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Edgeplay: Exploring the Outer Reaches of BDSM

Published: JANUARY 21, 2022 | Updated: MAY 17, 2022
Pushing boundaries and limits is an exciting part of BDSM. For those with a higher thrill-seeking capacity edgeplay might hold the delights you crave.

Here’s the thing: to call BDSM an umbrella term is a serious understatement. While technically meaning Bondage/Disciple/Sadism/Masochism, it can, to paraphrase the subtitle above, be anything from light spankings now and again to 24/7 slavehood.

This all means that there really isn’t a mainstream form of BDSM. Since there isn’t one main form, there can’t be an an edge to it all. The community being one massively diverse cloud of people and sexual interests.

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While there isn’t an edge there is edgeplay. Most commonly it refers to activities that skate along the BDSM core principles of safety (understand the emotional as well as physical risks), sanity (that everyone involved is clear-headed), and consensuality (and those involved give and receive clear consent).

Read: 7 Kinky Sex Acts You Might Be Into (and How to Try Them)

Skating along the edge , though, doesn’t mean going against these precepts. Rather, I mean accepting that certain kinds of play can bring a potentially higher risk of injury. The acronym for this is RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink).

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Any form of BDSM is legitimate and that there should never be an "us versus them" attitude regarding play. Yet, it is crucial to recognize that some activities carry more risk. We must act with greater conscientiousness and concern for safety and plan for any eventuality, including having a first aid kit handy if your activities might call for it.

With that out of the way, let’s look at a few of these kinks, what can make them hot, and how to approach them with eyes wide open.

Electrical Play

Like BDSM itself, electrical play can be on either the gentle or the intense side--depending on the tools being used.

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For the former, things like TENS units (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), which are commonly used medically to stimulate muscles, can be used in play. They deliver low-level shocks to various parts of the body. Fans of TENS units sometimes say that their use feels like a form of impact play. For the latter, there are devices like violet wands that, through high-frequency, high voltage, low current, can produce a rolling cascade of shocks across the body.

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Of the two, TENS units are arguably safer as they were designed to be used by non-kinky people for non-kinky things like pain management. Remember: no matter what electrical device you use it’s essential that you take a lot (and I mean a lot) of hands-on classes before even attempting to play.

Harking back to RACK, being fully aware of what could happen and playing with people who also understand these risks should always be at the forefront of your mind. Not to be dramatic, but there have been cases of people being permanently harmed through electrical play, such as through improper grounding or when using inexpertly built equipment.

So before you plug in, know everything about the positives as well as the negatives of using electricity in your BDSM play.

Read: Electro-Sex 101: The Ultimate Guide

Fire Play

Primordial, powerful, elegant, and beautiful, fire has been with mankind since its earliest beginnings. It’s kind of natural that some many people find it arousing. There is also the inherent thrill in using it for BDSM. It's walking the tightrope between an intense feeling and being actually burned.

The methods for using fire vary, though a common one is to use a small (and I mean small) amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball held in a pair of forceps to paint a person’s skin--and then ignite it.

As with electrical play (and you can probably already guess where this is heading) never attempt fire play unless you have had personal instruction on how to do it safely as well as effectively.

If you do want to take a shot at a form of fire play that’s less risky you might want to give cupping or wax play a try. Again, only after learning all you can before trying anything.

Cutting & Play Piercings

Now we get to knives and needles. To say that these activities can be intense is a serious understatement. After all, you are talking about slicing and puncturing someone’s body. Believe it or not, there is a light side to cutting. If you take a scalpel, (don't use any other instrument, else no matter how sharp you might think your blade is) you can gently glide it over someone’s skin; cutting no more than a soap bubble thinness into them.

Similarly, narrow gauge needles can be used for piercing play by lifting a tiny amount of skin and gently pushing it through: though, again, only through the top few layers of tissue.

Whatever you do must come from a position of total awareness: reading a lot and especially taking classes.

As far as risks go, beyond the possibility of doing direct physical damage to someone, there’s also the major concern for infection. This is why when you take your classes you should pay particular attention to not just the mechanism of doing the cutting and/or piercing but also prep and aftercare.

You can modify this a bit if the you are intrigued but not willing to actually break skin by using a very cold butter knife to simulate the experience. Keep the knife in ice water or wipe it with rubbing alcohol to make it super cold, then run it quickly across the skin. The shock of the cold metal may be interpreted by nerves as being cut. You can add to theatre by using fake blood.

Watersports

The human body is a wondrous thing, capable of all kinds of physical activities--and producing a whole spectrum of substances. Like with the primordial nature of fire, that some find playing with or generating these substance arousing is pretty much expected.

Read: Exploring the World of Pee Fetishism

Whether it’s part of humiliation play, infantilism, domination, or just because of it all smells, feels, and tastes erotically stimulating, the key thing is to yet again become an expert in what you can safely do as well as what can go wrong.

The thing with watersports is that there can sometimes be some wish-fulfillment misinformation out there than real acts. You know, people sharing their myths about what is safe and what isn’t because they don’t want to face reality--and ruin their fun. Because of this, do try to expand your education beyond forums solely dedicated to watersports. Luckily, the BDSM world is excellent at sharing information and even has many actual medical experts who sometime join in.

The Edge of the Edge

While there isn’t really an edge to the BDSM universe, with people enjoying all sorts of erotic activities, there is an added level of risk in certain kinds of play. There is, of course, nothing wrong in anything there or the few examples listed here. What is wrong is tackling these forms of play without understanding the risks involved, both as the giver as well as the receiver.

So if any of these or other kink activities sound interesting, go ahead and do some exploring. Just do so only after educating yourself as much as possible before trying your hand at anything.

Passion, after all, can be magical--and approaching it with a clear presence of mind is at the core of what makes BDSM such an marvelous and most of all safe place to pursue yours.

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Photo for M. Christian
M. Christian

M.Christian is an author who has been published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even nonfiction, but it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name. In addition to writing, M.Christian is a respected sex and BDSM educator, having taught classes on everything from polyamory to tit torture for venues such as the SF Citadel, Good Vibrations, COPE (in Columbus, Ohio), Beat Me In St. Louis, Winter Fire, Floating World, Sin In The City (Las Vegas), Dark Odyssey, and many others.


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