"I learn in that very first instant the thrill of knife play. I have never encountered anything better able to make my body submit. Fast. As the sharp edge touches my jugular I am terrified to move a single millimeter anywhere on my body. I focus all my mental energy on keeping my physical body still, willing my planted heels to stay steady, and I feel my husband’s hot breath at my neck and his cock on my tailbone, pushing painfully into my worked body, hard as a steel rod. "
-Excerpt from Darling Discovered: A True Story of Submission
Knife play was something that started fairly early for us in our dynamic. My husband had always carried a pocketknife on his hip, every day for as long as I had known him. It was always for "McGuyver" type shit. Fixing things, taking a strand of string hanging from my hem, that kind of stuff. It shouldn't have been surprising when it became one of our earlier tools for BDSM play. It was there. He was adept at using it. And it was scary and somehow sexy. It hit all of my Dominants sweet spots. As I documented in my book about the start of our dynamic, the thrill of knife play was so simple. When you have a knife to your skin, there are no more options: your body must submit. Don't submit? Serious problems can be the result.
Let's talk about knife play, what it is and what it isn't. 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.
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.
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.
So, submissives and bottoms, have you tried knife play? Have you had a similar experience about the body being "forced" to submit instantly? In what ways would you allow a knife into your scene? Is this a turn-off? A turn on?