5 May 2014

Tantus Plunge Paddle

Last October I reviewed my first ever paddle, the Wham Bam, and then over Christmas Tantus kindly decided to send me another one, the all new Plunge Paddle, so it's time to take a look and see how the two compare.

Tantus currently offers a range of five different paddles, with the Plunge being the latest addition, and they all come in varying shapes and sizes depending on your preference. Last time I rather blindly picked the Wham Bam, having no previous experience with paddles whatsoever, and was suitably impressed.

The Plunge has a rather more traditional shape for a paddle, at least on the surface, but it still does remind me of a kitchen utensil with its broad flat head, and I could imagine someone flipping pancakes with it on Shrove Tuesday. Where the Plunge differs from the others in this range is in the handle, which has cleverly been sculpted so as to be insertable. Can I hear you say dual functionality?

In terms of dimensions the Plunge measures 13" in total length, with 6 1/4" of that being paddle, and the remainder handle. What's interesting, to me as least, is that the paddle is perfectly balanced like a well-made sword; If you place your finger directly under the point where the Tantus logo is embossed at the top of the handle, and let the paddle rest there, then it sits in perfect equilibrium with neither side outweighing the other. I'd suspect that, much like with a sword, this balance will be beneficial when it comes to swinging it. The rectangular surface of the paddle is smooth and 3 1/8" wide, and it measures 1/4" thick. The handle has a circumference of 3 3/4" which fits nicely into the hand when you're holding it, and enables a firm grip. It features a slightly curved design and a bulbous tip as part of its suitability for insertion, and in all about 5 1/2" are usable for this purpose.

As is Tantus's signature the Plunge Paddle is made from silicone, a material that you don't often see from other manufacturers of BDSM-related equipment. One of the first things you'll notice about the paddle is that it does feel lovely; it has this soft velvety finish to the surface, and when you clutch it in your hand it aids with the level of grip, negating any fear that it may go flying from your grasp mid swing. The other thing you'll notice is that there's a certain floppiness to the silicone, but this is much less pronounced than in the Wham Bam; if you hold it upright it still manages to maintain its shape without falling over to one side, but a gentle wiggle of your wrist will be enough to start it swaying back and forth, and this enough to give it some of those unique properties during use that a more solid paddle would not exhibit. Of course silicone is a very safe and hygienic material, and that's especially important with this particular paddle because of its insertable nature. It's a non-porous material so it can be completely sterilised between uses and shared with a partner, and another benefit is that it's completely odourless, so you needn't worry unpleasant plasticy-scents spoiling your play session. All in all the choice of material makes in a very durable and low-maintenance product.

The construction of the Plunge Paddle is top-notch, just like I'd expect from Tantus, so there's not a whole to say on the subject. One thing I will point out is that there's a mould line running around the edge of the paddle, something which is unavoidable in the production of an item of this design, and something which ordinarily wouldn't be of concern. The only potential issue that comes into play is with regard to the insertable handle, because the mould line is fairly raised and can be felt easily by the fingers, so ideally I would have preferred that the seam be a little more subtle. Aside from that there are no pits, cracks, or defects in the surface which might otherwise affect your enjoyment of the paddle.

So onto the use, and I'll start first by considering how it performs its primary function, i.e. as a paddle. Paddles are all about inflicting pain, and as the red marks currently adorning my buttocks can attest to, it certainly fulfils that remit. I found that the Plunge was a little easier to control than the Wham Bam due to its increased rigidity, and without that extra level of floppiness you get a perfect spank every time. Whereas the Wham Bam requires more of a whipping action to land the perfect blow, the Plunge needs no more than a simple flick of the wrist. Because of the broad surface of the paddle it's more akin to smack with an open palm, and you still get a real sting across the flesh when it makes impact. I'd say that for most levels of use you can inflict the same amount of pain with the Plunge as with the Wham Bam, and it's only when it comes to real skin-blistering punishment that you'd need to go for the Wham Bam instead. The upside is that you're less likely to inflict too much pain with the Plunge than you are with the Wham Bam. The Plunge has a wide surface area, so the pain it causes tends to be proportionate to the force used, whereas with the Wham Bam all the force tends to be concentrated in a smaller area, and a slightly over-enthusiastic and well-timed whipping action can significantly ramp up the level of pain more than you might have been expecting. For low levels of pain the Plunge works very nicely as well, so you can start out slowly with a few gentle taps and steadily ramp it up to whatever best suits you or your partner.  Although paddles are typically thought of as equipment for use on the buttocks, you can do a little more with the Plunge, such as using it to gently strike the penis, and deliver that stinging sensation to the underside of the head. In this regard it's not quite as versatile as the Wham Bam, but it's still worth experimenting with.

In terms of insertion the paddle works well enough, but I wasn't blown away. Because the handle isn't too thick it's relatively easy to insert, even with the slightly bulbous tip, so it's perfectly suited to someone with little to no prior anal experience. The silicone is quite firm in the paddle, more so than the standard variety that Tantus uses for its dildos and butt plugs, so there's not really any perceptible give in the material to cushion the insertion. Nevertheless, due to the size of the handle it's still very comfortable to insert, and the seams that I mentioned at the start of the review can't be felt at all, but it's worth taking it slowly the first few times if you're not familiar with firmer materials. Because of the overall design of the handle it's not really something which you'd thrust with like a normal dildo - at least I found it ineffective in this manner because I typically prefer something thicker - but rather it's better suited to being used to massage the prostate by angling the bulbous tip into the gland, in the manner of the Metal Worx Curve or similar. In this regard it is fairly effective and feels quite pleasurable but it can be somewhat awkward to manage it by yourself. I imagine that you'd have far more success when using it with a partner. The surface of the silicone has a little drag to it due to the matte finish, but when it's sufficiently lubed up you don't really notice this aspect and it glides back and forth through the sphincter quite smoothly. One aspect of the handle is that it does have a hole right through the end, and while this doesn't have any impact on how it feels or performs, it does tend to fill up with fluids when you remove it, so you'll want to pay extra attention to this area when cleaning it afterwards.

When you're done with the Plunge you can hang it up somewhere thanks to the aforementioned hole in the handle. This can be a convenient feature if you don't have anywhere else earmarked for paddle storage. It doesn't come with much packaging other than a simple and sufficient polythene bag, so I'm thinking a good place might be in the wardrobe on the hook next to the shoehorn.

So how would I rate the Plunge Paddle after all of this? Well considering that this is only my second experience with a paddle I think I'm actually starting to get into this whole thing and enjoying the pleasurable side of pain. As a paddle the Plunge is fantastic; really well made, easy to hold, easy to use, easy to clean, and stings oh so satisfyingly. The handle might not operate as the best dildo in the world if you were considering it as a standalone product, but as an added extra I think it's a great option to have, and I can definitely see it getting some use during couple's play. Overall the Plunge Paddle is a real treat and I'm happy to have it in my collection. I'd recommend it just as much as the Wham Bam, depending on what you're looking for.

The Plunge Paddle is available directly from Tantus.

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