Whip it Good: safety basics for whips (and other impact play) – a KinkCrate piece
“When a problem comes along, you must whip it. …Whip it good.” – Devo.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Of all the implements you can use for impact play, the single tailed whip is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous, and for good reason. These whips are NOT to be underestimated. It is strongly recommended that, in addition to educating yourself, and tons of practice with it, you take a fetish workshop on whip technique or consult the guidance of an experienced professional before you use your whip in a scene.
You got a single-tailed mini bullwhip. Now what? Well, slow down, Indiana Jones. Before you start wailing on your partner, you’ve got some training to do! That training starts right here. Number one rule of impact play (after enthusiastic consent): Safety First! Part of playing safely is learning as much as you can about your impact implements and how to operate them with precision and care. This should be a starting point, though. By no means will this one article be the only thing you should read or learn about impact play and whips. I am a sex educator and an experienced kinkster, and I’m going to talk to you about safety concerns and negotiation. However, I am not a whip expert, so I am also going to provide you with several other resources at the end of this article, so that you can continue your educational journey beyond this point. I also spoke with two other sex educators and experienced kinksters who happen to know a thing or two more about whips than I do and will include their input throughout:
Alex Bove (M.Ed.) is a Philadelphia-based sex educator who focuses on masculinity and men’s issues. His social media campaign to reshape modern masculinity is Talk Like a Man www.facebook.com/talklikeaman.
Belle is a Washington DC-based scientist, kinkster and burlesque performer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Terms you should know
Mini Bullwhip – this is the kind of whip that you have in your KinkCrate. Of all whip types, bullwhips are the largely considered to be the meanest.
If you’d like to try other kinds of whips or even floggers, check out the shop at KinkCrate.com/ProfessorSex
Fall and Cracker – this is the flickery bit on the end of your whip that makes the infamous CRACK sound and provides the sting. Whips are made from porous materials (and so are the fall and cracker). These parts should be replaced often and not used between partners because you could transfer bodily fluids.
The whip in your crate doesn’t have these. Instead it has a flogger like set of smaller lashes at the end of its tail that are not removable. This whip is a great whip to practice technique and decide if you’re interested in whip play.
Safeword – This is a word that will stop play immediately when uttered by any person participating in the playtime (aka “Scene”). Use a word that isn’t common usage for sex or roleplay. For example, “Ouch” is not a good safeword. Things that are easy to remember work best:
Green (Yay! Go! I love that), Yellow (Okay, not sure how I feel about this, or, I need to take breath, slow down) and Red (STOP RIGHT NOW).
RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) – before any of you can consent to play, you must learn and understand as much as you can about the implements you’re using, the context of the scene, and any risks you might be exposing the humans involved to. This includes physical, psychological, and emotional risks.
Negotiation – this is where consent happens! Communicate with each other about what you want from this scene.
Which of you is the top (one doing the action) and which of you is the bottom (one receiving the action)
Why did you choose this toy?
What do you hope will happen?
What do you like or think you’ll like?
What would you like to avoid?
Do you have any physical, mental, or emotional boundaries or limitations you need to discuss with each other?
Will sex be involved? If so, what barriers will you use?
What will you do if something goes wrong?
Single point of contact
Your whip journey starts out as a one person show. You will log many hours of education and practice before you ever rig a human up and unleash the CRACKen of your whip on them. (Sorry, I had to. You knew there’d be a kraken pun in here somewhere.) Whips are dangerous toys and you want to make sure you’re super comfortable on your own for adding anyone else to the mix.
What makes a whip so dangerous? Unlike floggers and paddles, which have more surface area or contact points that distribute the pressure of the impact, a whip has an extremely fine contact point, which means when it hits the skin it feels like a bite. It can leave instant bruises and welts, or even break the skin, and bring a bottom to tears in a single strike. While other implements are made to be used in longer impact or spanking sessions, a whip might be cracked as little as a single time to be effective and sufficient.
No point of contact
This is not a technique article, but it is important that you understand which areas of the body to aim for, and which to avoid. Whips are not only highly effective, but also incredibly dangerous if used improperly. A whip that strikes an unintended area with enough force could cause damage to you and your partner.
Try to aim for:
- Back of thigh
- Back, not near spine
Try to avoid hitting:
- Small of the back (where your kidneys are)
- Front of the body
On that note, grab some safety goggles. It’s time to practice!
Practice makes perfect
Go slowly. Don’t try to be Indiana Jones. Practice on a pillow or teddy bear before trying to hit a person with a whip. Be sure you can repeat the same motion over and over, and hit the same target. Accuracy is key!
NEVER practice on a human first! Find a very fluffy and plush stuffed animal and rig it up in the middle of a big open space (when whips go flying, they take up a lot of room!). You will know when you have made an accurate hit when you see the gap in the plush. This is also a great way to practice prevention of “wrapping” the end of whip around a body part (or teddy bear part), instead of just the cracker hitting the right spot on your bottom.
- Make sure you’ve got safety goggles on
- Give yourself (and your whip) lots of room.
- If you’ve got a 3 foot whip, you need to clear a six foot circle of space (don’t forget backlash).
- You can practice using your whip with precision by striking a stuffed animal and seeing how
- the whip displaces the fur.
- You don’t need to strike hard. Start soft and work your way up.
- If you find you have to swing too hard to get your teddy bear’s fur to move, you can try striking a pillow coated with a light dusting of flour or cornstarch and then seeing where the flour is displaced by the whip.
- You’ll want to practice lots and lots before you ever strike another person.
- Try to attend a workshop where you can be on the receiving end of a whip crack as well, that way you know how it feels.
Belle’s Tip for practice:
Practice naked (except for those sexy safety goggles)! Trust me, you will learn how to keep your wrist in line very quickly after the whip goes backwards at you a few times.
Chance, the Wrapper
Another thing to watch out for is wrapping. Wrapping is when the cracker (the tongue bit at the end) misses the sweet spot and wraps around the body to strike another, unintended spot. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of unintended wrapping, I can assure you it is not pleasant.
A whip is very flexible and may wrap around your partner’s shoulder, side, thigh, or even neck. Wraparound can be extremely painful and can expose delicate areas (like the eyes!) to unnecessary risk. Aim carefully when swinging a whip. If you miss your target, miss it short rather than overshooting it.
Best laid plans…
Even with all the practice in the world, BDSM scenes sometimes go wrong. Whips are no different. If you’re going to be doing any kind of restraint, impact, pain, or sensation play you NEED to build a First Aid Kit that you keep in wherever you play and update constantly.
Even when used perfectly, whips very easily cause cuts and abrasions. Have latex gloves and a first aid kit on hand every time you play. Whip material is very porous and will absorb bodily fluids, so don’t share with multiple partners unless you switch out the crackers.
- What should be in your first aid kit?
- Rubber gloves
- Antibacterial wipes
- Bandages (for accidental lacerations)
- Easy snap hot and cold packs (this is for sore or pulled muscles if you are using restraint or doing endurance impact play)
- Safety Shears (if you’re doing restraint play)
- Also put backup keys to the handcuffs if that’s something you’re using
- Aleve (naproxen sodium)
NOTE TO BOTTOMS: Do not take painkillers of any kind BEFORE playing. Pain killers can act as anti-coagulant. If you get cut during a scene, you don’t want to lose too much blood. They will dull your ability to sense pain (ya know, doing their job) and you may take on more impact than is safe for you. When the pain killers wear off you might realize you engaged in some playtime you’re seriously regretting. This is especially important in longer impact play scenes like spanking and flogging, or in restraint scenes
NOTE TO EVERYONE: Don’t play while intoxicated. It impairs your judgement, your ability to sense pain, and your ability to consent.
As I stated at the start, this article by no means covers all your bases. You’ll want to continue to learn as much as you can about the implements you’re using. Where can you learn more about safety, education, and technique?
The best way to learn how to use a whip is from an experienced BDSM practitioner. Connect with other kinksters at a local munch or kink event. Join FetLife.com and get in touch with other people there who are into the same things you’re into. Whipping is varsity-level kink. Don’t try it until you’ve had some time to practice and perfect your technique.
Whether you’re using a whip, a flogger, a paddle, or your hands, topping is about the connection you have with your partner/bottom. Focus more on the mood of the scene and less on technique and everyone will come away happier. Easton and Hardy’s “The Topping Book” is an excellent resource for a new kinky top!
Kink Weekly has a nice article (http://www.kinkweekly.com/article-baadmaster/whip-essentials/) about technique that applies to all whip types. However, as the article states, nothing will replace in-person tutorials and practice. I highly recommend signing up for a free account on fetlife.com and joining your local group for new people to the scene or “TNG” (The Next Generation). They put on classes and demonstrations about all sorts of impact play, including whips! I have even co-taught a class on whips and been the whip dolly for demonstrations.
- Kink Academy – click the Kink Academy or Passionate U links at the top of the page here on ProfessorSex.com for an embarrassment of sex education riches. Kink Academy gives you practical information with video instruction on all sorts of kinky fuckery.
- The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health
- This is a community of kinksters who are happy to share tips and tricks and be a support system for you
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
*This piece originally appeared in the handbook of the September 2017 KinkCrate. To learn more or subscribe to KinkCrate to go KinkCrate.com/ProfessorSex