Written By Lina Dune.
Photo by Leah Labrador
As the snowball of sex positivity rolls on, it seems more and more of us are comfortable admitting that we would like our partners to (consensually, sexily) hit us. Whether to you “impact play,” as it’s formally called in BDSM circles, means a light spanking or if you’ve upped the ante to some flogging, cropping, paddling or even caning, you may find yourself with a sore ass afterwards, frantically googling what you’re supposed to do to heal it enough to be able to sit down at work tomorrow.
Since the content that is readily available on this topic online tends to be hosted on websites that look like I could have built them as a final project for my high school computer class in 2007, consider this list the modern antidote. (Asstidote? I’m still working on it.) What follows is my full and complete arsenal of aftercare tips acquired as a 24/7 lifestyle sub that has been beaten (happily) six ways to Sunday, and then commuted to work the following morning on many occasions.
It seems more and more of us are comfortable admitting that we would like our partners to (consensually, sexily) hit us.
Before I developed the below toolkit and early in my subbing days, I found myself casting around the internet looking for answers after one night when my Dom decided to try out a new rubber whip on me (serious ouch). We were lying in bed after a play session, listening to music, and He asked me to name the artist of the song we were listening to. I was deep in subspace, a result of the endorphins from a good impact session, and a little loopy, and had no idea. It sounded like something old and I just started randomly rattling off artists.
“Tom Petty?” I finally guessed with a little certainty after a series of random stabs in the dark.
The incredulity on His face perfectly and wordlessly underscored our age difference (which I have fetishized from day one), and definitely didn’t help with the loopiness.
“OK, bend over,” He told me. “You’re going to get 10 lashes with the whip. And after each one you’ll say ‘I love David Bowie.’”
“Ohhh, it’s Bowie!” I said, giggling, as I was bent over His knee to take the punishment.
Back in His arms after my 10 dizzying lashes, another song came on and I was asked to recite the artist. I was particularly looped now, so I didn’t deduce (obviously) that it was Bowie again. An album was playing. Duh. 10 more lashes. This happened one more time and what resulted were the most intense bruises I’d ever gotten. I was ecstatic. I drove home with a butt that looked like those galaxy-print leggings that were huge a few years ago, but then it hit me. I had just moved and didn’t have a fridge yet. There was no ice in my house.
Any partner you engage in this play with should know and respect your boundaries, and provide appropriate emotional aftercare following any scene.
After high-tailing it to a 24-hour grocery store to get some frozen corn (they were running a special and it was cheaper than the classic frozen peas), I began to develop my arsenal of pre- and post-impact play must-haves. These are the down and dirty specifics, but it also must be said that any partner you engage in this play with should know and respect your boundaries, and provide appropriate emotional aftercare following any scene.
Lather up with a Medical-Ass Lotion: Sometimes a fragranced lotion is too much and you just need to strip it down to basics and use a fragrance free, medical-ass lotion like Eucerin, Aveeno, etc. I like to get anything with the word “intensive” or “eczema” on it and coat my skin in it before and after play. I also find that sun exposure makes my arms and legs more sensitive to impact, so if I were being a good girl I would use SPF on my whole body in the summer months (I’m never that good).
An Ice Pack: OK, so now you’ve taken your moist, dewy bod over to the dungeon (or more likely whatever regular bedroom or studio apartment your Dom practices in), and you’ve received a lovely beating resulting in a sore ass. If heavy impact is part of your play, you may find yourself with lingering evidence of what went down ranging from light redness to all-out bruises. Ice is your first defense against taking down any kind of swelling. As soon as you can after a scene, if you’re trying to minimize the damage, get a huge glass of water in your hand and your ass on some ice STAT. I like the soft gel ice packs that you can find on Amazon and at some drugstores. I keep two in my freezer in case I forget to put one back. They’re comfortable to cuddle with and won’t turn to disgusting mush like frozen corn will (and did — nightmare).
Arnica & Other Gels: Once you’ve iced yourself, you’ll want to treat your marks topically. I have arnica gel for bruising, which can be found at most natural foods stores, and aloe vera for anything more on the surface of the skin. But what if you get home and your butt just hurts and you’re not sure which to use? Well, the required aftercare all depends on the type of impact tool that was used. Were you hit with something more “thuddy,” like a paddle or silicone crop? In that case treat for bruises with arnica. (Some people swear by the preventative route and take oral arnica tablets before an impact session.) Was it something stingy like a crop, slapper or hand? Then your irritated, red skin might appreciate some aloe vera.
Colloidal Oatmeal Bath & Epsom Salts: To really pamper yourself, make yourself the bath-equivalent of a medical-ass lotion. Colloidal Oatmeal is formulated to treat eczema and dry skin, but works wonders on impact marks and even on a chafed or sore orifice (we’ve all been there). You can find Colloidal Oatmeal baths in the baby care section of larger stores. I also recommend plain epsom salts. If you’re prone to yeast infections or BV or just have sensitive skin, sometimes fragranced bath salts can be too much. If you really want to treat yourself (and live somewhere weed is legal), Whoopi & Maya make an unscented, cannabis infused bath soak that is pure heaven and will set you straight right away. It’s formulated for period cramps, so if you menstruate and struggle with a heavy flow, it’s about to be your new favorite thing.
Wrist Care: The above is all about minimizing marks from impact, but impact is often paired with restraint. Bondage originates most often at the wrists (then the ankles), both some of the most visible parts of your body, and occasionally marks are unavoidable. You may have heard that handcuffs, despite what you see in movies, are rarely used by serious BDSM practitioners. This is because they’re fussy and often uncomfortable — even if they’re covered in pink fur — and they leave lasting marks if left on too long. If you’re trying to avoid visible marks on your skin, ask your Dom to opt for wide leather cuffs like these that can be left on you for as long as they like without any risk of marks.
Water: Hydrate like a maniac before, during, and after a scene. Whether you’re sweating, drooling, crying, or just panting a lot, impact play can dehydrate you and leave you prone to headaches or even sub-drop. No bueno! I like to trick myself into drinking more by making infused waters at home. Lemon slices, herbs, crushed cranberries, chia seeds, and any other fruit you can think of are all lovely in ice water and make you feel like you’re having a spa day. Tea or sparkling water is also great but straight water is preferred. A bonus to being well hydrated is that it will be easier to pee after sex, which is an absolute must for people with vaginas, EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU DON’T NEED TO GO. YES, YOU.
Chapstick: this one is a no-brainer if kissing is included in your Dom’s practice, but is also important even if it’s not. Nobody likes chapped lips around a ball gag. I like Fresh hydrating balm during the day, and I use this Laneige lip mask at night.
Stretch: Then on top of all this, treat your body well! Stretch, do meditations, go for walks, breathe the air, revel in the resilience and wonder of your amazing physical vessel. I like to take a daily regimen of vitamins and probiotics and I do a lot of yoga. Be grateful to your body for the cool things it does and make sure you balance your impact play with a ratio of about 90% self care to 10% impact, if that. You can only be your best, subbiest self if you’re also taking very good care of yourself, so let your sexual appetites lead the way to treating your body like a temple.
Lina Dune is a bi 24/7 sub, writer, and witch living in Los Angeles. LD is a pen name derived from two Anais Nin Stories – “Lina” and “Woman On The Dune”. You can find more of Lina’s work and ask her questions at askasub.com and on Instagram @askasub.