There are no products in your shopping cart.
My question is about cutting. Is it body art or self mutilation? I am a leather dyke with five years of experience in the scene. I finally met the butch top of my dreams, and she is very into the shiny, sharp things. I want to make her happy, she has given me so much pleasure, but so far I have said no to being blooded. I don't want scars that will show up in other contexts where people might misunderstand what they mean. There are already marks on my body that have freaked out doctors and lovers. I used to cut myself as a teenager, when I was very alone and depressed, and I am afraid that being cut will bring back those feelings. I am proud of the fact that I have not cut myself for many, many years now, but in times of stress, I am still tempted. We are not fighting about this, not exactly, but I can tell that if I would say yes it would make her very very happy. I don't want to be accused of—Topping from the Bottom
Being honest about your fears and limits is not passive-aggressive. (I think that's what “topping from the bottom means. Or is it just a vaguely insulting catch phrase, kind of like calling any assertive woman a bitch?) The intimate sharing of one's history and erotic trigger points are the foundation of what makes S/M play safe and good for you. So please don't just cover up your concerns and say yes to make somebody else happy!
Cutting is an extreme, controversial S/M technique. It seems to be more popular in the leatherdyke community, but I've met kinky people of all orientations who enjoy the feeling of a sharp object pressing into the skin and sliding across it. This technique can be safe if it is done with the right precautions and expertise. The skin and the implement need to be clean or sterile, and you can't cut over major blood vessels or places on the body where there is a danger of cutting nerves or tendons. A little goes a long way. You are correct that there is always a risk of scarring afterward, so people should not allow themselves to be cut unless they are prepared to deal with outsiders' fear and misunderstanding.
Is it self-mutilation? Or is it allowing somebody else to help you do something self-destructive? Well, I think all of us can allow that kind of behavior in a relationship. It may be self-destructive to allow your partner to feed you rich desserts and food full of fat. You might drink too much with a partner or get in the car and allow unsafe driving. We all need to examine our conduct to make sure we are doing what is best for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. An act or behavior can appear quite normal from the outside, and still be harmful.
The kind of cutting you did as a teenager was motivated by loneliness and self-hatred. You were dealing with emotional pain by creating physical pain. For some cutters, the point is not the injury as much as it is taking care of the wound and watching it heal. It is a complicated behavior with many variations. So I don't want to generalize about it more than this. I'm just glad you have learned some other ways to cope with your emotions, and you've gotten your life in a much better place.
Here are some of the boundaries that kinky people I've known have worked out to make sure they are bleeding for the right reasons. People may decide that a cutting has to be pre-planned and not spontaneous. It has to create a pleasing design, not just a slash mark. It is not okay to use the same implements that the person used when they were harming themselves. Any chance of infection has to be minimized. Everybody needs to be in a good place when the cutting starts and when it ends. The point is to feel better about yourself and your partner, not worse.
If you decide to do this, your boundaries may be the same, or you may come up with something different. And be aware that your first experience doesn't have to be extensive. You don't have to let your top carve a two-foot-tall image of Venus emerging from the sea on your back. You can let her make a very small (less than one inch) incision and see how that feels.
You can also continue to say no. S/M is an imaginative scene with literally hundreds of different techniques. I am betting that a top who is as good as your girlfriend ought to be able to come up with another favorite thing or five to make you gasp and tremble. For example, play piercing breaks the skin and sometimes causes minor bleeding. Some people who feel they can't enjoy cutting do enjoy that.
For more safety information on these activities, consult The Lesbian S/M Safety Manual that I wrote (now out of print) or Sensuous Magic, a volume on S/M technique and safe play published by Cleis Press.