Having Fun With Men and Whips
By Gene K.

Just what is it about the sound of a whip that can excite and entice even the most seemingly vanilla boy? To quote my favorite whipmaster, "The crack of a whip is the epitome of s/m... It explodes like lightning from the hand of a god or goddess. It snakes through the air like a dragon's claw. It's evil, languid, precise, supremely savage, and sensuous. In short, it is as sexy as it is dangerous." In a word, it's really hot.

When I gave this talk and live demo on single tail whips for GMSMA on October 13, 1999, there were nearly 70 men crowded into the large downstairs hall at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center. Afterward, I was besieged by sweet looking men who came up to ask, "Can you show me what that feels like?"

From Oxen to Boyfriends

Our fascination for whips is an outgrowth of a long history of their use as part of handling large animals like cattle, horses and oxen. Obviously, these big and powerful animals will not easily listen to gentle commands or a flick on the ear. The thick and heavy bullwhip was developed for driving teams of oxen while walking alongside. The long-handled stock whips were meant for controlling herds of cattle while up on horseback. The blacksnake, a bullwhip without a stiff handle, was meant to be easy for cowboys to stuff into their packs while traveling. Even our favorite, the nasty little signal whip, was specifically intended to guide a team of determined sled dogs in the right direction. In fact, in all of these cases, the whip was never meant to actually strike the animal. That could easily make a steer angry enough to start a stampede, and mark the hide making it less valuable later on.

It seems to be our kind, our species, that has a penchant for using whips on the bare flesh of our fellows. Sometimes cruelly, sadistically, sometimes sensually, luxuriantly, lovingly. Take your pick.

Right at the start it is important to be clear that whips are not easy to use and potentially dangerous to both the bottom (or victim) and the top. It is not at all the same as using a belt, flogger, paddle, cane, etc. I worked with whips for nearly four years before I was confident enough to do scenes with guys.

It's All in the Wrist

When I give a talk on whips, I usually start by holding up a couple of Frisbees, and tease the audience by asking, "Who can tell me why whips and Frisbees are so similar?" The answer is that it is all in the wrist action. If you have the suppleness to comfortably toss a Frisbee a long way, then you will probably learn to handle a whip pretty quickly.

In fact, much of the rush, the intoxicating power, comes from the feeling that the sharp crack of the whip is the result of just the merest flick of your wrist. You seem to be getting back so much more energy than you put into the thing. As with any well-made and well-balanced instrument, a whip need only be held with a light grip, so light in fact that most whips come with a wrist loop so that you do not drop it altogether.

The secret to how a whip works is the taper from the thickness at the handle to the almost stringlike or feathery cracker at the business end. In most cases, what makes that unbelievable crack and rips a man's back open is nothing more than a length of light cord. In my case, I often use just six inches of white sneaker lace. In other words, all that beautiful braided soft leather is just to achieve a very supple, controllable and resilient snakelike apparatus that can generate a tip moving at incredible speed. It is the speed of the whip's end that does the work and produces that heart-stopping sound. In fact, some people report that the impact is more like being hit with a small-caliber bullet, and thus very different from the heavy thud of a multi-tail flogger.

Where to Go?

Unfortunately, few of us living here in New York City have the space to play with long whips. That leaves the most practical choice for s/m use the popular four-foot signal whip mentioned earlier. (I do not recommend the three-foot version, which I find just too short to get a nice crack with.) This little baby can be used in nearly any apartment, even in your kitchen. It makes a crack like a small bore pistol, and in experienced hands can genuinely tear someone's back to shreds. It is just not as dramatic as its bigger brothers, like ten-foot bullwhips.

The secret to success with the signal whip, as with any single tail device, is breaking it in, just like a new pair of shoes o