What is edge play? Everything you need to know about the high-risk kink (2023)

Chances are you’ve heard the term “edge play” before, either while browsing a BDSM guide or chatting with a friend about Domination and submission. Like many kink terms, it has taboo energy to it. You aren’t supposed to mess with stuff on the edge, right? But that’s what makes it so fun!

Let’s say you’re familiar with what edge play entails, but you don’t know where to start. The Daily Dot interviewed two professional dominants who clued us in with unique considerations that arise when negotiating edge play scenes with their clients.

What is edge play?

What is edge play? Everything you need to know about the high-risk kink (1)

Defining edge play is complicated, in part because it’s so specific to each partner’s interests, limits, and boundaries. In The New Topping Book, Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy describe the edge as “wherever things start to feel risky, where you start to feel vulnerable, the edge of the cliff that looks over your personal abyss.” This can look like “playing on the edge of [one’s] skill and knowledge,” although Easton and Hardy also talk about “shadow play.” This is a form of BDSM where “we find acceptance for emotions and behaviors that would be unacceptable outside scene space.”

Edge play can play with both of these things. But everyone’s relationship with the kink varies, including what they are (and aren’t) willing to doing at their edge.

“What constitutes edge play is different for everyone. I consider edge play to be play that occurs at the edge of what one can bear. Play where there is enough trust to push past what is comfortable creates the possibility of a new outcome,” Mistress Blunt, a professional dominatrix based in New York City, told the Daily Dot.

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Arizona-based, nonbinary professional dominatrix Domina Elle stressed there’s some “confusion” around the name edge play, as not all edge play necessarily involves “edgy” and “controversial” kinks, let alone “literal sharp objects.” Instead, edge play is “as broad as the number of kinks that exist today.”

“What constitutes edge play is largely subjective,” she told the Daily Dot, “but most of the time playing with a person’s edges simply refers to consensually pushing an individual person’s boundaries or limits.”

What are examples of edge play?

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Edge play is ultimately defined by its practitioners, but there are some common topics that regularly appear. Domina Elle says she commonly works with themes around “expression of sexual orientation, pain tolerance, germophobia, fear of kidnapping, fear of public humiliation, fear of sexual harrasment/assault, and fear of death.”

Some additional kinks that may appear on dominants’ and submissives’ edges include:

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Of course, one person’s edge may be another person’s Saturday night D/s session.

“My own experience with edge play is complicated. I push people’s boundaries all the time, but I never cross limits. I explore dangerous forms of play on a regular basis, but I recognize and respect the danger for what it is,” Domina Elle said. “It is my job to do my research in advance, communicate risk as effectively as possible, negotiate consent, listen for withdrawal (or nullification) of consent, know what to do when something goes wrong, and to listen to my gut when I do not feel comfortable providing a certain type of experience for any reason.”

What is edge play? Everything you need to know about the high-risk kink (3)

Because “edge play” is a subjective umbrella, some forms of play require extensive negotiation between practitioners. This can include “intense preparation” with days to years of “negotiation and planning,” Domina Elle said. Additionally, creating a safety plan and providing plenty of aftercare (“going beyond basic first aid, giving affection as appropriate, taking time away from work”) are all important.

“Before each appointment, a submissive and I do a consultation where we talk about our interests and limits for the day … My scenes only ever consist of the mutual interests that are shared between both my sub and myself,” Domina Elle said. “If a sub brings something up in consult that I am uncomfortable with, I disclose that right away. If it comes up later during session (usually meaning a sub does something against or without asking for my consent), then I have to find a tactful way to protect myself depending on the circumstances.”

What do I need to know before doing edge play?

If it isn’t clear by now, edge play is a risky undertaking. Then again, BDSM is fundamentally dangerous in its own right. Acknowledging that from the start is part of practicing risk-aware consensual kink (RACK). In RACK, all parties know that play may be dangerous, but they are fully aware of the circumstances and are agreeing to them.

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“Edge play is not safe. In the same way that the only true wisdom is knowing we know nothing; the only true way to play safely in BDSM is to know that nothing is safe. Choking, fire play, rope bondage, gun play, etc. all have their best practices written in blood,” Domina Elle said. “That being said, freedom and autonomy is more important to me than safety. That is why I practice risk aware consensual kink.”

Domina Elle said empathy is a core component to any form of ethical domination, along with “respect, mercy, and a fierce willingness to admit when you are wrong or don’t know what you are doing.” However, Domina Elle stressed that edge play isn’t defined by neurotypical dominants’ experiences. She said that as an autistic professional dominatrix who does not understand most social cues, BDSM allows her by nature to “break social norms, and shape the circumstances to help me gather information about how a submissive is feeling.”

“Edge play is definitely more about empathy, knowing your subject, and understanding the specific type of play you’re about to engage in than prior practice and advanced skills,” Domina Elle said. “Not all forms of edge play have different levels that can be practiced, not to mention mastered, in advance.”

A medical background, reading comprehension, and good communication skills are all ideal, as are practicing the specific skills required for your edge play scene. Domina Elle also suggests these best practices for edge play practitioners:

  • Ask yourself why you are considering playing with a person’s edge
  • Examine whether this type of play falls within your system of ethics
  • Get educated on the type of play you decide to engage with
  • Negotiate with your scene partner(s) at least 24 hours in advance
  • Use a safe word within the scene.
What is edge play? Everything you need to know about the high-risk kink (5)
(Video) 5 Things You Need to Know About BDSM Safety [CC]

Mistress Blunt agreed that edge play’s most important qualities are “having intuition, attunement, and communication,” and that it’s incredibly important to know yourself, including what your edges are and your role as a top or a bottom. That includes dominants, too. While most kink advice revolves around the submissive’s safety, doms also have their own edge along with boundaries, feelings, desires, and a need for aftercare after certain scenes.

“Know if you want to explore those edges, if pushing feels good, cathartic, and empowering,” she said. “Some questions I ask folks I play with is if they feel comfortable saying no and stopping or redirecting a scene. Most people say yes, but I use how they say yes as my gauge. I also ask most play partners that if one of us fucks up, if they feel comfortable talking about it after. I don’t think assuming best intentions is always safe, but I try not to play with people who I don’t have that understanding with.”

Technical skills, such as proper rope tying procedures or knife play techniques, are still important, and their necessity during particularly high-risk scenarios cannot be overstated. “Most people don’t exercise those skills as often as they could. These skills are cultivated over time,” Mistress Blunt explained. “These skills are built within individual relationships and don’t necessarily translate to every relationship.”

As for newcomers interested in edge play, Domina Elle has strong words of advice: “Take it slowly and take it seriously.”

“There is no need to rush,” she told the Daily Dot. “It is super reasonable to be nervous having your edges pushed, or even playing with another person’s limits. It can be just as rewarding as it can be devastating. Give it the respect it deserves. Listen to your gut instincts.”

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So go ahead and explore your edge. Just make sure you and your partner(s) are on the same page, and be honest with yourself if you’re not ready. Your edge can wait for you.


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What is an edge player in kink? ›

edge play (uncountable) A kind of swordplay in which backswords or cutlasses are used, and the edge, rather than the point, is employed. (BDSM) Any sexual activity involving the risk of physical harm, such as bloodplay or asphyxiation.

What are types of edge play? ›

But what types of activities constitute edgeplay? Edgeplay practices can involve electricity, knives, suspension bondage, fire, asphyxiation, guns and humiliation. Other edgeplay practices include self-bondage -- when done alone -- water-boarding, and regressive age play.

What is an edge position? ›

according to reddit.com,an EDGE can refer to any player that is a pass rusher on the outside. So if you think a player can play either a 3 4 Outside Line Backer or 4 3 Defensive End , which are very similar positions, you can just say "EDGE" to get both.

What does it mean for someone to edge? ›

Edging involves sexual stimulation to the point just before orgasm, before stopping or slowing down again. A person may repeat this cycle several times before allowing themselves to reach orgasm. People of any gender can practice and benefit from edging, which is unlikely to cause any health issues.

What is edge techniques? ›

EDGE stands for: Explain. Demonstrate. Guide. Enable. Demonstrate: This can be done as part of planning a campout or outing at a patrol meeting.

Does edge mean side? ›

In a polygon, an edge is a line segment on the boundary, and is often called a polygon side. In a polyhedron or more generally a polytope, an edge is a line segment where two faces (or polyhedron sides) meet.

What does it mean when someone says I on edge? ›

The phrase "on edge" means "feeling nervous" or "not calm and relaxed." It is used to say that someone is having feelings of being worried and afraid about what might happen. Below are some examples of how it is used.

Why is edge so important? ›

With edge computing, businesses can optimize their IT expenses by processing data locally rather than in the cloud. Besides minimizing companies' cloud processing and storage costs, edge computing decreases transmission costs by weeding out unnecessary data at or near the location where it's collected.

How many types of edge are there? ›

There are four types of edges, three of which have some internal buffer.

What does it mean to finish an edge? ›

edge finishing is a process used to finish the visible edges of plywood panels or multi-ply surfaces by laminating a plastic or wood veneer strip along the edge.

What is Edge Detection What are different types of edges? ›

Edge Detection Operators are of two types: Gradient – based operator which computes first-order derivations in a digital image like, Sobel operator, Prewitt operator, Robert operator. Gaussian – based operator which computes second-order derivations in a digital image like, Canny edge detector, Laplacian of Gaussian.

What is the difference between edge and edging? ›

Not to be confused with "edging" (which is bringing someone to the edge of orgasm and stopping just before they attain it in order to give them a more powerful orgasm in the end), "edge play" means taking a sexual encounter to the very edge of your psychological limits -- an intense and erotic walk to the dark side.

What is EDGE and edging? ›

It involves stimulation to the point, or edge, of orgasm. People will stop just before the edge and take a small break from stimulation. Edging can involve repeating this cycle several times. Both males and females might use edging as a way to avoid premature ejaculation.

Why is edge detection important in image processing? ›

Edge detection is an image processing technique for finding the boundaries of objects within images. It works by detecting discontinuities in brightness. Edge detection is used for image segmentation and data extraction in areas such as image processing, computer vision, and machine vision.


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