This is the post to which I was referring in my essay on Thursday about the people preaching abstinence-only flogging education. In it, DaddyJohny talks about possibly unsafe behavior that goes on in the scene and a way to minimize risk by cleaning floggers.
The original post is here on Fetlife, if you’d like to give it some love or contribute (civilly) to the discussion. I’ve decided to keep the entire post in recognition of the ridiculousness that it’s even an issue (see my essay if you don’t know what I mean).
Eeesh. I am still getting emails asking me about cleaning floggers. I recently posted a rant about nasty floggers being used on multiple people in our community. It apparently is a very hot topic. I deleted my rant because it was misconstrued or I didn’t get my point across. I’m going to try again, being more diligent with my words.
(I use upper case for all BDSM titles. You don’t have to like it).
I have seen many bad practices, in my opinion, over the years in the scene. Primarily club play. I’ve seen a Top whip a Bottom bloody with a single tail, then flogged the same person with a leather flogger, then that flogger was thrown into the Top’s backpack, only for that same flogger to come out later that night to be used on a different Bottom. In my opinion, this is an appallingly poor practice. When I confronted this person, his reply was that he can’t afford a new flogger each time he plays. Many years later I saw this same person play, and his practice with floggers did not seem to improve. I have seen Tops flog a Bottom’s vagina, rub the falls up against her, then use that same technique on another female Bottom an hour or so later. I’ve seen it. I know it has taken place. I have indeed read that certain diseases have been known to live without a host for a specific amount of time.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend using sex toys on multiple partners as it may spread disease. The leather flogger is a sex toy, (in my opinion). Any BDSM toy has the potential to carry and transmit infectious disease. I hold the belief that any leather toy which comes into contact with any bodily fluid, should not be used on another person. That being said, we all know that this is taking place in many arenas in the BDSM community.
I try not to break skin when I play. On the rare occasions that I do, I retire that flogger. I have always carried large zip lock bags in my kit, for just such a rare occasion. I separate that flogger so that it does not contaminate the rest of my gear. Anyone that I have played with will attest to this.
Even still, I do indeed use disinfectants on my floggers for the mere funk (gross) factor. It makes me feel better about my floggers. I use disinfectants even on my floggers that have been slated for particular significant play partners. About ten years or so ago, I asked my doctor for her opinion on what would be the best way to clean my leather floggers. My method is to completely saturate, submerse my leather falls in a hospital grade germicidal disinfectant such as Citrus 2 that meets the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. I leave the falls saturated for 15 to 20 minutes. Then with soap and warm water, I rinse the leather falls of chemicals. I let the flogger dry, separating the falls from each other and straightening them. I let the flogger completely aerate, (completely dry) before re-hydrating them with mink oil. This method does not guarantee that the falls are completely free of every pathogen under the sun. This should not be considered a sterilization. Leather is a porous fibrous material. It is not the ideal material for keeping it free of pathogens. Due to the fact that leather is a porous material, even using disinfectants does not mean that the flogger is disinfected. It is more sanitized than disinfected.
My method for cleaning leather floggers will indeed damage or shorten the life of the flogger. There are many other techniques out there that claim equal effectiveness without damaging the leather. There are so many different ideas on how to clean, rehydrate and care for leather falls. Most adult toy manufacturers or flogger craftsman will tell you that harsh disinfectant cleaners will cause damage to your flogger. If you sell something, you can not recommend a method of cleaning to your customer that will destroy the product. It is my opinion, my opinion only, (this is for the flogger owners) that when it comes to cleaning a flogger of the funk factor, the longevity of the flogger should not even be a consideration. If you do not feel that your floggers are safe, replace your floggers.
There are so many good suggestions out there for safety in regards to using floggers. The best one that I have heard is for a Bottom to carry around his or her own flogger. Though, I am not too sure how realistic this is from what I have seen in our community. Plus I personally am limited on how I can flog with a flogger I am not familiar with. A really good friend of mine lets his floggers aerate for a week in-between floggings and never lets the floggers touch bodily fluids. There is also the suggestion that using an autoclave would be ideal. That seems to be sound advice however I am not too sure about the practicality of that. Some people recommend the use of bleach and they claim it is least harmful to the flogger. There are so many different viewpoints on this topic and many of them sound like good advice. You should do your own homework (research) and find out what level of risk you are comfortable with. More importantly, you should find out what level of risk your play partner is comfortable with.
The point of my original rant was not to tell someone how to clean their floggers nor give anyone the impression that my method will free you of risk. I was not trying to get into the particulars of what is the best technique for being safe. It was merely a rant about those who throw caution to the wind, solely because of the high expense of their floggers.
My technique on sanitizing my floggers is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.
I wrote in my previous rant…….. Anyone who cares more for the longevity of their floggers than the person they are playing with, does not deserve to be wielding a flogger in the first place. I fucking stand by that statement. You can send me your hate mail now. I promise I will try to respond as soon as I can. As Tops who play with multiple people, presenting ourselves as Masters of our craft, I feel that we have an obligation to be as safe as we can. It is important that Bottoms are informed of all risk. If we present ourselves as professionals, we need to act as such.
I welcome different opinions as comments. I encourage those who might have more information to leave it here. It can only help our community. We should be talking about this. Everyone’s opinion matters in matters of safety.
However, if you should choose to attack me or anyone else with disparaging remarks or name calling in open forum, I will delete your comment and block you.
I borrowed this, please read:
Clean is a relative term.
~Sanitize: to free from dirt as by cleaning
~Disinfect: The use of a chemical procedure that eliminates virtually all recognized pathogenic microorganisms but not necessarily all microbial forms on inanimate objects. Disinfection is often confused with sterilization, but they are not the same thing. Disinfection does not remove all microbes, nor does it eliminate spores. Disinfection is generally used on hard surfaces (counter tops, etc.), but may not be sufficient for tools/toys that come in contact (including indirect contact) with the body.
~High-level Disinfect: Destruction of all microorganisms, with the exception of high numbers of bacterial spores.
~Sterilize: To destroy all living microorganisms, as pathogenic or saprophytic bacteria, vegetative forms, and spores. Sterile is an absolute; something is either sterile or it is not. There is no in-between
Also, another suggestion, if you do feel you will be coming into contact with bodily fluids, perhaps a disposable flogger would work for some. You can learn how to make a disposable rope flogger here: