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A man spanking a woman who is kneeling on a spanking horse

Erotic spanking is the act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties. It may involve very light and brief spanking or much more extensive spanking, including the use of implements such as whips or paddles. Activities range from a spontaneous smack on bare buttocks during a sexual activity, to occasional sexual roleplay, such as ageplay, to domestic discipline and may involve the use of a hand or the use of a variety of spanking implements, such as a spanking paddle or cane.[1] Erotic spankings are commonly combined with other forms of sexual foreplay. The most common type of erotic spanking is administered on the bare buttocks,[2] but can also be combined with bondage, in order to heighten the sexual stimulation of the experience.


History and literatureEdit

Fresco inside the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping where two men are portrayed flagellating a woman in an erotic situation

Routine corporal punishment of women by their husbands does still exist in some parts of the world,[3][4][5]However, today, spanking of an adult tends to be confined to erotic spanking or to BDSM contexts.

One of the earliest depictions of erotic flagellation is found in the Etruscan Tomb of the Whipping from the fifth century BC, named after its depictions of eroticized flagellation.

Representations of erotic spanking and flagellation make up a large portion of Victorian pornography, for instance 1000 Nudes by Koetzle.[6] Hundreds of thousands of engravings, photographs, and literary depictions of spanking and flagellation ("birching") fantasies circulated during the Victorian era, including erotic novellas like The Whippingham Papers, The Birchen Bouquet, Exhibition of Female Flagellants[7][8] or the pornographic comic opera Lady Bumtickler's Revels.[9] Since their deaths, many well-known people have been discovered to have enjoyed spankings for erotic purposes or emotional gratification, including the noted British Army officer T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"),[10][11] influential English theatre critic Kenneth Tynan,[12][13] TV broadcaster Frank Bough,[12] and English writer John Mortimer.[12]

Other examples include the poet Algernon Swinburne, as implied repeatedly in his poetry, and the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau,[14] as detailed in his autobiography Confessions:[15]

... Miss Lambercier... exerted a mother's authority, even to inflicting on us... the punishment of infants... 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... To fall at the feet of an imperious mistress, obey her mandates, or implore pardon, were for me the most exquisite enjoyments, and the more my blood was inflamed by the efforts of a lively imagination the more I acquired the appearance of a whining lover."[16]

Spanking skirt
Spanking bench

According to Dan Savage, journalist Jillian Keenan is "America's most prominent spanking fetishist" today.[17] She has written about erotic spanking for the New York Times,[18] Slate,[19] and Pacific Standard.[20] In her Slate article, Keenan criticized the use of spanking as a punishment for children, while acknowledging that children and adolescents who experience sexual pleasure while being beaten may go on to enjoy the fetish of sadomasochism as adults. Keenan has argued that spanking fetishism is a form of sexual orientation,[21] which should not be considered a mental illness.[22]



A spanking may be carried out with the use of a bare or gloved hand, or with any of a variety of implements, including a paddle, strap, hairbrush, feather duster[23] or belt.[2] Other popular implements are canes, riding crops, whips, switches, birches, sneakers, phonebooks, rolled-up catalogs or newspapers, rulers or martinet.


A spank skirt or spanking skirt has an additional opening in back designed to expose the buttocks. While the name spank skirt suggests that the wearer could be spanked "bare bottom" without removing or repositioning the skirt, this item may be worn for reasons other than spanking, for instance, exposure.[citation needed] Considered fetish wear, spank skirts are typically tight-fitting and made of fetishistic materials (such as leather, PVC or latex). Regardless of the gender of the wearer, spank skirts are usually considered female attire. The male gender role equivalent might be motorcycle chaps.


A spanking bench or spanking horse is a piece of furniture used to position a spankee on, with or without restraints. They come in many sizes and styles, the most popular of which is similar to a sawhorse with a padded top and rings for restraints.[24] The 19th-century British dominatrix Mrs. Theresa Berkley became famous for her invention of the Berkley Horse, a similar form of BDSM apparatus.[25]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Markham, Jules. Consensual Spanking. (Adlibbed Ltd., 2005)
  2. ^ a b Rebecca F. Plante (2006). "Sexual Spanking, the Self, and the Construction of Deviance". Journal of Homosexuality. Haworth Press. 50 (2–3): 59–79. doi:10.1300/J082v50n02_04. PMID 16803759.
  3. ^ Beichman, Arnold, "Where wife-beating is up for debate", Washington Times, 2 October 2005.
  4. ^ Haj-yahia, Muhammad M. (August 2003). "Beliefs About Wife Beating Among Arab Men from Israel: The Influence of Their Patriarchal Ideology". Journal of Family Violence. 18 (4): 193–206. doi:10.1023/A:1024012229984.
  5. ^ 498A_Crusader (12 December 2007). "Most Indian women okay with wife beating". MyNation Foundation. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)[unreliable source?]
  6. ^ Scheid, Uwe and Koetzle, Michael (1994). 1000 Nudes: Uwe Scheid Collection. Cologne: Taschen, ISBN 3-8228-5569-3
  7. ^ Marcus, Sharon (2007). Between women: friendship, desire, and marriage in Victorian England. Princeton University Press. p. 147. ISBN 0-691-12835-9.
  8. ^ Mudge, Bradford Keyes (2000). The Whore's Story: women, pornography, and the British novel, 1684-1830. Ideologies of Desire. Oxford University Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-19-513505-9.
  9. ^ Sutherland, John (1990). The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford University Press. p. 307. ISBN 0-8047-1842-3.
  10. ^ Wilson, Jeremy (1989). The Authorized Biography of T. E. Lawrence. Chapter 34.
  11. ^ "Mixed Media". Forbes. 9 May 2005.
  12. ^ a b c "Rowan Pelling's sex advice column: 'My lover wants to spank me but I think it's too silly for words'". Daily Mail. London. 10 January 2010.
  13. ^ Johnson, Paul, Intellectuals, 1988, Chapter 13: "The Flight of Reason", Johnson discusses Tynan from pages 324-330
  14. ^ "Les Confessions de Jean-Jacques Rousseau: La Fessée - Livre I". Bac de Français (in French).
  15. ^ Sigmund Freud (1905). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.
  16. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Confessions of J. J. Rousseau.
  17. ^ Dan Savage, [1], The Stranger, September 18, 2014
  18. ^ Jillian Keenan, [2], The New York Times, November 11, 2012
  19. ^ Keenan, Jillian (17 September 2014). "Spanking is a sex act which is why it should not be used for punishing children". Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  20. ^ Jillian Keenan, [3], Pacific Standard, November 7, 2014
  21. ^ Jillian Keenan, [4], Slate, August 18, 2014
  22. ^ Jillian Keenan, [5], Slate, March 8, 2013
  23. ^ Constable, Nicole Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers Cornell University Press, 2007 p.51
  24. ^ Kenney, Shawna (2002). I Was a Teenage Dominatrix: a memoir. Last Gasp. p. 49. ISBN 0-86719-530-4.
  25. ^ Stanley, Autumn (1995). Mothers and daughters of invention: notes for a revised history of technology, Volume 36. Rutgers University Press. pp. 585–586. ISBN 0-8135-2197-1.

Further reading

  • Koetzle, Michael. 1000 Nudes: A History of Erotic Photography from 1839-1939. Taschen, 2005.
  • Lady Green, The Compleat Spanker. Greenery Press, 2000. ISBN 1-890159-00-X.
  • Marcus, Steven. The Other Victorians. Basic Books, 1966.
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. London: Penguin Books, 1953.
  • Swinburne, Charles Algernon. The Works of Charles Algernon Swinburne. Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 1995.

External linksEdit