As many posts here have originated, this comes from a question I received on FetLife.  I was asked to comment on pain by a woman seeking to find a deeper connection between eroticism and more severe forms of sensation.  I am not sure what I can say that will be definitive, but I am never one to avoid expressing my opinion.

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I am sure you understand that pain is highly subjective and unique to the individual. What is unbearable to one might make another cum and beg for repeats.  But the thing that should concern you most, I think, is your ability to communicate. I will also mention a bit about Topping, bottoming, Dominance and submission. But there is a lot of debate on all these topics and I am expressing my opinion here, not any form of Universal Truth.

You mention in your profile, “I have had the opportunity to submit for the first time not too long ago, and I am more excited than ever… I can’t wait to have the chance to do it again and again.” From your experience and descriptions, I would debate as to whether or not you experienced submission or had your first bottoming experience. While there are elements of each in both, bottoming is usually thought of as allowing a trusted friend to apply strong sensation to you, while not, necessarily adding the accompanying, “Yes, Sir, my body is yours, Sir. Do whatever you wish, Sir.” Submission, on the other hand, might simply be spending time consistently serving the needs of another individual, with no sensation play at all.

Sadomasochistic play, the giving and receiving of extreme sensations for the enjoyment of both, can also be either within a context of bottoming, or Dominance and submission (D/s). D/s is usually an element in SM play, but may be only a light and humorous one.

My personal preference in a partner is one who can easily sexualize pain. That is my joy. But as I have said before, I am not the only kind of sadist out there. There are many sadists whose joy comes in their partner’s suffering, experiencing unenjoyable pain for the pleasure of their Dominants. As I said above, however, the acceptance of pain is very unique. The experience of that pain has little to do with what is done, and is almost exclusively in how it is received by the bottom or sub.

In anyone’s life, pain is experienced both physical and emotional, thought the subject of this post is exclusively physical.  Unfortunately, that pain is often absolutely UNenjoyable. To begin to delve into enjoyable pain, sexualized pain, I believe one has to be in an environment of intent. While I believe and accept that there are forms of enjoyable pain which are not necessarily sexual, erotic pain is where I will concentrate.

Eroticism is a play of tensions, mysteries. As Esther Perel says, it is a delicate balance between the safety of what is known, and the mystery of what is not. “What will happen?” “Will she let me?” “Will he go too far, or far enough?” “Can I take it?” “Will my fantasy outlive the reality?” Using pain as a tool in eroticism tends to ramp up the stakes to all these questions.

This is why I emphasize communication. When I am intentionally causing extreme forms of sensation to someone, particularly someone who does not yet know their responses, I will combine with it as many forms of sexual stimulation as possible, tools, toys, and most importantly, words, thoughts and intent. I would want my partner to concentrate on her sexuality, control her energy, work on the ability to move and purposely place her responses. If I am causing sensation to her nipples, for example, I will talk to her about feeling that warmth, that tingling, move down her belly, and feel how it is concentrating in her vagina. (LOL, though I may use different words.)

The connection between people is important. I will watch a new partner closely and continually check in, ask how they are, if they can feel their arousal increasing, keeping their thoughts aimed towards eroticism, playing between increasing pain and the quick release for that sensation to turn sexual.

There is more to that, asking her to hold on to her climax for a bit to increase the release, demanding she ask permission to cum, adding shock, a slap or pinch, or direct stimulation at the point of release to increase pleasure, but I want to move on to issues involved with more serious applications of pain, and again the necessity of communication.

One hears a lot about what is called “Sub Space”. I believe that it is not something exclusive to the sub or bottom and that there is a comparable place into which Dom’s can enter, but that is for another time. Sub space often CAN, but not necessarily does involve a floating, other worldly state where verbal communication can be difficult to impossible, and demanding verbal feedback from your bottom at that time can seriously detract from their enjoyment of the experience. So from the bottom’s point of view, if you are serious about wishing to explore heavier forms of sensation, find an experienced Top, one who is aware of body signs and has the experience to read you a bit. I say a bit, because each person is unique and how your body reacts will be unique to you.

Talk to him/her about what you want to and what you expect to experience, talk about their knowledge of the tools they are going to use, and possibly talk to people with whom they have played. Make sure they know that this is new for you and that you do not know how you will react.

But understand most that being new for you, expectations as to how you should react or what will happen is the greatest cause of disappointment. Do not be concerned with your “performance.” Do not be afraid of using safewords, they communicate. Give yourself time to experience, and by that I mean, set aside a few days afterwards with little demands, time to observe yourself and check in with your Top. You will be in (hopefully) a joyous state of recovery for a while.

But also, if, in the days following, you find yourself feeling it was not that enjoyable an experience, do not blame yourself or your Top. It just was what it was. Another Top, another experience might be all you would wish it to be.

There is much that I did not touch upon, and I would encourage questions. This is an important and highly enjoyable experience that can be a strong element of a deeply bonded relationship. I encourage you to experience it.

Arach (The Eroticist)