Spanking positions

A key aspect for "spanking with love" is the positioning of the participants, because it is crucial to how the overall spanking procedure will feel like. This chapter discusses the most frequently used spanking positions and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Ideally, both the parent and the child adopt positions that facilitate and enhance the spanking. It's vital that the parent be able to spank with ease and with accuracy. A good position will help to make the spanking safer and more effective. It should be comfortable for both the parent and the child. This will help both parties to relax and focus their full attention on the spanking.

Once positioned, the child has relinquished control while the parent has assumed full control. This is a technical necessity, but also an important psychological factor. For the duration of the punishment, the child is completely at the parent's disposal.

The descriptions below assume a right-handed parent. If you are left-handed, just exchange left and right.

Over the lap

This is probably the most common position, and also the most desirable one. It is also often called "over the knee" although the child is actually put over the parent's thighs, not knees.

The parent sits down on an armless chair, a couch or a bedside. The child is placed across the parent's lap, with his/her head and arms to the left and his/her legs to the right. Normally, the child's arms and legs will be dangling down from that position. However, if the parent sits far enough back on a couch or bed, an inherent advantage is the full-length support of the child's body, making it that much harder to squirm out of position. As well, the lack of any real bending at the child's hips leaves his/her bottom rounder and more resilient; in other words, more spankable.

The "over the lap" position is recommended for children of all ages because it is comfortable for both participants. As the child is directly in front of the parent, he/she can closely monitor the effects of the spanking; the punishment's desired intensity is confidently attainable. Also, it gives the parent very good control, and reduces the child's mobility. Apart from its purely mechanical advantages, spanking a child across the parental lap allows the obvious unpleasantness of the experience to be mitigated somewhat by the extent of bodily contact.

A variant of the standard "over the lap" position (where the child lies directly across both thighs) is where the child is bent over the left thigh. The child's legs can then be tucked under the parent's right leg. This arrangement serves the purpose of preventing the upended child from kicking in response to a spanking. In every other respect, it's an uncomfortable position that should never be chosen willingly.

Another variant of the standard "over the lap" position, which was suggested by a reader (see his mail dated June 16, 2003) is to sit on the edge of a bed, on an angle, facing towards the left. This way, the child's upper body is fully supported by the bed (similar to "over the lap, facing backwards", see below), while his/her pelvis is positioned over the parent's right thigh, and his/her legs are to the right of the parent's lap, as in the regular "over the lap" position.

See the chapter Spanking techniques for additional tips on spanking in the "over the lap" position.

Over the lap, facing backwards

This is another useful variation of the "over the lap" position, which was suggested by a reader (for more details, see her reader contribution in full and her letter dated Jan 23, 2002).

The parent sits on a bedside with enough room for the child at the left side under the arm. Prior to taking the child across the lap, a thick enough pile of pillows is placed next to the parent's left thigh so that when compressed, that takes much of the child's torso weight.

The child crawls across to start the positioning. The child's legs should fit between those of the parent, but if too large the child's right leg can go on the far side of the parent's left thigh, and the child's left leg goes between the parent's legs. With the child pressed against the parent's left side, it is easy to either hold the child close with the parent's left arm, and/or to restrain the child's free right elbow with the parent's left hand.

The advantages of this position are that the child can not slide off the front of the lap. The parent also has an improved spanking angle and vision of the target area. Consider this position for older children that are nearly as tall or taller than the parent. It may also be a good choice when the child frequently tries to reach back or wriggles a lot.

The disadvantages of this position are that due to the child's head being behind the parent's back, verbal communication is slightly reduced. Also, the parent has no vision of the child's face (as a visual indicator of his/her distress) during the spanking.

Over the lap, for two parents

(Added May, 2003) This is another variation of the over the lap position. It was suggested by a reader who wrote, "The child is placed over one parent's lap, and the other spanks the child. This has many advantages: the parent that has the child on his/her lap can focus on holding the child still, while the other parent can focus on giving the spanks."

The advantage of this approach is plausible, but in most cases a spanking should not require both parents. Using this method might make the spanking appear as if the child was so riotous that one parent was not enough to control and spank him/her safely.

If your child is cooperative but too fidgety you may consider using this method for better control, although verbal instruction would be better (see Spanking techniques). If your child is uncooperative, please don't use this method and read the section on Uncooperative children.

Over one thigh

In this position, the parent stands and places his/her foot on the seat of a chair or similar object. The child is then bent over the parent's (horizontal) thigh. In practice, this position is often used for spur-of-the-moment spankings when the parent wants to commence the spanking as quickly as possible without taking the time to calm and sit down.

This position is discouraged because it is very uncomfortable for the child. The child's full weight presses on his/her stomach.

Standing positions

There are a variety of spanking positions where the child stands, and usually the parent does as well. These are commonly used because they take no preparation time at all. The three most familiar ones are a) the child standing straight and facing the parent, who reaches around the child in order to deliver the spanks; b) the child standing bent-down, legs shoulder-width apart, grabbing his/her knees or touching his/her toes; c) the child standing semi-bent, resting his/her hands on the seat of a chair, a bed or a similar piece of furniture.

The first variant is often used in situations where only a single swat is to be delivered as quickly as possible after the offense. The second is a more formal, deliberate posture traditionally employed in applications of the cane. And the third version provides the child's body with some actual support. None of these positionings, however, allows the child to physically relax. Neither is there any of the sense of security for the child that comes from being held over a parent's lap. In addition to the potential for "escape", there's a physical and emotional distancing that defines the punishment experience as essentially the infliction of pain. Again, these positions are less than desirable for spanking with love.

Lying over an object of furniture

The child places his/her upper body on the seat of a chair, an armchair, a bedside or the top of a desk or table, with his/her legs hanging down. The legs can be straight or bent. The full upper body should be supported, so that the weight is not concentrated on the stomach (e.g. the unpadded back or arms of a chair are too hard and not at all suitable, while the softly padded arm of a couch can give comfortable support and improve the position by lifting up the bottom).

In a position similar to that of being "over the lap", the child is able to relax. Its bottom also rests at a good angle for spanking. This position allows the parent to carefully control the spanks, and works best with implements whose usage requires a greater distance between parent and child (e.g. canes).

The major disadvantage is once again the lack of supportive body contact between parent and child. The application of physical pain is the determining factor here, leaving the child as basically the receptor of cold and impersonal correction. For those parents choosing to discipline in this fashion, cushioning the surface beneath the child is both an aid to comfort and to the prominence of the upturned buttocks.

Lying flat

This position means that the child lies flat on a bed or couch. The child's legs do not hang down, but instead, are level with the body. It is a comfortable position that gives good bodily support, but it lacks the "feel" of a typical spanking posture. If anything, it is a "victimizing" position rather than one of penance. The child may also be tempted to not remain in place. In addition, the "lying flat", like the "standing straight" position, allows the child to clench his/her buttocks. This is unfavorable. The use of a cushion or a rolled-up pillow beneath the child's pelvis will help to raise the buttocks - this improves the position much.

This position is acceptable, but not recommended.


In this position, the child gets down "on all fours". This can either be on the floor or - preferrably - on a bed or couch. The parent is not required to keep the child in this position, but he/she can offer some physical contact by placing a hand on the child's back.

This position is less recommendable than the "over the lap" and "lying over an object of furniture" positions because it lacks physical support where it would be needed (under the upper body or the thigh). As a result, the child can easily get out of position by moving forward. 

Legs up

In this position, which is also known as the "diaper position", the child is lying on a bed face-up. The child's legs are raised up and held there with the parent's left hand, while the right hand administers the spanks to the buttocks.

This position is mostly used to spank a child who is already in bed. It has the unique feature of allowing eye contact between parent and child. However, it is not recommendable because it leaves the genital area too exposed to accidental slaps. (It has been suggested that the child should protect this area by covering it with its hands - it's up to the reader to make use of this suggestion or to find a better solution.) Another argument against using this position is that it's somewhat difficult to hold up the child's legs and spank his/her bottom at the same time.

June 27, 2002: A reader suggested to use this position "only for toddlers (2 to 5 years), as it is easier to hold their legs up". Using this position is "safer on girls than boys as their genital area is not as exposed to accidental slaps".

Under the arm

This position is only possible with small, lightweight children. The child is simply grabbed around the waist and tucked under the parent's left arm, facing backwards. The parent will usually remain standing or kneeling - otherwise the result is a position similar to "over the lap, facing backwards" as descibed above.

This position is discouraged because it is comfortable for neither the parent nor the child.

Between the legs

In this position, the parent stands and tucks the child between his/her legs, facing backwards. This position and its variants are discouraged because they are degrading for the child.

Overview: positions

acceptable but not
Over the lap
Over the lap, 
facing backwards
Over the lap,
for two parents
Over one thigh
Over an object
Lying flat
Legs up
Under the arm
Between the legs

Nov-2000: A web poll from a pro-spanking egroup, "What positions have you been spanked in as a child?" may shed some light on the popularity of these positions.

April 2002: Many readers have asked if it was possible to add illustrations to this chapter to explain the various spanking positions visually. The answer is yes, but so far no set of appropriate illustrations was found on the Internet or in parenting books. So this website is now looking for an artist who volunteers to create original illustrations for the Spanking Positions chapter. If you can draw and would like to offer your help: please remember that the illustrations have to be inoffensive; minimalistic line drawings are probably best. They should be appropriate to show the technical characteristics of the various positions according to the textual explanations above. We need one image for each of the positions listed above, so it should be a complete set of 11 drawings.

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Last update: Jun-24-2003