Face slapping reasons and styles can vary greatly, but the act is ultimately a gesture of power that delivers a healthy dose of humiliation. It can be done either in or out of a scene, as part of sex, as part of discipline, punishment or other. This article is more about the how than the why.
NOTE 1: The purpose of this article is to discuss the art of face slapping as done by consenting adults, especially those engaged in a D/s, M/s, top/bottom, or otherwise kinky dynamic. I am no expert on slapping as I have only been the slapper a few times in my life. I am undoubtedly a slapee with many hits of experience under my belt… or on my face. I sincerely welcome input both from those with slapping experience and expertise as well as from those with little to no experience.
NOTE 2: Some people feel very strongly about face slapping. After all, any contact with another person’s face is an intimate act. Whether that act is “good” or “bad” is completely subjective. This article is not about abuse. If the idea of consensual face slapping bothers you, you should look away now.
On Face Slapping
Important Slapping Considerations
The Frugal Domme says, when it comes to face slapping, you CAN’T do it safeLY. You CAN do it safER.
Slapping the face is generally considerably different and more risk-prone than slapping the body. The face holds sensitive skin, (about) 43 muscles, 14 bones, cartilage of the nose, the joint of the jaw, the eyes and a vast array of nerve endings. There is also the neck to consider which is always affected by a face hit. Any of these can be damaged by impact and must be handled with care, even in the most intense scene.
From Wikipedia: “The face is a central sense organ complex.” Keeping in mind the damage that could arise from being hit in the face, it might be helpful to remember the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch/feel. Any of these could be affected by a blow to the facial area. In hitting, be aware that you could possibly detach a retina causing long-lasting or permanent eye damage, rupture an eardrum, break a nose, bust a lip or dislocate a jaw (watch especially for people like me with TMJ).
Don’t forget the psychological aspects! The act of face slapping, by default, applies some level of humiliation, often a great deal of it. Without careful application, undesired feelings can be evoked by slapping. Consent is crucial, whether that consent is on a play-by-play basis or given once (as in a Master/slave dynamic). A top’s understanding/empathy is also a vital element in avoiding a backlash of resentment and anger from a bottom, as well as fear and sadness.
Lastly, never slap out of anger. Just don’t do it. Are you angry? Not sure? Take a walk until you’re sure.
Before the Slapfest
1 – Caution: First things first, please, remove any and all jewelry from the hand, especially protruding objects, as the impact of hard objects on the face can significantly increase the damage potential.
2 – Get clean!: The skin on the face can be rather sensitive not only to impact, but to bacteria and general uncleanliness. Do your willing target a favor and wash your hands before beginning to avoid the transfer of germs.
3 – Slap thyself. Go ahead. Slap yourself. I’ve never been one to believe that a top who tests out a new tool or toy on themselves can really gauge how that tool/toy will truly feel on their intended bottom. Many tops, being sadistic and non-masochistic, simply won’t hit themselves hard enough to understand. A self-slap, however, is something that can really be felt. Try a few different techniques to get a feel for what your willing bottom is soon to experience.
4 – Slap them. There’s nothing wrong with using your bottom as your/their own test subject. A few minutes worth of building up and testing the waters to determine what methods work best for you is highly appropriate. Or you could always just go for broke, toss something into the water and see what bites…. shark vs minnow (SARCASM).
When addressing how to slap someone, there are numerous factors to take into consideration. Remember, I am no expert, so everything here is seasoned with a grain of salt already for you.
The sweet spot is perfectly between the zygomatic bone, or high cheek bone, and the mandible, or jaw bone, where the fattier, sometimes thicker part of the face is. Higher than this risks hitting close to the eye, and lower risks the mandibular joint. A hit back of center risks hitting the ear, and forward of center risks the lips/mouth.
Fingers vs Palm vs Full Open Hand
While the human arm, wrist, hand and fingers all generally have great flexion (bending in), they are limited in extension. The amount the parts are limited in extension is the amount the face may have to absorb in a hit. A finger-only slap may deliver less of a blow than a strong palm slap or full open hand slap. In addition, a palm or full open hand slap offers a greater amount of body contact, hand to face surface area, and may increase the intensity of the hit.
Fingers Apart vs Fingers Together
If you hit someone with a single thin cane, the impact may be little. If you bundle 5 thin canes together, the impact increases. As with fingers apart, the impact may be lessened. Fingers together creates one solid slap tool of great strength.
Flexible Wrist vs Stiff Arm
A flexible wrist hit leaves some room for shared impact absorption. With a flexible wrist, the slapper can alter their motion and desired impact up until the last second before impact. (Wave your hand side to side, fingers slightly curved inward, as if trying to sway a large amount of water in one direction.) IMO, it’s always advisable to avoid a total stiff arm motion and opt for flexibility and free motion. The amount of force one would have to absorb from a wild stiff-armed hit to the face could be quite signficant. Never forget your own strength and how your body mechanics affect it, as well as the use of your strong side vs your weak side.
Slap intensity can be greatly affected by reach and distance. A wide-armed hit could easily be more intense than a close-up slap (other factors listed here could alter the intensity). A wide roundhouse-style slap can send the recipient into a 180 and/or a fall. Perhaps this technique should be considered more advanced, and certainly, riskier. Still, a close-up slap can deliver a solid blow as well, if intended. Remember, in general, a close-up slap will use the hand and wrist, while a wide slap will use the hand, wrist, whole arm and shoulder.
Backhanding can be more difficult to accomplish well… delivering the right amount of force and using the best part(s) of the hand, all while avoiding damage (from the knuckles, for example). The flat of the back of the hand is not equivalent to the palm. There is much less padding, there’s no chance for cupping the hand, and the bones are close to the surface. Backhanding should be done with extra caution. A bitch slap, or a wide-armed backhand, only increases the danger potential.
A slap from behind can use the same mechanics as a slap from the front. The difference is sight. If you cannot see the target clearly, the risk of hitting off the target is increased.
So many styles, so little time. How about the calm before the storm where the face is warmly and lovingly caressed then suddenly delivered a solid slap in the same area, or the sensory deprivation slap where the intended has no idea of the slap to come, or the tap slap where lighter hits are given repeatedly and quickly, or the regimented slap, a Sergeant Major vs Private in-your-face type of slapping style. What’s yours?
A Note to subs/slaves/bottoms
As with anything, and especially in the lifestyle, communication is so important. If repressed or otherwise hurtful feelings are being brought to the surface due to being slapped in the face, by all means, this would make for a key discussion topic with your dom/me or top. The line between abuse and play is always consent and motive, and can sometimes end up being as simple as interpretation. One slap can be seen as very different from the last and can cause motives to be questioned and consent to be revoked, and sometimes rightfully so. Having entered into your dynamic or scene as a healthy-minded, consenting adult, you should trust your own judgment.
A Few Asides, somewhat
What’s more giving in this type of play/scene than being slapped then immediately presenting one’s face for the next slap, front and center?
Tops who can slap, choke and fuck at the same time? I salute you.