What is the Difference Between Paddles, Whips, and Canes? QOTM October 2021

Posted by Candice Simpson on

Believe it or not pain and pleasure are extremely closely related and incorporating these sensations into your sexual play can be massively satisfying. Pain/Impact Play can be quite daunting to get into if you have never played with any of the associated implements. But fear not, we are here to guide you in your first few steps along the path.

Whips, floggers, crops, paddles, slappers and canes (oh my!) come in many styles and materials. Once you have tried a few different ones you and your partner will likely find you have a favorite make or material. No matter how they are made, the basic design for each type of tool is the same. However, each tool is distinct from the other types and will cause a specific stimulation. The following article will help you understand the difference between each device and hopefully make you a pro at impact play.

But first, a disclaimer: in the next sections we suggest the ‘best’ areas to use each toy. But honestly, use your creativity, and do whatever you or your partner like (as long as it’s safe and consensual)

Also we understand that pain is relative. Our pain scale is there as a suggestion and results may vary on the user's pain tolerance and the technique applied. (Pain scale is 1-5 lightning bolts)

Best for Begginers:

Floggers (Sometimes Called Whips)

Black flogger with a red and black woven handle

Floggers can be thin and very sting-y (like these silicone ‘whips’), thick and heavy (like many of our suede floggers), or anything in between. They tend to spread over larger areas of the target’s body, so they deliver a lot of stimulation with a single swing. They can be used for a long period of time if you have the stance, technique, endurance, and/or patience for it, or you can use them to really warm up your target for an extra-long sexy session. Floggers are usually the tamest or least painful of the implements in this list, since the impact is spread over a large surface area (apart from some of the really thin sting-y ones).

Prime areas for flogging: upper back, butt.
Pain scale: Ligtning Bolt-Lightning BoltLightning Bolt

Shop our floggers

Paddles and Slappers

A red paddleOuch Folded Slapper

To be called a paddle or a slapper, the impact toy must have a handle connected to the actual part that makes contact with the target. The difference being that paddles are stiff/solid and can be quite heavy, and slappers usually have a lighter, more flexible end that makes contact. They are both well suited to posterior application because it is easy to control where you want the toy to hit. If you want to apply stimulation to a specific area, paddles and slappers are the way to go.

Paddles come as a single, rigid piece of material with no flexible parts, but also come in a large variety of materials and shapes.  Most of them are made of leather or wood, and some might even be metal. They are usually slim and around 1 foot in total length. A simple spanking motion on your target area is all it takes to get the desired results.

Slappers are also short single piece designs, but they have a handle and a flexible, slapping part that the actually connects with your target area. They also come in a variety of materials (plastic or leather) and are usually lighter than paddles. Once you get experienced with slappers they can be much easier to use and hit as hard as any paddle. Another plus is that slappers can then be applied just about anywhere on the body. It can be especially interesting if you use a slapper in each had; you can get quite rhythmic with them and really get your partner dancing under each smack.

Paddles or slappers tend to hurt a little bit more than floggers (especially the heavy ones)

Prime areas for paddling/slapping: butt, thighs.
Pain scale: Lightning BoltLightning BoltLightning Bolt

Shop our paddles and slappers

Intermediate Tools:


Sultra 26" Lambskin Crop

Crops consist of a firm but pliable stick with a “tail” that actually makes contact with the skin. These are usually made from leather, but come in a large variety of materials (such as plastic and silicone) and shapes. They are usually rectangular, but sometimes come in some fun shapes like hands or hearts, and the flaps or tails at the end can be short or long. 

Crops are relatively easy/quick to master since they are easy to control and it is easy to gauge how much pain you are inflicting. On a pain level, crops tend to be a step up from the paddles

Prime area for cropping: all over the body/everywhere
Pain scale: Lightning BoltLightning BoltLightning BoltLightning Bolt

Shop our crops

Save It for The Experts:

The following implements are the hardest on this list to master and can inflict the most pain. You can potentially cause some serious injuries with them if not used properly so proceed with caution.


Scandal Bull Whip

Many floggers are called ‘whips’, however a true whip is usually a much longer implement with a shorter handle. Most whips are long flexible lashes, mostly single tail or strand (as opposed to floggers which tend to have a relatively long handle and shorter strands and many tails), however there is quite some crossover.  The most famous example of a whip is the bull whip, but there are also cat-o-nine-tails, and others. Most whips are made from leather, but they can also be made from plastic fibers, suede, or rattan.

You need a lot of training to use these safely, so you should probably avoid them at the beginning of your pain play journey. You are able to deliver a very intense, sharp sting with whips, especially with heavier models. It is essential to be careful and train hard to hit the right spot with the desired intensity (and especially avoid wrapping around and not hit the right spot) and to not cause serious injury (and break the skin).

Prime area for whipping: anywhere below the shoulders
Pain scale: Lightning BoltLightning BoltLightning BoltLightning BoltLightning Bolt

Shop our whips


Intense Impact Canes

Canes are an advanced tool/ technique as well, so you probably shouldn’t use these in your first attempt at pain play. They require a lot of practice and guidance because they can cause some serious damage and unintended pain if used incorrectly. If used correctly they can be far superior to other implements. For example, canes are more precise than floggers or whips, and they can cause much higher levels of pain than paddles or slappers.

With canes it’s easier to pinpoint exactly where you want your blow to land. However, this can come as a disadvantage because it’s easy to get carried away and inflict much more pain (and serious bruising) than was originally intended. This is why we recommend canes for more seasoned pain-players.

Prime area for caning: butt, thighs (A word of warning: it’s best not to use canes on the back area since it is very easy to bruise ribs or kidneys)
Pain scale: Lightning BoltLightning BoltLightning BoltLightning BoltLightning Bolt

Shop our canes

Use what you have

In case you are interested in incorporating some impact play or spanking/paddling but don’t want to invest in the proper toy just yet, you can start with some everyday objects you can find around the house.


This is the easiest tool to find, and almost everyone has them. You can use your hands to try out most of the techniques described in this article, and they work on most areas of the body. However, the downside is that your hands are limited as to what stimulation you can cause and you will tire a lot sooner than with using any of the above-mentioned implements.

Alternate Paddles

Some of the effects of paddles can be achieved with the classic wooden 12-inch ruler or even a paint stirrer or hair brush. Go wild! Use your imagination! (Just be safe in the process)

Tips for pain play in general

Warm Up

Don’t immediately go for the kill.

Take it slow and light at first and work your way up the intensity scale. Start with light touch and slaps to get your playmate warmed up and to help increase blood flow to the area you are attending. Then you can slowly increase the force you apply. Give your target a break in between and add some non-painful stimulation before you go for harder swats.


Make sure you can see how your partner reacts to the stimulation. Are they still enjoying it, are they in the right kind of pain or is it starting to become unpleasant or too much? What noises or sounds are they making and what are they communicating? Again, take your time with it, give them a break when they need one and maybe switch to a slightly less painful type of stimulation in between.

Make sure to not overdo it. It is easy to get carried away as the active partner. Don’t forget safe words (if you want to use them) and make sure they are still consenting.

Work on Your Stance

As the active/dominant person, a proper stance or body position can be important to prevent injury in yourself and allow you to hit the right spot that you are aiming for. Stand still, feet planted firmly and just use your arm without moving your body. Using this stance expends minimal physical effort and will allow you to go long periods without tiring your arm, wrist, or core.

When you want to adjust your aim and target a different spot, move your entire body and realign yourself by stepping to the side, forward, or backward, replant your feet, and restart the activity. If you want, you can practice on a pillow or something similar. Once you can hit the exact spot you want to hit almost every time, you know you can safely work with a partner.

Add a Little Bondage

You can intensify the sensations and role play by combining the stimulation with restraints (for example with cuffs or ropes) and sensory deprivation (blindfolds). Combining some or all of those can really intensify the sensations your partner feels. Just make sure you or they can still communicate (see above).

A Final Word of Warning

Please don’t ever strike at the kidney areas on a person’s back. It is the area immediately above the butt to the right and left of the spine: the soft flesh between the lower ribs and the hip bones. It is not protected by bones and houses some vital organs. Unless you really, really know what you are doing, stay well clear of that area.

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