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A leather paddle
A basic leather paddle

A spanking paddle is a usually wooden instrument with a wide, flat face and narrow neck, so called because it is roughly shaped like the homonymous piece of sports equipment, but existing in more varied sizes and dimensions, used to administer a spanking to the buttocks; it would be too hard and heavy to use safely on the back.


Types and terms

  • A spanking paddle can sometimes be called a shingle, apparently after its form, or be given names (rather like weapons in military and police units), especially when used in an organisation, that allude to its hot effect on the paddled posterior, such as ass-burner, butt-buster. Educators and children in households where a paddle is used for discipline sometimes award the paddle such nicknames also, such as "Lola's bane" and "Mother's little helper." (Confusingly, sometimes non-wooden flat devices, such as straps, are wrongly called paddles, even in official institutions.)
  • For a paddling various terms exist, some referring to wood, the usual material, such as giving wood, the woodshed treatment [from the old tradition that such punishments were administered in the woodshed], or more general term for spanking (see in that article), for corporal punishment or for discipline such as punishment, a lesson, (rightly) deserved, (hide-)tanning, medicine, therapy, etc., and even incorrect terms that strictly speaking refer to a different method of physical punishment, such as a whipping; it is also possible to specify the anatomical target (thus indirectly affirming it is a form of spanking), e.g. arse whupping.
  • As there is quite a market for paddles in regions where paddlings are still (or again) administered in hazing or education and in family households, as well as in erotic spanking, there are companies who cater for one or more of these markets, often in combination with other items (disciplinarian or not), e.g.,[1] for fraternity/sorority, home, and erotic use, but most of the terms and names these use are rather arbitrary. There are also various roadside and resort novelty shops that sell paddles (small and large); these are often decorated with humorous motifs and instructions such as "Board of Education," "Heat for the Seat," "How to Paddle Your Wife," and "Frontier Tail-blazer."
  • The term fraternity paddle is commonly used in American English for any paddle which is used in a fraternity (for hazing or punishment), kept by an alumnus (e.g. to discipline his sons) or deliberately analogous (e.g. in BDSM role play), especially if it carries fraternity markings
  • Paddles are preferably made from (expensive but durable) hardwood, such as maple, oak, mahogany or walnut, and finished with varnish or teak oil; plastic is an inferior imitation as the effectiveness is related to the specific gravity to limit air resistance, though some modern paddles are made of Lexan (plexiglass being too likely to break- alledgedly that occasionally happens even to hardwood, of course the measuruments are also relevant).
  • Nevertheless some paddles are sometimes not factury-made but home-modified objects, e.g. a baseball bat with the action end flatted to half, as used on cadets in Columbia Military Academy
  • As a paddle is flat and inflexible, unlike a cane or whip, it is too blunt to cause stripes--only bruises can result from excessive force--, and because of its size it is unfit for a particularly painful 'bulls-eye' in the butt-crack (affording the spankee at least a modicum of protection).
  • Generally the physical impact is therefore not greatly increased, only the humiliation, if administered on a naked bottom rather than a closed one, except in the case of the holed paddle, which has holes drilled in it in order to make the surface unsmooth and reduce air resistance, which causes the victim to blister much faster (these holes may be bevelled to reduce the chances of blistering).
  • Furthermore a long model (including the handle) increases the leverage and hence the force applied on the punished skin. While a big blade looks frightening, it spreads the force over a larger surface, and so with equal weight it would hit less intensely. A narrow shape can be more cane-like, to concentrate all the force of one or several consecutive blows on a single buttock or parts of it, rather then across the entire behind, to cause more intense pain and worse bruising- the ordeal may does by meth.
  • On the other hand, if the damage allowed is limited, inflicting strokes less intensely allows prolonging the duration of the ordeal of the paddling, as to work over different parts of the butt; prolongation is also possible by pausing, which has the added effect of causing the victim to suffer further mentally (and ponder the offense being punished) while having to wait for the next painful instalment.
  • However the term paddle is sometimes used for devices of similar dimensions in other materials, often more flexible (even leather), which are therefore generally better called strap etcetera.
  • Very similar, though usually not named paddle, can be the wooden 'sword' (often bamboo and usually flattened; otherwise it is rather a cane) used for corporal discipline, mainly on the buttocks, but also an the hands, in the Far East, which is common practice in popular, expensive private 'after hours' schools (see [2]).

Scope of use

It is commonly used in the (mainly Southern and rural) United States as a method of spanking (see that article; i.e. physical punishment on the buttocks), called paddling after it (the corresponding verb is to paddle), especially on children by their educators, both at home and at school. (see also cobbing)


A paddle is an implement for spanking the buttocks of a bottom. However it has a major tradition of punitive use in mainstream life.

Judicial punishment

While fiction often gives the impression that official corporal punishments (court sentences and additional prison discipline) were generally applied to the back and/or clothed, in fact in many legal and cultural traditions the bare buttocks were often beaten, even publicly, with a variety of instruments, whip- and multi thong-types as well as wooden implements, including the notorious cane, birch, but also flatter, solid ones that fit the description of a paddle (regardless what name is used, e.g. 'sword'), as shown on this CorPun photo from China circa 1900.[3]

Social discipline

  • Some school traditions enforce(d) rules by paddling offenders, e.g. in the University of Missouri 'til Word War II,[4], any freshman found on the 'quad', the most prestigious square on campus, had to offer his 'insolent' posterior for punishment along a paddle line formed by swatting seniors
  • Paddling is also by far the most used painful method of hazing (see that article), especially in so-called Greek fraternities and sororities, both as a rite of passage and as internal punishment (rather rare; occasionally even for seniors breaking major rules), but in some even additionally in so-called paddle games, the rules of which are designed to determine when which pledge(s) must suffer a paddling or sometimes how many strokes of the paddle, usually received from the eager upperclassmen or one assigned pledge-master; sometimes, however, they are ordered to administer the paddle to each-other (winner to loser, trading licks or even in a chain-formation). Paddles can be or carried ostentatiously as a symbol of disciplining authority even when no actual use is intended, small models even worn from the belt; some fraternities and sororities require that their pledges carry such paddles on their belts until their eventual admittance. They are often kept as personal trophies that may be displayed (e.g. in a frat house), or handed down as frat house or family heritage. Accordingly they may be inscribed or branded with personal and/or fraternity/sorority symbols (often Greek initials) and or text, etc., and offered as gifts by pledges being admitted into membership to the official mentoring "big brother"/"big sister" in the fraternity or sorority, either for use on his class or as a symbolic relic where paddling is no longer practiced.

Other play and traditions

Of course, the paddle is also a favourite implement for non-disciplinary spankings, as is often the case with paddle games (such as trading blows) or a paddle machine (a machine for administering blows with a paddle).

Paddling as academic Punishment in U.S. Schools

The paddle is the most popular implement in US schools that still allow spanking. Typically, with two or more administrators present, the student is told to bend over and receives the prescribed amount of hits (called licks, swats, pops or whacks) of the paddle, normally in an office, not publicly. In a single-gender school, the student may even be told to drop outer clothing and possibly underwear too, heightening the humiliation factor of having to receive the paddling dressed down or even bare bottom (nearly exclusively in privately run schools, however). Most urban public school systems in the United States, such as Chicago, have banned spanking and all other forms of corporal punishments. However, there is a growing trend to restore paddling in some areas in recent years. Some private schools still use corporal punishment.

See also

Sources and External link

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