Spanking implements

Throughout the world's history and cultures, parents used - and still use - various implements for spanking. The most common "implement", however, is the parent's open hand. Only the use of the hand is recommended on this website.

Nevertheless, many other implements are listed below, because they are frequently used in practice. Also, some parents feel that it is not recommended to use their hand to punish a child because this will result in the child fearing the parent's hand. They recommend using an implement such as a rod, switch or paddle, because "it separates the discipline from the giver". This website does not share this view. Spanking with your hand only is recommended not only because it is safer, but also because it is more personal.

Any implements other than the hand require the parent to be particularly careful not to spank too hard. If you use any of these implements, please do always try them first on your own thigh (a few slaps with varying strength). This will give you an idea of how painful they are. And always keep in mind that children are more sensitive to pain than adults.

The hand

No spanking is as close and personal as a hand-spanking. The hand can be used for spanking children of all ages. It causes sufficient pain, but does not bruise the skin and leaves only temporal redness. It can be tailored to be as severe or as mild as you want. It gives an objective tactile feedback about the severity of the spanking through the parent's own hand.
A hand-spanking is best applied to the bare or underware-clad bottom. Spanking with the hand on the unbared bottom requires spanking much harder than a comparable spanking on the bare. It will literally hurt the parent more than the child, especially if the child is wearing denim jeans or other clothes made of a similar thick fabric.

Prior to the spanking, it is recommended to remove your finger rings, especially loose ones, if you wear any. Some parents also prefer to roll up their sleeve for a better swing of the arm. See the chapter Spanking techniques for more tips on hand-spanking.

The paddle

Historically, wooden paddles for spanking were most popular in the U.S.A. and are still used in many U. S. public and private schools, especially in the southern states. Paddles are penetrative enough to be used on the clothed bottom. If you use them on a bare bottom, you need to be extra careful not to spank too hard. There is some danger of bruising the skin.

The main disadvantage of wooden paddles is that they make it difficult for the spanker to tell the difference between spanking too hard and spanking too light. They always make a loud noise. The actual pain depends very much on the clothing worn, the paddle's size, material and weight, and how hard it is swung. Paddles with holes drilled through the board sting more because the holes reduce the air resistance and prevent the building of an air cushion (the same physical principle finds application in a flyswatter).

Spanking paddles are available for purchase in many countries, especially in the U.S.A. They come in various sizes, wood types, weights and shapes. However, it also doesn't take great carpenting skills to make a paddle oneself. Use a thin, lightweight board. To avoid injury, round all corners and sand the edges well. After thorough sanding, varnish the paddle to make the surface smooth, clean, and free from splinters.

The hairbrush

The back of a hairbrush is similar to a small paddle. Using a hairbrush instead of a paddle has the advantage that you don't need to buy or make a special implement for the purpose of spanking - but you lose the psychologic advantage of having a clearly designated spanking implement in your house.

The traditional hairbrush will be made of wood, but plastic ones are also possible. The most difficult part is to find a hairbrush that has a suitable smooth, flat or slightly rounded back. Bigger hairbrushes tend to bruise less then smaller ones because they do not concentrate the impact on a too small area. The danger of bruising with hairbrushes is about the same as with paddles.

The wooden spoon

This is a sometimes used ad-hoc implement (especially by mothers in the kitchen). It is not recommended because the impact area of such a spoon is typically quite small. The sort of pain produced is intense, but not very good.

The ruler

Traditionally used by teachers as a spanking implement. A ruler is similar in effect to a thin wooden paddle. Usually it is not as painful as a hairbrush or a wooden spoon because of its light weight. For the same reason, it is not very effective on a clothed bottom.

Modern plastic rulers are generally too light, metal rulers are of course out of the question, but old-fashioned wooden rulers are a possible alternative to a paddle or hairbrush. If you spank with a ruler, be careful to hold it perfectly flat (at the point of impact), otherwise bruising can occur easily where the edge hits. For that reason a ruler should be considered a little unsafer than a paddle or hairbrush.

The slipper

The slipper is another implement that must be rated "ad-hoc" and "not well designed for spanking". Still, many parents use it at home because it is the implement that is within quickest reach. No general statements about pain and possible bruising can be made as the weight and material differs strongly. Slippers are not recommended on this site. Keep also in mind that shoes, especially the soles, are not always the cleanest household items.

The cane

Canes are among the most severe spanking implements in common use. They are very painful even on a clothed bottom and can cause severe bruises. Generally, thin canes produce less and shorter-lasting damage than thick ones, while still being painful enough.

If you consider caning, please do not use bamboo canes! This is really important. Use only rattan canes of small diameter. A small diameter makes it more "switchy" and less severe. If you don't know the difference between bamboo and rattan: both are lightweight (in contrast to a wooden stick), but bamboo is hollow and not flexible at all, while rattan is massive (spongy) and very flexible - you can easily bend a rattan cane to a U shape and it won't break. This flexibility makes rattan canes produce a very different (better) sort of pain. In addition, bamboo canes have the danger of breaking/splitting - if they do, they can cause severe injuries. A rattan cane will never break or split.

In contrast to what some books recommend, rattan canes do not have to be soaked before use. Because of the spongy nature of unfinished rattan, soaking would increase the pain produced because it adds weight to the cane, and is therefore discouraged.

See Reader's Feedback, January 4, 2004 for a reader's detailed recommendations on caning.

The switch

A switch is a straight, slender rod cut from a bush or tree. It differs from a "stick" in the respect that it is thinner and more flexible. This flexibility places a switch somewhere in between a thin rattan cane and a birch rod.

Many bush and tree species can be used for this purpose, as long as they have straight, young, slender and flexible rods, but it is difficult to find a really good switch. In summer, you will have to remove the leaves (and small side-branches, if any) before the switch can be used. It must be absolutely smooth (sanding helps if necessary) before it can be used relatively safely.

Once cut, switches can not be stored for long because when they dry out, they become brittle and will break easily. To prevent this, some people recommend to soak switches in water for a few hours before usage, which will make them more flexible and reduce the chances of breaking.

The belt

Belts are rather brutish spanking implements, and should never be used. They are very difficult to control (where they hit exactly, and how hard), they can twist uncontrolled and hit with their edge, and cause bad and long-lasting bruises. When badly aimed, they can even wrap around the body and cause severe injury. They are strongly discouraged here.

The strap

Leather straps are thinner and shorter variations of the belt, and better designed for spanking. However, the thinner ones are too floppy to control, and the thicker ones are too painful and can cause bad bruises. Therefore, neither are recommended here.

The tawse

Tawses are special variants of the strap that feature 2, 3 or 4 "tongues". Their origin and main use to the present day is in Scotland. They are said to be extremely painful and can also bruise a lot. For this reason they are not recommended.

The birch rod

A birch rod (also known as a "birchrod" or simply a "birch") is a bundle of thin birch twigs bound together. Throughout written history up to the 19th century, the birch rod, next to various kinds of whips, was the most popular spanking implement in Europe.

Birch rods are only painful if used on the bare skin. Even a thin layer of clothing absorbs much of their effect because the individual twigs are very thin and lightweight. The pain produced by this implement begins surprisingly mild but increases cumulatively with the number of strokes. Birching leaves a criss-cross of thin red lines on the skin. These look serious, but will usually disappear within a few hours - they are actually not half as bad as the bruises produced by a strap or cane.

Birches (and some types of willow) are the only trees whose twigs are thin and flexible enough for this purpose. The rods should be prepared freshly (i.e. used on the same day they are cut from the tree). When they dry out, they become brittle, lose flexibility, and break easily. Soaking them in water will give them even more flexibility and reduce breaking. Also be warned that the room in which a birching was given will need cleaning of the broken-off twigs afterwards.

The carpet beater

Although in comics and similar literature the carpet beater (rug beater) appears frequently as a spanking implement, its actual use is hardly recommended by anyone. 

A carpet beater looks frightening, but is simply much too big for a real spanking. Admittedly, there are also smaller carpet beaters available, but these are still too big, especially for a child's small bottom. Therefore, those smaller carpet/rug beater variants are not recommended here either.

The flyswatter

The use of flyswatters as spanking implements is not overwhelmingly common, but exists. Being lightweight and flap-ended, a flyswatter may appear to be a comparatively "light" implement but it is more severe than it seems, especially if applied to the bare bottom.

This implement is not recommended because, like any object made of plastic, it produces an unfavorable sting. Leather flyswatters probably come with a more favourable sting, but are still not recommended because they can cause injuries from where the end of the handle stick is attached to the flap.

Overview: Implements

Wooden spoon
 Bamboo cane
Rattan cane
Birch rod
Carpet beater

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Last update: Nov-19-2009