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I didn't hear the phrase "edgeplay" until quite recently, I always assumed the things I was into were just slightly abnormal kinks and fetishes, not an entire sub-genre of BDSM.
Let me explain, at around the age of 18 I was a couple of years deep in an incredibly intense and quite dark relationship, the sex was different. Not that I'd had a lot of sexual partners at that age, but I knew that what we were doing wasn't exactly the norm. My first boyfriend and I used to have sex in his single bed at his mum's house, very quietly, with the lights out and the covers over us...that's how teenage couples have sex, right?
When I met my next partner he was already a lot more sexually mature than me, and a lot older. My introduction to "edgeplay" came with the exchanging of bodily fluids. Like every teenager, I had been told at school of the dangers of unprotected sex. STDs and pregnancy were not something I wanted to even consider as I was strolling through my degree at London College of Fashion, but the danger of throwing out protection and the 'closeness' of knowing I was sharing everything with this human made it exciting.
'Edgeplay' is a subjective term for an activity (either sexually or mentally manipulative) that challenges the normal BDSM structure. BDSM is based on trust and the S.S.C scheme (safe, sane, and consensual). Edgeplay pushes those boundaries, sometimes, as it is implied, right to the edge.
I should add that my partner at the time was an older, charming, and very manipulative man. It made it easy for him to convince me that these things were a good idea. I wanted so badly to please him, and my mind became more and more intrigued by these sexual practices that were not the vanilla high school sex I was used to. I felt more mature sexually than my peers, but also not sure whether what I was doing was safe.
The next on our list was blood play or knife play, some even take it as far as gun play (I never did). This involves the cutting and sharing of each others blood. It is a well-known fact that Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton used to wear viles of each other's blood around their necks and indulge in occasional blood play. I always though that was quite cute (I'm weird). Cutting each other and merging your blood is incredibly dangerous, especially if you are not sure of your partner's sexual health status, but yet the risk made it all the more exciting.
The realms of edgeplay are pushed far beyond what I ever practiced in comparison to me cutting and sharing blood with an ex boyfriend and asking to be choked until I passed out; there are way darker and more dangerous practices out there. Some verging on illegal.
Edgeplay takes things further than you would normally, and verges on the non-consensual. For example, auto-erotic asphyxiation, the practice of choking someone, or yourself, until orgasm and letting go at just the right moment. This practice can result in some of the most intense and out of body orgasmic experiences. It can also result in death.
INXS singer Michael Hutchence died this way. The feeling of being strangled to the point of blacking out used to be one of my favourite practices, but like all of these practices, if it goes wrong, if the other person misjudges when to let go, the outcome could be dangerous, if not fatal. It could also result in your partner being convicted of murder for simply indulging in your fetish...something to think about.
Whilst I did enjoy my wild experimenting and pushing sexual boundaries, it is safe to say that at age 31, about to be a mother and five years deep in a safe and loving relationship, my desire to cut my partner's name into my arm and be choked to the point of near death have pretty much disappeared. I still enjoy the submissive side of sex and being controlled, but my 'edgeplay' days are well and truly over.
My advice to anyone wishing to try these practices would be to really think about why you are doing it. These are dangerous, potentially life threatening activities. Are you doing them for you? Or are you doing them to please a partner. Are you being manipulated into it or is it your true desire to try them?
Try and take as many precautions as you can. DO NOT try any of these things with a complete stranger or one night stand and, for God's sake, try not to die.