takes two to Tango," my Mom always said and that
certainly applies to a good flogging session. Oh, the
Franciscans may do it alone, but we Leather folk prefer
to make it a communal event.
Steve so expertly applied his floggers to Al's bare back
at my last Master and slave Training Seminar, we all made
sure we paid attention. It was a sight to behold.
easy to note that Steve knows what he's doing. Likewise
the same must be said of his slave Al. Just as last week's
column on flogging had all sorts of advice for tops, there
are suggestions for bottoms as well.
you've read here many times before, all SM scenes demand
a certain level of trust that must escalate if the intensity
of the scene is to rise. Flogging, therefore, demands
great mutual trust. If it isn't present then settle for
something less or nothing at all. The first rule for the
bottom, then, is if you can't trust your top, don't be
always time to get to know him or her better and have
the scene later.
you read last week, good tops have to know how to "read"
their bottoms, how to recognize signals that contain important
information. Communication is a two-way street. It is
imperative that the bottom communicate before and during
are some of the ways you can do that?
up. An inability to say what you feel is the first warning
sign that something is wrong. Ask your questions. Warn
of dangers. Inform your top of your physical conditions,
especially of any medical limitations. Answer your top's
questions honestly. Fore-warned is best armed.
last paragraph is meant to be done before the flogging
(or any other SM for that matter) begins, but it does
not and should not stop there. Speak up during the flogging
if need be as well. This is no time to think that "Silence
third piece of advice, then, is to continue to communicate
throughout the scene. The best way to do that is to emote.
The idea that one should "tough it out" in silence
is rather self-defeating for a number of reasons.
sadists like to hear you yell and scream. It is that reaction
that get our juices flowing. Venting your pain with noise
will make the pain easier to take and will help release
the energy aroused by the beating.
want to make it clear that I'm not talking about making
noise for the mere satisfaction of making noise or to
prove some point or impress someone. When I use the word
"emote," I am writing about an honest expression
of one's feelings.
fact emoting is much more than yelling and screaming.
Chances are that if it's only that, then there is more
than a bit of pretense involved and that defeats good
communication. No, emoting includes wriggling, writhing,
and crying - any reaction that the natural body wants
to make to what goes on when the whip meets the skin.
there are moments when toughing it out and taking it have
meaning, but to purposefully conceal what you are really
feeling will soon vanquish any possibility of a good scene.
the top has all those guidelines for wielding the whip,
the bottom has fewer, but ones that are just as important.
I hate to boil the next instruction down to one word but
it is the best advice I can give: relax.
come to the conclusion that you want to be flogged and
that you can honestly trust the person who's going to
do it, then relax and let them do their job. Tenseness
is only going to make matters worse.
best advice about relaxing comes from the books on natural
child birth. I won't go into all the relevant techniques
here but there are three that are important --- breath
control, muscle control, and visualization.
breathing is probably the singularly most important way
to sustain the pain. Simply put, breath slowly and deeply
and keep on doing it. Quick shallow breaths will lead
to hyperventilation, though at times the natural birthers
will suggest that technique as well.
breaths will help you relax, especially when coupled with
the visualization that the pain is being released as you
exhale. As the air enters, feel your chest enlarge and
think about the air radiating throughout your body, bringing
healthy, healing, and cleansing oxygen to your system.
As you physically expand on the intake, see yourself expanding
into the universe.
the exhalation part of the breath, imagine that the out-going
air carries with it impurities, pain, and energy. You
are becoming a conduit and the pain flows quickly and
easily through you as each and every breath leaves your
tense is a very natural reaction to being whipped. We
want to recoil from pain and the action of our muscles
is to tighten up. Just as we can control our muscles and
make them tighten so too can we make them relax. It's
certainly not an easy a proposition but it can be done
if we take time to think about it and do it.
in our muscles is going to increase the feeling of pain.
Conversely, relaxing is going to make the pain a great
deal easier to take.
is why last week's column spoke so seriously about bondage.
Those restraints allow you to relax. One of their purposes
is to give you the freedom to "go limp." They
will hold you so you can relax without fear of collapsing.
also allow you to struggle without flailing, thereby getting
the effect of the muscular reaction without any of the
danger of moving into the wrong position at the wrong
time. Go ahead and emote by moving and then remember to
relax. You'll always want to remember to relax and a good
top will help you do that.
will caress, kiss, and soothe with touch and words. Most
importantly they should remind you to relax and to breathe.
After all, you're in this together.
is a rather personal event so you'll have to come up with
ideas that fit your style and have the positive effects
we're seeking. Visualization is using your imagination
to create mind-pictures of events that illustrate what
you want to happen.
often use the imagery of light. For me, SM is fundamentally
a sharing of power, of energy if you will. I visualize
sharing as a light beam that moves from me to my partner
and back again.
I "see" the pain hit me and I "see"
my body change the pain into light. I then imagine the
light radiating safely and easily into the universe. I
suppose you could say that I visual myself as a light
bulb, the pain is the electric current, and when the current
passes through me I light up.
of course, is the whole purpose of the flogging. For me,
flogging in and of itself isn't the end, it is the means
to an end, namely the state of relaxation, of pleasure,
of bliss that will come when both of us are sated.
is the afterglow that makes all of SM, and especially
the more sadistic practices such as whipping and paddling,
a reasonable and desirable event.
you experience the afterglow none of this makes much sense,
really. Done well, to be on the receiving end of whip
is a cathartic, liberating, and exhilarating experience.
Come on over, my floggers are ready.
1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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