Often times when you attend an exhibition, it’s common to see a Top sharing their Floggers and other tools between Bottoms. Although others do it, is this really a safe practice?
Within the Kink Community, the opinions vary. Many say no, leather is natural skin and has pores, nooks and crannies for micro-organisms to hide, grow, and can be transmitted to others. Then there are other Kinksters who say, it’s ok to share if precautions are taken. In addition, many have their own method for cleaning gear, just in case and accident happens.
Before you are tempted to share your favorite Flogger with a new playmate, let’s looks at some interesting facts.
During any type of BDSM activity there are body fluids other than genital sections that have the potential to carry harmful pathogens to think about. Such as, blood, saliva and sweat. Most people have heard about blood and saliva. In addition, most Tops don’t draw blood with a Flogger and feel they have nothing to worry about. However, during any type of BDSM play the body is put under stress and thus stresses the Lymphatic System within the skin. This is a problem because, Lymphatic fluid contains white blood cells and toxins that can potentially mix with your Sub’s sweat.
A responsible Top should always inspect their playmate for signs of broken skin, scabs, blisters, pimples, ect… Also, they will stop and attend to any broken skin or bleeding immediately. However, no matter what precautions are taken, accidents happen. Floggers hit the wrong spot, droplets of blood begin to appear, any number of scenarios can happen while you play.
Although there are no documented cases of a Flogger or other BDSM leather gear transmitting a disease or infection to another person, doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Documentation requires, reporting, investigation, and knowledge of where exactly the infection originated from. Therefore, often times things many go undocumented. Not to mention that many incidents go unreported given the views of society when it comes to any type of Kink.
For me, I err on the side of precaution and have a standard rule of thumb not to share any of my gear including rope. Because Hepatitis C doesn’t die when it comes into contact with the air and can hang for an undetermined amount of time and also because Genital Warts along with Herpes might be transmitted from secretions, why take the chance.
However there are some who believe that with proper cleaning, Floggers and other gear can be safely shared between partners.
Some common practices include spraying the leather down with a fine mist of bleach water or peroxide. Aside from the possibility of ruining the leather, this is simply not effective. It covers the surface and a sufficient amount doesn’t reach down deep into the pours leather to be effective. In addition, the Hydrogen Peroxide purchased at your local store is only 3% or possibly a 5% concentrate. According to the CDC, concentrations under 6% are not effective for killing pathogens. In addition, on a non-porous surface, with a solution over 6% you must soak item for 30 minutes to be sterilized.
Other people are of the belief that sun and resting a Flogger for a period of time can kill any microbes embedded in the leather. To an extent this is true. However, there is no way of knowing how long it needs to rest between play sessions and partners for all pathogens to die.
I’ve also heard of people utilizing UV lights to sterilize their leather gear. However, this too is ineffective. Uv light is only able to kill microbes where the light reaches. Therefore, a UV lamp is rendered ineffective by the uneven porous surface area of leather. Laying your gear under a black light or UV lamp in your kitchen isn’t going to do the trick, pathogens and such can still survive hiding deep inside the leather.
Other common misconceptions are that anti-bacterial wipes, sprays, ect … are effective. However the same concept applies to these as well.
It’s important to remember that sterilizing something is an absolute. It either is or it isn’t. Think hospital operating room. On the other hand, disinfect and sanitize are fancy words for clean. Although a thorough cleaning kills microbes on the surface of an item, getting down deep into the porous leather with any cleaning agent will most likely damage it.
What are you to do? Buy gear for each of your play mates? I would tend to say yes. However, I’ve often wondered why most Bottom’s don’t have their own Floggers and other gear and rather rely on the Top to supply all the toys. If you’re a Bottom, why not create your own toy bag full of your favorite Floggers and other gear to take along for play parties and such. Not only will you have the things you really like, you can also rest assure that not bad germs will be passed along unbeknownst to you.
I always say it’s better to be a little too cautious, than have to deal with a situation latter.
Stop by Kink of the Week to find out more about Floggers…