*Originally written and posted on Facebook on November 15, 2015
*** TRIGGER WARNING ***
The following content includes the topics of several BDSM edge play scenarios, sexual abuse, mental health disorders and addiction issues in a frank and graphic manner.
I decided to write this piece on participating in edge play after a history of self harm because there are so many in the BDSM Community, Dominant, switch and submissive…male, female and non-binary alike…who either currently deal with or who have dealt with self harm issues at some point in their lives. Self harm can be defined as any action or thought, that once realized, does harm to one’s self. These realizations can be physical, emotional and/or mental in their masochistic tendencies. They can manifest as eating disorders, acts of self harm, addictions, compulsions and engaging in unsafe behaviors. These personal issues are then carried over into our D/s or M/s relationship dynamics, in which they are either:
1. Ignored and left to fester,
2. Exploited and made worse or
3. Resolved and ultimately healed.
I truly believe that the loving and safe environment that a healthy Lifestyle relationship can provide is an excellent platform for growth and change for all parties within the dynamic. The open and honest communication that’s achieved by way of many hours of in-depth discussions ultimately builds trust and eventually promotes a bond between the parties that is extremely unique, highly honored and deeply sacred to everyone involved. Edge play can be a wonderful vehicle in which to reclaim one’s own inner power and to re-establish one’s own personal headspace and even to refresh the D/s mindset from those of the past that were unhealthy and destructive into present ones that are both healthy and productive.
In this article, i have defined edge play as any of the BDSM activities which carry some inherent risk to the participants’ emotional, physical, mental and/or spiritual health and safety. Even if these activities are preformed to the highest caliper of standards and all safety precautions are heeded, there is still an element of risk involved. These activities can be thought of as acts that can either take a person to:
1. The edge of their comfort zone
2. The edge of their personal limits
3. The edge of the blade / tip of the needle or
4. The edge of Death itself
Most people who participate the various types of edge play will most often subscribe to the risk and responsibility paradigms of RACK or PRICK rather than to SSC. The philosophies of RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and PRICK (Personal Risk Informed Consensual Kink) state that while we are aware of the risks the accompany certain BDSM activities and scenes, we take our personal responsibility for our own education on the topic and comply with the use of safer practices while engaging in these types of consensual kinks. We fully acknowledge and understand that such activities may not fall under the philosophy of SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) to which many BDSMers subscribe…and that’s totally okay.
Always remember, YKINMKBYKIOK!! (Your kink is not my kink but your kink is o.k.)
These various types of edge play can include, but are not limited to, any BDSM activities that carry an inherent risk (up to and including death) and that can also be possible triggers for a psychological breakdown. Such a breakdown could lead to one or more of the participants displaying an expression of self harm, in either their thoughts or actions. Such high risk edge play activities can include:
*age play and
*any other sadomasochistic physical activities or emotional head-trips that could be used in a non-consensual, derogatory and/or unhealthy manner.
This topic is very personal to me and it’s very much a part of O/our dynamic. I’ve dealt with mania, depression and anxiety, coupled with my resulting self harm issues, including cutting, eating disorders and substance abuse, for over 25 years. Actually, i suppose rather than “dealing” with them, I was really just running from them; ignoring and avoiding them at all costs. I did that very well for many years. I was isolated and depressed at times and wild and reckless at others. i began coping with all my unresolved anxieties, fears and anger issues by cutting at 11 years old and i continued this for several years.
The psychological buzzword “trigger” wasn’t commonplace back then in the early 90’s and, even if it had been, i wasn’t anywhere near capable of discovering what mine actually were. I was way too psychologically stunted, emotionally fragile and completely repressed by my own feelings of shame and guilt to do that. I was tormented daily by my emotions and thoughts which were stemming from my abandoment issues and the traumatic flashbacks i was having of rape and molestation. I quickly progressed from occassional cutting episodes to constant “experimental” drug use as a means of escape by the time i was 17 years old. i lived in an ever-devolving psychological state for all of my twenties, while still trying to maintain the tattered guise of being a functional human and productive member of society. I held two full time jobs and put myself thru collage. If you didn’t know better, and most people didn’t, you’d think i was a young professional on the rise. Nope. Not really…and I spent almost 20 years like this.
I finally got clean and sober when I found I was expecting my first child as I entered my thirties. For the next five years, i remained as such, without even resorting to any form of self harm to cope with all of the new demands on my time, mind, heart and body, because i threw myself into the role of “Mother”. Motherhood was my first experience with really getting out of my own twisted head and then putting something greater than i before my own chaotic neurosis and extreme selfishness. However, my ex-husband’s relapse three years into the marriage began wearing on me hard, as did being a full time, single mother, for all intents and purposes, to now two young children. I promptly began cutting once again at the 33 years old, after not cutting for nearly 18 years . A few months later, a heroin relapse after 65 months clean shortly followed the cutting…as did a stay in the local area hospital’s psychiatric center, as well as a three week visit in drug rehabilitation.
I’ve been in that place where many of you out there reading this have been. Maybe you’re still there in that place right now. It’s okay if you are. I had lived that way for almost my entire life. And guess what?? I’m here to tell you right now that it CAN all get better. It can be different. It can change. YOU can change. It takes a ton of dedication, strength, soul searching and digging into all of dustiest shadows your mind, heart and soul…but YES, it can be done!!
It was at that time, during my relapse and while entering rehab…at the lowest point of my entire life…that I met the Man who would soon become my Dominant on Facebook. Upon leaving rehab, W/we embarked upon a new bi-coastal, long distance D/s relationship. To this day, I’m still not sure why either of U/us thought it would work out, lol…but I’m beyond thankful that it did. Those shakey beginnings very slowly evolved into the very solid and dependable foundation of trust and love like I’ve never experienced ever before in an intimate relationship. i just thought i had once again embarked on the fool’s errand of putting something else in front of my own self care…a new and beautiful fantasy distraction of some sort…but my new Dominant would have none of that. None. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip.
The first thing that needed to happen as W/we initiated our relationship was that i needed to understand that my previous attempts to rebuild myself were not failures. With His help, i was able to see that my flaws didn’t make me a bad person…only human…and a very hurt and confused human at that. My Dom helped me to realize that I was absolutely “perfect in my imperfections” and as such, I was the ONLY one in control of changing myself for the better because i alone held the power to do so. I was finally ready…but i was still scared.
He helped me re-discovered these forgotten facts by assigning meaningful tasks for me complete that would, over time, build upon the success of one another to strengthen my character and my resolve. He assigned nothing by way of tasks and requirements that I hadn’t already expressly stated that i wanted help to change, thus reinforcing His stance that I was in fact perfect in His eyes and that He would only support any changes I wanted (or needed) to make within and for myself, as He wasn’t looking to change me. Even tho i understood His intentions, it took a while for this concept to sink in thoroughly. Also, i discovered that conjuring up misplaced feelings of resentment toward Him to cause an issue was an easy and convenient way to shift the focus off of myself and my fears of change. Blatant manipulation and malicious topping from the bottom at it’s finest…but He saw right thru my rouse and shut me down rather effortlessly in this respect as well. My Dom also taught me how to give myself some slack and how to try again tomorrow when I screw up today. That lesson was invaluable.
As the months wore on and i was becoming more fully immersed into all these new activities and new mindsets within our D/s LDR, i began to feel joy in my own personal accomplishments again and i was able to once again take pride in my successes, no matter how small. I wasn’t able to completely lose myself in Him and in O/our relationship because of the distance. That 3,000 mile distance was such a blessing in disguise for U/us in those early months. I was only left with the option of focusing on myself, for the first time in my life, so i could face my demons and finally begin growing as a person.
I learned to believe I was worthy of His care and Dominance because of who i am as a person, not just because what i could do for Him. I learned balance in this way, as i still had my children, my Dom and all my other responsibilities to which I had to attend but i also began making time for myself. I grew and blossomed as a woman, a mother, a submissive and as a newly re-connected member of the human race.
The tasks my Dominant requested of me which helped me prepare for all these changes are all activities that we have posted about here in this group, time and time again. These activities include:
☆Personal care / grooming habits
☆Healthy lifestyle / eating habits
☆Mental health services
☆Open and honest communication
☆Meditation and prayer
☆Devotion to sacredness
☆Releasing any emotion or process that no longer served
☆Participating in various types of edge play
I was tasked with journaling my thoughts and emotions daily for almost a year. He wanted me to start facing my inner self and all my demons on the printed page. He was allowed to read my entries (most often, i would read them to Him due to the distance), but He wasn’t allowed to get upset at anything I wrote, as He wanted me to trust Him and this process. Sometimes, He would assign me relevant topics to write about that coincided with issues we were facing, other times I would just write. I’d write like I was talking to Him or just ranting to myself, but I always felt better afterwards because I was always honest in my writings. In time, i was able to look back and see a record of my moods, triggers, responses and feelings and W/we were able to decipher the patterns that were playing on repeat within our relationship and in my life. Journaling my thoughts and feelings was an invaluable first step to getting to honestly know myself as i truthfully revealed myself to Him.
☆Personal care / grooming habits
People with depression and anxiety often forsake their own personal care in favor of helping or caring for others and then have nothing left for themselves. Helping others is wonderful, but not of you’re neglecting yourself in the process. It was a bit of a shock to step away from ‘single mom mode’ and “become” a submissive again after a (failed) vanilla marriage. My Dom’s tasks in this area were simple…all things i should have never let go of doing in the first place…but i unfortunately did. Focusing on these areas again immediately elevated my mood and my self-esteem. You can customize your personal care routine however you see fit. My tasks included the following:
*i’m to remain shaved/waxed, smooth/kempt and clean at all times
*Weekly manicures and pedicures (done at home, usually)
*Sweats are only to be worn if I’m sick or if it’s very cold out, otherwise, i’m to be properly dressed, even if i don’t leave the house that day
*i’m to wear His “Nipple Bra” in public daily unless I’m directed not to (you guessed it, a bra with the nipples cut out to “stand out” in a crowd). Wearing this bra was difficult at first because i was self-conscious, but soon I began to enjoy the idea of showing off what is His in public. I now find a sense of empowerment from wearing His Nipple Bra.
I was tasked with making time for personal interests that had nothing to do with Him or my children every single evening. I won’t bore you with listing all my personal hobbies and pastimes, but I do suggest you make a list of activities that you enjoy and then spend time doing at least one or two of them every day…even if only for 30 minutes at a time. Every one can spare 30 minutes to do something that makes them happy.
A big aspectof my depression revolved around the 100 pounds I had gained between the time I was using and my two pregnancies and subsequent periods of bed rest. Going from the lithe body of a junkie to the morbidly obese body of a single mom was a huge hit to my ego, even though I’d done ALL the damage to myself. My Dom planned out daily exercise routines for me to follow based on my weight loss and work out goals and after a few months (of my incessant fear-based whining and) working out, i dropped half the weight. I still strive to maintain a healthy body image daily and i love the endorphin rush I get from a good work out…once i actually get off my ass and do it. It really helps being held accountable for your actions in areas such as this. You should always taylor any fitness plans to a doctor’s advice before you begin a new regimine if you have any medical issues.
☆Healthy lifestyle / eating habits
The only way to maintain a healthy body image is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
*Regular doctor visits
*Regular dental checkups
*Eating healthy, cutting out most sugars and junk food
*Getting enough rest and sleep
*Any new medical issues in either party need to be professionally monitored and the diagnosis disclosed to both parties.
*Any chronic ailments should also be addressed and dealt with as soon as possible. Just because you’re used to the condition doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek out the best course of treatment.
I suffer from insomnia and migraines and my Daddy will sometimes talk to me softly over the phone, telling me quietly whispered nonsense stories to relax my mind and melt my heart. This is the only insomnia strategy that’s ever worked before and sometimes we can even catch a headache and stop it before it turns into a migraine. He’s currently making me an mp3 of His voice so i can listen to Him every night after our nightly phone calls to help me drift off to dreamland. Whatever you’re going thru with your medical issues, seeking the best care available to you will help in regulating your moods and mental state.
☆Mental health services
Did I mention that i’m a recovering addict with bipolar and anxiety issues? Lol, well i am…and as such, there are times that therapeutic intervention and medication are a necessity to my daily functioning. Usually Daddy sees when I’m slipping before I do, so i have submitted to being open to listening and seeking medical attention when He says medicine is in need. Luckily, we haven’t been in that dark place for almost a year now, but when I was I found my way back by:
*Disclosure of my mental state to someone I trust
*Making and keeping all mental health services appointments
*Being honest with the mental health services staff about my issues
*Actively participating in my care and treatment plan
*Taking all medications as prescribed
*Alerting my medical team to any medical problems arising from new medications or drug interactions
The reason W/we haven’t needed to revisit that dark and scary emotional state is because my Dom and i have learned several coping strategies to help deal with my mania, depression and anxiety that have minimized my need for a cocktail of psychotropic medications. Some techniques for controling your emotions are as follows:
*As mentioned before, exercising is a wonderful means of flooding the body with endorphinsand feeling better, so i still do this regularly
*i enjoy getting piercings so instead of cutting or turning to another self harm technique when I’m upset, i will focus my energies into saving for a new piercing…or three. This strategy also workd with those who have a love of tattooing, branding or or other methods of professional scarification.
*When I am really on the verge of self harm, i have a network of other female submissives to whom i turn for support and guidance. Many of us submissives share the same battles and fight the same demons. Having a Dominant in your life is wonderful, but nothing came replace your tribe of “sisters” and other honorable Community members to who you can reach out when you’re in need.
*i also snap a rubber band on my wrist when the anxiety is telling me to cut; this is a distraction until the difficult emotional darkness passes.
*Musicis another outlet for me and many others who have a history of self harm.
*Some of my fellows submissives draw beautiful designs on their bodies instead of cutting themselves.
*Still others write, read, paint or draw to focus their energies back to a safe place during a crisis. I’m not very artistic, so i color in adult coloring books, especially ones filled with Mandalas (ancient artwork designs that represent the Universe). Art is wonderful outlet for stress reduction.
*Another tip that’s been invaluable to me is to avoid feeding into drama, in daily life and on social media. It helps me to remember to act like His submissive and not a drama queen.
As I began to finally heal, i was able to begin to include more service-orientated tasks into my daily responsibilities. I was no longer seeking to distract myself with my thoughts or the needs of another, but rather I was learning to prioritize and multitask once again, at my own pace. My tasks regarding this subject are all centered around creating and maintaining the submissive headspace that helps me feel safe and grounded. Self harming is a learned behavior that arises from insecurities and as I’m accomplishing these tasks, I’m re-learning appropriate behavior to help me feel connected to my Dominant and secure within O/our relationship. Some of my tasks are as follows:
*Sending Him daily “good morning” texts upon waking
*Sending photos of myself and my body as per His request
*Wearing my anal plug whilst cleaning the house
*Standing I my tip toes while I vacuum
*Practicing slave positions and working on my balance and grace
*Going without a bra and/or panties when directed
*Edging myself per His request
*Being open to other tasks and directions without needless questioning or complaining about my lack of understanding
If your Dominants have earned this type of trust, with time and by demonstrating your best interests are at heart, then by all means, trust them.
☆Open and honest communication
Once I had gone thru many months of completing the above tasks and requirements, proving to myself and to Him that i was ready to progress to the next steps, my Dom thought I was stable enough to begin O/our conversation about edge play. (Oh yeah!! Edge play!!!) It took all this time to even mention the topic!! But it HAD to take this long…because so many other factors needed to to be dealt with, overcome and stabalized before we could get to this point. W/we hadn’t done ANY edge play as of this point and W/we were still a long way off from actually participating in these actions. My Dom needed to KNOW that I wouldn’t relapse into self harm because of some unsatisfactory aspect of my life before W/we ever touched a blade. W/we discussed:
*The reasons that i would self harm, identifying both my emotional and physical triggers
*The headspace that i was in when i was self harming and my current headspace
*The types of edge play in which W/we were both interested
*What W/we knew about these types of edge play
*Our respective, real life experience with these types of edge play
*Resources by which to seek further information on these types of edge play
Even as an active member in both the online and local Kink Communities, i don’t know everything about everything in the BDSM Lifestyle. No one does. If they ever say they do, RUN. W/we researched all the edge play activities to which W/we were drawn. Among the core contents of information about edge play that W/we unearthed were:
*Practical techniques of edge play
*Emergency care and response strategies
*Alternative and modified methods
*First hand experience from reliable sources
None of the research was difficult to find…in fact, if anything, there’s an over-abundance of information out there. Please know and trust your sources before making any further decisions as to undertaking any BDSM activity. Always use your best judgement and listen to your instincts.
☆Meditation and prayer
After my head was jam packed with knowledge, Daddy and i both spent time processing and assimilating the new information into O/our current information constructs regarding the edge play activities W/we wanted to explore. “Take what serves you and leave the rest behind”, “You can learn something from everyone, even if it’s only how not to be”, and similar expressions come to mind when i think about that time in O/our relationship. I won’t be presumptuous enough to even suggest how you should go about communing with That Which Is Greater than yourself, whatever that may be for you, but we all have our own ways of centering ourselves and finding our direction yet again. Taking time to reconnect with the Universe is ALWAYS a good thing. Namaste and blessed be.
☆Devotion to sacredness
There were many years that i passed the days completely numb and drugged. I had no respect for myself or for anyone or for anything else. The best thing that could be said about me back then was that i wasn’t a theif. That was my only redeeming quality lol. I had no others. The greatest change that’s occurred within myself and my relationship dynamic from those dark times is my appreciation and respect for that which is scared. I can now recognize and give thanks for the sacredness of connection. From learning the true value of what monogamy means to U/us within O/our relationship dynamics to expressing the deep metaphysical pull towards each other that W/we share together, my Dominant and i have discovered a deeper meaning of the truth W/we had sought after when this relationship began…and it just keeps on evolving and strengthening every single day. I have learned that my soul is at peace when I’m serving under His hand. I have seen myself come alive when i am called on to please and comfort Him. I have discovered that amidst the joy of submission to my Dominant, i have found my place in this Universe…and that place is at His side…whether i am 3 feet to His right or 3,000 miles away, i am His. I am owned. He constantly reminds me, in a million little ways, that anything is possible with time, patience, self control, truth and love. And W/we are new well stocked with them all. It’s this sacred connection that can enable all parties in D/s and M/s dynamics to grow and evolve, both together and as individuals. The trust that results from such a divine bond is what makes healing by means of participation in various activities, such as edge play, possible within the relationship.
☆Releasing any emotion or process that no longer serves
Emotional baggage, such as jealousy, anger, resentment, guilt and shame, just to name a few, are the deadliest of all relationship killers. These emotions are the byproducts of all the insecurities we carry with us throughout our entire lives. Fortunately for us, all we need to do to free ourselves from such baggage is to set it down and walk away from it. It sounds so easy…yet we complicate the process to mask our own fear. Well, I’m here to tell you that the demons we know are no friendlier than the demons we don’t know. In fact, there really are no demons at all…they are only lessons in disguise. They can either act as a distraction from reaching our highest possible potential or they can serve as a reminder of our humanity. The choice is always ours to make. It’s at this point in our journey that we can begin to look to engagement in BDSM activities, such as edge play, as a means to physically reclaim what we have already emotionally reconciled.
☆Participating in various types of edge play
Finally!!!!! After all the in-depth honest discussions, soul searching introspection and kink-friendly professional advice has been taken into consideration and all in the parties are ready to start at the elementary levels of edge play that we can finally begin. The type(s) of edge play that you may decide to explore are usually directly correlated to the types of trauma that you have survived. Consider each of the following scenarios:
*A recovering cutter may begin to participate in ritualistic scarification with their partners(s). The old self harm scars which used to carry painful feelings of shame and guilt can now be replaced with a meaningful brand, tattoo, carving or skin etching.
*A recovering cutter may also choose to no longer spill their blood in a wasteful manner. The sight of blood that used to signal a breakdown during a crisis can now be viewed as the intimate gift of “sustenance” that a Sanguinarian donor offers freely to their Vampyre partner.
*A trauma survivor who experienced a rape or molestation may choose to reenact their experience, either by altering the scene to the needs and specifications of all parties or by keeping the experience as close to the actual trauma as possible so the survivor is able to reconcile it within their own reality, with their trusted partner(s). The rape play scene can be taken to whatever conclusion the participants desire, including both consensual submission to and enjoyment of the act, as well as overpowering the “attacker” and fighting until the survivor can “escape”.
*The trauma survivor who experienced harm during an episode of assault with a dealy weapon may decide to explore blood play, blade play, gun play or extreme bondage while their partner(s) weild the weapon (or alternative item in its stead) during sex or a scene.
*The adult who has experienced childhood trauma or abandonment may seek to explore one or more of the various age play scenarios with their trusted partner(s). Being made to wear a diaper and being fed from a bottle by their partner(s) is extremely comforting to age players. The Caregiver can soothe, physically hold and verbally reassure their little one and the little can bask in the love and comfort of ultimate acceptance that only their Big can provide.
In all of the tasks listed above, together with the eventual exploration of edge play, my Daddy showed me that i am not the center of the universe…but i am always at the center of His heart. He helped me realize that my problems weren’t catastrophic because we could very easily tackle anything that should arise together. And He also graciously demonstrated that should the day ever come that He wasn’t there to standby my side (Goddess forbid!), i’d still be very well equiped to handle things by myself and stand on my own. By looking past my own selfishness and ego, i began to be capable of seeing the larger picture…consisting of our relationship, my personal goals, O/our Family, the future W/we’re building together and a greater sense of personal and shared spirituality as O/our bond deepens and strengthens.
I am once again able to see my own individual value and personal worth. Upon resolving all of these steps within my own mind and within O/our relationship dynamic, I have found my Center, my Peace…I have finally found my Home. I have not picked up a blade in sadness and desperation in over six months (although i DO have several new scars from feeding sessions) and I’m still clean and sober as well. If i can battle my demons and come out stronger on the other side, then absolutely anyone can do it too.
These are the methods that have worked for me and my Daddy as W/we are resolving our personal issues together. However, it’s important to understand that BDSM isn’t an alternative to professional therapy and no one should ever look to a partner to “heal” them of trauma or illness. The responsibility for doing that falls squarely upon our own shoulders. These tasks and activities listed are stepping stones to change and healing…but YOU are the catalyst that makes change possible in your own life. At the end of the day, partners, friends and family are a wonderful support, if you’re lucky enough energy have them, but all you need is desire, drive and belief in your own power to be better than you were yesterday.
Please feel free to modify any of these suggestions so that they may adapt to you and your personal experiences. Remember, you are made of stars!! Don’t ever let anyone extinguish your beautiful light. Fight, like the warrior you are, and prevail! I wish you peace…and blessed be.