The following is from our very own naughty dictionary, 150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Bolded words signify individual entries that appear elsewhere in the A-to-Z section of the book. Anything with a tie icon indicates an activity or prop mentioned in the Fifty Shades series (symbolic of the famous woven tie Christian Grey uses to restrain Anastasia Steele). The idea being: look up something you’re interested in and, from there, make it a choose-your-own-adventure book by following any bolded words that pique your interest to their own dedicated entry. Or just start at A and don’t stop ‘til you get to Z—or ‘til you’re compelled to try something out with your partner, whichever comes first!:
The pom pom of the BDSM world. (“Give me a W! Give me an H! Give me an I! Give me a P!”) A popular flagellation tool, a flogger consists of a fairly stout handle and several “tails” of equal length (from one- to three-feet long) made of leather, suede, nylon, pleather, rubber, or even ribbon. Depending on the number of tails, their length, their material, and whether they have knots or beads at their ends, the sensation a flogger provides can be anywhere from soft to holy-fucking-shit.
Beginners should go with a well-made, small, light-impact flogger: they’ll evoke more giggles than actual cries of pain. Avoid heavy-leather, braided, beaded, or knotted tails in the beginning. As with most BDSM equipment, you don’t want to scrimp: A cheaply made flogger won’t be balanced correctly (making it harder and heavier to wield), its tails won’t land in the same spot (what you want), and/or the edges of the tails will be sharp (what you don’t want). Try companies that specialize in making floggers, like Bare Leatherworks—with their Midsize Cowhide Flogger, the handle feels great, you can give your partner a good whack without it hurting them, and it makes your victim’s butt jiggle, too! For the kind of posh flogger you might find in the Red Room of Pain, there’s LELO’s Sensua Suede Whip (available also in red!).
To make sure you’ve got good aim, practice on inanimate objects first. Work on your different strokes: twirling, backhand, infinity symbol. Don’t graduate to animate objects—that have of course given you their consent—until you’ve got the eye and aim of a national darts champion. The ends of the tails should be hitting only the safe zones: lower buttocks, thighs, and upper back (not the spine or neck!). As a beginner, it’s a good idea to protect areas you don’t want to hit with clothing, a towel, blanket, or pillow, just in case you accidentally let the tails “wrap” around the body beyond these safe zones—the epitome of poor form. (Another good reason to have your bottom lying down if you’re a beginner.)
See flagellation for more important safety info. A.k.a. cats. Mini-floggers for genitorture are called flails, pussywhips (ha!), or ballwhips.