Introduction to Flogging: How to Use a Flogger

Now that we've talked about what kinds of floggers to use, and how to use them safely, it's time to get to the real fun stuff: how to use a flogger!


The most basic place to start any how-to on the art of flogging is how to hold a flogger. Holding a flogger isn't difficult (anyone who knows anything about flogging should feel free to skip this section), but you may find that your first impulse, which is to grab the handle of the flogger near the end, isn't the most effective. When you use a flogger, you usually end up doing a great deal of the motion with your wrist, not your arm; think "twirling a baton," not "stabbing someone with a knife in a cheesy 80s horror flick." It's the wrist action that matters.

Holding the flogger close to the business end offers greater control over where the lashes go, and as we talked about in the "safety" section, where the lashes go is important. (There are some advanced flogging techniques which involve holding the flogger closer to the end, but when you're learning how to use a flogger, the greater control offered by holding the flogger as shown above is generally the best way to go.)

When you first learn to use a flogger, keep in mind that a light flogger is easier to control than a heavy flogger, and a short flogger is easier to control than a flogger with longer tails. Start with a lightweight, relatively short flogger; as you gain confidence, you can move on to heavier floggers.

When you're using a flogger on a person, this is a good idea as well. A lighter flogger makes a good "warmup" for a heavier flogger.

Generally speaking, there are several distinct ways to strike with a flogger. You can use the flogger in an overhand or underhand motion so that the full length of the lashes strikes your partner in a heavy "thud;" doing this is generally more thuddy and less stingy than other techniques. The larger the area over which the impact falls, the more distributed the energy is and the less intense it is. This is also among the simplest ways to use the flogger; you merely stand over or behind your partner, and bring the flogger down in an overhand arc, or up in an underhand arc.

If you find yourself stepping forward or reaching forward with your arm extended as you strike, then it's likely you're either standing too far away from your partner, or you're using a flogger whose lashes are too short for what you're doing. Your arm should be bent at the bottom of the arc, and the impact comes from the motion in your wrist.

Another, more common way to use the flogger is to keep the flogger in constant motion and strike only with the tips of the lashes. When you use a flogger this way, almost all of the motion of the flogger is in your wrist; you can practice simply by keeping the flogger moving in a vertical circle by rotating your wrist. The flogger's lashes should stay together and travel smoothly. By keeping the motion primarily vertical, you'll help eliminate the problem of "wrapping" the lashes around your partner, which can happen if you strike in a sideways, horizontal motion; wrapping the lashes around your partner's body is quite painful and can cause injury.

A simple way to practice using a flogger in this manner is to stand above or to one side of your partner while your partner lies on his or her stomach on a bench or even on the bed. Spin the flogger overhand, and bring it closer to your partner's body until the lashes are lightly touching his or her butt; observe how the lashes behave when they strike, and try to keep them controlled and together. You should be able to strike exactly the same place consistently and repeatably; if the flogger is landing all over the place, you're probably not moving it smoothly. (Standing over a large body pillow is a good practice technique if you don't yet trust your control.)

If your partner is standing or bent over, you can also use the flogger by spinning it underhand as well. This is particularly good for striking the back and underside of the buttocks. The basic motion is the same; keep the flogger moving smoothly in a circle, and keep most of the motion in your wrist.

The flogger can also be used in a straight forward striking motion. This technique is similar to what you might use if you're snapping a towel. Hold the flogger's handle near the base and flick your wrist forward sharply. The falls will snap forward; you should be able to place them exactly were you want, and the falls should all land together. Try to make the motion smooth and controlled, rather than jerky; it may be useful to hold the ends of the lashes in your other hand just before you flick them forward. This technique is very intense and quite stingy, especially if you're using a flogger with narrow lashes; it's important to practice on a pillow or something similar until you are confident you can strike precisely where you intend to.

Precision is especially important when flogging your partner's buttocks. The butt can take a heavy flogging, but the tailbone itself is fragile and should be avoided.

More sophisticated flogging techniques involve swinging the flogger in an oval or figure-8 pattern, which if done quickly and consistently can create a nearly constant sensation. This can be done with a flogger in each hand; this technique, involving moving two floggers in a figure-8 pattern, is called "florentining" or "florentine flogging."

One thing to keep in mind is that a flogger does not always need to be used to strike! I often like to alternate between flogging a person in a slow, but increasing, overhand circle, building up gradually from slow gentle strikes to faster and harder strikes, then gently drag the ends of the lashes over my partner's skin. The feel of soft lashes, such as on a suede or deerskin flogger, is quite sensual.

What you'll need

A flogger, a target, and enough space to practice.

When you look to practice flogging, be aware of what is behind and to each side of you, You should practice in an area free of obstructions, with at least a four-foot area behind and to both sides of you.

Pillows make good practice targets. I have in the past propped them on the armrests of a couch and on the back of a chair to get experience with controlling a flogger with a partner at different heights. A pillowcase or covering made of any velvety material can aid in developing your accuracy; velvet-like materials will show exactly where the flogger's tails land.


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