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12. What is cutting/play piercing/burning/branding/electrical play?What are "bloodsports"?

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This article is from the Bondage FAQ, by numerous contributors.

12. What is cutting/play piercing/burning/branding/electrical play?What are "bloodsports"?

First questions first. Cutting is the SM practice of using a scalpel or
other fine blade to make shallow cuts in the top layer of your partner's
skin. Play piercing is using very fine needles to pierce your partner
temporarily, removing the needles at scene's end. Burning is using high
temperatures somehow in an SM scene; note that the goal here is to play
with heat, not to actually burn your partner, since burns are not
friendly injuries to heal. Branding is, well, branding--using small,
shaped, highly heated pieces of metal to burn small scars into a
partner's skin. Electrical play is playing with electricity. And
finally, "bloodsports" is a generic name for any SM practice that
involves blood. Obviously, all these SM practices are potentially very
very dangerous, as any of these things, done wrong, could result in
permanent injury. Properly done, none of these practices result in any
damage that requires more than minor first aid to clean up and cope
with. Also, ^I cannot give enough information in this FAQ to explain
how to do these practices safely.^ You need to learn from an
experienced top, and you need to see it done in person, before you will
really know how to play this way with your partners. That said, onward
we go with a feeble attempt to cover some of the groundwork. First,
cutting and bloodsports. The ground rules: cleanliness and safety. Most
cutters I've seen use rubbing alcohol or Betadine to clean the skin
area on which they're going to cut. The top wears latex gloves to
minimize contact with their partner's blood--remember, blood carries
HIV, and cutting (bloodsports in general, actually) involves blood. The
usual instrument for cutting is a surgical scalpel, which is sharp
enough to make a smooth, clean cut; using duller blades can leave a
ragged cut which doesn't heal as well. Cuts are made on areas of the
body where the skin is not stretched tight; for example, the shoulder
blade, or the buttock, or the front of the thigh (though this can be
problematic). Cuts are NOT made anywhere that the skin becomes taut,
since such places won't heal well (the cut'll keep getting pulled
open). Only one layer of skin is cut--the very topmost layer. Deeper
cuts don't heal well. And cuttings generally don't form loops, as the
skin in the center of the loop can be cut off from its blood supply.

When the cutting is complete, the whole area is generally bandaged. Are
you getting the extent of the possible screwups in a cutting scene?
It's definitely as edge-y as edge play gets! If you want to know more,
see _The Lesbian S/M Safety Manual_ (in the resource list at the end of
part 3). The best safety advice: be taught by someone who knows how to
do cuttings safely. Play piercings are a milder (somewhat) form of
bloodsports. Again, the bottom's skin must be cleaned, and the top must
wear latex gloves. The needles used are sterile surgical needles
available from medical supply stores or serious SM shops. The top
pinches up a bit of skin (right around the nipples is one favored
area), and slides the needle through. Each needle doesn't necessarily
hurt that much, but your nerves definitely know it's there, and the
endorphins start to flow ^very^ quickly. After a while, the needles are
removed and put into a disposable sharps container, and the bottom gets
bandaids if any are needed--generally the holes are small enough that
they clot immediately. Again, the best way to learn this is from
someone else who knows how, personally. There are other forms of
bloodsports. I've seen one scene in which a top (after cleaning their
bottom's skin and donning the requisite latex gloves) used a syringe to
draw some of their bottom's blood, then fed their bottom their own
blood. This scene was as hardcore as bloodsports gets, yet was (as far
as I could see) very safe from the standpoint of AIDS transmission. And
I can only assume that that top had had some medical training--I will
not even BEGIN to talk about safety considerations for drawing blood,
since I have no idea what they are. Now, on to burning--actually,
temperature play in general. Molten wax can be mild or intense. The
higher you hold the candle, the cooler the drops will be--to a certain
extent. They'll definitely make your bottom yelp no matter what! Don't
use beeswax candles, though--they melt at a much higher temperature. If
you like hot wax, you might like ice cubes, too.... Branding is an
extreme form of temperature play. There are only a few people
nationwide who do a lot of branding; Fakir Musafar, in the San
Francisco area, is one. His magazine ^Body Play^ has some great
articles about branding techniques. Basically, short curved pieces of
metal are heated with a blowtorch, then pressed into the skin so as to
make an ornamental burn. I really don't know much more about the safety
concerns or possible snafus, so I'll mention no more here. Don't go off
half-cocked and try ANY of these practices without doing the legwork
yourself to talk to experienced players. Electrical play is using
electricity of one form or another to generate sensation. This is
another advanced form of play which can be fatal (lethal, deadly,
murderous) if done improperly. Any electrical play that involves
current flowing through the body should ONLY BE DONE BELOW THE WAIST;
any current above the waist or through the heart can induce immediate
cardiac arrest. There are two main kinds of electrical toys I've seen.
One is a TENS unit (Trans-Electric Nerve Stimulator, or something like
that); these units typically are battery-powered, with control of pulse
intensity and pulse frequency, and two leads that can be attached to
electric cock rings, dildoes, or what have you. These can produce
sensations ranging from a mild tingle to a thrilling trembling buzz to
a serious jolt. Remember, below the waist only! And I wouldn't even use
any such unit unless its sole power source was a 9V (or weaker)
battery; no way am I letting anything plugged into a wall socket send
power through my body! The other sort of toy is known as a "violet
wand"; these rather resemble hand-held power tools with little glass
bulbs sticking out of one end. When turned on, the bulb glows violet
and crackles; touching it will cause static sparks to jump to your
skin, with an associated "zap!" and a sharp shock. These do not send
current through the body, and are safe for use anywhere except the eyes
or major nerve clusters (i.e. the top of the spine)--though prolonged
use will burn the skin.

 

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previous page: 11. What is body piercing? What is "C& B" play, or "genitorture"?
  
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