Back in the dark ages, when it was acceptable for parents to discipline their children with corporal punishment, I remember—I was maybe six? seven?—watching my older sister being whacked with a cat-o-nine-tails for some dire infraction. Believe me, it made my brother and me behave. I was never on the receiving end of my dad’s arm, but I did get coal and potatoes two Christmases in a row.
Fast forward to last August, at Dr. Charley Ferrer’s BDSMfor Writers Weekend, when I was introduced to, among other things, the subject of flogging. I wondered, why would folks want to be punished like that? But I learned from more than a few happy recipients that a good flogging was not unlike a vigorous massage.
So I jumped at the chance to attend Wise Protector’s recent “The Art of Flogging” workshop and my mind was once again expanded.
One of the first things Wise did was to slap himself, repeatedly, in the face with one of his own floggers to show that it doesn’t hurt—unless, of course, you and your partner agree that you want it to. They make a lot of noise on impact and can be wielded with dazzling artistry, but pain? It’s not your grandfather’s instrument of punishment.
|Matching thuddy floggers - photo courtesy of Wise Protector|
Wise’s array of a dozen floggers included many variations, from broad tails to narrow, from soft materials to sturdy—rabbit fur to elk hide to construction chalk-line. He demonstrated on a sweet and willing subject. Thank you, SB, for standing around in your cute “spank me” panties while Wise utilized various techniques on your back and butt. He illustrated that the broader the tails, the “thuddier” the sound. Conversely, narrow tails produce more sting.
Tennis is a good metaphor for flogging, and Wise displayed that kinship in his forehand, backhand, overhead and underhand strokes, and even explored finding the “sweet spot”. When starting out, it’s more important to get your strokes smooth rather than accurate. Later you can practice on a stationary object such as a doorway, pillow or chair back. He stressed, “Be sure you know what you’re doing before you attempt to flog a person.”
Before actual play, the Top should negotiate with his/her play partner. You want to discover what they want out of the activity, how much experience they’ve had, if there are any physical limitations, agreeing on safe words. Wise stressed that it’s imperative to call “red” or other safe word (plain English works fine for him) if something is going wrong. Play will stop, either totally or simply to change some aspect of it. Both Top and Bottom should respect that safety aspect—after all, the mantra of BDSM participants is “Safe, Sane and Consensual”.
|Well-worn rabbit-fur flogger - photo courtesy of Wise Protector|
Wise suggests you warm up the subject first with soft strokes and soft tails. Getting into a rhythm is good; appropriate music helps with this. In addition to rhythmic strokes, there should be a rhythm to the entire play: rhythmic flogging for up to 10 minutes or longer, then increase the intensity for one or two more. The point is to raise the subject’s endorphin (or “feel-good”) levels. Then stop a moment, come in close to stroke the warmed-up area with your palm, whisper some words of encouragement or excitement, then continue flogging at a higher level.
Three or four more intervals of higher impact and heavier endorphins should lead to a most pleasant result: either subspace or orgasm, whichever was your aim during the negotiating. And Wise has diffidently admitted to achieving both results with different subjects. (Disclaimer: the endorphin angle is mine; Wise feels psychology has as much effect on the partners as chemistry.)
When he finished his discussion, Wise opened the floor to those who wished some hands-on experience. Why was I the only one out of 15 observers who grabbed this opportunity? With his prompting and coaching, I practiced throwing (I learned that’s the correct term, not “swinging” or “wielding”) the flogger with various strokes until my wrists felt more or less comfortable with what I was demanding of them. I experimented with each hand since I’m ambidextrous. Then a couple of intrepid males bared their backs for me (thank you, BP and JE!). One was a submissive and the other a beginner still learning where he was on the flogging continuum. I spent maybe 10 or 15 minutes in deep concentration that I not hurt them while providing a modicum of pleasure.
Their feedback? Mostly good. My opinion? I’d like to learn more—on both sides of the swing. (And yes, I’ve been the happy recipient of a recent flogging, but that’s the subject of another blog.)
As a final touch, Wise flogged the hostess to demonstrate his masterful Florentine technique (using two floggers in a double-Dutch configuration). That’s where the “art” comes in. The man was poetry in motion and watching their faces, I could see both participants going into that spacey world where endorphins ruled. I want to be next!
Wise recommended DeTails Toys as a place to learn the various materials and styles of floggers as well as to purchase good product at reasonable prices. (A good flogger can run up to $200.) He also suggested FriskyBusiness for a very educational guide to floggers. This site also discusses timing and endorphin theories in more detail.
Wise Protector is the same expert flogger who gave M her “getting to know you” flogging that she blogged about here. After having seen him in both speaking and flogging mode, I'm not surprised that Wise is in demand as a presenter of workshops and demonstrations in the greater Delaware Valley area. He will be giving his popular "Flogging 101" class again on July 14 at Philadelphia's Sexploratorium. For more information on scheduling a workshop, contact him at email@example.com or via his website.
~~ Cris Anson