‘No’. And ‘yes’.
Let me begin by defining what I personally consider to be a spanking relationship.
I know of some people for whom it is all about numbers, they take great delight in being able to point out people and say “I have spanked her”, and “ah yes, I spanked her at so-and-so”, and so on. It is a bit like collecting notches on a bedpost, but much, much less intimate. These spankings generally occur at ‘spanking parties’ where groups of like-minded folk get together and often ‘play’ with a number of different partners, but within a context that is strictly spanking and no specifically sexual contact. I would consider these liaisons to be spanking ‘friendships’ at best, and sometimes not even that.
To my mind, a spanking relationship is one that extends well beyond the purely physical actions of hand against bottom.
It may or may not be full-time, or even exclusive, but it certainly will continue for an extended period of time. The two parties come to know each other well, and share intimate secrets, likes, and dislikes. Given that erotic spanking is a sexually charged activity, it is more likely than not that the partners will engage in some form of sexual activity as a part of their ‘play’.
And hence my first response to the question posed. Just as in any other sexual relationship, full-time or otherwise, the partners know and understand each other, and make sacrifices in order to fulfil the needs of the other. They enjoy each other’s company – even if they would not opt to undertake a full-time commitment with them – and aim to continue the relationship for as long as the arrangement suits them both.
Where a spanking (or other form of BDSM) relationship differs from any other that I have ever experienced, is in the level of trust between the partners. In the purely physical sense, the submissive partner places themself (or allows themself to be placed) in physically disadvantageous positions where, at the extreme, they may be bound or cuffed and entirely at the mercy of the dominant partner. But much more than the purely physical, a well-matched pair will be able to explore a whole new mind-space together, where the partners temporarily ‘become’ the person whose role they are playing. Known as ‘powerplay’, this absorbtion into the role is extraordinarily powerful stuff, to a degree that anyone who has not experienced it for themselves will be unequipped to comprehend.
The degree of trust required before allowing oneself to become totally immersed in a role is absolute.
No ‘if’, ‘but’ or ‘maybe’, just complete trust that the other party will not abuse or harm, in an undesired way. Any responsible pairing will have a pre-arranged ‘safeword’ that is used to bring any form of play to a screeching halt, no matter what. But it is entirely possible that a person can become so spaced out during the play that they are completely incapable of accessing or speaking the safeword, should they feel the need. Alternatively, they be so carried along that they encourage further play, when a fully conscious self would normally be calling a halt to proceedings. In these circumstances, the dominant partner has to accept complete responsibility for both parties, and the submissive has to know, for certain, that they can trust the other to take that responsibility.
So, in my opinion, a spanking relationship is quite a long way different, as the level of intimacy and responsibility goes a long way beyond that which is normally experienced.
As usual, I welcome any comment you, the reader, would like to make.