Image by WAA via Stocksy. In , archaeologist Carlo Maurilio Lerici descended into tombs in the old town of Tarquinia, a necropolis of the refined Etruscan civilization that inhabited ancient Italy from about BC until its assimilation into the Roman Republic in the late 4th century BC. Aside from bodies, he found countless badly damaged frescos depicting comical male boxers, sexualized female dancers, and most notably, in The Tomb of the Floggings , one in which an unclothed woman is bent over and holding the hips of a smiling bearded man while a young man whips her ass from behind—the first discovered example of erotic spanking. And in the past 1,plus years, the sadomasochistic act has been a fascination of everyone from artists to philosophers to sex researchers in one interpretation or another. Bringing the act into the realm of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud looked at its relation to childhood spanking, believing that the punishment early on could lead to sadomasochistic preferences in adulthood. Most recently, it became a contested topic upon the release of 50 Shades of Grey , a novel that thrust BDSM into mainstream American culture, prompting a slew of think pieces and blog posts with open questions on spanking.