As promised, Gawan brought a flogger with him. With black suede falls about 3/8″ wide, black suede covering the handle, and silver hardware, it looked entirely BDSM-y. Surprisingly so, in fact. He’s no slave to tradition (sometimes even actively subverting it), so any color would have been possible. Now, hot pink would be highly improbable, but it wouldn’t have come as a total shock. On the other hand, he recognizes the power of symbols, especially if they tend to increase hotness: if a black flogger contributes to the mood, then that’s all to the good. But I’m guessing that his primary reason for choosing this flogger has more to do with function and feel. Hell, it could be his travel flogger for all I know.
I’m not sure whether it was day or evening, but I have a recollection of the warm and intimate glow of the bedside lamps. Our room was decorated in warm tones: mango and blush on the walls, bedspreads of cinnabar and gold. The room was not cool — the air conditioner was barely up to the task at any time of day.
I was nude, face down on the rumpled white sheets, hips elevated with two pillows, when he gave me a safe word. It wasn’t the standard “red”, or any other safe word that I’d heard before. I repeated it to myself a few times to make sure I’d remember it, especially since it was novel and my mind would soon be elsewhere. It sounded a bit silly, the sort of thing that, if I found myself under enough strain to need it, the mere saying of it would break the spell of seriousness and lighten the mood at least a little.
I’d never had a proper safe word before. Explicitly being given special means to stop meant that we were — that I was — officially starting. This was, at least in some sense of the word, real.
He began slowly, caressing my back with the falls of the flogger. That was… good. Delicious, even. I sighed my enjoyment. Then he began to rain light blows on me. It was heavy enough that it must have started to color my skin, but it still felt pleasant.
After this point, my recollection is hazy at best. I could have been a more objective observer if I had clung to ordinary awareness, but that would have sacrificed some of the fullness of the sensation. Objectivity be damned, I wanted to feel. So I let go.
And I could have reconstructed it if I’d revisited the experience soon after we finished, but it didn’t seem all that noteworthy at the time. It wasn’t until much later, when Gawan told me that I seemed to have dropped to somewhere near subspace, that I tried to fill in the gap.
So, what happened? The blows must have become heavier, no longer pleasant as such but not actively unpleasant. I would have been focusing on managing the sensation the way I do with a deep tissue massage, which feels uncomfortable yet satisfying because I know it’s helping. In those moments when a knotted muscle is being probed with, say, an elbow, I’m entirely focused on the treatment, breathing deliberately through it and making an effort to relax into it because if my attention wanders, it hurts more. I could never doze off during a treatment — in fact, I feel very alert — and yet afterwards I can barely remember what was done. I think this must be what was happening during the flogging.
The details return when it got heavier. Occasionally he threw in a sharper blow. Those stung. I flinched. I gasped. But I never felt like I was getting close to calling a halt.
He went on for some time — how long, I have no idea — but as far as I was concerned it was over too soon. When he was done, he casually put the flogger down. On the bed. In front of my face. I knew the placement was entirely deliberate, and I did my best to hide my smile.
Nothing he had thrown at me had felt terribly challenging. I hadn’t needed the safe word, nor had I expected to. I had been confident that he would have a fair sense of how far to go the first time and to be able to read my reactions, and he worked comfortably within my limits, despite the fact that I didn’t even know where those limits were.
Later he said all my reactions showed that I enjoyed it. That surprised me. All of them? Sure, the caresses and the light blows were clearly well received, but what about the focus and the flinching? I wouldn’t have described that as much of a demonstration of enjoyment. So either he misunderstood my body language (which seems quite unlikely), or he knows something that I don’t. Maybe I should ask.
They say that you should leave the recipient wanting more. If that’s true, then mission accomplished.