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Another interesting writing from FL
What The Masochism?
Everyone around here has been talking masochism for a few days now, and I would be remiss not to step into the discussion. Like honestly, if this is not the moment for me to chime in, then I don't know if there even is a moment. I am not sure how this discussion started so I am not addressing anything specific, but I heard a lot of discussion around the question — Why would anyone be a masochist?
Honestly, I don't know. It seems like it goes against the grain of human evolution. Why would one desire for pleasure something that is supposed to signal threat or danger or distress? It makes no sense. However, I know for sure that I have always been a masochist. There are many sexual behaviours I learnt after I grew up and started having sex, but some of them, like masochism, came before sexual awareness. I always knew I enjoyed being hurt. I was not a scab-picker but I did enjoy poking myself with safety pins, completely unsure as to why I was doing it, but also aware that it gave me a little thrill. A little flutter in my heart. I liked having blood tests and getting injections. I liked running and playing tennis because they gave me cramps. I was very young when I got my first period (significantly younger than is customary) and I liked it, because it hurt in a very specific way that I could count on experiencing monthly. I just didn't know what that feeling I got really was.
Still, all those experiences were very controlled. Most of them only involved me, and in the case where it was someone else hurting me, it was a medical professional, and the settings were extremely tailored to the goal of dispensing cures. Those experiences did not give me enough information to really be able to tell what it was I wanted. I got that information from my parents beating me. I declare right now that no part of this discussion is comfortable so if you think you may be more disturbed by this than you anticipated, don't read any further. My parents were not the best way to discover I was into pain, of course, because it created an unfortunate link between experiencing pain and abuse/violence (that was furthered in part by my previous partner). It also confused me thoroughly. I'd think about getting beaten, and it would excite me, and I would concoct all kinds of stories about how it may come to pass (and sometimes, and this is still hard to talk about, I'd enact them to try to evoke that reaction in my parents, and it often worked). Yet I was terrified. When the beatings actually took place, I was terrified. It took me a while to figure out that violence and pain don't have to be intertwined.
It was the violence that was terrifying, and the fear had an interesting effect. It dulled the pain and accentuated the terror. I didn't feel the pain until later, when my heart rate dropped, and even today when I am exceptionally terrorized, I don't feel the pain. It's the adrenaline. The pace of violence is so fast, you have no time to process, you have to exist in a reactionary capacity only, and because of that, I didn't experience the pain in the moment. There was no way for me to judge how much pain I enjoyed, because when you don't have a choice, you just take all of it. You fear all of it because you don't know how much is coming, nor how much more and you cannot trust that the person hurting you will stop short of harming or injuring you. I didn't understand any of this then, I just thought that because I liked the pain, I didn't feel any of it. I didn't learn any better until I started to choose pain. Not until I started to actively experience pain in somewhat controlled settings, in what we would call "impact play".
That's when I really learnt that I did actually feel the pain. When there was no terror, anger or violence, I learnt I felt every bit of it, and it felt great. Bear in mind I don't mean that it immediately felt like there were a million clits on my body and everytime a belt or whip or whateverthefuck landed on my skin, it felt like direct sexual stimulation. There is some kind of a misconception about masochists, and it's that we don't feel pain, and therefore any pain-based scenario just feels good. A ridiculous notion, especially because tolerance is the result of the sustained practice of masochism, not masochism itself. The first time I got properly beaten, I think he hit me 10-times with his belt before I was crying, and that's because I had a choice. I didn't have to take it. It was my wish, and I could say stop as soon as it didn't feel bearable anymore. Note that I said bearable, and not good, because they are different things. It's like exercise, you can love it and want to do more and more, but you cannot actually do that if you cannot endure it. Endurance, for anything physical, is built. Masochism is just there. You don't have to develop it. Masochism is not the absence of pain, it's the process of converting that into pleasure. I feel on my skin what anyone else feels on theirs, but it's routed to my brain and body through a different channel and instead of recoiling from the second blow, I await it.
Often to people that means that any and all pain works the same way in my body, or the body of any masochist, and that's an interesting idea because I'm not actually sure. I have had experiences that suggest opposite conclusions. For instance, there was someone in my life once who just expected that I would never complain of any pain, headaches or stubbed toes included, because after all, I'm a masochism, so that must feel good to me. That's not true. I dislike those things, and I don't see or find any pleasure in them. Not even in the headaches caused by a lot of slapping. But there are other bodily experiences that I shouldn't enjoy, but do, in a way. A tame example of that is cramps from exercise. A not so tame example, but one that is perhaps more relevant, is when I had a medical termination of pregnancy. Now, if you have judgement or things to say about abortion itself, this is not the place. Also remember, that your country's politics regarding abortion may differ from mine (and the rest of the world) so don't project that here without context. This is a discussion where the only relevance abortion has to the subject is the physical pain I experienced during it. It was the most horrible and intense pain. I was writhing for hours, and I definitely cried several times, but there was something about it, perhaps the intensity coupled with the nature of pain, that made me also feel the same pleasure I feel when being beaten a lot. So, I cannot say for certain whether inadvertent pain falls under the realm of masochism or not, I really don't know, but intent and knowledge seem to matter. If I know in advance that I will experience pain, the pain seems more manageable. Unlike stubbing a toe that comes out of nowhere.
That being said what I learnt from the abortion experience, and the experience of being with my previous partner (and both hurting and suffering for him, in both violent and non-violent settings, both within and outside my level of endurance), is that pain can be multiple things at once. It can be traumatic, and you can want it again. It can be much more than you think you can bear, and it can feel like a warm hug at the same time. How much of it you feel can depend on how scared you are, or what day it is, yet you can teach yourself to bear more in the absence of fear. You can be scared of experiencing pain, but you will make the arrangements to experience it yourself. It can destroy you, and at the same time arouse you more than you can imagine. It can be cathartic and conflicting. And those things, as much as may they seem like contradictions of one another, do actually co-exist. I guess what I am trying to say is that pain is vast, and deeply reactive to the smallest changes in the circumstances in which you experience it. It's an extremely volatile thing and almost never do I have the exact same response to it because my response is altered by every single little factor in that situation, and because pain is so often dispensed by other people, there's another huge factor here that has massive, yet unknowable, influence.
Therefore, "pure masochism" seems like the unicorn of sadomasochism. The closest I ever came to experiencing pure masochism, pain for pleasure's sake alone, was sticking safety pins into my skin as a child. In the absence of settings that pure, what I experience has a lot to do with many other things. Things like how I feel, the position I am in, the part of my body being hurt, my experience with the same type of pain before, how long it has been since I was last hurt, but even all those things only involve me. The final step (or at least the latest one yet, but it was years ago so it seems final), in my understanding of masochism, was understanding how it was influenced by the person hurting me, that is a sadist. I learnt from my husband just how much the sadist can influence how I experience pain. I know, that's because I have a relationship with him that has many other dynamics and power structures built into it, but that's exactly what I am saying. It's very rare that the exchange of pain is all that occurs between two people. Me enjoying the pain, and you enjoying causing the pain, and absolutely nothing else. In my experience, that is rare. There are too many other elements even in a well-negotiated impact scene between two people who are not in any other kind of relationship with each other. Every sadist (and masochist) is different, in terms of style, but style is not just an aesthetic choice here, it deeply influences what the other person feels. For instance, as a non-masochist, one is more likely to endure more pain at the hands of a considerate sadist, not one who won't hurt you, but one who'll soothe you enough to keep taking more.
That's just an example. What I mean is that the nature of the exchange, and the type of pain being dispensed, the intention of the person dispensing it, their demeanor, and their relationship with me, and exactly where we are in our sexual narrative are all things that impact my experience. That's why some people who don't like pain, want it, because they want specifically to suffer for someone, and I feel that way too on some days. On that day I may even feel more pain than I did the previous day. What I really mean is that for it to be about nothing but the pain (and pleasure), the settings may require to be more clinical than any human being can create. For it be about nothing but the pain, I would have to remove my entire life, and every emotion I was experiencing on that day, from myself to evaluate just what I feel about the pain and how much pain I want. I cannot do that. I don't know how. That is why on some days a little pain feels like a lot, and on other days a lot of pain feels like nothing. It has a lot to do with where I am in my relationship with my sadist, and where he is in his relationship with me, and what we are going through together. A small amount of pain can be used to scare me, on the right day. A large amount of pain can be offered to me as a reward, in the right moment. I like how much the context influences my experiences, because on some level being a masochist to me means being open and reactive to all things. To all stimulation. To all emotions. You never know what may hurt you the right way.
And I guess that's what it is.
That's how I know I am definitely a masochist. Everything I do is designed in some way to check whether it may hurt me, discover how much and see how much I like it. Pain is the driving force of my sexuality but it's not my clitoris.