Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $2.49 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Trade in your item
Get a $2.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy Paperback – February 14, 2011

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$15.65 $15.60

Frequently Bought Together

Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy + Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex
Price for both: $48.56

Buy the selected items together


Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at

Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (February 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253222850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253222855
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[A] ground-breaking book.... captivating and ethnographically dense.
" —Ethnos

"Newmahr’s decisions to use passages of creative representation to convey ‘felt’ experiences, as well as to use her own body as an instrument of intellectual inquiry to such an extent, bring a sense of depth and presence to the book that is often sorely lacking in such work." —Katherine Frank, author of G-Strings and Sympathy: Strip Club Regulars and Male Desire

"Staci Newmahr’s exploration of the public SM scene is interesting, thoughtprovoking,
and in some cases, challenging. Her involvement in the field and her willingness to share at least the surface details of her experience are extraordinary. Moreover, her commitment to understanding the community of public SM players with rigor, intellectual honesty, and sensitivity is the hallmark of a great ethnography." —Symbolic Interaction

"A fascinating, well-written, carefully researched book that illuminates a subculture about which we know very little.... Never before have we had research that is so close to the community, that allows us inside this community's behavior, rationalizations, understandings, and lived experiences." —Patricia Adler, co-author of Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context, and Interaction

"An important contribution to the fields of crime/deviance and sexuality." —Leon Anderson, author of Deviance: Social Constructions and Blurred Boundaries

"Playing on the Edge is a well written, well supported, clear, easily accessed, and comprehendible yet theoretically rich delineation of a (supposedly deviant) community. In simple terms, this is a very good book and a first-class example of what ethnographic research can and should look like." —Criminal Justice Review

About the Author

Staci Newmahr is an ethnographer. Her work plays with intersections of risk, emotion, eroticism, and gender. She is currently Assistant Professor of Sociology at Buffalo State College.

More About the Author

Dr. Staci Newmahr is an ethnographer and sociologist at Buffalo State College. Her work plays with intersections of gender, nonconformity, emotion, risk-taking and eroticism.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harviainen Jussi T on March 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Newmahr's ethnography on American sadomasochism is a solid contribution to expanding our understanding of the subject. Alternating between excellent examples and observations, and heavy, yet well explained and grounded theory, the author presents a comprehensive picture of the scene she has studied, as well as the attraction of it to its participants, both socially and pleasure-wise.

It should be noted, though, that Newmahr's research concentrates on public-play communities in which sadomasochism was not as strongly tied to sexuality as in certain other groups, meaning that her findings, accurate as they are, will not be immediately applicable to all SM contexts. Likewise, this is not necessarily a book for people who are sadomasochists, but rather a book about them. It is, however, a book every self-respecting scholar of sadomasochism, leathersex or kink should possess, and a reference which shows that the key findings of earlier SM ethnographers, such as Geoff Mains (who sadly is not quoted in it), still very much apply today.

Just as the sub-title says, this is a book about risk and intimacy, both of which are treated with the right sort of expertise, curiosity and respect.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christine on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Newmahr's close, personal look at the SM scene combines academic curiosity with the complicated pull of human emotion--a rare and important feat. She treats pain play not like a pathology but as a fascinating and meaningful expression of the human condition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images