Tell Me About … Pain

Tell Me About … Pain

For the majority of people who are into BDSM, pain and pleasure seem to walk hand in hand. How you feel and the way that you experience each will vary greatly from person to person and will be dependent on a variety of other factors, but there is usually a close relationship between the two. For hundreds of years, the relationship between pleasure and pain has interested scientists and psychologists alike, and there are various theories as to why, particularly within sexual arousal, the two work so closely together.

How do you like yours?

It can be difficult to rate your own pain threshold with regards to sexual play, especially when you play in the safety of your own home, without an audience, as you really don’t have much to compare it with.  Although some are heavily into Sadism and masochism, those who are not may still become aroused by the ache of nipple clamps, the sting of a hand, the slap of a crop or the thud of a paddle. Working out your own tolerances, preferences and limits and communicating those to your partner is a key part of making pain and pleasure work for you.

For some, it may be the pain itself which becomes pleasure when delivered in that context and that setting. while for others it may enhance the pleasure that they already feel, although without the pleasant sensations, the pain on its own would become too much to bear. However we are stacked, the combination of the two, in which ever amounts work, can bring about a heightened experience, elicit fantastic responses, and can actually become quite addictive.

Muscle Memory – mind and body

Muscle memory can mean that the pain sometimes becomes pleasure much more quickly than it might. This works because your mind remembers and so does your body. So if you have experienced the pain, shortly followed by the pleasure of a climax then your body will remember that and move more quickly to the pleasure part. In fact you can actually get to the point where the pain alone will trigger a response because of the associations to the pleasure.

Endorphins – chasing the highs

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers. They are morphine-like chemicals which the brain releases in order to reduce sensitivity to pain, therefore increasing the pain threshold. The fact that endorphins are released in bursts means that they can be manipulated if you are the one inducing or controlling the pain. Once an endorphin load is released, it will take the body about ten minutes to produce another one. During this time the body should be stimulated somehow, within the current pain threshold.

Once the body is ready, then an increase in stimulation over a five-minute period, building up to a peak to push the pain threshold, will trigger the body to release another dump of endorphins into the system. Essentially you will become high on the natural chemicals, and having a heightened sense of well-being and, hopefully, a feeling of euphoria. This is the feeling that people often refer to as subspace but it comes from the triggering and control of the body’s own pain response system.

Not all about the pain

Other emotions such as shock and excitement may also play into your response to the things that you are doing. For tops or D-types, the focus, concentration and the feeling of control that they experience can provide a heady rush and for subs and bottoms, the giving up of control can do the same.  How we process and interpret sensations is a complex thing and one that cannot always be explained or understood. At the end of the day, when playing with pleasure and pain, if one seems to heighten or compliment the other then so much the better.


Please note that I write from experience and do not claim to be an expert in BDSM or in pain.  It is always essential to communicate fully both before, during and after experimenting with this sort of play and important to consider Consent, Safety and Aftercare.  If you would like to read more about how pain works for me, then you might want to read The Painful Truth.


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12 thoughts on “Tell Me About … Pain

  1. What a brilliant post Missy. Thank you ??.

    I am very interested in the science although I think I work slightly differently because of my constant pain. It doesn’t take long at all for me to get the endorphin dump at least the first one…. there’s only been one time MrH has played long enough for a second, but because I become so unresponsive after it hits, he doesn’t like to.

    Sweetgirl x

    1. I imagine that your relationship with constant pain will definitely mean that you respond differently and I can understand MrH’s caution. I don’t really experience the endorphin dump in this way either but thought that the science would be interesting to include for others. Thank you 🙂

  2. Nice post Missy thank you for sharing. I personally have found over the last several years if we are really been playing hard my pain tolerance is much higher than if it’s just a short scene. Once the endorphins have been released I find I am hungry for more 🙂 thank you Sir !

  3. This is a nice summary of pain as part of play. The endorphin high description is good to read as I tend to find myself subject to that kind of sequencing. The other part that I’m pleased to see mentioned is shock. This may not sound right to many people, but CP is trauma to the body and can cause a shock response. Beyond the endorphin sequencing she will also play me on the edge of a shock response. Quite scary when it first happened, but I do rather enjoy it now. After one of those types of sessions is one of the few times I take sugar in my coffee. ??

  4. I would like to offer a scene suggestion to help both Dominant and submissive to better understand their submissives pain tolerance thresholds.

    The scene is specifically to allow the submissive to verbally signal her pain limits. The scene uses a number scale that works like this:

    0 = no pain
    1 – 7 = Represents pain felt on an escalating scale based on the submissives perceived experience.
    8 – 9 = Yellow. This safeword represents pain at the edges of the submissives limit. back off from the limit.
    10 = RED! Stop the scene. The submissives pain limit has been exceeded. At any time if the #10 is used, the scene stops immediately, as her safe word has been used and her limit has been crossed.

    The Scene:

    The Dominant should choose 3 whips, paddles or floggers to represent a lighter to heavier range of impact implements appropriate to the submissives play style and desirability. Ideally, these would be toys he would use on the submissive regularly, and has an interest in better understanding how the submissive processes pain from that implement.

    Starting with the light impact implement first, apply light impact to the submissive to slowly work up the scale to near her Yellow safeword number of 8. The submissive will verbalize a number that she feels represents the level of pain she is feeling from that implement.

    The goal is to slowly escalate the pain level to a 7 until you just touch level 8. If an 8 is hit its ok, she is warning you that you are close to her pain limit. Back off and begin working back down towards the bottom of the scale.

    If the submissive safewords with a yellow (or her personal equivalent), back down the scale until you come to a stop. If she safewords with a 9, you are edging her too close to her limit, and should back off immediately to a lower number, then proceed back to a stop.

    Switch to the next implement, and follow the process again, working up the scale to a 7 then back down again. Do this again with the third item.

    After all three items have been used on her, then go back and begin again with item #1.

    The Dominant should notice based on her numbers that he is achieving the same number level from her, but with a harder impact. If the submissive makes it to a third round with the implements, she will probably be approaching a nice spacey relaxed state, and will allow even harder impacts while still falling in the same pain scale.

    This is a great learning exercise for the Dominant as he will understand how she prefers the toys be used on her at what intensity levels she finds enjoyable and he will better understand where her limits are for the toys used.


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