It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has spent any time in the kink scene that spanking, whipping and caning are pretty much ubiquitous activities. What might be somewhat novel is just how wide the range of toys designed solely for beating unruly submissive types actually is. Collected here are all the most common implements you might see in use at your local play party.
This moderately-exhaustive list is enhanced greatly by commentary from a reliable source (thanks Rosie – hope the bruises heal swiftly) on the nature and severity of pain inflicted by each toy. I’ve eschewed the idea of organising them in the order of least to most severe, but for anyone who might be curious, our erstwhile test subject reported that the whip was the worst by a long, long mile. Who knew?
The organic choice – and a favourite of everyone from Christian Domestic Discipline folks to those without a toolkit to hand. Comes with the obvious disadvantage that – unless care is exercised – it can end up hurting the hand of the giver as well as the ass of the receiver. Works well over the knee.
Rosie: “This always feels more intimate and sexual to me than other forms of spanking. It can sting sometimes, but mostly it just feels nice.”
Belts come in a variety of different materials and thicknesses, each of which provides a different sound and sensation. Make sure the metal buckle is folded away inside your hand during use. Belts are usually coiled or folded for ease of use – rather than using the full length of it like an ineffective and unwieldy whip.
Rosie: “I enjoy the spontaneity of being whipped with a belt. It’s always there, and so it can happen any time, and the level of pain is just on the right side of enjoyable.”
Before caning gained popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, birching was the most commonly applied punishment in schools in Europe. A birch rod consists of a bundle of birch twigs bound together at the base. The pain inflicted depends greatly on the weight and number of branches used. Birches can draw very small amounts of blood, and as they are impossible to clean should only ever be used on one person.
Rosie: “This was a new one for me. It hurt more than I expected it would – looking at it and feeling the weight beforehand I thought it would more or less just tickle. It’s actually quite stingy though, and also has some weight to it.”
A classic implement with a wealth of history. Many people think canes are made from bamboo, since that’s the only type of cane they’ve heard of before. Actually, it’s more often rattan, which is far more flexible than bamboo, and therefore less likely to break on impact. A forceful caning can welt or break the skin, and even a relatively light one tends to leave quite satisfying marks.
Rosie: “Canes hurt. A lot. The pain is really sharp and precise, so that it actually feels a bit like being cut. In terms of pain I’d rather take twenty strokes with a belt than six with a cane.”
You can buy synthetic canes in a range of materials, from acrylic to lexan. They have much the same qualities as wooden canes, although they are easier to clean and maintain and (depending on how they’re used) potentially less likely to break. Traditionalists tend to prefer wood for all their whipping needs, but I quite like the brutally efficient nature of a synthetic cane.
Rosie: “I’d only ever been hit with a wooden cane before; synthetic ones were new to me. I thought they’d hurt a lot more, but actually it was about the same – perhaps only a little sharper.”
One from the more severe end of the repertoire of beating implements – a rubber club resembles a police truncheon or other similar implement. It can be used effectively for intimidation, as well as all-over beatings. Obviously, taking into account the weight of the implement, exercise some degree of caution and restraint; leave it to the actual police to beat people to death.
Rosie: “This was kind of the opposite of the birch. I thought it was going to hurt a lot more than it did. It thuds rather than stings, and although I was pretty achy afterwards my skin didn’t feel as though it was burning. I quite liked it though, and it made me beg for mercy almost instantly.”
A short, flexible length of rod (usually wrapped with leather or another material) with a handle on one end and a keeper on the other. Their standard use is in horse riding and hunting, but they’re also a firm staple of BDSM. Crops come in under whips and canes in terms of severity, but above most other implements. They’re also handy for delivering the occasional light jab, or directing someone to exactly where you want them to be.
Rosie: “One of my favourite implements, mostly because of the way it looks. It’s got a definite kinky feel to it. Hurts like hell, and burns quite a lot for its thinness, but I really enjoyed it all the same.”
Far from a traditional implement, but a fun one that’s certainly worth trying. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes (if you know where to look you can even buy specially made BDSM ones that don’t look like something you grabbed from Poundland) and deliver a short, sharp shock on contact. Great fun, and they allow you to deliver a painful beating with a minimum of effort.
Rosie: “This made me giggle quite a lot. Ridiculous amounts in fact. It didn’t hurt very much, but the anticipation was far worse than with any other implement – and somehow that really magnified the shock when it came.”
There are so many different kinds of flogger available that they almost warrant an article in and of themselves. These popular toys consist of a rigid handle and multiple flexible falls – think cat-o-nine-tails and you’ll be in the right general area. They can be used for sensual as well as painful beatings. You can even use two at once.
Rosie: “Often being flogged is more pleasant than painful, although they do generally hurt. I like softer, heavier ones that give a kind of ‘thuddy’ feel. Leather ones sometimes leave a little ‘flock’ of marks at the end of their falls, which I find quite pleasing.”
A loop of flexible material such as leather, wire or plastic cord mounted at the end of a handle. Can vary enormously in terms of weight and severity – generally loops produce quite a stingy sensation, as well as some interesting marks. Synthetic loops are particularly effective.
Rosie: “Very stingy, but the pain didn’t last too long. I quite like the look of these toys – they’re relatively unusual and I had never been hit with one before, so there was a bit of novelty to the experience.”
Often made of wood or leather, these implements are comprised of a handle and a flat surface with which to strike. Their size and weight means that they can be quite painful, and produce a fairly heavy sensation. Many variants are available, including paddles with inlaid electrified wires, and paddles printed with epithets such as “TULS”, to produce pleasing markings.
Rosie: “A wooden paddle is the most reliable way to make me bruise I’ve found so far. They do sting, but it’s less sharp and more spread out than a whip or crop. Definitely a heavier sensation, and one that I enjoyed, but also needed a lot of breaks from.”
Essentially similar in appearance to a flogger, but with only two thick falls rather than many thin ones. Quirts can be used in a similar fashion to a flogger, but generally produces a sharper sensation, and are much more likely to leave marks. A fairly uncommon toy, these can be quite difficult to find outside of specialist crafters.
Rosie: “Sensation-wise this was a bit like the whip, but not nearly as bad… which meant that I could take more of it, and so for that reason I really quite liked it.”
Slipper / Hairbrush
More improvised options for tops who haven’t planned ahead. One or other of these will generally be available in your average household and can be repurposed with a minimum of fuss. Someone once asked me which end of the hairbrush is usually held and which is used to hit. The answer: if you’re holding it by the bristly bit, you’re doing it wrong.
Rosie: “Being spanked over the knee with my own hairbrush used to feature fairly heavily in a lot of my fantasies. It doesn’t hurt all that much, but the idea of being punished with something off my own dressing table still turns me on.”
Essentially the same as a tawse but with a solid tongue rather than a split one. Not a huge difference in sensation, although the strap tends to be more weighty, and produce – to my ears at least – a somewhat less satisfying sound.
Rosie: “This was a little heavier than the tawse, but that aside in terms of sensation it was pretty much the same. I think I prefer the look of the tawse though – it’s meaner and more obviously a thing for punishment.”
A short strip of leather, the end of which is split into two thick tails. The name is Scots in origin (the plural of “taw”, which is Scots for belt or thong), and the implement was historically used in Scottish schools into the late 1980s. In an educational setting the tawse was generally applied to the palm of the hand, but it works well in any fleshy area. Sometimes referred to as a “belt” or “school strap”.
Rosie: “This felt quite similar to the belt, but with a little more sting, and it made an amazing cracking noise as well, which kind of made it hurt more – at least in my head. Left me with some lovely, quite square red marks which faded after a while.”
You’re probably picturing a classic bullwhip, but these require an exceptional amount of space and quite a lot of practice to use correctly – plus they can do a lot more damage than most would find desirable. Shorter, more flexible whips are more practical for use indoors. Whips in general can inflict a great deal of pain, and are capable of cutting or welting the skin. Those specifically designed for BDSM are safer than working whips. They also make some fantastic noises, and can be used just for the purposes of intimidation.
Rosie: “You can really feel the impact of these. Every time I was hit it went through my whole body, and I could still feel the burning for a couple of days afterwards. I’ve always found whips quite hot in theory, but I don’t think I could stand a sustained whipping.”