(tw: cutting, self-harm, blood)
I’ve eroticized blood since I was a kid. Age thirteen or fourteen at the latest, maybe younger.
The nonsexual interest in blood started years before then, with menstruation. Even before I got my first period, at age ten, I was obsessed with the idea. I read teen magazines like YM or Seventeen, with information about the reproductive system and advice columns about coping with inopportune bleeding, the way I imagine prepubescent straight boys read Playboy: with an inexplicable draw toward what they found on the pages even if they couldn’t yet fathom the full nature of the attraction.
I wanted to bleed, badly. In part because I wanted to feel like a woman, similar to how I longed to shave my legs and wear deodorant and bras, but in part also because I wanted the mess. I kept picturing thin, wine-red rivulets inching down the pale skin of my thighs. (I suspect I must have seen this in a movie or something, because the mental image was so crisp, but if I did I don’t remember it now.)
Then, of course, my period started, and the reality of the cramps and the ruined clothes and every other menstruation-related middle school trauma dulled the appeal considerably.
(Although it didn’t ruin the appeal entirely. That didn’t happen until my midtwenties, when the sharp rise of PMDD and hormonal issues ensured I could no longer associate my period with anything but emotional instability.)
A few years later, at thirteen or fourteen, I learned about the practice of self-mutilation—cutting, in particular—and with that came the kink.
It’s twisted, I know. I always feel an urge to apologize for the way I used to sexualize something like self-harm, but I didn’t know better. I discovered a group of people online who seemed to crave and seek blood like I did, and I latched on to them.
I greedily looked at photos of their fresh wounds and older scars, descriptions of what they’d done, and—there’s no kind way to say this—I got off on it. Again, it was my Playboy, but this time I thought I finally understood.
I was using a Gillette Sensor Excel to shave my legs then, and one night in the bathroom I dismantled it, put one of the tiny blades to my ankle, and cut. And then I promptly retreated to my bed, turned onto my stomach, and humped myself to orgasm while I rubbed my bleeding ankle with the opposite foot.
I don’t remember exactly when I started realizing that I wasn’t like the people I knew who self-injured, but eventually I cottoned on that my motive, mental state, and response were too different for me to keep hanging out on SI boards.
By then, too, I was heavily into online fandom—and I was reading a lot of fan fiction. I discovered kink and BDSM, at least in theory. I stumbled on a piece of brutal, bloody fan art, tagged as “blood play,” which gave me the vocabulary I needed to probe deeper.
I still remember that piece of art. In retrospect, it was closer than guro than simple blood play—there were exposed organs—but it packed even more of a punch as a result. That swooping sensation low in my belly, that tight clench of my cunt…I was enthralled. I wanted more.
I don’t have the language to explain the details of the attraction. I’m not sure such language exists. We talk about being turned on, for someone of my body at least, in terms of wetness or clit stiffness, but it’s different for me than that. Deeper.
The best way I can explain it is to say it’s like the difference between a jump scare and atmospheric tension. A tense scene in a movie isn’t going to make me shriek aloud or jolt in my seat or my heart pound like a jump scare will—but I find the tension more riveting, more satisfying.
A jump scare after a slow build-up of atmospheric tension, though? That’s gold. I lap it up like the richest chocolate.