking. As a sex therapist, I hear about this quite often, leaving the unwilling spankee doubly traumatized since they think (erroneously) that their arousal indicates that the nonconsensual spanking is really their “fault.”
Here’s the bottom line: Getting wet, erect or even climaxing in response to an unwanted spanking does NOT mean the spankee “really” does want it. It is an involuntary physiological response to the act of spanking and should not be taken as de facto consent.
Assume the Position!
Another physical reason why being spanked arouses many people, whether they consciously “like” it or not, is that when one “assumes the position” to receive a spanking, one assumes the position for receiving sex. This bent over, bottoms-up posture is akin to mammalian “lordosis.” which female mammals assume to invite copulation from males. In many species, males occasionally “assume the position” with other males, as females sometimes do with females, proving that homosexuality is not just a human “perversity.” Nature can be kinky!
Also stemming from our phylogenetic heritage as primates, another primordial sexual “releaser” is the reddening of the butt cheeks as a result of a sound spanking. Blushing rose to bright crimson and neon pink hind quarters is the red flag of sexual fertility, especially in females. Of course, this reddening of the buns tends to be more apparent to the spanker than the spankee.
This is where mirrors come in. Many spankees enjoy admiring the results of their beating in a mirror, taking pride in their red and purple marks as badges of impact play honor.
But during the spanking, the sheer mystery of what’s happening *back there*—on the side of your body that you can’t see too well and over which you feel considerably less sense of physical control—can be very exciting.
A big part of the joy of being spanked, as with any BDSM activity, is voluntarily surrendering power and control. On the other side of the butt, so to speak, the joy of spanking involves wielding power and control.
Giving the Spanking
This brings us from the bottoms-up… to the tops: The Doms, Dommes, Masters, Mistresses, Goddesses, Lords, Ladies, roleplaying Mommies, Daddies, Aunties, Nannies, Governesses, Schoolteachers, Jockeys, Personal Trainers, CIA interrogators and Drill Instructors.
These are the folks who like—or love with an enthusiasm that borders on rapture—to deliver the spankings, exert the power and feel the pleasure of those quivering buns beneath the palms of their controlling hands.
Some spank professionally; others, just for fun. Still others practice consensual adult spanking as an art form or spiritual path.
Just as the spankee experiences physiological pleasure, so does the spanker who may enjoy the visual appearance of the spankee, while relishing the tactile sensation of skin and fleshy muscle heating up against the palm of the hand—or the bottom of the foot.
Yes, you can spank someone with your foot. Sometimes I like to spank Max’s sexy butt with my foot while he’s going down on me. I also like to spank it with my hand while we’re having sex, stimulating him to pump me harder, reminding me of smacking a horse with a riding crop to make him gallop faster.
Nevertheless, the most favored bodily “instrument” for administering a sound spanking is—hands down!—the hand; specifically the strong but sensitive, open, slightly cupped palm.
The Psychology of Spanking
Of course, the joys of spanking don’t just make their mark below the belt. Much of the pleasure and arousal is generated right between the ears, deep within our erotic desires, memories and favorite fantasies, in the G-spots of our minds.
When spanking involves fantasy roleplay, it often entails mindful “dominance and submission” (D/s)—the dynamics of power and surrender. D/s fantasies have risen in popularity in recent years, pervading popular culture and occurring more frequently in news stories, as well in my sex therapy practice, around my bar and on my show.
They too are older than the human race, probably flowing through the erotic minds of bonobos, as well as our other primate cousins. They can be crude or romantic, marvelous or dangerous. They may involve sadomasochism (S/M) or bondage and discipline (B/D).
Spanking is often the central action in “roleplayful” punishment scenes, imagined abductions, fantasy “rape” scenarios, “maintenance” spankings or infantilizing over-the-knee paddling. The setting for a spanking fantasy could be a childhood home, a boarding school, boudoir, church or temple, an office, a party, military barracks, a POW camp, a Senate hearing, the great outdoors, heaven, hell or another planet. Indeed, the sky’s the limit and, though consent is paramount and mutual respect is important, political correctness is often spanked right out the window when it comes to spanking roleplay.
In D/s spanking scenarios, being “bad”—whether you are the nasty Dom or the naughty sub—feels really good.
It’s a neat erotic trick of the imagination that turns the “good” status quo on its head in order to turn you on—and quite possibly to keep you sane.
Which brings us back to therapeutic spanking, or “spanking therapy,” so-called for its curative, restorative or “healing” effects.
The therapeutic power of a spanking or flogging may be physiological, like a pressure-point massage or brisk rubdown. But “spanking therapy” can be also be very psychological, releasing the spankophile from all kinds of deep-seated (pun intended) stress, guilt, shame and tension, much of it stemming from childhood. The best spanking therapy breaks through destructive, debilitating mental and sexual blocks, improving the psychological well-being of both spankee and spanker, as it literally connects the two kinesthetically.
In 2005, a team of Russian scientists led by Siberian Dr. Sergei Speransky found “whipping therapy” to be an effective prophylaxis against alcohol and drug abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosomatic diseases, due to the release of endorphins during and after spanking. Dr. Speransky recommends 30 sessions of 60 whip lashes on the buttocks per session for maximum therapeutic effect. This “prescription” might sound rather sinister to spanking-sensitive ears, but if the patient agrees, enjoys and benefits, why not?
The Russian study, along with our own anecdotal research conducted here at the Block Institute and on DrSuzy.Tv, shows that consensual adult spanking therapy helps with both physical and emotional pain management. Each smack of the bottom releases pain-killing, mood-uplifting endorphins. Prudes might call it “pervy,” but it’s cheaper and healthier than Prozac or opioids, and more fun than a trip to the spa.
Of course, we can’t “spank away our sins.” But I do believe we can spank away our fears. These include phobias based on childhood traumas (which may have included spanking), as well as our basic fear of being hurt, our fear of suffering and the human condition itself. According to Dr. Speransky, we can even “spank away” depression.
A good adult spanking *alchemically* transmutes leaden pain into golden endorphins. Maybe that’s the secret of the flagellating monks of Medieval Europe and Tibet.
When administered with love, care and consent, this kind of lovingly administered pain really can lead to gain.
In the classic spanking-positive film, Secretary, the title character is plagued by an unfortunate tendency toward injuring herself, which is then mitigated through being spanked (consensually, of course) by her beloved boss. Not only are these spankings therapeutic, but once the boss (who happens to have been named “Mr. Grey” a decade before 50 Shades) comes to terms with his own intimacy issues, they get married and live happily, lovingly and spanking-ly ever after.
The Thrill of the Spank
What about the psychology of the spanker? Yes, the physical sensation of palming your hand on a nice bare butt can be very exciting, but the mental “power trip” is usually an even greater motivation to give a good spanking.
Power is a rush—in fantasy and reality—and spanking, even at a birthday party, gives you a certain power—the power to hurt, heal, humiliate and/or stimulate.
Of course, “power corrupts,” as 19th century British philosopher Lord John Acton famously observed, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This is especially true in real life, where many people pursue physical power over others, often by entering politics, law, policing or military careers and “spanking” the populace with punitive laws and sadistic punishments, not to mention “spanking” smaller, relatively defenseless countries with bombs.
Others prefer to keep their power trips in their erotic imaginations or act them out through real-life roleplay. Some cultivate spanking as an art, craft or calling, deriving as much creative pleasure from giving a good spanking as a musician might from playing an instrument. Yes, there’s a fine line between making music and making love—and no, it’s not just because one of my favorite forms of spanking is Butt Bongo. A good spanking can be like a great concert.
Just as spanking can be therapeutic for the spankee, so it can also be for the mindful spanker. Indeed, giving a consensual adult spanking can be a great way to channel the violent impulses that we all feel, a method of directing your natural inclination to “hit” someone into something that’s not just relatively harmless, but positive and pleasurable for all.
Dominance is traditionally considered a male prerogative. This is one reason why so many young men who are relatively powerless in real-life society—perhaps by choice, though usually not—even though they have testosterone-pumping energy to spare, prefer to take the “dominant” position in spanking or other types of kinky scenes.
But more and more empowered women are acknowledging that they enjoy being dominant, “on top,” wielding a whip or even sprouting a penis. Yes, Freud was right about some women having “penis envy”… in a way. The “penis substitute” could be the obvious strap-on dildo, but it could also be a phallic foot—as in the Bible, where the foot, leg or thigh often symbolizes the too-taboo-to-pronounce male sex organ—or the dominant mistress’ hand, paddle, cane, belt, hairbrush, spoon, slipper, strap, switch or flogger.
Gender traditionalists might call female dominance “unnatural,” but it’s not. Among our close bonobo cousins, the females tend to dominate the males (and give more spankings than they receive), even though the males are bigger, stronger and have fangs, which bonobo females lack.
Among humans, spanking is one arena of BDSM in which women seem to organically dominate. Even though most adult men are physically stronger than the women who spank them, they submit to being spanked by women. Perhaps this is partly because the first person to spank them was a woman.
Gary & Leah
Gary, one of my sex therapy clients, fits a dominant male profile: he’s a very bright, outgoing, creative guy with a master’s degree in comparative literature who works in technology sales. Gary grew up in the Bible belt where the leather belt, as well as the paddle, the switch and other implements for “disciplinary” spanking, are commonly used on children, often while belting out relevant Bible passages.
Interestingly, that notorious saying so often quoted by Bible thumpers as they thump their children, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” isn’t actually in the Bible. However, there are several passages in the Book of Proverbs that appear to condone spanking, such as “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov 22:15).
Whatever he quoted, Gary’s father beat him weekly, giving him hard, bare-bottom beltings that made him cry in pain and humiliation. Some spankings were punishments for various transgressions, while others were routine or “maintenance spankings,” delivered weekly regardless of how “good” or “bad” he was.
Gary also watched his older sister receive the same abusive treatment, and he was torn by feelings of horror for her pain, excitement over her burgeoning sexuality, and relief that she was the one being punished, not him. These feelings are all quite common in children and teens who are nonconsensually spanked by their parents or other authorities.
Such an upbringing could easily move a man to continue the cycle of violence with the abuse of his own children, his wife and/or other fellow humans, but Gary has managed to create a peaceful life for himself and his family. As a teenager, he got into a few fights, but as an adult husband and father, he has learned—and continues to learn—self-control. He has never spanked his children.
He channels his violent impulses into playing out safe, but exciting, spanking scenes with his wife of ten years, Leah, who enjoys the thrill of submission. Since Leah was also spanked as a child and went to a school that practiced corporal punishment, she too is working through her own sadomasochistic fantasies as she roleplays with Gary. For her, the critical difference between the spankings her father and school principal gave her and the ones she gets from Gary is consent. Indeed, in their spanking rituals, she is the one who asks for her discipline, choosing between her husband’s hand, a paddle or a flogger, like a diner in a fine restaurant ordering exactly the dish she desires.
Together, they act out dark memories and fantasies for mutual fun, pleasure, intimacy and discovery. Leah might dress up schoolgirl-style—her signal that she wants to play—then Gary puts her over his knee, lifts her pleated skirt, pulls down her panties, chastising her for some pretend transgression or just admiring her pretty posterior, as he delivers her spanking with the implement of her choice. Sometimes, this serves as foreplay to making love.
Gary and Leah still have many unresolved conflicts lingering from their rough, abusive upbringings, but they are determined never to be violent or tolerate violence. Spanking play helps them express their feelings and desires in a controlled way. Besides our therapy sessions, Gary and Leah have learned much about the art and science of spanking from taking classes and reading stories online.
Like other aspects of sexuality, an interest in spanking doesn’t always stay one way. Recently, Gary realized he wanted to try being spanked again, this time as a consensual adult, on his own terms, under the hand of his loving wife Leah who now switches from schoolgirl to schoolteacher, when they are so inclined. “Switch-hitting” has given their spanking life an extra jolt of spice and intimacy, and why not? Turnabout is fair play.
When playing consensual spanking games, no matter the thrill, it’s most important for spankers to be mindful and responsible. Learn to spank properly so that you don’t do any real damage to your partner’s delicate body, and please don’t imagine that someone secretly wants to be spanked when they tell you they don’t… even if they get hard or wet. When in doubt, build up speed and power slowly, gradually, teasingly, especially when spanking a new partner. And always be ready to back off if your bottom cries “mercy,” or whatever safeword you’ve agreed upon.
See more do’s and don’ts in Spanking for Dummies.
Psychology of Being Spanked
While spankers love to wield the power of the palm, spankees relish receiving it. Why? It’s not just physiological, and it’s certainly not all Stockholm Syndrome. As a sex therapist, I hear many more fantasies of spanking submission than dominance, from both men and women. That’s partly because private therapy is expensive, and the men and women who can afford it tend to be successful professionals who dominate, control and (figuratively) “spank” others in real life. Nature seeks a balance, often finding it through our erotic fantasy life, making otherwise powerful people long to surrender, to get spanked by someone else’s passion and power, and to give up a bit of their own.
Many harried executives go to a professional dominatrix for a spanking, just as their colleagues might go to the spa for a massage. They lie across the spanker’s lap or over a comfortable leather spanking bench, surrendering control for a brief period in their busy, power-packed day or week. It’s a mini vacation from real-life stress and the responsibility of being in charge, a pure fantasy of helpless, hard-spanked ecstasy or a time trip back into a childhood or adolescence when they really were under someone else’s loving control.
Yes, loving. Even though spanking children is wrong and can be very damaging, many of the spankers are well-meaning, albeit misguided, and they are spanking their charges with love. When an adult consensual spankee feels that sense of love emanating from a spanker’s hand and heart, they are on the sensual pathway to connective bliss and ineffable relaxation.
Our highly competitive society puts enormous pressure on people to achieve, to succeed, to “beat” others and to avoid being “beaten” or “spanked” (literally and figuratively) at all costs. As a result, deep in their secret erotic imaginations, many high-achievers long to surrender, to be spanked for their inevitable shortcomings and wrongdoings, not to mention their so-called sins. Here again, spanking becomes therapy, or even a spiritual pursuit.
A Personal Spanking Memory…or Fantasy?
As for me, I only remember being spanked once when I was a child, but oh, that once!
I was about six and, like most six-year-old girls, I loved my Daddy. He loved me too, but he didn’t tend to show his love physically. So when he spanked me that one time, I was thrilled by the attention, as well as the simple touch of his big strong hand on my excitable bottom. I remember him pulling me out of a large family dinner, after some egregious offense on my part, as my 10-year-old brother tagged along. I was wearing a fancy party dress with a stiff crinoline slip underneath the skirt, and I remember the whole works flying rapturously up over my head as Daddy pulled me over his knee and spanked me in front of said older brother who, as I recall, was laughing and cheering him on. Of course, this was extremely embarrassing, but also quite stimulating. He didn’t spank me hard; at least I don’t remember feeling any pain. If anything, my bottom just tingled with excitement. In fact, despite—or because of—my embarrassment, I was laughing along with my brother and Dad. From that point on, I much preferred spanking to other punishments. Sometimes I would beg my parents to spank me for my many various misdeeds, instead of the much more tedious punishment of being grounded or the more guilt-inducing penalty of a stern reprimand. Wisely, they never did.
Full disclosure: As an adult, when I questioned my father and brother about their perceptions of my 6-year-old spanking experience, both swore up and down that it never happened at all. Of course, it’s in both of their best interests to “assume” this position. Nevertheless, despite the vivid intensity of the memory, I really have to wonder if I made the whole thing up.
The English philosopher John Richter said, “Fantasy rules over two-thirds of the universe, the past and the future, while reality is confined to the present.” It’s no wonder our memory often “plays tricks” on us, especially when it comes to spanking.
Spank Me, Mommy/Daddy! I’ve Been Bad…
Whether we were spanked or spoiled, every adult was once a child, and most of us feel some sense of longing for the so-called “innocence” of our childhood. Cognitively speaking, being spanked tends to make us feel child-like, which can be a very liberating, arousing feeling for reluctantly responsible, stressed-out, image-conscious, status-obsessed, overburdened, erotic attention-starved grown-ups.
As we’ve seen, this doesn’t mean that only people who were spanked as children enjoy being spanked as adults. Some of us love to be spanked partly because, like me, we weren’t as children, or at least, we weren’t spanked often. As a sex therapist, I’ve heard thousands of stories of how being spanked as a child led to an adult spanking fetish, and I have encountered even more individuals who were not spanked as children, but enjoy the erotic rush of child-like feelings they experience from being spanked as adults. They may become aroused from feeling vulnerable, helpless, punished, submissive, embarrassed, desirable, mischievous, naughty, playful or just being the center of erotic attention.
To spank is to pay attention. To be spanked is to command that attention, even if it hurts.
Release Your Inner Bonobo through Spanking
Releasing your “inner child” or “inner bonobo” through spanking, or whatever safe consensual erotic activity floats your banana boat, is not just good for you; ultimately, it’s good for your community which is good for the world, which could certainly use some healthy alternatives to channeling violence, stress and trauma in human culture.
Repressed natural human sexuality is the source of a lot of human problems. These deep-seated (there’s that tush again!) feelings don’t just go away, they emerge in nonconsensual aggression, insatiable narcissism, perma-war, rape, mass shootings, ecocide and a rapacious greed that, if given the chance, takes far more than it needs, destroying the community and environment in its quest for “success.”
There’s no time like now to enhance our sex lives, spank away our fears and improve our society… before it’s too late.
Let’s release our inner bonobos and make peace through sharing pleasure… with a little spanking.
© July 14 2011, 2016 (first posting); revised September, 2018. Written by Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” world renowned sexologist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For speaking engagements, call 310-568-0066.
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