“Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
– International Association for the Study of Pain
As a sensation in general, pain (understandably) gets a bad wrap. If we accept the above definition, it’s the body’s way of letting us know that we’re doing something to it that it would rather we didn’t.
But, for some, feeling and/or inflicting pain isn’t always a negative experience. What about those of us who have a positive, healthy relationship with it? Who consider it to be an intrinsic part of our sexual selves and a consensual, loving relationship?
I have been trying to write this post for a while but it has proven to be rather difficult. Mainly because I’m not confident that I can fully articulate the nuances of erotic pain, it subtleties – its beauty – in any sort of way that will do it justice. Not to mention that I am fighting against the ridiculously outdated perceptions of sexual/erotic pain put forward in the late 1800s and early Twentieth Century by two well-known psychiatrists. (Yep, we’re still defining sadism and masochism according to theories that are now over 100 years old. How’s that for progress?)
So I’ve called in help – big time – in the form of four very awesome people, all of whom, like me, have a close relationship with sexual pain and view it rather differently to Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Sigmund Freud …
THE RECEIVING END
That first touch of his hand or the flogger or the paddle is always a shock that makes me gasp for breath and often, for a split second, a little glimmer of hate for this moment will niggle at my brain. ‘Ow that hurts’ my knee jerk reaction but only for a moment. The smallest of moments, because then it is replaced with a heat, a strong powerful surge of chemicals that flood my nervous system but all too soon they begin to wane, disappearing alone my nerve endings and fluttering away to almost nothing until the next strike and then the next and onwards. My body greedily lapping up the sensation, riding on an ever building wave of heat and pressure making my muscles twitch and my skin throb. Nothing else exists in this moment, the pain (for want of a better word) is a consuming focusing point that dances through my body, emptying my mind of everything and making me feel. Everything is more when there is pain and yet everything is me. I am the centre of myself or should I say my body is. Alight with heat, hot electric pulsing heat that fills me up and consumes me, washing everything else away. I am raw, exposed, vulnerable and yet invincible. In that moment I feel so truly alive. Continue reading