Portfolio > Consent, Intent, & Boundaries

Consent, Intent, & Boundaries: Slap
Audio Clip

My Body is Your Body is Everybody is Nobody
Performance 3: The Slap
Verb: to strike, hit, thump, spank, whack, thwack, wallop, pat, pet,

Intent (speed, pressure, velocity & location)
Playing, flirting, protecting, punishing, admonishing, arousing

The slap is a complicated gesture to discuss. It’s context is extremely important.

It’s a deliberate act. Accidentally slapping someone, while it can happen if a body interrupts the path of a moving hand, isn’t really a common thing. Therefore, the slap always has intention behind it.

The slap also, unlike most forms of touch, exists in the realm of the hands. We don’t slap with our feet, our legs, or our torsos.

The slap we are likely most familiar with is the ‘do not touch that’ swat from our parents growing up. Whether we were reaching for the hot stove or an expensive fragile object, we were likely interrupted by a quick and harmless ‘thwack’ from a vigilant adult.

We make have smacked our siblings or other kids on the playground for taking our toys, invading our personal space, or simply because we were having a bad day.

A smack on the hand, arm, leg, or butt could be punishment for infractions.

As we age, the smack evolves into more nuanced territory. It is no longer exclusively used to harm or punish. It can now be a form of play.

How many times have you lightly tapped someone you were flirting with? Did you do it to their shoulder or upper arm?

Have you tapped their thigh while giving a sly smile?

Have you been spanked while being intimate? Did you enjoy it?

I am offering you a body to interact with. How will you approach the slap?

Will you be trying to hurt me? To punish me for some perceived infraction or past offence?

Will you respect the boundary of my clothing?

What are you picturing in your mind as you do this?

Are you fully present or are fantasizing about something, someone?

When was the last time you were slapped in a loving way? In a harmful way?

Where on your body was this?

Can you still feel the pressure of mass interrupting force?

Does it sting? Does it excite you?

How are you going to share that with me through your touch?