I was raised this way and I promise you it is abuse even though most of the parents who spank do it "with love". A lot of people who are raised being spanked raise their own children this way as well and think it's a perfect method but for a more sensitive child like myself it is traumatic. I remember being terrified and having panic attacks and hyperventilating. I felt terrible even when my siblings were spanked and would sometimes cry when I heard them screaming in the other room. Even now my parents will make jokes about how I would act if they threatened spanking or spanked me. I don't think its funny.
My parents spanked "the right way". They rarely spanked in anger. They sat me down and told me why, calmly put me through searing pain, and then made me apologize, finally cuddling me and telling me they did it because they loved me and it hurt them more than it hurt me. Somewhere in the process there was usually praying, too. This confused me and made me angry. I don't think I feared my parents but I do feel that it put a rift in my trust in them.
The last time my parents attempted to spank me I was thirteen years old and I fought back. I wasn't putting up with it anymore. It was just wrong. After that they decided I was too old for it. Damn right.
I've watched fundamentalist families spank babies that were not yet a year and a half old, and teenagers as old as seventeen. I've seen more than one ADHD kid get spanked multiple times a day until they acquire bruises when they can't help their behavior or even connect the abuse to their actions. I think most parents randomly pop their kids asses when they throw fits and it doesn't do anything but make the kid more angry. Enough already. Spanking is bullshit and I wish it wasn't taboo to say so. Watch Super Nanny or something and figure out a better way.