Edge Play: A Definition

Edge play is one of the most nebulous things I have come across in all of kink. You can talk to ten different perverts and get ten different definitions of what it is and what it is not. As I was sitting down to write another post I found myself having to define what I meant by edge play. After about three paragraphs of this tangent I realized that it was a post of its own that needed to be written first.

 edge/ej/

     Noun: The outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something.

 play/plā/

     Noun: Activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation.

We come to kink for different reasons but one of the common threads to our varied journeys is that we are looking to explore. We want to push ourselves, our partners, conventional wisdom beyond the point of comfort. Is pleasure always good? Is pain always bad? Is a full and complete life one that does not experience the darkness? We want to see if there is more to life than the happiness we are told daily we should be seeking. Even in the community, there are those who fell that the questions are not answered with flogging scenes and nipple clamps. There are those of us who need to be pushed even farther.

A place farthest away from the center of something…

This piece of the definition holds the key to why we have such varied ideas of what edge play is. Farthest away from the center of what? The center of society? The center of happiness? The center of safety? The center of self? Each of these is true in a different definition and often overlap.

  • Society: Society is a power influence. It is the consensus of what is acceptable and what is not. American society is hetero, male, white middle class. The farther you are from that image the more toward the edge you are. Gender bending, cross dressing, sexual fluidity and other ways of living outside this norm push the comfort zone of conventional wisdom. Is this edge play? To many, yes it is. You are putting your exploration in the face of all that you have been taught to be accepted. But for many this is not an edge. For many this is where they want to live not because it is outside the norm but because it is their personal norm. One person’s edge is another person’s home.
  • Safety: I have pulled a half a pint of blood out of someone and covered her in it. I have used electricity, knives, needles and breath play to see what the human body can take. Are these edges? Yes. Playing with tools that are inherently dangerous, opening the body up, exploring the world with weapons are all things that can end badly. If you have a sub tied to a cross as you flog her, the  number of things that can go horribly wrong are limited; when you pull a knife out and trace it along the body, more so. Many physical edge players will tell you that they do not practice SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) kink but instead prefer RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink). They know that what they are doing carries risk of injury but are willing to play with it anyway. They take the precautions they feel are necessary and move ahead ready to deal with the outcomes whatever they may be. This is a place of contention within the community. Many see it as personal responsibility to manage how each person plays, others feel a need to keep people safe and educated to the dangers. It is true that some people play with fire without understanding the dangers associated with it but the debate for the ages is whether it is the communities responsibility to manage them.
  • Self: One man’s kink is another man’s nightmare. The world is full of triggers and phobias. What is the end of the world for one person may be nothing more than the start of the journey for another. If you have a fear not being able to move, rope may be too much for you to handle. If you grew up in a house with a domineering father, playing with D/s may be a trigger. To someone outside your personal experience may see what you are doing as nothing out of the ordinary but for you it is hard, intense, life changing.
Why the fuck would you do that?!?

There are risks in every kind of play. Hell, you can step out of your house an be hit by a bus.* Edge play just happens to be more so. So what makes a person want to risk life, limb and sanity with such dangerous “games”? The answers depend on the person but most will tell you it is about being alive. I have run into more than one edge “player” who takes great offense to the play nomenclature. This is not a game, it is not a joke. It is as real as anything they experience walking down the street. To many (myself included) what they experience in an intense scene is more real. It is in the moment that the false trappings of civilization fall away and the soul is left bare. At the edge you stare off into the existential abyss.

If you live in the boondocks and are thinking “Ah Ha! There are no buses near my house!” Replace Bus with Bear and hit with eaten

With great power…

Edge play is about personal freedom. It is about exploring the darkest corners of the psyche and looking into the void and seeing The Nothing looking back. It should not be seen as a bad thing when you want to play on the edge. It should not be seen as a pathology that needs to be monitored. We are all adults. This means that we have the right to make our own choices about what risks we are willing to take on. It also means that we have a responsibility to not make others feel outcast for what they do. When a kinkster is outcast in his own community, do you think he stops doing it? No! he goes underground, he hides in his bedroom and does what he wants to do without having the support of the community to help him do it as safely as possible. When we shun the ABDL, when we cringe at the Furry, when we turn up our noses at the auto-erotic asphyxiator we are saying more about us than them and in the process, weakening our community.

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Watching a friend go mad

I had to bear witness to the end of a friend the other day. He is an amazing man with a keen wit and sharp intellect and to see him wasting away has left me sadder than all my own personal troubles combined. Nothing I have to deal with can compare to the horror of seeing a brilliant mind being consumed by mental illness.

I would collaborate with him when we were both in school. He was a mad scientist, an artist, a Casanova, a con-man and entrepreneur. We would get together late at night and spiral through realities of our own making where secret societies existed, people were inhabited by fifth dimension aliens. We would talk about using sex as a way of opening the spirit to higher levels of existence. One of the last times I saw him I was reading Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. He asked how it was and I began to explain the wonder that was Borges. I must have gotten through to him because he reached across the table and opened the book to my book mark and tore the final thirty pages out and handed them back to me. He took the rest of the book and stuck it in his bag.

It was his MO. He was star burning too bright. He was filled with ideas which seemed to be visiting from another dimension. They could fill your imagination with bright colors and sounds never heard before. The details were rich and beautiful and I could always rely on him to dress my mind with bright plumage. It was refreshing to hear about the world he saw. When I realized that this world had move from imagination to reality for him I was shocked and saddened.

He was dropped off in front of my house by another friend. He has never had a car, never used public transportation, always relied on his ability to get where he needed to be through his calling people to action. He did this a lot, manifest his thoughts through others. He lived well in the spare room of his cousin, he traveled in artistic and musical circles because he was friends with the right artists and musicians. The more I think about this gift of his the more I realize that his fears of manifesting the demons and aliens of his nightmares was not that much of a stretch for him. He was different now. He was unshaven. His clothes were the right clothes, they were his clothes, of him, but there was something off. It was as if there was a thin layer of dirt. He had a backpack like always but it was filled with newspapers. He got in my car and spread out across the backseat, spilling papers like ideas escaping from unseen cracks.

We took J to work and I told him I would give him a ride back to Elgin. It is a long drive but it had been years since I had seen him and he seemed out of it. The conversation quickly turned to how many of the things that he had always thought were just weird and twisted images in his overactive imagination were in fact real. This is not good. I try to find out more, it is partially an attempt to feel out what he is going through and partially a morbid curiosity I have always had for Schizophrenia. The stories and the images were familiar, places and people and conspiracies that he had talked about for years but they lack continuity. Before he would stick to a plot, aliens using mind control to change the course of evolution or extra-dimensional wars happening in this plane with traitors and patriots within societies that were fight in proxy. Now the stories were starting and stopping, tripping over one another as they tried to fight for space in his over full brain. In the same breath he would talk of being stuck in a karmic cycle of rebirth paying time and time again for past transgressions and about his fear of death and an eternity of hell. He was a body frozen in some hidden lab while his mind was projected into a clone and made to walk the earth surrounded by reanimated corpses. People were talking to him but only in lies, lies he knew because the world was communicating with him is morse code and hand gestures. We pulled up to the intersection of two four lane highways. There was a green shirt in the road and while I sat at the red light waiting for it to change, he stared at the shirt as if it was a clue to something. Just as the light was about to change, he jumped out of the car and walked through oncoming traffic to get the shirt. He got back in and looked it over, seeing if it would fit him.

“Is it your size?” I asked. “No.” I could not help him. Anything I said was interpreted by his wounded mind. A mind he was certain was filled with holes like Swiss cheese. He would talk and then fall off as if he was about to pass out and then start in a new. He would stare at me with a flat false smile as if he had caught me doing something and did not want to let on that he knew that I knew.

I pulled up int front of his house and let him out. He thanked me over and over for the ride and all I kept wondering was if this was the last time I was going to see him alive. He had said something on the way that stuck with me. “I am so tired of all of this. I just wish I could start over again, you know? Be a child again.” I knew that he was thinking about suicide and I tried to address it without scaring him away or talking to him as if he was a fool. He admitted that he needed to be committed and talked about having his cousin drive him to the hospital as soon as his visit with his dad was over. Did he go? I don’t know but there was something about the way he came to see me that made it feel like he was saying goodbye. I don’t know if that is just me reading into it or not. I also don’t know if it might not be the best option for him. He is already gone and any help he gets will leave him lost mentally. He said that he feared the hospital because as soon as they got him in that he would never be let back out. It was not a paranoid fear but a moment of clarity when he was seeing honestly that there may not be any “cure” for him, that he may never enter society again. He was saying that he knew he was already too far gone to ever come back. I will miss him dearly.

Finding new dynamics

Titles are important. Labels give us a place to start when thinking about someone and how they interact with the world. We know who we are by the names we give ourselves, the names others give us. In this game of musical chairs that is my relationships, I am made to think about this more than I have in a long time. What am I to those I love? What are they to me? What is important to keep in the dissolution of old ties and what can be left behind?

I am still married. I will be for a while since that is not a connection I want to lose just yet. ZG was my best friend and is the mother of my children. I keep that connection to her because it is not a relationship I walk away from easily but the more familiar connections, the protection, the D/s is not there. It is okay. Life changes, we move on. The irony is that this is the easier relationship to define. It is the known. It is the connection that I know and feel most comfortable drawing lines around. What I have with my new girl is much more challenging.

 

Girlfriend

The title is simple and self explanatory. She is a girl and she is my friend but this is conventional moniker. It conveys a vanilla relationship, an egalitarian connection between two people. A boyfriend and a girlfriend ride bikes together and argue over whether they are going to rent a romantic comedy or an action film. A boyfriend makes his move by being smooth and putting his hand around his girlfriend’s shoulder in the theater. We began this dynamic knowing neither of us wanted parity. She wanted someone who would control her and I wanted someone to control. She meets me with eyes that show her desire to be told what to do, where to stand, what to say.

 

Slave

She considers herself a slave. It is a frame of mind for her. I cannot explain it as well as she can. The enslavement is a feeling of belonging, a place in someone’s life. She makes my life run smoother. She is the reason I can be writing now and not losing my shit, trying to wrangle the boys. The problem is in the title. For me to address her to others as “my slave” makes me throw up a little in my mouth. I get a feeling of Gorean melodrama. I see her as collared and branded and memorizing the positions. I am a modern man. I have no need for titles that smack of elitism. My place in her life and hers in mine are based on mental connections and desires. They do not need to be formal.

 

Girl

She is my girl. I look at her as my girl, as someone I protect. I see her as my child, helping me to make the house I want. My home is my castle and I am the king, she is my princess learning to rule as I would have her rule. The trick is that there is more to it than just that. She is a child in many ways but she is also a woman. She has a daddy who has raised her to be strong and healthy. I am not starting from scratch.

 

Captive

A large part of our sexual relationship and our power dynamic is based on my controlling her every move and training her to be mine. I wash her brutally, scrubbing her raw and violating her while cleaning. I hold her in the water and force my cock into her throat. She knows her place when we shower is curled up in the corner with her mouth open. I disrupt her sleep, I control her orgasms. I make her cum on command and fear my touch as much as she craves it. This dance of kindness and brutality draws her to me in a way that allows me to take her shopping and still feel the connection. She has a cast down look that says that she wants to escape the pain but craves the care too much to run away.

 

So what is it? What is the name, the title, the label that I put on her and our relationship? Is she my girl, girlfriend, slave or captive? Short answer is yes, she is all this and so much more. We are mental players. We feel more and see more with our minds’ eyes. She is fulfilling in this connection and I look forward to watching it grow.

Letting Go

My youngest son has always been a challenge to punish. You could not take away his favorite toy or blanket because before he had learned his lesson he had given up on holding on to whatever it was that you took. If you sat him in a corner he would find ways of entertaining himself. The boy is unphased by change and has learned to appreciate what he has no matter how little or how much that is. It is a good lesson for the rest of us. Let go of the temporal and embrace the present.

Life is in flux now. Change seems more prevalent than ever before. I know this is not entirely true, we are surrounded by constant and never-ending change. Still it feels like there is more change swirling around me now. As I sit here smoking and reflecting on all that is different now from just a few short weeks ago I am reminded of my little sage’s philosophy. Holding on to that which has passed or what was not only fills you with regret and doubt, it makes you miss what is right in front of you. This blindness to the present good only creates more regret in the future. We should let go, experience the movement of life and embrace what gives us joy. Love what you had but not at the expense of what you have.

Letting My Imagination Go

One of the side effects of my new-found free time is that I am insanely horny during the middle of the day. Mariela was home with me last week and we ran errands for a couple of hours during the middle of the day. She was shocked at how completely my mind had been taken over by thoughts of sex and perverted acts. Everything I saw, every woman that we passed was inspiration for some dark and sexually sick flight of fancy.

My days are actually quite full. The kids are home at 2 from school and have fallen in love with the community pool. The house is perpetually in need of straightening and the clothes of five people do not wash themselves. I love it, I feel needed, I feel like I am doing something that is productive and is tangible but the stress of going from 6 in the morning to 8 at night has started to wear me down. I need a release.

It has been part of my mid-term plan to add a few playdates into the mix of my week. I have the free time, the girls are at work so it is not taking away from them, and the boys are at school. An added bonus is that my neighbors are out of the house so the screaming is less likely to end in me trying to explain to the police that she wanted me to stick a knife in her ass and piss in her mouth. Timing is an issue though. I need to make sure that I get my work done before I play because otherwise I easily degenerate from the lord of the manor to the deadbeat gigolo. And this is where my overactive imagination gets me into trouble. If I do not do something to deal with these thoughts then I become obsessed. I need an outlet for them, some halfway house for my dark passenger that will keep it in check without killing it.

Writing has always been a good outlet but I have tried to keep this blog to only the real world things that are happening. I know that most of the people who read this do not want to see the horrible images I see. They like the stories of me as a person dealing with day to day shit. What I need is a way to vent without scarring you my loyal reader.

What is that you say? You want to hear those stories? You want to know what I see? What?!? Some of you even want to help me act them out? Well then, how can I refuse? 😉

The middle ground for this is a tagging system that I am going to start using. It is simple and to the point:

  • [Title] – Real life blog entry.
  • [Scenario: Title] – A scene that I am either planning to do, want to do or already have done. This will be crazy but legal, safe looking for volunteers.
  • [Fantasy: Title] – Welcome to the dark world of my imagination. These are the sickest unrealistic flights of fancy. Not for the faint of heart. If you read it is at your own risk. If you find yourself so turned on by what you read that you can’t keep you hand out of your pants and want to make the jump for fantasy to reality, let me know and we can see what kind of scenario can be made.

So there it is, a basic warning that some of what I am going to start adding to this blog may be more than you can handle. Am I being arrogant? Am I under estimating what you are hoping that I say? No, I am making sure that you are fully informed because frankly people, my head is a sick and dark place and while I need to get it out, not everyone that reads this is ready to face the void.

Hopefully this will lead to more stories, more posts and more readers that are titillated into reading something a little more kinky than they would have.

Symbolism

ZG and I have had an open relationship for about 8 months now, and while that is not a long time (especially compared to the 10 years we spent in monogamy) it has been an amazing time of growth for each of us as individuals and for us as a couple. We have had ups and downs, talked of compersion and played with jealousy. We have argued and made up and in the end are closer today than we could have ever been before. Our learning is far from over, but I don’t think anyone would argue that we have experienced a great metamorphosis in this time. As we near our tenth anniversary of marriage this coming October, we felt that there must be something we could do to symbolize this change and this growth. So, without ceremony (as we’ve done most things in the time we’ve known each other), we casually decided the other day that we would move our wedding bands from our left hands to our right.

I had been thinking about wedding rings for a few weeks now. One of the joys of having an open relationship is that I am now “available” again. I find myself looking at women’s hands all the time, looking for rings at the grocery store and at work, when picking up the kids from summer camp and talking to other parents. I am, after all, an objectifier, looking at people as a collection of pieces, and the left hand specifically had become a new focal point for me. It was a place to start. If a cute teacher at the gremlins’ school had a ring then there was really no point in flirting, now was there? As I became aware of myself doing this I also became more aware of my own ring. I began to wonder how it was that I could explain my forward behavior if I was wearing a ring on my finger. The whole “we have an open marriage” schtick has been ruined by infidelitous jackasses and just seems hollow. On the flip side, removing the ring is not an option because it is symbolically shortchanging the very thing that is most important to me in my life. I am very much a happily married man, and not only am I unafraid to show people this, but think that it is important that anyone I meet knows this. I am looking to get to know people, to date and have fun, and yes possibly to even fuck people, but that is not to say that I am looking to forsake what I have with ZG. So I found myself stuck in a place of looking for unattached fingers, while very conspicuously wearing my own ring. I was a living paradox.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the living room…
…ZG was having the same thoughts. Our opening up has had a very clear evolution to it. It started with play partners and then moved to having more emotional connections to play partners, to toying with the ideas of “dating” for more than just the sex of it. It was only a matter of time before we moved into the realm of looking at the people that we met in our everyday lives as potential partners. So while I was checking out the ass on the newest member of our accounting team, ZG was trying to casually note whether the good-looking new guy in her office was wearing a ring.

As with most things in our shared lives, we started to talk about this conundrum while on a recent road trip (sans children). When talking about all the nuances of this particular philosophical question, ZG made the recommendation of simply moving the rings from the left hand to the right. It was such an elegant, simple thing. It was something we could do right then, while driving. There was nothing special needed, no ceremony, no special contract or ring or other piece of jewelry. It was a small gesture that could mean something special, something that we wanted it to mean. This was not the end of our old relationship nor was it the beginning of a new relationship, but it was a moment, a threshold, a mile marker in the life of our relationship. It was a moment that needed to be marked in some way, but in a way that neither attempted to replace the past or create a new future.

At first it was an odd feeling. The indentation on my ring finger is very pronounced and the weight of the ring on my right hand seems odd. I am not a jewelry wearer so I am acutely aware of the movement of my one piece. I had developed some habits and quirks around my ring. I would tap it on hard surfaces, I spin it, generally play with it absent-mindedly when nervous. These are the little things that constantly remind me of the move. This may seem like a sad thing, that I am noticing the fact that it is missing but that is not it at all. Every time I feel for my ring on my left hand I am reminded of the fact that we have moved it, I a reminded that our relationship has evolved and grown. I am reminded in a very real and tangible way that we are more complex and complete in our relationship today than ever before.The movement has me thinking about my ring and subsequently my marriage more than I used to. This symbolism is perfect because it is the opening up of our relationship that has made ZG and I think about our lives together more than we ever did when we were monogamous.

For us, this simple symbolic gesture has been a perfect marker of the evolution of our relationship. We are as strong as ever, but are constantly evolving and growing to learn more about ourselves and each other, something that has made us happier and more complete. To me, I can’t think of a better reason for a right-hand ring.

The Kinkster and Daniel Webster

 

So much of my life has revolved around words. I am a writer, I work with books, I found my wife on the clearance table in the basement of our local Borders, so many ways the written word has shaped my life. When ZG and I found kink, it only seemed natural that I would find that my favorite kinks revolve around words and their use. I like psychological warfare, mental sadism and general mindfuckery are the fields on which I play my best games and where I am most at home. Recently a small back and forth on the definition of psychological play got me thinking about the words we use and how minor changes in meaning can have drastic affects.

One of the first to come to mind is the trifecta of embarrassment, humiliation and degradation. Some people will see these as various different acts, some physical, some mental, some intense others to a lesser degree, where I see them as grades on a fairly wide ranging field of psychological play. Looking at humiliation as the verbal part and degradation as a purely physical piece give to much room for error. If you define the words this way, making someone worship your feet or crawl across the floor is the same as cleaning the toilet with her hair or enema play. Humiliation can be as simple as calling someone a whore or as complicated as deriding someone in her lack of social skills. It leaves too much room for error. It make more sense to me to define the level and then let the variety of play fluctuate between verbal and physical.

There are so many of these little differences that come up, small inflections that change the meaning of everything. So like in most everything I do, the words take center stage and turn a simple scene negotiation into a legal document. I am just glad to know that there are others out there that enjoy Pedantics