Sarah, this definitely covers so much about the practical application of spanking. Being new to a taken in hand relationship, it certainly answers many questions I didn't even realize I had! I can see some of it doesn't apply to me at all; some of it might apply at a later date, and some of it right now. Thank you very much for taking the time to write it.
When I asked "How long and how hard?" I was very much interested in the connection that spanking brings. I see now that eventually I would have many of the questions you answered in this article, but my interest is mainly about the connecting elements to a spanking.
I imagine, and can only imagine because I've never experienced it like this, is that being naked and over my mate's knee while he takes his time with each spank of his hand, telling me calmly but with authority that he loves me very much, so much in fact that what I did isn't acceptable or won't be tolerated. I can imagine something similar to this would stir inside me an emotional remorse, a settling down and contented feeling, cleansing tears for having disappointed him, relief that he really is in control and therefore, I really am safe. That it all would bring about the strong connection I am so hungry for with him.
The situation where I get 7 or 8 hard whacks with no verbalization during the spanking and the whole affair taking less than 4 minutes doesn't give me the connection I am looking for.
I guess I'm looking for the spanking to be the bridge to the emotional connection I need with him. My thinking is that the longer I am over his knee, bare-bottomed and vulnerable, with his verbal reprimands and reassurances, I would feel more connected. I don't know that the physical pain would feel much different than 7 or 8 quick hard whacks, but the mental and emotional process that would happen in between slower whacks may enable the mental and emotional release and connection I look for.
Sometimes I fear the lack of connection in other areas of our relationship hinder the benefits a spanking might bring. Having the "perfect" spanking may not ever bring the connection I am looking for if we aren't able to connect that way in 'regular' life.
I see where there are so many elements to spanking that are so individualistic there is no one size fits all. Thanks again for such a comprehensive article and answering questions I hadn't even thought to ask yet!