Monday, May 10, 2010

Wussy masochist.

How do you reconcile being a masochist with being an enormous wuss? Because I am, well, a medium-sized wuss. In everyday life, tiny little nicks and bumps send me into rather theatrical "ow"s and wound-nursing, and it can be hard to turn that off in a BDSM context. I like pain more than an ordinary person, but I always worry that I can't tolerate more.

My everyday pain tolerance has definitely gotten better over the last few years. I blame work for that; you get a few bruises working in emergency situations, and neither cops nor firefighters nor the patient wants to hear you complain. (Particularly as a woman, I was always very self-conscious about complaining, because if you show weakness the tough guys will go "it figures" and then you're sunk, you're the damn girl burdening everyone because she broke a pretty little nail.) And at least for me, expressing less pain meant I experienced less pain.

When I got my new job, I had to get multiple vaccinations, and I'm afraid of needles. The nurse brought out a tray of enormous syringes and I think I turned a little pale, but I told myself that I wasn't going to embarrass myself by whining and I kept a straight face through the injections. They barely hurt at all.

I'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg of complaining and feeling pain, I don't think a broken leg would be painless if I remembered not to yell, but these experiences did teach me that I have control over how I process pain. If I give in to telling myself "this hurts so bad, I don't like it, poor me," I will lose that control. At which point I'm no fun at all to beat up. No top can control me if I'm not willing to put in the effort to control myself.

So my next self-challenge as a masochist is to get beaten and not say "ow." And not even think "ow." I believe that the power to turn difficult pleasure-and-pain into easy simple pleasure really lies with me. The person who's inflicting the pain can certainly help me with that, but where the transformation really occurs is in my head, and that's up to me.

I worry a lot about how I can be a better bottom, and while task one is probably still "learn to freakin' communicate, seriously Miss Mumbles, figure out exactly what you want and how to say it before you take your pants off," I think an excellent task two is "take responsibility for your own masochism." Right now I crave more pain than I can really tolerate, and reducing my craving would be a total buzzkill so I'm going to work on understanding and expanding my own tolerance.

Yeah, I could just get beaten up less hard, but where the hell is the fun in that?


  1. Needing a very specific sort of warmup to get to the kinds of sensations you want isn't uncommon. I know someone that needs biting before piercing, I like scratching before beatings, etc. Sometimes if you can find something that gives you a little endorphin rush right off the bat it can get you what you want much more easily.

  2. I think learning to deal with pain differently is a goal for lots of masochists...and people who are into body mods, too.

    I'm neither a masochist nor addicted to body modifications. I do however have several tattoos, one of which took 7.5 hours - and I sat through it in one shot. It gave me a lot of time to get closely acquainted with pain; a lot of time to try embracing it, ignoring it, etc. I can't change the fact that something hurts but I can control the way I deal with it. It's interesting.

  3. I get nothing at all sexually out of pain, but I do share perversecowgirl's experience of learning to deal with it in a tattoo setting... I've logged way more hours in that chair than I can keep track of, though never more than three and a half for a single sitting.

    And yes, it's changed my everyday pain tolerance quite a bit... medical procedures I used to hate and fear, like having my blood drawn (I have tiny, rolly veins), are suddenly experiences I have to concentrate on to notice they hurt at all.

  4. Some years ago I had a string of dental procedures and I learned something from them: Fear hurts worse than pain.

    I found that if I could relax, breathe calmly, and remind myself that this is what this procedure is supposed to feel like, and there's nothing alarming about it, suddenly what had seemed like major pain... wasn't.

    I realized then that most of the pain I'd been feeling before wasn't even in my mouth--it was in the tension of my back and legs and arms. Mostly self-inflicted, in other words. Letting go of the fear made the portion of the pain that wasn't under my control a lot easier to deal with--and even learn to appreciate in a way (like the pain that comes from a deep tissue massage).

    I'm not sure how much this helps with masochistic pain, though. Fear can be part of the turn-on (it is for me), so maybe letting go of the fear isn't what you want to do.

  5. You don't necessarily have to love or tolerate all pain equally and still be a bottom - I'm reading that "Bottoming Book" about BDSM and the authors say, you don't have to like pain in other settings to be a good bottom. It says bottoms dislike getting their toes stubbed, for example, just as much as not-kinky people. It's totally cool if you don't like pain in other settings!

    Which is a good thing - if I had to like all pain equally, I'd be totally left out of BDSM.

    You can't always expect when you're going to get hit by accident in real life or stub your toe - there's no warmup.

  6. Oooh, yes, Evan said a true thing.

    I remember realizing at one point that the pain of getting tattooed wasn't the bad part, it was the fear. Pain is usually the body's way of telling you it's being damaged, and parts of all my tattoos have indeed hurt as though my skin were being ripped off, so I think I was having a fight-or-flight response. If I kept telling myself that no, I wasn't being damaged beyond some scrapes that would heal in a couple of weeks, I was able to keep calm.

    I don't think it affected my pain tolerance in other areas of my life, though; it just put other pain in perspective ("Come on, brain. You're panicking over a gyno exam? We once spent over seven hours getting tattooed. STFU already").

  7. Now that you mention it, there's a great analogy between S&M and those hunter/gatherer rites of passage that the Discovery channel can't get enough of.

    If you can stand to have cord passed through your flesh in front of the tribe without wincing, you won't be overcome by the pain when you cut your foot at the climax of a hunt.

    If you can take a caning without screaming bloody murder, you won't be distracted by an injury while trying to save a patient's life.

  8. I am not a sadist, bujt i like to be dominat in sex. I felt in love with a masochist, not knowing that he wasn´t be able to love. O knew in the beginning when we met,that he did felt urge to anbrace me and wanted afection. He decited to stay with his wife. After 10 years he called me and said that he was depresse and that he did miss me so much. He wanted to send me the ticket to fly where he was at the time. As I lookede for him afterwords, he did not wanted to see me any more, and got very agressive with his words. I ask why.I still love him, and I am reading many books to see if I can help him. I just knew he was happy in my presences..

    Can you help some masochist persons about this matter?

  9. Anon - My advice is to have nothing whatsoever to do with this person.

    Also maybe a typing class.