If you've ever been to a Spanking party, or have met with a potential Spanko partner, eventually you're going to hear these words uttered: "Would you like to play?"
Seems like kind of an odd word to describe what we do, doesn't it? Certainly, to anyone on the outside looking in, a spanking doesn't look even remotely like two people "playing". It looks serious as hell, and a vanilla might even think it a bit scary. Nonetheless, that's what we call it.
The nearest dictionary (which happens to be the Official Scrabble Dictionary) defines play as "to engage in amusement or sport". I'll extend that definition a little bit so that it becomes, "to engage in an activity for the purpose of fun." And to those of us hard-wired with the Spanking gene, that pretty well describes what spanking means to us about 2/3rds of the time. (The other 1/3--real punishment or domestic discipline--well, "fun" just doesn't apply. It's a different type of activity, with an entirely different mindset, a different approach, etc.)
The rest of the world may scratch their heads and wonder, but we tend to view spanking as fun. It's not uncommon to hear laughter amidst the noise of palm meeting bare-bottom and the spankee responding vocally. We find it enjoyable on so many different levels--mentally, emotionally, physically. And we never forget that both parties are engaging in this activity because they want to. Because it has an appeal to us that transcends the normal world. In fact, it lets us all leave the real world behind, if only for a little while. It's fun--it's fantasy--it's escape.
And that, I think, is why we use that word. Because it's a subtle reminder to not take the whole thing too seriously.
It's just adults at play.