For A Vanilla Friend

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A friend of mine whom I have always considered vanilla got sushi with me a few weeks ago. She expressed interested in whips and chains and things. And I was surprised. I know some kink folks go around assuming that vanilla people WOULD be kinky if they were a little more gutsy or a little less sheltered. But I have never thought that. I know quite a few people who tried kinky stuff just to see how they felt about it, and decided it wasn’t for them. Ergo, I never presume to know what someone is like inside their own head.

But this friend of mine asked about a few things, and I thought I would do a basic overview of each of them.

First, responsible sex.

I have written about this topic before when discussing poly relationships, but I think a quick summary here would be beneficial. My friend expressed horror about getting STD tests from people. But as I have said before, one little cell can ruin your life and skin to skin contact can transfer cells; condoms or no. If you’re interested in being poly, understand that getting an STD can ruin the lives of a lot of people, and learn to take this seriously and not to be afraid of it.

Yes, vanilla people often avoid openly talking about this kind of thing. Yes, some of them see it as a lack of trust when you simply want to use a condom, never mind trading paperwork. But if you get into the kink community then people expect this, so don’t be shy about asking!

Second, where to go. 

I have found that the best way to find kinky folks where you live these days is to go to a fetlife.com munch. I know us kinky folks have our issues with fetlife from time to time. But let’s be honest, before that web site came along, finding freaks in your town involved walking up to scary people and asking them in person. I did that back in the early 90’s when I moved to L.A. and I am sure it wasn’t safe.

So make a profile (dear god don’t use your real name!) and find a munch near you. Choose one in a public place where the dress code is listed as “vanilla.” Then just go and talk to people. Most munches will include folks who can tell you where the dungeons are and the good clubs to hang out at.

Third, what to do.

It’s not like you have to jump in with both feet. If you’re nervous about getting started, just keep dating vanilla people, but ask them if they ever thought about trying kinky things. Practicing with another person who is mostly vanilla can be fun and harmless. Get one of those silly kinky “starter kits” they sell these days as sex shops (due to the popularity of a certain series of shit books) and try things out. You don’t need to be part of the community to be kinky. It can be nice to have the support, but if it’s too overwhelming at first, then don’t do it. You should never do anything that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable.

And remember the BDSM mantra: Safe, sane, and consensual! 

Flogging Tips

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Not too long ago I found myself in a room with a girl and a boy who wanted to play BDSM. I suggested starting with a flogger because it is a good beginner toy (they are pretty soft and don’t do a lot of damage for the most part.)

I should have given instructions to the girl before I handed her my flogger, but I guess I forget that using a flogger isn’t an automatic motion for some people.

The trick is to figure out how to move only your wrist, so as not to wear yourself out. It’s a simple figure-eight motion, and it doesn’t take a whole body worth of force (though later after you have warmed someone up, maybe you want to throw your whole body into something.)

You start out with soft, even strokes on one side and then the other, in a rhythm. Little by little, you build up how much force you use. So, as you swing the flogger and connect, each time is just a big harder than the last.

You shouldn’t grab the ends and snap a flogger at first. You can build up to that if your sub has agreed to something like that. But most subs who like floggers have told me that they like them because it’s more about sensation than about pain. If you snap them, then it hurts much more. Also, if you do it with the right kind of flogger, you can break skin.

I am not saying it’s always bad to break skin, by the way. Some people like that. However, the amount of people who like it is very small, and therefore it’s not something that you want to do without talking about it in detail with your sub first. Remember to cover such things in scene negotiation before you play!

For me personally, I will not break skin or leave marks without making sure I have a signed consent form. I may have broken this rule with one of two relationships I have had with men, but I never break it with women because some accusations can ruin your life.

Anyway the point is; this girl I was with just started flailing the flogger around wildly, with no control at all. She missed the guy entirely once or twice and hit the walls instead. Then, in an attempt to control the flogger, she started grabbing the ends of the tails to snap it. That, of course, resulted in an angry submissive who wasn’t okay with such intense pain; particularly when it came with no warm up at all.

I took the flogger from her and tried to show her what she was doing wrong, but maybe that is something best practiced in private on a pillow, before trying to hit a real person. I learned to handle a flogger so long ago that I honestly can’t remember if I started on a person or not. I would guess not though, since I know my first encounter with a flogger was at Madam Tracy’s, and I assume she would have had me practice the figure-eight motion before there was a submissive in the room.

The point is; always talk first with the person who plans to get hit about what their expectations are. If they say that they do not know, it is best to give them a simple system of green-for-go, yellow-for-uncomfortable, and red-for-stop. Then start with a figure-eight motion and hit them softly, allowing the sensation of the flogger to be all that they feel. Slowly build to hitting harder and harder, so that it will start to sting over time. Vary where you hit, so as not to just attack one spot over and over. And of course, don’t snap it unless you know they are okay with possible permanent damage to their skin.

Note: Some people like to use two floggers at once. It’s the same idea; just with two hands. This requires more space, and I would suggest mastering the art of a single flogger before you try to duel-wield

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