Here are relevant references from the Books where the five-bladed whip is mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
Then she screamed with pain, throwing back her head, as the lash of the five-strap Gorean slave whip cut into her back.
I crossed my wrists beneath me and touched my head to the floor, exposing the bow of my back. It is the submissive posture of a slave girl who is to be punished. It is called Kneeling to the Whip. I shook, visibly, at his feet. I whimpered. I waited for him to call a guard, to bring a lash.
Once, long ago, I had been beaten by Lana, with a handful of straps. I had never forgotten it. I was delicate. I could not stand pain. I was not a common girl. I had always feared, but never felt, the five-strap Gorean slave whip, wielded with the full, terrible strength of a man.
An Ahn on the oar is usually more than sufficient to make the coldest and proudest of females an obedient, eager-to-please bond-maid. It is regarded as second only to the five-lash Gorean slave whip, used also in the south, and what among the men of Torvaldsland is called the whip of the furs, in which the master, with his body, incontrovertibly teaches the girl her slavery.
"Bring the five-strap slave slash," said Ivar Forkbeard to Gunnhild.
"Yes, my Jarl," she said, smiling. She ran to fetch it.
"I am the daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar," said Hilda. "Release me immediately."
The lash was placed by Gunnhild in the hand of Ivar Forkbeard.
Ottar threw the girl's hair forward, so that it fell before her shoulders.
"No!" cried Hilda.
The Forkbeard touched her back with the whip; his fist held the handle and, too, beneath his fist, folded back, were the five straps. He tapped her twice.
"No!" she cried. "Please, no!"
We fell back to give the Forkbeard room, and he shook loose the straps and drew back his arm.
The first stroke threw her against the post; I saw the astonishment in her eyes, then the pain; the daughter of Thorgard seemed stunned; then she howled in misery; it was only then that she realized what the whip might do to a girl. "I will obey you!" she screamed. "I will obey you!" Ivar Forkbeard, experienced in the disciplining of women, did not deliver the second stroke for a full Ehn. In this time, she screamed, over and over, "I will obey you!" Then he struck again. Her body, again, was struck against the post; her hands twisted in the binding fiber; her entire body rubbed on the post, in agony, pressing against it; tears burst from he eyes; she was on her tiptoes, pressing against the post; her thighs were on either side of the post; but the post did not yield; she was fastened to it. Then he struck again. She writhed, twisting and howling. "I ask only to obey you!" she cried. "I beg to obey you!" When he next struck she could only close her eyes in pain. She could then scarcely breathe. She gasped. No longer could she howl or scream. She tensed, teeth gritted, her body itself a silent scream of agony. But the blow did not then fall. Was the beating done? Then she was struck again. The last five blows were delivered with her hanging in the binding fiber, her body against the post, her face to one side of it. She was then released from the post and fell to her hands and knees. The beating had been quite light, only twenty strokes. Yet I did not think it would be soon that the daughter of Thorgard of Scagnar would wish to find herself again at the post. The beating had been, though light, quite adequate to its purpose, which was to teach her, a captive, the whip.
No female forgets it.
She turned and pulled up her blouse, showing me her back. "No," she said. There were few marks on her back, though I saw the traces of a beating or two. There was no scarring. The soft, pliant, broad-bladed five-strap lash had been used. It is the common instrument, if not the switch, used on girls. It is a valuable tool. It punishes with a terrible efficiency, and does not leave the girl permanently marked.
"If you are late by so much as five Ehn," he called, "you will be caressed by the five fingers of leather." This was an allusion to the Gorean five-strap slave whip, commonly used on girls because of the softness and width of its lashes. It punishes severely but, because of its construction, does not permanently mark the girl.
Eta lifted up a stout whip, with long handle, which might be wielded with two hands, and five dangling, soft, wide lashing surfaces, each about a yard long. "Kurt," she said. I shrank back. "Kurt," I repeated.
Then it fell upon her, once, the slash of the five-bladed Gorean slave whip.
From beside the curule chair I picked up a five-stranded Gorean slave lash. I threw it to the carpet, in front of the girl.
I hung the whip, by its handle loop, over the arm of the curule chair.
I walked to a position behind her and to her left. Gently I slid the whip, the blades folded back, against her, moving it from her left thigh to her waist, and thence upward against her left side. "Yes, Master," she said. I walked about her. The slave was beautiful, and exquisitely figured. I then stood behind her, and slightly to her left. I shook out the blades of the whip, with a gentle loosening of the leather, so that she would know they were free.
I then stood again behind her, and to her left. I grasped the handle of the slave whip with two hands.
I went then to the side of the room. I replaced the slave whip on its hook.
She shuddered with fear. She saw now, on the tiles before her, gently swinging, the shadows of the five loosened blades of the Gorean slave lash.
There was the sudden lash of the five-stranded Gorean slave whip and the girl cried out and sank down on the block, kneeling, with her head down, making herself as small as possible. Five times did the attendant lash her beauty. Then she lay on her stomach on the block, sobbing, the collar and chain on her neck, her fingernails tight in the wood. "I will be good, Masters," she wept. "I will be good."
"What is that?" I asked.
"A whip," she said, puzzled. Seeing my interest she brought it towards me. I stepped back. She held it across her body. Its handle was about eighteen inches long. It was white, and trimmed with yellow beads. Depending from this handle, at one end, were five, pliant yellow straps, or lashes. Each was about two and a half feet long, and one and a half inches, wide.
The girl went to a wall and, near the large door, by a loop on its butt end, hung it from a hook. I had not noticed the hook before.
I grinned up at her. Yes, she would look well, properly attired, or properly unattired, cringing at my feet in a collar, knowing that her least discrepancy from the absolute perfections of slave service would instantly bring upon down her the stroke of the five-stranded slave lash, or worse.
Then the lash fell and I shook and sobbed. I had felt the whip before, twice in the pens, a stroke each time. I was not at all eager for a repetition of that experience.
Again the lash fell.
In the pens it had been a single-bladed lash.
Again I felt the leather.
I went to my belly, unable to remain on my knees. I could not believe what I felt.
I had heard of this whip before, the broad-bladed, five-stranded lash, designed for use on such as I, but never before had I felt it. It is to be clearly distinguished from many other forms of whip, in particular, from the "snake," a terrible whip used sometimes on men, beneath the blows of which even a strong man might die. The five-stranded lash, that to whose attentions I was now, to my dismay, to my misery, being formally introduced punishes terribly, but inflicts no permanent damage. It is designed to hurt, not injure. Indeed, it does not even mark the subject, which might reduce her value.
He looked much as he had before, robed, and such, save that now, as he reclined in the curule chair, across his knees there lay a whip.
"I think I will beat you," he said. She sensed that the blade of the whip was shaken free.
He threw the whip to one side.
"The beating was nothing," he said, angrily. "It was not the five-bladed Gorean slave lash. You were not even tied at a ring."
But Barzak had already emerged from the building and, in his hand, he carried the five-stranded, broad-bladed Gorean slave whip, designed for use on females, to punish terribly but not to mark, or permanently mark, thus perhaps reducing the value of the errant, punished slave.
When he did return she could see that he carried a five-stranded Gorean slave lash, with broad blades. She had seen such a thing in the pleasure cylinder. It is designed for the disciplining of female slaves. It punishes nicely, but does not mark, for that might lower the slave's sales value.
The five-stranded slave lash, of course, is designed to punish, and keenly. It is also designed not to mark, for one would not wish to lower the value of a slave.
Then I was put under the slave whip of Gor.
I am sure the beating was light, and intended to be more informative than anything else, but, still, I had, for the first time in my life, felt the flexible broad-bladed, five-stranded Gorean slave lash, designed specifically for the discipline of female slaves, a lash designed to punish but not to mark.
I was pleased to see that he was folding the five blades of the slave whip about the staff, which might easily accommodate a two-handed grip.
I had been lashed once, in my training, to inform me of the experience. I did not care to again feel the caress, however briefly, of that implement, the five-stranded Gorean slave lash, designed for the improvement of slaves without leaving a permanent marking, which might lower their value. Having felt it I feared it, and would do anything to avoid it. Yet, too, I felt an indescribable excitement and thrill, a sense of reassurance and security, and even identity, and reality, knowing myself subject to its attention, knowing it would be used upon me if I failed to be pleasing. I was thereby well reassured I was a slave.
Masters, as is recognized, seldom mix in the altercations of slaves. On the other hand, they are very much concerned with maintaining the value of the goods involved. Nothing is to be done to a girl which might reduce her value on the block. For example, the supple, broad-bladed, five-stranded slave whip designed to punish an errant slave, and well, is also designed in such a way that it will leave no lingering residue of its attentions.
He rose from the couch on which he had been sitting, and went to the wall to my left. From a peg there he removed an object, with a long leather handle, which might be grasped with two hands, and five broad, soft blades, which he shook free.
On the wall, to my left, on its peg, hung a five-stranded Gorean slave whip.
He rose up, went to the wall to my right, as I knelt, and removed the slave whip from its peg.
He shook out the five broad blades. It is designed to punish, and terribly, but not to mark.
It is not pleasant to be cuffed, nor switched, nor feel the kiss of the supple, five-stranded Gorean slave whip, designed to administer admonitions to the female slave who has somehow failed, or is suspected of having failed, to be fully pleasing.