Recently a friend wrote a post on Fetlife about behavior he found worrying—he’d witnessed (repeatedly) people using the same floggers on multiple people in one evening. Either at dungeons or play parties or whathaveyou.
This is dangerous behavior, as it can theoretically spread certain STDs and STIs, which he went into, and then explained the ways he goes about cleaning his floggers and encouraged other people to do their own research and clean their own floggers for the safety of the people they play with.
I thought the piece was a nice public service announcement full of useful information and asked if I could repost it on my site and he gave permission.
Perhaps a day later—maybe two—he messages me to say he’s taken it down because he was getting such grief from people saying he was advocating unsafe behavior.
Everything about the post was about how to be safe, so I didn’t understand what this meant until he explained:
Apparently, some people thought that the only safe thing to do was to never use the same toy on two different people and advocating stringent cleaning was irresponsible, as people would then, you know, do what they had already been doing, and play with more than one person with the same toy.
So… What you’re saying is the only ‘correct’ way to talk about the issue is to tell people to abstain from behavior you don’t like… even safely?
That sounds like a really familiar strategy.
What gets me about it is that in the kink community we’re all about education (usually). We’re all about safety (usually). We’re all about people being able to do what they want because we believe that, being grown ups, other people are smart enough to make decisions for themselves, once they’ve been given information.
But someone saw problematic behavior, said, ‘This is why that is dangerous and here is how you can make it less dangerous, but also go do your own research.’
And other people apparently thought we were at a fundamentalist church somewhere and said, ‘No! People don’t want options! They need black and white! Just say yes or no! Good or bad! Because we all know when you tell grown up humans with agency they can’t do something they will absolutely listen to you!’
You can be realistic and say, ‘Hey, people do this. I’ve seen it with the two eyeballs that are in my face. We know it happens just like we know teenagers have sex.’
Abstinence-only education doesn’t work but safer sex education does. If someone only has two expensive floggers do you really think they’re only going to play with two people ever? Which is more likely?
I didn’t even like the show Seinfeld, but is flogger-worthy going to be the new sponge-worthy? (How many people will get that reference? God, I feel old.)
Eventually my friend did a second post with much of the same info and lots of ‘in my opinions’ inserted to help cover himself from the abstinence-only people. That post is going up on Saturday on my site as a mentor post.
In it he talks about some of the things that can possibly be contracted from using a flogger on two different people, which include HIV and HPV. As well as the ways to minimize the risks, which is what everything we do in BDSM is about–knowing the risks and minimizing damage. The short version is (there will be much more in his post Saturday):
1. Inform your play partner of any risk
2. If your flogger comes into contact with blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, separate that flogger from the rest of your gear, as to not contaminate your whole bag of gear.
3. If you flog into blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, give your flogger some time between play partners.
4. Sanitize your floggers even if it may damage your floggers.
If you read my writings you know I have HPV, which I got from a one-time experience twenty years ago. So education and safety is my thing now. I’ve always been against abstinence-only sex education because all of my brain cells work properly, but now I’m on a mission.
Clean your floggers. And anyone who supports abstinence-only any kind of education isn’t living in realityland where people are going to do whatever they’re going to do and the best policy is teaching people to do it as safely as possible.
Take care of each other and take care of yourself. Before you play with someone ask when they last cleaned their gear. Then make up your mind about if you want to use that gear or play with them in some other way.
I’m going to save up and get my own gear that’s just for me, but I know that’s not practical for everyone.
And since when did more information become a bad thing?