BDSM 101: Knife Play

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BDSM 101: Knife Play

Knife play is often considered "edge play." Edge play is different depending on who you ask but typically it is anything that "edges" on the line of SSC (or RACK or PRICK). Knife play runs the edge of what could be construed as safe because, well, knives. They're inherently dangerous tools and this is play is best done with those experienced with the tool and with partners who are experienced with each other. Until you know that you can trust your partner with your life, do not engage in knife play. It is not blood play or cutting, though. The moment skin is intentionally cut or blood is intentionally let, it becomes a different thing. Knife play is quite simply playing with the knife on the surface of the skin. (This information will not cover actually cutting: that is a form of medical play and fine if you do it but it's not our kink!)

So if you're not having your skin cut (intentionally) and you're not bleeding (intentionally), what exactly are you doing? Well, you are experiencing sensations of the knife against the skin. The knife point can be used to leave a pinprick sensation. The scraping of the blade perpendicular to the skin can leave a sensation similar to straight razor shaving. Pressure from the blade can leave you immobilized, not allowing you to move a millimeter without being cut. But all of these are Dominant techniques (Tops/Dominants, do some research! Take some classes! Practice knife play with something else like the edge of a credit card first! Be responsible!) and I want to focus on us as submissive.

What will you experience? Fear. It is quite scary to trust somebody enough to have a knife to you. Also adrenaline. It may trigger a fight or flight response so play slowly in the beginning because neither are really an option. You need to train yourself to calm down, to relax, to trust your Top. You may feel, of course, turned on. It is amazing what having your body totally submit feels like. It is like a switch is flipped and all of a sudden you are able to give up all control. That is sexy as hell (for this s-type, at least.) It may be painful. Indeed. It is, after all, a knife to you. As you may have noted in the above paragraph, I mentioned the word "intentionally" a couple times. It is pretty standard that if you do practice knife play, you will likely get nicked at some point. You may bleed from knife play. That may not be the goal, but we are imperfect people so mistakes can happen. To try and minimize, always play sober, always communicate beforehand, and if you think you cannot be still enough for your Top to continue let them know during the scene (safe words are meant to be used to communicate; the Top would be more disappointed in cutting you than in you stopping the scene).

How else can knives be used? Cutting fabric from the body is one of our favorites. You can either pre-cut clothes strategically for tearing or use the knife to cut clothes off. We also use the knife combined with other play. Love wax play? We have found no sexier way to remove the wax than a little knife scraping it off slowly. Have you tried saran wrap for immobilization/mummification? The knife in the hands of a skilled person can do amazing things cutting a person out. A knife can be used for intimidation in role playing scene as well.

Choosing  a knife

Fixed blade knives made from surgical stainless steel are ideal for knife play. Stainless steel blades can be tempered to a player’s desired preference. Stainless steel blades can also be disinfected without becoming degraded. Fixed blades tend to be better for body contact scenes, they eliminate places for dirt and pathogens  to collect on the knife. The handle of the knife should be made of a material that is chemical resistant  and can be disinfected. The blade should be smooth, without serrations intended to tear and rend material.

Stainless steel throwing knives are great for knife scenes, as they are have many of the attributes described above. When choosing knives, consider if you’re  able to control and clean the blade.

Elaborate fantasy knives may be degraded by cleaning chemicals. Switchblades have joints that can collect everything from dust to blood. A steak knife has serrations intended to rend meat (or skin). These knives can’t  be used for body contact, but may be great in a mindfuck or role play scene. When choosing  your knife, choose the right tool.

Using the knife

Continuing our tool analogy, hold the knife in a manner that allows you to manipulate it with confidence. Turn your palm down as though holding a pencil. Now turn the knife so the blade is roughly at a 45 degree angle. This will allow you to apply an even pressure and to use the tip, rather than the full cutting surface of the blade. Place the blade against the bottom’s skin and check for feedback as to their reactions. Never push the blade, instead pull it carefully in measured strokes across the skin, back toward yourself. Begin with light strokes, then begin to vary the cadence and pressure used as the scene progresses.

Blade sharpness is a matter of preference. A dull knife isn’t  necessarily safer than a sharp knife, any knife can cut if enough pressure is applied. Before using your knife measure .25 inches from the tip of the blade. A cut of .25 inches or more is considered deep, possibly exposing fat, muscle and tendons and requiring medical attention. 1). Make a note not to depress the knife into the skin deeper than the quarter inch threshold. Not pressing too deeply combined with using the knife at an angle can reduce the chances of accidental cutting

Have your bottom lay on a sturdy object like a bondage bed or massage table for the scene. Make sure you can walk completely around without any obstructions. Keep the floor clear to prevent tripping. Beware of people moving around you, especially someone bumping into you while you’re holding the knife. Your bottom will flinch during the scene while you’re using the knife, guaranteed. Use your other hand as a brace, to hold the part of the body you may be working with. For example, keeping a firm grasp on the knee while you draw the knife along the inner thigh.

Safety and cleaning

Precautions are needed to protect against pathogens during knife scenes. Ask your bottom to shower before the scene, to decrease bacteria on the skin. Wash your own hands with a sanitizer. Prepare the knife blade by using disinfecting wipes. Choose wipes what contain alcohol or chlorhexidine gluconate. Have a sharps container where you can store the knife after the scene, don’t store it in the sheathe or your toybag until it’s disinfected. For a full disinfection, consider using Barbicide jars, (the blue stuff from the barber shop). Have a pair of non latex gloves handy if bloodletting is a concern or for clean up. Also, have access to a simple first aid kit for minor cuts and scrapes.

Use knives on the meaty, well protected  parts of the body. This includes the chest/breasts, upper back, butt and thighs. Care should be taken drawing a knife across the abdomen. Avoid joints and areas where ligaments, veins and nerves are close to the skin, because in these areas, deep cuts can cause severe damage or even death ( the throat, face, genitals, and wrists for example).

The most important thing to know about knife play is that while it is a powerfully sexy tool, it is best used in the hands of an experienced person with an experienced couple. To learn more about knife play, seek out online resources and local education classes for more info; this is not intended to be an educational article for Tops about "how to," much of that has been left for research by the other side of the slash. Be well and play risk aware.

Sources: https://submissiveguide.com/fundamentals/articles/the-thrill-of-knife-play and http://theblackpomegranate.com/skin-and-steel-a-primer-for-bdsm-knifeplay/


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