Updated: NOVEMBER 20, 2023
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on February 8, 2022

Spanking, as part of sexual play, occurs when a person slaps a sex partner with an open hand or an object to heighten sexual arousal for one or both parties. This type of adult spanking is usually enjoyed by those who find sexual pleasure in strong sensations or mild discomfort. Enjoyment of pain is part of the pleasure for a smaller subset of spankees as well. It can be done during foreplay or intercourse. Spanking should be done within a consensual power power play relationship, where both parties discuss their desires and limits. Safewords and signals should be used to ensure all participants safety.

Spanking Positions

Spanking can be done in a variety of positions. Sometimes the partner being struck is bent over a spanking bench or furniture. Over the knee spanking (OTK spanking) is also a common spanking posture.

Over the knee spanking is striking someone while their body is positioned over the spanker's knee. The dominant partner sits on a chair, couch, or bed, with their feet flat on the floor. The submissive lies face down over the dominant’s lap, with their upper body on one side of the dominant’s legs and their legs on the other. They may let their head hang down to the floor, if the dominant sits on a chair, to really elevate their buttocks. If this position is too difficult to maintain, they could support their weight with a couch or bed.

Once in position, the dominant can strike the submissive’s buttocks as many times as they like. They may spank them with their own hand or another implement, such as a crop or paddle. If the submissive resists, the dominant can hold them in place with one hand while spanking with the other. If the submissive requires further restraint, the dominant may use their body, like placing their leg over the submissive’s legs to pin them down.

The dominant may remain clothed, while the submissive can be in any state of undress the dominant prefers. The submissive may come to the dominant without underwear or wait for the dominant to remove it. The dominant may also spank the submissive while they are wearing underwear, although this does not create the same sting.

Many dominants use spankings during BDSM play to exert control over their submissive once the submissive consents to it. Dominants can use it to take physical control or mental control through humiliation (again, if that's what the submissive has agreed to). It is a very intimate act as it puts the bodies of a dominant and submissive in close contact. Spanking over the knee can prevent the spanker from 'mis-firing' and hitting their submissive’s lower back or thighs, which may cause damage.

Spanking is also referred to as erotic spanking or spankophilia.

More About Spanking

A person can spank with an open hand or a wide variety of objects including a paddle, a whip, or a cane. It may be delivered as a spontaneous smack or go on for a prolonged session over a period of time. Sometimes spanking is a part of sadomasochism or other forms of rough sex. Being spanked sparks arousal in many people because pain releases endorphins.

Why People Are Into Spanking

Impact play in general, and OTK spanking in particular can be thrilling for dominants and their submissives. For a dominant, an over knee spanking leaves the submissive exposed in many ways. They get a great view of the submissive's behind and the damage they inflict on it. They can also easily build tension during an over the knee spanking, as the submissive cannot see the dominant and what they are doing. This means the submissive never knows when they will receive their punishment next.

The dominant supports the submissive’s weight during over the knee spanking, so this position can be fairly comfortable for many bodies. It also puts the dominant in total control, without the need for bondage and other aids or furniture. This can very exciting for submissive people who love handing over their power but don’t enjoy physical restraints. However, while they are unnecessary you may add these restraints to spice up the spanking. For example, the dominant may tie their submissive’s ankles and wrists together before turning them over their knee. They may also add a gag to prevent them crying out or a blindfold to force them to focus on the physical sensations.

Over the knee spanking can be physically challenging for some couples though. It is often difficult to position a tall submissive over the knee. A couch or bed can support a tall submissive’s upper body while the dominant wedges the submissive’s legs between their own.

Over the knee spanking is relatively safe as the submissive only spanks the buttocks, which can happily take some punishment. It may create red marks, bruises or welts, but these should fade quickly. However, dominants should remember that they are in a position of power. Some dominants prefer using their hand to spank their submissive, as it gives them greater control over the intensity of each strike. They should use care when implements to ensure they don’t spank their submissive any harder than they intend. Breaking the skin can lead to infections and you must be cognizant of the risks. A cool cloth applied after the spanking can help take out some of the sting and swelling.


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