Blood play (also blood sport) is commonly any form of BDSM play in which the letting of blood is common or expected. Any form of physical activity can effectively become blood play if blood accidentally, incidentally or intentionally flows.
The following activities frequently involve bleeding:
The latter two activities, cutting and piercing, are the most likely candidates for bleeding as both breach the skin and can allow blood to escape. In fact, actually causing bleeding can be the intention for both of these.
In addition, scarification---deliberately creating scars---often involves cutting the skin and causing bleeding.
There is a certain intimacy in any activity involving blood. Sharing your partner's blood, and being in contact with it, is a sign of commitment to your partner. Because blood is a carrier for a number of diseases, including Hepatitis and HIV, being in contact with your partner's blood also indicates trust.
Where blood flow is likely, extra precautions and protocols need to be followed to prevent infection:
- Use of latex gloves and other barriers,
- Use of disinfectant to prevent airborne and other infections from entering any wounds,
- Cleaning and disinfecting implements and equipment to prevent the spread of blood-borne infections to future users of the same equipment, and
- Quarantining or reserving of blood-contaminated equipment which can't practically be cleaned for use solely on the one person in future.
In regards to this last point, blood itself and blood products (including plasma) can carry infection from one person to another. Some implements and equipment used in BDSM can't effectively be cleaned once contaminated with someone's blood. For example, the tails of leather floggers can be difficult, if not impossible, to disinfect without damaging the tails. Some types of rope are also problematic. Unsealed wooden implements, such as paddles or canes, can also soak up blood and be impossible to clean. Once contaminated, such an implement either needs to be disposed of, or else kept in a sealed bag away from other implements or equipment, and be reserved for use solely on the person whose blood contaminated it in the first place.