The Golden Age of Spanking


Woman_Spanked_Underarm_Erotic_Spanking_Novel_Book_Cover_IllustrationGAS louis-malteste-french-spanking-drawing- anGAS ForsakingAllOtherGAS Jean ArthurGAS Joan Crawford2During the 20th century in Europe and America there was a huge growth in spanking literature, artists, underground movies and even barely disguised spanking pursuits in mainstream books, movies, theatre and even night clubs.

Hardly anywhere in the so-called developed world seemed immune from the interest, although different cultures explored it differently. The now-liberal countries like the Netherlands and Scandinavia, for instance, were then more right-wing and inclined towards anti-decadence. The interests in these countries came in the form of punishment manuals with titles centred on spanking or whipping your wife or student manuals for young blue-stocking women being spanked, birched, paddled or caned even into their 20s.

In Britain there were risqué photographers and racy novellas, but often, like the Nordic countries they focussed on discipline and the return to traditional values. There is still a shop in London that sells umbrellas and riding crops for conventional uses. But their old signage is still extant and advertises canes, whips and other correctional paraphernalia. It is rumoured that it wasn’t only public schools that utilised their services.

Elsewhere the craze was more brazen.

The French had a whole host of artists and writers such as René-Michel , Pierre Dumarchey, Pierre de Jusange, Liane Lauré to name a few. Artists like Louis Malteste, Édouard Bernard, Carlõ, Chéri Herouard (Herric) were so prolific that their art can still be seen today in the not so dark corners of the Internet.

Not all these writers were French, many Italians, Germans, British and American writers and artist entered the fray.

One of the more interesting crazes in this vein was the ‘Slapper At’ or ‘Spanker At’ trend. Young women would dress or act in a juvenile manner to either court or at least pretend to court a spanking from an eligible young man (or sometimes woman).

I quote from my own article from 2011:

Originally a spanker-at was a term applied to a prostitute who would offer to take a spanking as one of her services. But in the hedonistic 1920s of the jazz age the term took on a wider meaning and by 1929 a spanker-at was a woman who would either take a spanking for fun or in modern parlance was spankable.

As the Depression hit it was even immortalised in song.

“No more money in the bank,
no more pretty babies to spank.”

It might help to put some of the movies of that era in context to know that ordinary girl-next-door types sometimes imagined themselves a real femme fatal, if they flirted with a spanking.

There were even clubs in New York and later London, called spanker-at clubs which lasted into the 1940s.

In Berlin the cabaret circuit was often openly gay-friendly for instance and would think nothing of exploring BDSM and the Spanker-At craze sat quite literally cheek-by-jowl with this world.

Newspapers would seize on any opportunity to report a spanking and the tone even in a serious article was schadenfreude and fun such in the illustration below, which is from an article purporting to be about juvenile delinquency.

GAS newspaper toon

perhaps the reason for this so-called Golden Age is probably down to two concurrent developments. Firstly the growth of popular culture in general, the movies, the huge reduction in cost of publishing and the growth of a post-industrial class to take advantage.

But more than that, it was an age like no other when not only were traditional values being increasingly challenged (the permissive society did not begin with the 1960s) but unlike later the social revelations of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, people were far more innocent. So when Clark Gabel spanks Joan Crawford, she can tolerate it or even seek it out for her own good without the moral conservatives getting upset.

The fun ended in Europe during the 1930s when the Nazis occupied France and Germany and the British suddenly found they had more serious things to attend to. By the beginning of the 1940 the USA had followed.

Of course the real Golden Age of spanking is probably now, but that is a topic for another day.


4 Responses to “The Golden Age of Spanking”

  1. 1 Tommy Briggs

    In London, Maxim’s strip club famously had ‘special’ sessions when it was a stripper’s birthday. On that day, the play spanking was given for real. It was for early-bird customers only and it was given for real (with the cane!).

    • 2 DJ

      Thanks Tommy – what era was this?

      • 3 Tommy Briggs

        I think it was the immediate post war period, 40s, no later than 50s.

        • 4 DJ

          Hi Tommy,

          interesting – I remember seeing a documentary about strippers in the 1980s and there was talk then of women caning each other in lieu of fines and other reasons – maybe birthdays too.

          I wonder if this was the same.


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