Trading licks, or - blows, - shots, etc., is an endurance test in which the participants (usually two boys or young men) take turns, alternating administering a blow to an opponent and assuming the agreed exposed position (e.g. bending over an object or grabbing the ankles) to endure the next one, using the same implement (e.g. a fraternity paddle), until only one of them (the winner) can still bring himself to endure the gradually increasing pain in the progressively tormented target-part of their anatomy (usually the posterior - then it is a form of spanking - or the cheeks), which in the interest of fairness should either be bared or only covered by a common uniform. As the blows are not given by the same person but by the parties themselves, the strongest-armed one actually has an unfair (but not always decisive) physical advantage.
Such rather macho display of willpower restraining the instinct to avoid pain can have various finalities, including:
- a physical punishment, especially for quarrelling, possibly the origin of the practice (this ritualised alternative to a more disabling or even lethal duel should also make them realise the futility of physical aggression)
- a motivation test, especially as part of an initiation process, such as hazing
- an obedience test, as in certain paddle games (possibly really an excuse for the rather sadistic amusement of the seniors)
- a duel, either personal or as champions representing similar, especially rivaling, groups; in certain fraternities, refusing such a challenge may result in exclusion from the membership, even for an alumnus
- as a game, either to display one's tenacity 'proudly' (often to impress some audience) or in the pursuit of a sadist and/or masochistic, erotic or pain-addicted, kick.