Before engaging in impact play, there are a couple considerations, and some essential items to ensure safety as well as enjoyment.
As with any BDSM activity, start low and slow, especially with impact play. Sudden sharp blows without warm up strokes is very rarely considered pleasurable by most SM standards and can also do greater damage to the body, long term harm, end a scene earlier than intended, and generally discourage others from wanting to play if a reputation of this kind is developed.
By starting slowly the skin will slowly and lightly redden as the blood starts to rise to the surface, which will help increase tolerance and pleasure.
Starting with softer blows and working up gradually to harder ones will allow the sub to take more as well as get more out of the session. Similarly, if you have more than one implement, use the lighter one before going to the heavier one. In addition, varying the pace and alternating heavier blows with softer ones (or using just the tips), can make the difference between a good impact scene and a great one.
Areas of the body suitable for impact play and areas to avoid:
First Aid / Medical Considerations
Essential items to have on hand
- Ice packs
- Arnica cream or Aloe
- Vitamin E cream
- Band aids
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol
In the context of D/s play, not all bruises can be prevented. Bruises can be treated simply with ice for the first 24 hours followed by application of heat.
Welts that bleed are forms of lacerations, as are those inflicted by knives or razors. Lacerations should be washed with warm, soapy water and if significantly open, dressed with an antiseptic ointment (bacitracin is good) and covered with a bandaid or sterile dressing. You can also put honey directly in an open wound, it acts as an antibiotic. Minor bleeding can be stopped with direct pressure over the wound. If bleeding persists, consult a physician or go to emergency room.
Understanding the psychology of impact play
Consensual erotic pain can encourage us to practice and subvert the pain of the world. Consent transforms our body’s negative messages into experiences of euphoric relief.
Applying painful stimuli the right way activates nice, floaty, pleasurable hormones in the brain. If the pain is applied gradually and for an extended period of time, you can get someone very high on endorphins.
At first, the pain level is low, it doesn’t need to hurt a lot, but there is a little sting. It feels a bit like pushing your body through a tough workout.
Then, when the intensity goes up, it can really hurt. It hurts to the point of cringing, even screaming. Somehow, it’s bearable, because you already have a little flow of endorphins going. When you’re tied up and can’t fight or flee, the rush of adrenaline is also quite a rush.
This is when the adrenaline has kicked in. Nobody is quite sure how pain can literally turn into sexual arousal. It may be one of the ways that the body interprets the sudden rush of endorphins because it is so similar to “typical” sexual arousal.
Everyone has a taste profile for pain, just as they do for pleasure. This probably seems obvious, but many people enjoy impact play because they want to feel or cause pain.
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.
Tools of the trade
It’s best to start with a riding crop. Because riding crops have more surface area at the tip than a whip, they’ll hurt less upon impact than using some other tools. Of course, the pain level also depends on how hard the foogger hits. Practice by startng light and work up to more.
There’s a grip best used for flogging i learned from a Megan Thon tutorial, clasping the handle near the end of the handle and extending the index finger against the top of the handle. Simple movements of the index finger to start gradually getting heavier. Important to stay to the proper distance as like a cane, the foogger can wrap around and impact an area not intended, or in the case of harder use can break the crop.
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. Circular motions will produce the most consistant and accurate repeated swats. Overhand techniques work as well, with practice can also be very precise.
Flogging can be as gentle or as painful as you 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 plenty of physical stimulation.
Where the flogger strikes is as important as the intensity. The back is a common target for a flogger but also you can try the chest, thighs, and even genitals.. Should avoid the sides of the body and stomach because you could do real damage to internal organs.
Understand that certain areas of the body can only sustain light blows, meaning that more moderate ones should only take place where a lot of muscle and fat reside. This includes the buttocks, the thighs, and on the lower area of the shoulders.
For beginners, it is recommended to stick with large, padded paddles. The larger the surface area of the paddle, the less it will sting the skin.
Warm up the skin first with gentle smacks, then gradually up the amount of force. Aim for the meaty parts of the body, like the butt cheeks or thighs. Don’t ever smack bony parts like elbows or knees, and avoid the genitals. After any particularly strong slap, apply pressure to the skin with the hand or paddle right after smacking to help ease the sting.
Take care to have a blanket, bottles of water, even a small snack waiting for after play. Have water and snacks ready, chocolate and hot chocolate help to increase the emittance of endorphins and make the decline in physical and mental activity less sudden.
Once the cool off begins, it happens quickly and may get cold, so the blanket will come in handy. You may want to have aloe available to soothe chapped skin, arnica for bruises, even icepacks and ibuprofen for later. It is also wise to understand that a drop in blood sugar may affect one or both of you following an intense scene, so don’t forget that snack!
I also find that writing feelings in a journal, or sharing your feelings with your Top will also help processing feelings and emotions.