BDSM edgeplay advice from Jay Wiseman

BDSM edgeplay advice from Jay Wiseman

For people not involved in the BDSM, or kink scene (the subject of this week's cover story), most forms of sadomasochistic or SM play would be considered edgy, but within the scene there are certain activities that are generally recognized as being high-risk, even for experienced players, and these are categorized as edgeplay. This term is subjective, as what is considered safe, sane and consensual (SSC) or risk-aware consensual kink (RACK) varies with each player.

Jay Wiseman, author of SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, defines edgeplay as "play above-average in terms of its physical and/or emotional risks and below-average in terms of its predictability." Wiseman is an author, educator, and activist with over thirty-five years of experience in the BDSM scene, and he is credited with being a pioneer of the SM community in San Francisco, where he is the founder (merging with prominent BDSM author Janet Hardy) of Greenery Press, a BDSM and GLBT-friendly publisher.

Greenery Press has published kinkster coffee table favorites including: When Someone You Love Is Kinky; The Mistress Manual: The Good Girl's Guide to Female Dominance; Flogging; and Intimate Invasion: The Erotic Ins & Outs of Enema Play. The titles are exotic and saucy, as is the subject matter, but one of the most important things these books offer is their dedicated attention to issues of safety with kink play of any kind. In fact, Wiseman, who is also trained as an emergency medical technician, approaches the subject of edgeplay from the perspective of both a seasoned BDSM player, and a skilled medical professional.

"Edge play is play along the lines of, 'Ya know, this just possibly could really go horribly wrong with serious real-world consequences, and we might not see that coming in time to do anything about it,'" he says. "In auto racing, they talk about 'the ragged edge of control.' Edge play could be considered analogous to that."

But what types of activities constitute edgeplay?

Edgeplay practices can involve electricity, knives, suspension bondage, fire, asphyxiation, guns and humiliation. Other edgeplay practices include self-bondage -- when done alone -- water-boarding, and regressive age play. "This is, of course, not an exclusive list," he says.

Electrical play often comprises the use of electro-stimulation or "e-stim" devices like violet wands or TENS units, used on the body to produce sensations, and some of the concerns involved with the current and voltage is the risk of tissue damage or interference with organ functions.

Knife play is the use of knives, daggers or even swords to produce both physical and mental reactions. It can be used as "fear play," and aside from the obvious risks of injury, intense emotional responses are common. Gunplay is similar in nature, but with the even more obvious risks of firearm discharge.

Humiliation play may not necessarily involve the physical risks common to other forms of edgeplay, but forms of emotionally-charged play can have consequences.

"The risks are very real -- make sure you have decent training for this-- There is the potential for emotional trauma, and screw-ups can damage trust, or even relationship," he states.

Breath play, properly known as erotic asphyxiation, is the intentional restriction of oxygen to produce euphoric sensations and/or sexual arousal. With often glamorized deaths reported in the media, this form of edgeplay is generally understood by to be especially dangerous.

Waterboarding is also a subject that has been examined by the media in recent years, and the act of immobilizing a person and producing a drowning sensation with water or a wet cloth can potentially cause lung damage, brain damage or injury from the subject trying to escape the bondage.

Regressive ageplay is often mistaken for pedophilia, which it is not. This form of play involves adult roleplay with younger personae being adopted, often that of children, and this form of play is not necessarily sexual in nature. This play can be risky because of the potential for triggering childhood trauma and/or intense emotional reactions.

Wiseman says, "Most BDSM fatalities occur when two perimeters overlap: being in highly restrictive bondage and being completely alone."

He goes on to state that people consensually engage in bondage all the time, safely and with good outcomes, but they do not ever leave their bound partner alone. Wiseman states, "If person A ties up person B, then person A cannot leave to go to the movies. If you tie them up, then stay with them. This one soundbite would prevent most BDSM fatalities."

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