Lets talk about Pain
I know, that is rather an odd way to begin but I have listened to so many people who have little or no concept of just how much pleasure can be gained from feeling pain. An odd concept I hear you say and of course, 90% of the time you may well be correct in your assumption. But do you have any knowledge of pain v pleasure, or even the effect of submitting to demands made upon your mind and body until all your senses scream out for release.
You may say that you have trouble with the idea that pain can be viewed as pleasurable but believe me it is possible if you allow yourself to become caught up in more of what is happening rather than why.
Pain in itself can occur in two forms. We like to call these either... "pain/pain" or "pleasure/pain".
If someone whacks you with a hammer... that hurts ...that's pain/pain. If however, someone take their hand, and slowly, but very carefully... spank a sub's butt; starting with the lightest touch and progressively increasing the power, the body (as it does with the hammer too) releases natural chemicals, endorphins, which are hugely powerful painkillers.
Endorphins can be up to 10000 times more powerful than morphine, they create not only a reduction in the effect of pain, but along with the production of adrenaline can create in the right circumstances almost hallucinogenic type states which we might refer to as "subspace" or "flying".
Endorphins are neurotransmitters (chemicals which are directly involved in the brain's electrochemical workings). High endorphin levels cause a feeling of euphoria. (high endorphin levels are a way to create hyper activity within the brain, more so than most people are used to dealing with). Of course, BDSM is not the only way to achieve this state. Long-distance runners refer to it as "runner's high."
In order to stimulate the release of endorphins, the Dom should gradually increase the pain level until it nears the pain threshold. After reaching the threshold, lower the intensity or even stop for a while and allow the endorphins which the pain released to work their magic, nullifying the pain. When the Dom once again begins to increase the pain, the endorphins which the previous cycle released allow the sub to tolerate a higher level of pain. The now higher level of pain releases even more endorphins, and the cycle begins again.
The sensitive, careful and methodical application of pain can move the pain threshold higher, enabling the sub to tolerate higher levels of pain, thereby receiving the benefits of higher endorphin levels. To the sub, the pain will not seem to increase, even though the physical trauma upon the body does. This is because as endorphin levels rise, the pain becomes deadened.
Patience is a virtue here. There are several difficulties you may run into. They can discourage you, but don't let them! Keep them in mind, watch for them, and when they occur, alter your technique until you find that unique formula that works for you and your sub. Sometimes subtle changes in technique can produce dramatic results.
Sometimes the pain threshold will hit a plateau, refusing to rise further. If this happens, a complete break in activity for a few moments, a few minutes or longer might be in order. Every sub has a certain point beyond which even the best technique cannot take them. This point can vary from day to day. Just because the sub hit a new high yesterday doesn't mean he or she will hit it again today.
Another common problem is hypersensitivity, which causes the pain threshold to drop dramatically. Those of you who have had large tattoos done know how it works. Believe me, it's no fun. You are playing, having a great time - the sub is on a major endorphin high and you're loving it. Suddenly the sub safes out. You take a break and then get back into it, but after the break even love taps are too painful. What went wrong?
Hypersensitivity seems to happen most often when you have been pushing too far, too fast. Playing right around the threshold is physically and mentally stressful, and too much of it will wear the sub out. Make sure when you bring him or her back down, you leave plenty of time for rest.
Endorphin highs are a great reward, but they take hard work. Even an experienced Dom takes time to learn what works for a new sub, and as a novice you have to learn about the sub while learning the technique. Just work slowly, stay determined, and look for small signs of success. These small successes will tell you what works for your sub. Eventually, with patience, you will get it. A reminder here that an essential part of all this is communication. Tell each other what and how you are doing, how you feel, what works and what does not.
Can you trigger their release with pleasure as well as pain?
In my experience, the need for many varied kinds of stimulation combined together is best to create the state; not just pain, not just sexual stimulation, or the tone of voice, but everything working together to create a bubble effect inside which the sub becomes so intensely unaware of everything apart from the effects of the naturally occurring drugs, through the pain and pleasure, on her mind.
"Pain is a means to an end, but not the goal itself," and as that is most often the case I do have to ask why some Dominants only ever seem to use the administration of pain while in the "punishment mode" that seems to be so prolific within the lifestyle.
This attitude is one that is so prevalent that I wonder if those Dominants that use this technique do so because they have no real knowledge of what else they could be giving to their subs, or maybe it's because they are not really that concerned about how the sub is feeling during a caning because their vision is blurred by the "punishment routine". That is their major focus and because they don't know that there is more to be gained from the administration of pain they see no further.
Such a pity for the sub on the receiving end of the pain, for that's what they experience, pure and simple pain/pain and because the Dominant, either through lack of knowledge or simply lack of the basic understanding of how pleasure/pain could be used, bends the sub over, pulls back his hand and wallops the flesh without any real thought of why or even how he could better use these techniques for the mutual pleasure of both parties.
Perhaps a way of distinguishing between the two is to reserve one item (a cane for example) as the means of administering punishment, so that item is associated with the punishment and nothing else. Other items can then be associated with pleasure/pain, and the sub, knowing this fact is already in a state where they are beginning to achieve the endorphin highs that come from pleasure pain when play is commenced with anything other than the punishment tool.
Of course, the use of pain is well known within the lifestyle in conjunction with a punishment regime and as such should never be seen by the sub as anything other than pain/pain as a form of correction, but surely there is some need for all subs to also be allowed to find the exquisite pleasure that is hidden within the Masters hand, if only he had taken the time and effort of learn himself that there is more to life that just "bend over sub, whack"
© D/s seekers 2004