Impact Play: From Foreplay to Finding the Perfect Toys
When it comes to BDSM impact play implements, one size certainly does not fit all. Different tools can produce a wide variety of effects and selecting the right one is largely dependent on what the recipient wants to feel — and where they want to feel it. That’s why it’s essential for staff, whether manufacturers, distributors or employees on the sales floor, to understand the basics of impact play and how each product style and design can suit individual tastes and desires.
What’s so appealing about impact play?
The reasons for engaging in impact play are highly individual. Some find the sense of power they feel by taking or giving up control makes it incredibly thrilling and others simply love the intimacy it can build. It isn’t uncommon for partners to feel closer and more connected after engaging in a painful BDSM scene, and for some the pain itself is the big draw. Erotic pain raises endorphin levels, often called the body’s “feel good chemicals,” which can create the euphoric feeling of a natural high and increase pain tolerance. Plus, impact on the buttocks specifically can be especially erotic because it engages an area of the body very close to the genitals.
It’s important to remember that impact play must be done properly and with the right instruments to produce these positive effects. A smack in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or with the wrong instrument can bring a kinky sex scene to a screeching halt. The goal of any type of impact play session is to slowly raise the receiver's endorphin levels to put them in a state of bliss — NOT leave them with full-body bruises. (Unless that’s their goal!)
Why is warm-up important?
It takes about 10 minutes for an endorphin rush to kick in, and that’s why properly warming up the receiver is essential. Though impact play can be done on various parts of the body, it’s most common to find impact tools that cater to one of the most popular areas of the body: the butt. From paddles to crops, we have a variety of implements to choose from — but it’s key to start with one that’s best suited for a warm-up session. Our Round Fur Lined Paddle from Strict Leather is an ideal to kick off this type of impact scene, as it provides a firm feeling without providing too hard of a thud against the rump.
Begin by striking the behind lightly with the paddle, but be sure not to hit the same spots repeatedly. Vary impact points slightly and switch cheeks every so often, periodically turning the paddle over from the leather side to the fur-lined side, running it gently in a circular motion over the impact areas. The contrast between spanks and tender rubs helps get those endorphins going and simply feels good, and after a few minutes the butt will grow warm to the touch and redden.
The 10-minute mark is when the endorphin rush begins to take full effect and the receiver's pain threshold is elevated. Now’s the time to increase intensity and switch implements. This step isn't as simple as grabbing a few random toys, however. Here the receiver's preferences really come into play and the tools you use can make or break the scene.
Before ramping up the intensity by switching to more severe toys, it’s important to know what kind of sensation the receiver likes: thuddy or stingy. Though some people enjoy both, many have a strong preference to one sensation over the other.
Thuddy toys often cover a wider surface area and tend to be made from heavier, denser material. The sensations they elicit are less on the painful side and feel more like a deep tissue massage. If you punch yourself in the meaty part of your thigh, that’s thuddy. Although it may hurt a bit depending on how hard you strike, the impact can radiate deep within your leg. The Strict Leather Bullhide Flogger, for example, is a great example of a thuddy impact toy.
Stingy, on the other hand, is a sharp pain felt on the surface of the skin that feels like a pinch or a paper cut. Material makes a big difference, too; thin, light toys like the 3-Layer Slapper and Short Riding Crop from Strict Leather offer nice “clacking” sound thanks to their leather construction. Impact play tools can also be made of materials like flexible silicone or rubber, or even metal and have quite a bite. The Crimson Tied Afterglow Rubber Flogger, Heavy Duty Silicone Flogger, and Tenderizer Spiked Paddle Slapper by Master Series deliver particularly painful stings.
How do you know which toys to buy if you’re new to impact play?
For those in retail spaces assisting shoppers new to impact play, encourage them to try out a few different tools in-store. Select one very stingy instrument and an extremely thuddy one from your inventory and allow them to strike themselves through their clothing. This will give them a gauge for what toys feel like at each end of the thuddy/stingy spectrum and will help staff guide them towards toys that offer the type of sensations they enjoy most. Paddles, floggers, crops, slappers and canes are the most popular tools for striking the behind.
Most new players start out with a warm-up toy and one or two heavier impact toys. It’s common for those that take a liking impact play to add new pieces to their collection regularly, so repeat purchases are likely once a shopper establishes a trusting relationship with a store. Because each toy has a truly unique sensation, and thuddy vs. stingy can be somewhat subjective, it’s common for impact play enthusiasts to curate a substantial collection of implements over time, so make sure to stock a well-rounded variety of tools and keep staff well-versed in technique so they can help shoppers make smart buying decisions.