Figging (alternative old spelling: feaguing, also called gingering) is the insertion of a prepared "finger" of ginger root into the anus, used either for punishment or sexual stimulation, or both. The ginger results in a painful, hot, burning sensation through chemical stimulation of the nociceptors in the anus. The sensation builds up in the first 5 minutes and lasts for 20 to 30 minutes (even after the 'fig' is removed).
Today the practice of figging is mainly found in BDSM. It is particularly popular within the spankophile community. Many who have tried it say that figging can increase sexual desire and give a more powerful orgasm.
Making and application
A "finger" of ginger root is peeled and carved into a smooth shape, ideally resembling a slender butt plug so that it will remain in place held by the sphincter once inserted. The tapering should be rounded and not too thin so the fig won't break in the middle. Note that the fig should not be fully inserted (like a suppository) because if it slips fully inside the rectum it is no longer felt as much.
It is also possible to use ginger pieces (or ginger juice) on the female or male genitals instead of (or in addition to) the anus. However this should only be done with great care as the genitals are much more sensitive.
Figging dates back at least to the 18th or early 19th century (it is mentioned in a British slang dictionary from 1811). It was used in the Victorian era on horses at horse auctions. Figging would make a horse more lively and hold its tail better. The word fig is probably a simplified spelling of the word feague. A 1913 edition of Webster's dictionary defines feague as an obsolete word meaning to beat, whip, or drive.
The practice of figging is also the source of the expression "to gin up" - gin stands for ginger, not for the liquor. The phrase has become popular to describe a report that has been made more favorable by padding it with false or misleading information. A business that has falsified its financial records has "ginned them up." A weekly column of the Boston Globe, The Word, recently traced the term back to the old horse-trading practice.
Today, figging horses is still occasionally done, particularly on horses in the Arabian and American Saddlebred breeds, where high tail carriage and animation are desired traits. However this practice is today considered animal abuse, and is explicitly forbidden by nearly all horse shows in the U.S.A.
Figging is also said to have been used as a punishment on regimental squaddies when these were given unofficial floggings (with a cane or the birch), and even as an occasionally used method by cruel disciplinarians to punish children in the Victorian age. A delinquent child would be figged prior to being spanked (e.g. birched) to increase the punishment, both in terms of pain and humiliation, and as a practical means against clenching the buttocks. If a person clenches his/her buttocks while a fig is inserted, an immediate heat and pain will be felt inside his/her anus, thus the person will try not to clench even in situations that normally cause clenching, such as being caned, and instead do their best to keep his/her legs open and buttocks muscles as relaxed as possible — presenting the buttocks ideally for the chastisement.
Corporal punishment videos
The spanking video producer Lupus Pictures has produced several films that include the figging of young women at the end of a long punishment session. These include Detention House: Internal Affairs and the Edwardian era period piece The Chrismas Quiet. Friday the 13th ends with two girls punished with simultaneous figging and mouthsoaping.
- Feague (Grose 1811 Dictionary)
- Figging on MC 'n Circe (How-to with photos, )
- Figging - The Art of Anal Ginger Root Play by Master Michael
- Figging in Urban Dictionary
- Figging - a Google Group
- Friday the 13th Lupus Pictures video available on xHamster.
- Why give a fig? by Kris Kennedy on Alt.com
- Figging still #1, still #2, F/F, from Detention House 3: Internal Affairs, a video by RGE Films
- Ginger and use - stills (F/F) from a figging video by RGE Films
- BDSM: Theory and Practice of Figging