The 10 Commandments of an Ethical Spanko
While I’d love to go through life believing all spankos are awesome, responsible, trustworthy folks, it is simply not the case. Not all of us are ethical and, realistically speaking, there’s an endless line of predators out there labeling their abusive behavior as kink and looking to take advantage of people. If you're new to all this spanky stuff or the BDSM world in general, I highly suggest that you stay away from any spank-lovers who willingly violate these commandments and do everything you can to avoid breaking them yourself.
1. Thou shalt not be pushy.
Pushy kinksters who feel entitled to question or manipulate your limits are bad news. They’ll do things like goad you to send nudes right away, spank you in ways you’re not cool with, try to convince you to ‘consent’ to activities you’re not stoked to do, etc.
People without respect for the boundaries of others make for terrible play partners. Whatever you give them will never be enough because they can’t stand being told ‘no’. They will whine, gaslight, dismiss, throw fits, the whole song and dance, and this behavior will only get worse the longer you let it slide. Don’t compromise your preferences to please these people. Instead, accept who they are and back away. They have ego issues and do not understand consent.
2. Thou shalt not withhold communication.
When it comes to spanking, other forms of kink, and intimate connections in general, communication is key to a fun, safe time. If you don’t, say, speak up about your true preferences and limits, your partner will likely not be able to read your mind. You don’t want to go through a vulnerable interaction with someone who thinks everything’s wavy gravy, only to inform them down the line that something that could’ve easily been avoided was not, in fact, wavy gravy. Doing sexy things you’re not actually cool with can set you up for trauma that stays with you for a long time, so speak up and be honest. Your feelings matter.
If you withhold your emotions and leave your partner in the dark about how you’re feeling, whether you’re topping or bottoming, they may begin to worry they’ve done something wrong regardless of what’s happening inside your head. Feeling iffy about you or a session they’ve shared with you will get in the way of trust, which is the foundation of any good kinky partnership. Intentionally leaving your partner in suspense about some detail during a spanking for an element of surprise is one thing. It’s quite another to fuck with someone’s head in a way that tears down their self-worth or makes them worry about their safety. On an overall level, everyone should be consistently enjoying themselves.
3. Thou shalt not reduce thy partner to an object.
Many people in the kink scene are dealing with serious porn addictions. I like porn (and write it!) but also realize too much of it will change how your brain and body function. If you isolate the idea of spanking to the sensory experience of juicy red butts and sexy squeaky cries rather than connecting it to whole people with feelings, you’ll be likely to treat real-life partners like objects that exist solely for your entertainment. This does not tend to lead to good things.
Your partner might be all about fantasies rooted in objectification but at the end of the day, we all want to feel valued no matter what we’re into. Check in and ask how they’re doing. Get to know their mind. Don’t make every interaction about sex or play. If you do, they’ll pick up on the fact that you might be using them. People with self-respect tend to walk away from such situations, as they should.
4. Thou shalt not play without negotiating.
It’s never a good idea to hop into a spanking sesh without at least having a quick chat to get everyone on the same page. Some people are more formal about this process than others and the convo can take many shapes depending on the situation. You’re not likely to be presented with a multi-page contract at a public play party, but that could certainly feel warranted if you’re entering a committed 24/7 relationship.
Use common sense, be respectful, and you’re likely to be fine. Will your partner enjoy it if you use your belt, a paddle, etc., or is it better to skip implements? Is it cool if you pull their undies down, even in front of onlookers? Do they have any health issues you should know about? Is it okay to leave marks? Will sexual activity be involved? Are you going to use safewords? Having clear, straightforward conversations about these issues will help everyone avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings related to consent.
5. Thou shalt not play with new partners without safewords/signals.
Speaking of safewords, I often hear spankos say they’d rather not use them. Ideally, I agree. I don’t prefer having them either as they take away from the realism of a spanking. If the receiver gets to tap out whenever they feel like it, that’s not much of a punishment, is it? We want our spankers to be perceptive and attentive enough to know when to stop and how hard to hit without going too far.
However, life is not perfect and emergencies happen in reality. What if the spankee has a panic attack? What if they're injured or become ill during the act and genuinely need it to stop? You don’t want to set yourself up for a situation where the spanker feels they have free reign regardless of the reaction they’re getting or things could turn dangerous reeeal quick. I recommend using safewords as a communication tool until you’ve gotten to know your partner’s cues well enough to know where they’re at without them having to tell you.
6. Thou shalt not skip the warm-up.
Okay, yes, this one is flexible. People who spank for punishment purposes often skip the warm-up swats when they’re doling out discipline. It’s supposed to hurt. I get it, I like it, and I agree.
You just need to be aware of what the warm-up period is for. During those first few minutes, the body begins generating the delicious subspacey endorphins many spankees crave, which is a huge reason lots of people dig spanking in the first place. If the spanker comes out the gate swatting as hard and fast as possible, this can jar the spankee so much that they physically freak out and start to panic. Their pain tolerance may be a lot lower as a result and the session may have to be cut short unless the spanker intends on forcing them through it. If that’s what you’ve negotiated together, groovy, but it’s not the safest route, particularly with partners who are relatively new to you. Everyone is different.
7. Thou shalt not hit too high or low.
Butts are jiggly and padded and ideal for yummy sexy swats, but spankers should really only be aiming for the squishiest bits. (And the tops of the spankee’s thighs if they wanna be big ol’ meanies about it.) Hit too high and you might damage the spankee’s kidneys or spine. Hit too low and leg injuries are possible. Focusing on the sweet spots in the middle is the best strategy for keeping a spanking safe. The receiver may end up bruised or bleeding or very, very sore and that’s all fine if desired, but they should be able to walk away and live their life without any form of serious injury.
8. Thou shalt not take thy partner past their hard limits.
We talk about hard and soft limits in the scene, yes? Many spankees want to be pushed past their point of comfort, after which they’ll begin to squirm involuntarily, say “No, please! It hurts! Please don’t spank me anymore!” and struggle to take their swats with decorum. They might even cry true, cathartic tears of release. Mmm, scrumptious. Many of us are masochists, after all, and we want spankings to feel real.
There’s a difference between passing that point and the one of no return. Pushing through a hard limit can traumatize the spankee, lead to injury, and effectively ruin the partnership. That is no good for anyone ever. Be wary of spankers who seem keen to push through hard limits, as well as spankees who claim they want theirs steamrolled. It’s all fun, sexy, and wonderful until it’s not. If hospitals, police, or other outsiders have to become involved in the aftermath, someone clearly dropped the ball or was being a dick.
9. Thou shalt not skimp on aftercare.
Aftercare exists for both spanker and spankee. It’s a time to talk, cuddle, smooch, eat, drink, watch TV, have sex, or whatever helps both people transition from the vulnerable state involved in a spanking back to a strong, balanced headspace. It’s often a good idea to grab water for spankees, as they’ve likely been breathing hard or crying. They might also be cold as they come down from the endorphin rush, so have a blanket or two handy. Rub their poor sore little booty and tell them they took their punishment well. Emotional reassurance is key for both people, especially if they’re new to one another. For some people, a few minutes of follow-up is enough. For others, it can take days to level out chemically, especially if the session was particularly intense. Be sure to take the time and emotional energy to be present. Aftercare is not the time to check out.
Skimping on aftercare sends the message that you’re in it for the spanking alone rather than the overall connection with the other person. If you can swat them black and blue, you should also be able to attend to them afterward so they leave feeling good about what you did together. People who can’t put forth that effort shouldn’t play. The only time to skip aftercare might be if both partners have specifically agreed they don’t need or desire it, and that is fairly rare.
10. Thou shalt not act shady.
There are many forms of shadiness, but the first that comes to my mind is lying. Make your intentions clear to those you play with. Don’t be the person whole groups of ex-play partners talk badly about and warn others to stay away from. Word travels fast in the community and you don’t want to end up with a bad reputation. Try to hurt people in the sexy ways they like, not in ways they don’t. No one is entitled to anything.
Kink requires emotional maturity and a willingness to take on responsibility. Not everyone is ready or equipped for it at all times, which can lead to weighty consequences. We’re dealing with deep feelings. Immense vulnerability. The core and soul of a person. Even if spanking is all you’re getting into, it’s not something to be taken lightly. Behave with honor to the best of your ability.
So friends, mistakes happen and pobody’s nerfect. I've been through my personal share of fuck-ups over the years and highly regretted doing so. Learn from my naivety and follow the ethical spanko code for a great and respectful time.
In the words of Kevin Coster in that wonderful cheesy-ass baseball movie Bull Durham, this game’s supposed to be “FUN, GODDAMMIT.”