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An Introduction to Paddles: Safety, Size and Materials

Published: MAY 8, 2018 | Updated: MARCH 3, 2022
Choosing the right paddle can make paddling a safe and pleasurable activity for both partners.

For lovers of impact play, there are a few favorites. Spankings, are of course, a classic. Yet paddles, in all their shapes, sizes and materials, come close. Paddles are great for covering a larger area than hands; they are also easier on the top in the long run. Many impact scenes usually begin with a spanking and graduate up to paddles to increase the intensity.


Paddles, unlike whips or floggers, are generally considered safe and easy to use. However, just like a hand spanking, there are risks to using them (yes, even though they're tons of fun). Knowledge of safe paddling techniques, along with the different types of paddles that exist, can help you make this both a safe and pleasurable activity for all partners involved.

Download: 18 Different Ways to Spank Your Partner

The Basics of Paddling Safety

Before you engage in any kind of impact play, it's important to understand the body and how it works. Large areas with lots of fat and muscle - like the bum - are great for impact play because they are usually far from essential organs.


In other words, avoid hitting the front part of the body, along the spine, the neck, the face, or the head. Beginners can easily keep their impact play to the buttocks and upper thighs until they get more practice and gain more knowledge of the body.

On the buttocks themselves, there are parts that are more and less painful. Most of the impact should be on the middle of the buttocks, at their apex, and lower. Hitting higher than the apex (roundest, most prominent part) can cause damage to the tailbone and the kind of the pain that bottoms don't tend to enjoy.

Of course, as with all BDSM play, using safewords between trusted partners is essential. This means a thorough negotiation and getting to know each other beforehand. Also, ensure that your toys are in good condition. Discard anything that seems broken or unsafe.


Types of Paddles

There are two general types of paddles: straight paddles and slappers. Paddles are the things you imagine: one piece, in a rectangular or round shape, usually made of leather, but also made in wood or plastic.

Slappers are like two paddles put together in layers. When you hit someone with it, the top layers "slap" against the bottom layers, creating extra impact. They're a little bit more intense, and a little bit more painful.

You'll also find paddles with and without holes. Paddles with holes are more intense and painful because of the lower amount of air friction between the object and the person's skin. It means that you can hit harder, with less effort. Beginners should stick to full, no-hole paddles until they have a good sense of their strength and how to control it.


Paddle Sizes

Remember: the smaller the impact area, the more painful it will be. It's better to use larger implements for a warm-up, and then move on to smaller ones to inflict more localized pain. Also, warming up gets the blood flow started and the endorphins going, which makes it easier to handle more painful toys down the road.

Of course, even a large paddle can hurt a lot if you hit hard enough, but a good rule of thumb is moving from larger to smaller impact size for a good progression through the spanking.

Paddle Materials

Most mass-market paddles you will find in sex stores are made of faux leather covering a cardboard or soft plastic core. This is a good choice for beginners, as the lighter core makes for a lighter impact, and faux leather softens the blow a little. Paddles with softer cores can be flexed or bent a little.


Real leather i stings more, and the harder and less flexible the core, the more painful the impact.

Hard materials like wood and perspex (a type of plastic) are much less forgiving. If you decide to use wood, make sure that the wood is treated and properly varnished; otherwise, you may end up with very painful and dangerous wood splinters. If you notice a split in your wood paddle, stop using it immediately.

Sturdy and resistant fiberglass and perspex are excellent materials for more advanced players. They don't break easily, and they provide quite a sting in the right hands.


Never, ever use objects made of cheap plastic or glass. Glass, especially, can cause severe injuries when broken against skin.

Read: 8 Tips for Buying Your First Spanking Paddle

Ready? Get Paddling!

Now that you know a little more about impact safety and the features of different paddles, you can begin exploring new horizons in impact play. Have fun!

Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is orignally from Montréal, Canada and is currently living in Victoria. She speaks and writes fluent French as well as English. She loves to write about a variety of topics, from home decor and social media to books and sex.

She currently doesn't have a pet, but she's working on that. In the meantime, she's learning to write stories and hopefully novels so that she will one day see her name in...

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