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If you’ve ever been spanked or spanked your partner, then you’ve already dabbled in the beginning stages of impact play. 

A collection of BDSM accessories including a heart-shaped paddle, a black stiletto shoe, and other fetish gear, perfect for impact play and available at a sex shop

Impact play is a powerful tool in the BDSM world and can be used in different ways within sadomasochistic relationships. Some couples use spanking as foreplay, while others reserve it only for punishments. Regardless of how or when it is used, impact play should be enjoyable for both parties.

This kind of play is generally reserved for areas of the body with more cushioning, such as the ass and thighs, to avoid serious injury to the person on the receiving end. As with all BDSM play it is important to check in with your partner throughout the entire session. However, both parties need to be aware of the risks involved when consenting to and participating in impact play. Both partners need to take the time to learn more about each of the tools they choose to explore. As with all BDSM trust and communication are the foundation, while safety reigns supreme. 

Categories of Impact Play Toys

The majority of impact toys are placed into categories based on the feelings they inflict - Thudding and Stinging toys. So, let's explore some of the most popular tools from each category.


These tools are prized for the satisfying thwack! sound they make on impact. As they deliver the force of each swing over a more spread-out area, they often hurt less than Stinging toys and can be an excellent place for beginners to start exploring impact play.


Spanking with hands is a classic and primal version of impact play where one partner, generally the Dominant, uses their hand to swat the receiving partner. Depending on how the spanking is delivered it can be a thuddy or stinging experience.

The next step after spanking is generally to use some kind of paddle. Paddles are generally flat and wide tools made of wood and/or leather that are designed to spread the force of the impact across a decent-sized area. These are perfect for making a submissive’s backside turn pink or red.

The handle allows the Dominant partner to direct the many leather tails to a particular area. However, depending on the size of the leather tails, this particular toy can either create a thuddy or stinging feeling. 


This category of toys tends to deliver the force of each swing into a smaller more localized area to provide a sharper stinging sensation.

A crop is generally made of leather and consists of a long handle with a leather loop or thong which can be used to create a lighter stinging sensation in a small area.


Canes are long and thin instruments, sometimes with a handle at one end. These tools can be made of a few different flexible materials, such as bamboo or wood and acrylic. These toys can create a more intense stinging sensation.

Whips can appear similar to floggers but often have fewer, thinner tails that create a sharp, stinging feeling. This category also includes Dragontails and Cat O'Nine Tails. Whips are considered more dangerous than other toys as they can cause serious injury and even draw blood if used by an experienced person. Please heavily research and practice in advance. 


Once you’ve decided which sensation you are most interested in inflicting and feeling, explore the type of toys that are best for you. As always, start by discussing fantasies and limits with your partner before introducing impact play into your sex life. Take your time. Start slowly and lightly before working up to more intense swings. Over time you’ll be able to comfortably test out different ways of incorporating impact play and extending the length of such sessions.

To submissives, make sure you openly communicate with your partner. For Dominants, make sure that once you’ve finished making a bottom red that you follow up with so much-needed aftercare.


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