staple gun

Dev, of Devastating Yet Consequential, has a post up titled “bdsm is not safe”. I agree with pretty much every word of it. She’s definitely NOT saying that BDSM is a minefield rife with tragedy lurking around every corner. Not at all. She’s just saying that we can’t guarantee that what we do is going to be harmless every single time we do it.

Kinky folk often use the “safe, sane, consensual” label for what we do, and I think the label is useful as a reminder of what we should always be aware of. We should always do everything in our power to be safe, but, frankly, shit happens. Shit happens all the time. Even the safest person in the world can get caught in an unexpected problem (power outage, submissive has a panic attack, dom’s allergies flare up).

Many kinky people have moved from using the “safe, sane, consensual” label to “risk-aware consensual kink,” which is, I think, more accurate. But notice what part of SSC is missing in RACK — we’ve gone from safe, SANE, consensual, to risk-aware consensual kink.

Sanity is nowhere to be seen.

And, honestly, BDSM is not sane. At least, it’s not sane to the degree that it’s also not safe, in the way that Dev described. I’m 100% serious about this. I let someone staple me in the arm, not with a medical stapler, but with a big ol’ Home Depot industrial electric staple gun. At the same event, I let someone take a baton that was soaked in alcohol and then LIT ON FIRE and run it — still ON FIRE — over my unclothed skin.

That? Not sane. At least, not entirely.

But the thing is, that’s okay. In fact, it’s even good. We all need moments of craziness in our lives, the chance to step away from our workaday lives and the predictable routines that are a part of them.

The crazy moments are exhilarating. They’re fun, and scary, and not entirely rational, and often exactly what our hearts and souls need.

Sanity is overrated.

At a recent event, I volunteered to be both lit on fire and stapled in the arm with an electric staple gun (not at the same time). I saw a demo on fire play, which was totally fascinating. The presenter asked if anyone had questions, or wanted to do it (and by “do it,” he meant, be the person wielding the fire), and one of the people watching asked, “Can I do it…but as the person on the bottom?” The presenter said sure, and demonstrated on the volunteer, who kept up a running commentary telling us how it felt. (“Like an extremely hot tennis ball rolling over your back,” was the best description.)

Now, I had seen fire play demonstrations before, and it always struck me as nifty, but not for me. So I’m not real sure what crazy impulse seized me when the presenter asked, “Anyone else want to try?” But, sure enough, I asked, “Can I try? …I mean, will you light me on fire?”

I’m certain that’s a question I’ve never asked anyone before. Ever.

So…yeah. Being lit on fire. It was pretty much like the other volunteer said — like an extremely hot tennis ball being rolled over my back. Because the lit baton is passed over so quickly, it lights the alcohol, and then the presenter’s hand follows right behind to make sure nothing is still burning. He did that a couple of times, and even tapped, sort of, my back with the lit baton. Weird. And nifty. Afterwards, my back felt like it had been in front of a bonfire — that sort of warmed, tight-skin feeling — and that feeling lasted for about half an hour.

I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t really see me making a regular (or even irregular) thing out of it. It was nifty, but in more of a sideshow freak way than a kink way. For me.

And then, the staples.

There was also a demo of using a staple gun during play — not a medical stapler, not an office-supply type stapler; an electric goddamn staple gun from Home Depot. The presenters were a couple — top and bottom — who actually made getting stapled in the ass look fun. (Well, maybe not the ass.) They explained in detail all the safety stuff first — how to make sure that the staples and gun are exceedingly clean — clean enough to puncture human skin without running the risk of infection. And then they just started stapling. Well, first they put strips of duct tape (ouch, right???) on the areas where the staples were going to go — arms, legs, ass, stomach (yikes, ow, and no fucking way), and boobs (again I say, NO FUCKING WAY).

And then they started stapling. That staple gun has a lot of force, let me tell you. And yet, not all the staples made it “all the way in” (allegedly) so the top started pressing on them with his thumbs, and then (yikes!) punching some of them.

Really, it’s astonishing the kind of pain that people not only take, but *love.*

After the top was done stapling the bottom, and then removed all the staples, the top asked if we had any questions. He also asked, in a tone of voice that indicated that he didn’t expect anyone to say yes, if anyone wanted to get stapled.

And watching, it was clear how much force the staple gun has (hint: A LOT), but I still wondered what it felt like. You know, like maybe just one staple.

T. raised his hand to ask a question, which made *me* say, “You’re going to get stapled? Cool!” (I knew that wasn’t why he raised his hand; he’s just fun to fuck with.) “No!!!” he said. “I just have a question…which I apparently already forgot.”

“Maybe there was never a question — maybe you just want staples in your ass!” I’m such a loving girlfriend.

After more banter in this vein, I finally said to T., “If you do it, I’ll do it.”

“Aw, shit,” he said. “I can’t turn down a dare.”

“It’s not a dare,” I said. “I’m going to do it whether you do it or not.”

“Great — I can’t let my girlfriend do it and then not do it myself! All right, let’s go.”

So T. got stapled in the thigh (6 staples), and I got stapled in the arm (5 staples). I need to note that the top wielding the staple gun used a completely different, clean staple gun on us than he used on his partner, and even cleaned the staple gun between T. and me, and put in a fresh row of staples for me, not continuing from the row that T. was stapled from.

Yes, the staple gun has a lot of force, but it’s spread out over the staple, so it’s actually not that bad. And it’s kind of a delayed reaction — staples 1 and 2 were really okay, kind of like getting an allergy shot. But staples 3-5 were done in rapid succession, and they hurt. Not horrible, bad, stop-this-now pain (although I *did* say, “You know, I think 5 is plenty for me. I’m done now, thanks!”), but more of a dull, burn-y ache.

Having them pulled out, though (I had purple duct tape on my arm first), REALLY hurt. Jesus. And the rest of the day, even through a shower and ibuprofen, it just ached like the combo of a BIG allergy shot followed up by a good hard punch. And all I could think was, if 5 staples to my fat upper arm hurt like this after the fact, how much must the demo bottom be hurting, after taking staples ALL OVER?

When I saw her at the party that night, I showed her my staple marks (“I look like a gang of tiny vampires attacked me!”) and asked her how on earth she could take so many staples and not be sore all over. “I don’t know!” she exclaimed, like she was aware it was sheer luck that she had such a high pain threshold, and then she bounced off for more owie fun. I was impressed.

I’m not sorry I did it, but, much like the fire play, it’s not something I can see me making a regular (or irregular) practice of. That’s a bit much for me to handle.

But it’s a great story.