The Ultimate Guide to Impact Play
From a little tap to a burning slap, there's plenty to learn, try and enjoy in the world of impact play.
When you hear “impact play,” what comes to mind?
Are you think about a kinky spanking in your schoolgirl uniform? Maybe you’re imagining a whip and a St. Andrew’s Cross. You could be like me and think about being naked in the dungeon, with your arms suspended by rope over head while your partner decides whether they’ll hit you with a paddle, a flogger, a crop, or their hand.
All of that - and much more - is part of impact play. You don’t necessarily have to be a masochist or a sadist to enjoy impact play. It may be something you use in other parts of your kinky life. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, from “just a little tap, please” to “make it burn, make me bleed!” there’s plenty to learn, try, and enjoy in impact play.
Impact Play and Kink
People who enjoy any form of impact play, from over-the-knee spankings to whipping until blood is drawn, have their own reasons for it. Not every kinkster enjoys it for the same reason. In fact, impact play can hit multiple kinks.
Sadism and Masochism
This probably seems obvious, but many people enjoy impact play because they want to feel or cause pain. They’re either sadists or masochists. Not all pains are created equal, though. Just because someone likes the sting of a bare hand doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy the piercing pain of a cane. Many kinksters separate pain into stinging pain and thuddy pain and often have a clear preference for one or the other. Some people love pain so much they don’t care what kind it is.
Read: Why Pain Makes Us Horny: The Process That Turns Pain Into Pleasure
Some forms of impact play are done in response to other behavior. In a power exchange relationship, a spanking, whipping, or flogging could be used as an endurance test for the bottom or submissive. How long can they take the impact or the pain before screaming, moving, or reacting in some other way?
Punishment and Funishment
In many (but not all) power exchange relationships, impact play can be used as a form of punishment for bad behavior. Broken rules, missed tasks, and a sassy mouth can earn a willing submissive a red bottom or a few welts. On the other hand, funishment is a fun form of “punishment” when both the Dom and sub know the bad behavior isn’t meant to be disrespectful, but to earn the pleasurable experience of the impact.
Read: 6 Orders for a Submissive That Have Nothing to Do With Sex
Humiliation fetishes can take a variety of forms from licking boots to groveling and begging. Spankings can be very humiliating for someone who doesn’t want to be a “bad girl” or “bad boy.” On the other hand, from a personal perspective, being slapped in the face is humiliating because it’s a very personal kind of strike and not something we associate with sex or love. For those of us who get off on humiliation, this can be fun.
However, tops and Dominants need to be aware that some acts can trigger bad memories and feelings. If you’re using impact play as part of humiliation play, check in with your partner frequently.
Types of Impact Play
Impact play comes in many forms. You can enjoy one type of play, like a spanking, and not be interested in others. With all impact play, the top (or Dominant) who will be striking their partner should never do so until they’ve practiced and gotten a feel for how it works. Pillows, beds, and other non-people surfaces are a good place to begin.
Safewords and gestures are a must in any impact play. Real physical injury can occur, and a bottom or submissive needs to be able to end a scene or play the moment something doesn’t feel right. Gestures, like dropping an item, snapping, or even stomping a foot, are necessary if the sub is gagged or cannot speak or make noise for any other reason.
Dominants, don’t be shy about stopping a scene even if your partner is still willing. If you’re concerned for their safety and well-being, it’s better to stop and check on them.
Read: How to Train a Submissive With Hand Signals
Probably the most common form of impact play is spanking. It can range from something you do during sex to a form of punishment in a power exchange relationship. Most spanking is done with your hand but plenty of other implements can be used:
Basically, if it has a flat edge and can be held in your hand, it can be used to spank someone’s bottom.
Anything with a flat edge can be used for spanking, like this vinyl paddle from Sportsheets.
This shadow slapper from Sportsheets is simple enough, but it delivers a loud slap and a nice bite.
Read: 8 Tips for Buying Your First Spanking Paddle
If you’re new to spanking, start with your hand. Rub your partner’s bottom. This sends a signal to them that you’re about to begin. And, in my experience, a gentle touch reminds your partner that you’re doing this in a willing or even loving way.
Pull back and bring your palm down on their butt. Pick a cheek, any cheek. You don’t want to start out hitting them as hard as you can. One, your hand will get tired more quickly. Two, it may be too much for your partner, and they’ll end things with a safeword sooner than either of you would like. Start slow.
Alternate where your hand lands. As their skin begins to turn pink, you might want to pick up speed or intensity. For really red marks or intense sensations, land a few (or several) smacks in the same spot.
Watch your partner’s body language. If they pull away, cry, or make sounds that don’t sound like they’re having a good time, ask if they want you to continue. Slow down if the intensity is too much for them. Many people like to use a color system:
- Green means keep going
- Yellow means slow down
- Red means stop
As you and your partner get more comfortable with spanking, feel free to add other implements, like a paddle or hairbrush.
Flogging is a form of impact play that allows you to strike your partner on multiple parts of their body and create different sensations depending on the technique and type of flogger you use. There are many different types of floggers:
Strands of almost any type of material that can be bundled together with a handle can be called a flogger.
This simple, inexpensive suede flogger from Sportsheets is perfect for beginners.
Read: 6 Steps to Choosing a Flogger
Before you flog a person, watch videos, go to a class at your local club or dungeon, and practice on pillows or the bed. Never strike a person with any amount of force until you know how to use your flogger. The basic technique is to rotate your wrist in a figure-eight motion while holding the handle so that the strands make contact with the body. As you become more comfortable, you can practice a method called florentine where you use a flogger in each hand.
Your partner can be positioned on the bed, against the wall, bent over a table, standing in the middle of the room, or against a Saint Andrew's Cross. What matters most is that you have access to their body and room to swing the flogger.
Flogging can be as gentle or as painful as you and your partner enjoy. Slow and steady swings will produce a deep thud sensation. Quick and sharp movements, so that the tips of the flogger hit the skin first, create a sting. Varying your speed and intensity will give your partner plenty of physical stimulation and keep them on their toes, both literally and figuratively.
Where the flogger strikes is as important as the intensity. The back is the most common target for a flogger, but once you’ve had some practice, you can try the chest, thighs, and even their genitals (with care!). Avoid the sides of the body and stomach because you could do real damage to their internal organs.