Advertisement
Identity

An Intro to Figging—The Kink Where You Put Ginger in Your Butt

It's like a butt plug, but it burns.

by Anna Pulley
May 2 2018, 4:58pm

Photo (L) by Javier Pardina, via Stocksy; (R) via Wikimedia Commons.

Figging is a form of sensation play that was once a form of animal cruelty but has since been adopted as a human kink. The wonders of sex never cease.

Despite its name, no actual figs are harmed in the process of figging.

So, what is figging, exactly?

The classic definition of figging, if you will, involves placing a piece of raw, peeled ginger into someone’s anus, though this has since been expanded to include vaginas, and, in some cases, urethras.

Also called “gingering,” figging creates a warm, tingling, or burning sensation that some people find erotic, intense, humiliating, or painful in an exciting way. If the ginger is intended for the ass, a finger will be peeled and carved into a butt plug shape—that is, tapered at the insertion point with a wider flange at the end so it won’t get lost up there.

Though ginger is the most common foodstuff for figging, you can use anything that gets you, well, hot. Hot peppers, cinnamon, garlic, pepper (the spice), Tabasco sauce, peppermint oil (basically anything with the word “pepper” in it!) can also be used, depending on your pain tolerance and how well-stocked your pantry is.

Dusting a person’s nether bits with ground ginger powder has also been described as figging.

Why is it called "figging" if figs aren’t involved?

Great question! The term “fig” likely comes from “feague,” which involves the practice of putting ginger (or another irritant—like live eels!) in a horse’s ass to make it carry its tail higher and make it appear “more spirited.” According to The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, written in 1811 by Francis Grose:

“To feague a horse; to put ginger up a horse’s fundament, and formerly, as it is said, a live eel, to make him lively and carry his tail well; [...] feague is used, figuratively, for encouraging or spiriting one up.” Feague can also mean to “decorate or improve in appearance through artificial means.” So consider using this term the next time you apply mascara.

But why do people like to stick ginger in their orifices?

Popular (unsubstantiated) lore claims that Victorians used figging to punish wayward pupils—but, this is Victorians we’re talking about, so if they did practice figging, they may also have been doing it for its kinkiness.

Today, people do it because they like to, well, feel the burn. But every body is different. Whereas some might find the sensation of ginger in their nether bits unbearable, others find it fairly benign and tingly, like a mouthwash for one’s colon. Others don’t like-like it, but that’s the entire point, especially when one is a masochist or doing an erotic power exchange with a sadist/dominant.

The buildup is slow—as the ginger oils mingle with the delicate tissues of the rectum (or vag or urethra), the recipient will feel a warmth, then a tingling, then more and more of a burning sensation. To increase the intensity, the fig-ee can clench their sphincter muscles. Or, as kink blogger Franklin Veaux notes in this tutorial, figgers can strengthen the ginger’s potency by fermenting it.

Spankings and other impact play (caning, flogging, cropping, etc.) can complement figging, as the smacks cause the recipient to clench their ass, heightening the burn. If they don’t clench, then the impact from the implement will hurt more. Trade-offs!

What are the safety risks of figging?

Though ginger is, of course, an irritant, the risks of figging are on the milder side, since ginger is a natural root (don’t panic, it’s organic!) and the burning sensation only lasts 20-30 minutes.

The most likely snafu would be not making the base wide enough and it getting lost, necessitating a trip to the ER. Or, one might forget to wash their hands after carving the ginger and then touch their eye, leading to a less kinky burning of the eyeball.

Make sure the ginger in question is smooth, with no rough patches or edges, and make sure you penetrate the fig-ee slowly. There is some debate about whether you should use lube for figging—some claim the ginger is slippery enough that it doesn’t matter, and that lube will, in fact, decrease the intended sensation. But others claim that all anal play should involve lube. As in all matters of the heart and rectum, we behoove you to experiment and decide for yourself.

For More Stories Like This, Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Rectal tissue or colon damage from ginger has not been noted in any peer-reviewed studies that I could find, though I did learn that ginger (taken orally!) may reduce colon inflammation and cancer; quite ironic.

Would-be figgers can rub a little ginger on a small sample area to see how the fig-ee reacts. And remember that it takes a little while to burn, so don't add more until you've given it some time. If the fig-ee is allergic to ginger, don’t fig them with it! That’s not BDSM, it’s just cruelty.