Getting Back Over the Knee

July 11, 2020

With local and national kink events starting to resume, it will be the first time in over a year and a half since people have played with each other. During that time, a formerly regular play partner may have undergone physical changes. Perhaps they’re healing from a shoulder injury, or have become less flexible. Their endurance may be much lower after battling covid-19. Maybe they have experienced a personal event that has made them unable to be blindfolded or binded.

For many of us in the spanking community, one of the biggest post-pandemic changes impacting play is a drastic change in tolerance. This for me personally has been a huge source of trepidation as I prepare to attend my first spanking party in almost 15 months.

Prior to the pandemic, I was regularly bottoming at events and with personal play partners but now I can count on one hand the times I’ve been spanked since March 2020. My play partner’s bag of implements are too much for me to handle at the moment. In the past, I had been able to take ten swats of everything in the bag- wooden hairbrush, bath brush, strap, wooden paddle, belt- it would be delightful. Literally the week before the world shut down, I had filmed two of my hardest spanking videos which I was proud of on a personal level. But when I assumed the position for my birthday spanking last month, I had to stop after only 10 hits with the strap, and maybe three swats of the bath brush. My eyes were watery and I found myself unable to relax enough to get into the zone. I was crushed - the tolerance I had built up for three years prior to the pandemic had left me.

Seeing friends from all over the country for an entire weekend is the main reason I’m ecstatic about attending the first spanking party since 2020. Admittedly, I get quite emotional thinking about finally being able to hug them all after so long. But of course - the main activity at a spanking event is spanking. My anxiety slowly has been building- will I still be fun to play with despite my severe decrease of tolerance?

When I recently confided in a close friend, she reassured me that the lack of play during the pandemic will be affecting the majority of attendees. Some of us didn’t get to see play partners for over a year and even those living together dealt with decreased play due to the lack of privacy that went along with household isolation or the waning desire of play brought on by pandemic related stress.

While Bottoms do deal with the brunt of the impact of less tolerance on their bottoms, Tops will also be reacclimating themselves to the play environment. They may not have cracked a belt or have not issued their trademark scoldings while having someone dangling across their lap since 2019. Their personal situations during the pandemic may have required an extreme amount of caretaking or added responsibility, so they may not have the capacity to be as top focused as they once were.

After living in a socially distant world, being in close proximity to other people for long periods of time and even the act of physically touching others are still major adjustments for most.

Before starting a scene with a former play partner, take a few minutes to talk about the following to help with the transition of return to play:

  • How active have you both been since the last time you’ve played together?

  • Ask if there are any areas that should be avoided, or have there been any new reactions experienced from recent play (new back problems, recent flare ups, increased sensitivity, more prone to bruising, etc.).

  • Ask if there are certain positions that are now out of play since the last time you’ve played due to injury or preference.

  • Be upfront if you’re unable to play with a strong intensity, and ask to dial it down until you feel more comfortable in your body’s ability to handle a higher level of impact.

  • Confirm with each other that it’s okay to speak up during mid-scene if something is too intense, or uncomfortable. And also go over safewords (which should be done every single time before play).

  • Revisit aftercare needs. Some people may still be struggling with accepting intimacy after being isolated for so long. Other people are still struggling with touch starvation and may require more aftercare than they did pre-pandemic, even if the level of play was not very intense.

As I type this here, I also am making a mental note to internalize this next reminder: Do not think badly of yourself if you can’t immediately jump back to pre-pandemic play. Pushing yourself physically or mentally can lead to serious harm. A good play partner will be respectful of your limits and work with you to find a happy medium for a great experience. There will be other events and future opportunities to play, so there is no need to attempt to make up for lost times on the first opportunity. Take play breaks as many times as you need to and don’t be afraid to share your feelings with friends- chances are they’re experiencing similar emotions.

As much as we all want to jump back into the scene full throttle and fire up the endorphins, taking the time to re-acclimate with others, along with our own bodies, will be key in re-establishing fun, safe, scenes.