What We Talk About When We Talk About Flogging

Gather ’round, queers, and let me tell you the tale of The Christmas Flogger. It is a tale of how my girlfriend and I negotiated, bought and learned to use our very first flogger. Full disclosure: I am not the definitive resource for all things flogging – far from it. This is, after all, the tale of my first flogging experience. I also need you to know that when it comes to sex, you do you.

I like to smack my girlfriend on the ass and leave pretty marks! And she likes that too! There’s nothing in the world like a good solid handprint on skin (if you’re into that). But one thing I hadn’t experienced was the power and thrill of a flogger – up until last Christmas, the only hitting I’d been doing was with my hands. Until my girlfriend got me (us) one for Christmas. Hence the Christmas Flogger.

via NSFW Sunday and deviantfemme.tumblr.com

via NSFW Sunday and deviantfemme.tumblr.com

I am the proud recipient and wielder of the Double Tail Medium Length Elk flogger from deTails Toys. Their tagline is “For the sexually sophisticated.” And man, I agree with that. This flogger is very clearly handmade and gorgeous. We picked black and grey (I do not like brightly colored products. Especially when said products relate to BDSM). We also went with elk because it has been described as “delightfully thuddy,” but you can also get suede, moose, bull, buffalo, deer, even leather roses.  I always have mixed feelings about buying things made out of animal hide because I’m a vegetarian – it’s a conflict for me. But when it comes to spanking/flogging/hitting, I’m never on the receiving end — I’m not the one getting hit by this flogger and synthetic floggers have a “stingy” sensation, which my girlfriend does not care for as much. Since it’s not my ass on the line, I let my girlfriend pick whatever material her bum desired. And she did all the research about different price points/materials. Ultimately she decided on deTails because they had a lot of information on how each different material and number of tails would feel. She didn’t mind paying a little bit more because, to every reviewer, this was the One All-Purpose Flogger to invest in. I wholeheartedly agree with all the conclusions of her research. This flogger is sturdy. And it certainly is delightfully thuddy. I highly recommend it. If thuddy isn’t the kind of sensation you’re going for, the nice part about deTails is that extensive documentation on how each different type of flogger feels on skin. You can even ask them questions.

It’s funny. Here’s how I remember the conversation leading up to us getting a flogger:

Girlfriend: Hey honey. I was thinking about buying you a flogger for Christmas.

Me: This gift is a bit for you then, huh?
Girlfriend: A bit.

Bam. Done.

Here’s how my girlfriend says it actually went:

Girlfriend: What are your thoughts on floggers?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t really have thoughts on them either way. Why what are your thoughts on floggers?

(Note from Girlfriend: Keep in mind the context for this was that I was reading The New Topping Book after having just finished The New Bottoming Book, which meant that I had spent all week reading about various pain infliction methods, including flogging, from both viewpoints, and it sounded incredibly appealing to me.)

Girlfriend: I’m super intrigued by them, and I think they’d be really fun to play with. I also like that they tend to be a thuddier sensation, which I think I’d really like as opposed to spanking which can be really stingy.
Me: Ok. I mean, more ways of hitting you is always appealing to me, but they aren’t something I have particularly strong feelings about. Email me what you’re looking at.

via detailstoys.com

via detailstoys.com

The negotiation of what would become the Christmas Flogger was far longer and more detailed than I remember, which I actually think speaks well of our ability to talk about sex. In fact, my girlfriend said, “Also in that in-between time we talked about it a lot and started incorporating the idea of it into dirty talk and fantasies and stuff, so that was also a part of the process. A very fun part.” Then again, conversations (and dirty talk) such as this have always been strong suits for both of us, independently of each other. Plus we already knew we liked consensual hitting, which is a big thing to know already. But let’s say you or your partner(s) haven’t discussed this already, or that talking about BDSM makes you a little nervous. Or perhaps you have no idea if you’d even be into flogging at all. I always recommend running down this list on Scarleteen – it’s a checklist of things to try in bed. You can rate each sex act as Yes, No, Maybe, I Don’t Know, Fantasy or Not Applicable. Try going through the list on your own first so that no one else is influencing your decisions, then go have coffee with your partner(s) and prepare yourself for the best conversation ever. It might be a tough conversation, but it’s also super fun and super rewarding (there might be sex at the end of it, now that you know what y’all are into with no doubts whatsoever). Then again, you may not need to do that when deciding to purchase a flogger. Either way, that’s how we decided to click “buy.”

As my half remembered negotiation conversations might clue you in to, I was really nervous about using The Christmas Flogger. I love consensual hitting, love love love it. But if I’m hitting with my hands, I can feel exactly how hard I’m making contact. I can feel the amount of force I am using and the effect it has on skin, because my skin is being hit too. The palms of my hands feel that burn. But with a flogger? Because I can’t feel what I’m doing, I felt like I wouldn’t have as much control. And given the history I have with sexual misadventures, I was afraid of accidents. The last thing someone who’s into consensual hitting wants to do is truly hurt someone, to cause actual damage. So when the Christmas Flogger did finally arrive, I was sweating bullets and also really excited to get it in my hands and try out. These were two very confusing emotions to feel at the same time.

I have heard advice before that most accidents in general (not even talking about sex here) are caused when a person engaging in an activity is new at it or nervous. Applying this to sex, there’s really only one thing to do when you’re new, nervous or both. You have to tell the person you’re banging exactly what’s going on with you. This is a good practice regardless – communication is key. I came clean about how terrified I was of actually hurting her and we decided to do a couple test runs first. Practice makes perfect. First I flogged her with her jeans on. Then in just her undies. And then…well…

At each stage of undress, we tested out different amounts of force, different positions on her body, and after each satisfying thwap, I had her tell me how it felt. Describe it to me — too hard, too soft, details about the sensations she was feeling. There was no guesswork anymore, no unknown to make me scared. And on top of that, this communication was one hundred percent super super sexy with a cherry on top. Turning your check-ins into dirty talk is pretty much the best thing in the whole world.

I have no conclusion to this post and I’m glad I don’t. We’re still using the Christmas Flogger and we find different nuances every time we play with it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. If you’re intrigued, have the conversation. You’ll be glad you did.

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  1. “Turning your check-ins into dirty talk is pretty much the best thing in the whole world.”

    hello, yes, please take note queers everywhere. there is no bigger bonerkiller for me than the words “is this okay?” like i appreciate checkins as much as the next person but there are sooo many more imaginative ways to do it that don’t make me feel like i’m doing a go-around at the feminist bookstore. ugh.

      • yeah, I definitely feel like I could use some work turning my check-ins into dirty (sexy/creative) talk. And I’m sure it’s something you work out differently with different partners but examples, suggestions would be soooo helpful. I’m imagining a round-table sexy consent workshop and wishing it was happening right now.

        • oh none of us are experts! but i’d be down for a roundtable. i started to type some of my contributions but they’re um.. kind of raunchy….

          • So, how might one be included in such a roundtable? A meeting of the (dirty) minds, if you will.

          • Some alternatives might be:

            do you like that?
            do you want me to _____ harder/deeper/more?
            do you want more?
            how does that feel?
            does that feel good?

            I think you can make it sexier through the way you’re saying things and the tone of voice you use. Whatever language you and your partner are comfortable with works, really.

          • Additionally, if you’re into more powerplay-type elements, just making it a rule that the bottom has to be vocal about describing the sensations they’re receiving can make it hotter, especially when they can be pressed for more and more detail despite (possible) mounting embarrassment. And often all you really need is a certain tone to make anything sound hot.

  2. I’m not even going to act like I read. I just salivated over the yummy pictures. For science, obviously…

  3. Unf. I am deeply, deeply covetous of that flogger. Absolutely filing this away for when I actually have the money saved up to invest in one. (And a partner interested in/excited about flogging me.)

  4. Thank-you for sharring this and being so open.
    I think it’s great when people openly share being into BDSM (of some sort, what ever falls into it, or out of vanilla).
    I just wish I could have a partner that did more than nod at my desire to be dominated/ consensually hurt.

  5. Thanks for this, and I love the inclusion of the Scarleteen yes/no/maybe list!

    Another great thing I recommend to you all is MojoUpgrade.com, which calls itself “an interactive sex questionnaire.” It only shows you and your partner the things you would both be down for, so it’s a low risk way to start a sexy talk about sexy sex. For me, the whole process of taking the quiz and talking about it with my sexual partner was SUPER hot, as was the activity that followed.

    • A sting had a burn kind of feel, whereas a thud is more about pressure. It’s a little less lingering. Lightly whack yourself in the thigh with a closed fist (lightly!) and then do it again with an open palm (again! lightly!) The open palm is the sting, the closed fist is the thud.

  6. I think your second-to-last paragraph may have just jumpstarted me to get back to working on my fanfiction porn novel, so thanks for that :D

  7. I love this, a lot. Such a great sharing of sexy, respectful communication. And, yeah, consensual hitting, mmmmm.

  8. Love this article! Any vegans with good experiences to share? Not quite at the “buying a flogger” step yet but windowshopping at someplace that doesn’t use rabbit fur (just went from “ooh sexy” to “sad bunnies” – buzz, killed) would be nice :P

    (Just to add, I absolutely do not judge anyone choosing a leather flogger – it is absolutely a personal decision and does affect sensation among other things. But it is hard to find nonleather toys D:)

    • not a vegan (or that into flogging, really) but i won a vegan flogger at a top surgery fundraiser about 5 years ago and it does the job. it’s made by a company in toronto called aslan leather that makes both leather and vegan goods. i’ve heard lots of good reviews about their products generally.

  9. Hey! Thanks for writing this article. I can’t wait for the Kink panel at the next camp.

    Any Chicago (ish) people know of queer munches/play parties? I’m definitely looking to meet more kinky folks here.

  10. So since this article seems like a good place to ask, as long as we’re talking about floggings and sexytimes and kinks and all: as a girl who’s into light bondage (tying ladies up, being tied up by ladies) and dominating, but not much into the S&M half of BDSM… is there a word for this? Because I’ve just been saying “into the first half of the BDSM alphabet.” Am I weird for liking it both ways (dominating/being dominated)? Because from what I’m seeing, most people are only into one or the other, which is cool and fine, but not me and therefore I’m starting to think I might be abnormalish.

    I may be a freshman at Wellesley in like six months (!), so if that happens I will shortly be among a high concentration of queer people, and I’m sure there are queer-friendly munches in the area. Basically what I’m asking here is if I mosey into a munch or something like that, will I get the side-eye or something?

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