For typical wood or leather style implements wielded by those of average strength on an average sized, healthy subject, any time the elbow executes a forceful momentum strike from a thirty degree angle or more one is said to be executing impact play. Variables might include the size and strength of the person topping and the type of implement used, for example, a large and strong person giving a spanking at the wrist might be executing impact play, while a smaller person wielding a metal police baton may inflict impact with a flick of a wrist. Typical strikes that are less than thirty degrees of force emitted at the elbow are often said to be Category:Sensation Play.
The sensations produced by impact play depend on the area in which the impact is concentrated. Wide implements such as an open hand, paddle or flogger produce a dull "thuddy" sensation. Narrow implements such as a cane, riding crop, belt or single tail produce a sharp "stingy" sensation.
Many have a preference for "sting" or "thud" and may prefer to start with one and move to another.
Typical Types of Impact
- Spanking (hand, paddles, strops, belts, etc.)
- Caning (batons, Canes, Sjambok, etc.)
- Single Tail (snake-whip, signal-whip, bullwhip, etc.)
- Flogging (Cat-O-Nine, Galley-Whip, Quirt, Flogger, etc.)
- Punching and Face Slapping
For safety, impact play should be done on areas of the human body well protected by fat or muscle; areas to strictly avoid include the kidneys, neck, tailbone, hipbones, collar bones, the head and all joints or areas where there is bone especially close to the skin.
The usual targets for flagellation are the buttocks and the two areas of the upper back below the shoulder blades. With care, the thighs, the backs of the calves and the chest can be targets as well. Breasts are another potential, but high-risk, target and should only be used with experience.
Improper technique can result in:
- Trauma and Demetia
- Ruptured Vital Organs
- Fractured or broken bones
- Lactic Acid Poisoning and Death
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.
Start with softer blows and work up gradually to harder ones–this way the bottom will be able 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.
When using a whip or flogger the top must take great care to hit the intended target area, and avoid wrapping; that is when a whip or flogger makes contact with the target area somewhere up its length and the remaining length wraps around the bottom's body to deliver a sharp, non-erotic, and possibly injurious off-target blow, such as to the hipbones, ribs, or collar bones.
The longer the falls, the more skill is required by the top to land a "safe blow". Advanced flogging techniques use a pair of floggers employed in a martial arts style alternating pattern, a technique commonly referred to as "florentining" or "florentine flogging."
Body Language and Technique
Generally the bottom should be relatively relaxed if the top intends for them to enjoy the experience. During impact play the top needs to be aware of the nuances of how the bottom is handling the experience and when to vary the strokes. If the bottom tenses their body suddenly after receiving a stroke, lower the top may lower the intensity or frequency of the impact and then build back up to that momentum and force more gradually.
If you have music to accompany your scene consider using the music to move to during impact play. Bottoms will have to be conscious not to move too much so that strokes are missed by the top and tops will have to account for timing to have their strokes land on the beat as well as land accurately. This can produce a quasi-hypnotic effect during the scene for mutual scene enjoyment.