20 May Pain
A little while ago I was flirting with a sadist who asked me about what kind of violence that is interesting to me and how I wish to explore it. Violence and pain are for me tightly linked, both as a masochist, as a sadist and as a submissive. I always get curious when we speak about sadism and masochism and always meaning that play within the realm of SM is automatically connected to physical pain, even suffering. Pain is a wide field of stimuli and sometimes I don’t know what is pain and what is sensory stimuli. All in all I do believe that we would gain a whole lot more nuance and perspective if we would reshape the notion that sadomasochism is about sensory stimuli and not just pain. This text will be written mostly from a bottoming/masochistic perspective and for me, pain is not always something that hurts. The pleasure deriving from sensory stimuli is definitely contextual and the satisfaction can almost certainly be connected to pain.
But violence then? Pain? The first intentional sadomasochistic experience I ever had was someone beating my ass in a club. Although it should have hurt, there was very little pain. Instead everything became blurry, except for the one single focus I had; the tunnelvision produced by the adrenaline and endorphines. This was an instrumental pain, with implements raining over my magnificent arse and opened something which I had found hard to even fantasise about. For a very long time the instrumental, precise pain which was the focus of my kink explorations. There is an interesting amount of expertise in a clinical sense, where the implements used can cause a distance, allowing the body to make sense of the sensory input without being overwhelmed. Regardless if it is a riding crop or a single tail, it is still though something that links me and my partners together, where we are allowed to open the doors through our bodies that can ride on high, lasting waves. This kind of pain has a quite distinct effect, moving deeper and deeper, a kind of slow earthquake where door after door is opened by each and every beat, and I, like Alice in Wonderland keep on falling It makes everything change. Smell, sound, light, the taste in my mouth, I can even feel my body expanding. This kind of pain is also processed differently depending on which bodypart is being pounded. Having expanded on that knowledge, knowing where it is and how to communicate that to the sadists I trust is something amazing. I have also noticed how this easily, in the Swedish community becomes somewhat of a competition. ‘Wow you can take so much’ or ‘go on, you can do it!’ or ‘wow i saw how well you did’, from fellow perverts who are not necessarily in the scene can easily foster a culture where the amount/intensity is what matters rather than the highs of the experience it self.
Then we have the pain and morphing of the body. That which strains, bends, twists, turns. While often to tied (pun intended) to rope bondage, it will never be much about patters or poses, but rather about how the body is allowed to, forced or disallowed to move, hur the body is bent, twisted and exhausted. I could write huge amounts of stuff in relation to rope and pain, and how rope in its own way, also is a link between me and another person but I often write about this and now wish to focus on something else. Like trampling. Boots. A pain which spreads through pressure over the whole body. Compression, pressure points. A body which become more and more compromised, and more and more compressed.
Then to something different. In the UK we used to call it ultra violence (hi Clockwork Orange dystopia!). In the US it mostly goes under rough body play. I have friends who puts in the same pit as rough housing. That which fights, moves, hits, throws around, creating a resistance only to tease it. It might look brutal, might look uncontrolled and many times frightening, since it contains fists, hits which are not ‘suppposed’ to land where they land, a bottom/masochist who might scream, cry, protest and beg. Not in the nicely edited way, but in the filth. With snot, tears and filth.
When it started to become ‘popular’ in London, everyone and their grandma belived they could take their martial arts knowledge (true or imaginary) and reset those into hot scenes. The thing is, that you can be super good at martial arts, but it only translates as much into hot scenes if you don’t realise that the UV scene is not about overpowering or completely winning or even putting your ‘opponent’ down. There is no opponent. It is a partner, who wish to explore a space in which the hits, movement, the frightening parts, are pushed forward in well thought out waves of intensity. It is not about overpowering but about creating something together. This is even more important if only one of the participants have martial arts knowledge and the other is acting on reflex (which most people do if you come at them with a fist). To directly apply martial arts situation and knowledge onto a UV context is a bit like believe that you can suspend your partner because you have rigged on boats. There are parts of the knowledge and movements that can help, but to redirect that there is another way of listening and tempering of the intensity needed.
These days, the pain that I associate to this kind of play one of my primary ones. It might be dirtier, more screamy, ‘uglier’ (yes, I’ve been told that very thing) and it also has another effect. It is pain mixed with fear, adrenaline and movement. The resistance I have can be more passive or very active and my response/endpoint is also closer than a longer restraint & pain or instrumental pain session. Nontheless, it is still based on the highs of adrenaline, like going into a boxing ring knowing that the hits are expecting you, waiting for you to land on them, ride them, breathe through them. That the kicks,the punches, the slaps, they will rain all over. That the clothes worn are perhaps just another typ of pain administration as they are torn off. Walking into that pain is another type of rush, an exhilaration. A game and a challenge to control panic & self preservation reflexes which is what connects the strikes as that which turns the play into a fear. There is only so much space for ego (none) in this space, because egotistical self of the top or the bottoms makes it more dangerous. It is never just about raw force, but, to quote a friend ‘well administered brutality’.
Different ways of playing with pain and violence have different sort of goals. The ones I have mentioned in these posts are rough outlines of what I enjoy. To be broken down can be as interesting as to be built up. To become bigger. To expand. Regardless of what routes I take, the play I engage in somehow, is always about an end in which I’m still stronger than before. Even if I play the ragdoll, there for destruction and manipulation. A surrender rather than suffering or pleasure. The whole body as a tool for and transmitter of pain. The body as its own enemy while still standing strong.
Not all of the kinds of play are directly connected to DS. Pain play can be so very far removed from power dynamics and in Sweden there is a tendency to collude those to, where the assumption lies that the person who adminsters the brutality is the dominant. They might be, but we tend to forget to actually examine the sensory elements and only explain them in a DS context.
When I think about all of these ways of relating to pain, I think about what we live through, suffer, what we put our minds and our bodies through. I think about change, I think about what might be missing in my life. I think about a flogging a couple of years ago, outside, with crickets chirping in the warm night. About being hit into pieces only to find that there were more of me between the pieces that I could imagine. The soft cool breeze of floggers and the nightwarm, summer wind. There is so much more to explore out there.