If you don’t claim your humanity you will become a statistic… I want you to hit me as hard as you can. Fight Club
Rough Body Play is a wide field of kink that includes punching, kicking, slapping, striking – basically anything that flies in a bareknuckle fight gets included in my definition of Rough Body Play.
RBP brings an energy to a scene unlike no other – energy that is hard to explain if you haven’t seen it, or better yet, participated in it first hand. It’s primal, it’s animalistic, it’s unceremonious, yet connects you with your partner in a very real physical, and tactile way. If you’re having trouble envisioning what I mean by energy, try to recall the last time you had angry sex. Think passion, think frenzied lust, think sense of urgency. Yeah; it’s like that.
When you punch someone with your fist, you feel the impact going into their body as well as your own. As a top, I love the feeling of my partner falling slightly into my arms after kneeing them, and as a bottom, it’s the skin-on-skin connection that increases the chemistry and energy exchange in a scene. I also dig on the interal conflict that comes with RBP. While play in general taps into my flight or fight response, playing with toys tends to create a flight reaction – I’ll climb, I’ll jump, run in circles….but RBP is different. Being hit creates a very strong desire for me to attack back. I want to lunge at you, I want to rise up and have you to slap me back down, I want to struggle for the dominance…and lose. Since I have yet to experience any I hit you, you hit me scenes in this context, I don’t actually do any of those things I think about, but I enjoy the feeling of having to tame my own desires to strike out, to stay out on the equipment. It’s my own personal game of, don’t move, or the scene is over.
RBP scenes often draw spectators; for a few reasons. First, these scenes tend to crackle with energy because of the connection between players, and visually dynamic scenes will always draw a crowd.
Second, because many people tie hands-on violence (especially towards women) as abusive, people watch out of concern, or even horror. It’s been suggested over in the Rough Body Play group on FetLife, that this may have something to do with the use of toys vs body parts. Has anyone seen a made for TV movie where the abusive husband flogged his wife for dinner being serve late? No? Many of us have been raised to connect physical violence with bad, and it can be challenge for people to get over preconceived notions.
The negative associations with RBP from others can be a problem for some players. Many (on both sides) have expressed that it’s hard to get into a scene when you know you’re being judged, or when someone is concerned for you safety. Here are some things you can do to combat this when playing in public: First, always tell the DM what to expect so they won’t interfere, and they can stop others from trying to. Second, have a friend run interference on your behalf. That friend can assure concerned onlookers that everyone involved is having a great time, plus they can help fend off well meaning, yet annoying, people who want to ‘check in’ while you’re still coming down or getting after care.
The number one question I’ve been asked by men looking to try out more RBP, is how do I get over the idea that I shouldn’t hit girls? The men know they’re holding back, and they want to change it. Communication (as always) is key here – especially from the bottom up. Telling your partner that you’re enjoying being hit/kicked/slapped, both during, and after then scene, when feelings of guilt and shame are most likely to creep in, will go a long way. Also, know that a body can often take more than we think it can. To check the level of intensity your partner plays best at start by using a number scale of 1-10. Ask them what level of intensity they feel the impact to be at and go from there. Much like attending your first Munch, the hardest part is walking through the door.
If you’re looking to improve your technique, or learn more about the mechanics of giving body play, one of the best things you can do it take a boxing, or martial arts class. You’ll learn things like how to throw a punch, how to throw a kick (and keep your balance), and pick up lots of “safe” fighting tips A quick Google search of Martial Arts + your location should net you lots of results. A final word of caution: do not mention you’re taking this class to learn how to better beat your partner. It’s unlikely to end with favourable results.