In BDSM , one speaks of edge play when a type of play involves a certain safety risk for the body or psyche . As the name suggests, it is an umbrella term for border experiences and border crossings. Play on the edge of the abyss, if you will.
Edgeplay poses some risks of potential short or long term harm, or in some extreme cases, death. Scarring, infection with disease, or sensory disturbances from nerve damage may also occur. Therefore, you should carefully consider the practices you want to carry out to minimize the risks – but you cannot completely prevent them with edgeplay. Edgeplay is also not harmless from a legal point of view.
Why do you run Edgeplay?
Playing with limits can be incredibly exciting, the intoxicating feeling of fear and danger serves us a hormone cocktail of adrenaline and dopamine that lets us fly. Few other practices require as much trust in the dominant partner as edgeplay. For many subs , that is exactly what makes them so special: putting their physical integrity or, under certain circumstances, even their own lives in the hands of the dom. In the BDSM area or in relationships with a power imbalance, Edgeplay is said to be particularly intense. Not all edge play is equally dangerous. As with many things in BDSM, perception here is very subjective.
Forms of edge play
Edgeplay is a collective term for a variety of practices that come in all shapes and sizes. The following list represents only an excerpt of this very large field:
- Breathplay , i.e. breath control through choking, strangulation, closing the airways and more. There is a risk of suffocation here.
- Fearplay: Playing with personal fears carries a risk for mental health that should not be ignored.
- Knife Play : When playing with a knife, it can slip or be misjudged and cause serious injury.
Bloodplay: Anything that causes the partner to bleed carries the risk of infection, deep wounds and scarring, damage to arteries.
- Cutting: Drawing patterns by cutting out skin. There is also a risk of injury due to misjudgment or a lack of anatomical knowledge, as well as a risk of infection.
- Needle play and games with tackers /skin tackers are to be considered in a similar way to cutting, knife and blood play.
- Waxplay : Play with candles or otherwise heated wax. Burns can occur here.
- Barebacking: Deliberately abstaining from safer sex , which enormously increases the risk of infection with an STI/STD .
- Branding: There is also a lot that can go wrong when drawing patterns through skin burns. Incorrect handling of the equipment, excessive temperatures and the risk of infection in the days that follow are just a few of the many risk factors.
- Dilation of the urethra using dilators or less suitable devices. This can injure the urethra and lead to serious infections.
- Waterboarding carries the risk of drowning and inducing trauma.
- Rape play and games in general that fall under CNC (Consensual Non-Consensual) as they have great potential to induce trauma.
This does not always mean certain practices, even seemingly harmless practices such as spanking and suspensions in Shibari can become borderline with higher intensity.
What to consider:
Edgeplay is characterized by the fact that you often play with factors that are difficult or not completely controllable. The current SSC scheme , in which all possible risks are known and minimized as much as possible, is therefore not applicable to edge play. If one is aware of the risks and consequences and is willing to accept them, the activity is considered RACK , risk-aware consensual action.
The psychological component of Edgeplay is also not to be despised. If you play with limits, you have to be aware of a possible stress reaction of the psyche. Fear is one of the strongest emotions available to us, which is why we need to be particularly careful when dealing with it. As incredibly exciting and enriching as the whole thing can be, in addition to all the obvious risks such as the development of trauma, there can also be a violent emotional drop after the session .
If you want to play with dangers of this kind, the top priority is: information! You need to be prepared for any eventuality that can happen, how to minimize those risks, and what actions to take if your game goes haywire. Be responsible and honest with each other. You should also have certain emergency numbers ready and, to be on the safe side, dial 112 on the phone.
Varieties from this area are rarely at the beginning of a gaming relationship, as they are based on a deep, established trust. There must inevitably be a shared need, understanding of the practice and also the will and comfort to put up with injuries, marks and scars. If this awareness is lacking, the consent cannot be given with its full implications. Consensus and detailed discussions about it are just as mandatory as usual. Under certain circumstances, previously set personal limits can be accidentally exceeded, since nobody can guarantee whether, for example, the burn will heal completely or leave a scar.