This may be TMI or triggering for some people.
I was spanked. All seven of my brothers and sisters were. Actually in our house it was called whipping, which was more accurate as the instrument of choice was a belt. We had to sit down for it, and the whippings were administered to the front of our thighs–in theory, at least. In practice there’d be occasional or not-so-occasional strikes to the arms and shoulders, especially if Mom or Dad was especially agitated.
The reasons for the spanking would change from time to time. Sometimes it was genuine misbehavior: for instance, when my brother Johnny was selling Nestle Crunch bars for school, I stole and ate a good number of them, and got spanked by both parents for causing the expense. (In an early precursor of my nerdiness, I also got sent OUTSIDE as punishment, as my parents figured I’d much rather be inside reading than outside playing.) Other times it would be for not getting good enough grades, or not studying your Sunday School lesson properly. But I also got spanked for wetting the bed, which I was unfortunately unable to stop doing until I was ten or so. A few times I tried to cover up the evidence when I’d wet the bed, but I eventually stopped as it never mattered. A bathroom accident equaled a whipping. (The nearest hiding the evidence ever came to working was when my little sister, who generally didn’t have a enuresis problem, wet her bed, and I switched our sheets so she wouldn’t get a whipping.)
I never really dealt with the spanking issue. I can still feel the strike of the belt against the flesh sometimes. It’s not necessarily in a high-stress situation; I can be sitting quietly, reading, surfing the Net, when the sense memory comes back to me, and I remember the pain, the blubbering, the crying. (“Stop crying!” was my mother’s favorite refrain during one of the you-wet-the-bed whippings.)
As you might imagine, I’m not a spanker. It’s not that I think corporal punishment is automatically a bad thing; I don’t. I think, under strictly limited conditions, it can be useful. I just can’t make myself do it.