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.
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