If you're new to BDSM, or impact play specifically, you might wonder what to do about your conspicuously hot post-play marks.
What to Do About Your Sexy Bruises
Kinksters have different strategies for dealing with bruises depending on what aligns best with their lifestyle. You've got options and I'm here to lay 'em out!
The Boldest (and Riskiest) Choice: Own That Shit
If you're a proud kinkster with no fucks left to give, you may feel just fine leaving your happy little injuries uncovered in front of God and everyone else.
"Have you no shame?!" No, you clearly do not, you blasphemous, glorious pervert.
There's an eroticism behind this mentality that a lot of people don't get, and I respect that. After all, why would anyone want to walk around sporting something so "ugly" or "disturbing?"
The fact is that for consenting playmates, marks signify cherished memories. A lot of us subby masochists wear them in the way we would jewelry or tattoos. We marvel as they heal while thinking fondly back to the moments they were made, and the lovely partner(s) who gave them to us.
This exhibitionistic option is obviously only open to the handful of people who are privileged enough to be "out" about their kinks, which many people aren't due to personal or professional reasons. If the people in your life understand and accept your love for BDSM then, by all means, let your billowing freak flag fly in their presence!
If we wish to participate as upstanding members of society, we must also consider the feelings of non-kinksters. Bruises are signs of literal physical trauma and most people view them as such. Those who don't understand BDSM might see your marks and assume your partner is abusing you, which could be damaging or even dangerous for them. Any children around you will also not understand and might get mixed signals about what bruises and other marks signify.
Read: Why You Shouldn't Push Your Kink on Vanilla Folks
You also never know whose trauma you might trigger by being so open. Survivors of abuse may see your marks and be transported back to past memories of panic or anguish. While I don't personally live my life trying to tiptoe around other people's emotional baggage, I have no interest in upsetting those I care about, either. Perhaps you feel the same, but either way, just keep in mind the risks this strategy entails before deciding to let it all hang out. I'd certainly never judge you for it! Others almost certainly will.
The Safer, More Common Choice: Cover up in Public
You may wish to enjoy your bruises in private, but keep them hidden while you're out and about. This is how most kinksters I know choose to handle their shit.
First, negotiate with your partner about which parts of your body are OK to mark up. A lot of BDSM practitioners confine impact play to the ass and upper thighs, as those well-padded areas are safest for hitting. Wherever you choose to leave marks, you'll want to invest in clothing to cover them up. Scarves, long pants, and long-sleeve shirts may be desirable after a particularly rowdy night in the dungeon.
You'll also want to keep playtime tame(ish) if you're planning to hit up the beach, get a massage, work a stripper shift, go to the doctor, or engage in any situations that might call for taking your clothes off. I once had to postpone a trip to the gynecologist because my ass was so black and blue that I was sure they'd haul in a social worker to check on my sweet lil' well-being!
You can avoid this awkwardness if your doctor is kink friendly, but as a general rule of thumb, it's better to hold off on hardcore play until after these kinds of situations. In my experience, bruises can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to heal.
Help Your Body Heal Bruises Faster
You may wish to lessen the intensity or healing time of the marks you garner. Understandable! In this case, you'll want to go ahead and do the things "normal" people do when they get hurt or anticipate injuries. Some ideas include:
- Applying ice to the area of impact directly after play
- Avoiding blood-thinning painkillers, such as aspirin
- Avoiding hot baths and showers for the first 48 hours after play
- Looking into homeopathic remedies like witch hazel, arnica, or parsley
- Following the R.I.C.E procedure (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) as the bruise heals
And if this isn't enough to suit your fancy you may want to ...
Avoid Bruises Altogether
If you'd rather just bypass this whole complicated affair, you'll want to stick to lighter forms of impact play. Your partner can spank you with their hand, a soft flogger, or a wide faux-fur-lined paddle, as implements like these are less likely to bruise. Things like canes, whips and bath brushes are mean weapons that tend to leave a mark.
Whether you'll bruise also obviously depends entirely on how hard your partner chooses to hit. Have them stay in hard massage territory rather than in doling out a serious beating. I promise it can be just as erotic!
And, if you're the top and your partner's a masochist, keep in mind that there are plenty of body-friendly forms of torture that don't involve hitting. You can have them kneel on uncooked rice, hold an uncomfortable position, chew on a ball of wasabi, or any other combination of twisted activities. Get creative, you terrifying sadist!
Important Consideration: Is It Safe to Create New Bruises Over Existing Ones?
I used to wonder about this when I first started with hard impact play. I'm no anatomy expert, but Shay, a kinky SF-based medical professional far smarter than I, wrote that the following problems could arise due to intense or repeated physical trauma:
- Subdermal infection resulting from hematoma
- Tissue necrosis
- Heterotopic ossification (abnormal growth of bone in non-skeletal tissues)
- Abnormal tissue (scarification, calcification) that can make cancer more difficult to detect
While such severe complications are unlikely to happen as a result of safe/sane/consensual BDSM play, it's crucial to be aware of these risks. Generally, you'll want to give your body a chance to heal between intense sessions. Knowingly engaging in self-destructive practices will put you on a slippery slope toward an unhealthy dynamic. For the sake of yourself and your partner(s), you don't want to go there.
How You Handle Bruising Is Strictly Personal
BDSM bruises can be an erotic delight if you handle them mindfully. Have a think, talk with your partner(s), and figure out what will work best for y'all.
Molly Lazarus is a kink and sexuality writer based in the Bay Area. She dreams of a world where consent-loving hedonists can explore the depths of their depravity without fear of persecution or sexual abuse.