Picture this: it’s a Saturday, and your sink is full of dishes. While bickering with your partner about who has to wash them (you know it’s your turn but your partner never bothers rinsing their bowls out), you start play wrestling. It’s fall time, the air is crisp, you’re both feelin’ frisky! Unfortunately, your partner is way better at wrestling than you – they grew up with a bunch of siblings, after all – and you wind up on your belly with them on top of you, demanding that you say uncle. When you refuse (seriously, those dirty bowls are growing things), they give you a playful smack on the butt… and oh no, you kinda liked it. A lot.
It’s normal to come across new sex acts and kinks you want to try, even if you’ve been doing both for a long time. Sometimes it takes something being framed a different way to realize you might like it. Sometimes your preferences change over time. And sometimes, you’ve just never thought about it before.
But opening up to a partner about a kink or sex act you’re interested in doesn’t always mean something new, either. Sometimes it’s just new to them, or new to you as a couple. Maybe your afternoon tussle wasn’t your first time getting turned on by spanking – maybe it was just your first time realizing that those sparks exist with your current partner, or it was a reminder of hijinks you’ve enjoyed in the past.
So let’s talk about the conversation that can take you from the desire to do something new, to the actual doing it.
Step 1: Decide the best way to introduce the play you want.
First, you need to consider how best to present this sexy new concept to your partner. Do you want to casually slip it into a conversation (“so I saw this thing...”) and gauge their interest before admitting it’s kinda your thing? Do you want to meticulously research the topic and email them a summary with links? Do you want to start off with “promise you won’t judge me” and then blurt it all out like one word and have to painstakingly repeat yourself? I don’t personally think there’s one single best route for introducing a dirty little ‘secret’ like a spanking kink, because communication styles vary widely and are heavily dependent on your dynamic with your partner(s).
When deciding whether to casually bring it up over coffee or buy your partner Anal Pleasure & Health and throw it at them from a passing car, it’s important to consider how they’ll feel about your approach. How can you prioritize their comfort and give them space to process your thoughts? What will you need to communicate to make sure you’re not misunderstood? If they don’t react the way you had hoped, how do you intend to handle their neutrality or rejection?
Step 2: Establish how much you each know about this play, and compare any firsthand experiences or prior influences.
Whether you’re experienced in this type of play, you’re new but tirelessly researched it before bringing it up, or you randomly shouted “I’VE BEEN BAD AND WOULD LIKE A SPANKING IF YOU’RE INTO THE IDEA OF GIVING ME ONE?” in the middle of dinner without having given it more than ten seconds of thought (not recommended), you’ll need to determine how big the knowledge gap is between you and your partner. Even if you’ve never discussed it before, your partner might have explored it in a previous relationship or another context and simply never brought it up. Or maybe they’ve never heard of it! Either way, it’s good to know which page you’re each on.
Further, it’s important to know where you’re each coming from. Perhaps your partner was abused as a child and isn’t sure how they feel about spanking being eroticized even between consenting adults. That kind of negative and potentially triggering association is important to discuss (if they’re comfortable), so that you understand any hesitation or even rejection. Maybe they’re actually really into spanking, but they look at it in an entirely different way. Which brings us to the next step:
Step 3: Discuss how you each perceive the play. If you intend to explore it, what about it appeals to each of you?
You were being playful but rather bratty when your partner subdued you with a spank. That might be your ideal lens for spanking: sassy and non-serious, with lots of wiggling and kicking your feet and backtalking. But maybe your partner – contrary to their chore-evading playfulness – is more interested in spanking from a stern punishment angle, with thorough chastising about some imaginary slight (or not so imaginary, considering you didn’t want to do the dishes even though it was your turn) and a hard paddling that will leave bruises for days. Those are two very different ways of playing with spanking, so it’s important – for you and your partner(s) – to find out what you’re each wanting out of the experience.
I was lucky enough to attend a workshop by kink educator and role play aficionado Midori, wherein she brought up a really great point about BDSM: we often get very hung up on the details (what gear or toys to use, for example) and we don’t always talk about the mood.
Spanking can be given (and taken) in so many different ways. Any kink or sex act can! Doggy style can be wild and carnal, or slow and sensual, or any other vibe, depending on how you go about it. What kind of mood do you want for the scene? And if you’re wanting something silly and light-hearted, and your partner wants something frigid and severe, where can you compromise? Are their other activities you can do to chase the same mood, with different kinds of play?
Step 4: Establish your risk comfort zones and limits.
If you have thin, pale skin, you can accidentally bruise even from gentler bare-handed spanking. This might be upsetting to your partner that grew up in an abusive household, or a problem for you if it occurs in a place exposed by your bathing suit a day before a beach trip with family. Heavier play might result in some discomfort while sitting at your desk at work. What kind of negative outcomes are you willing to endure if things go wrong (or right), and what kind of outcomes are you unwilling to risk? What are the best ways to be mindful of these limitations during play, and how will you signal when you’re getting close to one of those limits? How will you and your partner(s) prioritize respecting each others’ boundaries?
Step 5: Decide how much research and preparation this new play requires.
Perhaps your partner isn’t willing to spank you with their hand because of upsetting associations they have with it (or even just not wanting to sting their fingers), and instead you agree to using a wooden spoon, paddle, or even flogger. Do you already own these or do you need to shop for something? In the case of a paddle or flogger, are you going to just buy the first budget option, or spend time reading reviews and picking one that suits your desired aesthetic and pain threshold?
Or maybe the new thing you want to try is strap-on sex against a wall. How comfortable and capable are you hoisting your partner up? Is lifting them something you need to practice before committing to actually fucking them in that position? Similarly, with spanking, you might want to practice other, even lighter forms of sensory play, like tickling or massage, to get used to each others’ sounds and body language during unique physical experiences. What sounds do you make when it feels good? How does your partner cope with an awkward pause in dirty talk? Learning these things will help you bond and communicate through heavier play.
Step 6: Discuss your ideal scene, and find where you can compromise to create a mutually satisfying experience.
Just like with fleshing out what appeals to (and inspires) each of you about this new play is important for chatting about your interest, it’s important for planning out a scene, too. If you agree to try sex in the doggy position but never quite agreed on the ideal mood, you may wind up frustrated and disappointed with your first try. If you each have different preferences, you might have to negotiate for something in the middle, or taking turns exploring your ideal vibe.
As Midori taught in her workshop, your planning doesn’t have to be too intricate; you just need to make sure you’re both on the same page, and that you continue to communicate throughout your play to ensure you’re satisfied and respecting boundaries.
So, picture this: it’s a Sunday, and you’re finally doing the dishes while your partner reads you excerpts from spanking erotica. You discuss spanking from several angles – what’s sexy about it, what’s not so sexy, how much (or little) you’d like it to hurt – and you decide to practice with bare hands while you wait for your Peepshow Toys order to come in. When you’re done with the dishes, you “accidentally” flick water on your partner. They take you over their knee and scold you for your rudeness, and you giggle and squirm while they spank you light enough to avoid bathing suit-baring marks. It’s not perfect – you almost fall off their lap, and their chastising dirty talk could use some more practice – but you like it.