St. Andrew's cross

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A woman cuffed to a St. Andrew's Cross.
Whipping-frame at Wormwood Scrubs Prison (1895).

A St. Andrew's cross, also called X-Frame or Saltire, is a structure, often made of two wooden boards mounted to a wall, in the form of an X. It belongs to the group of BDSM/spanking furniture known as frames. At the furthest four points of the cross will be devices to bind a subject's ankles and wrists. This restrains the subject in a spreadeagle position, very open, exposed and accessible, ideal for many types of BDSM play. St. Andrew's crosses are found in virtually every BDSM dungeon and club.

Subjects can be bound either facing the cross, suitable for whipping, or facing out, suitable for frontal activities such as genital or nipple torture, masturbation, etc.

If the subject is too short or too tall, the cross may not fit well. Some sophisticated versions of St Andrew's crosses may have adjustable foot rests for that reason. The attachment points will usually also be variable.

Historic use[edit]

Whipping frames based on the standing X construction were in use for judicial corporal punishment, e.g. in 19th century British prisons (see photo to the right).

Usage for spanking[edit]

Bottom bound to a St. Andrew's cross, facing the wall (spankable).

In spanking scenes, they are used as a restraint. In this usage, the subject is placed facing the cross so the naked buttocks are presented for spanking.

Woman flogged at the 2007 Folsom Street Fair.

Today, the St. Andrew's cross helps create the setting. In a spanking scene, the spankee (often a young adult) may be attached to the cross, which presents an attractive image for some. The naked buttocks are spanked with an implement. It's a common device at a spanking party where there are spectators, some of whom may be spanked on the cross during the evening.

In consensual spanking, participants often don't use restraints, preferring to see the spankee stay in position under her/his own control. The St. Andrew's cross may fall in the category of bondage, but is closely associated with whipping and spanking scenes.

Variants[edit]

There is also a horizontal variant of the St. Andrew's Cross. It is much less common but can be even better for spanking. In this variant, the top of the cross will usually be padded for greater comfort, and a pad may be put under the hips to raise the buttocks higher. See spreadeagle table.

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