Spanking is almost as old as time itself. Whether for punishment, pleasure, or some other dubious purpose (and there are a few of those), spanking is ingrained in human culture probably more than any other fetish. Depending on your age, your first encounter with spanking was probably in the form of punishment. But in its earliest practice in Ancient Greece, spanking was considered a fertility treatment. Pagan Priests would spank childless adult women to “increase” chances of pregnancy. Whether the practice was effective is somewhat debatable however. In other faiths like Catholicism, spanking was administered to remove the sins of the individual being spanked. I guess they figured they’d spank the sins out of you? Like I say, dubious purposes.
Erotic Spanking and the Tomb Of The Whipping
Our interest though lies within the practice of erotic spanking. It’s really quite hard to say how long humans have been spanking and whipping each other to get off. We do know an early instance of erotic spanking or flagellation in history is depicted in the Etruscan Tomb Of The Whipping. The tomb dates back to the fifth century B.C. and is located near Tarquinia, Italy. It depicts two men in the act of flogging a woman in an erotic context, with one of the men apparently receiving fellatio from the woman at the same time. So we know that spanking for pleasure is at least 2500 years old.
The English Vice
Zoom forward a couple of thousand years and we come to the Victorians. Now they were a kinky bunch! You could always trust the Victorians to take something a bit saucy and run with it. Erotic flagellation, which had become known as “the English Vice”, was high on their list of pornographic priorities. A lot of Victorian pornography in the form of photographs, literature and engravings featured spankings and flagellation. Short stories like The Whippingham Papers, Exhibition Of Female Flagellants and the pornographic comic opera, Lady Bumtickler’s Revels were all extremely popular depictions of various forms of spanking and flagellation back in the day. The invention of the photograph in the mid 19th century acted like jet fuel to the proliferation of porn. People could now see things they’d probably never seen before. Naturally, people were intrigued, and of course, titillated, so they began to try these things for themselves. As a result, spanking became a more and more popular fetish activity. Just google search ‘Vintage Spanking’ and thousands of black and white images will appear before your eyes, many dating back to the late Victorian era.
As kinky as they were however, the Victorians tended to keep their vices behind closed doors. Spanking therefore remained a niche pastime. While the Victorians were getting kinky about it, spanking and caning was still a favoured punishment in British schools. This continued to be the case throughout much of the twentieth century. I remember my father telling me stories of how he came home from school with blood in his pants on more than one occasion, following unpleasant encounters with the HeadMaster. They really were that brutal, (though he did say he always deserved it). It was only as recent as the mid-1980s that caning was outlawed completely in state-funded schools, and later still in private schools.
The Taboo Factor
Recently though, spanking has become almost mainstream in sexual culture. Nowadays you can tell somebody that you’re into spanking and they may even think you’re a bit vanilla (depending on the company you keep). That’s probably due to a couple of reasons. The internet has gone a long way to removing the taboo factor from a lot of sexual and fetish activities. Much like the effect of photography in the late 1800s, these things are just easier to find now. Sometimes you don’t even have to be looking for them! Secondly, the stigma once attached to anything fetish related is not as bad as it once was. Love it or hate it, (many fetish lifestylers remain unimpressed) but books and movies like the Fifty Shades franchise have brought practices that were once considered taboo into our homes and living rooms, removing the mystique, and heightening people’s curiosity in the process. Hence a surge in popularity and a big step towards the mainstream. This of course is a very positive thing. Sexual freedom is something to be celebrated and the more people consensually doing the things they didn’t do because they once considered them taboo, the better.
Safe, Sane, Consensual
But striking people with a bare hand or paddle, a whip or a cane, is an activity that has risk to it. Like all BDSM play make sure you keep things SSC – Safe, Sane and Consensual. Make sure you have a safe word in place if you need to stop. But most of all, take it slow and try and lose any inhibitions you may have as you learn what the Etruscans knew 2500 years ago. Spanking is awesome!