Many or possibly even most Taken In Hand relationships do not involve any kind of physical control or spanking, but some do. A reader desirous of spanking asked how long and how hard should a spanking be? The answer to the reader's question, how long and how hard should she be spanked when being taken in hand physically by her husband?, is that it is not a matter of how long or how hard, and thinking about it that way is likely in some cases to be problematic.
What the man should have in mind, especially if he and his wife are beginners in terms of spanking, is not a certain number of blows or a certain number of minutes of spanking at a certain impact (we're not working on a car here, chaps—your wife is a more complex entity!) but how what he is doing, in this situation, is affecting this particular individual woman at this very moment.
Someone who has never been spanked before or who is of a sensitive disposition, or whose hormones are getting the better of her, or who is upset, or who hates to displease her husband, might be in floods of tears and really have had enough after only three whacks. Someone who has been spanked nightly for three decades might well be fine with an hour of hard spanking.
The man needs to be less concerned with textbook numbers and more concerned with the state of mind of his wife. He also needs to be concerned with the physical effects, but the most important aspect is the psychological. Is she still defiant? Has he been sufficiently thorough? Is she now crying freely and clinging to him? Does it seem as though she can't take any more?
Does she seem not to have been much affected yet? Does that seem likely given what he has done, or could it be that something has gone wrong, and that she is unable to show how it is affecting her? If he asks her to rate honestly what he has done so far on a range of 1 to 10 where 10 would be on the unbearable end (the “enough!” end), and 1 would be barely feeling it, how does she respond? What do her eyes say? Has something gone wrong? Is she panic-stricken and distressed? Is she still connected or is she strangely emotionally dissociated, disconnected, paralysed, blank-faced?
The answer to the question how long and how hard? is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is no recipe that will be good with all women or in all circumstances. Not only are all women different in terms of what they can take, what an individual woman can take varies not just over time and with experience, but depending on a large number of factors too numerous to cover exhaustively here. For example:
What was her antecedent state of mind or emotional state?
If, just before he started, she was in a good state of mind, then, other things being equal (which they never are!) she might well be able to take more than if she was in a highly emotional state before he even started.
What was it that led to the spanking, and how does she feel about that?
The woman's view of the situation can have all manner of effects. If, for example, she thinks the spanking completely unjust, then it could be that she would be able to take—and indeed need—either a lot more, or a lot less. If the spanking is just a bit of fun, she is much more likely to be able to take more than if it is deadly serious. If the man is spanking her because he has had a bad day at work and needs to take it out on her, if she is happy to be used that way, in general she will be able to take more than she would be able to take if it were about her. But if she is not happy to be used that way, then obviously the reverse might be the case.
How attuned is the man to the woman?
Is the man good at gauging the woman's responses? Is he very insightful psychologically, at least when it comes to this particular woman? Can he often tell what she is feeling, sometimes before she is consciously aware of it herself? Or is he relatively insensitive? If he is relatively attuned to the woman's responses, far more will be possible than if he is not, because if he is not, that increases the risk of something going wrong, and may be scary for the woman, and that means that he has to be more cautious and may not be able to spank her as much as if that were not the case. Such a man should take care to talk to the woman (including when they are just having a general cosy chat and all is fine, not just in the middle of a jolly good thrashing) to make sure that he is on the right track.
What is the man's state of mind when spanking the woman?
If he is furious, she might be able to take a lot less—or sometimes a lot more, depending upon how his furiousness affects her—than if he is, say, calm and lovingly-connected with her. Is he genuinely and reasonably disappointed in her? Then she is likely to be able to take a lot less.
What is the man saying to her as he spanks her?
Is he gently telling her that he is spanking her to reconnect with her and to get this issue out of the way, because he loves her and he is not going to allow their connection to be broken? Is he lecturing her kindly and lovingly? Is he lecturing her angrily? Is he scaring her? Is he soothing her? Is he coldly furious but saying nothing? What he says can dramatically affect how much is needed and how much she can take.
How much history do the two of them have together?
Have they been married for decades? Are they just starting to get to know each other? Have they been together forever but are only just starting to introduce spanking?
Is the woman often spanked?
This can make a difference, one way or the other, depending on many other factors.
What kind of person is the woman?
Is she the sort of person who is calm and not easily panicked? Then she will be able to take more than the kind of woman who is more emotionally labile or likely to panic. Is she the kind of person who thinks that spanking is pussy stuff? Then the man may need to use a whip or a cane or some other implement, and/or he may need to get a lot more creative psychologically. Is she the kind of person who has a high degree of mental control over how much pain she perceives? Then again, she will be able to take a lot more, and the man will need to use a lot more psychology and creativity in his approach.
What is the woman's pain threshold?
Some women just naturally have a very high pain threshold, while others have a naturally low pain threshold. With a woman with a very high pain threshold, the man is going to have to be a lot more creative psychologically, because the woman may be able to take more psychologically than her body can.
Where on her body is the woman being spanked?
Her bottom can usually take more than any other part of her anatomy.
Is the woman a strictly bottom-only person? Is the man?
If the idea of spanking anywhere other than on the woman's bottom is completely unacceptable to one or other of the persons, that will affect what is possible and desirable.
How experienced are each of them in terms of spanking?
Not only do people learn with experience, a woman who has been spanked a lot in the past can often physically take much more than she could when she was first spanked. The inexperienced woman can be spanked black and blue with just a few spanks, whereas the woman who has been being spanked for years tends not to bruise anything like as much. The experienced woman is also less likely to panic, and thus may well be able to take more.
Does the man know what he is doing?
If the man is well-versed in what is safe, more is likely to be possible than if the man knows nothing about safety and has no clue what he is doing. If the man does not know, for example, that it is absolutely essential to avoid hitting the coccyx, the kidneys, and so on, the woman might well want him to seek advice from a competent person such as an open-minded doctor friend before he starts spanking her. Note that there is a lot of medically unsound and very bad advice about safety on BDSM sites, so it really is better to check the facts with a doctor if at all possible.
What implement is being used?
Different individuals can take more or less with different implements or hand spanking. Some can take a lot of hand spanking but little caning or whipping. Some can take a lot of caning but little spanking or paddling. The different things feel different (some talk in terms of bark versus bite, others in terms of thud versus sting, some go into the mathematics of momentum, wind resistance, surface area, impact, etc.), and different women prefer or can take more of one kind than another.
What is the woman's current physical condition?
If she has recently been beaten black and blue, or if her skin has been damaged by a previous beating, or if her skin is fragile or if she is currently very sensitive physically for some reason (perhaps because of the time of the month), the man will not be able to do as much as if that were not the case. He might have to spank a different area, if that is an acceptable idea in their relationship. He will need to be more creative and use more psychology and rely less on the physical.
Is the woman in danger of getting “leatherbottom”, and is that a problem for her?
Skin that has been repeatedly spanked can become tough and leathery. This can be fine for some, but for others, it is really very unpleasant, and to be avoided at all costs.
What is the temperature of the air?
This can make a difference to what can be tolerated.
How fit is the woman?
This can make a difference, too. If, for example, a thin cane is being used on a very voluptuous woman on a flabby area of her body, the slack flesh might fold around the cane too much, stretch and tear, so the man would have to be more careful, use less force, and quite probably use a thicker implement or his hand instead.
Where is the spanking happening, and is privacy an issue?
If, for example, the woman fears that the children will hear, she will be able to take less than if she feels completely safe in terms of privacy. If the spanking is happening in the privacy of their own cellar with no chance of being disturbed or overheard, more will be possible than otherwise—unless of course the woman is the sort of person who likes being spanked in public.
Is the man she is with the right man for her?
With the wrong man, she may just find the whole idea of being spanked unbearable, or she might feel completely indifferent to it, or she might be unable to express any emotion even when she feels extremely distressed, or she might even dissociate from the pain. The connection between the two may be not right, or it may be non-existent. If she has not been spanked before, she might well conclude that it is definitely not her cup of tea. (This could also happen with the right man under the wrong circumstances!)
A warning about abuse
Is the man connecting with the woman through the spanking, or is he disconnected and simply taking it out on her abusively?
If the man is angry and taking it out on the woman, and not with any intention of reconnecting or getting the issue dealt with, that would be a very, very bad thing. That is the stuff of abuse. Whilst something bad might happen once in a blue moon, if there is a pattern of disconnected, abusive spanking, that should be a big red flag, putting it mildly. If spanking does not reconnect you, do not do it—or find a way to do it that does reconnect you. Sometimes, at the beginning, it can take a bit of time and trial and error to find out what works for the two individuals as a couple. If the man is anxious to find a way to do it that is connecting and constructive, then having patience can be fine, but if he seems not to care how the woman feels, and does not seem open to the idea of making changes in what he is doing, the alarm bells should be deafening. If your man is abusing you, leave him and get help, before it's too late.
Spanking without sound
Hand spanking is terribly loud and not ideal if privacy is an issue. Implements that are quiet are the thin ones like a birch, a switch, a cane or a buggy whip. If the sound issue is the woman's screams, a gag might help, but note that this means the man will have less information about how what he is doing is affecting the woman, and in some cases, this could be a problem.
A note about bruising
When a woman has never been spanked before, it is very common for there to be very alarming-looking bruises after a good thrashing, so don't worry if this happens to you. But if you are someone who seems to bruise much more easily that other people, do mention it to your doctor, because this can occasionally indicate a medical condition that needs attention.
Spanking without leaving marks
If the woman has been spanked often, spanking may not leave bruises. But if she has not, it may well do. If you want the spanking not to leave any bruises, and the woman has not been spanked much before, then you will want to start softly and experiment. You might want to try a leather paddle, a wet towel, a broad leather strap, a multi-tail whip (known to Americans as a “flogger”) with multiple strip (not square) tails of suede, or perhaps a bushy or rod birch, instead of hand spanking.
A single switch can, like other thin implements, do some minor damage (or even kill, if it ruptures a kidney), but the rod birch (a bundle of light switches (saplings) tied together with string or strong tape) makes a series of lighter impacts over a wider area, and is unlikely to cause serious injury. A bushy birch (a bundle of light twigs tied together with string or strong tape) makes far more impacts in number, over a far wider area, but because each impact is much lighter, it is much less likely to bruise or cause any other significant injury (though it may well leave tiny cuts). If you want not to leave cuts, doing it on clothed skin can help. Be sure you know what you are doing before making your own birch. For example, you need to know that you should never use evergreen twigs—fir, spruce, yew, etc.—as they are dangerous because of the toxins they contain. A birch is more of a seasonal implement, requiring more young, green, sap-filled twigs or saplings as opposed to old, dry ones, and it needs to be used fresh.
Hand spanking on the lower bottom (avoid the coccyx) is undoubtedly the safest thing. Using implements can be dangerous, and don't even think of using a bullwhip if you don't know what you are doing: it can easily injure and kill. And spanking other parts of a woman's body can also be dangerous and care needs to be taken. For example, spanking between the legs can in some cases cause urinary tract infections. It is best to err on the side of caution and start slowly, softly, safely and gently, checking that there is no problem, gradually doing more as you get to know what the individual woman can take.
If you are a woman wanting to be thoroughly taken in hand, do not expect to get the thrashing of your life if it is the first time your man ever spanks you. Be patient as your man explores and experiments with you. His caution is well-advised. Give it time. Talk to him if he really has no idea what is needed, but do not push him or criticise him. He needs to be in control and you presumably do not want to put him off by making it feel onerous to him.
Some men over-estimate what a woman can take; more men underestimate what is needed. What is needed depends so much on the individual woman that it is a good idea to talk about this if possible. Some women prefer lighter, less injurious spankings often, but many seem to crave a really thorough spanking less often but on a regular basis. The man needs to know which kind of woman his wife is.
Many women complain that their husbands are not thorough enough. They actually want the man to continue way beyond what the man thinks is enough. They want him to continue even when they are screaming for him to stop and seem to be thinking that he is a monster. They want him to continue through that, and even to keep going after she has given up the fight. They feel somehow cheated when the man stops the moment she has given up the fight, or the moment she starts crying, or the moment she seems peaceful. They want more, even when they don't seem to need any more. (Think of another intimate situation in which a woman often has to tell an inexperienced man to keep going and not to stop what he is doing. It is like that only more so, whether she is saying “Don't stop! Don't stop!” or not.)
Many women can take (and ultimately want) much more than they think they can at the time. And if they don't get it, they feel frustrated later. They may well be panicking and thinking that their man is a monster, and yet nevertheless, they will be annoyed and frustrated later if he gives up at that point. In many cases, the man needs to get her beyond that. He needs to win. And if he does not, she will feel cheated. This is by far the most common complaint I hear: men are not even remotely thorough enough. They do it much too lightly, and they stop much, much, much too soon.
The trouble is that to be as thorough as is really necessary in many cases, the man really needs to be very creative, because many woman need more than their bodies can take. And the more a woman feels a lack of thoroughness, the more often things tend to happen that lead to a thrashing, and pretty soon she is black and blue and suffering skin lesions and in no physical state to receive any more thrashings for a week or more, leaving her thoroughly frustrated.
In these cases, it is often difficult for the woman to tell the man that he is not being thorough enough, because she does not want to criticise his efforts, so it is a good idea for him to ask her to rate the spanking on a scale of 1 to 10 as I mentioned above, and to watch her eyes and body language as she answers. If she seems to be being evasive, or if her eyes and body language belie her answer, take that into account next time.
Some women do not feel controlled unless they fear being spanked, and they can't fear it unless they have had at least one really very thorough one. And many report that one is not enough. They need a super-thorough one every now and then or they forget, or start to fear that the man is not in control any more.
On the other hand, many women would hate or even be destroyed by fear. Some women enjoy the thrill of fear, but others can't experience a thrill in association with fear under any circumstances, only distress. Do be sure that you know which kind of woman your wife is!
Active, bodily spanking, or ordering her to present her bottom
Some women want to be brought to submission, brought into subjection, tamed and overpowered and controlled physically actively and bodily by a man. Being quietly told to present her bottom to the man might not work. She might not comply. Some women might actually be more taken in hand if the man were to use plain bodily force to impose his will, rather than spanking, caning, etc. Other women like the more quiet, less physically forceful and overpowering control. And some women like one thing at one time and another at another time. Some men like to bring the woman under control using overpowering bodily force and possibly active, forceful spanking, then, once they have thoroughly subdued the woman, they move on whipping or caning or other punishment that requires the woman's cooperation.
Spontaneous or staged?
Edward Anthony, author of Thy Rod and Staff, has been kind enough to suggest this addition to this guide. As he indicates, some like formal, staged, ritualistic spanking but many Taken In Hand folk prefer the spanking to be more spontaneous and “natural” in style, and less staged and ritualistic. Elaborate staging can, for some, make it seem more like a CP role-playing game, and taking a woman in hand by spanking her is not that. Some like variety.
Passionate, “uncontrolled” spanking
Some women want and welcome passionate, high-energy spanking when their man is angry, and they long for such spontaneous, “uncontrolled”, more emotionally-intense spanking that happens at those times. They find that more connecting than the carefully-controlled, measured, less emotionally-intense spanking that happens when the man is very calm and controlled. On the other hand, some women would find it terrifying if their husband were to spank them when he was angry, and in such cases, obviously, take care not to do that. But in many cases, if you are a man who is always very calm and in control, and one day you spank in anger, it is quite possible that that will turn out not to have been such a bad thing as you might have thought it would be. A man's calmness and control often makes a woman feel safe and protected; but in some relationships, spanking her in anger can be intensely emotionally connecting and cathartic for both.
To take or not to take?
Some want to be taken or “raped” immediately after having been taken in hand, as part of the taking in hand process. For these women, being taken by the man is the ultimate expression of his control, and this makes the spanking feel more thorough than if he did not do that. For other women, being taken afterwards is more about connecting and making love, and it makes them feel safe and loved. For some women, being spanked and not taken afterwards would be a cruel and destructive punishment that could spell trouble for the relationship. Others feel very differently, and would not want to be taken. If in doubt, find a way to check that what you are doing is not destructive.
She needs to feel safe with him in order to surrender
Stephen has pointed out that spanking is not effective unless the woman reaches a state of complete surrender, and that she can only reach that state if she feels connected to her man. She has to feel safe with him. She has to feel that this is her man and that she really trusts him. She cannot open up if he has not captured her heart. In order to capture her heart, he must not just care about her but show her that he really cares. As Stephen puts it: “If the husband has not taken the time and the effort to demonstrate his loving concern for her then no amount of spanking will reach her mind or her heart. He must demonstrate to her that he is worthy of such a precious thing as her surrender. It really is a tender moment between a man and his wife. If he is patient and kind and generous as well as firm and strong and determined she be his, it is then, and only then, that he can truly call her his own.”
Spanking to heal
Spanking your Taken In Hand wife has the power to heal her. If she is inappropriately anxious or panicking, it can soothe her and calm her down. If she is temporarily unbalanced psychologically, it can bring her back into a state of balanced equilibrium. If she is angry, it can diffuse her anger. If she is hurt or feeling insecure, it can make her feel better. But it can only do these things if both of you attach to the spanking that meaning, and to attach that meaning to the spanking, you may well need to express what you are trying to do quite directly.
For example, suppose your Taken In Hand wife is feeling neglected and makes an unfortunate comment to the effect that she is obviously your lowest priority. You feel a little annoyed and upset that she has said that, and you decide to give her a good hiding. This is quite probably a very good idea. It can get all your annoyance out of your system, for one thing. But it can do so much more, if you are aware of the possibility and use the opportunity.
When you spank your wife, talk to her. If you feel annoyed, tell her about that. But when you have stopped feeling annoyed, talk to her more positively. Tell her that you love her and care about her, and that you are spanking her because it will soothe her and make her see that you are in control and connecting with her. Tell her that you will spank her as often and as thoroughly as is necessary to show her that you are there for her and that she is in fact your highest priority (or whatever is in doubt in the particular case). Speak with loving kindness in your voice, but be firm. Be sure to be thorough enough. And keep talking.
When you spank your wife in this spirit, what you are doing is to reassure her that you are in control and that you love her and are there for her. You are giving her what she needs. If you talk soothingly but firmly to her while you do it, it can calm fears and anger and bring her from a state of “hormonal” craziness to a state of deep peacefulness and serenity.
It may well be possible to help someone with more severe or chronic problems too—I have certainly heard of such cases—like alcoholism and other addictions, severe jealousy, low self-esteem, borderline personality disorder, and so on, but obviously it would unwise to enter a relationship with such a person on the assumption that spanking could solve anything. Those with serious problems should seek professional help. But if you are already in a relationship and are not ready to give up on it, taking your wife in hand can help in some cases.
Teething troubles and other minor mishaps
When a man starts taking his wife in hand using spanking, things do not always go smoothly. In some cases it takes time for the two individuals to find out what works for them. Many men take a lot of time to grow into the idea and practice of taking a woman in hand by spanking her. They have had it drummed into them that women are not to be hit. Don't give up if it all seems not to be going according to plan at first. Give it time. Just be sure to make changes if what you are doing is not working.
Stephen has pointed out that in some cases even when a couple is experienced there can be occasional mishaps when a spanking doesn't work.
When things go wrong
Both men and women need to be aware that it is unwise to rely on the fact that a woman is not screaming or crying as a guide to whether or not everything is all right. Some women, and indeed many women in some circumstances or with the wrong man, are unable to cry or express any emotion even when they are in extreme pain and distress. They become “paralysed”. It is as though they are being operated on using curare (which paralyses them but does not make them feel any less pain) instead of an effective anaesthetic. In their minds they are screaming in agony, but they cannot express it.
Another problem is dissociation. In some cases, if something bad is happening, a woman automatically dissociates from it. This is her mind's way of protecting itself from unlimited distress and pain. If either dissociation or “paralysis” is happening, it will seem as though the woman can take more, when in fact, the best thing to do would be to stop immediately and hold her and soothe her and love her and support her psychologically.
Men need to be aware of the risk of these things happening, and guard against them. Spanking should be connecting and constructive. If the woman is dissociating or paralysed, it is not connecting, it is destructive, harmful, and potentially abusive. Be careful. If your wife never cries, she might be fine, like Louise and others who never cry—or she might be anything but fine. She might be in the same state of mind as a battered wife. When in doubt, talk to her and check that what you are doing is not causing harmful “paralysis” or dissociation.
If anything goes seriously wrong physically, you must call the emergency number of your country. If you are not willing to call for an ambulance in the case of an emergency, don't even think about doing anything that might involve such risk.