Sexuality in Conversation

Inside the Scintillating World of Impact Play

Flogging for punishment and flogging for sexual punishment are obviously two separate things, and happen on two very separate occasions. And for this article, we are looking at the latter, the sexual pleasure that one receives from flagellation, the intense gratification that occurs to one’s body during a BDSM scene. With a flogger in hand, we're going to introduce you to the basics of “impact play” and how it can be utilized safely and erotically.

The history of flogging begins in the 14th century, where there are reports of people willingly being flogged or whipped instead of having intercourse. Even a visual art piece from the 1600s in the British Museum depicts a woman lifting her skirt, flogger lifted behind her head, standing over a man who reveals his backside. He looks eager and thirsty to receive his punishment. History tells us that flogging has always been closely linked to sex—the act of pain and pleasure have often gone hand in hand.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons someone wants to be flogged, and we aren’t here to necessarily dissect that, but instead celebrate it for what it is: an enjoyable sexual pleasure that feels good, really good. According to the Kinsey reports, five out of 10 Americans occasionally engage in sadomasochism.

Nicole Guappone, a sex writer and kinkster, began experimenting with impact play six years ago and flogging four years ago. She explains that flogging is a “really versatile type of impact play.” She says that when she’s being flogged she can feel her body “physically relax and her “breathing will slow (as long as the pain isn’t too great).” She says, “Because I've been doing it for so long, my body has learned what to expect, so it's like an immediate release of happy chemicals when the falls hit on first impact. With a lighter, more sensual flogging, I'm mostly just relaxed the whole time, but a heavier flogging can be an escape from ‘real life,’ especially if I end up in subspace—which is its own kind of relaxation, but it's a much more intense process for me.” Overall, Nicole explains that being flogged leaves her feeling “refreshed, cleansed, and stronger.”

Miss Jenn Davis, a professional disciplinarian and fetish model explains that reactions from people who are flogged are similar to the reactions that someone has with a massage. “If I’m going for giving someone pain, I’ll pick up a spanking implement. If I’m trying to get someone to relax and want something more sensual, I’ll pick up a flogger,” she explains. If you’re into BDSM, you’re probably aware of subspace and how it can be a therapeutic experience for those under the flogger. If you are new to BDSM, subspace is a euphoric state with intense emotions.
Learn the ropes, or the strokes, of flogging by understanding that the two basic techniques are single-stroke or cyclic flogging.
Before you give it a try, you and your partner need to agree that flogging is going to fit into your erotic agenda. As a sub or a dom, it’s important to know roles, safe words, and other safety precautions that come along with impact play. The most basic area to flog is the upper back (make sure to avoid the spine) as well as the buttocks, thighs and breasts. Some members in the BDSM community have differing opinions of what is safe and what is not—the majority agree that only flogging the back is safe. And as long as you flog lightly, or even play with an impact toy that has a lighter material (more on this below), the buttocks and breasts can be an active role in a scene. The face, neck, ribs, head, fingers and toes should always be avoided as they are sensitive and can have harmful results.

The next step is picking out a safe word. If you’re new to BDSM, this is the number one rule, if you’re only new to flogging, you probably already have a safe word lined up with a partner. A safe word exists so that all actions are eradicated immediately if the sub feels any discomfort. “Stop,” “No,” and “Ow,” are typically not classified as exemplary safe words because they can be worked into a scene, and the dom may become confused. Instead, think of a word that is out of the blue, or completely left field, so that the dom is alerted. Most people go with the traffic light example: Red is stop, yellow is ease up, and green is continue.

When it comes to picking out a flogger, they come in various different materials, but suede is a great place to start for a beginner. After some time, you and your partner can explore other floggers as they all create differing sensations. Of course, everyone has their own taste and maybe suede just isn’t yours. Horse hair is another beginners’ favorite, but it’s ultimately up to the sub and what they find appealing. Nylon, chain, rubber, PVC should be only utilized for experts of flogging.

Miss Jenn Davis explains that “starting out with something soft like rabbit furs” is a good idea. If the sub enjoys this material, “moving on to a flogger that is very soft and sensual to the touch,” is the next step. It’s always important to test the flogger on your skin when in a sex shop. I’m not asking you to perform a scene in between the dildos and the butt plugs, but make sure the material feels appealing by gently rubbing it over bare skin. As the person flogging, it’s important to know what your partner is feeling and as the person being flogged, it’s important to enjoy the product.
Always remember that to have a flawless flogging experience, communication between a sub and dom is key.
As for pricing, floggers are all over the place, and it’s really just up to your own personal budget. Some weighted floggers can be hundreds of dollars, while others can be as low as $20.

Aesthetically, there are also alternatives to flogging materials if leather and chains aren’t really your thing or stray from what you find erotic. For example, shops like Sacred Sadism offer plant and wood-based floggers for all of your ecofetishists, while LoveHoney offers a gorgeous glass dildo-flogger.

Once you have the prized flogger in your possession, it is recommended to practice on a pillow or another inanimate object to focus your aim and become comfortable with how it feels in your hand. It’s easy to miss your shot and flog someone where it’s painful. A novice mistake is called “wrapping” or when the flogger wraps the tail end of the material around their subs body (i.e if you flog someone on the side of their back, and it wraps around to the front of their stomach). This can cause painful stinging in an area that is not meant to be flogged. Practice makes perfect with just about anything and that includes whipping your partner into a subspace.

BDSM typically includes a scene where both partners take the time to prepare for what is about to occur. The mind will welcome the pain, rather than being shocked by the impact. If you are holding the flogger, stroke your partner lightly with the material, easing their body into the sensation. If you are being flogged, focus on warming your body up and completely absorbing the scene. Moreover, warming up can lead to other types of exciting play—nipple play, hair pulling, light teasing, etc. Miss Jenn recommends getting close to genitals, teasing them, but not actually hitting them with a flogger. Heightened sensitivity and arousal are due to the flow of endorphins. She says that it’s very “exciting to be on the receiving end” as the person in control of the flogger.

Nicole recommends starting at the buttocks and the thighs for beginners. Breasts and genitals can be introduced later. She says, “Also think about what you'd like to get out of flogging or why you want to try it, and find out the same from your partner. This can really help your negotiation.”

When I ask Miss Jenn why she enjoys flogging someone she explains the glow that the sub has after a scene. “If I can tell that what I'm doing is making them ‘feel alive’ and in the moment,” then she is satisfied.

Learn the ropes, or the strokes, of flogging by understanding that the two basic techniques are single-stroke or cyclic flogging. Using one stroke at a time is called single-stroke flogging. Cyclic flogging flows right into the next stroke, it’s more controlled and rhythmic as you pump out stroke after stroke onto your partner.

And always remember that to have a flawless flogging experience, communication between a sub and dom is key. Going over safe words and checking in with your sub during a scene are top priorities. For some people, spanking and flogging are two different sensations and often, being flogged is uncomfortable for people who are interested in being spanked and vice versa. After your scene make sure to talk to your sub or dom about what they experienced. Aftercare is essential constantly in BDSM but especially when an initial scene with a new toy takes place.

Flogging can be a refreshing and revitalizing step in a kinksters’ bedroom. Although it’s typically considered high impact play, remember that you don’t have to jump into the dungeon with chains and slashes. Ease your way in, remember to warm up, and understand the importance in trust and communication in the bright world of BDSM.

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