BDSM Basics: Impact Play Safe Zones and Spanking Tips



Green = Safe Zones

Yellow = risk zones

Use caution when directly hitting these area or how frequently you hit these areas.

Red = Danger areas

Avoid direct hits to these areas.

Purple circles = Critical Areas

In no event shall these areas receive direct blows or sustain any direct or prolonged pressure. These areas are key to blood circulation, nervous or major joints.

BYK6fT5IMAE9UQM.jpg largeImpact Play and Spanking Tips

1) Educate Yourself About the Body! There are some parts of the body that you should avoid spanking at all times. Hitting these parts of the body can result in extensive, and sometimes fatal damage (see the red and purple areas above)

  • Kidneys: The kidneys are located in the area of the back between the bottom of the ribcage and the top of the butt.
  • Tailbone: The tailbone is located at the base of the spine, it can be cracked or broken if hit.
  • Hips: The sides of the bum and along the bony part of the hips, where several nerves are located.
  • Spine: The spine, along the back, has several small bones that can be cracked or bruised.
  • Neck: The neck is a very sensitive area where many major arteries, tendons, glands, and lymph nodes are located, not to mention the larynx, and should never be hit!
  • Face: Although face slapping and other impacts to the face are sometimes seen it is best to avoid hitting this area of the body. There are many sensitive areas (sinuses, eyes, lips, cheekbones, etc) that can be easily damaged and those injuries could be permanent!
  • Ears: Hitting someone on the ears can cause permanent damage to their hearing or sense of balance.

megaphone22) Use a safe word or safe signal. A safe word is established so that the action can be stopped instantly should anything go wrong. Before play, choose a word that is unlikely to normally be said during your play session, such as “ocean” or “red light”. It should be agreed that the safe word will only be used in serious situations and at all times the action will stop immediately if it is said by either party. A safe signal is used in situations where a word cannot be spoken, such as when the submissive is gagged or is wearing a hood. Sometimes you could use a specific series of grunts, or it may be possible to hang on tightly to a bell and dropping it would be the safe signal. If for any reason a safe word gets used during your play session, stop the session immediately, remove any restraints, gags, hoods, etc., and find out why the safe word was used. Sometimes it’s best to take a time out and discuss just what went wrong. You might decide to continue with the play after the problem’s been solved or you might decide to continue the play another time.

212626s3) Only spank or be spanked in a relationship of absolute trust. In a trusting relationship, it is possible for either partner to stop the action, regardless of their reason, at any time with the use of a safe word or safe signal. A Dominant should trust that the submissive will use the safe word if things are going too far. As well, a dominant should be alert to their submissive’s reactions and willing to stop the action if they suspect things are not going as they should. Sometimes submissives are hesitant to use their safe words, but in some cases you could find yourself in a situation where they can’t use the safe word. The Dominant must be on the look out for danger signals because the person being spanked often loses the ability to know when things are going too far.

bdsmlogo4) Establish hard limits before play. It is best to discuss limits with your partner before you start playing. A hard limit is an activity that you designate as off-limits. For spankings, a limit may be necessary due to a physical problem, such as an old injury, and for others there may be a mental or emotional reason for certain limits. Everyone has limits that must be respected in order to preserve their well being and a Dominant should not push limits without a great amount of care and consideration for the well being of his/her submissive. Discuss limits with your partner and use your common sense.



5) Avoid Leather Butt: This is a condition created by damaging the nerves and skin on a certain part of the body, often the butt, that results in toughened skin, scar tissue and desensitization. Vary your spanking techniques, try different types of implements, and spank different parts of the body to avoid “leather butt”.

4 thoughts on “BDSM Basics: Impact Play Safe Zones and Spanking Tips

  1. OH MY, this article is so inaccurate and problematic in so many ways. BDSM is rife with nuance and complexity, and this attempt to .. presumably .. affect positive outcomes by presenting a simplified view is tragically misguided. For the author’s benefit and for the benefit of anyone who may read this, I’ll describe SOME of why.


    The safety PRINCIPLE of impact play is to avoid vulnerable nerve channels, and to focus on area which are protected by bone – that is, bone with muscle and such over it. Generally, this hitting the area with heavy mass-bearing objects (such as paddles) below the rib cage and above the tailbone where internal organs can receive the concussive force. Superficial light strikes, such as the cracker of a whip, light misery sticks etc, however, are fine in these areas as they expend their energy very quickly into not much more than the skin layers. Heavy hard tools should also avoid contact where there is only skin above the bone (no protective tissue) — the “no hard on hard” rule. Even then, the bottom’s posture matters dramatically. For example, hunching the shoulders forward pokes the tips of the shoulderblades out, but when the arms are held to the side, they are usually protected under shoulder muscles.

    2. The most common safe words are “Green / Yellow / Red” – Green meaning “good to go”, Yellow meaning “hold on, let me process and get my head back in the scene (to be followed by the Green signal), and Red being reserved for FULL STOP – end of scene. Your article would have people signalling the “nuclear” option of Red in there place of Yellow, which an earnest top would conclude the scene — prematurely, and with significant frustration. As they are so ubiquitously used, it is advisable to encourage people (especially considering that newcomers are likely to engage with multiple partners along their path) to use the standard ones – as a matter of GOOD HABITS. Exotic safewords, in practice, are generally (best) reserved as a cute personal thing within the context of an ongoing power exchange relationship.


    Miscommunication and misunderstandings of intention can (and do) cause a negative outcomes. This article proposes misleading communications while completely avoiding addressing aspects of intent.

    3. Many consider a spanking scene (“thuddy” and “slappy” impact constrained to the bottom) as a first-date trust-building activity because of the RELATIVE safety and intimacy involved. Although I’m sure that it wasn’t your intent, your article would require a reader to not engage with anyone outside of a relationship – before both parties have had the benefit of determining whether their play styles and chemistry were compatible. Imagine the grief that this would cause if people unknowingly took this advice to heart. Torches and pitchforks in the street. And confusion and heartache.

    To the author:
    Publishing information about BDSM without having a thorough and intimate understanding of the topic is DANGEROUS. Somebody not knowing any better would be MORE prone to have a negative outcome after reading this article. For example, it is very easy to imagine a reader so misinformed by this article to become upset with a top for flogging the back and shoulders (a VERY common and generally safe practice. Or a top seeing that the forearms are green in the photo and using a medium-weight paddle on the exposed bones there. Or becoming upset after receiving a single-tail strike to the breast area.

    This article, I strongly think and feel, ought to be formally retracted, so as not to mislead people. It does much more harm than good.

    There are ways of getting into BDSM (including impact play) which are based on actual best practices. Anyone who is interested is welcome to contact me directly. Also, attending local BDSM group get-togethers is generally an advisable way of finding people who know what they’re going – just avoid the youngster-oriented (age-restricted) groups, as they tend to be more driven by libido and be intellectually incestuous.

    • Thanks for the wonderful and informative response! Although many of the issues you brought up are more thoroughly addressed in many of our other articles it is always great to hear from others.

      This is a BASICS article, which means it covers a limited amount of information (kind of like dipping your toe in a lake to see what the temperature is) and many of the link backs in the article direct to more helpful, in-depth writing. In fact, since publishing this article we’ve added even better articles about spanking and impact play like this one:

      The photo included at the top gives a general idea of what areas are safe and although I agree it is not nearly detailed enough (Esinem has much better ones on his article about nerve damage) it is a broad overview of what areas are safe, which is extremely helpful to those just starting out or are unsure which areas are generally safe. Also, your comments about safe words are very much on par with what we discuss in our Safe Word article linked IN this article (though I’m guessing by your comment you didn’t get a chance to read it). We recommend the red/yellow/green as a rule of thumb, but many others choose their own safe words (as you already know).

      And I’m glad that you are so trusting, but since our main goal at ASI is to educate about safety, we do not recommend that anyone engages in BDSM play with someone they do not trust. This is does not mean they have to be a in a relationship, but they should know the reputation of the person and trust them before allowing them to impact pain.

      We do agree that the back is a general area for flogging/whipping/impact play but there are major nerves there are well, which is why it is recommended that CAUTION is used when hitting these areas… not that they be entirely avoided (as the photo descriptions state).

      I applaud your well articulated comment and eagerness to inform based on this one article on our entire website. We hope that you will take some time to browse and comment on a few of other articles as well. 🙂

  2. ok, looking at that map, i had to laugh a bit…. the following comments come from my own experience and TONS of impact play. i have not experienced any negative physical effects from any of my play, just the expected bruises, which have gone away in due time with proper care and healing.

    left-hand pic
    * the area above the boobs can take a fair bit of flogging with no negative results
    * the circle in the groin area – those i play with hit me there regularly with hands, floggers, whips
    * boobs are yellow?? wtf?? floggers and whips and (certain) paddles and hands are yes!
    * inner thighs are yellow? psh…. floggers, paddles, whips
    * whips to the tummy are NOT going to do any internal damage.

    middle pic
    *no one i know actually hits on the arms… biting yes…
    *the hip area is red?? dang, i get hit there ALL THE TIME with all sorts of things

    right-hand pic
    *back of the calves are yellow? why? LOTS of padding/muscle there
    *floggers and whips to the back won’t do damage… obviously no heavy impact on the spine, but you don’t have to stick with just the shoulder blade area

    • I am so glad that you are having a great time with impact play! The map at the top is color coded based on areas with surface or major nerves/veins that can be damaged with repeated or extremely hard impact. These areas shouldn’t necessarily be avoided, but you should use caution when hitting them.

      Again, I think (based on your comment and Captain Crop’s) that people think the yellow and red colors mean you should completely avoid those areas, which is not the case. Everything in moderation!

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