My dominant won't flog or crop me enough

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DEAR PETER: My dominant won’t flog me or crop me enough. I want him to go longer and harder so I can go deeper into subspace, but he stops too soon. He says he doesn’t want to push me too far and he’s concerned I might not use my safeword, but can you tell me honestly what’s the worst that could happen?



DEAR CELIA: Well, in many BDSM activities, including flogging and cropping, there are risks. The important thing is to recognise those risks and manage them. It’s like skydiving: it’s inherently dangerous, but if you take the right precautions and are sensible then you can go a lifetime without serious incident.

In heavy or intense activities like flogging and cropping, there are a few important risks.

The first one is that when someone goes into subspace, they often lose awareness of what’s happening to their body. This can be due to a combination of the mental state they go into, as well as a result of the natural chemicals the body releases in response to pain. These can mean that the person in subspace can’t tell if they are suffering harm. They may not be able to tell if muscle ligaments tear, if internal organs are being bruised due to flogger or crop mis-hits, if they lose blood circulation in part of their body because of a change of position, or even if bones fracture. A submissive or bottom may not say their safeword when they’re in such a condition because they don’t realise that they are actually being hurt or damaged. It may only be after the scene, when the neurochemicals have stopped being released and they have come down from subspace, that they realise the extent of the damage.

Secondly, an heavy or intense BDSM scene can be just as demanding as a very hard, physical workout. It can be risky to get into such a scene if you have health problems, such as heart or circulation problems, diabetes, or are just unfit or overweight. Going into a heavy BDSM unprepared in such a situation can be just the same and just as dangerous as going unprepared into a marathon or cross-country run.

So, to answer your question: the worst that can happen is permanent physical damage or death. But, as I said, the risks can be managed. By knowing what they are, and by working with your dominant, you may be able to work through the risks and achieve the intensity you’re looking for.

So to understand this a bit more, here are some additional notes...

Your dominant is quite right to be concerned that you might not use your safeword. A very experienced submissive friend of mine says that just because a submissive doesn’t use their safeword doesn’t mean that they’re OK. The problem is that a submissive in subspace may be “floating” or detached to such an extent that they can’t even think of saying their safeword. They may be unconscious (or dead) and be unable to speak. Also, as I said above, they may not even realise that they are being hurt and that they should stop.

Most good dominants use safewords as just one indicator. They don’t rely on them and will additionally use other signs and indicators, such as talking to their submssives and listening to their responses, watching how their submissive breathes, observing subtle muscle movements, and so on.

You can help with this. Many submissives become like dead fish when in subspace. They just lie there soaking up the pain, the strokes of the flogger, or the cuts with the cane, with no obvious sign of how they feel or what state of mind they are in. This makes it very hard for the dominant and if they’re feeling uncertain safety dictates that they end the scene then and there.

Learn to communicate more, and not just during the scene. While answering your dominant’s questions is useful, you can also add hand signals to indicate that you want him to go faster, to go slower, to stop for a moment, and so on. The more you communicate with your dominant during the scene, the more confident he will be about going longer or harder.

Also, after the scene try and debrief to make sure he knows about the different feelings you had so he can associate them with what he was doing and what he saw. The more he knows about what you go through during a flogging, the better he will be able to work with you during subsequent scenes. At the same time, find out the things that might have been difficult for him (such as a difficult angle or complex move with the flogger) and see if there are ways a good outcome can be achieved without so much difficulty for him.

Remember also that tops and dominants have their own limits. If your dominant has a limit and he reaches it and decides the stop the scene, then you should respect that. Just the same as you wanting to be able to stop when you’re not comfortable or happy with the way things are going, he needs to be able to stop too (and this is what is actually happening in your case. Your dominant is stopping before it gets uncomfortable for him).

Subspace is also a tricky animal. The result of subspace can be the same as taking some forms of medication. When you’re coming down from subspace you may not be able to make good judgements, and some submissives report feelings of floating for days after a scene. This is not good when you are required to operate factory equipment, drive a car, perform surgery, or make important decisions which affect you or anyone else.

Keep this in mind because this can also be a factor in not trying for really deep subspace.

Perhaps also consider what to do to get out of subspace after the scene. Is it enough that your dominant just stops? Or is there something he can do after the scene to quickly get you out of subspace and “functional” again?