Psychiatry. a person who has masochism, the condition in which sexual or other gratification depends onone’s suffering physical pain or humiliation.
a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others.
a person who finds pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.
Twenty years or so ago, when I started all this kinky stuff, I would never have described myself as a masochist, nor ever thought I would. I liked what we did, it turned me on, and I felt sexy and alive and desirable while we did it, but I never really thought my reaction was masochistic. I thought it was sexual, and it made my head feel good, and made the squirrels in my brain slow down for a while, or even shut them up completely, but that didn’t mean I liked pain. I loved the connection between the Top and me, loved being the focus of his/her attention, loved feeling the intensity of their emotions and reactions. That’s all.
But I’ve come to accept, lo these many years later, that yes, I might be a masochist.
My friends always snicker when I say that. Because, of course, they have seen what I do, what I take, and how I am after a hard scene. Or even during: laughing, giggling, sighing in pleasure and contentment or writhing in sexual torment or ecstasy. And yeah, sometimes yelping, swearing, growling, occasionally screaming or sobbing. But even so, it’s fairly obvious that I dig what we do.
So why do I persist in this obviously false claim that I’m not a masochist?
It comes down to this: no matter how I have begged and pleaded to be played with, no matter how excited I have been in the hours, days or even weeks before I do a scene, no matter that my pussy throbs at the thought of play, past and future, when it comes right down to it, when it’s time to pay the piper…I am always, always always reluctant to start.
My heart hammers. My palms sweat. My mind spins with questions. “What am I doing this for? Why did I say I wanted this? Why do I like this? Wait, I don’t like this! Pain hurts! What the hell am I doing here?? What is wrong with me that I want this?” I am anxious, dreading it. I try to think of ways to get out of it.
If it’s a date, I very much might cancel. If it’s Adam, I don’t ask him to do the things (even if we had been talking about them that day), because I know he’ll let it slide if I don’t. If I’m with V…
If I’m with V I sometimes finagle my way out of it. “I’m tired,” or, “Let’s just snuggle,” or “I’m not feeling it.” (Sometimes these excuses are the truth.) It works occasionally. And then, the next day, or sometimes even right after, I feel bad. Disappointed, in myself and in him (even though it’s not his fault at all.) Sad that I didn’t get what I actually really want. Because what I am is afraid to face the dragon, to put myself in pain. Even though I know damn well that all those feelings will change during and afterwards. Even though I know that even when I am tired/feeling snuggly instead/not feeling it – 15 minutes into a session (almost invariably) I’ll be as into it as ever. And most likely will come out of it feeling 100% better than when I went in.
How screwy is that? Does anyone else dread a scene before they start? Feel anxiety about it even though they know how they will feel during and after? I can’t be the only one.
I’ve read the science behind why masochists are masochists. I know about endorphins and other brain chemicals, and that in imaging tests, pain and pleasure light up the same regions and pathways in our brain. I’ve witnessed in myself how the pleasure of a building orgasm will actually turn off my awareness of the pain – a study I read says that because pain and pleasure use the same pathways, pleasure blocks the perception of pain. That’s the science behind so-called orgasmic births (not that I’ve ever had one.) But I’ve also noticed that certain kind of pains enhance and heighten my sexual pleasure. And I’ve experienced the disassociation and euphoria of subspace many times, and the emotional release that happens through a good pain session.
The point is, I know all these things are going to happen – so why all the anxiety beforehand?
I wonder if it’s tied to why a person with social anxiety feels anxious. A counselor I once had said that people with social anxiety – or rather their brains – are interpreting normal anticipation and excitement signals that we all have, say, before a social engagement, or when that cute girl at the coffeeshop finally talks to you, as danger signals, and our bodies respond with a “fight or flight” response. So what I am feeling is anticipation, and maybe a little nervous excitement, but instead my body freaks out. “Run away! Run away!”
I am happy that I was able to explain this to V recently. He has, for the most part, been able to ascertain when I’m just making excuses and when it’s anxiety talking. He’s pretty good that way. (Also, I can’t deny that it gives me a thrill when he simply takes me by the arm or the hair and pulls me downstairs, or, abruptly, gives me an order that starts things off before I’ve had a chance to work my way through to, “But I don’t wanna!”) ;-)
He also has the uncanny ability to recognize when I may be “in a mood,” but what I need to get out of it is to be taken out of it, not to be left alone. Last night was one of those times. We’d had a somewhat-intense discussion earlier, not a bad one exactly, but one that had emotional components on both sides, and I was feeling a little unsettled and a little averse to playing, something I had been looking forward to all week. Before I had a chance to make excuses, he had pulled me over his lap and given me a sound thwacking with the lollipop, all the while reinforcing some of the things we had discussed earlier. Which of course turned us both on, and led to some incredibly juicy sex – something that I also “wasn’t in the mood for” before he had started.
BDSM as a cure for Bratty Jade. Go figure.