#FetishFriday: Dermographism

Each Friday, I will present a different fetish or kink and really drill down into it for those who are curious, want to be able to write about them accurately or who just so happen to enjoy or want to explore these things. These postings should always be treated as NSFW! Also, I strongly recommend the reader NOT attempt these activities without proper training or with or on a new or unknown partner, especially one who does not have verifiable kink experience. I will not be liable for the reader’s errors or any injury stemming from any reliance upon the content of this post. It is for informational purposes only, and the reader is HIGHLY encouraged to seek out reputable alternate sources of information and practical training before engaging in any of the acts which may be described herein. 

Dermographism (from Gr. dermis, “skin,” + graph, “writing”) literally translates to “writing on the skin.” You may hear this and think of something like this:

Kanji script “iro” on my right forearm.

And, yes, that is ONE way to interpret it.

However, in the kink world, dermographism means something else entirely.

Dermographism is the paraphilia, or fetish for those of us who don’t speak shrinktalk, of being sexually aroused or finding mental, physical and emotional pleasure and release in the giving or recieving of marks such as bruises and welts on one’s skin. It is associated with Sadism and masochism, or sadomasochism for those who like to ride the switchy line, but they are not necessarily coterminous or concurrent. This is also distinctive from similar paraphilias regarding abrasions, lacerations and similar accidental or extreme markings, as well as scars. Dermographism may occur in conjunction with other fetishes such as odaxalagnia (biting fetish), spanking, bondage and/or other fetishes, simultaneously or distinct from one another.

One of the best, and worst, parts of dermographism is that it can leave marks which last from a few days to several weeks. These serve as a reminder of the encounter (a good thing if everyone had a good time, which of course would be the entire point of the exercise), but can be ticklish as hell to explain to one’s OB-GYN or urologist. In BDSM, dermographism is actually far more common in my personal experience than latex or many of the other “typical” kinks people normally think of.

So why do it?

Well, I wrote this little vignette to try to explain exactly that.

The following Wednesday, the skin on Sheila’s thighs, butt and breasts still sang every time she changed positions, dressed or undressed. She surveyed the marks as she stripped to her bare skin with a critical eye. The bruises and weals left by Adam’s teeth, pinching fingers, floggers and cane had blossomed into full purple and red flower, and now showed a slight greenish-yellow about the edges as the healing process kicked into high gear.

Despite the discomfort, or perhaps because of it, her pussy wept aroused moisture every time she felt the slight tug of the marks. The memory of giving herself to him so completely, trusting he would not hurt her beyond what she could take or do her permanent injury, sent gentle pulses of heat lightning from her core outward, until the urge to plunge her fingers between her thighs and sate herself was unbearable. 

Thank God he’s coming over tonight!

She sat down on the low, hard wooden bench with the raised nubs, exactly as he had directed. They ground against the welts on her ass and thighs, driving her arousal and her discomfort higher and higher. He would get a grand view of what he did to her on Saturday night, and if she knew him at all, he would soon have her on hands and knees, taking what belonged to him and leaving them both breathlessly satisfied.

Behind her, the door opened and closed almost silently. Goosebumps chased each other up and down her arms and legs as she scented his gentle aftershave on the air-conditioned breeze drifting throguh the apartment.

His voice came, low, gravelly and unmistakably aroused.

“You look delicious, pet.”

The beauty of dermographism, as with many D/s-related kinks, is the demonstration of absolute trust, love and submission to another. It is also beneficial in that, unlike most forms of play, it leaves tangible, albeit temporary, evidence that “X was here” literally written into the bottom’s skin. There is an undeniable poetry in a submissive wearing with pride marks she received from her Dominant with consent, intent and deliberation. There is an inherent beauty in the willingness of the submissive to take the Dominant’s marks and thereby proclaim themselves as a possession, as property and as something, and most importantly someone, who chooses to be of use and service in such a manner.

This kind of play can be an extremely powerful bonding moment between partners and increase the trust and love they share. However, it can also be dangerous if not done properly. Hematoma, or pooling of blood beneath the skin, is one of the chief dangers of this sort of activity and can lead to blood clots. These in turn can cause injury, stroke or death. Proper aftercare, including icing the afflicted areas after a scene, can help ameliorate this risk.


Be sure to tune in next Friday for my next installment, and keep watching this space for the worldbuilding post I promised for yesterday!

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