Since then we have received more follow-up questions from people who were either there or who heard about the workshop and were unable to attend. (Don't worry, if you wanted to attend and could not, Elle and I plan to do more kinky workshops this summer! Please follow the Indulgence Facebook page as new workshops will be announced there.)
Here are some more questions we received about kink in general and impact play in particular.
Do tops get aroused during spanking sessions?The answer to this will depend on the top and on the context of the session. I've heard from some tops that they don't, they tend to see kink as more of a hobby or a game rather than something sexual. Others do find kink scenes hot and arousing.
Personally, I find my reaction to a scene will depend a lot on context. For instance, when I was performing at the workshop I was focused on providing information, making sure the people playing were okay, making sure the people watching were not close enough to get hit in the face with a stray flogger... There were a lot of things holding my attention and the setting was educational rather than intimate.
Some of the people I have played with have been friends who get together with me to do impact play and have fun. We treat it like basketball - there is some intense physical activity, we work up a sweat with the spanking, and then everyone goes home. Those scenes also aren't arousing.
In other settings, with people I know well and have a playful energy with there can be arousal. If there is flirting or teasing during a scene and the right chemistry is there then it can certainly be arousing.
Someone once summed up my views on impact play with the comment: "Kink isn't always sexual, but it is often sexy." I think this is accurate.
I feel uncomfortable with the idea of someone else playing with my partner. Is that weird?It's not weird at all. Kink can be quite an intimate act. It involves, at the least, some level of trust and communication. A lot of kink scenes involve touching, often in more private areas of the body. When it comes to impact play there is usually a degree of pain being caused (to the bottom) and, later, tender aftercare provided (by the top).
All of this can raise a lot of emotions, not only in the people engaging in the scene, but in onlookers and romantic partners of the people involved too.
While a lot of people in the kink community play with a range of partners, not everyone does. Some people prefer to keep their kinks shared between themselves and just one (or a few) people they have a special bond with.
The important thing here is that you and your partner talk about what you both what and what you both don't want. Then try to find common ground. It's perfectly okay to have different comfort levels and different views on how to proceed. Just make sure you're both communicating your preferences openly and honestly.
In the workshop you talked about hurting and harming. What's the difference?A lot of scenes which involve spanking will also include an element of pain or discomfort. With some lighter scenes there is very little pain (more of a light, stingy sensation) and in some heavy scenes there can be a lot. As long as the actions are conducted safely and consensually, these are both okay. A lot of people who bottom in spankings scenes like to push their own limits. This is what Elle and I meant when we talked about people experiencing "hurt", the physical sensations that resulted from safely, consensually negotiated impact play.
When we talk about "harm" we're referring to situations where something has gone wrong and the bottom has been injured. For example, I caution people not to use hard or dense toys near the spine, face, or vital organs. Striking people in these exposed or sensitive areas can cause lasting damage. This is why I recommend aiming spanking toys at a person's buttocks and upper thighs, areas which usually have a little padding and don't cover any vital organs.
In short, we say "hurt" to refer to temporary pain which is expected during impact play. We refer to "harm" when talking about long-term side-effects caused by something going wrong during play.
How long have you been exploring impact play? How did you get started in kink and, if you had to do it over, would you do it the same way?I've been actively engaged in spanking and other forms of impact play for about 15 years.
I say "actively engaged" because my journey into all things kinky was a slow and gradual experience. I first remember being interested in various kinks, such as impact play, bondage, and power exchange back round the time I hit my teenage years. There were scenes in books and movies which hinted at kinks that resonated with me - picture Princess Leia in bondage in "Return of the Jedi" and the movie "9 1/2 Weeks" as a few examples. However, as a teenager I didn't have an outlet for these ideas and it was something I tended to think of as fantasy rather than something for me to actually do in real life.
In my early 20s I discovered a love for variety in sex - lingerie, different positions, different locations. I liked to mix things up and this resulted in me trying out role playing and some light kinks with my partners at the time. I also developed a few friends who were in the kink community and joined a few kink-related websites, though I wasn't going to in-person kink events or gatherings myself.
It wasn't until around the time I hit 30 (about ten years ago) that I started actively participating in the larger kink community - going to public gatherings, making friends with people and swapping tips with them, and attending kink parties.
As I said, it was a slow expansion into the kink world and its activities. There were a few benefits to this approach. I got to experiment gradually, casually finding things I liked and side-stepping things that didn't appeal. I never had the "culture shock" some people experience the first time they walk into a kink club or party and see all sorts of new things. I also never went through the "frenzy" some people describe when they discover kinks they like and suddenly want to do all the activities with all the people! A lot of people dive straight into the deep end of the kinky pool right away and either get tired from the flurry of activities or run into situations and practises they don't like. I managed to avoid that by dipping my toes in the water a little at a time.
I think the biggest benefit to the path I took was no one was around to tell me I should be doing things their way. Some people offered advice or tips, but no one tried to redirect my course through the kink world. I've met several people who, early in their kink journeys, met people who offered to be their guide or mentor and they ended up going down a path that didn't suit them because they were following someone else. While I was shuffling along more slowly, I'm happy that I didn't get misdirected into activities or environments that didn't appeal to me.
While I'm happy with the path I took to get here and like how it has all played out, I am not sure it's necessarily the journey I'd recommend for everyone. I was content to take things slow, experiment a little at a time, and research ideas on my own. I could have learned more, picked up more skills, and maybe become more comfortable practising my kinks sooner if I'd gone to more workshops early on, or found people I could observe and learn from.
I also think most people benefit from having a sense of community when they get involved with kinks. I was lucky in that I didn't have a lot of hangups about my kinky interests or many concerns about whether what I was doing was "normal". However, many people I talk to in the community felt out of place at first or concerned they were engaging in taboo activities. It can be nice to have a support network and attending public events with other kinky people, especially in venues where there is no play, is a great way to network and gain support with like-minded people.
In short, if I were going to do it over again, I'd probably make an effort to be more social or at least go out to see more experiences and tutorials first hand.
* * * * *Thanks so much for your questions! Hopefully we'll get to see you at the next workshop.