Rough Body Play: Intro to Face Slapping

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Cartoon image of a woman slapping a man in the face
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The first time I was slapped in the face during sex was during a kinky hook-up. I was still new to BDSM at the time and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The surprise, the taboo of it, my submissiveness—I loved it all. Even though the guy hadn’t hit me that hard, I felt the sting for hours afterward, at least in my mind, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be with someone who would do that to me again. Fortunately, when I met Vagabond, he was more than happy to oblige.     

Face slapping isn’t for everyone, though. Similar to punching, it can be seen as a little too reminiscent of domestic abuse, and a fair number of kinksters count it among their hard limits.  But, as with punching, face slapping in BDSM is not about hitting someone as hard as you can in an uncontrolled rage. It’s about landing a precise and targeted strike to provide a visceral thrill. For the bottom, it can be a great way to experience humiliation and masochism, and for the top, it’s an intimate way to exert power. For both people, face slapping can also be a fun way to subvert or play with the taboos associated with it. Like any kinky activity, discuss it with your partner first to see if it’s something they’re interested in.  

How to Slap

To slap someone in the face is easy, but to slap someone in the face correctly is trickier. The face is a relatively small part of the body that’s filled with a lot of delicate cartilage and bone that you want to avoid. 

  • Remove jewelry. If you, as the slapper, are wearing any rings, remove them in advance of slapping. And take note of any facial piercings the bottom has, as these might be a hindrance, depending on where they are.
  • Aim for the right spot. Your goal should be to slap the fleshy part of the cheek below the cheekbone and above the jaw line, avoiding the nose, eyes, and ears. To do this successfully, let your middle and ring fingers land most of the blow, not your entire palm (even though it may look like you’re using your whole hand). As a point of comparison, the woman in the image above is slapping a little too close to the man’s ear. 
  • Don’t use full force. As with a punch, do not put all your strength into a slap. Your goal isn’t to cause real injury. If your hand hurts, you’re probably slapping too hard. It’s better to be too gentle than too rough, especially in the beginning. You can always work up to harder slaps if that’s what your partner wants.  
  • Start close to the face. Don’t start a slap from several feet away. It’s too easy to miss the target area (or miss the face altogether). Instead, strike from about six inches away. You can still deliver a good sting from this distance while remaining precise.
  • Practice! Practicing something like slapping may sound clinical and unsexy, but it will pay off in spades during an actual scene. Start off with light taps to get the hang of hitting the right spot before working up to actual slaps, and get feedback from your partner as your practice. As a sub who had always been on the receiving end of slaps, practicing was the only way I could become comfortable slapping Vagabond in preparation for a CNC scene. 

Injuries to Avoid

If you follow the steps above, you’ll mitigate risk of injury, but accidents can and do happen.

  • Jaw. Early in our relationship, Vagabond slapped me while my mouth was open, and my jaw moved in such a way that it caused misalignment and pain. The pain subsided in a few days, but the alignment issue took much longer to heal. One way to avoid this is to make sure the bottom’s mouth is closed and that their head moves with the slap as opposed to staying tense and stationary. 
  • Ear. If you slap someone’s ear, there’s a chance you could accidentally rupture their eardrum. Need I say more?
  • Eyes. Slapping the eyes can also be potentially dangerous and, at the very least, can cause the bottom to see stars.
  • Bruising. Depending on force and frequency, slapping can cause bruising. I’ve ended up with petechiae (tiny red pinpoints) from slaps that weren’t even that hard. 
  • Breakouts. Finally, while not an injury, per se, I’ve found that breakouts can be an odd side effect of getting slapped. I’ve read other anecdotal accounts of this, but haven’t been able to find any scientific explanation, so if you know, please tell us! 

Creativity

Once you perfect the basics of slapping, you can start getting creative. Whether you’re a top or a bottom, think about the feeling you want slapping to evoke. Do you want it to be playful? Humiliating? Shocking? Communicate with your partner before the scene to find out how they want to incorporate slapping. As a top, you can use this information to determine your approach. For example, if the goal is to tease and build anticipation, you could give a few warning taps and cheek strokes leading up to a full slap. On the other hand, if you’re going for shock and awe, you could blindfold the bottom and deliver a full slap with no warning. If you want to keep them guessing, you could pretend like you’re going to slap the bejeezus out of them, but stop short. You can also experiment with when to incorporate slapping into a scene—beginning, middle, end, or even all of the above. Personally, I love being slapped when I’m close to orgasm. The possibilities are endless once you get into the swing of it.  

Additional Resources

  • Rough Body Play Basics: Face Slapping: In this Kink Academy video, dominatrix Eternal Angel gives an excellent introduction to face slapping.
  • The Slap: This short documentary about strangers slapping each other is great if you want to see some amusing reactions and how easy it is to miss the target. Don’t watch this for proper technique, though.

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