Guide To Impact Toys

Guide To Impact Toys

Rose MacDowell

What Is Impact Play?

The practice of striking another person or being struck for sexual gratification is known as impact play. Impact play can range from light spanking to more intense types of play like flogging or caning.

Impact tools vary in terms of their design, what they're made from, and how they're used. Read on for more details about the different types of impact toys and how to choose the right one for you. 


Whips are some of the most popular and iconic impact tools. Whips generally fall into two categories: single-tailed whips like bullwhips or snake whips and multi-tailed ones known as floggers which have several flat falls attached to a handle.

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Single-tailed whips 

A single-tailed whip is characterized by one long tail attached to a handle. The material used to make the whip will affect how the toy feels, sounds, and performs.

Classic leather whips are revered for their flexibility and durability, while vegan leather alternatives offer similar benefits without the use of animal hide. Paracord is woven nylon cord that is lightweight and stretchier than leather or vegan leather. Waxed paracord can feel more like leather versus unwaxed paracord, and last longer, as well. 

Different materials not only affect how these whips feel upon contact but also influence their overall aesthetic. Leather typically has a more traditional look and smell, whereas vegan leather can be shinier and wear differently over time. Paracord is easy to care for, is available in a myriad of colors, and tends to be a more budget-friendly option.

To learn more about the power exchange dynamic, check out Dominant and Submissive Relationships

Multi-tailed whips, AKA floggers

Floggers are whips that feature multiple tails connected to a rigid handle. Floggers vary by the number of tails and the type of material they're made from. The greater the number of tails, the wider the flogger will spread on impact. This means that more skin will be covered in a single strike, but the feeling may feel less concentrated and intense than the impact of bare hand spanking or a single-tail whip. 

You can choose from floggers that with flat falls or rounded ones. Flat falls tend to deliver an impact that feels thuddier, whereas rounded falls create a sharper and more focused sensations. Flogger materials like suede and fabric provide a gentler touch that's ideal if you're new to impact play and BDSM dynamics. Materials like vegan leather, oiled leather, and rubber are best for experienced players who enjoy more intense play. 

Floggers and whips are typically used on the back. It can be difficult to use them on the buttocks without striking the sides of the hips and thighs by mistake. These areas can be more painful than the buttocks and are best avoided, particularly if you're new to impact play. 

Learn more: Kink Vs. Fetish: What's the Difference? 


Paddles are flat tools typically made from wood, silicone, leather, or vegan leather. The broad surface of paddles is designed to disperse impact over a larger area of the skin. This results in a more thuddy, solid feeling rather than a sharp sting. Paddles tend to be wider, weightier, and more durable than impact tools like whips. 

Some paddles have smooth surfaces while others are textured for extra stimulation. Certain paddles feature shapes or inscriptions that leave an impression on the skin with a sufficiently firm strike. 

Learn more: BDSM Safety


Slappers are similar to paddles but feature an additional flexible blade that creates a slapping sound when it hits a surface area. You can fine-tune the intensity level of both slappers and paddles by adjusting how hard you swing them, making them suitable both for beginners and seasoned players.

Because slappers and paddles do not have falls or multiple parts that strike the body, they are more controllable than whips and floggers and are typically used on the buttocks.  

Riding crops

Like the equestrian tools they're named for, riding crops feature a long, slim handle and a tip made of silicone, leather, or vegan leather. This tip is called a popper. 

The structure of a riding crop allows you to deliver precise strikes and maintain control over how much force you apply. You can apply gentle caresses along sensitive areas using the flat tip or smack the skin firmly with short, sharp blows. 

Beyond functionality, visual appeal also plays into the popularity of riding crops. Crops might have adorned handles, unique poppers, and other interesting aesthetic elements that add beauty to a scene. Some feature padding around the handle, making them more comfortable to hold and wield during longer scenes.

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Cane are deceptively simply round shafts of material that offer a different experience based on which materials are used to make them. Flexible bamboo rods deliver deep thuddy sensations, while acrylic canes offer a concentrated sting reminiscent of bare hand spanking. Metal canes providing harsher sensations on contact and are typically used by impact play aficionados and more experienced folks.

Acrylic canes tend to be stiff, leading to sharp stings on impact. The surface area impacted by a cane is smaller, which can intensify the sensation and make it feel more painful than some impact toys. 

Learn more: What Does Safe, Sane, and Consensual Mean? 

How to Choose an Impact Toy

Know which sensation you prefer 

The first step to finding the right tool involves identifying which kind of sensation you prefer. For instance, if it's the former sensation you enjoy most, paddles and slappers might be just what you need. On the other hand, whips and canes are renowned for delivering sharper stings.

Pick your material

The materials used to create an impact tool significantly influence how it feels to both the giver and receiver. Leather, suede, and nylon offer a different type of stimulation as compared to rigid paddles, wooden spoons, or bamboo canes. Keep in mind that the material will need to be cleaned, and this may also influence the kind of materials you choose. 

If you prefer not to use materials from animals, there are options like vegan leather whips that feel and perform very much like leather. You can also select a toy made from fabric, microfiber, metal, and wood. 

Read more: BDSM Red Flags

Estimate size

In addition to function and material, size plays a crucial role when choosing an impact toy. Smaller tools like riding crops and short floggers may be easier to control, but lack sufficient weight for weight needed for more intense scenes. A cane is an example of a slim, lighter toy that is also quite powerful and effective. 

Larger multi-tail toys deliver powerful strikes to large body surface areas simultaneously, requiring some practice to master how to use and control them. As with all sex toys, the right size impact tool can make a big difference in how easy it is to use and how well it functions it for you.