Intensity Levels Defined

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Intensity Levels Defined

Postby web-ed » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:47 am

Among many other things lately, I've been revising my old article on "How to Paddle, Strap, and Cane" and it occurred to me that we spankos don't have any generally accepted terms to describe the various levels, or intensity, of the stinging pain felt by the spankee. Therefore, I have created the following definitions, which I hope will prove useful in future discussions:

  • Sensual - no real sting. Typically achieved with an implement like a fur-covered paddle or a soft leather flogger.
  • Light Sting - the point at which the stinging sensation first becomes perceptible.
  • Moderate Sting - the stinging is more intense, but still easily handled by the Sub.
  • Comfort Limit - this is the most the Sub can handle without becoming seriously distressed both physically and emotionally. It definitely smarts quite a bit! A swat at or near this level will be considered "hard".
  • Tolerance Limit - this is the absolute limit of what the Sub can take. Beyond this point the pain and the fear of injury become alarming to the Sub, and there is definitely some physical risk. The Sub should sound the "yellow" alert before reaching this point. We most definitely do not want to exceed this limit for any reason.

Although I had wooden paddles and canes of any material in mind when I developed these definitions, they apply equally well to an OTK session with the hairbrush or even the hard/heavy hand.
-- Web-Ed

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Re: Intensity Levels Defined

Postby sunflower309 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:14 pm

web-ed wrote:Comfort Limit - this is the most the Sub can handle without becoming seriously distressed both physically and emotionally. It definitely smarts quite a bit! A swat at or near this level will be considered "hard".Tolerance Limit - this is the absolute limit of what the Sub can take. Beyond this point the pain and the fear of injury become alarming to the Sub, and there is definitely some physical risk. The Sub should sound the "yellow" alert before reaching this point. We most definitely do not want to exceed this limit for any reason.


hi web-ed, I guess i'm a little confused because I don't see much difference between comfort and tolerance. and do you use both or is tolerance limit meant to be too harsh? again, they seem the same to me in your explanation. or should a spankee be paddled or caned somewhere beneath these 2 levels with only a swat or 2 in either level?

thanks,
sunflower

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Re: Intensity Levels Defined

Postby web-ed » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:34 am

sunflower309 wrote:
hi web-ed, I guess i'm a little confused because I don't see much difference between comfort and tolerance. and do you use both or is tolerance limit meant to be too harsh? again, they seem the same to me in your explanation. or should a spankee be paddled or caned somewhere beneath these 2 levels with only a swat or 2 in either level?

thanks,
sunflower

I did the best I could with these definitions, but I realize they're still not crystal-clear, and perhaps no such definitions can be since they depend on the mental state and assessment of the Sub. In truth, there isn't much space between the Comfort and Tolerance limits - something every Top using a severe implement should be aware of.

At or below the Comfort Limit, even though the strokes hurt the Sub can definitely handle them, meaning she isn't overwhelmed by pain and/or fear. Most of our paddle swats should be at or below this limit. I would definitely say this was not too harsh.

However, it's fun to deliver the occasional swat at an intensity level in that narrow band between the Comfort Limit and the Tolerance Limit to make the Sub "work for it" - I think of this as a more sophisticated way of saying "push the limit" which is a phrase we hear now and again in BDSM circles. The Tolerance Limit is the absolute upper limit of what the Sub can take in a single stroke without becoming extremely uncomfortable and/or frightened.

During a paddling, I try to deliver most of the swats at or below the Comfort Limit as indicated above, but I like to give a small number above the Comfort Limit and below the Tolerance Limit. This is hard to do, and as you know, the Top sometimes gives the Sub a little more sting than he intended her to feel. I view it as an occupational hazard ;) .

Caning is a little different, as I feel these strokes should be given about as hard as the Sub can handle, which again means in between the Comfort Limit and the Tolerance Limit. This is sometimes referred to as "British style". I try to judge this by how much moving around the Sub does after the stroke (and of course by the physical effects of the stroke as well) - she should have some difficulty in maintaining her position, perhaps moving around a little before settling down again, and definitely be crying out.

I hope this explanation helps. :)
-- Web-Ed

sunflower309
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Re: Intensity Levels Defined

Postby sunflower309 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:22 pm

web-ed wrote:During a paddling, I try to deliver most of the swats at or below the Comfort Limit as indicated above, but I like to give a small number above the Comfort Limit and below the Tolerance Limit. This is hard to do, and as you know, the Top sometimes gives the Sub a little more sting than he intended her to feel. I view it as an occupational hazard .


hi web-ed.

this did help, thanks. I do feel that occasionally I get a swat or 2 that is more than I expected. but it's not that painful, just very, very stingy. but I am never afraid as my top is very experienced and I trust him. I have never received a swat that alarmed me or caused me too much pain. I think maybe a few at my tolerance limit but I trust that I will not be hurt in a bad way. part of my problem can be that I try not to react to a swat. I try not to move or cry out so how is he to know how much sting I really feel? besides that, afterward, the harder swats are the ones I remember.

web-ed wrote:Caning is a little different, as I feel these strokes should be given about as hard as the Sub can handle, which again means in between the Comfort Limit and the Tolerance Limit. This is sometimes referred to as "British style". I try to judge this by how much moving around the Sub does after the stroke (and of course by the physical effects of the stroke as well) - she should have some difficulty in maintaining her position, perhaps moving around a little before settling down again, and definitely be crying out.


isn't there a potential for injury with this? caning is a little scary. is it possible to hurt your sub without meaning to if you don't get the result you expect from her? but, I could be wrong. if there is trust and the top knows what he is doing I guess this wouldn't be so bad. thanks for making this a little clearer for me.

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Re: Intensity Levels Defined

Postby web-ed » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:28 am

sunflower wrote:isn't there a potential for injury with this? caning is a little scary. is it possible to hurt your sub without meaning to if you don't get the result you expect from her? but, I could be wrong. if there is trust and the top knows what he is doing I guess this wouldn't be so bad. thanks for making this a little clearer for me.


Injury is definitely something we want to avoid! Canes (and wooden paddles) are potent implements and do have the potential to injure in unskilled hands, but a skilled Top can always avoid injuring the Sub. Remember two points: (1) the Tolerance Limit is a mental state, not a physical one; (2) the Sub's reactions are important, but the Top must pay attention to the physical effects of the implement as well.

What (1) means is that we do have a safety factor because there is still some distance between the Tolerance Limit and the point of actual injury. If we go just a little above it the Sub should still be perfectly safe even though the experience may not be pleasant for her. Examples of this would be some sorority paddlings and even some school paddlings. Think of the Tolerance Limit as a clear warning that we should not go further. When this limit is recklessly ignored with the Top just sailing past it as if it didn't exist, as has occasionally been done in schools and sororities, than injury can take place.

(2) is of more practical value when it comes to safety - the Sub can't be injured without some physical signs having been apparent long before. This is the most important reason why the cane and the wood paddle should always be applied to the bare bottom (the other being its psychological effect). With the paddle, light bruising should become apparent before anything more serious can occur (Tops must watch carefully because some women don't show light bruises right away). With the cane, the following effects will be seen, depending on intensity:

Light - red stripe appears, but no weals
Medium - light weals appear
Medium hard - weals more distinct
Too Hard - bruises appear just above and below the stripe. Interestingly, the stripe itself does not bruise. If the Top sees this happen, he should back off the intensity even for a strict punishment caning. Going beyond this level of intensity could cause actual skin breakage.

I had no problem avoiding being too hard with the cane even in my early days with it, although of course I had years of experience with the paddle by then. From the Sub's standpoint, she should make sure that her Top is both experienced and careful, or if she is "breaking in" a new Top (e.g. a young couple just beginning to experiment with spanking), insist he go very lightly with wood paddle and cane until the two of them have acquired some experience together, including plenty of feedback from the Sub (post-session if she doesn't want to risk breaking the mood of the session, although the Sub should never suffer in silence during the session - if you think something is wrong, tell your Top immediately).

Even "Medium" cane strokes as described above are quite painful, and are adequate even for a punishment session. One thing that will help emphasize safety: most of the danger comes from heavy paddles and canes - lighter ones are much less likely to do any damage. This means that if your Top is still somewhat new to this, make sure he knows that you cannot take full-force swats with a 1/2" thick wooden paddle or powerful strokes with a rattan cane thicker than 3/8". Starting out with a 3/8" thick wooden paddle or a 5/16" thick rattan cane would be a good idea, as would giving light strokes at first and only gradually increasing the intensity.

With lexan paddles, do not go thicker than 1/4" and again start lightly - eventually, most subs can take this paddle applied medium to medium-hard. With canes made of lexan, nylon, or delrin, again do not go beyond 1/4" thickness, and apply these very lightly. They have a decided tendency to wrap and bruise, so rattan is preferred even though it's less economical (it will break eventually), and in a professional "dungeon" cannot be so easily sterilized.
-- Web-Ed


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