The mixture of pain and pleasure all steeped like dark tea in the cocktail of endorphins can be a wonderful and heady brew. In reading another blog today I got to thinking about our body’s ability to adapt and our brains ability to normalize pain.
First let’s look at the body. Skin is one of the most sensitive organs of the body. In the context of pain it is the early warning system that teaches our brain to avoid damage. When just starting out in bdsm you may look at more experienced people and think “oh gawd.. there is no way I would enjoy that! That must hurt like crazy!” But the way their brain processes pain is different. When the skin feels pain the brain is sent a damage signal and somewhere deep in our subconscious we think “death imanant! Run away!”. But when repeated many times over and no lasting harm or death occurs… something changes in our brain. We start to ignore it. Oh.. you still feel it. But the brain has shut down many of the nerve endings and the sharp intensity you once felt is no longer there. And so in order to recapture that feeling we may choose to use the cane instead of the crop. Or the paddle instead of the hand. The change in sensation to one the brain has not learned is “ok” puts you right back in that “danger! Damage imanant!” Mode that triggers the wonderful rush of endorphins.
Now let’s look at the mind, and how pain is processed. I touched on that a bit with the skin mind connection but there is a lot more going on up there than the subconscious responses. When pain and pleasure are mixed it forms a mental connection between the two over time. Pain in certain areas becomes a trigger to evoke memories of pleasure. Getting a slap on the ass goes from “ouch!” To “mmmmmmmm”.
The memory of pleasure overrides the momentary sting. Once that link has been made the mind seeks out that intense feeling once more. And when it becomes a desire.. we crave it. The human brain is a marvel, its ability to adapt to just about anything has made us the dominant species on the planet. And in bdsm we exploit that adaptability. Each time we experience that rush of openness and complete vulnerability often referred to as subspace our brain begins to see it as more and more normal. And thus it is easyer to slip back into. Our use of pain and pleasure combined while enjoyable is merely the key that unlocks that part of our mind. I dont speak from personal experience as I have not been in subspace before. Though I look forward to it. I spent quite a bit of time observing and learning about it through a combination of anatomy, psychology, and talking to the submissives I have worked with in the past.
I hope you have enjoyed my little diversion into the topic.
Best wishes -SirHanz