“BDSM and the pain of knowledge” is part of the series on BDSM and psychology
It is quite common to meet open minded, kind and non-partisan people that are nevertheless displaying difficulties with understanding the notion of pain in the BDSM context. Of course also ‘proper Charlies’ cannot grasp the pain part of SM, but for them we can make a generous exemption, as after all, in general they tend to cling to delusive conceptions.
Yet, strange enough even most inside the scene do not pay much attention to understanding pain – and who can while busy processing it - and it is not to be excluded that the underlying attitude towards pain is very different for each of the persons involved in the praxis of administering or receiving pain within the consensual, safe and sound BDSM umbrella.
So what – excruciatingly phrased - is pain for us?
Is BDSM about pain?
I have to say that I sympathize with the question, but in my opinion the answer is an easy and plain no. BDSM is such broad a topic that redefining it around one issue is injust; most of the kinky folk are not into pain at all. Good for them! Yet, I am.
The reason this question about BDSM and pain comes up so often is that of the propaganda against sadism in the media; images from movies, descriptions in the paper and vivid fantasies in sometimes very much beside the point books and stories.
The propaganda is repeating history’s judgmental phrases; BDSM is sick, pervert, abnormal and at the best – by an aloof tolerance against the ‘disturbed’ – granted as a mental disorder; likely caused by incest, abuse and rape or otherwise horrific childhood experiences. (For this reason Sir Cameron never tells if he yes, or no, played with dolls as a kid – for your information; as a grown up I play with real ‘dolls’ …)
So, yes, with manufactured prejudgements like the above stated, it is rather easy to understand people’s reservation and puzzlement once meeting with a ‘real’ sadist or a real ‘slave’. And sometimes they cannot belief it, as we appear to be such ‘normal’, ‘sociable’ and ‘both feet planted firmly on the ground’ kind of person; so how on earth could the people have been so deceived? Are we such smart deviant bastards, blending them with our inhuman, frightening and merciless intelligence? (That’s why we love Dracula!)
Well, I will not argue against biases. I think sadists often have such sides, but it is only one aspect; sadist can be gentle, loving and caring just as easily. Yet, it is up to anyone what they want to belief: evidence or delusion, experience or theory, their guts or their fears. Whatever …
But of course people are entitled to get an honest answer - at least from those of us who belief BDSM to be a rationally acceptable and ethical thing. So, how does such an answer look like?
Proverbs 23:26 states: ‘My son, give me your heart’. And even when sensible people do not personally comprehend our thing with kink from the inside, they are at least sympathetic to argumentation, facts and honesty. By showing our heart, our being, we – also speaking for colleague sadists – we show that we at least can bear ourselves. It is by being open and vulnerable to rejection that we can win the battle against ignorance, prejudges and unwarranted fears, as when we show strength, ethics and care, it is a message that stands contrary to the usual misleading propaganda against kink and its followers.
Sleep in heavenly peace
Loosing your heart is a concept that we all get, particularly because we are all looking for precisely that; to be madly in love, losing yourself and float in heavenly bliss. At least, this is what we dream about and even a partial manifestation in our real life gives us a boost in energy, happiness and confidence; “wow, somebody loves me …”
The need for love, affection and comfort is deeply human; we all aspire after it and we all hate to live without it. For those who have not gotten it by now; this state of mind, this feeling grounded, secure, cared for and loved is what some kinks feel when dealing with sensory pain or – as a mental variant – humiliation.
So, just take my word on it and accept that there exist people that do play with pain because it makes them feel (jolly) good. The resistance against this concept is not to be found in the experience of those persons who enjoy this side of BDSM, but rather in the internal emotional conflict that their ‘utterly strange’ behaviour causes in the non-kink observer; emotions of bewilderment, fear and even disgust as a result of actions that often go against anything we have learned about responsible adult romantic love-making.
For the record, Sir Cameron does not hold hirself responsible for the emotions you or any other people have; it is perfectly okay for hir that you all deal with your own emotions; they are completely yours, your responsibility, yours to justify and understand.
This said, I also want to add that this blog is here for you too; so you may learn, understand and feel being taken seriously. I care, not only for my own sake, but also for your sake; being faced with difficult emotions is a thing on which we can use support and advice each other. The reason is obvious, as such emotions can not only be difficult; they often are so hard because they cause internal conflict. The nature of this conflict is such that many of us experience attraction and repulsion, as if we have an internal battle between what we – simplifying – call lower and higher urges.
As social beings, we all are familiar with these urges. Many people think it is easy to be a sadist. Well, take a cane and try it out on someone you like. It is not easy and many cannot hurt others – unless they are selfish, drunk or refuse to take treatment or medication. Being on the receiving end of BDSM-pain – as the masochist - is not that easy either.
“Hi mom, hi dad, can I tell you something”
“Of course, my dear …” mom replies, her face smiling as always.
That is too hard, and you turn to your father, swallow and say, soft but clear:
“Dad, I love to have my friend put a baseball club in my butt/ass, spank my breasts/tits until I cry and calls me a sick bimbo/slut.”
“YOU WHAT !!!!!”
Got the point? We – kinks - must live with ourselves, deal with our own sexuality and manage our own emotions, but it is not always easy, take my word on that. And no, hating us does not make it feel any better. And I think I do not need to point out that similar emotional turmoil not only goes for persons involved with sadomasochism, but also for fetishists and those in sexuality and gender identity-based cultures.
The other side of love
The sensitive reader will likely understand from my argument, that being a different person in a sexual way is not always without pain; we love our families, our villages and colleagues and we neither like nor deserve rejection, misunderstandings or hate. This is the kind of pain inflicted on us by those who do not grasp that individual lives are differing by their very nature. This is a pain that is more troublesome for many of us than the belt, whip or the cane. But there is more …
One of the most bitter experiences I had to make when I took my first submissive, was that those things that I thought only to exist in my fantasy appeared to be real; after all, the thing I longed for was available and from that moment on I realized that I have been hurting myself in my previous relationships by not getting what I needed to feel happy and complete. Instead I opted to abide by more ‘socially correct’ concepts. And actually, it was not even an SM thing at all, but simply the attention, the devotion and the almost magical intimacy between me and my devotee: a pouring out yourself in the sweetness of the other; feeling embraced, welcomed and admired. Perhaps it is a unity or a merger of the souls that form a sacred field of energy in which both thrive.
Sex is uniting, but not in itself, but as expression of a uniting process. When we feel attracted to someone that is not us, we are not thinking about an ass or nipples – okay, sometimes we do – but about ‘being with that other’ or knowing them – in the biblical sense. Being inside the other, or them in you, is a ‘penetration’/acceptance of the other, the non-self. By embracing the non-self, we dissolve somewhat, but we also get larger. Two, in a way, become one. Freedom in sex is only possible when someone is free itself, free to accept how one is, and free to meet the other as the other is; free to be curious about the fireworks we together can ignite.
The other side of pain
By the way, with the above stated we found a good example to clarify another aspect of pain play; we touch. More precisely we touch skin. We caress it, we make it glow, burn even. Sometimes we make welts, or cut or pierce and get ‘under the skin’. By sensing your largest organ in more detail, you have a new experience of yourself, your border and your size. In a way, when I spank my bottom, I am defining hir and by setting limits to my bottom, ze is subject to my definition, my creation. We spank, wrap in tape, tie in ropes, put in cages; all confinement. We open, lay bare, expose, share, force, display, show, demonstrate; all revealing.
It is therefore that I – that Sir Cameron in his Dominion metaphysics – regard BDSM as a way of self-discovery, a method by which we learn, accept and improve ourselves. For the majority of humanity, humiliation is not sexy, love is combined with tenderness and pain is a turn-off. For those who are into pain, it often is painful in a figurative sense too, as by enjoying 'abnormal' feelings, you always have that little voice speaking inside your head that you are actually are abnormal, or a pervert.
Therefore being with a person that you trust, so you can let go, let yourself fall in the certainty (belief!) that you are being catched and loved and – in case you feel hurt or are in pain – being cared for and hold tight. The idea of freedom in the sense that we do not need other people is erroneous; we are ‘social animals’ and once you have seen a group sex scene evolve you realize being social and friendly is not per se a non-sexual thing.
For those who expected a lecture about hormones, altered body chemistry, mind-fucking or role play; yes, there is much more to be said and to explain, but technical details on how a pain-trance shows resemblance to drug-induced states, why pain does feel like pain, but we still want to continue (remember child birth, which is extremely painful, but the desire for the baby is the real issue); all true and interesting, but the humanity of what it is that we do - in a sensible way, as consenting adults - is more important than the ‘technical’ side. This makes it too simplified and mechanical, like a trip, or a ‘strange’ game. We are more than playing; we are being ourselves; real people being true.
You are entitled to your own convictions, but consider them well and follow your heart.
Be gentle, true and good for yourself – Sir Cameron