At Molly’s Daily Kiss the current “Kink of the Week” prompt is masochism…
Like most people, I think, to me pain was to be avoided at all costs. Especially as I got older and experienced it more. It eventually became something that held me back because I feared it, because any pain just meant *stop* and even discomfort became a warning sign. Any pain was a screaming in my brain to RUN. A chronic injury made this even worse, adding fear that I’d lose my ability to walk, hike, dance… Plus I was in enough pain, thank you very much.
But sometimes pain means good things.
It can mean you’ve stretched your abilities, like the burn after exercise. It can show you your strength of will, proving oneself (even if only to oneself). Overcoming an Ordeal. Initiation. Some things you want might involve pain to get there, or the risk of it, like playing the guitar, waxing, piercings… All optional to survival, all painful, but maybe you desire them anyway. And sometimes discomfort is required for health; effective exercise almost always involves some measure of pain. Discipline is… Not comfortable…
The role of pain in BDSM is carefully moderated to be “painful”, but not “harmful” and painful up to the limit you choose to accept. It is a choice, and something you can kinda control, to the extent you choose to.
And so I came to somatically understand something through play sessions: Some pain is just a warning that something *might* be dangerous, if you push it, but not that you’re causing lasting harm. Facing pain in a carefully controlled environment helped me to be less scared of it, and to recognise the different types of pain in my body better. From”hmmm, not sure” to “Ow, but I’m OK” to “no, stop now.” It helped me learn to listen to my body. When I’d chosen it, when I understood that that particular pain or discomfort didn’t mean “damage” but rather “I had fun”, then I could calm my mind and tell my body that I didn’t need to panic. I was at the mercy of pain, and my fear of it, but gently investigating masochism has helped me find my power in, over, and with, it again.
The context of the experience means that the sensation can be just that, a sensation. And, with the endorphins and adrenaline, often a fun one at that. One that gets you focused and present on the moment and the dance between you and your play partner. These together can make controlled, consensual, pain a definite turn on in the right context!
Knowing how much fun it can be adds a layer of empathetic delight when on the giving side too, for that matter. But knowing you have all the attention of a beautiful person who you are eliciting interesting and honest responses from has always been a pleasure for me on its own. And you don’t get more honest than an involuntary gasp!
This prompt is also thematic for me currently as I’m reading “Dark Moon Rising” by Raven Kaldera and reflecting on the role of pain in magical practice.
Pain is a tool that has been used as long as we can look back into prehistory to prove oneself, to transform oneself, and to alter our consciousness. One thing I’m learning is that our fear of even temporary discomfort can be as much of a hindrance to reclaiming our power as our cultural disapproval of meaningful pleasure.
If you enjoyed my reflections on this, do check out the other Kink of the Week Posts at the link above, explore the other posts on this blog, and check out my book, Twisted.
What’s your relationship to pain? Has sadomasochism taught you anything about your self?
One thought on “Pleasure and Pain”
It’s a really fine between ow, ow, no and ow, ow, give me more! Finding that balance can be tricky and it’s something we need to work out over time.