Ever been in the middle of sex, and then suddenly your partner said something that made you catch your breath and get a little shaky in the knees with excitement and terror? Welcome to fear play, where you don’t run from the stuff that scares you: you step right in. Read Cameryn Moore's guide to playing with fear for those who want to take things further.

 

Playing with fear

Fear play includes things like breath play, knives or other weapons, and torture fantasies. If someone did these activities to you in real life with the intent to cause harm, they could. If an accident happens, these activities or objects could still cause harm. Some people enjoy taking these kinds of kink out to some pretty extreme edges, but without appropriate care and training and/or mentorship, these can be dangerous fetishes, which is why I want to lay out some safer ways to approach these things.

First of all, test the waters by talking about them, but not while you’re having sexy times. Look at your BDSM fantasy in the sober, calm light of day and dredge up all the details. Is there a plot that keeps running through your head? Share it. Make a mental inventory of all the sharp bits in your dream laboratory. Ask your partner what they like about your hand around their throat: the restraint, the power dynamic, the idea of losing consciousness?

While you’re having these conversations, take notes, either actual ones or in your head. If you decide you want to go beyond kinky talk, you’re going to want to come back to those notes for logistics. Now for some ideas for moving from discussion to doing stuff:
 

Bait and switch

When I first started exploring knife play, I knew that I did not want actually to have my skin or membranes damaged; I was more interested in both the sensation of cold metal and the psychology of threat. But at the same time, I want to push my fear boundaries out, and the idea of having a knife in my cunt turned me right the fuck on. So my partner would use a sharper blade on the surface of my skin and kept the kinky talk going the whole time to get me in the right headspace. At the last moment, when I wasn’t paying attention, he slipped in a butter knife instead. Worked like a charm: I forgot that it was just a butter knife, and lay there paralysed until I came.


Feel-alikes 

The scenario above relies on the power of feel-alikes, that is, objects or activities that look or feel similar enough to the dangerous fetish that you can get there and get off, with help of the power of suggestion. For example, if you like the idea of hooks getting jammed through your nipples - but are NOT into body mods and sensation - your partner can get some good nipple clamps and attach them to your nips as tightly as possible, then yank you around by those. If you want to do breath play involving rope around your neck, see about getting a snug collar just made of rope to get that feeling.

Lit cigarette prop to help with fear play
Feel-alikes and props like a lit cigareete in a scene can help get you 'there' aided by the power of suggestion.


Props 

If you're scared of an actual fetish item - say, weapons or a thoroughly heated branding iron or a lit cigarette for abuse scene - you can find props or non-functional versions that are not going to involve danger or physical damage of any sort. Prop knives and guns exist. Cigarettes should remain unsmoked (light one and put it out in an ashtray, if the smell is important). A branding iron can be bought or mimicked, and heated only to the point where it’s tolerably hot, but not damaging.


Ramping up 

Some people dive straight into dangerous waters. Me, I prefer to break my exploration down into smaller chunks, to give me room to pull the plug easily, if I want to. This was true for knife play, and also when my partner and I explored choking. It started with just having his hand resting on my throat; when I got comfortable with that, he would try a tighter grip or a different position in subsequent scenes. Throughout, he would keep up the stream of harsh talk that went along with the scene in our minds; but the actual choking experience he meted out in very deliberate, measured doses.

Even when you’re going slow, test out your risky business when everyone involved is sober and alert; a fake knife can still hurt if you’re not paying attention, and emotional awareness is always necessary. And remember: at the base of it, fear play is still BDSM, which means both participants need a safe word and the use of that is an absolute emergency brake. Good scene-setting will help you get in touch with your fear factor; you don’t need to break any boundaries to enjoy that rush.


BDSM forum Fetish.com

 

Images from Flickr Creative Commons users: Simón Pais-Thomas.

 

 

 


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