This article is designed to allow people to share experience and give advice about flogging. If you feel that you have a valid contribution to make then please add it as a new section at the end of the article. If you have a comment to make about someone's advice then please use the discussion page for this. Readers, the advice given here is personal opinion and should be treated with caution. Please read the article on BDSM and the law for advice on the legal implications of this.
The use of a flogger is an art. While there are subs who are happy to take anything that the dominant can do to them, most are not. The obvious first thing to point out is that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. A good beating will leave the sub in an almost trance-like state (subspace) as the endorphins flow through their body. Push the beating too hard and the 'Ouch' factor will kick in pulling the sub back into the real world and in all likelihood making them angry and disrupting the scene.
Balzac's experience of both giving and receiving beatings
Before you start: Find out what the sub can take. Even if it is a regular play partner their pain thresholds may well vary from day to day and on how submissive they are feeling. What they want from the flogging on a particular occasion may also change. Administering pain is the most obvious objective of a flogging but they may want a strong humiliation or sexual element to the beating in which case pain might play a secondary role to verbal or physical humiliation or objectification. Should you tie the sub up before administering the beating? Some masochists I know do not like to be tied down in any way. For me (in sub mode), bondage is an essential element in a flogging, the tighter the better.
Finally, if you are beating someone you have not played with before be cautious. Arrange a form of communication (safeword) so the sub can let you know how they are feeling. Simple signs might be to raise the foot off the ground if the beating is too hard or to wiggle their bum if they want you to beat them harder. Non-verbal communication is particularly important in a club environment where there may be loud music or high levels of background noise. It is also quite likely that the sub will be gagged and/or hooded or blindfolded.
The warm up: Most people cannot take high levels of pain straight away. They need to build up slowly to give the mind and body time to adjust and to release endorphins into the system. Start off with a soft flogger used gently at first then start building the intensity of the strokes. Give the sub rest periods and rub the backside to promote the flow of blood. As the intensity of the beating increases the recovery periods will need to balance the beating.
Recovery: For many people the recovery periods are as important as the beating itself. It allows the dominant to check on the state of the sub and for the sub to feel the presence or touch of the dominant. As the beating progresses it is likely that the submissive will become increasingly emotionally dependent on the dominant. Some subs can take quite intense pain for short periods if they know that they will be quickly rewarded with their master's or mistress's body pressed against them or the comforting caress of their hand on them. The pain and pleasure thing!
The beating: Once the sub is properly warmed up the beating can commence! This may be a little misleading since the beating process is often one of continual building of intensity throughout the scene. However, the sub will now be in a state where the dominant can start enjoying themselves, confident that the sub is in a physical and mental state where they can take the beating. Most serious players will have a small arsenal of whips, crops, floggers, and canes with which to inflict pain on the sub. The choice of what to use will depend on a number of factors, the main ones being:
- Do I have the space to use it properly?
- Do I have the experience to use it (particularly applies to whips)?
- Do I feel confident using it?
- What sort of pain do I want to inflict on my sub?
For the dominant to enjoy giving the beating, confidence in their control of the implement and knowledge about the effect that it will have on the sub is very important. S&M is a complex power exchange between two indivuals with the dominant very much responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the sub. In top mode I get the biggest powertrip from giving a beating when I have a strong mental link with the sub (so I can judge their emotional state) and when I feel that I have complete control of the implement I am using on the sub. If I don't have both of these then I do worry that I will harm the sub if I try to push their limits. For this reason when I play at clubs or crowded parties I tend to focus more on the humiliation aspects of the beating rather than the pain.
Different implements give different types of pain. I classify them into two types: 'thuddy' and 'stingy'. Floggers tend to give a thuddy pain, whilst whips tend to produce a stingy pain. For most people the pain caused by a flogger is much easier to take that the intense stinging sensation cause by a whip. Generally the smaller the impact area of the implement the more stingy the pain.
The duration of the beating will vary from scene to scene but with skill and good reading of the sub by the dominant it is quite possible to extend the scene for an hour or more.
Afterwards: Everyone is different in how they come down from a beating. I tend to feel very submissive, my partner on the other hand often cries, this is not because she is upset but because it's her way of releasing emotion. The marks the sub will have on their body will also vary. The first time someone is beaten (even with a flogger) they may well have quite severe bruises which will last for several days. After several beatings the skin will toughen and bruising from floggers will not usually occur. Canes, due to their weight and method of use, usually produce bruises. Depending on the severity of the caning they could take up to a week to disappear. If you plan to go swimming that week, beware!
- Flogging by Joseph W. Bean, Greenery Press, 2000; ISBN 978-1890159276