Anatomy of a Flogger
The above image outlines the basics of a traditional flogger. Floggers come in many other types and configurations, but this is one of the most common.
The butt of the flogger is the top of the handle. On this piece, the butt and neck are covered in a Turk's head knot. Other knots are sometimes used, or no knots at all. The hanging loop sits at the top. This loop is only meant to hang the flogger, not be looped around the wrist. Wrist loops can be dangerous to the top and shouldn’t be used.
The shaft of the flogger is the long part of the handle where most people settle their grip. If a flogger is balanced the balance point should fall somewhere on the shaft. The balance point is the spot where you can balance the flogger on one or two fingers, tails to one side handle to the other.
A balanced flogger is easier to throw for longer than an unbalanced flogger since you can place your hand at the center of its centrifugal force. This means the tails will “pull” less against the person throwing it and allow them to conserve strength and accuracy.
Not all floggers can be balanced. Finger floggers or ball handle floggers have no long handle to counterweight the tails and therefore have to balance point. This is deliberate as their “pull” is what keeps them moving. The style of throwing finger floggers differs from that of throwing traditional floggers in that the top is managing continuous motion and momentum to deliver the strikes. Traditional floggers tend to be thrown with more singular strikes where each hit is its an energy cycle.
The neck of the flogger is where the tails are attached to the shaft. This is usually covered by a knot. The knot serves the purpose of choking the tails together and helping to prevent flyaway tails or tails that trail behind the pack.
The tails/tresses/falls of a flogger can be made out of a wide variety of things. It is common to define floggers by the sensations they produce on a scale from stingy to thuddy.
The sensation flogger tails produce is dependent on a few factors. The material the flogger is made out of, the way the material is shaped, the material’s density and the stiffness or softness of the material.
With the application of a little common world knowledge, you can probably tell whether a flogger is stingy or thuddy by looking at it. If a flogger has leather tails that are flexible, soft, and cut in wide strips it will most likely be on the thuddy side. If the tails are stiff and narrow they will be stingy. Stiffness contributes more to sting than the width of a flogger’s tail.
If someone were to hit you with a cloth necktie, and then a wide leather belt, the belt would most definitely be the stingier of the two due to its stiffness. The same concept applies to floggers.
Different leathers and materials will always produce different sensations, and people experienced with flogging may have their specific preferences in types of leather and cut. This is a highly personal thing and has to be cultivated individually.
The length of the tails also varies widely. For beginners trying to choose a flogger tail length, I recommend starting with a flogger that is the length of your arm from where your arm meets your shoulder to your fingertip. A few inches in either direction will not make much of a difference here so there is no need to be overly exacting. A short person will find a very long flogger more difficult to deal with and a tall person will have more difficulty with a flogger that is too short.
There is a myth that shorter floggers are “safer” than longer floggers. This isn’t necessarily true and can give tops a false sense of security. True injuries to a bottom from being flogged are fairly rare when done with sense and awareness. There are always exceptions and kinksters are rather innovative in their quest to find new ways to inflict pain, but for the most part, if you’re using a leather tailed flogger you are probably more likely to do serious injury to yourself as a top than you are to your bottom.
A top can throw out their elbow, get tendonitis and or tennis elbow and exacerbate any back injuries they may have. Using a flogger that is too short for a long length of time can cause the top to be constantly leaning forward to hit their target to have the room for wide swings. Smaller floggers also require much more strength to inflict heavy hits. This makes the top work harder and can lead to the aforementioned problems.
A flogger that is too long will be harder to control. These are more of a risk to the bottom because it is easier to wrap unintentionally. Aiming also becomes more difficult and many tops will believe they are hitting much lower than their tails are landing. This leads to the rather common symptom of a bottom having the tops of their shoulders be red from a beating while the top was aiming for their back/shoulder blades.
Both of these things can be mitigated by the top moving closer or further away from the bottom, but standing too close means you don’t have enough room to swing and standing too far away can lead to the top leaning forward awkwardly again.
Find your Goldilocks zone.
As always; there is no one true “right” way to do kinky shit. If the above doesn’t serve you then forge your path. Everyone should develop their own style that works for them. Anyone who insists they are the keepers of the One Twue Path is selling you something. Probably their ego.
Note about finger floggers- It is a common misconception that finger floggers or ball handle floggers are used by people who are less skilled at flogging than people who use traditional handles. This is elitist gatekeeping bullshit. I suspect it has a lot to do with many women preferring finger/ball handle floggers over traditional since they allow people to utilize upper body strength more effectively.
The true mark of a skilled flogger top is their ability to read their bottom and direct the scene in a manner that gets all parties to where they wanted to go. Not the ability to florentine. Not the ability to knock a fly out of the sky with a single flogger tail. You can use simple strikes and basic toys in a scene and still build a wonderful connection and experience for you and your partner. After all, isn’t that the point?