The allure of flogging
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If there were a competition for the most popular BDSM dungeon activity, I think it would be a two-horse race between bondage and flogging with the result probably being a tie (Haha! OK. Sorry. Obvious joke.).
If we put bondage to one side, why is flogging so popular?
I think that part of it is because there's an image associated with flogging. It's an image of someone naked with their hands tied above their heads to a bolt on a bare stone wall, being whipped and flogged mercilessly by their evil captor and with blood and sweat mixing in pools on the floor beneath them as they writhe and howl in agony. This is, of course, terribly sexy.
Secondly, it can be deceptively easy to get into flogging... on the business end, anyway. Floggers can appear harmless. Someone cautious about getting into BDSM for the first time can be shown a lovely, soft, decorated flogger and they'll think, "Well, what possible harm could that do?"
Thirdly, there is an enormous variety of floggers available. They can be made of various types of leather, rubber, string, hair and most anything else that's long, thin and flexible. They come in a wide range of colours and styles. As well as allowing the dominant a lot of control over the range of sensations or pain they inflict, floggers are, in fact, almost perfect for shopaholics.
Fourthly, floggers can be applied in an infinite number of ways. A dominant can use a flogger and strike hard, soft, slow or fast. They can hit on the back or on the buttocks, and a light flogger can be used on the chest or on the pink bits further down. If the dominant turns the flogger around they can also insert it handle first.
Fifthly, floggers are good exercise. Many tops and dominants are almost constantly served hand and foot by their submissives or slaves and it is only flogging which staves off indolence and an early grave due to inactivity. Indeed, dominants can have quite massive biceps precisely because of the workout they get from flogging.
And, to add a slightly more serious tone, floggers are tools of control, and control is the name of the game for many dominant/submissive couples. Flogging can be sensual, sexual or painful. It can be physically aggressive and rough or it can be light and gentle. We could maybe compare flogging to playing a musical instrument like the violin. The violinist is the dominant, the submissive is the violin, and the flogger is the bow. The dominant "plays" the submissive using the flogger. The more skilled the dominant and the more familiar they are with their instrument the more they can get out of it.
We might be tempted to see flogging as one person making another person really horny or giving them orgasms, but I think the best tops and dominants do much more than that. Lots of people can play "Fur Elise" on the piano and make it sound passable, for example, but it's obvious when someone with real skill plays it even though they play exactly the same notes as everyone else.
I've always thought that there's a lot of creativity possible in flogging, a lot of artistry. Much of it is due, I think, to the flexibility of a flogger allowing the dominant to inflict exactly what he or she wants, when they want and where they want. In doing so it allows the artist in the dominant to fly free. The submissive or bottom is the instrument. They surrender to this and a flogger allows their dominant free reign to play them.
This is how it should be.