A Spanksgiving Impact Play Primer

by Christopher J.

November 24, 2023


When preparing the big bird for Thanksgiving, some chefs like to spank the turkey to ensure that the marinade or seasoning they’ve injected is more evenly distributed before roasting the main guest on their dinner table that holiday. Although the tasty gobbler will remain oblivious, some chefs might find the experience a bit of a turn-on, as giving the bare behind of a willing partner a good roasting with their hand can provide a similar experience. A sexy seasoning of a different flavor, shall we say?

What those chefs might know is that spanking or any type of impact play is more fun and fulfilling with their human partners than giving the succulent fowl of Thanksgiving a good slap on the butt. So what do you all of you curious turkeys who are tempted to try impact play this Holiday season need to know? According to Rebecca Strong in her article that was published in the July 26, 2023 issue of men’shealth.com:

“Impact play is an umbrella term that covers consensual striking (or being struck) with an object or hand for sexual gratification. (The key word here is consensual!) It can certainly be a component of bondage, discipline, submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM), but there doesn’t necessarily have to be a power dynamic at play here. Once in a while, you might just enjoy the feeling of flogging your partner’s behind—or feeling a firm hand against yours. Impact play can involve a wide array of props, and can range in intensity quite a bit depending on your and your partner’s preferences.”

Examples of impact play may include:

  • Spanking
  • Paddling, usually with a wood, leather, or acrylic paddle or all manner of suitable household objects
  • Whipping or flogging
  • Caning
  • Cropping (using a riding crop)
  • Punching or striking

In addition to sexual gratification, the gratification can also be about nonsexual feelings such as stress release. Strong’s article cites Alessandra Fabris-Tantawi, LCSW, a couples therapist, sex therapist, and BDSM/kink sex educator, who says: “Most people work really hard to have a sense of control in their lives— whether through their diligent morning routines, disciplined exercise regime, or their diets. [Impact play is] a container for people to let go — to feel fully trusting and safe with another person.”

Thus, for Fabris-Tantawi, it’s not all that surprising that it might be a relief to surrender control in the bedroom.

Strong also quotes Lilithfoxx, a board-certified sexologist, educator, and intimacy coach, who explains that the pain a partner experiences during impact play can also trigger the release of endorphins, mood-boosting hormones that give you a natural high.

Natasha Marie Narkiewicz, a sexual wellness expert at MysteryVibe, adds that:  “Some people are excited by impact play for the sheer reason that it is considered taboo sexual behavior, and engaging in it can provide the thrill of breaking social or cultural norms.” Impact play, she says, provides a “medium to explore power dynamics and build trust and communication within your relationship, thereby enhancing intimacy and connection.”

In “A Beginner’s Guide to Impact Play” that she wrote for healthline.com, Gabrielle Kassel, a queer sex educator and wellness journalist, says “both the implement used and the person behind the implement doling said impact will greatly affect the way that impact feels.”

“Not to mention factors like the receiver’s pain tolerance, current stress levels, and degree of hydration, as well as the weather, the relationship between the giver and receiver, and more,” she continues. “Generally speaking, the sensations of impact play can be broken down into two categories: thuddy play and stingy play. The wider the implement and the bigger the area struck, the thuddier the impact. So, a paddle is going to create a thuddier impact than a foot, while a foot is going to create a thuddier sensation than a whip.”

While impact play is a hot & kinky fantasy for many people, there are probably just as many who have a lot of fear or trauma around being struck and who will just not be into it at all. It can be hard for some people to associate pain with pleasure, or to reconcile being hit as sexy. You need to talk and make sure you know where you both stand. In an article for badgirlsbible.com, Sean Jameson covers the important aspects of clearly establishing and communicating consent and safety before any impact play.

“BDSM always requires consent, and impact play is no different.” Jameson says. “Impact play can do actual harm, especially with specific tools or an inexperienced or careless partner. No BDSM activity is without risk, so giving your consent recognizes that.”

Jameson suggests confirming consent with a BDSM contract, or you could simply ask your partner if they want to spank you. You should also negotiate what you want to play with, where you’re ok being hit, and how long and hard you want to go. Finally, use a safe word – a word or phrase that both partners agree on up front – that allows the receiver to stop the impact play at any time. It should be simple and easy to say, and not something you’d say naturally in that situation. There should also be an alternative method to tap out, especially if the person is bound, gagged, or any other kind of indisposed during the impact scene. (You can learn more about safe words in this post about the rules that keep BDSM safe.)

Impact play can be a lot of fun, but it’s never something to be rushed into without thorough communication. “BDSM players of any type need to understand the risks inherent to the play they want to engage in: physical, mental, and emotional,” says Dr. Celina Criss, a certified sex coach specializing in BDSM in an article in sea.mashable.com. “Experienced players typically have studied their activity of choice, the anatomy involved, first aid care for when things go wrong, and are practiced in communicating throughout the play.”

Mashable offers the following safety and consent checklist:

  1. Do your homework. You need to know which parts of the body are safe to hit and which aren’t.
  2. Practice makes perfect. Both partners need to be fully aware of the risks involved in their chosen activities as well as the skill needed to perform them well.
  3. Thoroughly discuss the scene: What are your boundaries? Do you have a safe word? What tools will you be using?
  4. Have an after care plan in place to ensure both partners have time and space to emotionally come down.
  5. Check in regularly throughout the scene to be sure everyone is enjoying themselves.

If impact play strikes your fancy, now you’re ready to strike up the conversation with your play partner. Maybe it can add a dark & sexy twist to your Black Friday shenanigans? Have a thwappy, happy & safe Spanksgiving, everyone!

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