Friday, June 06, 2008

Letter From a Reader

(Greetings and nice compliments...) I have a question for you about toy care. I recently got my dream paddle. It's a leather paddle (ping-pong paddle shape, but larger) with sharp spikes in a circle pattern with two spikes at the bottom. Because of the amazing spikes its nearly impossible to have a satisfying spank from it without my skin being punctured and blood becoming involved. I really enjoy it, but am concerned when it comes to safety. I know you have spanked people with many different types of objects so I was curious how you clean the toys if blood is involved. Because of the blood should the paddle be a me-only toy (i.e. I can sterilize it)? Should my partner use gloves while using the paddle on me?

Now, I always get uneasy answering questions like this because I'm not a medical person. My answer would have been, "There's no way to truly sterilize a toy like this. So no, don't use it on anyone else." But I decided to consult a couple of fellows I know who are medically-trained kinksters. Here's what they said.

Dr. Moreau: I haven't actually done a complete search of the medical literature to ascertain whether any randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center studies or meta-analyses have been done to evaluate the spiked leather paddle as potential vector of infectious disease, but off hand, I'd say, "yes, it's a one-person toy."

I'd say that gloves or not is a matter of the personal boundaries of those involved. Body fluid contact is probably inevitable to some degree for the hand holding the paddle. If gloveless body fluid contact is not part of this relationship, then don't go gloveless.

Dr. Strangelove: I'm sure this isn't a surprise, but the paddle in question can't be truly sterilized, at least not with the equipment your writer has access to. While the metal can be cleaned, a porous leather surface would be considered to be potentially infectious even after being wiped down with alcohol...

Regarding gloves...I would treat this like any other play that might involve fluid contact. If your partner would put a needle in you without gloves, then go ahead and let him/her spank you without gloves. If on the other hand you practice barrier use in all your other play habits, it might be wise to extend them to this toy.

So there you go. An opinion, and then a second opinion, can't do better than that.

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