With Fifty Shades of Grey still looming in our cultural rearview mirror, BDSM is certainly having “a moment.” Kinky proclivities are more popular than ever, and that trend shows no sign of slowing.
Impact play – a category of kink acts that includes spanking, slapping, punching, whipping, flogging, and more – is sometimes thought of as a “gateway kink,” a mild pursuit that can act s a vanilla person’s foray into the land of BDSM. However, it doesn’t have to be introductory or rudimentary by any means: for many people, it is their main kink, and can get quite intense and advanced!
If you’ve never experimented with impact play before – or have, a bit, and would like to explore it more – here are some tips…
Much like the buzzy-to-rumbly spectrum for vibrators, “thuddy” and “stingy” are two words used to differentiate between different types of sensation in impact play.
You can think of this as the difference between being punched and being slapped. Thuddy sensations are deeper, felt moreso in the flesh and muscle than in the skin. Stingy sensations are sharp and register more in the surface level of the skin. Many receivers of impact play have a preference for one type of sensation or the other, and that’s useful info to know so you can give your bottom the experience they’re craving – or so you’ll know how to ask for what you want, if you’re the bottom.
Do your research beforehand on safe and unsafe areas to hit someone. You’re going to want to avoid organs, joints, bones, and areas with little muscle protection.
The most common areas on the body for impact play are the butt, thighs, upper chest, and upper back. These tend to be fairly safe bets. If you’re using an imprecise implement and nervous you’re going to hit an area you shouldn’t (for example, a kidney), you can cover that area with your hand, so that if the implement’s path goes awry, it’ll just hit your hand instead of damaging your partner.
Impact placement isn’t just a safety consideration, though – it’s also a pleasure consideration! If you’re topping, you’ll want to pay attention to the areas of your bottom’s body that seem to elicit the most pleasurable responses (or you could just ask them what they like). One common “sweet spot” is the bottom-centre of the buttcheeks, where they border on the inner thighs, because impact to that area can vibrate the genitals and feel extra delicious.
Shorter implements, like paddles and hairbrushes, are better for close-range positions, like one where the bottom is draped over their top’s lap. Longer-range implements like floggers and canes require the top to stand farther from the bottom.
However, you don’t need to invest in any implements to get started with impact play! Your hands will do just fine: try an open palm for a stingy sensation, or a closed fist for a thuddier feeling. If your hand gets tired, you can use “pervertibles” like a wooden hairbrush, a book, or a ruler (no sharp edges, please!).
In the throes of intense sensations, sometimes it’s hard to communicate exactly what you need or want. That’s why simple, short, to-the-point verbal check-ins are useful for activities like impact play. At any given moment, the top can ask the bottom, “Where was that last hit, on a pain scale of 1 to 10?” and “Where would you like to be?”
This allows the top to understand how much pain their bottom is experiencing, and how much they need to adjust their wallops to suit their bottom’s preferences. Keep in mind that a person’s pain tolerance will shift over the course of a scene, as they get more warmed up and/or turned on. You’ll typically want to start with gentler hits and work your way up in intensity.
Kink can be more physically and emotionally rigorous than vanilla sex, so it requires a more thorough cooldown process.
The bottom may need to be held, cuddled, massaged, and told how good they were. They may need water, or snacks to raise their blood sugar. They may want to be wrapped in a blanket like a kinky little burrito. They may not even know what they need, at least at first. Maintain open communication and you’ll learn your aftercare needs over time.
Aftercare isn’t just for subs/bottoms, either! Tops may also need physical affection, verbal affirmation, and/or food and water. Kink is intense for everyone involved!