“It’s not about the pain; it’s about trust.” – Echo in Dollhouse s01e09
This is true. It might be a little about the pain. 😉 However, for me, BDSM is about so much more than pain. It is about trust. Giving myself over to someone without reservation is beautiful. Unlike some who call themselves masochists, I do not crave pain, except when I’m very upset as a distraction. Pain as a distracting coping mechanism is not related to BDSM. In general, I don’t like pain. I want it to stop. However, I thrive on pleasing people. I always did. Through masochism, I can give someone a type of pleasure that not many would endure willingly. Through withstanding pain, I show submission and putting someone else before myself. As I said, I do not enjoy the pain. I do not get off on it. I struggle and beg. Yet, when it is over, once I recover, I want more. I like bruises. They’re physical proof of my strength, of my willingness to serve. They can excite me.
Furthermore, pain is inextricably linked to submission. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. Without pain, it feels like a role in a play; it feels like an act.
In order to let someone have that much control over me (I.e., restraints I truly can’t get out of on my own), I must trust them with my life…literally. Once bound, I am s.o.l. if they decide to go past my boundaries. That type of power exchange makes me feel safe, like I’m enveloped in a warm cocoon. I believe this is because of the high level of trust necessary. If I trust them as much as I need in order to put myself at their mercy, I cannot help but feel safe with a collar around my neck.
My favorite female characters confounded me for a while. (Cara from Legend of the Seeker, Echo from Dollhouse, Max from Dark Angel, Sydney Bristow from Alias) If I identified as submissive, why were my favorite characters the strong, self-reliant ones, who often ignored authority? Then I realized, this isn’t about laziness and wanting someone to control my every move so I didn’t have to think. It isn’t about wanting someone to take care of me and it isn’t about weakness. I value self-sufficiency and internal fortitude, in myself and others. This dynamic is about a self-sufficient, whole human being trusting someone, loving someone, enough to give that person control. The only person I could turn myself over to is someone who I knew held my best interest at heart. If my arms are going numb and I signal to them, they will listen and fix the problem to prevent nerve damage, as opposed to continuing their work for their own gratitude.
In turn, that magnitude of trust forms a deeper bond than most relationships. Moreover, trust generates feelings of security, peace, and happiness.
Are those feelings possible in vanilla relationships? Sure. However, my experience is BDSM fosters trust and openness on different playing field, faster than other relationships. It is inevitable. To be safe, you have to talk about everything going on inside you physically and emotionally.
I know there are people out there who use this lifestyle as a smoke-screen for abuse. That is awful. I have been very fortunate to be with people who respect my wishes and value my well-being above their own happiness.
If BDSM is so great, why do I have so much trouble accepting it? Well, I think there are some great aspects to it, but I also fear I have ulterior motives like self-harm. I don’t know how to suss out where genuine kinks begin and self-hate begins. I wish I knew. I don’t know what I’ll do if I decide kinky cannot be healthy for me. Also, for some reason, I feel guilty about it all.
I feel weird that the only time I find pleasure in intimacy is with BDSM trappings. I’m afraid that means something is wrong with me, that I’m not normal. Maybe if I find the right person, pain and submission won’t matter. Who knows. What if this dynamic is all I ever feel comfortable with AND it is unhealthy? I just don’t know. I also don’t know how to go about exploring these things. It feels unfair to experiment with someone. I couldn’t see myself with a vanilla person. Therefore, I’d be exploring the vanilla side of life with another kinky person. Yet, what happens if at some point, I decide BDSM is no healthy for me? What if I realize all these thoughts about pain and trust are simply rationalizations to mask self-loathing? What if it is all about the pain because I think I deserve punishment? I guess I break-up. That sounds simple, but it is not simple for me. I may be young, but I do not take intimacy lightly. I would feel dishonest going in to a relationship to explore non-kinkiness with a kinky person. Dishonesty would destroy the needed trust, making me feel unsafe. Do you see the problem?
I suppose to the solution is to develop a more relaxed view of sex. I doubt that will happen. *sigh*
If anyone is reading this, do I make sense at all? My own mind confuses me; therefore I imagine others would find it convoluted as well.