We asked a sex educator every question you probably have about spanking

While the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy might be the most mainstream (and, honestly, lackluster) depiction of sensual spanking we’ve seen in recent years, the act of receiving or giving some good ol’ ass slaps isn’t new.

Erotic or sensual spanking is a method of impact play. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “impact play,” it is defined by Kinkly.com as “a sexual practice where one person is struck by another person for the sexual gratification of either or both parties.” While spanking, which can vary in its levels of intensity, and other forms of impact play are often a part of BDSM, you don’t have to be a part of the lifestyle or identify as kinky in order to master and enjoy the act.

Despite the fact that many people enjoy erotic spanking (24% of Americans, according to this study), the topic remains somewhat taboo and bogged down by misinformation. “Most media representations of kink, BDSM, and spanking involve persons who are psychologically troubled or have experienced abuse,” said Candice Smith, co-founder of The KinkKit, when the reality is plenty of people who were never victims of abuse or trauma choose to practice BDSM.

Again, it’s important to note that you don’t have to self-identify as kinky in order to experience the pleasure or potential benefits of safe and consensual spanking, or other forms of impact play, but those who practice elements of BDSM experience higher levels of life satisfaction, lower anxiety, and more communicative relationships, according to a 2013 study conducted by the International Society for Sexual Medicine—just in case you needed reassurance that spanking is a normal and healthy sex act.

Maybe you’ve wanted to ask for a good spanking, but you aren’t sure how to initiate the conversation with a partner? Or maybe you’re already a spanking pro, and you’re wondering how to level up beyond just being taken across someone’s knee?

That’s why we reached out to Dirty Lola, sex edutainer and host of Sex Ed A Go Go. She recently collaborated with The KinkKit on a sensual spanking skills kit for adults, and she spoke to us about the ins and outs of spanking.

HelloGiggles: For anyone who might be new to the term “sensual spanking,” what is it?

Dirty Lola: Sensual spanking is spanking with the intent to give pleasure. It should be consensual, mindful, and focus on the connection between partners. In this case, sensual should not be confused for gentle. While sensual spanking may start off with light smacks, it can most definitely move into harder, firmer blows. It all depends on the needs and desires of the person being spanked, aka the bottom.

HG: What do you think makes this particular kind of impact play pleasurable for folks?

DL: I think sensual spanking is a popular form of impact play because it’s so accessible. You don’t need special furniture or implements to start exploring sensual spanking. While those things can definitely take your spanking game to another level, if you’re just starting out, all you need are your hands, a willing bottom, and a little know-how.

HG: How can someone who wants to try sensual spanking bring up the conversation with their partner(s)?

DL: I’m a big fan of making time to chat with my partners about sex things when we aren’t having sex. For instance, the next time you’re hanging out on the couch with your boo, you could mention that you read a great article on sensual spanking that piqued your curiosity. This will definitely open up a dialogue about trying out new things.

HG: What things need to be in place before incorporating spanking into your sex sessions?

DL: Before you begin to incorporate spanking into your sex sessions, you should definitely know how to safely administer a spanking so you reduce the chances of harming your partner. You should also know what sensations your partner likes and what level of pain they would like to receive. Most importantly, you should have a safe word in place or use the stoplight method (Green = more / harder, Yellow = keep the same pace, Red = stop) in order to ensure an open line of communication with your partner and fewer misunderstandings.

HG: While the over-the-knee position is pretty common, what are some other positions that can make getting spanked, or doing the spanking, more fun?

DL: Have your bottom stand and bend over and hold on to their ankles, a low table, or a stool. This position is great because it really showcases the butt and exposes more of the upper thighs. If you want to experiment with a standing position but your bottom needs more upper-body support, then you can have them stand at the end of the bed and lay their upper body across the bed while keeping their feet flat on the floor. This position can also be achieved by leaning over the arm of a couch. If your bottom enjoys the sensation of their entire body being supported while receiving spanks you can try spanking them while they are on their knees on a bed or couch with their chests flat against the surface and their asses in the air. Both of these positions allow the person doing the spanking, aka the top, to easily move around and change angles during the session.

HG: Where on the body, should we be spanking/getting spanked?

DL: The main area of concentration during a spanking is the convex buttocks, or as I like to fondly refer to them, Booty Meats. The Booty Meats are the lower, fleshier portion of the butt. All of that fleshy goodness is what makes it the prime target during a spanking. However, you can also spank the sides of the butt (stay away from the hips), as well as those delightful creases between the thighs and butt as well as the upper thighs. These areas should receive fewer swats because the skin in those areas is more delicate and prone to bruising. Of course, if that is your thing, then proceed accordingly. You should avoid spanking near or around the tailbone completely. You especially want to avoid spanking anywhere around the lower back, as heavy blows can cause kidney damage.

HG: Is a partner necessary in order to experience spanking?

DL: You don’t need a partner in order to enjoy the fun of spanking. You will, however, need long arms or implements with long handles in order to be your own bottom and enjoy a bit of self-flagellation. Positioning is also key when spanking yourself. Standing and leaning over the arm of a couch or a stool or a high chair will position you in such a way that your butt is sticking out giving you more access.

HG: What are some of your favorite spanking techniques/tools?

DL: I love giving and receiving spanks with bare hands. There is something special about feeling the heat of skin-to-skin contact during spanking sessions. Hands also have the ability to squeeze, rub, tickle, and pinch. All things you can add into your spankings to heighten sensation. If I am using an implement or having an implement used on me, I prefer a small, sturdy paddle. Small paddles make it easier to dole out harder blows while using less energy. I also love having something soft to run across the skin post-spanking, like a feather or a silky piece of fabric, to change up the sensation during a long spanking session.

HG: What kind of aftercare should be taking place after a spanking session?

DL: Some examples of post-spanking aftercare are cuddles, gentle touches, words of affirmation, massages (butt and hand), and, of course, verbally checking in with one another. Yes, tops need aftercare, too. It’s also a good idea for everyone to hydrate post-spanking. If the spanking resulted in bruises, you can add a bruise reducer to your aftercare ritual.

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