Bedroom Insider

A blog about relationships, intimacy and sex toys.

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Guide to Impact Toys

dominant woman with riding crop, bdsm. Beautiful woman ass in fishnet stockings and whip. Strict woman domination

Have you ever fantasized about a good spanking? Do you love the sound of leather hitting skin? Have you ever looked at a whip, flogger, or paddle, and wondered what it would feel like? If so, you might be interested in impact play and the wide variety of toys that can be used for it. In BDSM and kink, “impact play” is the practice of consensually hitting someone with something for the pleasure for all involved. While that might sound intimidating and intense, impact play can be whatever level of intensity one wants to. It can vary from gentle playful spanking to a walloping with an elaborate array of implements that leave a happy receiver with bruises all over.

While all sex acts should always be discussed before they happen, because of this variance and possibility of harm to the receiver, it’s especially important to talk to a partner in depth before bringing out the paddles and floggers. This way, everyone involved can have a discussion about safety, boundaries, and preferences. When talking to a partner about impact play, be sure to establish safe words to halt play, areas on the body that are okay and not okay to hit (and do some research beforehand to learn about these safe zones), how soft or hard to strike, and what toys to use.

Impact toys can be made rom different kinds of materials, including leather, faux leather, suede, wood, rubber, and plastic. Depending on the material, shape, and size of the implement, it can cause different kinds of pain, differentiated as “thuddy” or “stingy”. A “thuddy” sensation refers to pain that is felt deeper in the body, while “stingy” describes pain that is felt on the surface of the skin. If you’re curious, you can test these sensations on your thigh with your hand. A slap with an open hand causes much more of a sting compared with a closed-fist punch, which offers more of a thud. Each implement will cause both types of pain, but some lean more towards one than the other. This list of toys is organized from least to most painful.


The tool that perhaps everyone begins impact play with, your own hand is perfectly equipped for hitting your consenting play partner. It’s free, you already own it, and it can be used to create a range of different sensations. As mentioned above, an open palm with fingers together will cause the most sting and a wonderful noise. Cupping the hand will give another different feel and sound, and making a fist will change things even more. Using a hand to first try impact play is great practice for what sorts of sensations the receiving person enjoys, which can lead to ideas on which toy to try next.


A classic paddle is often the next step after using hands. These toys are generally broad, flat, and made of firmer materials like wood. They offer one of the widest impact areas among implements, and have quite the variance in stingy and thuddy sensations. Thuddier toys tend to be heavier and more rigid, while something will sting more if it’s flexible and thin. Something with a texture will feel different than one with a smooth surface. A paddle with a pattern may even leave marks shaped like those patterns! Paddles don’t take much practice to aim and use, so they’re perfect for someone just starting out in impact play.


A Riding Crop  is like a mini paddle, but instead of a short handle and large broad impact end, it has a long thin handle with a small flat surface on the end. Because the area of contact is so much smaller, crops have much more sting than a paddle. They’re also a bit harder to aim with because of the long handle, and can take a bit more practice to get used to.


A flogger is a bundle of long strips of material (often leather, rubber, or rope) attached at a handle. Like paddles, these can vary in thud and sting depending on the material of the tassles, but unlike paddles, they offer more variance in sensations depending on how the tool is moved. These are more difficult to aim, and therefore require a little more research before using. It is recommended to learn how to use the tool correctly through video tutorials or in-person lessons, and then practice on a pillow or other object before using (gently to begin with) on a person.


A whip is not a tool for beginners. One of the most painful of impact implements, a whip is a long single strand of material. With this single point of contact, these toys are incredibly stingy and can leave quite the welt. These require lots of practice to ensure no harm comes to the person being hit.


A cane is a long rod, sometimes with a curve on the end just like a cane someone would use to help themselves walk. These tools are sure to leave quite the mark. Canes are only recommended for those with prior impact experience, and those who are sure that they enjoy pain. If pain is what you want, a smaller, more flexible cane will cause the most, while a heavier, larger one will be a bit less intense.

As with any sex toy, each person will have their own likes and dislikes. Some folks adore impact toys, while others simply can’t fathom why someone would find sexual gratification from pain. No matter what side you lean towards or what impact toy strikes your fancy, what matters in the end is safety and consent. Communicate, negotiate, and explore what feels good to you.

By: Sammi
Follow on Twitter @Squeaky_Springs

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How to Turn Your Partner On

Beautiful loving couple kissing in bed

The key to turning on your partner is knowing what turns them on. It might be something unexpected. For some people, feet are a huge turn on (in fact, a foot fetish is incredibly common), but others find feet to be quite a turnoff. You need to think both outside of yourself and society in general. Focus on what you know about your partner. If you’re unsure, there are a few options:

Ask directly
Try what’s worked before (or what commonly works for others)

Talk About It

If you’re in the middle of flirting, making out, or dirty talk, you can easily ask your partner in a sultry way what turns them on. They might feel special that you’re taking the time to get to know them, and you may have a chance to talk about your own preferences. Plus, talking about what turns you on can be a turn on in and of itself.

There are other ways you can go about this, too. You can instruct your partner to show you what turns them on or even request that they tell you what to do to get them aroused. Many people find power play to be quite erotic, so these games serve dual purposes.

If your partner has trouble opening up or if you’re not even sure what might be an interest, your communication might need a kick start. You can employ technology to help. You’ll find a few tools that enable you to discover new things to try and do so in a way that’s low-pressure. Mojo Upgrade allows partners to take a quiz separately and then view overlap, but it’s not the only option. Autostraddle’s Sex Worksheet includes a section about turnons. Although less fancy, yes-no-maybe lists allow each of you to rate what you’re willing to try, would consider, and will never do in bed.

You might hear something that you find surprising or even distasteful. You don’t want to judge your partner when they reveal something so vulnerable as what gets their motors running in the bedroom. This can make them clam up and refuse to open up to you -- or any other partner -- in the future.

Go With What You Know

Although it’s never a bad idea to ask your partner about their sexual desires, turnons, and preferences, there may be times where there isn’t an opportunity. This is when you might rely on what has worked to turn on your partner’s in the past. If you lack experience, you can get a feel for common turnons online.

Things that commonly turn people on include:

Deep kissing/making out
Touching their genitals over clothing
Kisses on the ears, neck, or collar bone
Sensual massage
Watching porn or reading erotica
Sexy texting
Taking off their clothes
Taking off your clothes/performing a striptease
Talking dirty
Performing oral sex on them
Grabbing their butt
Masturbate for them or let them “catch” you
Lighting candles or incense
Turning down the lights
Sensual music
A blindfold

Remember that while some (perhaps even many) techniques will work for most people, no technique will work for everyone. So while your experience or advice from other people may lead you down the right road, you shouldn’t expect that it will work. Be prepared that your partner may not like everything you try, and recognize that this is okay. Avoid saying anything that might shame your partner for their preferences or bodily responses.

You still need to pay attention to how your partner reacts -- if they make noises that indicate discomfort or pain, if they’re silent, still, or they pull away from you, they’re probably not having a good time. You should check in to determine if whatever you’re doing is okay.

Bodily cues such as enlarged pupils, faster breathing, a blush over the face and chest, pulling you closer, moaning, grinding against your body, and erection (penis, nipples, clitoris), or moisture can all indicate arousal.

Explore to Find More ways to Turn Your Partner On

Experimentation is a great way to find out what else turns on your partner or how you can adapt the typical turnons. Exploring in this way combines using what you know works and communicating because you’ll need to get feedback on what you’re doing. But many of these methods rely on your body versus your mouth and mouth. Don’t forget to pay attention to their body to see how well it’s working!

Use Tools At Your Disposal 

Just like there are tools you can use to find out what your partner wants to do once they’re already turned on, there are tools to help you get there. Pillow includes a number of exercises that you might find helpful.

You can also find books, films, and other media that will coach you through similar exercises.

Sensate Focus

Sensate focus is a well-known exercise created by sex researchers Masters and Johnson. It focuses on sensuality over sexuality. In fact, you should avoid sexual touch at first Sensate focus takes place in several stages. You should try each phase twice weekly for 1-2 weeks before moving on to the next.

           1. Touch, kiss, and caress your partner’s body, avoiding the breasts and genitals. Take your time to touch every part of your partner’s body and to use different techniques to do so. Your partner can provide nonverbal feedback such as squeezing or tapping during this process. A partner can gently move your hand away if they don’t like the stimulation. The session should last at least thirty minutes before you switch roles.
           2. Start with the non-sexual touching from the first stage. However, you can now add the breast or genital areas. Remember not to engage in penetration or sexuality activities that would lead to orgasm. Keep up with the second stage for 20 minutes before switching roles.
          3. You and your partner can touch at the same time. Remember what you’ve learned from the first two phases. It’s likely you’ll become aroused, but you shouldn’t try orgasmic touching.
         4. Start the final stage with the touching you learned in the first three stages. Assume a position like that used for penetrative sex but focus on external rubbing and grinding. Lube can be helpful for this exercise After a session or two, you can move to activities that are designed to lead to orgasm.

Note that sensate focus was designed with straight couples in mind. Depending on your definition of sex, exercises in these phases, especially step 4, may qualify as sex. And while you’re not supposed to orgasm until the last phase, it can occasionally happen in an earlier stage.

When You Can’t Turn Your Partner On

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll fail at arousing your partner. It’s all too easy to take this as a failure or even rejection, but don’t give up just yet. It’s time to investigate.

Do They Know Themselves?

You might have heard that it’s much harder for a partner to help you have an orgasm if you don’t already know how to have one, but this can extend to turnons, too. If your partner doesn’t know what turns them on, perhaps because of sexual inexperience, you’ll have to try things and see what works. But if their turnons are especially unique, you might not be lucky enough to stumble across them.

Encourage your partner to experiment with erotic content and masturbation. They can also research different sexual interests and activities to learn what works for them. One thing to do is to look for common themes in the erotic content they enjoy whether that be porn, a steamy movie, or erotica. This can also be applied to sexual activity or fantasy. What happens when they’re turned on? How can you incorporate that into your sex life?

Should You Focus on Their Brakes, Instead?

Sex researchers Bancroft and Janssen developed the dual-control model of sexual, which you can learn about here. In short, there are the things that turn you on (accelerators) and what turns you off (brakes). If those brakes are at 100%, it doesn’t matter how hard you push the accelerator. To ease up on the brakes, you might need to help your partner de-stress, work on relationship issues, or even use different words when discussing sex (yes, this can be that important).

Sometimes a person’s sexual brakes are things such as body image or sexual confidence, which require your partner to work on them. You can be supportive, but there’s not much you can do aside from that. Still, if your partner can let you know what prevents them from being turned on, you can

Are You Giving It Enough Time?

Some people find themselves turned on at the drop of a hat, but others? Not so much. You can’t expect your partner to be turned on immediately. For some people, especially women, it takes more time. Some people have what’s known as responsive desire, which means their desire needs the right cues. Scheduling sex can build anticipation that triggers responsive desire. You can discover more about responsive desire in Emily Nagoski’s book Come As You Are.

As you get to know your partner, you’ll discover some of those cues. But you’ll need to give it some time to work.

Allow yourself and your partner to enjoy the journey. Don’t be focused solely on the destination. Every part of sex from the turnons to the afterplay can be pleasurable! It’s one reason why I think we should stop calling it “foreplay” and work on coreplay, instead.

Discovering what turns your partner on and using that to drive your partner wild with desire can be just as scintillating for you and can make you feel powerful when you figure out the keys to unlock your partner’s arousal. Just make sure your partner is on board with the idea and you don’t treat them like an object in the process.

By: Adriana Ravenlust
Follow on Twitter @adriana_r