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Emotional play is a type of psychological BDSM play which causes a submissive player to have an emotional response. Emotional play typically inspires negative and yet often cathartic emotions including shame, fear, and humiliation.
Emotional play is considered a type of edge play, as it has the power to permanently damage a submissive, leaving mental and psychological scars that can never be healed.
Emotional play may take many forms. Dominants may criticize their submissive’s personal flaws or weaknesses. They might ignore their submissives, particularly after they’ve cooked a delicious meal or cleaned the house. Dominants may also pretend they are cheating on their submissives.
Emotional play appeals to emotional sadists and dominants who get sexual pleasure from the emotional pain of their submissive partners, as well as emotional masochists, who get sexual pleasure from feeling emotional pain.
Since emotional play is considered edge play and, therefore, dangerous, it’s vital that dominant and submissive individuals clearly discuss their limits and expectations before engaging in it. Safe words can ensure emotional play does not go beyond a submissive’s limits. Aftercare is also important to make sure both dominant and submissive are emotionally content once the submissive has been “emotionally broken.” As with other BDSM activities, emotional play but also be consensual. Otherwise it is considered emotional abuse.
It’s also safest to avoid emotional play when the players are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can cause people to have more intense reactions to negative emotions than they might normally.