Girl in painI love pain, but not in a sexual way.

One of the stereotypes about BDSM is that masochists are sexually aroused by pain. For some of us this is true, but not for all.

So why do I like pain, if it doesn’t turn me on in that way? Sex isn’t the only kind of pleasure. You can enjoy food, for instance, without getting aroused. Music, alcohol, dancing, a hot bath, there are tons of things I find pleasurable. Pain is one of them.

The thing I like best is the endorphin rush. Endorphins are a chemical your body produces in response to pain and physical stress. You’ve heard of a runner’s high? That’s the same thing, just attained in a different way. A little pain is like a sip of wine; it doesn’t do anything to get me intoxicated, but the taste is enough to make me want more. The greater the pain, the higher the amount of endorphins released. It’s like getting stoned on a great drug, but without the side effects.

FloggingEveryone’s got their own preferences when it comes to pain. I’m a big fan of thud. I like the feel of something heavy hitting me hard enough that I have to hang on to something in order to stay on my feet. I’ve been hit with all sorts of things: heavy floggers, a rolled up burlap bag, fists, a small rubber-covered baseball bat, a chunk of driftwood, even a big, heavy bible. (My top called it bible thumping, LOL.)

Stinging pain is another story. I hate it. Hate, hate, hate it, though it isn’t on my limits list. I’ll take it in order to please the top. When I say sting, I mean paddles, canes and certain types of floggers with thin, stiff strands. I don’t think of whips or switches as stingy. Whips feel like a sharp bite. Switches are a wonderfully scratchy burn. That’s another thing I love—scratching. Guys, grow out your fingernails for me, and dig in. Men rarely scratch me as hard as I like.

We’ve all got different ways of dealing with pain. I tend to dance around a little, but have to be careful not to do it too much. Don’t want the top to accidentally hit me in a wrong spot! When the pain gets bad (or good) enough, I start cussing a blue streak. For really intense pain, I use a visualization I taught myself as a kid: I see the pain as a white light filling my head and traveling out through my scalp. The more intense the pain, the brighter the light. It takes me into a kind of zen space, where I’m just being, not thinking. The endorphins seem to flow stronger, or maybe I’m just more aware of them.

BDSM toysThere’s a thrill in testing myself this way. It sounds dry when I put it like that, as if I’m sitting down with a pen and paper to answer an essay question. But this is a test of body and will. Pain is a respected opponent. I spar with it, to see how many rounds I can go before tapping out. I feel powerful in overcoming it.

So pain isn’t about sex for me. It’s about challenging myself to see how much I can take. It’s about getting high on endorphins. It’s a blend of ecstasy and madness that unleashes something wild and sets me free for a while.

What about you other masochists? What do you like about pain? I’d love to hear from you.