Tag Archives: edge play

Flash Fiction: Cut

Black and white nude of a woman with a long braid down her back by Jeanloup Sieff for Flash Fiction: Cut by Malin James

Photograph by Jeanloup Sieff

They’ve played with knives before – sliced through rope and tape. Her second favorite bra. Blade on her clit. Blade on his cock. Pressure. Testing. Implication. Never a cut though. Never quite a cut….

But they’ve talked about it. They’ve talked a lot.

“Would you really let me cut you?”

She asks again one night. They’ve fucked each other senseless and she’s tucked in his arms, lulled by the scent of his skin.

He’s quiet. She waitsthe answer in his pulse.

“Yes,” he finally says. She feels it land, like a penny in her palm. Yes,” he says again. “But don’t fuck around.”

She nods, keen and bright as a fox.

“Of course. You know I won’t.”

The knife they usually play with is in a drawer by the bed, but she doesn’t get that knife. Instead, she goes to the bathroom. The straight razor is old, perfect and old, made when things were meant to last. It unfolds in her hand like a memory…gnarled hands, lather, a boar bristle brush…. This razor has a history. It’s touched a lot of skin. Now, it’s going to touch more.

He props himself up on his elbows when she comes back in. The razor is folded, snug and safe, like a slender bird sleeping in her palm.

“Tape,” he asks.

“No.”

She knows he won’t like it – he’d rather be restrained. It’s so much easier when you pretend there’s no choice. But she likes him unbound and he knows it. He knows and he’ll do it for her.

He nods. Her eyes soften. She straddles him and pins his arms wide. Her own Vitruvian Man.

“Thank you,” she murmurs. “Keep your arms here. Now, be very still.”

His hands look relaxed but they’re not. She can tell. But he’ll keep them where they are. It’s a matter of principle. She’s done the same for him. She’s done it before, and she’ll do it again. But not tonight. Tonight is for her, and the razor waits in the pocket of her palm.

He stretches out beneath her, all angles and shadows, like a poster for a film. Beautiful, she thinks. Her belly is tight as she moves down his body dropping a kiss on every rib.

One. Two. Three. Four… 

She stops and nuzzles his skin. This is where, she thinks. She traces his ribs with her fingertips before pressing her tongue between two. Then, she slowly opens the blade. It settles in her hand. A fine, familiar weight.

Ripples under his skin though his body barely moves. There is no playfulness, no showmanship, no levity in her now. Afterwards she’ll smile and laugh with him, but for now, she’s blank and calm. For now, she’s holding a razor like a natural part of her hand.

On either side of his body, his fingers tremble.

Fuck. Get on with it.

She ignores his impatience and touches the blade to the tender place she’d kissed, waiting for it to breach his skin. And then it does and his skin isn’t skin anymore. It’s the silk and thread and rope.

He flinches and stills, palms flat against the sheets while her steady hand guides the edge along his rib. Once inch…two…and then it’s time to stop. She blinks as her focus widens back out. Then she sits up, resting her cunt against his cock while she folds and locks the blade.

Nothing at first. His skin looks untouched. But then blood wells up, almost black in the darkness, darker than red should be. She looks at him. He looks at her. They’ve talked about this too. He nods. She smiles and presses her tongue to the wound.

It tastes like salted metal, like blood should taste, but better because it’s his. But the cut is shallow and there isn’t much, so she worries it with her tongue, lapping and pressing and sucking up what his body naturally gives. She’s soaked and sliding over him when she sinks down on his cock.

Her hands clamp over his as he starts to thrust, pinning him with her weight. Then she kisses the wound. When she comes, her mouth is red, red and full of him.

They rest afterward, his hand in her hair. Her lips are red as berries but her teeth are shining white. She smiles against his skin.

“Next time, it’s your turn.”

 

 

Flash Fiction: La Belle Dame

Black and white image of a woman in a black coat standing in a doorway for Flash Fiction La Belle Dame by Malin James

Photograph by Marco Sanges

 

I have him chained to the wall. I always do. Strong backs pinioned to cold, hard stone. It’s an exhausting position. I know.

“You’ll learn to hate me,” I say.

Learn…hate….

My voice sounds strange. A stranger’s voice. I almost never speak. The words drop into the silent room, dense as mercury.

He tenses but doesn’t look away. None of them do. He smells hot and metallic, like coal-covered iron. Sharp ribs. Sharper hips. There’s a beautiful vein in his neck. Beautiful and thick.

He watches me approach, very proud. A man held together by his father’s influence…. Borrowed influence. I bring my face to his. He strains at the chains, but they pull him up short. Rattling, lunging, he spits his frustration. Laughter tumbles out of me, clean and cold as ice.

He doesn’t expect the blow.

It lands across his cheek, a delicate lie. He smiles, as he’s meant to. But the second lands hard. The third cracks his head back against the wall.

“Harder.”

It’s an empty challenge, full of ego and pride. Like that, my interest fades. Had there been something of his presence in that single word, had he shown me something true…. But, his strength is a lie he tells himself, the blown-out shell of an egg. There is mercy on my tongue for an honest man. But breakable things should break.

He snarls and pulls and bares his teeth. What a sad, ridiculous show. When I hit him again, I draw blood. He blinks. Poor, bewildered boy.

What follows is routine. There are implements on the wall and I take one down. A knife with a handle sloped like a woman’s back. I show him the arching blade, the metal that parts skin with civilized grace. Now, he looks away.

I watch him, wondering…. But no. His eyes when they find mine are blazing and empty. He bares his teeth to speak.

“No,” I say. “That’s enough.”

I kneel and consider the knife.

Very gently, like a mother, like a woman made of light, I slice through his rags and watch his skin ripple, as his clothing falls away. His eyes grow calm, as the rest of him stills. His defiance is in stasis, a delicate, crushable thing, arrested by the reality he finds himself in.

I look up at him and smile, the smile a kneeling woman gives a standing man. It’s cruel and unnerving. It’s meant to be. I continue to smile my mocking smile as I bring the blade to his skin, skin no blade should touch.

His cock stirs, making its final appeal, and I wait for him to shift and rattle and beg. It’s what always happens next. But he doesn’t. He stays quiet and very still. I press harder with the blade, curious. I want to see what he’ll do.

His muscles tense, but it’s autonomic. There’s nothing but calm from him.

I look up and meet his eyes. They are waiting for mine. He has great respect for the knife. His eyes tell me this. His eyes tell me things that sink through the silence and fill the room. There is a person in there now.

And, like that, my interest is piqued.

What May Sound Like a Stand-Offish NB: Though the trajectory of this piece was unexpected, I both stand by and am proud of it. That said, I am not personally into castration fantasies. While I respect them as a kink, please don’t feel obliged to send them to me. 

Trust Me: On Edge Play in Erotica

Photograph by Howard Beach

Photograph by Howard Beach

Last year, I had the happy honor of going on the (It Girl. Rag Doll) podcast with Molly Moore and Harper Eliot. We covered a lot of ground but, as with all good conversations, there was still a lot left. Afterwards, the lovely Jane Gilbert of Behind the Chintz Curtain asked this question: (forgive the paraphrase)

Is there anything you haven’t written about yet that scares you or makes you nervous?

My knee-jerk response, and the one I’d likely have given were I to have answered on the show, would have been edge play – specifically knives and cutting. In fact, I started writing about this on several occasions, but it never quite felt right. Recently, I realized why my initial answer didn’t work. Knives and cutting aren’t actually the issue for me (as a writer). They’re the way I’m drawn to addressing the thing I actually want to explore: Trust.

Personally speaking, trust is a nuanced, risky thing, which is probably why I feel compelled to write about it despite the fact that it makes me uneasy. While vulnerability is a prominent theme in my writing, I’ve always treated trust as an implicit part of that, rather than explicitly addressing it though higher-stakes scenarios. Something shifted as I considered Jane’s question and I suspect that limiting myself to the implicit isn’t going to satisfy me anymore.

But to bring it back to cutting. Knives and blades are, in and of themselves, not without significance for me. For a long time, I assumed that it was that personal element that made me hesitate when I considered writing stories about cutting or blood-play. Once I dug out from under that assumption, it was pretty clear that knives were only part of the issue. For me, knives (and blades in general) are the metaphorical hinge on which trust swings. I also realized that I’ve been playing with that metaphor implicitly for years.

I’ve written a number of stories in which a woman shaves a man with a straight-razor, and scenes in which a woman allows her lover to shave her pussy even though she’s scared. In life or fiction, shaving someone is, for me, a fantastically intimate act that requires a great deal of trust, especially if straight razors are involved.

My grandfather was a barber. He taught me how to use a straight razor when I was about 12 because the razor (as an object) both scared and fascinated me. I remember him showing me how to hold it lightly, as if it were delicate. He told me it was just a thing. It couldn’t bite me or wield itself. As long as I held it, I was in control. That was a revelation.

The experience of learning to use that razor fascinated me, not in a sexual way (or at least, not in a way I recognized as sexual at the time), but in a very human way. I was being trusted to do something dangerous (with help – my grandfather’s hands guided mine the whole time). In hindsight, I can’t believe his customer allowed himself to play the guinea pig. But then, my grandfather inspired great trust in people and , to my knowledge, he never broke it. Happily, it all went off without a hitch and I spent the next week thinking I wanted to be a barber.

It’s not difficult to realize how much power you have when you’re holding a razor and a person is literally exposing their skin for you. What makes the situation possible is that there is an unspoken contract in place – both parties assume that the person with the blade will not take advantage of their ability to cause harm. That’s what allows the person baring their throat (or labia, or groin) to trust you not to hurt them.

But what happens when the contract is slightly different? What if the contract is not that the person with the blade will not cause harm but, rather, that the person with the blade will cause harm but in a responsible and agreed upon way? You allow the person with the blade to open a door (meaning your skin) and you are trusting them to stop. That takes trust to another, even higher, plane. The interpersonal contract that allows for this is emotionally packed and worthy of nuanced fictional representation. It’s also something I feel strongly about doing right because I do fetishize trust to such a degree in real life, even if it doesn’t manifest as cutting in my own sexual practices.

There are authors who have handled blades beautifully in their fiction – Jane Gilbert did it in this story, and Remittance Girl has done it several times, here and here, as well in her novella, Beautiful Losers, in which there’s a shaving scene that is beautiful, intense and reflective of the emotional complexity that underpins the relationship between the characters involved. Exhibit A did it as well in this story, also a shaving scene, in which trust is central to the story and a single drop of blood is let.

The reason these stories work so well is that, at their centers, trust is (either implicitly or explicitly) recognized as the foundation of the intimacy that underpins the experience. Trust is the risk that allows the blade to work. For me, as both a writer and as a reader, it’s not enough to write about a taboo (or, in this case, edge play) and rely on the riskiness or transgression to titillate. For me, as regards edge play in fiction, it’s the intimacy that allows someone to put themselves in their partner’s hands that’s the turn on. It’s also the universal factor that might allow someone who has absolutely no interest in knives (or breath-play or non-con, etc) to see why someone else might get off on it.

Now that I do understand that it is not blades, but blades as signifiers of extreme and total trust that both turn me on (as a reader) and unsettle me (as a writer), I’ll be able to convey what is valuable to me – that the trust and complexity inherent in the act are what make it powerful and erotic. It isn’t just the transgression of letting blood.

Deviant Acts

Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. c1500

Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. c1500

Recently, I’ve begun to wonder what, exactly, qualifies as a deviant sexual act. What does “deviant” really mean? Does it mean any act that deviates from the sexual norm? And if so, what, precisely defines that definitive norm? Should we ask Kinsey, or is it more complicated than that?

Are we talking heterosexual missionary sex? (For the record, I love missionary and am in no way knocking it). Or is it enough that the sex be between one man and one woman and involve vaginal penetration? And going from there, I have to ask, vaginal penetration with what? A cock? A dildo? A tongue? Is oral sex okay? What about blind folds–or are we tripping into deviance there? What about non-heterosexual couples? Is loving, connected sex between two married men deviant? Is a woman fucking her female partner with a strap on deviant? Where does deviance lie?

The short answer is, I have no idea. To me, it’s a highly subjective thing. In my head, spanking can be as wholesome and profound as feeling a partner come inside you. There is no deviance for me in either act, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things that press my “whoa” button. Some aspects of edge play make me pause. Casting? Emotionally speaking, that feels pretty deviant to me, but if I look at a photo of a woman happily wrapped in cellophane while her lover blasts her with a Hitatchi I don’t feel like I can judge–nor do I want to. Who am I to prescribe a norm?

All of this came up because I finished a story yesterday. It’s about a couple who gives fisting a try for the first time. I wrote it to be romantic and sweet, with fisting as a gateway to the next level of their relationship. For the record, (not that it matters), the couple is straight, and the guy’s hands are big. But this doesn’t stop her from wanting them.

Why did I write a story about a heterosexual couple engaging in what many consider to be a deviant sexual act? And why did I do so in manner that qualifies as schooby-sweet romantic? Because kink is coming into the mainstream and I wanted to address how wholesome deviance can be. I’ve read a lot of articles and message boards full of questions like, “if I want to peg my boyfriend, does that mean I secretly want to be a man?” “Does pegging make me gay?” “Can anyone fist, or is that just a lesbian thing?”

These questions are asked in earnest and, while some of them make me sad, (particularly when asked in conjunction with concern over being defined as gay), they’re important because they aren’t really addressing the act in question. Rather, they’re addressing an underlying concern. If I do this, am I still me, or do I have to reevaluate my sexuality and my self image to accommodate this desire? Or, translated into normal person speak  – am I a freak for wanting this?

The answer is no. You are not a freak, any more than I’m a freak for being bisexual, kinky and non-monogamous. Those things have all been considered deviant in the past, and they are still considered deviant by a great many people today, (though thankfully less so than before). Which brings me full circle to my original question. What do we mean by “deviant”?

The bottom line is that we all mean different things. For a super conservative person, oral might be at the top of the list of deviant-things-that-send-you-to-hell, while for others, it takes a bit more. I think the important thing is to keep subjectivity in mind. There’s no reason that pegging can’t be good, clean fun or that even the edgiest edge-play can’t nurture a deep and meaningful connection. And even if it doesn’t, who’s to say it’s wrong? Because really, that’s what “deviant act” implies – an act that is somehow immoral or wrong. As long as everyone consents is it really for any one group to judge what deviates from the norm?

My answer to that question, unsurprisingly, is no. Today, there are too many different normals for traditional notions of deviance to work. While it is true that we live in culture largely defined by Judeo-Christian hegemony, even those are adapting and expanding within their accepted tenets. Very slowly, but surely, “normal” is changing and becoming less defined.

The bottom line is that whether or not something is deviant depends entirely on where you’re sitting and how “normal” is defined by you and your community. This means that, to a certain degree, we’re all deviants in some way. We all experience sexuality differently–both publicly and in the quietest corners of our souls. As a result, when you drill down through cultural mores a bit, there is very little normal in the norm. Adjusting for consent and responsible action, we all deserve compassion and respect…. Unless you get off on kicking puppies. Then you’re on your own.