Spanking is so damned in right now that a dance move even celebrates it. Check out the nightclubs: When not behind their booty-wagging partners, the guys are dancing as if behind an imaginary ass -- with one hand steadying itself on an invisible hip and the other swinging away like a jockey walloping his mount all the way to the finish line.
I have seen women dancing together this way, too, goofing around and swatting at one another's butts on the dance floor, but I've never seen a woman do this dance in earnest. Thus, it may be that a whole lot more girl tush is getting whooped than boy booty. This is less true at fetish parties, where the gender divide narrows and men and women alike seek these percussive beatings. In mainstream society, at least publicly, men do the spanking and women receive it, which makes sense in a male-dominated culture such as ours; women spanking men just seems aberrant. Either way, in the end (or at least on it), spanking is a popular form of sex play.
Some would say that is because most of us were introduced to spanking at an early age -- either in educational or domestic situations -- as corporal punishment administered by loved and respected adults. As a result, spanking doesn't seem excessively bizarre but actually holds a powerful mystique for many people.
Outwardly conservative and reluctant to call her taste "fetishistic," my best friend, Meri, is a spanking enthusiast. She gets turned on by offering up her bare cheeks for what she referred to this past Yom Kippur as "atonement for the ass." She discovered her penchant during her birthday party a few years ago, when a friend's boyfriend turned her over his knee to deliver 20-plus whacks. She squirmed, screamed and flailed like a child until she extricated herself from his grip.
Months later, when an old boyfriend of hers showed up after a long absence, all he had to do to win her back (at least temporarily) was give her a good thwack on the thigh, and her reserve was gone. Now, she has refined her tastes and says she finds something especially delicious not only in being spanked but in deserving it. "It's hard to get the right mix of infraction and invitation," she explains. "I want him to feel I deserve the spanking but not to be so mad at me that he won't do it, since he knows that I like it."
When I attended my first fetish party, my friend Jeannie, who had dressed as a schoolgirl, bent over a pleather couch and asked my boyfriend and me to spank her. It was the first time I'd ever spanked anyone, and she had the most delicate derrière I'd ever seen on an adult. There was something about the trespass of not only touching her smooth, white skin but watching each swat leave layers of red handprints -- my handprints -- that really got me going.
While I enjoy a few well-timed and expertly placed ass slaps during sex, I don't regularly incorporate spanking into my sexual routine. The ritualistic, over-the-knee spanking makes me think of childhood, which totally creeps me out. The last thing I want to be reminded of during sex is my parents, particularly my father.
The various disciplines we received as children may be responsible for our differing responses to adult spanking. For instance, Meri received spankings as a kid and was later comforted by the same parent who struck her. I, on the other hand, got plenty of spanking but no affection afterward, so I never developed the conditioned response to associate pain with love.
It is this associative aspect of spanking that has fueled the movement against corporal punishment. In Why Spanking Doesn't Work, author Michael J. Marshall asserts among his 13 reasons why spanking a child is unproductive that spanking creates masochists because it causes a paired association between corporal punishment and love.
"If this is true," he states, "then you would expect most people to acquire masochistic tendencies, since most children love their parents and most parents spank their children. Unfortunately, that is exactly what we find." Further, he cites a 1994 study published in Journal of Adolescence that found "61 percent of college students reported they were sexually aroused when they imagined or did one of three activities in the Masochistic Sex Index: being restrained, being physically rough or being spanked." Marshall cites spanking as the most popular form of masochistic sex play.
It certainly was one of the highlights at a fetish party I attended earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale. A well-toned young woman bent over a padded table and lifted her dress to receive expertly delivered open-handed slaps to her ass and thighs until they glowed fuchsia through the smoke of the dimly lit nightclub. Afterward, the woman radiated a kind of sexual satisfaction even though none of her sexual organs had been touched.
This is the result of the body's physiology. Tom Johnson in the 1994 tract Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children explains that, even in children, spanking is sexually stimulating to the recipient: "The sexual nature of the buttocks is explained not only by their proximity to the genitals, but also by their high concentration of nerve endings which lead directly to sexual nerve centers. Hence, the buttocks are a major locus of sexual signals."
In light of this information, spanking should be reserved for adults rather than children. And though it may have been administered as a childhood punishment, our bodies bristle with nerve endings that can make a good spanking an adult reward.
Next time: Lily seeks the perfect spanking. Copyright © 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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