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Basics of Flogging

The Basics of Flogging
or
How to Flog Someone So They’ll Come Back for More

By

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.

Negotiate Before You Start

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.

Flogging The Back

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.

Wrapping

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.

Other Targets

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.

Warm Up & Timing

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.

Thud vs Sting

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.

Health & Safety

Occasionally during a flogging a small amount of blood may appear on the skin as a result 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.

First of all, have band-aids available and apply one as soon as any break in the skin is noticed. If any blood or body secretions have gotten on the tails, they should be wiped with a dry cloth while wearing a glove (there shouldn’t be much!). Then before using the flogger on another person it should be hung to air-dry in a warm, dry place for two weeks–the drying action will kill the 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 water and then waiting 10 minutes before using the flogger on someone else. A few may suggest both the bleach solution and then drying for two weeks, 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 is not actually 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, yet this would be almost impossible to verify with certainty.

The Last Word

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.

Flogging In History

by Che

“The beautiful woman bent on her adorer a strange look from her green eyes, icy and devouring, then she crossed the room, slowly donned a splendid loose coat of red satin, richly trimmed with princely ermine, and took from her dressing table a long thong attached to a short handle, with which she was wont to punish her great mastiff. ‘You want it,’ she said. ‘Then I will whip you.’ Still on his knees, ‘Whip me,’ cried her lover. ‘I implore you!'”

~Sacher-Masoch~   ‘Venus in Furs’

The flogger, in various forms, has played a surprisingly vital role in shaping the history of mankind. Throughout the centuries, our ancestors have incorporated it not only into their sexual practices, but into their spiritual, judicial and even medical practices as well.

Flagellation in the name of a god is far from being a rare thing. Nearly all of the mother religions, the ancient mystery cults of the great Mediterranean civilizations of Greece, Egypt, Rome and Persia, and even the religions of Islam and Christianity have, at some point in history, incorporated flagellation into their spiritual rites and practices. 

In pagan Sparta, for instance, each year, during a festival called ‘Day of Flagellations’, young men were brought before an altar dedicated to the goddess Diana where they were whipped for from dusk to dawn. People would turn out from all over the countryside to view the whippings and to cheer and encourage the boys to ‘bear the pain with fortitude.’ Priests, who would bear witness to the entire ceremony, would, at the end of the day, examine the wounds on each of the boys, and, according to the sizes and shapes of the wounds, would predict the young men’s futures. I might also mention, that it was not uncommon for some of the boys to die from the terrible wounds inflicted upon them during this ceremony, often without ever having uttered a sound. 

Syrian priest, like countless other religious leaders, believed that the gods could be appeased by the use of scourges and would spend hours whipping themselves profusely with an instrument made of twisted woolen cords armed with small bones. And, even today, Shiite Muslims indulge in the practice of public self-flagellation. 

The Church adopted it’s use of the scourge from a tribe of monastics who settled in small communities in the Egyptian Desert in the year 381 AD. These ‘desert fathers’, who believed that any sort of physical pleasure was sinful, were avid practitioners of self-flagellation. They were of the opinion that pain and discomfort blunted cravings for the sensual pleasures of the flesh and proved the insignificance of the body. Following their lead, the Church, even in it’s earliest ages embraced the practice of flagellation, both self inflicted and otherwise. Indeed, the tales of flogging within the church are numerous. Take the Pazzi, St. Rose, for instance, who would often run out into the rose garden and roll around on the thorns, after which she would race back into the convent and demand to be tied up and beaten. 

By the eleventh century, the Church had even begun promoting flagellation as a form of penitence for it’s parishioners, much like the modern day ‘Hail Mary’ (and doled out equally as often). In the twelfth century, St. Dominic Loricatus (who carried his scourge with him everywhere and flogged himself every night at bedtime, where ever he might be) even established a scale of equivalents, 1,000 lashes being considered as the equivalent of the reciting of ten penitential psalms. The priests would usually do the whipping themselves, in a place attached to the church, with the penitent, more often than not, being entirely nude. And, I might mention, there are a great number of tales of confessors making use of their powers of absolution to force their parishioners to beat ‘them’. 

Now, I should say that the Church neither promoted nor regarded flogging as a sensual act, though the numerous stories of and the zeal in which these floggings were given and received causes one to believe that the participants derived at least some pleasure from the act. 

In Spain, young men imparted a tone of gallantry to their discipline, by flogging themselves beneath their beloved’s window. The young lady would then reward her suitor by lifting her veil for a brief moment. 

Flagellation for punishment’s sake has been practiced throughout the world. In ancient Rome, judges would decorate the walls of their courtrooms with various types of scourges in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals, many of whom would be ordered to endure whippings of such severity that more than just a few of them died from the wounds inflicted upon them; Austrian soldiers who misbehaved were made to run the terrible gauntlet; Russia has the knout; China still has the great bamboo; Turkey governs with the stick; the Siamese have their nightly birches; and, in Africa, there is ‘mumbo jumbo’. 

English schoolmasters learned to use the rod upon the backs of their students at a very early period in history. In fact, flogging is still common practice in many English schools even today. One schoolmaster, in the course of fifty years, administered to his pupils nearly half a million canings and twenty-four thousand floggings. 

Flogging has also been reputed to have a good amount of medicinal value as well. At various times throughout history, it has been promoted as a way of ‘stirring up the body’s stagnating juices, dissolving the precipitating salts, purifying the coagulating humours of the body, clearing the brain, purging the belly, circulating the blood and bracing the nerves.’ It has been used as a treatment for insanity, laziness, depression, obstruction of the bowels and even for lockjaw and choking. And, during the years 1348-1349, when the Black Death was sweeping through Western Europe, it was promoted as both a preventative and a cure for the plague. 

Though sexual sado-masochism has been practiced since ancient times, the first known written account was published, in the fifteenth century, by an Italian man named Pico della Mirandola. He told of a man who could only enjoy sex if he had first been beaten to the point of bleeding with a whip which had first been soaked in vinegar. (Ouch!) 

The first overtly pornographic work on the subject of flagellation was published in the year 1718, and was entitled ‘A Treatise on the Use of Flogging’. With the appearance of this book, flagellation became a passion throughout Europe, so much so that the French soon dubbed it ‘le vice anglais,’ the English vice, a nickname which would stick for centuries. 

By the late 1700’s, dozens of brothels, dedicated exclusively to the practice of flagellation, were erected throughout Europe, and, I might mention, enjoyed a huge success. In fact, one of these establishments, owned by a Mrs. Colet, was so popular that even King George IV made a well-known royal visit. Another madam, Mrs. Theresa Berkley (who, in the year 1828, invented a spanking bench known as the Berkley Horse or Chavelet), made the equivalent of $20,000 American dollars during the eight years in which she operated her flagellatory brothel, quite a substantial amount for her time. 

Also during this period, a man by the name of Chase Pine invented a machine which was capable of whipping up to forty persons simultaneously. (Personally, I think that this one lacks one of the most important ingredients of a good scene…the human touch.) 

There are many tales of flogging amongst the ranks of nobility, including kings and queens. Among these tales is one of a certain nobleman who lived during the reign of King George II. This masochistic gentleman rented a house in St. James’ Place and hired an attractive, elderly woman as his housekeeper. One day each week, she had been instructed to lay out scrub brushes, mops, cleansers, and every other item necessary to clean a room, and to engage two women to meet him there on that day: one of these women was to ‘role play’ a housekeeper and the other a chambermaid. The nobleman would then dress himself up as a parish girl and begin scrubbing the room. Afterwards, either one or both of the women would scold for doing a poor job and then whip him, just as many parish girls were, in those days, whipped by their mistresses. 

And then there is the tale of Queen Catherine de’ Medicis who would place her maids of honour over her knees and whip them like little children. Even ladies of quality, living at court, were not exempt from this same type of chastisement, when they were naughty, whether they were in the immediate suite of the Queen or not, and pages often found themselves upon the whipping block as well. 

Now, the flogger you see today is much different than the ones our ancestors used. In fact, often they would make due with whatever they could find at hand, be it a bundle of rods or switches, leather thongs, or any of a countless variety of other items. 

There is little doubt that the scourge has played, and continues to play, more than just a passing role in the shaping of the history, and the future, of mankind. Even today, may people still find pleasure at the business end of the scourge. It is regarded among practitioners of BDSM to be a tool of sensuality…an instrument of passion and affection. I won’t attempt, in this article, to explain our reasons for our love of the scourge, that topic, at the very least, deserves an article all it’s own. Just know that present day D&Ser’s use their whips with the safety and well being of their partner in the forefront of their mind. We have developed safewords to let us know when our partners limits have been reached and have educated ourselves in ‘safeplay’ practices so that we might be skilled in our whipping and thereby be able to to so without serious injury to our partner(s). 

Needless to say, the little history that I have sited here is far from being complete. I would refer those of you interested in knowing more to the following books: ‘An Illustrated History of the Rod‘ by William M. Cooper, ‘Different Loving‘ by Gloria Brame, William Brame and Joe Jacobs, ‘Sex in History’ by G. Rattray Taylor, and, another book entitled ‘Sex in History‘ by Reay Tannahill.