“I’m still not a masochist,” I said.
“What does that even mean?” he responded.
I used to think I was a masochist of some sort until I really got into the scene. Until I saw the level that folks play at and realized that that was not a level I could bottom for. Until I had my first scene where the pain was more than I could take and I had to safeword out of it. I used pain for grounding, for getting back into my body when my brain was trying to float away in a disassociative way. I sought out pain for a purpose. I can process pain when it has a purpose, but it’s not my thing.
Everyone plays differently. Everyone has different levels, different kinks, different things that take them to different spaces. Me, I’m a connection junkie. That’s my kink. Watching someone do something they are passionate about, watching the spark behind their eyes, that shadow of a smirk that tells me they are getting just as much out of this as I am… that’s my jam. More than the sensations themselves, it’s someone’s reactions to my reactions that makes me relax into a scene. To let my mind go and calm down. Stoicism has never worked for me for this reason alone, as a top or a bottom.
Pain is not my kink. Connection is. It’s part of why I love emotional and psychological masochism so much. It requires a connection, a sense of knowing someone, the ability to read and interpret what and where to push, and how hard. What I hadn’t realized before this past week is that there is also a link between my capacity for (and enjoyment of) physical pain and the way my sense of connection works.
“I’m still not a masochist,” I reminded him.
“But I’m still a sadist,” he reminded me, and pulled the rope taut.
For someone so vehemently not a masochist, I have a bad habit of playing with sadists (in fairness, I have a bad habit of bad habits in general). I boil down my interest with explanations like, “Some things just inherently hurt.” Like rope. The most comfortable rope will still hurt. I know this. So maybe that’s just an easier entry point to accepting and processing pain to recognize that some things are just inherently going to be painful, no matter how nice and comfortable they are.
Maybe it’s an easier entry than recognizing that there are certain people with whom accepting pain as a part of our interactions feels good.
It’s not that having a connection with someone means that I can process pain with them. Connections are unique to each person, and I have plenty of connections that are deep, powerful things but don’t include a heightened ability to accept and process pain. What I am learning, though, is that there are some people I interact with in such a way that makes pain something that I can not only process, but find a strange sense of pleasure in.
This is immensely disconcerting. After all, I’m not a masochist.
Methinks thou doth protesteth too much.
I don’t want to acknowledge these things because I’ve seen how hard some people play and the strongest connection in the world isn’t going to make me be able to endure that, let alone find pleasure in that. But I left camp with bruises, scratches, nicks, and burns. Those things hurt, but fuck, they felt good. And each of those people have the capacity to get inside of my head in some way. Capacity does not mean that they are there; it’s a recognition of potential. I think there is a correlation between the level of physical pain I am able to accept and the level of emotional and/or psychological pain I can accept from someone. And since the latter is dependent on connection, and there is a correlation between the two, then I arrive at this conclusion that my capacity for physical pain is dependent on the potential connection- whatever the fuck that means- I feel with someone.
Yeah, that scares the shit out of me. Gauging connection through physical desire for pain is an interesting way to approach things, but it’s a terrifying level of honesty. When “I want you to hurt me,” means, “You have the capacity to get inside my head,” that’s a lot more power than I usually feel comfortable surrendering. So I need to build some safeguards around that because that’s a new thing that I am just now starting to parse out.
Fuck. The camp you need, though.