My relationship with pain is a long and complicated one. One I’ve only fairly recently come to terms with and accepted within myself.
I started hurting myself when I was around 10 years old, past most of the traumatic events of my childhood but a few years short of being out of the woods yet regarding my father’s unstable and violent behaviours. I remember becoming engrossed in picking the backs of my arms and legs, feeling for bumps and tiny imperfections that had to be removed. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned that this obsessive form of self grooming is a type of stress response that becomes a default self soothing behaviour in response to trauma.
When I was 14 I pulled out my first head hair. Trichotillomania joined the dermatillomania as my main body focused repetitive behaviours that allowed me to inflict tiny calming repetitive pains upon my body. I’d say that I’m lucky that neither resulted in significant hair loss or skin damage, however, I’ll admit these are unhelpful habits that I still struggle with particularly when stressed.
As an adult I sustained a couple of significant injuries to my hip and rotator cuff shoulder cartilage as a result of bad falls I experienced whilst taking part in sports I enjoyed. Neither of these injuries were ever properly treated and I live with chronic pain and discomfort as a result. This tends to be on a sliding scale of being unaware until I direct my attention there to constant pain exarcerbated by movement and requiring pain medication. I should really seek surgery but one, I’m scared of the risk and two, rehabilitation.
Emotional pain is a big one for me. You’ll know from my writings that earlier this year I was finally diagnosed with Complex PTSD as a result of the shit show that was my childhood. I’ve lived my whole life managing and masking difficult anxiety and depression symptoms to a greater or lesser extent whilst still being functional in all regards. Recently I’ve been learning about the reasons why, and developing additional awareness of hypervigilance, painful emotional triggering, self worth and attachment based symptoms that I experience too as a result of my experiences. These will take time to heal from and I know I’ve still a long way to go, but I’m on it.
I never chose any of those pains, and at times I can feel helpless in their grip. I can only choose how to manage them, hide them, accept them and heal them. When Cuiplash and I started to introduce power exchange and BDSM into the bedroom, however, a world of pain I could actually choose opened up.
We’d spent roughly two or three years drifting and surviving the sleep deprivation of our youngest, non sleeping child. When things in that regard settled down and we once again had the energy to reconnect our desire was different. More focused, clearer and with an edge. I wanted him to take full control, I needed it more than before and more extreme than before. I’d say I had always been submissive in the bedroom but my fantasies now were around CNC, being overpowered, restrained, taken and made to hurt for him.
I wrestled with this desire for a long time. How could I even begin to want this in my relationship? How could I have witnessed and experienced the violence between my mother and father and actually want to be spanked, held down…and more? I thought there was something wrong with me. But my curiosity and my need to relinquish myself to him eventually won.
The first time Cuiplash bare hand spanked me, not just a couple of half assed arse pats but a proper hard, cheek reddening, squirming, gasping, heat inducing OTK spanking was an epiphany moment for us both. THIS was amazing pain, this was arousing, exhilarating, exciting pain full of passion, need and release. I was soaked, he was hard. We looked at each other with new eyes and laughed. This was the beginning of our acceptance and exploration into our S&M within our D/s.
We took our time, although it’s fair to say that a ready supply of Dom and sub frenzy fuelled the fires for the first year or two, consuming us with a want to do all the things and try all the things. And all the things hurt and I bloody loved it. And all the things hurt and he bloody loved dishing it out. And we still do. We feel lucky that, unawares to each other up until that point, we did not know how well we fitted regarding pain play. How well my masochism danced with his sadism, built on a growing foundation of D/s and our inherent trust, respect, communication and love.
We’ve continued to push our boundaries, learn new things, explore new situations and toys and understand our desires and reactions. Things that were initially hard limits, such as caning, I now ask for and accept willingly. I’ve found pain play to be a tremendous source of arousal, having experienced ‘paingasms’ through impact. Sexual pain turns me on, whether biting, pinching, scratching, pulling, nipping, impact or restraint. Cuiplash will sometimes purposely edge me with small acts of pain play through the day as he knows the effect it has on me, and he gets off on it too.
Consensual pain also provides a rich source of centering energy for us both. It can provide me with emotional catharsis and a positive way to purge difficult feelings. It overrides the chronic pain in such a way that I’m discomfort free for a couple of days after an intense scene. It also creates opportunity for fun and laughter as at times, particularly during public play, I usually end up a giggling mess. It focuses my attention and nurtures a deep trust and connection for us both, pulling us together in a different way. It brings mindfulness and appreciation to my breath and body and will, more often than not, induce the addictive and wonderful experience of subspace. I embrace my love of pain now, accepting my needs, and his.