Saturday, March 17, 2007

Yes, My Lady: The Art of Pain

It's always the tender, not presumptuous insight of a novice that puts Me in My place. There's always something humbling and innocence about the interaction between The Mistress and a novice. Be it a conversation, such as the one with My regular client, tigger:

"The Beset by Abjection column made me think on a couple of levels. I see you to explore parts of my sexuality that I haven't before, but at a fundamental level I don't understand people that do things that hurt... The idea...[that] a person who is driven to such acts is way out of the realm of my knowledge."

You don't understand people who do things that hurt. To reiterate a common argument among SM practitioners, I'm sure you understand people who play contact sports, like football, hockey, or boxing. Those athletes do things that hurt. They probably do things that hurt more than typical SM play (whatever typical SM play means). Perhaps what tigger doesn't understand are people who do things that hurt while engaging in a sexually charged environment.

I'm a person who trusts Her body as much as I trust My mind. My body serves Me well, learning that My body is more sensitive to My feelings than My mind is. Thus, I can reach feelings through touching, sensation, and yes, pain that are inaccessible to My thoughts.

Thoughts and emotions are often censored. Some things are simply unthinkable. However, on more than one occasion, most of us have found ourselves doing the undoable. This is because whatever the undoable act may be, it feels right to our bodies. Some of My deepest feelings and fears lie clearly in the realm of the unthinkable. I want to feel and know these feelings and fears, an ultimate attempt to know Myself.

Usually the Dominant is also the Sadist -- but not always. Sometimes what I want as a Dominant is a particular sensation, such as pain, delivered in just the right way. Sometimes what the submissive wants is to be of service and provide what the Dominant wants. I enjoy bending kink beyond common convention and getting what I want. Giving or getting a spanking is a sexual turn-on for Me. Imagining giving or getting a spanking is a sexual stimulant. In the Kinsey researchers report, twenty percent (20%) of American men and twelve percent (12%) of American women "report some degree of sexual arousal by sadomasochistic stories." (S-M: The Last Taboo, pg. 5) Such fantasies have been with Me as a sexual stimulant to masturbation and an accompaniment to sex ever since I was a young child. These fantasies didn't appear out of anywhere: rather, they exerted themselves as modifications to the beatings I received from My mother. These fantasies began as a remarkable tool to capture some means of control over abuse. That attempt to capture control resulted in a use of power. Power and the need for power intertwined with My sex life like a beautiful, strong wooden wreath. Moreover, pain and the need to modify and experience pain at My own accord slowly laid the path toward gaining sexual independence through exploring sadomasochism.

My feelings about the actual physical sensation, the whack as opposed to the fantasy, are deliciously ambivalent. When I'm to receive a spanking, I love and dread it, seek and fear it, feel the pleasure and feel the pain. After the spanking scene is over, I feel very open, dependent, independent, clear, and finally, so satisfied.

The play part of discipline scenes most attracts Me. The whole experience of receiving and accepting pain is erotically charged. The desire to be sexual and combative is intertwined. The desire for a violent component in a sexually charged experience can be fulfilled through the more explicit medium of aggressive, violent play. The physical impact of painful play achieves strong adrenaline flow and loving contact.

It's not as if I have an unusual tolerance for physical pain. The pain experienced in spanking is converted into pleasure in many ways. The anticipation of the paddle is pleasurable because the threatened experience is exciting, dangerous, and fearful. The pain itself is tolerable and enjoyable because, when a person is sexually aroused, her/his pain threshold rises substantially. It simply doesn't hurt as the same blows did in a non-erotic situation as My mother punishing Me. Furthermore, one's tolerance for pain rises with exposure. You won't know this unless you expose yourself to several beatings! The security that comes from having weathered one spanking insulates against the next beating.

For SM players to safely stage an erotic, powerful SM scene, it's essential that they trust one another on some level. For trust to develop, it's crucial that the players be honest with each other. Being honest and expressive, sharing one's erotic power fantasies generates trust, which provides the safety within which players can act out SM fantasies. The acting out of SM fantasies becomes the revealing expression of intimate truths. Receiving, accepting pain in a staged SM context eventually contributes to new depths of knowledge, trust, and intimacy of not only one's play partner, but also of oneself. In the process, players become real. It is not unlike the process of becoming Real described in The Velveteen Rabbit. The Skin Horse explains:

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real, you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." (The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams, New York: Doubleday, 1958, p.17)

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