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Pleasure in Pain: How and Why?

by Beth Divine 26 Jan 2018
To people who do not understand it, the desire for pain as part of the sexual experience was a baffling one, and they did what the uninformed have always done with that which they cannot control: they put a label on it and decided that those who enjoyed a little light S&M were mentally ill. (They did the same thing to homosexuals, for many years.) 

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However, in these more enlightened times, there is more understanding about desires (and sexual orientation) and the medical attitude now tends to be ‘if it’s consensual and safe (ish), go for it!’ and those who like to be spanked, or tied up, or dominated – any number of BDSM techniques – are accepted as being, as they are, perfectly normal. 

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But why do people like these things to be done to them, things that seem to be unnecessarily painful, humiliating or unsafe? 

The answer, as to many questions about sex, is hormones. Pain and stress, such as that caused by being dominated or humiliated, releases the same hormone in those addicted to pain as is released in those who prefer their sexual encounters to be entirely pleasurable, causing a rush of feel-good emotions that they crave. 

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Flagellation (whipping or spanking) is a well-known sexual proclivity, and has been recorded almost as far back as we have records! Many men over the years, from the 14th century, have craved nothing more than a little discipline from their sexual partner before getting down to action, perhaps needing to be told how naughty their sexual desire is before being able to satisfy it! There are some who believe that these men had overly strict nannies in childhood, and thus have made a link in their psyches between being beaten and being loved… 

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Another reason that some people thrive of what might be considered negative attention is a matter of control. It is usually people with big responsibilities, alphas who have others depending on them every working moment. For them, putting all the control in the hands of their dominator, passing over-all responsibility for themselves, is tremendously freeing. Knowing that they must only do as they are told, having no control over what they do, wear, say or even eat or drink, during a session, causes a feeling of huge relief, giving the recipient a sense of relaxation as great, if not better, than receiving a really good massage. 

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For the latter people, their encounters are usually less about having sex or coming, and more about that hand-over of control. Either way, the end result, a huge release of endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, makes them feel absolutely wonderful and ready to pick up the burden of their daily lives. At least, until the next time!