BDSM 101: Figging, or You'll Never Look at Ginger the Same Way Again

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You want me to put that where?

By Agnes Teesdale

I had titillating images of a prim Victorian gal when I first heard about figging, a now somewhat popular BDSM practice that involves ginger used as a buttplug. It's likely that the name evolved from the old practice of gingering ("to feague"): sticking some ginger up a horse's ass to make it hold up its tail. Popular legend claims that Victorians used this technique to punish unruly pupils, but it's probably just as likely that those endearing sex-freaks appreciated it for its kinkiness.

See also:

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Animal cruelty and bizarre Victorians aside, I became fascinated with what sort of sensations raw ginger exposed to such a sensitive area could create. Since I am a dominatrix, getting a willing partner was as easy as blogging about my new interest.

I prepared for the session with such detail as never before. I perused articles about how to select the best ginger. Those were aimed at home cooks, but they worked. (Sorry, about.com) Then I stood in the aisle of my local produce store and lovingly fondled the hands of ginger until I found the perfect one. I wonder what the clerk thought of me. At home, I practiced carving the ginger's fingers into an ideal butt plug shape (tapered, with a wide base so you don't lose it).

All of my practice paid off: I carved my ginger in my dungeon, smoothing out its edges and leaving a solid base so that it wouldn't disappear up my slave's ass. After dipping it in cool water, I inserted it and waited for the burn. It was delightful. Or at least, I found his noises delightful. Having never played with this toy before, I stuck to my Victorian erotic classic: I gave him a good spanking and that was that.

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But I was hooked. I began to experiment with different ways of curing and cutting my ginger butt plugs. I introduced all sorts of counter-stimulation while the plug was inserted. Figging brought a new and crafty edge to my sensation play. Using household objects in BDSM is deeply satisfying, since taking an object out of its ordinary context provides a way to subtly extend your play. While I was riding my figging high, every produce market trip and Thai food excursion was a smart reminder.

The Victorians and their sexual obsessions remain fascinating because it's hard to imagine people of a time period synonymous with sexual prudery participating in such perversions. Even if the Victorians didn't fig for fun and punishment, that mythology adds to its kinkiness. As king of pervs Michel Foucault once told us, we need to think our forebearers were repressed to believe we are sexually liberated. The desire to shove ginger up someone's ass in an act of sexual dominance is timeless.

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