A Beginner’s Guide to Impact Play

Originally published @ Allure

By Sophie Saint Thomas


Impact play, simply put, refers to any form of impact on the body for sexual gratification purposes. Many sexual partners practice impact play the most common way, through spanking, but those who are more experienced will often bring toys into the mix or try a slew of other acts. Impact play is a prevalent kink with a wide umbrella.

Some people prefer various toys, such as whips, floggers, and paddles. Each instrument delivers a different sensation. While it can be tempting to spend money on beautiful black leather BDSM accessories, for those new to the experience, it’s best to start small and use what you have at home. Your hand is the most obvious answer, but even a kitchen spatula can double as a paddle. In addition to saving money, using what you have on you familiarizes you and your partner with where to hit on the body, how hard is comfortable, and what you’re each looking for out of a scene. Are you unsure what a “scene” means? Keep reading. Allure created a glossary of common impact play terms and what they mean. After you brush up on our kinky dictionary, learn how to negotiate with your partner, where it’s safe to hit on the body, and what kink guidelines encourage for post-play etiquette. We spoke to a New York City professional dominatrix and a sex therapist to ensure you have accurate and important information, so you can explore impact play from a place of understanding and confidence.

Common Impact Play Terms and What They Mean

Aftercare: Aftercare is post-play etiquette in which all parties check in on one another to ensure the scene was enjoyable, tend to any bruises as well as emotional needs, and communicate how all parties feel.

BDSM: BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism, and is an umbrella term for any kinky play that involves a consensual power exchange.

Bondage: Bondage is when one partner (typically the submissive) is tied up by the dominant partner. Bondage is frequently part of impact play, because tying up the submissive, who then consensually can’t move, adds to the thrill of the scene.

Dom drop and sub drop: During a BDSM scene, endorphins and adrenaline run high for all partners. As a result, like a comedown from a drug, both the submissive and dominant partner may experience a comedown immediately after or even a few days later. All parties involved have a responsibility to tend to their partner during their drop.

D/S: D/S stands for dominance and submission. Typically one partner takes on the dominant, or top role. In impact play, this is the person inflicting the spanks or other forms of play. The submissive is the bottom, or the person receiving the impact on their body.

Edge play: Edge play refers to BDSM activities that push the limit of what is considered safe, sane, and consensual. This often refers to activities involving bodily fluids and blood. Single-tail whips are considered a form of edge play as they can draw blood and inflict harm if not used correctly.

Hard limits: Your hard limits are activities that are absolutely off-limits and should be communicated to your partner prior to play.

Kink: A kink refers to any sexual interest that is outside the heterosexual vanilla norm.

Pain slut: Pain sluts are people who enjoy erotic pain.

Play: Play is a word used within the kink community to refer to any erotic activity, from penetrative intercourse to impact play.

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