Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or psychologist.
Safety Precautions for Psychological Edge Play
Here are some of the basic building blocks towards creating an emotional edge play scene. These steps don’t really apply towards more advanced physical scenes like the ones I mentioned last week–waterboarding, knife play, gun play, live burial, etc.–but chances are if you’re contemplating those types of scenes you’re doing your research elsewhere (and so you should!). The following methods are better suited for the “intermediate-level” mind fucker, and I hope that you are compassionate enough to use them wisely. You can do real and lasting damage unless you use these tools to aid your sub in growth and self-discovery.
If you’re not using edge play as a tool for growth, but merely for the purposes of fantasy and sexy fun-time, it is your responsibility as the dominant to make your sub understand afterwards (and sometimes even reinforcing before) that it is fantasy; that any undermining of their confidence or humiliation tactics are done to create the erotic experience of disempowerment but do not reflect how you actually feel about them “in real life.”
Domination does not end when you finish a scene. The best dominants will see a sub through the entire experience, including any prolonged recovery period–that goes double for psychological domination. It can take weeks to calm someone down from an intense psychological edge play scene, so make sure you have the maturity, patience, and compassion to be able to be there for her in the aftermath. The negative risks (if you ignore these safety guidelines) are that you can significantly impair someone’s ability to function happily–sometimes permanently, depending on the depth of your relationship. The net positive is that you can accelerate someone’s growth in a few hours with lessons that might have taken years to learn otherwise.
Weapons like these have been wielded in abusive relationships since the dawn of time by both men and women, but in a consensually nonconsensual context they can become extraordinarily hot, even healthy, and yes, even loving.
Step 1: Create Intimacy
This is the best way to elicit trust from your sub, which you can then take advantage of at a later stage. It’s best played as a long game, but you can also fast track it to create a sense of deep, personal bond in less than an hour. Drop your defenses when first engaging with the person and give the appearance of being nonthreatening, warm and seductive. Be the first to volunteer some piece of information about you that makes them believe they are the only person who knows this “secret.”
Example 1: “That girl standing at the bar makes me really uncomfortable (semi-true).” Example 2: “I’m sorry if I seem upset, I just got a call that my family dog died (lie).” When they offer you something about their own inner life, look them in the eyes and listen, and offer gentle, supportive feedback. Let them feel they are getting to know “the real you” while in reality you’re dispensing only specific, calculated details that don’t actually expose any of your vulnerability points or “real self” at all. You must make them think you are being vulnerable while not actually being vulnerable. In the process, they will open up to you and become vulnerable but not feel that they’re doing so.
Step 2: Identify Weaknesses
Once you’ve started to establish trust, you can begin to mine her for her weaknesses. Let these weaknesses come up in conversation, and look for the nonverbal cues as well in the way she moves and carry herself. The real gold is in her turn-ons, turn-offs, phobias, points of shame, deep desires, humiliation triggers, and areas of ineptitude and uncertainty. Study her in a way that does not appear obvious, but don’t be afraid to hide your agenda within a ruse-agenda. For instance, you can ask about her weaknesses directly while engaging in a distracting activity and then quickly divert to another topic. Regardless of how you get the information, try to memorize what she has said; if you can’t memorize quickly, write it down. A sub’s weaknesses are the key to creating intense emotional experiences for her. Think of it as benevolent malevolence.
Step 3: Establish Sexual Inadequacy
One of the best ways to keep a submissive in your power is to allow them to believe that you’re doing them a favor by giving them your attention. This is not something that you should necessarily say outright, as often times that comes across as bragging or insecurity and can, especially with women, be a turn-off. However, gently creating a set of circumstances that let your sub see that you are interested in other more attractive people, and that they are interested in you, will many times make the sub feel deeply inadequate.
Example: ask a friend whose number you haven’t saved to your phone to text you a series of incredibly hot photos of someone who looks like your sub but is roughly twice as attractive, then leave your phone open on the table while you go to the bathroom. When your sub questions you about it, you should insist that it is just a friend texting you photos out of the blue, and that you have no idea why she is sending you bikini shots. Delete them in front of the sub and offer a convincing amelioration. “See? Meaningless.” Believable statements like this are great, because you can deny with 100% accuracy, while the seeds of insecurity are firmly planted in your sub’s mind. Side note: I understand there is a lot of polyamory in the lifestyle scene, so this technique may be less effective for such players.
Step 4: Gentle Behavior Modification
Convincing your sub to augment small aspects of her behavior or appearance that she has made habitual can disrupt her mental stability in shocking ways. The bigger the ask, the less likely your sub is to adopt it, so start with small things: new underwear, makeup, cologne or perfume of your choosing, new shoes, a supervised haircut, etc. This can be a very long game, but it is effective. If you choose your asks wisely you can make a sub feel like she “belongs” to you even while you have made no request or designs on ownership. The woman’s identity will slowly start to slip away as she loses herself, article by article, habit by habit, while you appear to be only innocently making suggestions on his improvement. By stripping away the familiar, you leave her dependent on you and starting to wonder before each action she takes, “what would HE think?” Meanwhile, you make no changes to yourself, thus maintaining ownership over your own person and hers.
Step 5: Create Disorientation
This can be achieved in many ways, but the goal is to make the sub question her sanity, emotional reactions, and sense of reality. It’s usually more effective once you’ve gone through steps 1 and 2, but you can fast track it with forced intoxication, sleep deprivation, or starvation (all to be discussed consensually beforehand). If you know someone well, casual gaslighting is great. The better you know someone, the less they will expect it.
Gaslighting is best achieved over a stretch of weeks, and is very effective with feelings of jealousy, paranoia, and intelligence/memory. Example 1: “Did you see that girl checking me out? No? Nevermind. Wow, that was really over the top (lie).” Example 2: “I still can’t get over how you were masturbating so furiously in your sleep last night. You don’t remember? It woke me up! Jeez, you must have been really unconscious…(lie).” Example 3: “Hey Hun, are you ready for date night tonight? What? You forgot?! We talked about this over the weekend! I’m so disappointed (lie).” You can also gaslight “experimentally” (proceed with caution), wherein you test out your tactics live just to gauge how well they work, how effective you are, and how receptive your sub is, but it works best to know the exact state of disorientation you wish to achieve before you begin and then work backwards. For instance, jealousy gaslighting will look much different than intelligence gaslighting. The more you can think it through beforehand the better your scene will be when you begin.
Step 6: Involve Others
Once you imply that you have involved other people in your dynamic (even if the others don’t know they’re involved), you cross a threshold into “reality” that will trigger strong reactions in most subs whether they want to admit it or not. If you’ve laid adequate groundwork by creating intimacy, identifying weakness, establishing sexual inadequacy, gently modifying behavior, and creating disorientation, the land mines of doubt are planted and need only the light touch of someone other than the sub to explode. What’s fascinating is that this person does not need to be you: all it takes is the mere implication that friends, coworkers, or even passersby might be involved for the sub to quickly fill in the blanks in a way that is terrifying and exhilarating.
Example 1: If you’re trying to set up a cuckolding or cucquean dynamic, arrange to go to a restaurant or bar where you know one of the staff. Make sure your sub does not know you know them. Then have the staff member shamelessly flirt with you in front of your sub, possibly even beyond what is normally socially appropriate. Play it off as funny or a fluke. Example 2: Ask a vanilla friend who is kink-curious and good at keeping a straight face to proposition your sub sexually at a party. When your sub turns him down, instruct him to politely offer money for her services. When she becomes offended and storms off to find you, probe until she tells you what happened. Then feign anger that she did not take him up on his offer, and march her over to your friend to make the arrangements. Be sure to keep at least half the money for yourself. Whether or not you actually go through with the roleplay is up to you, but a lot of the juice is in that initial interaction.
The Reason Why Submissives Like It
If your sub can come out of the experience feeling that they are ultimately safe, attended to and cherished, you can get away with terrible things. The more you mind fuck someone, the more dangerous it becomes, but I have relationships where mind fucking has happily been a significant component of our dynamic for years. Ultimately, all subs want to feel their dominant is both more powerful than they are, and taking on the responsibility of being that God (or Goddess) figure is a gift to them. Basking in the glow of someone’s omnipotence and omniscience creates feelings of safety, meaning, structure, well-being, and even love-esidual experiences from when we all were at our most helpless, as children at the feet of our parents. Psychological edge play simply creates a set of false conditions that regress your sub to a state of helplessness once more, hopefully facilitating profound self-discovery and intimacy between you both along the way.
Psychological Edge Play Done Well
Psychological edge play is some of the most fascinating BDSM out there, and it allows the dominant to be writer, director, actor and producer of some of the best theater in the world! You may never feel such a power high again. Just bear in mind that since this is where kink becomes art, your submissive is the subject, product, and audience all at once; cherish them and proceed with their best interests at heart every step of the way. If used properly, this is one of the single most effective BDSM tactics for changing someone’s life for the better.