Edge Play: Taking BDSM too Far?

Today we’re going to take a look at a form of BDSM play called edge play.

One man’s moderate hanky panky is another’s kink too far. Kink lovers know that experimenting with rituals and fetishes is a wonderful way to push traditional boundaries and experience a world of pleasure beyond the basics.

But even the wildest adventurers among us can find themselves lost at sea. Kink can be as mild as a silk scarf tying a partner’s wrists, or more extreme than one’s wildest fantasies.

What is Edge play?

In the BDSM community, the word “edgeplay” refers to extreme practices that challenge even the core of kink conventions.

Most kink is about SSC (safe, sane, and consensual) and those involved are committed to safety and consent at all times.

Edge play pushes not just the boundaries of conventional sex, but the conventions of consensual BDSM, moving into territory that plays with the limits of physical harm, even death, and/or defies consent and compassion.

Read: Extreme BDSM and Dangerous Kinks

Edge Play is Subjective

The definition for edge play changes from person to person, community to community, and also over time. It wasn’t until a couple decades ago that BDSM conventions were discussing it. Of course it existed previously, but was still kept under wraps because of its controversial nature and risk.

While some groups consider rape fantasy roleplaying as a form of edge play, others don’t think this takes it far enough.

You may have heard of the acronym RACK (risk aware consensual kink). Proponents and practitioners of edge play often follow this philosophy which accepts edge play so long as participants fully understand the risks.

Read: How to Negotiate Risks in BDSM Relationships

Examples of Edge Play

Edge play is a very controversial subject, and even hardcore fetishists can be offended by some practices. These might include:

Read: 10 Examples of Consensual Non-Consent Kinks

Why is Edge Play Controversial?

Many in the BDSM community do not support or condone edge play because they think it goes too far. Meanwhile, edgers might call most BDSM play “vanilla kink”.

Arguments For and Against Edge Play

There are debates raging within hardcore communities over edge play, with some claiming that universal moral limits or taboos exist, period. Usually the kinds of edge play activities protested involve those who cannot consent—disabled people or children, for example.

Read: Taboo Kinks and Fetishes

Other times it is public health that is considered. After all, even if you get off on the idea of receiving a disease or setting your own penis on fire, this can directly or indirectly affect other people like family members or taxpayers.

Defenders of edge play say all desire is natural and all boundaries are artificial. You can get an STD by accident, so why shouldn’t you do it willingly?

Detractors say extreme kinks are no one else’s business except those consenting to them, except when they are. For example, being strangled will cause emotional harm and trauma to family and loved ones if you die, and they haven’t consented.

In turn, defenders say anyone can take ill, die in a fire or car crash, or get raped, so choosing to do so is taking power over what is usually out of one’s control.

Read: How to Explore Kink and BDSM in Private

Setting Edge Play Boundaries

Many say following the laws of where you live is a sane and safe boundary that makes sense personally and socially. Following laws on age of consent and gun use would be reasonable.

Other kink lovers say rules are made to be broken, or that laws are arbitrary, or that that laws are imposed on us without our consent. Some argue that laws are meaningless—in some countries it’s against the law to have premarital sex, and in others, old men can marry toddlers. These argue that morality must be personal.

Read: Boundaries to Discuss in BDSM Relationships

Because our responses to sexual pleasure and sexual pain are so complex and varied, each and every one of us will have disgust towards some of the activities others pursue, as well as outrage at the prudishness of those who discount and judge our desires.

In my opinion, it’s common sense to avoid activities and people whose practices disturb us, as well as those who judge us, and to seek like-minded partners for the kinks we do want to explore.

Read: BDSM Play Ideas: The Big List of BDSM

What do you think? Is edge play taking it too far or just dangerous fun?

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