Guest blog: Birching, bratting and something stupid

Image by Dissembling Cub

I am so delighted to welcome Dissembling Cub back to the blog. Their last piece, on bottom euphoria, was absolutely spectacular and deeply horny. This new post – about birching, the history of it as well as a stunningly hot account of a birching scene – took my breath away so hard it was almost like I was the one being thrashed. If you enjoy DC’s work you should also check out their fabulous long-form story The Forthenby Inheritance: an erotic comedy of manners set in the Regency period. Meanwhile please, oh my God please, enjoy the fuck out of this stunning guest blog. The image that illustrates this piece, by the way, is the actual hazel birch from the story.

Note: this story contains references to birching as corporal punishment – in a historical (non-consensual) context as well as a modern (and consensually kinky) one. It also refers to a ‘schoolboy scene’ and school role play, but all participants are over the age of 18. 

Birching, bratting and doing something stupid

As a brat, sometimes it’s my god-given right to do something fucking stupid. To know what the consequences will be but push on anyway: equal parts daring and bloody-mindedness.

So, here we are.

The room is dimly lit, and there’s music playing, because this could get loud. As I take my trousers and off, fold them, and put them on the floor, the heat of panic twists through me, making me want to shift from foot to foot, to squirm, to say, “Actually, I’ve changed my mind.

But we’re in scene now, so I’ve got one of two choices – use my safe word or stand up straight and do what I’m told. We’d decided on a schoolboy scene, for reasons that should become obvious, and have had a little warm-up, psychologically speaking: ear-pulling, and stand-up-straight-boy, all the names I like to be called when I’m in trouble, plus the long, critical looks that let me know I should be ashamed of myself.

Now, though, we’re down to the business of the evening. This is the thing I wanted, the thing I specifically asked for:

“Hands flat on the chair, feet apart.”

I turn my back on Sir, and bend over the back of the wooden chair, putting my palms flat on the cold, leather seat. What I feel then is fear, and I can’t even tell if it’s the roller-coaster kind – the type you’re supposed to enjoy.

Sir comes up behind me as he folds my shirt up over my back, yanks my boxers down over my thighs. I try not to flinch, try not to will him to touch my cunt, to fuck me like this first, because I’m already in that shivering, heady place of longing and resistance that only comes when I’m deep in disgrace.

I clench my stupid jaw to try not to say anything, because we are in scene, and anything I say right now is just going to make it worse.

Then I hear Sir stepping back, and there’s nothing for it but to wait for the fall of the birch.

What is birching?

A birch is an implement for inflicting pain. It’s made by taking a number of leafless twigs – usually birch, or willow – and binding them together to make a handle at one end and a spray at the other. Its long history as an instrument of corporal punishment is in part because it was easy to make and replace, and in part because – unlike a cane or a ruler – it imparts little risk of lasting injury.

The birch was the principal form of corporal punishment in schools before the advent of the cane, but was also used in domestic and judiciary settings, as well as prisons and the navy. While grown men might be punished by imprisonment or whipping, in the main it was boys who were birched.

It should go without saying that I’m opposed to any form of corporal punishment unless it takes place in a negotiated setting between consenting adults. However, it is partly this history that makes birching so compelling to me – I never got to be a boy in the ordinary run of things, so this specific punishment presses specifically boy-shaped buttons that other types of impact play never could.

The amount of pain a birch inflicts is a rather open question. Tab Kimpton, in their beautiful A Butler’s Guide to Homemade Hurty Things rates it as a mere 3 out of 5 – but, then, that’s the thing about birches – everyone has a slightly different idea of what they are, how they’re made, what they feel like. Because a birching rod can be thrown together from a nearby tree, or made to a court-mandated standard. It can be a neat spray of branches, a bundle of rods, or a terrifying five-foot-long, broom-like object. You can make them from the whippy, trailing branches of birch, or else the sturdy flexibility of willow.

Or you can make them from hazel rods.

I’d been warned on Fetlife that hazel was not for beginners, nor even slightly experienced birching enthusiasts, that it’s for more serious scenes than the one I have in mind, that a hazel birch is not the sort of thing that one ‘plays’ with.

Did I mention that I’m a brat?

Bad, bad boys…

It’s the part of me that always has a smart answer, that says, “make me,” rather than “yes, Sir,” the part of me that always, always has to have the last word.

So that’s what I was feeling, earlier in the day, as I identified 8-10 hazel rods which the hedge in front of my house could afford to lose and got them with secateurs before the neighbours started asking awkward questions. I was doing something someone told me not to do, and the odds were I was going to regret it.

And aren’t those the best kind of odds?

Sir and I had played with a birch before, one of stripped willow, already dry (made by Jack’s Floggers, who don’t seem to make one any more though they do offer an acetal alternative). It could deliver a formidable thrashing, and its impact was best described as a ‘scratchy sting’. But hazel is a stiffer wood than willow, and green wood will be whippier than dry, delivering more sting.

Which is to say I was making it worse in two ways at once.

When I’d got the rods, I stripped the leaves and side-branches from them and lined them up at the tip, trimming the thicker end until they were all the same length – about a metre, or 3 feet in the old money.

The imperial measurement feels important, somehow. The history here is part of the draw: this is not a modern sort of thing. I am already partway in role.

And that is what makes me so very careful to do this well, to make the birch elegant, threatening, neat, with no stray branches sticking out at odd angles, no unseemly bumps on the handle to catch Sir’s hand. There is a sense of ritual here, that I am taking such care, being so precise in the service of my own punishment, my own pain. Someone is going to hit me with this, and hit me hard.

The thought of it is a bright and trembling heat running through me, somewhere between terror and abject longing. The wicked bravado of earlier has gone, it’s become serious somehow, nigh on sacred. It’s a feeling I’m not much accustomed to – obedience.

This punishment that is mandated, declared, and unavoidable. References to it pepper literature, culture as synonymous with boyhood, marking a sweet point of gender and inevitability.  As Thackery describes it in Vanity Fair – “that punishment which it is generally thought none but a cherub can escape.”

It follows, then, that if I am a boy, I’m going to get birched. My participation, my obedient participation is critical. Even the wickedest, the most defiant of boys understand the ritual here: give all the cheek you want – but you don’t get to be a coward.

Taking my six

There’s something very brutal about the birch. For all its court-mandated background, it doesn’t have the implacable authority of the cane, isn’t bruising, singular, or smooth. As I bind the rods together, the hazel bark is rough beneath my hands, jagged in places where the buds have grown, or where side branches have been snipped away. Even the string I use to bind it is rough, jute line – brown and prickly. When it’s used, the wood will start to break, tips splintering, fragments of twig flying across the room. I might bleed.

It’s messy, this. The punishment might be ordained, everyone involved might pretend to coolness and justice, but the delivery is vicious, personal.

You’ve faced your judgement, and you are going to pay.

Back to the evening, then, my hands on the chair, back straight, arse bared, feet slightly apart. Sir stands behind me, my handiwork raised.

We’d discussed this: the timing of the blows; the number. We’re going to do a set of six blows with a second between them. After that I can tap out, or we can send the scene in another direction.

Or we can carry on, I can take another six.

We’d done a few trial swipes earlier and as I’ve said – we’ve played with a birch before. I can do this.

I can do this.

But the first blow lands on my skin like white-hot wires, and for an instant my mind is blank but for the image of lightning, forking and branching across the sky. I fucking scream, my head coming up, my hands coming off the seat of the chair, and almost as soon as I do, Sir’s got me by the scruff of the neck and is shoving me back.

What do you call that?”

But as he says it, he comes to the side, and there’s the flicker of eye-contact: Safe word?

I take a moment, check in with myself. Mostly shock, besides the blow had been slightly off-true, part of the birch clipping round my side.

“Amber. Maybe come in gentler and build? And try not to catch my side.”

“Okay. Yeah. I didn’t expect it to bend round like that.”

Green wood – it bends.

“Okay,” I say. As in, good to go.

“Yeah?” His hand tightens on my neck.

“Yeah.” I make my limbs relax, take a breath, put myself back in to the scene. “I’m sorry, Sir.”

“Pathetic.” I don’t like it when he’s nice to me in scene. Nice means I can talk my way out of it. He’s got just the right note of superior scorn. “I didn’t think you’d be the type to cry out.”

“No, Sir.”

“Let’s start again, shall we?”

It’s not the sort of question that needs an answer, but I say, “Yes, Sir,” anyway and he steps away. I push my weight down through my hands, clench my jaw and decide that I am not, I am absolutely not going to scream again.

I hear the birch before I feel it – a thick, wet swish through the air.

The cane is as authoritative as a thunderclap, but the birch is bodily. It’s like an animal, burrowing at your flesh, all claws and scratch. The branches drag across skin that’s already tender from the impact, and somehow you feel each rod both separately and at once. I count each strike in my mind, and try not to come up on to my toes, not to dance my feet about – one, two, three, four… There’s not really time to draw breath between them, but that’s a mercy in its way.

When the set is done, I let out the breath I’ve been holding, let the muscles I’ve been tensing relax a little. My skin is hot, sweat soaking in to my shirt. I am so wet, and my clit is throbbing. That’s another thing about a birching: it can make boys like me incredibly aroused.

But I did not cry out, and I feel it – defiance, triumph, fear, a perfect knife-edge of desire.

“You’re all over blood,” he says, and it’s the hottest thing I’ve ever heard. “Are you enjoying this?”

“No, Sir.”

He laughs, and runs a finger over my cunt.

I can’t help it. I nearly cum.

“Don’t lie to me, boy. Have you learned your lesson?”

And that’s my cue. I can come off meek and contrite and we can shift the scene, I can safe-word and we can wrap it up altogether. All I need to say is, “Red,” or, “Yes, Sir,” or, “Sorry, Sir,” and make it sound convincing.

I cannot express how much I want him to fuck me right now. I could probably make it happen if I played my cards right.

But there’s something else that I want more.

So, I open my mouth… and say something fucking stupid.



  • Sundial says:

    Uh, I enjoyed that very much. Pushes all the right buttons for me!

    Really excellent, I especially liked how you handled the writing of the first blow, the eye-contact check in for the safeword. And then your determination. Mmh. I think I’d have done the same, there at the end. 😅

    The Forthenby Inheritance is also a lovely piece of writing. Looking forward to seeing how that develops. You capture the sense of history so well and the characters are genuinely interesting.

  • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🥰

    But yes, somehow both the best, and the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. It’s always absolutely worth answering back…

    Delighted you’re enjoying Forthenby, too – and hope you enjoy how it unfolds. It was a research tangent on it which lead me to birching in the first place, so they’re always linked in my mind. Besides, I had to make sure I did my research thoroughly 😉

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