› firstname.lastname@example.org 
I'm a young, mostly heterosexual woman, and I don't get much out of ordinary sex. I rely on (safe) sex with one-off partners, which just doesn't satisfy me.
I'm increasingly interested in S-M — tattoos, piercings, bondage, and I like to be dominated. I've also been having fantasies about being cut, which I find a bit worrying. Maybe not being able to fulfill the other, milder desires is causing me to think up more twisted things? Obviously it's difficult to bring this up with strangers, but I'm not interested in having a long-term partner now. I also don't want to buy into a whole subculture when all I want is the occasional bit of harmless deviance. What next? Do I even have a problem?
Ha! Good question. I wish more people would ask me if they even have a problem, so I could just say, "Not really, no," and go back to my book. And you don't, particularly. You seem to know exactly what you want. The only question is how to get it.
The S-M scene does not care if you "buy into it." You will not hurt its feelings by failing to identify with it. Think of it not as a club but as a marketplace: Is there something you want? What are you willing to pay for it? Is it really so hard to attend a meeting here and there or some events at the local Sexe Shoppe? You don't have to buy a lot of shiny, unflattering clothing or pierce your face or anything, just go and check out the scene. Meet some nice deviants, get invited to some parties. I'm not a joiner either but sometimes you just have to shut up and do it, whatever it is. It's competitive out there, and if you want to be properly abused you're going to have to assert yourself.
As for the cutting, it's less scary in the doing than in the contemputf8g. Most people into blood play are obsessively careful, occasionally too careful, if you know what I mean, and few will come near you with anything sharpish without undertaking exhaustive negotiation first. You do not want to get into this with total strangers, though, or at least I'd rather you didn't. There's a whole realm of "play partners" out there, perverty people who get together at parties or less public arenas to exchange some affectionate floggings or piercings and then go on their way again, no strings attached, or at least not for long. I'm sure someone would want to do the same with you, but if you want it you'll have to, oh, I dunno, leave the house?
My girlfriend and I have explored a number of fantasies, and last week she let me in on one that worries me: She wants us to act out a rape fantasy. She says she wants to be dominated and forced to submit, especially by someone who minutes ago was holding doors open for her.
I'm the first to admit that I'm interested and I think it could be fun if done right. I like the idea of the “woman in a frilly Southern dress gets ravished by muscular lover” stuff of romance novels. Unfortunately, her fantasy is closer to “girl gets dragged off the sidewalk and pounded hard while being called a slut." I really worry about forcing myself on a woman while she screams "No, don't!" — no matter that she asked me to do it.
Sorry to kill your immediate reaction, but yes, we have talked openly about it. I've told her my concerns, and she understands. So what do we do here? Should we even be considering it? Have we accidentally stumbled into one of those relationship-killing zones where it's best for a couple to just forget the idea and move on?
I dunno. There are interracial couples who act out slave dramas without psychological harm. There are incest survivors who reenact their childhood traumas in "daddy's girl" scenarios and the like and end up the stronger and saner for it. If they can play with this combustible material without getting burned, I don't see why you two can't. It's worth noting, though, that the bottom/submissive/“victim" in a scene is not the only one who can get hurt. Not only can tops develop "flogger's shoulder" or other repetitive strain injuries, they are just as vulnerable to psychological harm as the bottom, but without the built-in safety valve: Bottoms can cry and regress and call a safe word if things get too intense. So can you, but you'll have to break role to do it. If you try this and it's too much for either one of you, stop. (You'll need a safe word other than “stop!" or "no!" or this will never work.) It'll be fine. It's not like you'll accidentally actually rape her or anything. It's a game, and games end when you're done playing.