When Beth and I first got into DD, there was necessarily a lot of learning for us to do about the mechanics of spanking. Some things didn’t make much of an impression on her (figuratively or literally). We found a lot of things that stung and got her attention for a moment but twenty seconds later had faded completely from both her skin and her memory. We even found some implements that marked and bruised her, some horribly, without creating enough of a sensation to be useful as a punishment.
The most memorable of the latter was a makeshift loopy johnny made from the power cord of a computer. I gave her one firm swat and as I drew back for a second I saw the pink welt spring up, then turn red and darken as burst capillaries under her skin bled into a perfect U-bend impression of the impact. It’s one of the few times a play session has segued directly into a first aid session.
Over the years we’ve done countless hours of experimentation, discussion, and feedback, but the single most useful tool I’ve found for understanding an implement is testing it on myself. I’ll give myself a pop or three on an arm or on my calf or the side of my thigh. I’ve sat at the computer hours later noticing that I still had welts, or that my arm still burned, or that everything felt fine but the slightest touch would set it off again like a jellyfish sting. I’ve even had a time or two that it hurt to make a fist afterwards because I had bruised the muscles in my forearms that pull on the tendons that move my fingers.
When we were at The Love Store in Las Vegas, Beth handed me a silicone paddle as a potential replacement for the leather paddle we had lost. I held my arm out, raised the paddle and have myself a good smart swat right on the meat of my forearm. I did not curse, but only because I bit my lip when I got to the “f” in “OW MOTHERFFF—!!!” and then I hopped around a bit on one foot and that’s how I knew we had a winner.
That’s just the first half, though. For the rest of the evening I kept touching the welt (it left a good one!) and checking in with myself to see how my arm felt. Did it burn as a steady reminder of the spanking? Not much. Did it mark? A bit, yes. Did it sting when touched later? Yes—enough that I know Beth will squirm off and on throughout the day if she gets a spanking from this implement in the morning. It was the perfect “reminder” intensity, too: gentle if left alone or brushed by fabric but the occasional shift or bump would bring it right back to my attention. I like Beth to know that she’s forgiven and it’s all over once the spanking is concluded, but from a psychological reinforcement perspective I like it when she is reminded off and on throughout the day. It reinforces the natural law that forgiveness can be swift but consequences take as long as they take.
If you’re starting out in D/s or BDSM I cannot recommend highly enough the practice of trying things out on yourself. That way you know what kind of energy you’re putting into your sub. Don’t just limit yourself to the paddles, either; try the feathers and the silks, too!
And as for butt plugs… well, if you have to ask, maybe we’ll talk when you’re older.