A customer to these houses can typically engage in any of the following activities:
- receive whipping/spanking from a prostitute
- whip/spank a prostitute
- watch a whipping/spanking being inflicted on a prostitute or other customer
- have sex with a prostitute
- receive sexual services from a prostitute
Flagellatory brothels typically have rooms well furnished with various types of whipping and spanking furniture, and a good collection of various types of whips and spanking implements. Some places, and some staff, will only offer flagellation but no sexual services. A typical dominatrix is not likely to be available for sex; that would curb her authority. She may however be willing to play with and stimulate her male clients to make them 'come'. A professional submissive may or may not be available for sex.
Flagellatory brothels in London
In London, flagellatory brothels came up in the late 18th century and flourished particularly in the 19th century. They may have played their part in coining the phrase of "The English Vice". Flagellatory brothels are known to have existed in the following locations in London:
- Bedford Street, run by Mrs. Collet. This one is known to have been visited by royalty including George IV himself.
- Carlisle Street, Soho
- Regent Street, run by Emma Richardson
- Upper Belgrave Place, run by Mrs. Phillip
- Gilbert Street, run by Mrs. Shepherd
- King's Road, Chelsea, run by Sarah Potter (raided by the police in 1863)
- “White House” at 28 Charlotte Street (today: Hallam Street), run by Theresa Berkley (this was the most famous of all)
The classic Victorian era spanking novel "Frank" and I (1902) describes in great detail a visit to an elegant, upperclass flagellatory brothel in Kensington run by a Mrs. Leslie. One of the house specialties was the presentation of tableaux vivants with prostitutes performing costumed corporal punishment scenarios from history.
- Iwan Bloch, Sex Life in England, p. 218