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Edgeplay

Updated: DECEMBER 3, 2018
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on September 27, 2022

Edgeplay, also spelled edge play, refers to BDSM activities that are considered risky and that are consensually undertaken for the purposes of arousal, stimulation and pleasure. Less commonly, the term is also used to refer to play that involves a sharp object, such as a knife or sword.

"The New Topping Book," by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, a classic BDSM resource, describes edgeplay as “wherever things start to feel risky, where you start to feel vulnerable, the edge of the cliff that looks over your personal abyss.” In other words, the definition of edgeplay is subjective and can differ from scene to scene and from individual to individual. However, most edgeplay involves a higher element of physical and/or emotional risk. Types of play that are broadly considered edgeplay include:

In 2020, sex educators on TikTok started speaking out about edgeplay being taught by creators on the platform, arguing that this advanced form of play should be taken more seriously and be practiced only by educated and experience kinksters. At minimum, extensive discussion and negotiation prior to any scene is both common and essential. It is important to note, however, that edgeplay is an advanced activity that involves both physical skill and an understanding of the psychology around it. It's a good idea to at least have a solid foundation of kinky play and activities before trying more advanced types of play.

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Although edgplay sounds like edging, it is a much different type of play. While edgeplay involves pushing or being pushed to an emotional and/or physical limit, edging refers to bringing a partner (or oneself) to the very edge of orgasm and then backing off in order to create a more intense release when the orgasm finally comes.

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More About Edgeplay

People enjoy edgeplay for a number of reasons. For couples who have been together for some time, edgeplay can reveal a new layer of intimacy. This can help spice up a sex life as well as help to build trust and closeness. The excitement and fear that arise during a scene that pushes a person's limits can also release endorphins, heightening pleasure and even helping to increase overall well-being.

Edgeplay requires that partners trust each other implicitly and know each other very, very well. A dominant must always know whether their submissive can handle the type of play being used, especially in scenes where safewords have been removed (another form of edgeplay). This is why experience in BDSM is recommended! It is important that the dominant partner has the proper skills to handle the scene (BDSM takes practice) and that the submissive partner can clearly explain their edge. Understanding and acknowledging risk is part of practicing risk-aware consensual kink (RACK), a philosophy that can help govern BDSM play. A safeword and/or signals is also important to ensure consent is ongoing throughout intense scenes.

Be wary of dominants who claim they can perform any kind of edge activity, and of submissives who claim they have no limits. Both attitudes can lead to permanent mental and physical injuries.

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