girl in bondage and man's hand with a whip prepared for punishment

What is impact play and why is it such a turn on?

Everyone has their own unique sexual preferences. This ranges from the people they prefer having sex with and the kind of sex they have. And for many couples, a great way to spice things up in the bedroom is through impact play.

While a lot of people enjoy lightly spanking or getting spanked by their partner during sex, not too many people understand what impact play is. If you’ve ever slapped your partner while having sex or if you’ve playfully whipped them with a towel in the bedroom, you’ve participated in impact play.

However, impact play is much more complicated than that, and there are many ways for couples to enjoy and explore it themselves.

And in this article, we’re looking closely at impact play, why people enjoy it, the types of impact play, and how you can explore it safely in the bedroom.

What is impact play?

As the name suggests, impact play is the act of hitting your partner during sex. While it might sound like a niche sex act, impact play is a bit more common than you think. Most of us have tried a bit of impact play while having sex without even realising it.

That said, impact play is much more than just light and playful slapping on the butt. While the butt is the most common target since it’s plump, there are many different targets to hit and many ways to try hitting your partner.

In fact, impact play can go hand in hand with BDSM, which a lot of Americans are starting to explore, though they aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, many couples use impact play as a type of “punishment”, which falls under the discipline side of BDSM. On the flip side, impact play also helps satisfy couples who are into the S & M portion of BDSM, which is sadism and masochism.

The reason it can be difficult to figure out what impact play is that it looks different for everyone. Remember, nothing is one-size-fits-all, so if you and your partner are interested in impact play, don’t hesitate to try out various styles until you find the one that fits your tastes and preferences.

Why do some people enjoy impact play?

If you aren’t into it, impact play could seem very weird. However, impact play can be a lot of fun for tons of reasons. To start, one of the reasons people enjoy impact play is the intimacy and closeness it forms between you and your partner. This is because impact play is a consensual activity wherein both parties are actively participating, which is always a lot of fun.

On top of that, the actual sensation of getting slapped can be a huge turn on. When a person gets slapped or hit in an area of the body, it increases the blood flow. Not only can this be stimulating, but it can even cause every subsequent touch in or around that area will be even more stimulating.

Mixing a bit of pain and pleasure can be a lot of fun for many people. Getting slapped and hit in the erogenous zones not only increases blood flow but also boosts endorphins that improve the mood and can make sex very enjoyable.

But while a lot of people enjoy impact play, it isn’t for everyone. This is why it’s crucial for all people who want to explore impact play to have a conversation with their partners. That way, you can determine if your partner is willing to explore it, how you can explore it, and the boundaries to follow.


close up of a lesbian couple practising impact play

How to try impact play safely

One of the most important steps to safely practising impact play is communication. As mentioned earlier, impact play can be different for everyone. There are some people that may prefer a lighter type of play, while others could be into some of the more intense iterations of impact play.


With impact play, it’s crucial to have all parties on the same page. So, the first step is talking to your partner and having a conversation about what everyone is comfortable with, what you would like to try out, and the rules and boundaries to follow. This is to ensure that you only try impact play within the limits of what both of you find enjoyable.

Avoid certain areas

From there, it’s best to start slow with impact play. A good rule to follow is that areas that are “meatier” are generally safer to hit. This is why we recommend starting with hitting the butt, legs, and thighs. From there, you can also try light impact play with the genitals to add a different layer of enjoyment.

That said, it’s also good to avoid areas where the organs are. So, avoid hitting your partner on the stomach or on their lower back, as that can be dangerous. While impact play can be about exploring sexual desires with your partner, it’s always important to be safe when trying impact play.

Additionally, you might also want to avoid the ears, feet, calves, and head. And when practising impact play, understand that there’s an inherent risk to it. To mitigate the risk, communication is crucial, which allows you to establish rules, safe words, and safe cues.

Use “safe words”

A good way to do this is through the stoplight system, which uses code words like red for stop, yellow to slow down, and green to keep going. You can establish safety cues that are non-verbal such as tapping your partner’s thigh.

You can also establish a pain scale with your impact play, so it’s easier to establish your limits and what levels turn you on. Again, there are many ways to approach impact play but what’s most important is communicating with your partner and staying on the same page.

Types of impact play

With impact play, the types can generally be categorised into thuddy and stingy play. Thuddy play involves more blunt strikes using wider instruments on meatier areas. The smaller the instrument, the stingier the pain. For example, spanking and whipping are considered stingy pains, while punching and kicking would be thuddy.

Here are some of the different types of impact play that you might want to try with your partner:


There are many people who practice impact play by punching their partner on meaty areas like the chest or buttocks. When punching your partner during consensual impact play, stay away from areas with organs and proceed carefully as you might accidentally knock your partner out.


Slapping is the most common form of impact play and one that many couples have already practised. You can slap your partner in various areas that they are comfortable with during sex, but if the two of you are new to impact play, make sure to start with wider areas before proceeding to more delicate areas.


Kicking means using your feet to deliver the thuddy sensation. With this approach, it’s best to keep it as light and playful as possible.


Flogging involves using multi-tailed sex toys known as floggers. These are made of leather, rubber, or latex and can be used to deliver a stingy sensation.


As you might guess, this involves using a whip to lightly whip your partner and deliver a unique sensation.


With caning, the giver uses a thin stick to spank their partner. This can produce a stingy sensation. However, aggressive caning can result in welts, so be careful when doing this.

Where do you aim when exploring impact play?

There are many areas you can hit with impact play. However, it’s usually best to start with the meatier areas to get you and your partner comfortable with the sensation. This is a great way to gauge the pain and figure out the best approach for your needs.

From there, you can start trying out the more delicate areas. But again, make sure to be careful as you want to arouse and excite your partner, not accidentally injure them.


woman in the bed in doggy position ready for spanking

Positions for impact play

When trying out impact play, it’s very important to choose positions that both you and your partner will be comfortable with. Additionally, you want to choose positions that make it easy and comfortable for you to reach the areas you want to spank or hit.

For example, if you plan on slapping your partner’s butt, you might want to try doggy style and similar variants. Another example would be trying missionary position variants if you want to slap your partner’s chest or breasts.

Again, the options are limitless with impact play. However, you still need to make sure that you are within your and your partner’s boundaries, rules, and limits.


Aftercare is a regular part of BDSM, but even if you aren’t practising BDSM, impact play requires some aftercare. To start, both you and your partner might want to try processing everything that happened and talking about what worked and what didn’t. Additionally, this would be a great time to “debrief” and get back to reality by laying down and cuddling with each other.

When doing things like impact play, aftercare is very important to reset your brain and keep your body comfortable. There might be some bruising after impact play, and both you and your partner might feel drained, so make sure to have snacks, water, and maybe something for potential bruises ready for when the two of you finish.

Ready to make an impact?

Impact play is pretty common. Lots of people enjoy getting slapped or slapping their partner consensually. On top of that, the world of impact play is vast, and there are tons of ways to practice it with your partner. So, if you’re interested in impact play, you might want to consider bringing it up with your partner and talking about whether it’s something that will work for the two of you.

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