St. Andrew's cross
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.
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.
Usage for spanking
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.
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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Illustration by Chéri Hérouard from Cinglants châtiments (1932).
M/F flogging at Folsom Street Fair, 2010.