The Basics of Flogging
To the novice flogging may look easy, and actually it's not that difficult, but it does require concentration and physical exertion along with some practice. However, knowledge of some basic guidelines can greatly enhance the learning curve and enrich the experience for both the top and the bottom. And a beginner would do well to practice on a wall or pillow, focusing on the intended striking point.
1. Before any flogging, the participants should negotiate what is desired and what isn't, along with what safe-word or other indication the bottom is to use to slowdown or stop the flogging. Does the bottom like stinging or thud sensations? How open is he or she to new experiences? Has this person had much experience with flogging? Novices may think they can take lots of pain, and then be surprised at what a good flogging actually feels like.
In addition, pertinent medical or physical problems should be made known before beginning.
2. The basic area to flog is the upper back on each side of the spine. Try to stay off the spine to prevent injury to the vertebrae and related tissues, and the skinnier the person is the more important this is. Also avoid swinging the tails down the back onto the hips or upper butt, or else this may cause a different kind of pain that is undesirable. Rather than a full swinging motion (this isn't golf) that carries the tails down the back, stop the flogger immediately after it hits or even pull it backwards in a snapping motion right before it hits. By varying this motion you can control how much of the tails connect with the back; more will cause greater thud while hitting with just the tips will be stingier.
3. Generally speaking, avoid unintentional wrapping, which is when the tips of the tails wrap around a curved part of the body such as the shoulders, torso, butt or legs. In wrapping the tips accelerate tremendously and the resulting excessive force at the tips almost always causes an undesirable increase in pain. One difficulty in avoiding wrapping is that the tips can fly so fast that you may have trouble seeing them--a person sometimes has to estimate where the tails are hitting, especially in darker environments. In addition, when throwing a flogger people often have a tendency to lunge forward, which can cause wrapping if it's not compensated for. On rare occasions a bottom may desire wrapping, but then this should be done by mutual agreement and with care to not overdo it.
4. Other targets: the butt is very inviting, yet because of its smaller size and roundness it requires greater accuracy to avoid excessive wrapping onto the hips or into the especially sensitive inner areas; also avoid hitting the tailbone. When flogged well, though, the butt can be very rewarding. The thighs can be flogged but should be done with extra attention to the power in wrapping. Female breasts should be flogged relatively lightly to avoid later medical problems, and this may be more important if they are flogged often; males can usually safely take more in this area. Generally other parts of the body, especially the kidney area, shouldn't be flogged except maybe with very light, miniature floggers. Stay away from all joints of the legs and arms, and the head and neck should never be flogged.
Also be aware that there is a big difference in flogging someone in the standing position versus lying down.
5. Start with softer blows and work up gradually to harder ones--this way the bottom will be able to take more as well as get more out of the session. Similarly, if you have more than one flogger, use the lighter one before going to the heavier one. In addition, varying the pace and alternating heavier blows with softer ones (or using just the tips), can make the difference between a good flogging and a great one.
During a flogging the top also needs to be sensitive to the nuances of how the bottom is handling the experience and when to vary the strokes. And after the bottom has recuperated from the flogging, the top can learn valuable information by obtaining the bottom's perspective on what it was like.
6. The top should understand that softer/heavier tails will generally cause thud, while harder or narrower tails will cause more sting--rubber or braided leather tails are usually the most stingy. And these differences are best understood by experiencing them on one's own skin. A flogger also needs to be thrown fast enough so the tails don't fly apart and land inaccurately--because of this it's very difficult to use a heavier flogger in place of a lighter one to achieve the blows that a lighter flogger would deliver. This is why people often have more than one flogger.
7. Occasionally during a flogging a small amount of blood may appear on the skin as a result (usually) of a blemish being broken open. How blood and other body fluids on a flogger should be dealt with is controversial; disinfectants and leather conditioners can alter the leather and having different floggers for every bottom isn't practical. Furthermore, dealing with leather tails is different with rubber or other synthetics.
First of all, have band-aids available and apply one as soon as any break in the skin is noticed. Most blood or body secretions on leather will quickly be absorbed, but any that is still wet should be wiped with a dry cloth while wearing a glove (there shouldn't be much and it will probably be hard to find). Then before using the flogger on another person it should be hung to air-dry in a warm, dry place for at least one week--the drying action will kill any AIDS and hepatitis viruses. Some would suggest cleaning the tails with a cloth moistened with a fresh solution of bleach mixed 1 part to 10 parts and then waiting 10 minutes before using the flogger on someone else, though it's difficult to do thoroughly water (and this is how to clean secretions from rubber tails). A few may suggest both the bleach solution and then drying for one week, but this may be more than is needed. On the other hand, we are talking about AIDS and hepatitis.
The best approach is to avoid getting blood and other body fluids on your floggers. However, the flogging action will tend to wipe blood away and make a tiny skin break difficult to see. Therefore checking a bottom's skin after a flogging for signs that any blood may have gotten on the flogger would be wise. A few would even say that the same flogger should never be used on more than one person per day, but that actually is not a sufficient length of time to be safe from hepatitis. Others say that the risk of catching AIDS or hepatitis from floggers is very minimal, but this is almost impossible to verify with certainty.
Finally though, always remember: If someone is trusting you enough to let you flog them, you owe it to him or her to be sensitive and careful; and secondly, flogging is ultimately supposed to be gratifying to both parties.
Copyright © 1998 by Keith L. Kendrick
Permission to reprint this in its entirety is freely granted--in fact, it is encouraged. But please tell me about it. firstname.lastname@example.org