What’s Too High To Spank?

An inquiry from a reader caught me (somewhat unusually for me) on a quiet Sunday with time to respond. She wrote:

Dear SpankBoss:

Your name sounds as if you might have knowledge of how to give a woman a corrective discipline spanking. When doing so, what area of her bottom would you be likely to spank?

I am asking this from the spankee’s P.O.V; my mentor (not Top) and I have a new relationship but a firm one. I broke a rule and he dispensed firm yet loving discipline with the use of his hand, a paddle, and a strap. Unfortunately his chosen area of correction was high on my bottom (the sacroiliac) rather than in the sitting area. I don’t think he’s had much spanking experience, and he’s upset because he marked me severely.

I wanted to have all possible facts in place before I sit down with him and discuss this sensitive topic, not to just go charging in like gang busters and say “Hey, fella, you can’t spank that high anymore”. Ours is a new relationship, and I want to nurture and care for it. I spent too many years with Mr. Wrongs before finding Mr. Right. Thank you for any assistance you can give us!

I answered:

Hi. I’m happy to answer your letter, but I’m not sure you’re going to appreciate my answer.

Spanking safety is, of course, very important. But the trouble is, what’s the risk you are trying to avoid? To put it another way, what are your boundaries?

The sense I get from your letter is that you are looking for medical advice so you can say with authority “Don’t spank there because it’s too dangerous.” The problem is, you can’t answer the medical question until you’ve identified your own boundaries. What’s the negative consequence you’re trying to avoid?

Some people draw the line between “warm red bottom” and “visible bruising the next day.” Somebody else is fine with bruising — in fact, they are disappointed if they don’t get any — but they freak out about the tiniest scratch or blistery spot. Somebody else wants deep bruising they can feel for three days, and they don’t mind cane welts with those red lines at the edge that heal like cat scratches, but they don’t like welts that actually break the skin. A more intense player might like a severe Victorian birching that leaves her bottom covered in bloody scratches, but she’s not into “pirate wench” roleplay because the cuts from the cat-o-nine-tails bleed too much and itch while they heal. And somewhere out there, there’s somebody who’s not happy until they’ve been scourged so they can feel the blood flowing down their legs, and the whipping isn’t complete unless they pick up at least one permanent scar from it.

What I’m saying is, none of those people agree on what’s “unsafe”, because they have different concepts of what harms they are trying to avoid.

And, to make things more complicated, they have different risk tolerances. How much risk of a bad thing happening is too much? Are we avoiding one-in-ten chances? One in a hundred chances? One in a million? One in a billion? There is no right answer, just a personal degree of risk tolerance. If you genuinely want zero risk, you won’t get spanked at all, because he could have a rough fingernail and you could get a scratch and it could get infected with an antibiotic-resistant bug and before you know it the doctors would be talking about butt amputation and it’s all downhill from there.

The good news is, when it comes to your risk boundaries, you get to pick. You decide what you’re worried about and how much or how little risk of it you’re willing to accept. And then it’s your happy job to communicate those decisions to your spanker, along with any “rules of thumb” (no spanking above here, no implements made of cast iron, whatever) you feel you need to protect the boundaries you’ve set.

The bad news is, that makes you the responsible party. You have to say “You can’t spank that high anymore because I don’t consent to that in our relationship.” It’s dishonest to say “because it’s not safe.” Why? Because there is no International Spanking Council who sets safe spanking standards. You may — you probably will — choose your spanking boundaries based on your own safety views and risk tolerances, but honesty requires you to say that’s what you’re doing. You’re shooting for “I’ve decided it’s too unsafe for me”, not “it’s unsafe and I can prove it because SpankBoss said so.”

I realize that taking a personally assertive role in setting your own boundaries can be tricky in a spanking relationship where there are power exchange dynamics going on (as there are if you’re using words like “discipline”.) But, tricky or not, it’s essential.

Having said all that, I’ll share my own view, which boils down to “avoid the bony bits when using hard implements.” Although Bethie and I are in general agreement about this, she’s got a broader sense of what’s “too bony to spank with hard things” than I do, and I try to respect those boundaries as she’s set them. Sometimes, I’ll get “too high” on her bottom with a paddle or the wooden spoon, and she’ll tell me so, and I’ll move back down. Since her boundaries aren’t quite consistent with visibly distinct areas of her body, I need to rely on her to communicate if I go “too high” with a hard implement. On the other hand, if I’m using my hand or a tawse and she squawks “too high” at me, I’m likely to laugh and carry on, because she’s talking about preference rather than her safety boundaries.

I can’t get more specific than “bony bits” because what’s bony depends a lot on the woman’s body type and posture. Some women have protruding hip bones, vertebrae, pelvic corners, etc., and where they poke out depends on how she’s bent. Exactly where “upper bottom” becomes “tailbone” or “small of the back” is impossible to say in any general sense.

Hope this has helped!

  1. Jaie commented on May 13th, 2007:

    Very very very true. And it varies from moment to moment. I may be ok with some bruising deep, long lasting welts one day, and then really have a tantrum and struggle against it the next day.

    And isn’t the idea of discipline itself, that it’s not about you, but for your own good??

  2. Bethie commented on May 14th, 2007:

    Good job explaining this, honey! You’ve been really good about respecting my boundaries and you’ve never come close to hurting me in a bad way because you do stay away from the “bony bits” as you put it. My biggest complain about too high is when the tips of your fingers land on my less cushioned areas and it stings! Yeah, I know, I’m not getting any sympathy from you on that one.

    And as you noticed, I let you get much higher than usual with the flogger during that last big spanking. :-o

  3. SpankBoss commented on May 14th, 2007:

    “Let” hell, I’m not sure you even *noticed* until I pointed it out later!

  4. Amy commented on May 14th, 2007:

    There’s a great book named “consensual spanking” that both me and my spankee have read. It covers this issue.

  5. Miss Janey commented on May 15th, 2007:

    I totally agree that the tailbone hurts like hell.

    However, no boney bits whatsoever seems like it would rule out the back, which I find very enjoyable indeed. I’ve actually found I have much higher pain and risk tolerance when it comes to my upper back than anywhere else.

    Recently my husband acquired a genuine english riding crop (to indulge my anglophile-ness) and it felt absolutely divine on my back. Like the best massage ever!

    My two cents.

  6. SpankBoss commented on May 15th, 2007:

    Er, that’s why I said no “hard” implements on the bony bits, Miss Janey. I was talking about wooden stuff mostly. Flexible leather doesn’t count, heh.

  7. Terry commented on May 17th, 2007:

    Speaking strictly as a spanker, I always favor what I call the “upswelling base” of the nude behind. I also devote considerable attention to the “creaseline,” that exquisitely sensitive area where the buttock meets the upper thigh. I tend to apply something less than ten percent of the strokes to any area above the middle of the fannycheek.

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