Tag Archives: S/M

Oh, boy…

Inside of an abandoned building with several columns and crossbeams, stylized in black and white

Content note: This post describes parts of a consensual BDSM scene (consent is mostly implied). It contains age play, rough body play, D/S, an unplanned gender switch, knife play, and boot play. Cocks are mentioned twice; none of them belong to cis men.

Perhaps I could have known. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the subtle shift in my attitude once I had changed into cargo shorts instead of my usual skirt or dress for this scene. Perhaps I shouldn’t have dismissed the determination in my jaw or the trace of stomp in my walk through the hallway before we began.

As it was, however, it caught me by surprise.

Our dialogue had spun a loose story of me being in a place where I knew I shouldn’t be and you being there in the hopes of taking advantage of that. It was dark there, and damp and gritty, and the sea was close. I felt young, much younger than my actual years. I was lonely, more lost than I liked, and yearning for someone to find me and tell me what to do. For someone to take care of me. Not out of pity, though, because pity meant someone would take away my power, and I wasn’t going to let anyone do that again. No, I wanted to be seen, to be chosen, to be considered worthy of attention and direction and affection. To be challenged into giving my best to someone who would know if it was. On the outside, however, I wore my disdain for the rules of propriety and tried to wrap myself in a rather threadbare cloak of “I don’t care.”

You were a mysterious stranger with an air of danger around you. I remember the dull gleam of your leather, your heavy boots, your solid stance. The way you looked up into my eyes as if you were actually taller than me.

“How old are you?” you asked.

“Old enough,” I spat back. I needed you to know that I was no clueless child; that I was in this risky place on purpose. That I had chosen this, even though I wasn’t quite sure what exactly ‘this’ was.

You took that response as the invitation it was and got right up into my face. There was some wrestling and then my hands were held together behind my back and my back was pushed against the wall.

Maybe it was the wave of stubbornness that had suddenly risen within me, covering the unexpected vulnerability that had pooled in my stomach and stuttered through my heart.

Maybe it was the way you took away my t-shirt and then made me put my leather vest back on over my bare skin.

Maybe it was the way you looked me in the eyes when you stepped on the toe of my boots, grinding down hard through the delicate layers upon layers of shiny black I had applied earlier with so much tenderness and patience. The exquisite cruelty that lay in the simultaneous recognition and destruction of my work was so beautifully heart-wrenching I almost cried.

None of this was what we usually did with each other. Except for your leather and my willingness to bare my heart to you. Except for our habit to never go where we had initially agreed to go because our scenes always developed a mind of their own. Still, this was unusual, even for us.

Maybe it was the sea. Maybe it was the stories that bubbled up in my memory, the waves of narrative ancestry pulling me under.

I don’t know what it was. But suddenly I was a lot closer to boy than to girl.

It registered with you even before I myself understood what was happening. You said something I have forgotten, then gave your suspicion of my cock an experimental squeeze through the denim. I responded with a gasp as I willed my body to fill your hand.

Then my mind became a kaleidoscope of shattered gender fragments, swirling around in many-layered patterns, never quite settling down again. I almost cried again a little later when you cut my satiny underwear to shreds, rawly torn between wanting to protect the girl I had initially brought to the scene, wanting to save the femme without losing the boy, desperately wishing I wouldn’t feel so utterly disloyal to myself no matter what I decided. Trying to be everything at once and failing to be anything but deeply unsettled by the unsolvable paradox of gender I had stumbled into. Deeply afraid your desire for my boy implied a rejection of my girl when she was less than perfectly girly. Furiously trying to anchor myself on the few solid places in that storm: your leather, the certainty of pain, and my tongue on your boots.

I never fully settled into boy, but I kept hovering close to it for the rest of this encounter. I never quite lost touch with femme, but also never got a hold of its comforting familiarity again that night. Girl floated away into irrelevance at some point. Eventually, I stopped caring and just became a head to lean against your thigh, a chest to dig a boot heel into, a tongue to wrap around your cock, a body to curl up at your feet, a mind at peace.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wickedThis is a post for the Kinktober prompt “gender play.”

I’m also submitting it for the Wicked Wednesday prompt “out of character.”

Image source: MaxPixel, color edited by me.

Ideas for non-impact pain play

Collage of different methods for non-impact pain play. Includes claws, rope, chili, clothespins, teeth, a Wartenberg wheel, a hand grabbing flesh, a frog doing yoga, and a drawing of rough body play

CN: This post contains many brief descriptions of possible techniques for consensual pain play. Other forms of BDSM (such as bondage, D/S, and impact play) are briefly mentioned in a few additional examples at the end. There’s also a list of physical and mental illnesses and disabilities (as reasons for not doing impact play). The post and especially the footnotes contain several mentions of possible injuries and other unwanted consequences of non-impact pain play (in the context of safety information).

Doing S/M means hitting people or being hit, right? Wrong.

I mean, sure, playing with sadism and masochism or with intense sensations can absolutely mean impact play (I myself especially like canes and floggers for that). But there are many other ways to play with pain and intense sensation without anyone striking anyone else with anything.

Why would you want to do S/M but avoid impact play?

Many people are into intense sensations and/or pain as part of their BDSM, but don’t find impact play is a good option for them.

Maybe you have chronic (or temporary) physical health issues that make impact play risky or painful in unwanted ways. If you’re anything like me, you probably want to avoid getting hit anywhere near your acute sciatica (which can affect the butt, thighs, and calves on at least one side of the body). Maybe you’re dealing with a slipped disk or other spine-/pelvis-related issues and don’t want to risk things getting worse by adding forceful impact in the whole area. Maybe you’re a migraineur or sufferer from other headaches or shoulder issues and therefore don’t want to receive any impact on your upper back. Maybe you have asthma or another lung illness that would be exacerbated by being hit on your back or chest with some force. Maybe you’re hypermobile/have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and need to protect your joints by avoiding abrupt movements or impact. Maybe you’re the top and have wrist or shoulder injuries, so hitting your bottom is painful for you. Maybe one or both of you have mobility issues that make it hard to find a good position or angle for impact play that works for both of you.

Maybe your neurology and/or psychology make impact play undesirable. Maybe your brain doesn’t deal well with sudden changes in sensations or their intensity, so the quick and fast pain that is associated with a lot of impact play isn’t pleasurable for you. Maybe you and/or your partner were beaten as a kid or assaulted as an adult and want to avoid having any memories or trauma flashbacks of that triggered by impact play.

Maybe there are other reasons why you want to avoid impact play. Maybe it’s simply too noisy for the environment you’re in and you need a quieter form of pain play. Maybe you want more physical closeness and eye contact than is possible in many types of impact play. Maybe you just don’t like the kind of pain or sensation that comes with being hit but still would like to incorporate some S/M into your play. Or perhaps you do like impact play but also want to experience/inflict other kinds of pain because you like variety, because you couldn’t bring your favorite impact toys while traveling and don’t want to spend money on any pervertables, because your ‘impact play areas’ are already majorly bruised and need time to heal, or because you’re just a gorgeously greedy masochist who wants all the consensual pain you can get or a wonderfully greedy sadist who wants to have a whole orchestra of pain play types at your disposal.

Ideas for non-impact pain play

Whatever your reason for ruling out impact play or branching out from it, I have some ideas for you! For this post, I’ve put some more detailed remarks on safety and hygiene into the footnotes. These should be enough to give you a rough idea of the risks and risk reduction methods associated with specific forms of non-impact pain play. However, please also do your own research, find additional information, and double-check what I’ve said. I’m not a medical professional, just a happy pervert who is sharing ideas and experiences to the best of my knowledge.

1. Using just the top’s body to create consensual pain

My first category is types of non-impact pain you can create with just the top’s body. So this is written from the top perspective.

You can scratch your partner with your fingernails [1]. You can bite them. You can suck on their skin to create painful hickeys. You can either grab whole handfuls of their flesh and squeeze. Or you can just pinch a bit of skin, with your fingertips or even with your fingernails. For extra pain, you can add some twisting of the flesh/skin in question. You can pull their hair. You can poke them with one or more fingers (this is especially effective on bruises and/or trigger points). You can also dig body parts like your hands/knuckles, elbows, knees, or feet (with or without shoes on) into their flesh. The pain of this can intensify if you push the bottom against a surface such as a wall, the floor, or a bed that isn’t too soft. Generally, rough body play can fit into this category as well, and I’d also put rough sex here.

All of these things can be done with more or less intensity. Most of them can be done at different speeds, too.

2. Using just the bottom’s body to create consensual pain

You can also use (mostly) the bottom’s body to create painful sensations.

One example for this are all kinds of stress positions (such as holding your arms stretched out to the sides for a long time or ‘sitting’ against a wall) to create muscle fatigue and the resulting endurance pain [2]. Some types of stretching can also be used to create pain by using the bottom’s body. You could probably also use or adapt yoga poses for this. Or you can use other types of endurance or strength-building exercise (e.g. push-ups, sit-ups, squats, ballet stretches, laps) until things become painful.

Since these methods in particular are highly dependent on the physical abilities of the bottom and can cause joint injuries if not done right, I recommend careful attention to the bottom’s current range of movement and endurance and not pushing beyond that range without solid anatomical knowledge to back you up.

Within those parameters, the top can of course also add a bit of pressure or weight at crucial points to increase the stress/stretch. They can either use their own body for this or give the bottom something heavy to hold (such as full water bottles, heavy boots, or a stack of books).

3. Using additional tools and toys to create consensual pain

Of course there are also many tools, toys, and assorted items you can use for pain play without hitting.

Some of them will still cause a quick, sharp pain (so they might not be suitable for people who can’t handle this). Others can be used to slowly increase the pain intensity. Some methods can do both. The type of pain caused by these methods covers a wide range, from deep pressure to surface pinch or snap, from burning to stretching pain, from brief  to long-lasting sensation.

One of my favorite non-impact pain toy is a bunch of clothespins or other clips and clamps. Depending on their weight, strength, and size, they can be used almost everywhere on the body (note: clamps are not just for nipples!). Some people enjoy tying together a series of clothespins on a piece of string or ribbon, placing the clamps in a row on the bottom’s body (e.g. along the underside of an arm or across the stomach), and then yanking them off all at once (this is called a ‘zipper’). Others use two sticks (e.g. chopsticks), place a nipple between them and tie the sticks together with rubber bands [3].

Rope is also a very flexible toy for creating pain. Even if you can’t tie a single knot, rope can hurt through abrasion (e.g. by pulling the rope across the skin quickly and causing soe degree of rope burn or by using a very coarse rope like coconut rope). It can also be used in rope bondage that is painful, whether through pressure of the rope as such, stretch caused by positioning, and/or the pain that comes with suspension bondage. There’s also predicament bondage (which can also be done with other bondage equipment) where the bottom has to carefully balance between two positions/sources of sensation and relief from one element will increase the pain/stimulation from the other one [4].

There are also items like Wartenberg wheels that can be rolled across the skin with more or less pressure and create a tickly to painful sensation; steel claws, so-called Vampire gloves with sharp tacks sticking out of them, or plain old cutlery forks that can be used to scratch the skin [5]. There’s a variety of electro toys (such as Violet Wands, TENS units, tasers, and electronic fly zappers) that can create sensations from mild tingling to intense pain [6]. You can use rubber bands in different lengths and widths and place them around limbs or even torsos, draw them back and let them go to snap against the bottom’s skin (which might be considered impact play by some, even though there is no hitting) [7]. This method also works through a thin layer of clothes although you won’t be able to see the skin and judge the degree of redness/swelling/bruising through fabric. You can also collect (and disinfect) some crown corks and put them into your palm before grabbing your bottom’s flesh, or make your bottom sit or kneel on them (see note [5] below). Other painful things to kneel (or sit) on: rice, rough and uneven bast mats/carpets, or just a hard floor.

Another category of non-impact pain play is piercing/needle play and/or cutting. I’d also count sutures and medical stapling here [8]. Some people also practice ice branding/freeze branding. (I suppose heat branding also belongs into this category but I’d suspect most people don’t do this primarily for the pain but for the resulting permanent mark.)[9] A milder form of hot/cold pain can be achieved by playing with ice cubes (let them melt a little bit before you use them so they don’t stick to the skin) or candle wax (plain white paraffin candles are best; beeswax candles get too hot and should be avoided).

And finally, there are some plant-based ways to cause pain. Figging (that is, inserting a buttplug-shaped piece of peeled ginger root into the anus; this creates a burning pain) is one method. You can also use ginger on other mucuous membranes such as a vulva, but I can’t tell you if it’s safe to be inserted into a vagina. Some people also use things like peppermint oil, wasabi paste, tiger balm, chili oil, mint toothpaste, or other warming/cooling substances on nipples or genitals/anuses. Or you can go outside and find a bunch of stinging nettles to drag over someone’s skin (preferably while wearing gloves) [10].

General considerations for non-impact pain play

As you can see, there are a lot of options for those who want to play with pain or intense sensations, but can’t or don’t want to do impact play.

In choosing your methods for pain play without hitting, consider the tastes and abilities of the people involved as well as the physical and psychological effect you want to achieve. Not all bottoms experience the same type of pain the same way. Not all tops are comfortable with all pain-inducing methods or able to use them at all. Find what works for both/all of you (or what at least makes you curious enough to try).

Before you start, I recommend sharing your interests and preferences in terms of pain play (e.g. types of pain, body parts to receive pain on, favorite toys and tools, roles and dynamics, things to avoid) with each other, asking/telling your partner(s) about allergies/sensitivities (e.g. to grass/hemp, rubber/latex, plants/food items/natural ingredients, disinfectants), and agreeing on how to communicate during the scene (including safewords/safe signals) and what type of aftercare (if any) you want to do.

Any level of intensity in pain play is okay, so if in doubt, start small/slow, wait for reactions, and then decide if you want to do more. If you use any toys beyond your bodies, watch for signs of breakage and understand if and how you can clean them (especially when the items aren’t specifically made for BDSM use).

Of course you can combine many of these methods of non-impact pain play with each other (sadistic rope with a side of biting? scratching and clothespins? grabbing and trigger point poking? needles and nettles? kneeling on concrete with boot soles digging into your thighs?) or with other types of BDSM, such as bondage (chains and wasabi paste? leather cuffs and rubber bands?), D/S dynamics (sitting on crown corks while reading poetry to your top? stress positions and coach/student role play?), sex (giving cunnilingus while kneeling on rice? fucking your top while you wear a ginger root butt plug?), or even impact play (hickeys and punches? knocking off wooden clothes pins with a riding crop?). I always encourage creativity in kink!

As with all other forms of BDSM/sex, watching your partner and paying attention to their reactions is not just a way to ensure safety (or keep risk within the agreed-upon parameters) and consent, but usually also a whole lot of fun! Yes, this goes for both bottoms and tops.

I’m sure there are other methods, tools, and toys than can be used to create consensual pain as well as more implement-free methods to do so. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments!

Additional notes on safety and hygiene

[1] Fingernail scratches carry a fairly high risk of infection. I recommend washing your hands beforehand and disinfecting the skin afterwards, even if you can’t see (yet) that it’s broken.

[2]  Bottoms who are standing for a longer time should not lock their knees because this will increase the risk of them fainting. Many of us need reminding of this, especially when we’re distracted by other sensations. (This also applies to bottoms who are standing for impact play, no matter if they’re upright or bent over.)

[3]  Clamps hurt when they are put on, then usually dull a bit, and then hurt again when they’re taken off and the blood rushes back into the tissue. This is particularly important to remember when judging the bottom’s limits.

[4]  The risks associated with rope bondage, especially suspension bondage, are often underestimated. Please make sure you at least read a thorough how-to book, or better yet go to a workshop to learn from an expert or three in person. There’s a lot to learn about types of rope, placement of wraps or knots, prevention of nerve and joint damage, and overall risk awareness.

[5]  Anything you can scratch with can break the skin. Some people’s skin breaks more easily, and not all injuries are visible. So make sure you clean, disinfect, and perhaps even sterilize your scratching toys (if possible) before and after play, reserve them for one person only (to prevent spreading infections), and/or throw them away after use. You may also want to disinfect the area of skin you scratched afterwards. If you did indeed break the skin, an alcohol-based disinfectant will sting and can add an extra sadistic touch to your healthcare efforts.

[6] I advise extreme caution with any kind of electro play, especially if you have any heart issues (such as arrhythmia, a pacemaker, etc.). Please research the risks carefully and thoroughly because each electro toy works differently, and some can indeed cause death if not handled with the necessary care or applied on people with increased risk factors.

[7]  Rubber bands are porous and can’t be properly disinfected. They can create small skin injuries that may not be visible. Therefore, they are single-person toys (or better, single-use toys if they’ve come in touch with blood or genital fluids). You may also want to consider disinfecting the skin afterwards.

[8]  Needle play, play piercing, suturation, medical stapling, and cutting all require very careful hygiene procedures and the correct technique to avoid infection, unwanted needle injuries, and other accidents. I highly recommend going to a workshop on needle play before you do any of it to another person. If that’s not possible, maybe you can get the relevant hygiene information and some pointers on skin anatomy from a medical professional or even a professional body piercer? I used to think that needles were always advanced play for experienced BDSM practitioners, but Xan West’s excellent post “On Doing, and Writing, Blood Sports” (which has a description of a needle play done by someone at their very first play party) has made me reconsider this. I now think it’s still play that isn’t a good fit for newbies in most cases, but there may be exceptions to this rule, especially when someone experienced is coaching the experience.

[9]  Heat branding really is an activity that should be left to experienced players who have learned the proper technique and safety precautions. This really is something you can’t learn from the internet but need to learn in person, from someone who knows what they’re doing. I don’t know much about ice branding myself, but I’ve linked to a post that has a bit more info above. Both heat and ice branding are very likely to leave permanent marks (which is often why people do these things in the first place). Unlike tattoos, branding scars can’t be removed, so I recommend careful consideration of what it means to carry this mark from that person in your skin forever (and possibly way past the duration of your relationship with them).

[10]  These types of play can’t  really be stopped once you’ve applied the irritant. You may be able to remove some of the substance, but generally just have to wait out the effect until it stops by itself (scenes like this are also called ‘tunnel play’ because there’s no escape once you’ve entered them). So make sure no ones has any allergies/sensitivities to the substances you want to use (and maybe have some anti-histamines or even an epi-pen handy), consider wearing gloves when handling/applying them, and start with a very small amount at first. Oh, and don’t forget to take off the glove and/or carefully wash your hands so you don’t accidentally rub chili oil into your eye… The same logic applies to barrier-free sex after the application of such substances (so wash, wait, and/or wear a condom/use a dental dam).

This is a post for the Kinktober prompt “pain play, S/M.”

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons (Wartenberg wheel, CC BY-SA 3.0; dragon claws, CC BY-SA 4.0; couple); Pixabay (chili, clothespins); Peakpx (frog); Pexels (rope, hand); unknown (teeth). Collage, cropping, and color editing by me.

I miss being flogged

Tree backlit with orange light

I miss being flogged. I miss the impact of a thick leather flogger crashing into my back, pushing me forward, thudding the air out of my lungs. I miss the soft surface slaps saying hello, the stingy tips burning my skin, the heavy strands slamming into my body, the cool tails trailing gently across my curves; so many different sensations from a single source. I miss offering my whole backside to be hit: shoulders, back, ass, thighs, and back again. I miss my tops putting their whole body into hitting me. I miss the rhythm of heavy slaps dancing up and down my back. I miss the swish of cool air before the whip collides with my flesh. I miss my tops dancing back and forth between being at striking distance and being right up against me for a check-in or a change of sensation. I miss us taking up all that space in a dungeon with just a single toy between two people. I miss the deep thuds that reverberate through my entire body, making me feel like there is no part of me that is not part of this. I miss moaning into the blows; purring, growling, grunting. I miss being able to stand there, hands on a wall or on a St. Andrew’s Cross, feet firmly rooted, and take it like someone much more well-padded. I miss swinging back and forth under that impact, being shoved away by its force, then returning for more in an endless undulation. I miss the smell of leather wafting around me, like a very slow tornado with me the still point at its center. I miss being flogged.


Sometimes I still pretend I can go back to it eventually. That the permanent medical condition that has moved this activity onto the hard limits list will at some point be resolved. That I will somehow recover from something that doesn’t come with a recovery option. That some day, there won’t be the not-unlikely risk that a good, hard back flogging will land me in the emergency room. Sometimes, I still pretend this is all temporary. That I don’t really have to give this up forever. That there is still a chance I can do this again, sometime in the future.

Because I’m still not quite ready to accept the loss of it. I’m not quite ready to actually feel all the grief over having this possibility taken away from me, entirely without my consent and completely against my will. I’m not quite ready to make peace with the fact that the last flogging I have received — not knowing it was the last one, of course — wasn’t even very good. That it wasn’t even with an important partner. That it wasn’t what I would have chosen if I had known it was the last one, ever.

I don’t actually think there is any chance for the recovery I’d need to make this a possibility again. Nothing I know about this condition points to it ever being a good idea to get flogged on my back again. But it’s easier to think “not today, not this month, not this year, not in the foreseeable future,” easier to keep a tiny little “maybe sometime” in a hidden corner of my heart than it is to face “not ever.”

Because damn, I loved being flogged like that. And damn. I miss it.

And I don’t think that will change, either.

I very deliberately did not end this piece on a “positive” note.

Because I’m tired of always immediately following up my lists of “things I can’t do anymore” and “things I can only do very carefully now” with a cheerful catalog of all the things I can do, things that don’t need adjusting. I’m tired of feeling like I have to prove that I’m still a damn gorgeous play partner even if I’m now a lot more disabled/chronically ill than I used to be (internalized ableism is a thing and #DisabledPeopleAreHot, obviously). I’m tired of pushing away the loss and grief I feel over several of the changes that late-acquired disability/chronic illness have brought to my life so I don’t ruin anyone’s kinky fun and sexytimes (often including my own).

I want to make space for the hard feelings, too. Because they are also a part of kink life. Because they are also a part of life, full stop. And sometimes we just need to sit with them for a while without anyone trying to “fix” anything. Without anyone telling us that we “just have to accept” something that feels completely unacceptable in that particular moment. Without anyone doing anything but say, “It’s hard. I hear you. I’m here.”


The prompt for this week’s Food for Thought Friday was “gone awry” which had also been listed as “when our bodies let us down” when I first saw it.

I’m also adding this to the Kinktober catch-up list, as an adaptation of the “scars” prompt.

Image source: FreeStockPhotos

Getting to the point

Close-up of a sewing needle stuck through a layer of threads on a roll of sewing thread

Content note: This post contains detailed descriptions of getting pierced and doing needle play, and talks about blood in an erotic context. The interpersonal dynamics shown here are quite messy at times, because that is what they were.

She is a friend and long-term unrequited crush of mine and has a penchant for pushing needles through other people’s flesh, followed by a barbell or ball-closure ring. Making out with her is not an option since she “doesn’t see me that way,” but piercing is an intimacy she is willing to share with me.

She does my navel first. I go to her place, her room in a shared apartment, in a house that has seen better days. She sits me down in a worn-out armchair, then sets out her equipment around me. She kneels before me, between my spread legs, comfortably takes charge. Puts on gloves, sprays disinfectant, makes dots for orientation, hands me a mirror to check. Yes. Clamps my skin in a pair of medical forceps, uncomfortable but not painful. Sits back on her haunches, smiles up at me, gives me a moment. Still yes. Tells me to breathe, then pushes the needle through, into my moan. I’m not even sure it hurt, but it’s definitely intense. A bit more fiddling, almost like an aftermath, and the ring is where I want it. We both grin, collaborators in this act of self-determination. I can’t imagine doing any of this with a stranger, in a shop. We’ve built this trust in each other over years, and you can’t replace that with an exchange of expertise and money.

It is all very romantic to me.


Of course I come back for more.

Something about her makes me want to push my boundaries, face my fears, so I give her my mouth next. It doesn’t get any closer to kissing than this. Same house, same room, same chair, but this time she sits right in front of me, at eye level. I’m nervous, even though I know what to expect in terms of the mechanics. But this is my face, my mouth; so close to my breath, my voice. This is half on the inside, and that makes a difference. It really doesn’t get any closer to kissing than this. I trust her, though, implicitly. I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair if I didn’t. So she does it again. Gloves, disinfectant, dot, mirror. A ritual of consent. I do. Clamps, grin, breath, push, moan. I feel a little awkward because she’s still holding onto the forceps attached to my lip, stuck through with a needle, and I’m afraid I might drool. A reassuring smile appears on her face, so close to mine, and I let go of my worry. She captures another bead inside a ring inside my flesh. I’m giggly with pride and endorphins after, and she looks at me as if I just gave her a gift.


I find my first self-identified butch lover, and everything is different after that. She knows who she is, and suddenly I know who I am. Sex finally makes sense, and I’m rapidly shedding shame and shyness.

I’m not quite ready to do anything that explicitly is what I think is BDSM then, but I am ready to let her pierce my nipple because getting another piece of permanent jewelry offers just enough plausible deniability. We do a lot of things that offer just enough plausible deniability, even though the complete lack of innocence oozes through every conversation we have about them. Before she comes over, I make sure to put ice cubes into the freezer because she has told me we can apply them beforehand to numb the pain a little. This feels like an important part of the whole thing. She arrives, we chat for a bit, start making out (as we do), then interrupt ourselves. We have a plan to follow. I sit down on the carpet in my room, my back resting against my bed frame. She goes through her version of the ritual: gloves, disinfectant, dots, forceps. The pain of that clamp on my nipple is intense, and I need a moment to adjust. I only remember the ice cubes when she already holds the shiny needle between her fingertips, her eyes glinting with a hint of malicious pleasure. Within a split second, I decide not to say anything — everything is right the way it is, even if it’s not what we originally planned. I nod at her to go ahead and she does, her sharp metal piercing through my sensitive flesh. It hurts, but it’s also good in a way I don’t have words for, so I just moan again. I secretly like the soft pulse in my aching nipple when she fucks me afterwards, and I come hard on her hand, the same hand that has hurt me before. When I mention the forgotten ice later, she looks at me as if I’m really hardcore. I’m not, but I like that she thinks I am.


I am at one of my first BDSM play parties. In one of the rooms, a bare-breasted butch sits in a medical chair, relaxing into the padded back and armrests. She is surrounded by other women, some of them high femme, others more androgynous, all of them wielding small, sharp bits of steel, moving around her, weaving her into an invisible web of power and connection. Rivulets of blood are running down her chest and arms; she’s laughing. I stand in the doorway, watching them for a long while, speechless with awe, profoundly touched. I never cross the threshold into that room because I instinctively know that would be too much, too close. I cannot interfere with their magic, cannot disrupt the intensity between them.

After that, I keep thinking of blood with a yearning that goes beyond any words I have to describe it.


I know I’m going to to something about this yearning, eventually. I just have to find the right person, the right time, the right place.


Everything in me says it’s him. He is already making some of my longest-held dreams come true, and I’m quite infatuated with him. He also has eyes that light up with sparks when he talks about piercing others. So I ask him to do this with me, and he accepts. We go into the room, sit with the others, listen, watch, learn. The first drop of blood (not mine) appears, and my cunt and heart clench at how intensely erotic it is. I feel like my whole history resonates in this moment.

When it is time, we choose the corner where the sunlight falls through the window onto my naked arm as I sit on a table there. He puts on gloves, disinfects my skin. Just looks at my arm for a while, ponders. Pulls apart the wrapper, holds the cap of the hypodermic needle in his fingers. Strokes me with his other hand, palm fading to fingertips, feeling for the right spot, then settles into a firm grip. By then, everything but him and me is a fuzzy blur, the other people in the room faded to a background hum. As he finally pushes the needle into, then through my skin, my only thought is, finally. Arousal blooms through me, a long, deep exhale. I sink into subspace almost instantly, can feel myself opening up to this and everything else he may want to give me. I didn’t plan this, but I’m not surprised, and I’m not resisting this wave pulling me under. I can deal with the consequences of my feelings later. Right now, all I want is every little bit of this moment. Another needle. My eyes close and my head falls back as I breathe out; a response, an invitation. Yes. More. Please. His thigh glows heat into mine, my whole body attuned to him, even though he barely touches me. I never want this to end. There is so much that could be in the space between us. I drift into a moment of doubt, suddenly not sure if I’m imagining things, if he even wants me to be where I am. I gather myself, pull up from the depths a bit, then open my eyes to show him how I feel about this, about him; to silently ask, Do you want this? Do you want me? In response, his finger pushes my softness into the narrow line of unrelenting steel running through it, the one he put there. Dull pain radiates into my brain, pools heat between my legs. Oh god. Fuck yes. He watches me while I absorb the intensity, my spine softly undulating in pain and desire. Then he adds the third needle, sharply pushing through me a final time; I groan in delighted pain. I want to kiss him, badly. So badly. The ache of my yearning for him is delicious, and I don’t even want any immediate fulfilling of it. He once again presses his thumb into the places of my skin that are stretched across the needles, more, more of the same, and I keep melting. He keeps watching me. I realize I could probably come from this. But this is neither the time nor the place for that, so I swallow the urge to try. Right now, it’s enough to know I could. His eyes sparkle in sadistic glee, and I purr. Eventually, he gently tells me he’s going to take out the needles now, that we have to start wrapping this up. I’m surprised how sad I am at the thought, even though I know it’s a good decision. I ask him to make me bleed as he removes the tiny blades from my flesh, and he does.

A single drop of red, red blood trickles down my arm. I could cry with the beauty of all of this, and I don’t need any jewelry to stay behind to remind me that I really am a fucking romantic.

This is a catch-up post for a # Kinktober prompt I skipped before. The original prompt for this day was “branding,” but since I don’t have anything to say about that from either experience or observation, I chose to write about my early encounters with piercing and needle play as a different activity that also involves deliberately breaking the skin (and that may leave permanent marks). And it sometimes comes with bonus blood!

Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not responsible (or liable) for any of your choices. Do your own research and make your own risk assessment if you ever consider doing anything like this. My own information-gathering, decision-making, and consent-establishing process may not be entirely written into this story, but I knew exactly what I my risks were at all times.

Update (12 October 2019): This post has been chosen as one of the top 3 for the Wicked Wednesday prompt “piercings.” Marie Rebelle, who selected the top 3, said about it:

“This is an older post which I have approved to be linked, and I am so glad I did. The way K&P talks about getting her navel pierced, and then later her lip and nipple, makes it sound like a love affair, like romance, and that exactly what she says too when she talks about blood and needle play. This is a fascinating post, which the moment I started reading it, I couldn’t stop.”

Thank you!

Image source: Pixabay (cropped by me)

BDSM? Sex? Both? Neither?: An overview of possibilities

Digital illustration of the Venn diagrams used in the post on a beige background and a yellow pencil at the bottom right

Content note: This blog post contains a wide variety of one-sentence-long examples of various kinds of BDSM play, of different sexual acts, and of combinations of the two. It also mentions both polyamory/non-monogamy and sex work, equally briefly. And it has very short references to depression and unspecified trauma. If you need more specific info, please try searching this post or let me know what you need a note for so I can tell you whether it appears in here and add more detailed notes in the future.

I promised you kinky nerdery, so here we go…

Inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter yesterday, and the vague annoyance and alienation I tend to feel when “everyone” “always” seems to automatically combine BDSM with sex in their imaginations,[1] I decided it was time to write about the connection (or lack thereof) between BDSM and sex and make a post that shows the many different ways the two can be combined — or not! I even drew a bunch of diagrams for all my fellow visual thinkers! (Note for people using screen-readers: The alt-text image descriptions are very short, but I will explain the idea of every illustration in the text below the respective image.)

A few remarks about my language use first, so you all know what I’m talking about (yay, definitions!):

  • I use BDSM and kink interchangeably. In this text, either of these words means everything that happens consensually and contains elements of bondage, domination/submission (D/S), sadism/masochism (S/M), role play, fetishes, and related activities and dynamics that focus on restraints, power differences, pain, alternate personas, or uncommon sources of pleasure.
  • I use sex as an umbrella term for everything that happens consensually and involves at least one person’s genitals and/or that is meant to create sexual arousal.[2] These activities include the stimulation and/or penetration of all kinds of genitals and/or anuses (assholes) with someone’s mouth, tongue, teeth, fingers, hands, toys/objects, flesh-and-blood and/or silicone cocks. Or, if you like these more confusing terms: manual sex, oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex.[3] For the purposes of this post, I’m assuming that sex involves at least two people, even when they’re not in the same room (so phone sex and online sex with direct interaction counts, but being alone and jerking off while watching porn doesn’t).[4]
  • I use the term top to refer to everyone who identifies or plays as a dominant, sadist, owner, d-type, mistress, daddy, handler, etc. — that is, for the person(s) running the show and/or giving the stimulation. Likewise, I use the word bottom to refer to everyone who identifies or plays as a masochist, submissive, pet, little, servant, s-type, property, etc. — that is, for the person(s) following the other’s direction and/or receiving the stimulation. Please identify with whatever bits speak to you in my little example snippets below, adapt the ones you like so they fit the language you use, and assume that all the other examples are talking about people who simply aren’t you.[5]

I would also like to note that the different versions of combining (or not combining) BDSM and sex I explain below can apply to different people, or they can apply to the same person at different times in their life. This post is not meant to create fixed identity categories, but intends to offer a way to understand and describe different and changeable patterns of behavior. The concepts below can be used to either describe how things are for someone right now, or how they would like things to be in the future (or how they were in the past). Some of them can also be used to describe a single sexy or kinky interaction. They are ordered in a way that lets me build on previous ones as I go through the list. I have absolutely no data about how common each of these versions are. I just know that they are all equally valid and okay.

Alright, let’s start with the diagrams!

#1: BDSM and sex are completely separate

BDSM + sex 1 - separate

In this case, BDSM and sex are completely separate activities for the person. They exclusively have vanilla sex (that is, sex without any element of BDSM) and they do BDSM, but never with any elements of sex. For example, they may enjoy doing rope bondage (shibari) for the artistic or meditative aspects and not because it turns them on. Or perhaps they love giving or receiving floggings that are more like a deep-tissue massage or a painful ordeal than a source of sexual arousal. Or maybe they are a pro-dom(me) or pro-sub who is entirely vanilla in their private life, and who doesn’t offer any genital stimulation during the time they spend with their clients.[6] Or they might be a person who is in a vanilla relationship with one person and practices their BDSM with other people, but only without genital contact. Or they may just find it hard to combine BDSM and sex in the same scene and prefer to engage in these activities separately. In short: They both do BDSM and have sex, but never combine the two.

This person may spend the same amount of time or energy doing BDSM and sex, or they may do more of one than the other, as indicated by the differently-sized circles in the diagrams.

#2: BDSM and sex overlap partly (and to different degrees)

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as partly overlapping (explanation in text)

For other people, BDSM and sex partly overlap. Like the person above, they do BDSM without sex and have (vanilla) sex without BDSM, but they also combine BDSM and sex sometimes. They may be into alternating spanking and wiggling around a butt plug in someone’s ass. Or they may like to follow a warm-up flogging with an intermission of clit-sucking and then move on to the caning crescendo of their scene. Or they may enjoy having any kind of sex while one partner is tied up or blindfolded. Or they may like framing any kind of sex as a service interaction or as a power exchange. Perhaps they also have different partners (and/or clients) for vanilla sex, BDSM without sex, and a combination of the two. Or maybe they only have vanilla sex (and BDSM without noisy impact play) at home because of the kids/pets/neighbors, but really like to go to a play party where they have enough room to swing their bullwhip or where they can find an appreciative audience for a nice paddling-and-fingering scene.

As before, they may spend about the same amount of time or energy on BDSM and sex, or they may do more of one than the other (again indicated by the differently-sized circles in the illustration).

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as partly overlapping to different degrees (explanation in text)

The amount of overlap area can also vary. Maybe that person combines BDSM and sex almost every time and only sometimes has either vanilla sex or BDSM without sex (left column). Or they may only very rarely do a combination of BDSM and sex and keep the two separate most of the time (right column).

#3: There is no sex outside of BDSM

Venn diagram that shows sex as completely contained within BDSM (explanation in text)

The next possibility is a person who never has sex outside of BDSM, so no vanilla sex at all. This person always combines sex with BDSM but may also engage in BDSM without genital stimulation or an aim towards arousal/orgasm. For example, they may be into serving tea to their top or into receiving foot massages from their bottom, but none of them gets turned on by that activity. Or they may be into a round of friendly, non-sexual needle-play between friends. At other times, they may enjoy being mercilessly sucked off by their top while wearing a whole bag of clothespins clamped all over their body. Or they may be into being obediently fisted by their submissive while telling them exactly how and praising them for their skill. Or they may like to masturbate for their top’s viewing pleasure and be called lots of dirty, humiliating names by them. Or perhaps they’re sex workers who do BDSM without sex with their clients and BDSM in combination with sex with their private partners. Or they are a polyamorous person who only has one partner they share both kink and sex with and additional BDSM play partners with whom they don’t engage in genital play or play that focuses on sexual arousal.

As you can see by the relations between the differently-sized circles above, there may be very little BDSM that doesn’t contain an element of sex, or about half of it,[7] or quite a lot.

#4: There is no BDSM outside of sex

Venn diagram that shows BDSM as completely contained within sex (explanation in text)

This also works the other way round. This version would be a person who only does BDSM as a part of their sex, but who also has vanilla sex without any BDSM elements. This could be a person who sometimes/about half of the time/often likes their sex to be entirely vanilla, but who also enjoys adding elements of BDSM from time to time. Maybe they always get so turned on by being intensely hurt or intensely hurting someone that they just have to have sex right after, preferably with some poking of the fresh bruises. Maybe they are the proverbial “spicy-vanilla” owners of a pair of fake-fur handcuffs who are trying a bit of kink with their sex for the first time.[8] Maybe they like to get out the costumes and dress up for some role play sex (just once a year for Halloween or pretty much every Thursday) and are happily vanilla the rest of the time. Or maybe they have both vanilla and kinky partners and have sex with all of them (and no BDSM without sex).

As in the previous version, the amount of BDSM contained in the general amount of sex can vary from a lot, to about half of it, to just a little (as indicated by the differently-sized circles).

#5: BDSM and sex overlap completely

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as completely overlapping (explanation in text)

For other people, BDSM and sex may be completely overlapping. Whenever they have sex, it has BDSM elements to it, and whenever they have sex, it has aspects of BDSM. They never engage in vanilla sex and never do BDSM without any sexual elements. Please see above for more specific examples of ways to combine BDSM and sex.

#6: BDSM only, no sex

Venn diagram that shows only BDSM, no sex (explanation in text)

In the next case, the person does BDSM, but engages in no sexual acts whatsoever (with or without kink). They may be temporarily or permanently sexually celibate (by choice or by circumstance) but still enjoy giving or receiving pain or service or like playing with power exchange, with one or multiple partners (and/or clients). They may just not have any libido (sex drive), due to medication or age or depression or unknown causes, and may therefore skip all the sex stuff but be absolutely into bootblacking, boot worship and trampling. Or perhaps they are asexual and experience no sexual attraction (and also have no other reasons for participating in sex) and that is why they prefer to focus on expanding their skills in giving an excellent full-body massage, or in making pretty patterns out of dozens of needles on their bottom’s backs. Maybe they just don’t like sharing sex with anyone for any other reason and save all their sexual activity for solo fun, but they have a steady rope bondage buddy or a knack for meeting cuties at play parties for pick-up BDSM scenes without sexual elements.

#7: Sex only, no BDSM

Venn diagram that shows only sex, no BDSM (explanation in text)

If it is the other way around, and they only have sex but no BDSM, we have found ourselves what is often known as a vanilla person. Maybe they just haven’t discovered their kinky interests, yet, or they are still working up their courage to make their BDSM fantasies a reality. They may be BDSM-celibate for now or forever (by choice or by circumstance) and only engage in sexual acts without any kink elements with their partner(s) and/or clients. Or they may just not be attracted to playing with pain or power dynamics and also feel absolutely no urge to ever play around with a strand of rope or three.

#8: Neither BDSM nor sex

Venn diagram that shows neither BDSM, nor sex (explanation in text)

And of course it’s also possible to engage in neither BDSM nor any kind of sex. Maybe this is a full-on celibacy (by choice or by circumstance, temporary or permanent). Maybe they’re too depressed to care about either of these things or so sick or traumatized that they spend all of their energy on simply surviving until the next day. Or maybe they just spend all their time doing other delightful and/or important things (doing social justice activism? writing code for their newest project? reading or writing erotic novels or fanfiction? sailing across the Atlantic? caring for a newborn? perfecting their challah recipe? repairing their house?), and are perfectly happy just the way they are.

And with this I have reached the last of my diagrams!

Of course none of the examples for activities I gave are exclusive to the concept below which they are mentioned. They are also not the only examples that are possible to illustrate said concept. I tried to cover a wide range and many angles throughout the post, but I’m sure I’ve still missed things — please add a comment if you think of anything that is important to you.

I hope me picking apart the possible relations between BDSM and sex is useful for you to understand where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you may go in the future in these areas. Or maybe you’ve stayed the same all your life (also interesting!)? Perhaps this post also helps you have a better idea of the way other people live their kink and their sex (or either, or neither) in different ways from you.

Finally: If anything I said is unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll do my best to clarify (or simplify). Or perhaps you have thoughts of your own to add to mine? The comments and my contact form are open!


[1]  To see what I mean, just scroll through the #Kinktober hashtag on Twitter or Tumblr and count the images that do and don’t depict genital sex — or even just look at how many obviously genital-involving activities are part of the #Kinktober prompt list I’m using (6 out of 31 = almost 20%) when that is explicitly a kink-centered project.

[2]  For the purpose of this post, it just matters that there is a line between BDSM and sex somewhere. It’s fine if it’s not in the same place for everyone. And it’s also fine if there are cases where BDSM and sex melt into each other, for example when a caning is given with the explicit intent of causing an orgasm in the top or bottom but no one’s genitals are directly touched. (I have diagrams for those cases, too.)

That said, if you have strong feelings about what is sex and what isn’t, you can take this post either way: If you define sex as everything that involves genital stimulation for at least one person involved, the concepts still work. If you define sex as everything that leads to sexual arousal and perhaps orgasm for at least one person involved, the concept also works. And if you define sex as everything that either involves genital stimulation or that leads to sexual arousal and perhaps orgasm for at least one person involved, the concept works, too. If, however, you define sex solely as a flesh-and-blood cock penetrating a flesh-and-blood vagina, I strongly recommend that you examine the anti-gay sentiment implicit in this definition. In that case, you’re still welcome to stay around and learn, but you need to be aware that I’m writing this entire blog based on a different understanding of human sexuality, so you may have to question a lot of your assumptions before things make sense to you.

[3]  Because really, is rimming anal sex or oral sex or both? If I stimulate a clit with a vibrator I hold in my hand, is that still “manual” sex? What if I rub a vulva (the outside parts — outer lips, inner lips, clit) with a cock but it never enters the vagina (the inside part)? That can’t possibly be “vaginal sex,” right? What about all the different ways someone can rub their genitals on someone else’s non-genital body parts or all the ways we can rub their genitals with body parts that are not our hands? Do we even have a widely-known umbrella term for all of that? And what if our genitals or those of our partners don’t neatly fit into the “either it’s a dick or it’s a clit” binary, never mind the rest of what’s there “down there”? Can you see why I find these “manual/ oral/ anal/ vaginal sex” categories so confusing?!

[4]  This is not to say that solo sex (masturbation) and/or solo BDSM are any less valid than partnered sex and/or BDSM. But this post is long enough as it is, so I decided to not include solo sex/BDSM. That said, while my examples assume the presence of at least one partner, the concepts as such should still work for solo sex and/or BDSM.

[5]  For the record: The person beating someone’s ass or tying someone up could also be a switch, service top, or a submissive sadist, and the recipient of the beating or the one who gets tied up could be another switch, a masochistic dominant, or anyone else who doesn’t neatly fit into either of these categories. The giver of a blowjob can be a top as well as a bottom, and the person receiving the blowjob can be a woman (cis or trans), non-binary person, or man (cis or trans). And so on.

[6]  Some people may dislike my inclusion of sex work in these examples because they don’t consider the activities of sex workers “actual sex” or “actual BDSM” and prefer saving those terms for private activities. I obviously don’t intend to tell anyone how they should define their own lives, but I did want to be clear that my thinking is inclusive of sex workers and sex worker clients. Sex work (including no-sex pro-BDSM) is just a part of the reality of circumstances in which sexual acts and acts of BDSM take place — and this post focuses on consensual activities, not on feelings about them.

[7]  I know the overlap of the example in the middle row here and in the following illustration doesn’t really amount to 50%, so I hope all you math nerds will forgive me for prioritizing the visual “feel” rather than geometrical accuracy here.

[8]  In which case I hope they don’t use their faux-fur handcuffs to actually pull on them with any force because the narrow metal can easily hurt someone’s wrists (and the nerves that run along it). They also tend to break easily because they’re usually produced very cheaply and in an awful quality. A safer alternative (that is still fairly cheap) is a set of wider, adjustable cuffs made out of textile that closes with velcro or buckles. That’s the kind you can actually pull against with a lot less risk of hurting yourself. They also tend to be much more comfortable, which means you can wear them for a longer time.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons (pencil), all other graphics and diagrams © kinky & nerdy