When I think back to what I consider to be my most severe spankings, the physical pain of the spanking is really not something I remember well. Sure, they all hurt to some degree. There are times where I've had bruises for several weeks after. I remember that, but comparing one spanking to the next purely based on the physical intensity of it is really difficult to do. What I remember most is how I was feeling during the spanking. How the spanker acted and what they were feeling. The reason behind the spanking.
Spanking as foreplay, for example, could be relatively hard but it's not going to seem that way to me because my mind is focused on err... other things. Therefore I may be able to take a harder spanking than I normally would because the pain doesn't seem bad. The same can apply to any more playful spanking. Playful doesn't equal light. The mood is light but the spanking may or may not be. But my mind and body react to that differently than to a discipline spanking.
A discipline spanking is always the most severe in my mind. The reasons for the spanking differ, but it is usually for something more serious. When I'm in a discipline headspace, I'm more sensitive to everything that is going on. My nerves are on end, the words of the top really pierce through me, and the physical intensity of the spanking may be perceived as worse than it really is because I'm feeling everything more deeply. Being in that headspace is also when I'm more likely to cry. That doesn't happen often, but when it does I find it to be much more related to my headspace and emotional state than to the actual physical pain from the spanking.
What are your thoughts? Do you find that your perception of pain and pain tolerance are closely related to your emotional state/headspace?