Sunday, June 29, 2008

A little bit about pain.

Submission's easy to explain. Pain's hard. It's not just about giving up control, it's about giving up control and being betrayed. If D/s is a trust fall, SM is a trust fall where you hit the ground. Still thrilling, and with a competent top still safe, but... fuuuck, it hurts.

I've heard people say things like "masochists transform pleasure to pain," or "it's not pain, it's intense sensation." Really? Is that what it's like for you? Maybe it is. But for me, there's a lot of real, no-euphemism pain in the experience. Certain types of pain are straight-up pleasurable: very mild slap 'n tickle, pain during sex, and sometimes pain that's sufficiently severe and extended that I get a little out of my head. The meat of a scene, though, hurts me.

So why? Dunno. I don't think it's any kind of negative or self-destructive impulse; hitting makes me happy! I do get a little high afterwards, but it doesn't happen every time and I don't think it's the primary motivation. Ascribing it to The Patriarchy is too ridiculous for words. Maybe it's just one of those random oddities that people are born with. Like an eleventh toe.

Pain teaches you about yourself. You learn how strong you are--I've been whipped with a fucking chain! I've had a knife held to my throat! I've fucked with my tits and pussy bruised purple!--and how weak. Silly James Bond fantasies about how you'd stand up under torture crumble in the face of real pain. Even "moderate" pain can turn me into a sniveling coward, someone who'll kneel and beg and suck cock to make it stop. Some of that is an act, is deliberate submission; some of it isn't. Ultimately there is no strength against pain, and although he could probably take more than me, if you hit him hard enough, James Bond would cry and suck your cock.

(Okay, well, Moore would. Brosnan would be wetting up his lips before you were done with the warmup. Jury's out on Craig. Connery would die defiant.)

Sometimes, though. Sometimes I'm handcuffed up on a chainlink fence, ass-naked in boots and there are strangers staring at me and a man with a cane and a maniac grin is making me cry. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I know I'm enjoying it, sometimes I'm horrified and begging for it to stop and yet soaking wet between my legs. No, I can't say "every blow is a surge of pleasure." Every blow hurts. And that's awesome.


  1. Okay, firs this sentence is perfect: "If D/s is a trust fall, SM is a trust fall where you hit the ground."

    Second, YES! I also get annoyed by the pain as pleasure line. No, pain is pain and pain as pain. I can like it but it still hurts. That is the point ;)

  2. This is where S/M fascinates me. I have a fairly high pain tolerance (that I've tested pretty extensively) and some things, like tattoos, hurt in a way that I can enjoy, but I never got how it could be a turn-on. It interests me, but I don't think I could ever get off on it.

    I guess it's just a matter of wiring.

  3. Aebhel - And I don't have extraordinary pain tolerance, not at all. I don't think tolerance and enjoyment are linked.

    Wiring's right; you've just got ten toes is all, and there's nothing to be done for it.

  4. This is very much how I feel about pain, too. It doesn't turn into pleasure, it definitely hurts. But for some reason, I like that. :)

    Love your blog!

  5. Holly: I totally agree with you about the different Bonds! heh. Sean *would* die defiant. All hot and pained but never giving in.... Moore was much more a 'I'll do whatever I have to get the job done *and* keep my skin' kinda Bond I think...

  6. yes, the pain definitely hurts. some of it in a good way - i love to be spanked, or beaten with a belt.

    but for me, i think what's so great about it is taking a pain as a sign of my submission. it's a gift of love. not to mention that going down into subspace is an incredible high. i submit and i'm hurt and i sob and if i'm lucky i'm allowed to cum. but in any case, i come through it all cleansed and new.

  7. Maybe you like this pain for the same reasons boxers and rugby players like boxing and rugby.

    Is pain pain or is sexual pain sexual pain.

  8. Maja - No, no, Moore was a wuss, that's what I'm sayin' here. But still not as wussy as "oh no, don't mess up my pretty hair!" Brosnan.

    Oatmeal Girl - Interesting. I don't think I'm nearly as submissive as you--although I will follow commands when I'm bottoming, I don't think the enjoyment of pain comes directly from submission for me. (And--I know this makes me not-submissive in some people's eyes--I'm damn well going to come at the end.)

    Jonathan - I do martial arts, and I really don't enjoy getting socked during a lesson, any more than I enjoy catching my hand in a door. Without sex, pain is just pain for me, like normal people.

  9. so i'm reading your blog backwards. because i found you a few days ago when somebody linked to you shapely prose (much like the geek/perv overlap, there seems to be a reasonable FA/perv overlap, although the pervs by and large don't seem to be very movement-centered---that sexy, fuckable folk exist above a size fourteen just seems a fact of life in the kink community, and less of a big deal). anyway. you're putting your finger on the welt here, as far as i'm concerned. sometimes all of that goopy "every blow like a fiery caress" bdsm porn makes me feel like i'm doing it wrong.