of the more technical SM activities are best learned through
first hand experience from an expert. Having someone demonstrate
technique, give you an opportunity to try it, and then
critique your efforts is the best way to learn.
That's why I'm a firm believer that the written word has
its limitations. Remember that any media can only tell
you so much. Experience, as they say, is the best teacher.
That warning properly noted, let me give you some ideas
on how to flog. For the finer points, be sure to consult
Among the first considerations is equipment. The more
advanced sadists among us have extensive collections of
whips, paddles, crops, and floggers. A visit to any place
that sells SM equipment will quickly reveal just how wide
that assortment can be. Floggers vary in thickness, weight,
length, texture, and materials.
My collection is rather meager. I've got a short leather
one, one that is made of braided thread, and a third leather
one whose tails are longer, wider and thicker. If I include
Michael's equipment in my list, then I've added a longer
leather flogger and one made of rubber. Each can be rated
in terms of pain inflicted. The effect of each varies
even with strokes of equal intensity.
You'll want to experiment with various types of floggers
as you assemble your collection. A good starter kit would
include a small soft flogger, a harder short flogger,
and then a hard one of medium length. To begin, avoid
ones that are very long or fancy.
The variations in flogger types that I mention are purposeful.
The primary rule for flogging is one that applies in many
leather situations. Start slowly and gradually build in
intensity. Using different kinds of floggers is one way
to change the intensity.
Just as a slow entry in ass play is preferable, so a gentle
start in flogging is crucial. There are two ways to begin
slowly and the best technique uses both. The first is
to initiate force with gentleness, using more of a brushing,
even dusting, movement, one that is slow, light and easy.
The second, as mentioned above, is to begin with floggers
that are mild, generally those that are smaller and made
with softer materials.
It should be obvious that we are going to flog using a
two-tiered method. We escalate force on the one hand and
instruments on the other.
The general pattern is similar to a roller-coaster ride.
You start slowly, climb a bit in intensity, return to
a slower motion, then increase, then decrease. Each increase
in either force or equipment will be a little more forceful
than the last. Each decrease will be not quite as significant
as the last. In this way there is a gradual building to
a crescendo of pain and climax.
This process can hardly be rote. Instead there must be
continuous communication between the flogger and the one
being flogged. Tops, in this case, must concentrate on
what they are doing, heightening their senses and focusing
on their partner's reactions. Frequently stopping the
flogging for a few minutes allows the top to "listen"
to all the signals the bottom is sending is important.
Heart and breath rates, grimaces, verbal clues, sweat,
blood, welts, and coloration of the skin are all important
pieces of information. Look and listen constantly during
For that reason, the top will want to move very close
to his or her bottom, feeling them so as to better appreciate
what is really going on. Asking questions is certainly
acceptable and important. Likewise the bottom should be
honest in his or her responses. There is nothing to gain
by toughing it out and a great deal to lose.
Positions, too, are critical. The bottom ought to be restrained
in an appropriate pose. For high-intensity flogging of
a longer duration, it is important that the bottom be
in a position that is sustainable without fear of cutting
off circulation or breath.
Restraint serves several purposes. It prevents the bottom
from hurting himself or his top. It allows him to struggle
against the bonds without moving to such an extent that
the flogging becomes dangerous. It insures that the more
delicate parts of the body are shielded from the whips.
The most intense flogging is usually done while the bottom
is tied securely in a prone position or spread eagle in
a sustainable position. I'm not talking about light bondage
here, but rather a form of restraint that insures that
the bottom can't flail around exposing him or herself
to unintended hits of the flogger. Often this bondage
includes the uses of padded restraints or of padding itself,
such as where arms might rub against a cross beam or ankles
might be pressed against the wood of a saw horse.
More than physical steps need to be taken. Be emotionally
and psychologically supportive as well.
In this ebb and flow technique, it's important that the
top not only wield the whip carefully but that he or she
help the floggee undergo the strain. Words of encouragement,
soft caresses, genital strokes and even kissing give the
bottom a chance to catch up to the pain and get past it.
The idea is to increase the pain at approximately the
same rate as the floggee's body is able to increase its
own level of endorphins and hence its ability to undergo
the pain. The higher the bottom's high, the higher the
level of tolerable intensity.
Let me be very clear here. Any "highs" need
to be of the natural kind, induced by the body's own nervous
system. The use of mind-altering or desensitizing drugs
during any SM scene can be very dangerous. Don't play
under any influences that aren't part of the usual sober
human situation. If you need to get artificially "high"
to tolerate something than you need to avoid that something.
1997 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
Flogging is generally a safe activity, when carried out
with a modicum of common sense. There are, of course,
places that should never be flogged, including the face,
head, neck, and stomach. Care must be taken to insure
that all whips are clean and dry. Never use a flogger
on another person until it has been cleaned.
Short term and low-intensity flogging is relatively easy.
Full-blown flogging sessions, on the other hand, take
time to prepare and time to conduct. Consider the need
for serious bondage, for the possibility of the need for
quick release, for antiseptic post-flogging care, for
support and recuperation afterwards.
It's my experience that the best floggers are those who
have the highest degree of sensitivity. Watching an expert
wield a whip is to experience a sacred dance, a highly
intimate sharing, and the manifestation of significant
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