Dating, Maybe Not…


I felt confident for a few hours, then my sister-in-law told me about friend trouble. The friend has some mental illness struggles and the mental illness is causing relationship strain. The situation brings me back to my fears about dating. I don’t want to be a burden….but then, what? I never get in relationships because I might burden or hurt the other person? That means I will always be alone. Plus, relationships are give and take, as long as I act honorably and do not put undue or unfair burdens on someone, it is okay… but sometimes we crack and maybe we will do things we know are wrong like sending someone a suicide note and then disappearing for hours….. argh…must do more thinking….

*edited a few hours later* Well, confidence didn’t last long. Now I know my sister-in-law has a history of mental illness. I thought they were proof of healthy people enjoying BDSM. Now I’m rehashing all my “does masochism equal an unhealthy coping mechanism and not a true sexual desire?” arguments.

The Positive Coming Out Experience


Sometimes Vulnerability is Good. After admitting my bisexuality to my sister-in-law, my brother, sister-in-law, and I ended up talking for 2 hours and there were a few mutual comings out. Here are some things I learned…

1. My big brother is kinky and knew it at age 7.

Sawyer surprised

I’m not alone! I always thought I was weird because I had masochistic fantasies from such a young age, whereas according to research and anecdotal evidence, most people don’t realize they are kinky until they are older. It worried me; I felt something must be wrong with me. Knowing my brother is similar lifts a huge burden. As usual, I can accept things as good or fine for others, but not in myself. I’ve always looked up to him. So, knowing his truth and knowing how normal and good he is, normalizes me.

2. Whether or not masochism is sick for me is a tough question, how do you know if someone drinks a lot or is an alcoholic? The difference is whether their drinking interferes with their life. Perhaps that is a good way to think about this.

3. Lesbian relationships question – Is it “ok” to purposefully ignore same-sex attraction because homosexual relationships are still tough societally? There is no right answer, it isn’t wrong to ignore female attraction for fear of reprisal, especially now (I am financially dependent on my parents). However, obviously it would mean I miss out on potentially wonderful relationships. It is about happiness maximization.

Visions of Torture Dancing in their Heads


The night before Christmas was never filled with visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head. No.

The earliest fantasy I remember was in kindergarten (5 years old). Every year my family watched The Ten Commandments. I recall the screams of Israeli slaves as whips bloodied their bare backs. For years I dreamed of being an Israelite slave and feeling the lashes against my skin.

The next genre I remember is The Borrowers. In first grade, I imagined I was a Borrower and my teacher was my Mistress. At school I appeared normal, but everyday after school I shrank to my true form and went home to serve my Mistress. Haha, I can’t remember how I served her in that form…

After that, Civil War history entered my lexicon. Around age 8 or 9 I fantasized about living on a plantation. I don’t remember much about this era of my fantasy life. I remember whale oil candles and plain white dresses with matching bonnets…and of course, whips.

The following year, puberty struck and with it came rape. So, for the last 13 years my fantasy life revolved around forcible, violent rape. In college I read an article about female rape fantasies, “The Nature of Women’s Rape Fantasies: An Analysis of Prevalence, Frequency, and Contents.” Of 355 college age women, 62% had rape fantasies. Only 9% of that 62% had mainly aversive rape fantasies. In other words, most of the rape fantasies were really seduction fantasies where (although still rape, abhorrent, and illegal if IRL) the woman became willing as the rape progressed or the woman was originally consenting and the partner(s) went too far. Aversive rape fantasies involved torture above and beyond what was necessary to gain compliance and/or no consent at any point.

“the only perpetrator motive identified in aversive rape fantasies was to hurt or degrade the self-character. In over one half of aversive rape fantasies, the self-character was described as the loser. For the fantasizer, the large majority of aversive rape fantasies generated negative feelings such as guilt, shame, and embarrassment, which is similar to findings from Gold et al. (1991). Having negative feelings in response to the rape fantasy was more common for aversive than for erotic rape fantasies. These negative feelings may have resulted from the aversive experience of the fantasy itself and from reactions to having a fantasy that may seem socially inappropriate to some women”

Indeed, I feel guilty typing this post!!!! In fact, as I type the urge to cut is increasing because I feel the need to punish myself for “sick” thoughts. FML.

 

As I said earlier my first introduction to BDSM was as a 13 year old. I finally learned there were other people like me and we even had a name. At 19 I got my first real life taste of humiliation, submission, restraint, and pain.

There was no doubt. These experiences were more salient and evoked stronger feelings than any past intimacy. I remember the first night, looking into my first Master’s eyes and feeling an overwhelming sense of peace. *smiles* As I wore restraints to bed, still feeling the sting of my first real whip’s bruises, I felt safe. I felt accepted for all of me, every detail of my imperfect body, and every unspeakable, dark, forbidden desire. I was whole for the first time in my life. I was real, I was being true to myself. I was not letting society dictate what was right for me.

I also remember the next night, getting ready for bed again, smiling at him and saying, “I wish I didn’t have to leave. I don’t want this to end.” He smiled and replied,

“It is amazing isn’t it? How you can feel so close to someone you just met.”

Right now, if I could have anything for Christmas, I would ask for the power to accept myself. Despite personal experience showing over and over, that this is something I crave, for whatever reason, I fear it. I shy away from this side of myself.

The past few days the images are getting more intrusive and darker. I guess I’ll start writing the fantasies out again, that usually helps. Ironically, while firmly in a D/s relationship, I don’t have these annoying misgivings.

Reasons for NOT coming out…


1. Once you tell someone, not in the lifestyle, you are a masochist, it becomes a joke. For example, while baking 2 days ago, one item needed to be rolled in powdered sugar right after it came out of the oven. My mom said, “Ok, we need the masochist!” *she laughs*

Now, that is not especially hurtful or rude, but would it be socially acceptable to say, “Ok, we need the lesbian!” No, I think not. I don’t know, I’m probably being overly sensitive.

2. Once you tell someone, it becomes okay to randomly hurt you. For example, After someone pinches me hard enough to break skin, I say, “What are you doing?” They reply, “What? You shouldn’t care; you’re a masochist.”

Um…That is not how it works…   LotS_Cara's WTF face

Masochism is Not a Disease


“For example, heavy masochists enjoy pain intensities  that most players cannot tolerate, such as canings or single-tailed whippings. Canings and intense whippings are performed by very experienced players and can leave welts, small cuts, and bruises, but these are generally considered acceptable as long as these marks can heal on their own. Some heavy masochists are proud of their markings following a scene.

Wait….That is abnormal?! I assumed all masochists felt this way.

“Therapists should be aware that dominant–submissive relationships, particularly those that are long term, may be characterized by levels of trust, intimacy, and sharing that  may be unmatched by many conventional relationships.”

*nods* This is my experience.

“Although it may be common to assume BDSM participants are psychosocially maladjusted, many have been found to be well-educated and well-adjusted”

“Probably the most important point is that sexual masochism appears to be more common among successful, individualistic people” (p. 120). According to Baumeister, such unconventional behaviors seem to be a way to temporarily escape from the Self. Indeed, we live in a fast-paced society with high stress and many demands, but also restrictions, on different aspects of our identities. Perhaps BDSM play is a safe way for many individuals to creatively escape, whether it be through means such as letting go of control (submission), experiencing pain or extreme sensation (focus on the body and/or natural endorphin rush), or temporarily become a different identity (fantasy/role play).”

Awesome, he doesn’t think that is a bad thing! I kept reading different theories of masochism and therapists kept mentioning escape for self as a bad, self-destructive reason.

“Again, the issue is not whether or not certain behaviors are morally okay, but whether or not certain behavioral patterns warrant inclusion as legitimate mental disorders based on solid empirical evidence and scientific inquiry. As has been pointed out, the evidence supporting BDSM as being objectively and necessarily pathological is lacking. To the contrary, the available evidence suggests BDSM participants generally are healthy, educated, well-adjusted and successful. However, it is unfortunate that many participants must remain silent about their lifestyles for fear that misperceptions, cultural and religious biases and judgments by others could lead to severe problems in social and occupational functioning.”

Who knows, maybe by the DSM-VII we won’t be considered mentally ill (for this reason 😉 ) I think I’m going to talk to my uncle about all this. I used to talk to him about my eating disorder when I was a kid. I want to talk to someone, really talk to someone, not just type my thoughts to people who don’t respond. I know I’ll talk to him about bisexuality because he is gay. Therefore, I know he will have no qualms about that. I may bring up the submissive/masochistic side to. After all, he knows me and should be able to judge if my motives are self-destructive or not.

Apparently DJ Williams is a Sociologist, not a Psychologist. I suppose I can forgive him!

Scientific Research on Masochism


Finally I can research psychology journals or create fandom music videos without feeling guilty for procrastinating!

So far, my research is comforting! Then again, I am purposefully biased in paper selection. Since I’m not doing this research for a dissertation or a lab, I am okay with that! However, you should know I am ignoring papers that are negative. Yet, the ability to find any positive published papers on masochism is exciting!

I wanted to wait until I read all the articles I saved, but I can’t wait to share this beautiful prose from a PhD psychologist, “The sexual relations found among the clients cited above are not about people who are running away from intimacy, notwithstanding the unusual nature of their sex lives; it is about choosing an extraordinary level of intense, erotic intimacy and of mutual trust. Once one enters the power exchange with a trusted partner, there is no going back, literally or figuratively. To put oneself in another’s hands is not about escapism but rather about being uncovered, exposure and discovery. To be held,appreciated, embraced and loved despite being (or because of having the courage to be) vulnerable and known intimately can lead to self-discovery and acceptance that is transforming. This is living on the edge. It may entail placing oneself in suspended animation, changing one’s pain threshold and intensely focused concentration.”

This paragraph gives me warm and fuzzies. 🙂 Yay for knowledgeable people making it okay and NOT pathological to be me.

And

“Whereas many people conceal themselves during sex, extraordinary lovers deliberately seek out the anxiety provoking. That which creates embarrassment, trepidation, a sense of foreboding, or provokes uneasy nervous laughter, curiosity, a titillating sense of risk and/or a compelling hint of arousal (Mahrer, 1996/2004) may suggest the potential for growth resides there. Rather than trying to dampen, modulate, contain and ignore (i.e., “bypass”) the anxiety that interferes with “functioning,” such lovers explore and exploit sensitive areas and use them as an avenue towards personal development and erotic intimacy. They may not know what lurks in their own shadows but the attitude is of welcoming unknowns.”

Both quotes are from “Learning from Extraordinary Lovers: Lessons from the Edge” by Dr. Peggy J. Kleinplatz

BDSM: Maybe it IS about the Pain


I have a few different ideas about pain. Of course, not all pain is equal and circumstances matter a great deal, but that is another post.

This video contains fictional examples of some of my thoughts about pain. The clips are from V for Vendetta and Legend of the Seeker. If you’d rather not watch it, I’m also going to list them and explain the ideas in the post.

http://youtu.be/rut1ONumlks

1. Pain gives us pride. This is a large aspect for me. I am proud of the amount of pain I can endure. I look at bruises or other marks, lightly touching them to make my nerves dance, and smile because I see proof of my inner strength.

2. Pain makes us powerful. I feel pride because of this power. Withstanding pain makes me powerful because the more pain I willingly endure, the less anyone or anything can truly hurt me. I am powerful because blows glance off me.

3. Pain teaches us control. Biting back a scream, forcing my body to remain still as the whip mars my flesh, or resisting the urge the cry, enables self-control. Sometimes I may not be able to control my emotions, but this helps. It gives me a measure of control that few people can match without drugs. If I can master my body, I can master my emotions.

4. Pain makes us resilient. Withstanding brutal bodily assault means lesser hurts, physical and emotional, are like minor annoyances. Once you’ve been though hell, everything else seems inconsequential.

5. Pain clarifies what is important to us. Taking yourself to the edge brings clarity. What are you willing to endure torture for? An ideal, such as honesty? Your life? Someone else’s life? It may even give you a will to live. Pain shows us there is more to life; it opens our eyes. What are we willing to sacrifice? What means more than our life?

6. Pain takes away our fear. This is the same idea as resilience. Once you’ve shown the limits of your will, there is nothing more to fear in this life.

7. Pain reveals our true selves. It strips away the veneer, the masks we put on, the image we try to project… It takes us to our base self. It shows who we really are without the trappings we live with.

8. Pain bonds us. Pain not only bonds a couple engaging in S&M, it also bonds us to others. Pain creates a new depth of intimacy. The trust and faith required to submit wholly to another person is unparalleled. This is how masochism is sexual for me. Pain has all these functions, but this one is purely about connecting with your partner on a new level. I am capable of strong, loving emotional connections, but pain brings something new to the equation. Yet, it also deepens our empathy towards everyone because pain is something all people experience.

9. Pain is transformative. Through all these ways, pain transforms our being. Once we have this knowledge of ourselves, once we are purified through the fire, we emerge as new people.

But if pain is transformative than why would someone need more than one intense scene in their life?

Because we can always become stronger, more self-controlled, more powerful, more centered. Furthermore, pain has value in the moment.

10. Pain overwhelms the brain and blissfully obliterates emotion. Sad? Angry? Hurt? Lonely? You don’t have to be. Maybe it isn’t the healthiest way to deal with emotion, but it works. I don’t have to feel. I don’t have to scream at someone in anger. All I have to do is get rid of the emotion with another sensation. That is why I self-injure. It has nothing to do with sex. I’m not saying anger does not have a place. All emotions have a time and a place; confrontation is sometimes necessary to. You have to be able to express your needs within any relationship. Needs and wants and emotional reactions are normal. It is good to be able to talk about your feelings. Otherwise you can’t have a relationship because relationships, even D/s relationships, are two-sided. A sub or slave is not a doormat, he or she has wants, needs, and feelings just like any other human being. However, some people, submissive or masochistic or none of the above, have emotional reactions  that they know are disproportionate or irrational. Sometimes those emotions have nothing to do with a legitimate want or need, they just spring up and engulf someone. In those cases, when there is no need that must be met or underlying root, and the emotion causes so much turmoil that it threatens to overwhelm the person, using pain to slay the beast makes perfect sense.

11. Pain sates the darkness. As Goodkind eloquently put it,

“The pillows were stained with her blood. It had been a long night of rare sensations experienced.

She knew she was evil, and deserved to be violated in such a brutal fashion. She could offer no moral objection to it; even in the terrible things he did to her, Jagang was nowhere near as corrupt as she. Jagang erred in simple matters of the flesh, and that could only be expected – all people were corrupt in the flesh – but because of her indifference to the suffering around her, she failed in matters of the spirit. That, she knew, was pure evil. That was why she deserved to suffer whatever he did to her. For the moment, that deep dark place within came close to being sated.” P. 420-421 of Faith of the Fallen

Clearly, self-hate reigns here. This aspect is probably the most dangerous and unhealthy part. However, as long as the self-hate exists, it is safer to satisfy the demon within through pain from someone else’s hand than one’s own. Otherwise, the feelings of self-loathing may become overwhelming and awful things like suicidal ideation can result. Obviously, you have to pick a partner who cares about your wellbeing more than you do. If you chose a sociopath, you may be no safer than in your own hands. For me, submission fulfills this to. Serving someone else give me a purpose. Subjugation feels like something I deserve. It feels right and proper. Just like pain, submission has many other facets like showing love. However, that is for another post.

 

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