A Starting Guide to Impact Play

Hello, wonderful sexy people! I'm Jay, a sex-positive, kinky gentleman from Nova Scotia. This weekend my partner Elle and I are conducting a workshop at the Indulgence shop where we will be talking about spanking and other forms of impact play such as flogging. Since the workshop is likely to zip along quickly, I want to share highlights of the material we will be covering at the event here so this can be a quick reference.

Safety, communication, and consent

One of the most important aspects of any kinky experience, and I feel this applies even more with scenes where one person will be striking another, is consent. Consent, the agreement of both people to participate in an activity, is paramount. Consent requires that both people are on equal footing, that both people involved understand what is about to happen, and are in the proper headspace to negotiate. In other words, it's a conversation between equal adults who are sober and communicating clearly about what they are going to do.

I really want to underline this point. Consent is the difference between a boxing match and assault, it's the difference between passionate sex and rape, it's the difference between kink and abuse. If you spank someone without their informed consent it's criminal, not kinky.
This scenario is technically both criminal and kinky.

I sometimes hear from people who want to spank their partners and they ask how they can go about introducing this activity into their lives. My response is to suggest they tell their partner what they want and then ask if that's okay with their partner. It's important to get a dialogue going. Spanking (and other forms of impact play) are not things to spring on people by surprise. Likewise, I sometimes hear from people who want to get spanked and don't know how to make that happen. They want to know how to provoke a spontaneous impact scene with their partner. I think this is a dangerous idea as it implies the person is thinking of baiting their partner into a violent act without discussing it ahead of time.

The best thing you can do if you want to try any kink with your partner is to talk about it. Not just the idea, but details of what you'd like the scene to look like. Do you want to use your hand or toys? Do you want to be punished for something or do you want it to be light foreplay? Describe your fantasy in some detail to your partner and see how they respond. If this conversation sounds scary, you can check out our post on negotiating kink scenes for pointers on how to get started.

Terminology and toys

Let's stay you and your partner have agreed you want to try spanking or other forms of impact play. It will help going into the experience if you know some of the common terminology. Let's cover some basics.

When to comes to kink scenes, the person who is going to be performing an action (the spanker) is often called a Top. The person receiving the action (the person being spanked in this case) is called the Bottom. A Top does things to the Bottom.

The Scene is the action or play the Top and Bottom have agreed upon. Before and after the Scene the two people are equals and can negotiate as they see fit. During the Scene the participants may take on roles - like Top and Bottom - and they may act out fantasies, like cop-and-robber, teacher-and-student, librarian-and-late-book-returner.
You do not want to damage the spine of her book!

When planning a scene it's a good idea for both people to agree on a signal or safe word. A safe word is something either person can say to bring the scene to a halt immediately. This is important because some people like to squirm or yell during intense scenes, or roleplay a reluctant participant. Using a safe word is a way to quickly let everyone involved know that something has gone wrong - something hurts, something feels off, the Bottom has had enough - and the kink needs to stop.

When engaging in impact scenes a Top usually strikes the Bottom's backside (and maybe thighs) with their hand or various toys. A toy can be just about anything from a wooden paddle to a belt, a flogger to a ruler. A toy might be a leather whip custom made for the purpose or a wooden BBQ scraper picked up at the grocery store. Just about anything can be used if both people agree to it.

One particularly popular type of toy is called a flogger. A flogger is a special type of whip with multiple ends (called "falls"). These strands are usually made of leather and are joined at the base with a handle. Floggers range in weight, length, and material. Some are light and stingy while others are heavy and feel like being hit with a pillow. I recommend people start with a medium flogger made of soft material to see how it feels and then consider branching into other sizes and materials.
This is a medium flogger of medium intensity.

I also advise a few considerations before introducing a new toy. First, don't use anything metal or particularly dense as it can cause lasting damage. Always start off with light taps or swings to get a feel for the toy. It's better to go too light and work up than to go too hard and harm someone.

When you've picked out a new toy you want to try, first have the Top take some practise swings with it, aiming for something inanimate. Put a pillow on the couch and hit that before trying to strike a person. It'll help the Top's aim and give a sense of the force and noise involved.

Getting started

Once you've negotiated a scene and picked out any toys you want to use then the two of you can get started. Usually in an impact scene the Bottom finds a comfortable place to kneel or lean. Popular spots include on their hands and knees on a bed, on their knees on a sofa leaning against its back, or standing with their hands on the wall. Laying on a bed on their stomach with their legs dangling over the side also works well. The idea is the get the Bottom into a comfortable position with their rear exposed. A good location should also have some room, a few feet, behind the Bottom so the Top can move around and possibly swing their toy.
This is the right position, but the wrong setting. Those wheels will allow the platform to move.

It's a good idea to start off light. A spanking session goes more smoothly when the Bottom is eased into the experience. The start of a spanking is often referred to as a "warm up" - it's like stretching before jogging. The Top should begin by cupping their partner's bottom and lightly smacking it, keeping the palm of the hand slightly cupped. This curve of the hand allows for more evenly distributed impact on the Bottom's skin and will make the experience sting less. It'll also make more noise which is a bonus.

Once the Bottom's cheeks are pink, a nice rosy colour, then the warm up has been completed and the main body of the scene, the main course, can begin. This may involve a harder spanking with the hand, the use of floggers, or other toys. With each new toy or change in position it's usually a good idea to begin lightly and slowly work up with firmer strikes.

I feel it is also worth mentioning that while many people like the feel of floggers on their backs, this works because floggers are soft. A flogger is limp and the material in a flogger is low-density. This makes them safer for use on a person's back and thighs as well as their booty. Other toys, such as canes, spoons, and paddles are hard and dense. They should not be used on a person's back as they may hurt the spine or internal organs. When in doubt, focus on a person's bottom and use lighter toys.
If you partner aims too high or to the side, try wearing a bullseye.

Finishing a scene and aftercare

When you're planning a scene with your partner you should not only decide what the two of you want to do, but also how the scene will end. Is there some code word or phrase that will help signal the scene can wind down? Is there a set number of toys you two plan to get through? Should the scene keep going until the Bottom uses their safe word, until the Top's arm gets sore, until a timer goes off? My preference is to keep communicating throughout the scene, checking in to see if the other person is feeling like continuing and then stopping when they've had enough. But each couple may have their own approach.

Once the scene is over there should be some consideration given to looking after the Bottom. While an impact scene can be intense for both parties, the Bottom has physically (and often mentally) been through an intense experience and may need caring.

While some Bottoms shake off the experience quickly and move on, others may want to be cuddled, or offered a favourite snack, or to talk about the experience. It's a good idea to chat about this before the scene begins. Some Bottoms want to be left alone to process the sensations, others want to be wrapped in a blanket and fed chocolate. Find out what your Bottom needs ahead of time because, in the post-scene rush of emotions, it maybe difficult for the Bottom to articulate their needs.
Spanks and ice cream go together.

I also recommend taking time to rub moisturizer or massage lotion on the Bottom's reddened skin after a scene. Skin tends to get dry and may crack after an intense spanking session. Having lotion or cream on hand can help the skin heal and the cool sensation of the lotion will feel good.

Caring for toys

Most spanking toys don't require a lot of care. Usually as long as they are stored in a cool, dry place where they won't attract mold, they should be fine. Still, it's a good idea to clean impact toys, especially if they have been used in a scene where the Bottom's skin has cracked or the Bottom has bled. Even in light scenes sometimes a whip or a paddle will pinch the skin and a cause a little blood to rise to the surface. When this happens be sure to clean the toys!

To clean a toy you can use toy cleaner or, if it's not available, soap and water. Make sure to rinse off the toy afterwards and lay it out (or hang it) to dry. We don't want a damp toy to encourage bacterial growth.

Concluding

This, along with the blog posts linked to above, cover the basics. Please reach out to us should you have any questions or would like additional tips!