Faceslapping is one of those things that has a LOT of obvious dangers, and also a lot of erotic potential. The dangers are everything from breaking facial bones, detaching retinas to brain damage. The erotic benefits are less obvious, and it is a matter of opinion whether they outweigh the potential dangers. I think this qualifies as edge play. The fact that I've made a choice to do it, indicates only that I've done everything I can to reduce the risk, and my partners and I are willing to take the consequences of our actions. It doesn't mean that I think this activity is safe. I don't. But what is acceptable for one person or couple can be unacceptable for others. And what is edge play for one is boring for others.

I will say that face slapping, though very lightly, is something I practice with my subs. Now, I adore my subs, I intend to live with them for the foreseeable future, so I don't want them brain damaged, nor do I want them otherwise damaged. So, how can I do it safely?

The answer is, you CAN'T do it safeLY. You CAN do it safER. The technique that I use is to hold my left palm firmly against his/her cheek, and slap his/her other cheek NOT TOO HARD with the fingers of my right hand. Or vice versa. If you are very light, you can do a forehand, backhand hit, though one stroke each would be plenty. If your hand stings, you are hitting too hard. And please remove all rings before doing this. Even a plain band can cause lacerations if you catch someone right. As a doctor involved with the D/s community stated:

"Faces are a different matter. They are NOT designed to tolerate trauma. The facial organs and tissues of the face are delicate and easily damaged. Innocent child's play commonly results in serious facial injuries. In even the skilled trained hands of a practiced "slapper", the chance of a minimally misplaced blow causing damage to the eyes or facial nerves is significant. Heavy facial slaps could indeed damage eyes, nerves, joints, neck, and even brain. Lips are particularly susceptible to damage: they split easily. The skin over the cheekbone is easily torn. In my days as an ER doc I sewed up many a slapped induced facial laceration."
(Quote from Dr. Joe in HSX 200 on CompuServe in a message thread on face slapping.)

There are countless injuries that can be sustained from this activity from detached retinas, to dislocated or broken facial bones to severe brain damage.

If you must slap, learn to do it right. This is a description of the technique used by a very highly skilled dominant. This is also the way *I* do it. (No, I didn't write the description myself.)

"When I do face slapping, I generally start my hand moving from within a foot or so of the face and I hold the bottoms head in place with my other hand. If I'm playing with someone new, I may not even move my arm at all. I use just my wrist and often I will brace elbow of the arm that I am slapping with against the bottoms body. All of this is done to reduce velocity and increase accuracy, thus reduced risk. As for my personal choice for a target area, I like to have the fingers of my right hand land on the face in the space formed with my little finger running along about the gum line and my index finger touching the cheek bone. Please note I said and mean my fingers. If my palm touches the face I feel that I have mis-stroked and I apologize to my bottom."
(From a post in a message thread from HSX 200 on CompuServe.)

Faceslapping is something that MUST be approached with care. Boxers and other sports figures demonstrate pretty vividly the dangers of repeated trauma to the head area. Not to mention that the neck is also in danger of damage, especially whiplash type injuries and worse.

Besides the physical trauma, there is a lot of emotional trauma associated with this sort of play. Slapping someone is perceived as an extreme form of humiliation. Slapping is not much higher on the ultimate contempt scale than spitting on someone. It's considered a sure sign of abuse. A woman with facial bruises or lacerations is considered to be a victim of spousal abuse. It's the first thing that crosses anyone's mind.

Slapping someone without establishing that the bottom can accept it, often leads to severe emotional reactions. Even when you've negotiated slapping into a scene, the bottom may find that the reality sets off some hitherto buried land mine. If you indulge in this play, the top MUST be prepared to deal with an extreme emotional reaction from the bottom. The most unassertive femsub can become a raging creature bent on retaliation from what they emotionally see as a contemptuous attack from her top. Male subs have been known to attack female dominants due to an unexpected slap. Both sexes have ended otherwise trouble free relationships over what was perceived as an unbearable humiliation. Slapping is emotionally charged, as well as physically dangerous.

Given all this, why would we slap anyone? Because it is an extremely hot form of play for some of us. Due to the extreme emotional connotations, slapping and being slapped can be a heavily emotional form of playing. I know that when I slap Feynman or Hayden, I'm feeling totally in control of him/her and I'm TAKING power. It's also a very awesome feeling, especially with Feynman as he's giving me this power since he's a big man, and could easily stop me from doing anything to him. Feynman finds being slapped, especially combined with a reprimand or sharp demand makes him feel extremely subby. We tend to use this form of play in private play only, though I've considered adding it to what we do in public play spaces. (Hayden and I do this a LOT at play parties. We do quite a bit of resistance play as she's a small woman.) However, public and private reactions to this form of play sometimes differ. Often, a behavior that is considered "hot" in total privacy, is too humiliating if done in front of an audience...even a D/s friendly audience. A female submissive with whom I'm acquainted once said that having her husband/master slap her in private play sent her into sub space so quickly it was almost unbelievable, especially when she was kneeling; a very submissive posture. But the one time he slapped her during play in a public dungeon, she reacted with sheer rage, and actually stated that if she had been unrestrained, she would have done him damage. Somehow, an activity that she found hot in private, seemed to her to be contemptuous abuse when done in a public space.

IF you feel that faceslapping is something you want to do, discuss it with your bottom/top THOROUGHLY before you suddenly spring it on him/her in a scene. And try it in private before you do it in public. Don't just suddenly spring it on him/her, or you may find yourself with a hitherto docile sub suddenly slapping you back or worse.

Even more dangerous can be the reactions of your audience should you decide to do this activity in a public play space. Many D/s friendly audiences find faceslapping distasteful at best, and at worst, might even bar you from playing there again. Faceslapping has been equated with abuse for so long that even those in the "scene" still emotionally react negatively to it. One submissive man of my acquaintance stated that when he saw a female submissive slapped in a public scene by her male dominant he was strongly tempted to go to her rescue. He felt that it was beyond the bounds of acceptable play. And in a class I was teaching, I mentioned this while demonstrating the technique and an audience member thought to himself that I was overstating the case. At the end of the class, I did a ten minute scene with Hayden, demonstrating the various techniques I had discussed and the same gentleman said it was all he could do to not try to stop me when I slapped her suddenly five or six times.

All in all, faceslapping is one of those activities in which Your Mileage May Vary to extremes. Even when done with care, you need to remember that it is dangerous. It's not a little dangerous, its VERY dangerous. If you intend to do this, make sure you take all precautions including having someone who KNOWS how to do this correctly show you how. My description is NOT enough to teach you how to do faceslapping safely. Remember, safe, sane and consensual.


For those of you who think this is overstated, please read a true story that was sent to me by someone who now has long term bad effects from this practice.

Face Slapping--A True Experience.

Yes, I consented to and enjoyed the face slapping as part of one of several violent take down scenes, and will state clearly for the record that it was consensual. It was extremely powerful for me because my father used to beat me as a child and face slapping out of nowhere was often where it started so the act was cathartic and a powerful mindfuck for me. The problem was this was not normal, brace the face and give an open handed finger sting to the middle of the cheek. This particular brand of slapping was done cupped hand and often landed either on my upper cheek bone or jaw bone area jerking my head and often my entire body in a whiplash like action. I am an average sized woman, not large, not tiny. I am agile and it takes a lot of force to knock me off my feet and I was often knocked off my feet by the face slapping. I freely admit I did not stop this because I enjoyed the effect it had on me as it put me right back into being a child and knocked around by my father and it penetrated me deeply in many ways which I felt were positive for me mentally.

The problem was it was not positive for me physically. I went to the eye doctor because after a particularly severe face slapping episode my vision was extremely blurry on the drive home and never cleared up. I remember that night literally seeing "stars" (bright spots of light in the blackness) and commented that when they show stars in cartoons when someone is hit it wasn't just an exaggeration. The Optometrist sent me to an Ophthalmologist, who after several visits and lengthy exams over a period of months to try and determine the severity and cause of all the damage, finally told me I had a partially detached retina in one eye, and both my lens had been jolted out of the little pouch/socket they rest in and cataracts were forming on the posterior side of my lens to try and cement them back into place. He asked me several times if I had been in a car accident where I received whiplash and when I told him no, he said well I don't think you are a boxer either so there is something you aren't telling me. I couldn't bring myself to blame the face slapping for it and certainly wasn't going to confess my bdsm life to the doctor, although I did discuss it with the Dom after my initial first visit, and he admitted at that time that he was worried that he was responsible. The surgeon wanted to do surgery right after that first visit, but I was terrified of having a scalpel stuck into my eyes so I put it off as long as I could, and during that time the Dom and I parted ways and no longer scened together. My eyes continued to get worse and worse to the point I could no longer drive, so I went back to the surgeon and he said my vision was no longer measurable in my left eye as the lens was no longer functional and my right eye had significant retinal scarring that "scared" him. I had surgery to remove the cataract and some of the scar tissue and insert a lens implant to my left eye to restore my vision and will have the surgery for my right eye after I meet with the retinal specialist this month.

I did write a letter to the Dom and told him I did not blame him nor did I wish to condemn him in any way and that I was taking full responsibility both emotionally and financially for the risks we took, but that I did want to warn him not to engage in this type of face slapping with anyone in the future. He did not respond well to this information and we no longer speak.

I do not believe the Dom in question set out to permanent injure me. And I freely admit the thrill of danger is a definite turn on during edge play. When I first starting scening with this person he himself told me he considered himself a Sadist and not a Dom and I still accepted the risk of scening with him at the time. As stated many times over, I accept the responsibility for this.

But I've gotten a bit wiser now I think, and know some things (like your vision) just aren't worth the thrill you receive for those few moments in time. Face slapping is now a definite hard limit for me especially in light of the implants. I will always be an edge player. I will always play hard and heavy, but I'll try to be wiser about it now and make sure I play safe as well.

Author's name withheld per request for her protection. Should you seek to contact this person for further information email this site and I will forward your questions to her.