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But It Hurts!   

About The Pain In BDSM

" I like pleasure spiked with pain"

~ Red Hot Chili Peppers                

Science really doesn't know much about pain yet. Even in this day of advanced medicine we don't have a way to quantify it as to degree, nor qualify it as to specific type very effectively. We can't see pain on a meter or other gauge, but we know when it is present and that it has power. Because pain can be so potent it is used for many things. It tells the doctor that something is wrong and where to look. It can be used to control people. From extreme torture to a simple police billy club, governments and alike have used it to make people do what they want them to do. Pain has also been used to measure the character of men and women. From duty to country, to athletic commitment and religious conviction, the person able to endure great pain for a cause has been trumpeted as a great hero.

As a universal phenomena pain has always been something that humans must suffer through. It's value has always been it's discomfort. Every living soul on earth will experience pain and have to find some way to cope with it. It is not welcomed by anyone...except us in BDSM.

BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) has, as one of it's primary practices, the giving and receiving of pain. Take pain out of 'BDSM' and all you have is 'B', bondage. To the outsider this is what is probably the most confusing observation that they make regarding our lifestyle. Why do some people get turned on by pain?

I would like to say that not all BDSM scenes actually need to have pain involved. Some people don't like the pain part and only play using bondage and fetish themes. It's really not necessary to split hairs on what 'actually is' BDSM. Is it really BDSM without some element of pain? Some folks like to use the term D/s, or Domination and submission instead of BDSM. Frankly, it doesn't matter to me. It's all the same thing, just a different flavor.

The flavor of pain though, is to many, the sole reason for their participation in the lifestyle. They crave the feeling of a whip speeding down on their flesh and taking a bite. Without the sensation of pain, there would be little to motivate them to spend the time in the dungeon. In fact, it's not even a matter of pain first, then sex. It's the pain alone and you can leave the sex part outside. The experience of pain in an erotic environment is a purpose in and of itself for many!

For more on the American Psychiatric Association position. (Click Here)

The clinical word for the phenomena of enjoying pain as an erotic stimulus, is masochism. It's companion is sadism, those that enjoy dealing out the pain. For years the sciences have tried to figure out why people want to be hurt and why others want to cause pain. Freud studied it extensively, Theodore Reik wrote a whole book about it (Masochism in Modern Man, 1941), and the American Psychiatric Association , keeps trying to define what it is as a mental health issue, assuming that it is an unhealthy behaviour. All sorts of people outside of the lifestyle keep working up a sweat over what we the sadists and masochists, do with pain. Their main focus is to reduce the enjoyment of pain to a problem, or illness, that needs to be cured. To date, I really don't think anyone has a nuts and bolts theory that really works, as to why there are sadists and masochists A comprehensive understanding keeps eluding them like a crafty fox that raids a chicken coup. They think they have it and then something they never figured on throws the whole theory out of balance. I am not sure, but I would make a wager, that a truly objective, scientific position cannot be made because the phenomena is really more of a subjective value, much like the debate over what is great tasting food.

What I know is this; it doesn't matter what the doctors and scientists say, or are able to agree on...we like it! So many of the masochists that I know are highly functioning individuals, that any argument to the dysfunction of their life, because of their fantasies, or real time experience in BDSM, would be nullified by the personal and professional success these people have achieved. I don't think that enjoying pain is unhealthy. Yes we like pain, and we aren't crazy or dysfunctional people. It's just an acquired taste like enjoying dry wine, blue cheese or jazz. As Louie Armstrong once said about Jazz, "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand!"

We like it so much that we have developed our own terminology for it. Those that enjoy pain we call Pain Sluts. What the pain slut seeks is a phenomena we call 'Sub Space'. Sub space is a state of bliss for the submissive that has both a physical and a mental dimension. Ask any real pain slut, and they will tell you that there is no better place to be than in sub-space. It beats the Super Bowl, a green on the best golf course in the world and a seat in the best restaurant in New York. Sub Space, and the accompanying Dom Space for the sadist, is the motivation for all of our effort to create and receive, the most exquisite pain in a scene.

But It Hurts! (continued)


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