Whip It Up: Guide to Sex Whips, Crops & Floggers

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BDSM and bondage got complicated. It was bound to happen! Between the darker recesses of the internet and the rise of BDSM in pop-culture, BDSM has become tangled up in depictions that range from sexy and erotic, to dangerous and misinformed. Most people are aroused by fantasies of dominance and/or submission to some degree and want to integrate BDSM toys into their sexual repertoire but don’t realize the place to start - is the bottom!


Many of us come to explore bondage with an initial interest in spanking. Whether you want to be the giver (the dominant), receiver (submissive) or both (switch) it’s likely that playing with a sex whip or crop sex toy piqued your curiosity. These BDSM sex toys are meant to be handled with care and used with intention. Before engaging in spanking, it’s important to understand BDSM and bondage play.


Typically, the best information on BDSM toys and bondage sex toys, comes from professionals working “in the scene,” but it’s hard to find the time to vet dominatrix blog posts or pop into dungeons on the way home from work. This is especially true if you’re just getting started on your BDSM sexual journey. If all you really want is to try some bondage sex toys, get or give a proper spanking, orgasm and go to bed happy, then you’ve come to the right place.


This guide will give you an overview on BDSM basics, BDSM sex toys and bondage for beginners, focussing on the fun stuff like where to buy a sex crop or feather tickler and how to use them. You don’t need the philosophical history of Sade and Masoch or a full report on the complexities of dominant/submissive partnerships before you get to enjoy the erotic pleasure of bondage crops and whips. However, there are a few BDSM basics that will make the use of your bondage sex toys much more satisfying.


We’ll cover the erotic power dynamics in dominant/submissive scenario, using restraints, hand cuffs, or ankle cuffs, and how spanking with props (such as a sex whip) improves foreplay.


BDSM Basics

BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission. The term “bondage” has become a colloquialism for various types of BDSM play. Some would argue that bondage should only be used in reference to restraint play, such as the use of bondage handcuffs, hemp rope or silk ties. Others might say bondage refers to the “dominant/submissive” dichotomy and would consider a sex crop to be a bondage toy. In fact, “bondage crop,” “bondage whip” and “bondage flogger” are often the sex whips most people are looking for.


Regardless of the terms you prefer to use, be sure you and your partner have the same understanding of these words in context. Use words that you are both comfortable with as you discuss sexual acts and what they mean to you. You can also let your partner know which words/phrases you like or don’t like while engaging in BDSM.  


Communicate with each other about which acts of BDSM you want to try, the ones you might be open to and things you never want to do. This range is known as your “hard and soft limits.” These limits and desires can change over time, but don’t try to negotiate them in the heat of the moment. Surprisingly, it is often the submissive partner who will start begging to change the terms. Sometimes because they are so aroused that they are a little outside their mind, but sometimes it’s just part of the subservient role they’re playing. Hence why both have to agree to the rules in advance.


Be careful not to rely on already knowing your partner’s likes and dislikes, or assume they know yours. If going back and forth with your lover about the rules of a night of BDSM debauchery sounds boring or hard to articulate, consider emailing or texting. Sneaking away to send messages about wanting to bend your partner over your knee and tease their bottom with a feather tickler is exciting. Plus the emails are a great way to kick off the tonal shift of your dominant or submissive roles. Simple phrases like “yes sir” or “no mistress” can become charged with sexual tension.


Never use BDSM sex toys in any way they aren’t meant for or use household items in place of BDSM toys. Rope from the hardware store is a terrible idea, get soft hemp rope meant for erotic binding or buy bondage handcuffs. Avoid drinking heavily or doing drugs when you engage in BDSM. You are much more likely to hurt yourself or your partner if you’re drunk or high, which is bad enough, but if (knock on paddle wood) you accidentally cause an injury, it’s best to have your wits about you so you can tend to it immediately.


Make a Scene

The things that make BDSM erotic are also what make it difficult to talk about. It’s nuanced. It can mean and be different things to different people. It is always complicated because engaging in deliberate acts of possible discomfort, pain or subjugation is tricky. Even a seemingly simple smack on the butt or hair pulling can feel amazing to one person and traumatic to someone else. Before engaging in any type of BDSM, be sure you trust the person you’re with. Even in a long term, committed relationship, check in with your partner and re-establish trust before starting what is commonly referred to as a “BDSM scene” or “scene.” The rules for a scene are established in advance so that the people engaging in BDSM can feel safely contained within the confines of the scene. It’s similar to an acting or sports. When you’re onstage or on the field, you don’t do the same things as when you are off. The submissive should always be in charge and have the ability to end the scene.


In romantic/sexual partnerships, elements of BDSM can happen organically at any point in time. From flirting, to foreplay, to intercourse. It can feel less restrictive than having a scene, but if you’re planning to use or do something outside of your normal routine (like using a flogger), it helps to have a predetermined signal that you or your partner can use to communicate that you are done being submissive. Using an accessory like a collar or bondage cuffs work really well. Let’s say during foreplay, you enjoyed using a sex paddle, being called a greedy little piggy and doing as you were told, but those same things during sex would turn you off during intercourse… take off the collar or cuffs.


New Dom, Who Dis?

Determining whether or not you would prefer to be the dominant or submissive partner in your sweetly anticipated BDSM scene, is totally up to you. If you feel uncertain about which role you’d prefer to play, you might be a “switch.” A switch enjoys serving as a dominant and a submissive at different times. No one should switch their within a BDSM scene… it’s confusing and takes away from the power play of BDSM. During most sexual encounters, fluctuating between feeling more or less aggressive is common but rolling over your partner during intercourse to be on top is different from grabbing a sex toy whip out of their hand and spanking them. It can feel incredibly awkward or worse, like hostility or anger. This doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t take turns giving pleasurable smacks in the same night, just not in the same scene.


If you are uncertain about any of the roles, know that that  is normal. The desire to be dominating or subservient are both considered socially unacceptable. It can be extremely difficult to completely ignore these stigmas even when we are alone with the thoughts in our head. But that’s exactly where you want to start. Allow yourself to think and fantasize about various scenarios. Things that make you nervous to think about might become huge turn-ons after you’ve had a chance to think about them. The thing to remember is that what we like in daily life is not always the same as what we desire sexually. It is perfectly normal to feel aroused by things that are taboo or socially unacceptable. Sexuality can be similar to your sense of humor in this way, sometimes subverting the things that cause us pain or discomfort in ordinary life can be therapeutic. Controlled, physical pain can also release endorphins that can make you feel euphoric. However, never try to convince yourself or your partner to engage in any BDSM dynamic that you are not comfortable with. Just because you consider something with an open mind, doesn’t mean you’ll change your mind. You can still have fun with bondage crops and whips without going into the BDSM dynamic if you use them gently or just as a prop during sex. A latex outfit and riding crop in hand is very sexy, you can run the soft leather tip of the sex crop over your partner or use a feather tickler for “sensation play,” but not engage in any swift spankings you didn’t both agree to.


When you and your partner know which role you’ll both be playing in your BDSM scene… things get incredibly sexy. The roles are what you make of them but for safety, remember that the dominant sexual partner is responsible for taking care of the submissive sexual partner before, during and after the BDSM experience. Taking control of the scene means being sure your partner is safe, sane and consenting every step of the way. The submissive is in control of what the scene will look like, and often has a few specific fantasies in mind. But once in the scene, keep to your role as much as possible. It can interrupt the erotiscim if the sub starts making demands. This common bit of bossypants is called “topping from the bottom.” No worries if you break character, but have predetermined consequences. A naughty sub might get teased with a vibrating toy, an extra swat with a flogger, or be denied something they want. Correcting a dom who’s gone off script is more subtle. Have a word, phrase or question the sub can say that works to check-in by reinforcing the scene roles, such as “Is Master displeased with me?” or apologize for something. By the submissive being more subservient, it gives the dominant permission to be more commanding and empowered by their role.


If the sub feels the dominant is no longer serving their needs in the situation, it’s probably best to remove the collar or end the scene and do something else for a bit. Oral sex is nice and usually keeps anyone from being too self-conscious if their BDSM play is still evolving and required a break. Just be sure to discuss it before you go into another scene together.


Safe Words

Language is super important when it comes to BDSM because the at the core of any kinky act of BDSM, is an agreement that begins verbally and is carried out physically. In the throws of physical passion and excitement, it’s harder to articulate our thoughts and feelings between panting and moaning. It is especially hard to communicate if you happen to have a ball gag in your mouth at the time. Communication and consent are necessary in every sexual encounter, but before busting out your sex whip, be sure to get permission, give permission and use clear language you and your partner both understand and agree to.


During your BDSM scene be sure to check in with each other. The dominant partner should ask how the submissive partner is feeling and be sure that they are not exceeding the intensity or pain level the sub is comfortable with. A color system of GREEN, YELLOW, and RED, allows the submissive to convey if they are good to go or want more. RED is an indicator that it’s time to stop and check in but not necessarily end the scene. If you are using a sex crop or flogger on the buttocks and reach a RED, switch to another form of play or area of the body. A sex crop can be used to lightly tap the nipples or sex organ or swap out the bondage flogger for a feather tickler.


To stop a scene immediately, use a “safe word” that is non-sexual and easy to understand. The common safe word “PINEAPPLE” is a good example. When the submissive yells their safe word, the playtime ends.


Using non-sexual safe words and a colour system to communicate comfort, lets you enjoy the fantasy of the scene while keeping you both safe. In the BDSM roles, a submissive might enjoy verbalizing their erotic punishment by saying things like “ouch” or “oh no, please stop!”


If using a gag or doing non-verbal BDSM, use fingers to signify levels of intensity. The submissive partner can also hold something to drop or ring a bell to end a scene immediately. Unless you’ve enjoyed safe, sane, consensual BDSM with your partner numerous times and have done more research on the role of the dominant to ensure safety, avoid using bondage handcuffs and gags at the same time for safety reasons. Do not use a ball gag if there is any chance the submissive’s nasal passages could be blocked… so facedown on a pillow is a hard no.



Started From the Bottom Now We Here

Now that you know the basics about what BDSM is and how to engage in it with your partner while being safe, sane and consensual- it’s time to get cheeky! The art of sensual spanking is one of teasing, pleasing and sometimes stinging. Here are the tips to make sensual spanking more satisfying and the best BDSM toys to use for a delightful bottom thrashing.


Warm Up

You’ve communicated, determined the roles and rules, set a safe scene and are now ready to play. A good dom will get their sub warmed up before bending them over for a spanking. Begin with things that turn you both on, but are definite favourites of the submissive, such as kissing, dirty talk, genital stimulation with hands, tongue or toys. The sex crop or bondage whip can be brushed light over the body to supercharge the submissive’s anticipation level. Undressing the sub or exposing their bottom while everything else is covered adds to the erotic buildup. Once laid bare, the dom should rub and massage their sub’s buttocks to stimulate blood flow. This makes the initial swats with a sex crop much more pleasurable. The area will warm and may become a bit flushed. Use the soft tips of a riding crop to brush against the submissive’s clitoris or scrotum between rubbing their ass. Give a few open handed spanks before using the crop or sex flogger for hitting. Remember to do the verbal check in early on and before using a BDSM sex toy for spanking. This lets the dominant know how to gauge exertion.


Whip It Up

Whips, floggers, paddles and crops can be used on other areas of the body but beginners should focus on the rear end for safety reasons. That area of mostly muscle and fat is more resilient so it feels better to be struck there. Using a flogger on someone’s back requires further study and safety precautions to be sure the submissive is never hit near or around important organs such as the kidneys. Beginners should stick to the bottom if using any force. Aim for the centre of the butt cheeks to avoid hitting the tailbone, hips or upper thigh. A lash on the thigh is much more painful and might end your BDSM session. Tickling, brushing and tapping are great for the rest of the body.


BDSM Toys for Spanking

Crop: A sex crop is essentially the same shape as a riding crop. In fact, the equestrian style crop is what lead to the sex crops now used for BDSM. Crops are powerful, yet sleek and sexy. They’re design is perfect for those drawn to the aesthetics of BDSM as much (if not more) than the pleasure/pain aspect. To play up the visual taboo of a sex crop, the submissive can be instructed to crawl around with in their mouth to deliver to their dominant “master.” When spanking with a crop, be sure that only the soft tip hits the submissive and not the handle. Being hit with the handle of a crop will feel like caning and is not just painful- it’s very dangerous. Choose a lightweight sex crop to start.


Paddle: The dense, compact structure of a paddle means greater force with less exertion. This is excellent for a dom who’s strength and stature might underwhelm a submissive with a higher pain threshold. But it’s still important to be extra careful with sex paddles because they will pack a stronger punch than it might seem like at first. Paddles are recommended for BDSM scenes that involve humiliation or scolding play. If the submissive is fantasizing about grabbing their ankles and taking it while their sexy dom punishes them- a paddle is the way to go.


Flogger: A “cat o’ nine tails” is the classic dominatrix (femme dom) accessory but a sensual, masculine dom can use them to great effect as well. The multi-ended flogger style can be used for gentle hits where each tips loosely hits the skin for a stinging effect. Using a bondage flogger with greater speed and force keeps those tips more compact, hitting the flesh all at once. The differences between the types of feelings a flogger can have are truly vast. Consider a flogger like the fingers on your hand, one at a time, each fingertip tapping the skin is different than all fingers together for a slap. Materials such as metal vs. leather will change the feeling of a sex flogger.


Whip: For the adventure seeker, try a distinguished whip. Sex whips should be shopped for based on length and weight. A new dom should not be practicing their aim with an Indiana Jones length whip. Go for a short sex whip to start with and pinch off excess length until you and your partner both trust your whip skills.


Feather Tickler: The soft touch of a feather tickler can be surprisingly powerful. Use it to give someone pleasure and then take it away. Feather ticklers can be used on a ticklish submissive to make them squeal and squirm a bit, so use it if you or your partner love that “chills up the spine feeling.”

Hurts So Good

BDSM allows us to explore the bounds of pleasure, pain, dominance, submission and obedience in a playful ways. Find your perfect balance by integrating spanking with BDSM toys into your foreplay. Try bondage handcuffs during oral sex. Take your dominant and submissive characters to the movies one night and follow the rules of your game in a public space. There are so many ways to enhance your erotic sensuality through BDSM and BDSM sex toys. Head to PinkCherry for your sex whip, flogger, or sex crop. Whip it, whip it real good!



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Stephanie Salyers is a SAR certified sex coach, yoga instructor, and C.M.T. with a BA in English, Creative Writing. Her eclectic knowledge base was a self-designed initiative to become a sensuality expert with a holistic, mind/body approach to sex and relationships. She is an educator and writer with over 10 years of experience working in the adult novelty industry. Stephanie has done hundreds of trainings and seminars on sensual wellness around the world. She has worked with the top sex toy and body care companies, designing sex toys, leading re-branding initiatives, creating curriculums, and much more. She began working with PinkCherry 6 years ago because she believes in empowering people to feel sexy, confident and loved. Her playful, humorous approach makes learning about sex easy and accessible.


Read all Stephanie’s articles on how to have fun using sex toys either solo or as a couple. You can find Stephanie on Instagram with the handle @metrocherry.