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A knout is a heavy whip made up of leather thongs attached to a long handle. Some have metal hooks or wires at the end to inflict greater pain. Knouts were originally used to punish criminals and political offenders, but are most commonly used today for sex play within the BDSM community.
It’s widely believed the word knout comes from the Russian word for whip, knut. It’s thought the original knouts were developed by the Tatar people who brought them to Russia in the 15th century. However, other theories suggest knouts may have Swedish or Germanic origins. Knouting is the term for striking someone for a knout. If you have been whipped with a knout, you have been knouted.
While knouts are no longer used for punishment, their strong links to imperial Russia make them an effective tool for punishing submissives in the BDSM community. They are durable, strong whips that make maximum impact. Even the sight of a knout can stir memories of historical punishments for submissives. This association with the past can be useful for dominants and submissives getting into character.
As with all whips, it’s important dominants take care using knouts. A safe word should be established and respected to ensure play doesn’t go too far. Doms should take care with their submissives, especially if they haven’t been playing together for very long. It’s smart to use a good quality knout, as these are the most durable and satisfying. Care should be taken to avoid striking vulnerable areas like the eyes. The butt, thighs, and upper back are the best choices for someone without a lot of experience handling knouts.