We all seem to come to a consensus when it comes to the use of safewords for non-disciplinary spankings. Generally everyone agrees that there should be safewords available for playful, sensual, and roleplay scenes, but when it comes to real-life punishment spankings there is a, for lack of a better word, 'debate' over whether it is acceptable to allow the bottom/spankee the use of safewords.
As most of you know, I have a disciplinarian who punishes me for real-life issues, and then as a professional Top, I frequently see people for real punishment issues. Here is where I stand in this "great debate":
I believe in the availability of safewords at all times, and here is why. When it comes to a true punishment spanking, there has to be trust with both the Top and bottom. The Top must trust the bottom that a safeword will only be used if and only if the bottom is in some sort of danger, be it physical, mental, or emotional. They have to know that the bottom will take the punishment seriously and not just safeword to get out of it if it hurts too much.
The bottom has to trust that the Top will not cause any lasting damage and that the Top has the best view of what is going on with the spankee's bottom. Based upon what has been negotiated in the disciplinary relationship ahead of time, say that bruises are ok but broken skin is a hard limit. The bottom must trust that the Top has the best view of their backside and he/she will stop or adjust if it becomes apparent that the skin is getting ready to break. I don't believe that a hard-limit should ever be crossed, even for a punishment spanking.