Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kink 101, Part 2: Making It Hurt So Good

This is the second in a six part series on kink. In this series, we will discuss the following topics:
8/16: Introduction to kink
8/17: Sadomasochism
8/18: Dominance and Submission
8/19: Abuses of Power
8/20: Your Kink Is OK
8/21: Safely Expressing Extreme Fetishes

Sadomasochism is the element that mainstream people most commonly associate with kink. The whip bearing dominatrix. The submissive begging for punishment. These are some of the archetypal images of kink. While there is a great deal more to kink than sadomasochism, it is a very common kink pursuit and a good place to start.

This is an area of kink where safety is extremely important. Nobody wants to have to explain a bedroom injury to an emergency room doctor. More importantly, people are generally playing with someone that they care about, and most people would rather not cause serious injury to someone that they care about (or even someone that they don't care about, for that matter.)

As we discussed yesterday, the appeal of sadomasochism is that it creates an intense experience. The pain is felt as intense sensation, which, for a masochist in the right headspace, is quite pleasurable. The extreme sensation causes the release of endorphins, the same neurochemical that causes runner's high.

Sadomasochism can take many forms. Some tops use the tools that God provide with their body: hands for spanking and slapping, nails for scratching, and teeth for biting. There are also implements, sometimes referred to as toys, which are used for causing erotic plain. Almost anything can be used, as long as it is used safely. Two of the most common toys used are floggers and paddles.

A floggerOriginal image address
One of the most common toys used for this kind of play is a flogger. This description is from the Wikipedia article on flogging: 

The flogger used in this context consists of a handle with an number of attached thongs known as "falls". Falls are typically made of materials such as suede, leather, rubber, rope, or other or flexible materials. The length, number, and composition of the falls determines the sensation caused by the flogger. Floggers are usually characterized by the sensation they cause. "Thuddy" floggers typically impart a broadly felt deep muscle impact, while "stingy" floggers are felt as a sharp stinging sensation over the skin. The sensation of floggers can also vary with the techniques used by the dominant (or top).

Floggers are typically applied to areas of the body which are well muscled, or protected by body fat, such as the upper back or buttocks. Vulnerable areas such as the abdomen, kidneys, and face are to be avoided. Some areas, such as female breasts, can be lightly flogged safely if appropriate care and skill is used. Intense flogging can leave bruising but typically does not cut or permanently mark the skin.

A Wooden Paddle
From Wikicommons
Another commonly used implement is a paddle. This is a piece of plastic of wood which is used to strike the buttocks. Some tops will also strike the upper thigh. It is important to be a very careful with a paddle. While a flogger may be somewhat forgiving, a paddle is a very solid and unyielding toy. Striking too hard can cause welts, or even, if one is not careful, break skin. It is also important to aim carefully, because a strike on the tail bone will not lead to a pleasant result.

Sadomasochism In Other Scenes
Often sadomasochism is done on its own or as foreplay for a sexual encounter. A flogger, for example, can build up sensitivity in the skin, and heighten the sexual experience. 

Pain can also be used in role playing scenes. For example, a couple might engage in an interrogation scene, where the bottom is tied up and beaten by the top in an attempt to extract some piece of information. In this type of scene, the pain is often just a vehicle for the top to express dominance.

Sadomasochism for Beginners
Due to safety concerns, it is important to ease into sadomasochism. One should not just grab an implement and start whacking away. First, it is important for the couple to discuss their limits and desires. Both people must be clear on what the other is hoping to get out of the experience as well as what the other is comfortable with. Yes, that communication thing again!

Often, many couples start with spanking with a hand. This is a good starting place because it does not require any special equipment, and it is relatively easy to avoid serious injury. The top is advised to start lightly and work up in intensity. This is for two reasons. First, it is better to hit too light than too hard. Second, for many bottoms, they need to work up to the headspace to enjoy a more intense sensation. Even if the top was hitting hard last time, he should still start slower the next time, to give the bottom a chance to get  into it.

If one is interested in getting more heavily involved in sadism, it is important to do the homework. Research the types of sadism that one will be using. If there is a munch or kink group in the area, it is good to go there and ask more experienced people about what dangers and pitfalls one should avoid. If there are no resources in the area, one should go on Fetlife to one of the groups for newbies. The Smart Love Group is also a good place to ask questions.

If you have specific questions and would like to remain anonymous, you may ask them through the anonymous FormSpring page for Smart Love.

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