Someone asked me this today, and it made me think a lot on why I enjoy pain. I hadn’t visited the subject in a while, so it took some processing. Here’s my general thoughts on the matter.
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with pain, and it definitely depends on the purpose/context. Where did it come from? Probably, like my desire for submission, from some combination of things in my past that involved me having to maintain strict control over myself, my emotions, — too deep and not pertinent. The real question here is – Why do I choose to engage in behaviors that involve me receiving pain? A variety of reasons:
- Emotional release. I find it difficult to let go and cry sometimes, even when I really need to. Pain can provide an excuse to cry without feeling like I’m being irrational. It’s a catalyst, of sorts. I’ve found stingy pain gets me to this point much more quickly, but isn’t always as satisfying.
- Focus. I find it hard sometimes to stop thinking and just feel. Pain makes me think of only it, the person administering it, and what’s happening in the moment between us. That, in turn, allows me to just feel and enjoy things instead of over-thinking them. Additionally, if I’m really stressed or anxious about something, pain is something else I can’t help but focus on instead. (So is submitting in general, with or without pain.)
- Challenge. I like pushing myself, and seeing what my body can do.
- Fun (ie sexy) endorphins. Pain in certain places, from certain implements, with certain people can get me off in and of itself. Namely, thuddy pain in the ass region with someone I am attracted to, or any type of pain to the nipples with someone I’m attracted to, or rough body play/biting with someone I’m attracted to (notice the trend there?).
- Control. Pain is a physical manifestation of power exchange. Every spank can reemphasize that I am submitting to this person, that I am letting them have control over me, that I trust them not to harm me and to stop if need be. It hurts, but I’m letting them do so because it pleases them, which satisfies a deeper mental submissive desire on my end. If they enjoy hurting me, then I’ll get off on it all the more.
I am not an exhibitionist at all. I will go to public events when I know many people going in order to hang out with friends, to take a class, to play with specific equipment, or for the safety element with a newer partner. When I first got involved in the DC scene, I was much more open to casual/pick-up play, so I went out a lot. I learned quickly though that most of my motivations for play stem from deeper desires – D/s, personal expression, sexual – and I’m not very comfortable doing those things with strangers or in public. Because of that, I think 2 and 3 above are the only motivations that ever really came out in the public-playspace type setting. Maybe 4, in rarer instances.
Since that realization, I’ve only played with S&m things a handful of times. (This is also because things like 1 and 5 require much deeper trust and people who are willing to take care of what they break down, which is harder to find and do in shorter instances or with people you’re not in an ongoing relationship with.) All of the above still applies, I’ve just been much choosier in how I engage in those activities.