Why is spanking so popular in the bedroom?
Nov. 04, 2019
Ever felt the urge to smack someone’s bottom in the bedroom?
You’re not the only one – it’s one of the most common bondage activities, according to new research.
A survey among 4,500 participants, conducted by Lovehoney , revealed that 75% of women and 66% of men like hands-on (bum) action in the sheets.
Once upon a time, spanking was only ever talked about out loud as a punishment method for naughty children (then in a non-sexual scenario, of course) but in recent years, the stigma around the fetish has been lifted.
If you’ve never tried spanking, know that there are various levels – from a light slap to hardcore sessions that leaves big, bright marks on the other person’s butt.
There’s nothing wrong with either one, so long as it’s completely consensual, and we recommend talking it through with your sexual partner if you’re going towards the particularly painful end of the spectrum. To help you out, we’ve even created a useful beginner’s guide .
While it may not have been spoken about openly until recently, spanking has been around for centuries – but why are we such fans of this particular kink?
According to Dr Becky Spelman, a psychologist and relationship expert at We-Vibe , the reason for our appreciation is both physical and emotional.
‘There can be a fine line between pleasure and pain, and erotic spanking can be just on the right side of that line,’ Dr Becky Spelman, psychologist and relationship expert at We-Vibe, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘We know from murals found in Pompeii that spanking is a sexual practice that has been popular since long-ago times.
‘Spanking involves the use of the palm of the hand against flesh, usually the well-padded flesh of the buttocks. It can sting but does not cause serious pain or harm.
‘The sensation can give rise to an adrenaline surge that can heighten emotion and sensation.
‘Moreover, the additional blood flow to the surface of the skin that results from a playful slap makes all of the nerve receptors in the skin more sensitive, enhancing the sensation of a caress.’
Another component released in the body during this act is endorphins – also known as the happy hormone – and you’ll also see a boost in cortisol levels, which reduces feelings of stress.
According to a study from 2009, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior , this sensation can differ depending on your role in the spanking scenario.
Out of the participants, the submissive (i.e. the one getting spanked) saw an increase in cortisol, but the dominant (the person spanking) did not.
Sarah*, 44, likes being spanked because it calms her, and she’ll occasionally use toys to add to the impact.
‘The thing that I like most about being spanked is that it releases endorphins and makes me feel calm,’ she tells us.
‘The BDSM community talk about something called “subspace”, which is a result of this kind of activity. It’s a heightened sensual experience, which shuts down the activity in your frontal cortex.
‘Very helpful for overactive thinkers, like me. I also enjoy admiring my stripes and bruises the next day, if I’ve been spanked very hard (perhaps with a hairbrush or a paddle).
‘The dull ache reminds me of the peace I found in the moment, and so it soothes me again.’
Beyond just being pleasurable, spanking can also be connected to memories, a psychological theory known as ‘imprinting’ (no, not in the way it’s described in the Twilight books).
Classical conditioning is a type of behaviourism that falls within this area, and acts an automatic response to prior learning – i.e. the spanking can be linked to something you’ve experienced in the past. ‘It usually occurs around a particular traumatic episode, which is then stamped into the child’s psyche,’ Dr Becky explains.
‘One patient of mine was very young when her father spanked her for something he believed she had done wrong. Her dad reacted very angrily, and spanked her hard on her bare bottom causing a lot of shame, rather than holding on to the shame it’s common for people to later in life turn the traumatic experience into a sexual one to help cope with what they have experienced, leading to a strong emotional connection between spanning and sex, which now manifests as a spanning desire or fetish.
‘However this is not the only reason people have a desire to be spanked as there are several other psychological theories which state other ideas.
‘Spanking can also contribute to roleplay with themes of submission and dominance, which some psychologists believe may be more common in societies with hierarchical social structures.’
Amy*, 27, relishes in the submissive element of spanking.
‘I like spanking (a lot), because where I’m quite loud/dominant in my everyday life, I actually much prefer feeling more submissive in the bedroom,’ she tells us.
‘I love being taken by surprise with a good spank and it helps that it’s usually done most frequently when I’m partaking in my favourite position (doggy!).’
Meanwhile, Damon*, 29, is the exact opposite – he hates being spanked, but will happily administer a slap or two across someone else’s bottom.
‘So for me, dominance is key in bed,’ he said.
‘I love spanking others but I really hate getting spanked. I’ve had it done to me before but I just find it annoying, partly because I don’t have much of a bum and it just irritates me more than anything.
‘There’s nothing worse than being distracted when you’re really in the zone.’
As it turns out, there is a myriad of reasons why people are keen on paddling each other’s backsides.
The most important thing to remember is that it’s totally OK if you do – or you don’t.
*Names have been changed
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