BDSM Edgeplay: Pushing All the Limits

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Everyone seems to have a general idea of what BDSM is these days. However, there’s one philosophy that outsiders may not be familiar with.

It’s called SSC. It means that any activity should be Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Activities that are considered not to meet these standards are considered edgeplay.

This means that they are on the edge, or fringe of BDSM. They carry some serious risks, but along with those risks come some very intense thrills.

What is Edgeplay

The easiest way to give overall guidelines for what qualifies as edgeplay is that it doesn’t meet the rules of SSC.

Safety

There’s some level of risk involved with everything we do. Even getting out of bed in the morning could cause you to fall and injure yourself. Still, we know that some activities are much riskier than others.

What is defined as “safe enough” is a constant source of debate in BDSM. Activities with a higher risk are classified as edgeplay, although how much risk is acceptable is completely up to the individuals involved.

Edgeplay Involves:

  1. Activities with a risk of serious injury or death
  2. Activities with increased risk of spreading a disease
  3. Activities that can cause serious psychological damage

Sanity

When it comes to the sanity aspect, it’s even more subjective than safety. What seems sane and normal to one person can seem crazy to another.

Perhaps, like beauty, sanity is all in the eye of the beholder. 

In regards to sanity, it is important to note that neither this writing or the BDSM community encourage or condone anything that is illegal.

Consensual

It may seem ironic, but consent is even more important in edge play than other types of bdsm activities. Consent may not be given while the activity is happening, but it should be given beforehand.

It is important to note, in some forms of edgeplay, the submissive gives consent for whatever the dominant wants to do. The scene isn’t discussed beforehand, and the submissive doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

Communication is also essential here. You have to know the person well enough to know if they are in trouble, physical or mentally. Understand their limits, because without a safeword, there’s no way for them to tell you.

It’s like walking a tightrope without a safety net, and should only be done by those who are well prepared to do so.

Common Edgeplay Practices

While what is considered edgeplay varies from one person to the next, there are some activities that are generally considered to fall under edgeplay.

  • Consensual nonconsent
  • Fire play
  • Breath play
  • Drowning
  • Knife play
  • watersports
  • needle
  • electrical
  • impact
  • torture
  • heavy bondage
  • humiliation

The Psychology of Edge Play

There are a few things that attract certain people to edge play. The three basic components of edge play on a psychological level are fear, humiliation and a loss of control.

Fear

There are essentially two types of people in the world. Stimulus amplifiers and stimulus reducers.

Stimulus amplifiers are easily overly excited. They tend to prefer calmness and quiet evenings at home.

Then you have stimulus reducers. These are the people who love motorcycles, bungee jumping, roller coasters, anything that provides lots of stimulation.

They are called thrill seekers. They love risky behaviors and the excitement it produces. For some thrill seekers, myself included:

Thrills are a necessary part of life. They need it to feel alive. 

This is one reason people engage in edgeplay. The sort of sexual thrill that is experienced is unlike anything else, and meets their need for excitement.

The biological fear response is incredibly similar to that of sexual arousal. Both of them include increased breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Both release endorphins and to an extent adrenaline.

This is one reason why fear can be so sexy during sex.

It can heighten your physical sexual responses.

Humiliation

Humiliation is often used as a component of edgeplay, or even the focus of the edge play. Humiliation and domination usually go together. Humiliation is used as a way to display their control over the submissive. 

It seems to be the people who are strong and don’t tolerate bad behavior in their day to day life that crave this sort of interaction.

The person that’s always in control, always tough, loves being told what to do. Being made to do things they may be uncomfortable with.

To be turned into nothing more than a plaything for the dominant. 

It is a form of submission that isn’t for everyone, but it’s a total turn on for those that are into it.

Loss of Control

Many times consensual nonconsent is a part of edgeplay. This means that the submissive has given their consent for whatever will happen ahead of time. Sometimes this means a scene is discussed and agreed upon beforehand.

However, many times with edge play, not knowing what’s going to happen is part of the thrill. In these cases, the submissive party agrees to allow the dominant to do whatever they wish to them ahead of time. No specific situations are discussed, and what happens is solely up to the dominant party. The dom may intentionally do things that scare, humiliate, or cause physical pain to the sub.

Edgeplay without a safeword is the ultimate power exchange. 

This takes a huge amount of trust in the dom, because very real physical or psychological harm can occur.

The sub trusts the dom to push them past their limits, without doing irrevocable damage.

Consentual NonConsent

There is a bit of controversy over what consensual nonconsent means in the bdsm community.

Some use it solely to refer to the submissive waiving their right to consent to activities beforehand. In short, the dominant has permission to do anything they wish to the submissive without consent beforehand.

This type of consent does not involve safewords, and relies instead on trust. The submissive trusts the dominant completely, in some cases literally with their life.

The dominant is expected to keep the submissives physical and mental health in mind. While this gives the dominant a huge amount of power, it’s also a huge responsibility.

This should only be done in relationships where trust and communication have been established, and the dominant understands the limits of the submissive.

For this to be effective, the dominant must understand the submissive’s limits better than they themselves do.

Consensual nonconsent is also sometimes used to describe rape play. This is a form of edge play.

In these scenarios, the dominant pretends to rape the submissive, often with them protesting or even being physically restrained. However, this is generally done with consent beforehand, and a safeword.

Rape roleplay is actually the most common fantasy among women. 

However, it’s still seen as taboo, and can be seen as violating the consent aspect of SSC, giving it a spot in edgeplay.

Fire Play

First, it should be noted that fire play is dangerous. You shouldn’t try it without fully understanding the risks and taking any necessary precautions.

With fire play, you are quite literally playing with fire. This can involve a specially designed whip or flogger that is set on fire and used on the submissive. This can be very dangerous, and cause serious injuries if you don’t know what you are doing.

It can involve applying a flammable liquid to the skin and lighting it. This can be done with alcohol, hair mouse, or specially designed products. The sensation should be warm but not burning with this type of play.

Fire drumming is an interesting technique as well. This involves fire wands, similar to drum sticks, being drummed on the body. Again, this should be more relaxing than painful.

Fire cupping is a variation of the ancient Chinese cupping technique that was traditionally used as a form of therapy. A piece of cotton gauze or other flammable material is placed in the cup and removed as it is placed on the skin. The heating and cooling creates suction.

Breath Play

Breath play is a very popular edge play activity. However, the risks involved with it are often overlooked. In fact, it is one of the most dangerous bdsm activities.

If you choose to engage in breath play, you are literally putting your life in someone else’s hands.

Many people have died engaging in breath play. Autoerotic Asphyxia is generally seen as being the riskiest. This is where someone restricts their own breathing, generally by hanging.

In fact, autoerotic asphyxia accounts for nearly 7% of self-induced adolescent deaths.

Don’t think that having a partner takes away all the risk either. There are plenty of cases of someone accidentally killing their partner during breath play, and “she asked me to” won’t let you off the hook with law enforcement.

Who is at the Greatest Risk?

  • Men over 40
  • Those with a seizure disorder
  • Those with mental illness
  • Those taking prescription drugs, particularly depressants or tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anyone under the influence of illicit drugs or alcohol
  • Those with heart, blood pressure, or breathing problems
  • Those with diabetes (type 1 or 2)
  • Overweight individuals

Assuming you don’t fall under any of these categories, you are at least at a lower risk during breath play. It still should not be considered safe, however.

Even being aware of the risks, many people choose to participate in breath play.

The Attraction of Breath Play

Breath play can be incredibly sexy. The power exchange is one aspect, but the lack of oxygen can also increase your orgasm.

In fact, according to author George Shuman:

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it induces a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state called hypoxia. Combined with orgasm, the rush is said to be no less powerful than cocaine, and highly addictive.

Between the physical aspect and the power exchange, it’s no wonder people choose to engage in this activity, regardless of the risk.

Types of Breath Play

Breath play can be done a few different ways. One of them is the dominant partner physically choking the submissive. This can also be done with a belt or other object wrapped tightly around the neck.

Another method is the use of a bag or mask that blocks the mouth and nose. Cling wrap can also be used. While this doesn’t carry the risk of damaging the windpipe, it does come with risks due to oxygen deprivation. It can also be harder to gauge the level of oxygen deprivation in this manner.

Getting even kinkier, you have oral sex where the submissive partner is literally smothered. Queening is one way of achieving this. It can also be achieved by giving a blowjob while your nose is held closed.

Drowning

Drowning is essentially another form of breath play. However, it stands apart from other forms. Drowning play can include having your head submerged under water during a sexual encounter.

Waterboarding can also be used. Waterboarding has been made famous by the CIA. Generally, a towel is placed over the face of the individual, and water is then poured over it. This gives the sensation of drowning.

The term waterboarding is also used when a towel is placed over the face and ejaculated or urinated on, again to create the sensation of drowning.

Knife Play

There are a few different forms of knife play.

Knife play can take on a few different forms. First, there is fear play where a blunt knife is used.

Many times the submissive will be shown a sharp knife and then blindfolded. Once they are blindfolded, the sharp knife is exchanged for a blunt one like a butter knife.

In the sub’s mind, the danger is real. This makes this type of knife play perfect for fear play, without any real danger. It also adds lots of excitement because of the perceived danger.

Besides being physically safe, this type of knife play allows you to play with areas that would be off limits with a real knife. The sensation of a knife against your skin, combined with the fear aspect, can be very intoxicating.

Cold and heat can also be used to further increase the sensation.

Running the blade under warm water and then across the skin can mimic the sensation of being cut.

A knife that is dipped in ice water creates a different sensation. Alternating between cold and hot can also increase the stimulation the sub feels.

Fear play is most of all about the psychological. This type of knife play is a perfect example.

What’s It Like

Wondering what knife play is like? What is the thrill? One woman gives a very accurate description of what knife play can be like.

I learn in that very first instant the thrill of knife play. I have never encountered anything better able to make my body submit. Fast. As the sharp edge touches my jugular I am terrified to move a single millimeter anywhere on my body. I focus all my mental energy on keeping my physical body still, willing my planted heels to stay steady, and I feel my husband’s hot breath at my neck and his cock on my tailbone, pushing painfully into my worked body, hard as a steel rod. “

Knife and Blood Play

For some, the illusion of danger just isn’t enough. They long to feel a sharp blade against their skin. Perhaps even be cut. While this is a risky activity, there are precautions that increase the safety.

When it comes to playing with a real knife, you have a few options. You can drag the dull edge against the skin the way you would a butter knife.

You can also use the sharp edge and run it across the skin without breaking the skin. This sensation can be very erotic.

If you want to take it a step further, you can create light scratches in the skin without drawing blood.

When you use a knife or other sharp object to break the skin, it falls under blood play. Blood play is extremely controversial in the bdsm community, because of the taboo and the risk involved.

Cut the wrong area, and you have a life-threatening situation. There’s also the risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases.

Before doing any type of real knife play, you’ll need to know the safe zones.

Red zones indicate areas where the blood vessels are close to the skin. You should never use a real knife on these areas.

Yellow zones are areas where there is some risk involved. You’ll want to be careful with these areas.

The green areas are the safest. These areas can be cut with minimal risk of harm.

Two Types of Knife Play

The first type of knife play is fear play. Many times this involves some type of rape roleplay where the sub is taken “against their will” at knife point. The dominant may cut off their clothes, restrain and blindfold them.

The second type of knife play can be extremely romantic and erotic. This involves the sub willingly giving their body for the knife play. It indicates complete trust in the dom.

This type of knife play can be a deep bonding experience. It involves a high level of trust. This type of blood play can also be romantic, increasing the connection between the participants.

Some couples even engage in some form of blood sharing. This can include the drinking of the partner’s blood or both partners being cut and putting the cuts together.

While this can be an intensely emotional and bonding experience, it should only be performed with a trusted and disease free partner.

Knife and Blood Play Safety

In addition to knowing where to use a knife, a first aid kit and a phone nearby are musts during this type of play.

You need to carefully consider what could go wrong, like cutting in the wrong area or too deeply, and what you would do in these situations.

Be sure that you have a plan in place beforehand, and any necessary first aid items, including clean gauze and antiseptic.

Any cutting instruments should be sterilized before use, and any cuts should be properly cared for after the session.

It’s also important to never use a knife while you are having sex. The sexual excitement and movement can easily cause the knife to slip, causing a serious accident.

Watersports

Watersports in the BDSM community is defined as urine play. It’s also known as golden showers.

This is very taboo, yet many people are turned on by it. In fact, it’s so taboo that there’s really no way to know how many people are actually into this particular fetish.

This can involve being peed on, peeing on someone else, or drinking urine. While this practice has recently become something people talk about in mainstream society, the practice goes back much farther.

In fact, Romans had so many uses for pee that they put a tax on it. Among those uses were a whitening agent for clothes and teeth.

Some literature suggests that urine was involved in sexual acts then as well. But it was clearly consumed for aesthetic purposes if nothing else.

What’s Sexy About It?

If this isn’t something you’ve heard about or experienced, you may be wondering, why? Aren’t we taught from a young age that our bathroom habits are private, shameful things, to be taken care of but never spoken about?

Well, apparently this has something to do with why it turns people on. For many people who enjoy urine play, it’s seen as an act of domination for the one peeing and humiliation for the one being peed on.

Drinking urine can also be seen as an act of humiliation, particularly if a submissive is “forced” to do so.

For others, it isn’t about humiliation, but simply the taboo nature of it. It’s relatively safe compared to other forms of edgeplay, and it allows them to do something naughty.

Some even find the idea romantic, because they are exchanging body fluids with their partner.

Still, others are simply turned on by the sight, smell, or taste of urine. For them, it’s similar to a foot fetish. They don’t understand why, they simply are.

Some are also turned on by someone with a full bladder, wetting themselves, or watching someone else wet themselves.

Needle Play

Needle play in bdsm involves piercing the body with needles or other sharp objects. This is done in a few different forms and for different reasons.

For one, needle play releases endorphins. This can cause the submissive to become very high very quickly and even pass out.

One person on Literotica said:

Nothing else gets a person so high so fast. People pass out easily… becoming chemically overwhelmed quickly. Weird bodily tricks, that’s what I dig about piercing.

For those into S&M, or pain play, the attraction here is clear. Piercing can produce pain and other sensations without permanent damage.

Some people enjoy the aesthetic effect. For them, it’s about creating beauty with the piercings. Some of them even use ribbon, creating a beautiful design that resembles a corset, along with some very interesting sensations.

Some people perform suspension piercings. These are hooks that are put into the body like piercings. The individual is then suspended from these hooks.

Suspension piercing should only be performed by people who are knowledgeable and trained. This normally happens in a bdsm dungeon.

Needle play can also be used as a form of torture, particularly when needles are used on the genitals. This should only be done if you know the safe places to pierce.

In regards to the penis, the foreskin, shaft skin, glans, and scrotum can be safely pierced. You’ll want to avoid the dorsal nerve and frenum.

The clitoral hood, and inner and outer labia can be safely pierced. However, the clit itself shouldn’t be pierced.

Precautions

Depending on where you are piercing, you may want to stay away from using a disinfectant like alcohol first. However, soap and water should be used on the area at the very least.

You should, of course, use sterile needles. Gloves are recommended as well to prevent bacteria from getting into the piercings and to protect the piercer from any blood that comes from the piercing.

After the piercings are removed, the area should be cleaned. Soap and water and/or a piercing solution can be used.

Electrical Play

Electrical play is also known as e-stim or electrosex. It’s defined as the use of electrical stimulation for sexual pleasure.

It can also be used by those interested in pain play to create pain. One of the pluses of using electricity for pain play is that when done correctly, it doesn’t create injuries the way other types of intense pain play, like needles or impact can.

The Vanilla Side

You may picture a girl being tied up and electrocuted until she screams in a dungeon when you think of electrosex. Sure, it happens, but that isn’t the only use for it.

There are kits specially made for couples that provide gentle, erotic, and even romantic stimulation. They come with a wide range of products that can be used to stimulate the man, the woman, or both.

These devices are designed to literally create electricity between the couple. It should feel like a tingling sensation, and can even aid in orgasms, depending on the devices used.

Pain Play

Of course, a strong electrical current will cause pain. This makes electrosex perfect for those S&M individuals that find pleasure in giving or receiving pain.

Electrical play is generally safe for people without medical conditions, but you will need to use a conductive lubricant and be sure that there is a good connection with the body.

Violet Wands

Violet wands are one of the most versatile and user-friendly toys in the bdsm world. They can be used from everything to an electric massage and romantic stimulation, to more painful play.

These have been around since the early 1900s, so the concept is not new. However, today’s wands are made from plastic instead of metal, making them more palatable to vanilla couples looking to spice things up.

These wands can be used basically anywhere, including the genitals.

Urethra Sounds

These can be used for either men or women. A tube is placed in the urethra, and electrical current is passed through it. This can cause you to involuntarily urinate, defecate, or even orgasm.

Common Electrosex Toys

There are a wide range of electrosex products out there. Here’s a few of the most popular:

  • Nipple clamps
  • violet wands
  • masturbation sleeves
  • urethral sounds
  • pads that can be placed anywhere on the body

Impact Play

Impact play is defined as striking the body and causing an impact. Impact play can include a hand, paddle, whip, or cane. Many other objects can be used as well, obviously, but these are the most common.

Different people enjoy different forms of impact play, and it can range from sensual to painful.

Of course, for some, sensual and painful are one in the same.

Types of Impact Play

There are two basic types of impact play, with many people preferring one over the other. They are stinging pain and thudding pain.

A hand or a paddle, for instance, gives a dull thudding pane. A whip or a cane gives a much sharper stinging pain.

This can be further divided into more specific types of impact play, depending on the instruments used:

  • Rough body play: Punching, kicking, or slapping
  • Spanking: including hand, paddle, etc. across the butt
  • Caning: use of a cane or baton
  • Flogging: Cat of nine tails, bullwhip

Playing Safely

Impact play can actually be very dangerous. It can cause physical and emotional injuries if you aren’t sure what you are doing.

You should start slowly with impact play. Start with light blows and then get rougher as things progress.

This picture outlines the safe zones for impact play. Green areas are completely safe. You should use caution in yellow areas, and never strike red areas.

Impact play should always include the use of a safeword for the physical and mental health of both parties.

Here are one person’s thoughts on using a safeword:

Safe words to me are highly important. It doesn’t give control to the submissive but gives an opportunity to call your Dom back to focus. A dom should be able to read you more then what a mouth says.

A sub isn’t taking control, only establishing limits and their own safety. When the dom has not been able to read and judge the submissive well enough to ensure mental and physical health , then the sub should always safe word. Like a trigger word for the dom to stop and assess.

Why People Enjoy Impact Play

 The most obvious reason people enjoy impact play is that they enjoy giving or receiving pain. This can also be called pain play. Sadists enjoy inflicting pain, and masochists enjoy receiving it

The power exchange is another reason people enjoy impact play. There’s something about it that will very quickly put a wayward sub in their place. A few blows can quickly turn a fiesty sub into a very submissive one.

For some, it’s the humiliation aspect that they enjoy. For them, being spanked or whipped is humiliating, and they enjoy it.

Punishment

Impact play can also be used as a form of punishment. Subs generally have a code of rules and acceptable behaviors, and when they get out of line, a punishment of some kind is used.

In fact, some subs will act up with the intention of being punished. In these cases, the term funishment can be used, because the sub enjoys the punishment.

The type of punishment for different offenses may be agreed upon beforehand, or it may be completely up to the dominant party. Many times the dominant will issue a warning with potential consequences to give the sub an opportunity to correct their behavior before punishing them.

Impact play is the most common form of punishment in bdsm. However, in the case of actual punishment, it should not be enjoyable for the sub. If the sub enjoys it, it becomes funishment instead of punishment.

Bondage

Bondage is a common bdsm activity. In fact, the letter B stands for bondage. Bondage is sometimes used by more vanilla couples as well. For them, it may simply be using fuzzy handcuffs in the bedroom. However, in the bdsm community, it can go much farther.

When a person is bound, they give up physical control to the other party. This can be a very erotic experience, and indicates a deep level of trust.

While it can be exciting, it can also be very relaxing in a sense. When a sub is bound, they have no concerns over what to do. They can simply relax and enjoy the experience.

For those used to being in control and having constant responsibilities, this can be an incredibly sensual experience. All cares melt away. Any insecurities about doing the right thing.

You are simply there, enjoying the experience in a way that we don’t often get to. 

The other aspect, depending on what type of restraint is used, is that if the sub tries to fight, it will hurt.

Ropes can create burns if you pull against them. Metal handcuffs don’t feel pleasant if you pull on them either. Somehow, this adds to the feelings of helplessness that the sub experiences.

For the dominant partner, restraining the submissive gives them another level of power and control that they find alluring. It’s also a sign of complete trust from the submissive, which can also be attractive.

According to Wikipedia:

The main feature of sexual bondage is that it renders the restrained person vulnerable to a variety of sex acts. The restrained partner is dependent for their sexual satisfaction on the actions of their partner, who may treat the restrained partner as their sex object.

Types of Bondage

In addition to sexual bondage, referenced above, there are a few other types of bondage.

Most common in the bdsm community is bondage for a purpose. In this case, the submissive is restrained for an ulterior purpose, such as spanking or caning.

Decorative bondage is used by those who are sexually aroused by seeing their partner bound. They get creative with their bondage, creating interesting visual effects.

Torture bondage is used as a form of torture or punishment. In this type of bondage, the submissive partner is bound in a way that is uncomfortable or causes pain.

This is a common practice in bdsm dungeons, but it can be performed at home as well. It can range from anything from being hogtied in an uncomfortable position to being suspended from the ceiling.

Bondage can also be a form of humiliation. Use of things like dog collars or being bound in public can be used for humiliation.

Humiliation

Humiliation can encompass a wide range of practices. It can be a part of a dominant-submissive relationship or scene. Some people enjoy humiliation on its own, while for others it is a form of submission.

Verbal Humiliation

Verbal humiliation is the use of words for the purpose of humiliation. The most common form of this is words that are used to belittle, embarrass, or degrade the sub.

The dominant may say these words or force the sub to repeat them for added humiliation.

Having the sub repeat tasks or commands can also be used as a form of verbal humiliation. Being made to lavish praise on the dominant is another form of verbal humiliation.

Physical Humiliation

Physical humiliation can include forced sexual acts, acts of servitude like lighting cigarettes or running a bath for the dominant. Deprivation of privacy and having to ask permission for day to day tasks are other methods.

Some view spanking as an act of humiliation, while others enjoy the activity. 

Why It’s Sexy

From the dominant perspective, humiliating the sub gives them a sense of power and control. However, it can be harder to understand why a sub would choose to do things they find humiliating.

First, enduring humiliation requires a deep level of submission. For many people, pain is much easier tolerated than shame, so allowing themselves to be humiliated is the ultimate act of submission.

Humiliation may also be used as a form of punishment. Humiliation may seem like the safest form of edgeplay, because most forms won’t cause physical harm.

However, care should always be used, because psychological injuries can be much more difficult to detect than physical ones. The dominant should be well aware of the submissives level of self-esteem and tolerance for humiliation.

 

 

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