The wood was cool against my cheek, flush with anticipation of what was to come and the heat of the first strike across my bottom. With a blindfold stealing my vision, plummeting me into darkness, I could only wait, knowing that the next sensation could be almost anything — the sharp smack of a paddle, the searing pain of the cane, or a sensual caress down my naked back.
Taking a deep breath, I shifted my weight on the balls of my feet. Discomfort from a flogging? Love it. Standing upright for countless minutes? Not my favorite. Especially as it requires a certain amount of patience — something I greatly lack. But the clink of the chain running between my wrist cuffs and the cross’s arms caught my attention. The sound reminded me of my relative helplessness. I could struggle against the chain, but I would go nowhere. Not until he allowed me freedom of movement again.
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Just The Way We Both Liked It
I knew what might be in store for me long before I faced the St. Andrews Cross. It’s my job to lay out the implements of my own destruction. On the table lay a myriad of canes and paddles. On the rack, a dozen floggers, two heavy paddles, and a dragon tail swung innocently. Not to mention his bare hands, fingernails, and the Wartenberg wheel stashed in his back pocket — the only toy I never willingly pulled out. The only toy he let me “forget” to place on the table, though we knew he would grab it whenever he wanted to use it — and often did.
The loud thumping of the music pulsed through my veins in direct contrast with the calm, coolness of the St. Andrews Cross against my cheek. I leaned against the arm. Part to find comfort as my imagination began to run wild with endless possibilities. Part to cool my burning skin. My forehead beaded with sweat in direct relation to the heat building in my bottom and back.
My partner — the sadist to my masochist — found a rhythm, supplied in part by the heavy bass and pounding drums of the music. He used small, whippy floggers in time with a drum solo blaring over the loudspeakers. He tattooed a beat with a wooden paddle to match the bass of the next song. He timed the sharpest pain, designed to cause the loudest cries, as the music crescendoed around us. In a contest between blaring music and my screams, I was always the victor, making my voice heard over it all.
All while I remained in a dark place of coolness pressing against the front of my body and searing heat blossoming at my back. Without sight and unable to hear anything over the music, I could only ride the pain and pleasure.
Until he leaned forward, his body a scant inch from my own, his lips tickling my ear. He whispered, “Give me a color, babygirl.”
Whenever he asks, my body goes into overdrive as my mind reels. When the pain is overwhelming or he’s using a toy I hate, it’s easy to say yellow. He knows that means slow down on that, but please don’t stop. When the music, the impact, and the energy flow just right, I practically shriek, “Green!”
But no matter what the answer will be, my initial response is always the same. My breathing falters. I press against the cross, as if an answer will be found there. I pull against the cuffs clipped to the rings, listening for the familiar jangle from the chain. His body leans in towards me, but I have nowhere else to go and soon enough, I feel the cold leather of his vest and the roughness of his jeans pressed against my bare skin. His lips are against my ear, the whispers sending thrills of sensation down my spine.
I’m well and truly trapped, at his mercy until I end it with a word — or until he sees my strength flagging, unable to hold myself upright, leaning against the St. Andrews Cross more for physical support than anything. Until that happens, we will continue this dance of pain, pleasure, bondage, and control — with the cross as a major player in our game.
I Love the St. Andrew's Cross
If you can’t tell, I love the St. Andrews Cross. The first time I saw it, I was intimidated — like many others are. I was also, quickly, lulled into a false sense of security. It’s a giant X (or cross) — often in a corner, sometimes bolted to the wall, with rings at all four points.
What could it do to me? Of course, with a few minutes to ponder, the real question became, “What could be done to me while I’m on it?”
The cross offers the potential for so much play. Bondage and restraint when my wrist and/or ankle cuffs are hooked to each ring. Pain and impact play because that’s how we tend to play in a BDSM club or dungeon. Sensation and surprise, especially when I wear a blindfold and have to wait to feel what’s coming next instead of seeing it.
I have played on St. Andrews Crosses that were tucked away in semi-private corners and on crosses set in the dead center of a wall, with 20 or 30 people seated just behind me. No matter how nervous I am about who might be watching before we begin, being able to turn my back — with or without the blindfold — makes it all go away. I find that I can concentrate on the moment and the scene once I feel the wood (or other material).
The cross taps into part of my exhibitionist streak — as I’m well and truly on display, or at least the pain and pleasure I experience are. But I can hide my face, turn around and pretend no one else is there. It also allows me to ignore the rack and table filled with hitty, stinging, thudding toys I’ve laid out for his pleasure. I know he’s going to use them, but I don’t have to look at them either.
The Bondage Experience I Really Love
My dominant partner is a sadist who loves to cause pain and a budding rigger who enjoys beautiful rope and ties. In all of those parts of his kinky self, he also gets off on seeing me helpless and at his mercy. The St. Andrew’s Cross gives us the opportunity to play on multiple levels with these varying kinks at the same time.
While I indulge his love of bondage at home, patiently standing or lying still as he tries out a tie, I’m no rope bunny. The bondage I love is that of force and power, being restrained as I’m pushed past my limits, struggling against my bonds as sensations overwhelm my body and mind. Yes, there’s a lot of ways to play with that kind of bondage and restraint — with and without rope.
But the St. Andrews Cross personifies that struggle. Many times I’ve made my own hands go numb because I pulled too hard against my cuffs, cutting off my circulation. I know the tricks to quickly get feeling back in my fingertips, but it’s not long before the lash of a flogger or thud of a paddle tenses every muscle in my body and I pull and writhe, going nowhere, and loving every second.
On the cross, I’m at his mercy. Only his honor as a good dominant and love as my partner keep me from real harm. But he also knows the line between the pain I can and can’t tolerate, and he dances a jig across that line. While I could call it all off with a word, we both know I will pull and strain against my bonds in pain and pleasure instead.
A Blank Canvas for Impact Play
When we use the St. Andrews Cross — which is often, although we certainly enjoy plenty of other equipment — I’m often naked or nearly so. I may wear a thong but my clothes and bra are gone, leaving mostly bare skin, awaiting whatever impact toy he chooses to use.
Impact play is our main kink. It combines our mutual love of pain — him giving, me receiving — with sensation play and control. Even the meanest cane can feel almost pleasant when wielded a certain way. Part of the joy in using toys I “hate” (though I consent to their use) is how nervous I am and the mindfuck that starts when I see or touch those toys. (I’m looking at you, ¼ inch Delrin canes).
Yes, we can use nearly any piece of equipment for impact play, but the cross is special. It provides both that cool comfort that I lean on for support and gives my partner a blank canvas upon which to work. My shoulders, back, bottom, and legs are all available to him. Many times he picks up my foot so he can tickle, tease, or hurt the sole. Knowing I’ll pull away, scream, or beg for him to stop — it’s all part of the fun.
The falls of the flogger might land on my shoulder or on my ass. He may slap my ass, reach around to pinch a nipple, and then run a fingertip down my spine. I’ve walked away from a scene with welts on my legs, a bruise on my ass, and red marks across my shoulders. But I never worried about my hands, neck, or chest — areas I can’t explain away easily — being marked. He has plenty of space on my body to play without the fear of a strike landing on the wrong body part.
At the same time, the muscle and fat on my body sit differently when I stand at the cross, instead of leaning over a table or lying on the spanking bench. Every sensation is different between a standing position and a prone one. With some toys, like whippy floggers or the dragon’s tail, I can take more and longer impact at the cross than anywhere else. The cross helps us have a longer, better session.
Just The Way We Both Liked It
No single piece of BDSM equipment is inherently better than another. I’ve had amazing moments on the spanking bench and a few with almost no equipment at all — my arms were bound to a rope pulley over my head, giving my partner 360 degree access. Those moments all hold special places in my kinky heart.
But the St. Andrews Cross is something we come back to time and time again. I smile when I think of it, and I seek it out whenever we visit a new-to-us dungeon. I’m familiar with the cross and will always choose that as a first time experience.
The first time I ever played publicly in a BDSM dungeon, it was on the St. Andrews Cross. I found out later it was my partner’s first time playing in front of others, too. We were fortunate that we could both overcome any residual nerves and have a good experience.
That night, the music was just right — the hard, thumping bass of hard rock is a personal favorite. The crowd was respectful but also watchful. No one came too close, and no one interrupted. But we felt their eyes on us. Later confirmed by the dungeon monitor that yes, we’d had spectators.
I could look away and hide my face into the cross’s comforting arms. He only had to focus on me. We created our own special world in a dark corner of a BDSM club. He used only my favorite toys — none of the mean canes or floggers I endure because it pleases him. We connected on a deeper level than ever before. The energy between us was alive and pulsing. There was no one else in the world but us.
Even our aftercare on the couch, with me bundled in a soft blanket, was nearly flawless. I sat in his arms, riding the gentle waves of subspace. He whispered encouragement and love in my ear.
For a first time public scene, it was damn near perfect. Whether the St. Andrews Cross had anything to do with that or not doesn’t really matter. It’s place in my memory and the visceral experience I had as my skin pressed into the cool wood are seared into my brain. Even if the cross didn’t offer up so many other delights for both of us, it would always have a special place in my heart.
But as a way to combine and marry kinks into a single scene, offering up sensation, restraint, and a feeling of helplessness, the St. Andrews Cross is perfect — for us.
By Kayla Lords
Professional writer, sex blogger, erotic author, sexual submissive, and kinkster, Kayla writes more than is probably healthy over at A Sexual Being and overshares about the kinky and mundane side of her BDSM relationship. Her mission: to make BDSM, specifically Dominance and submission, less scary, less weird, and much more real and attainable for anyone willing to learn more.
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