I’ve read a lot of articles lately on chronic pain and masochism, and honestly, I find that none of them ring true for me, in my situation. While they do provide an interesting point of view, and an explanation that I understand, they do not express my relationship with chronic pain and masochism, and that is something I do want to share. I think that in order to get a good feel for the above words, we need to understand their meaning. I’m going to go with Wikipedia definitions, because I think that is a fairly central site that many of us feel confident has a lot of good information.
Pain: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
Chronic Pain: ” Chronic pain is pain that has lasted for a long time. In medicine, the distinction between acute and chronic pain has traditionally been determined by an arbitrary interval of time since onset; the two most commonly used markers being 3 months and 6 months since onset, though some theorists and researchers have placed the transition from acute to chronic pain at 12 months. Others apply acute to pain that lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than six months duration, and subacute to pain that lasts from one to six months. A popular alternative definition of chronic pain, involving no arbitrarily fixed durations is “pain that extends beyond the expected period of healing.”[
Masochism: “..Terms sadism and masochism describe a personality type who may be male or female characterized by the individual deriving pleasure and gratification from either inflicting or receiving physical pain and/or humiliation.”
Before I go much further I do want to say that there are many sources and perhaps many different definitions of these items, but these are the ones I’m going to go with for this post, because they make the most sense to me. I’m going to break each term down one by one and try to explain how they fit in with me, and what I go through on a frequent basis.
First off, is our friend “pain.” Pain, as you see in the above definition is basically a warning signal that something is wrong in your body. For me, out of the context of kink, if I feel pain somewhere in my body, I take it as a warning sign that something is not quite right. If I kick something hard, and I break my toe, I’m not actually getting any pleasure out of it, because I am honestly too worried about whether or not the toe has sustained a serious injury which will allow it to perform properly for the rest of my life, or if I will never be able to walk tip-toe again. On the other hand, if Master is playing with me, and he canes my toes or my foot, and I feel the same pain, the fact that the toe could possibly be broken never enters my mind. I am safe in the knowledge that Master has never broken any of my bones, and likely will never (though we both accept that accidents happen even when you’re careful).
Interestingly enough, once I know for certain that my injury isn’t serious, or say, that the doctor has popped my joint back into place and I know that I will be tip-toeing around the house in no time, I relax and the pain factor is a fun one for me again. I am the type of girl who will poke a deep bruise, or pick at a scab in order to delay healing time on a minor injury. I may even (with doctor and Master clearance) forgo the use of an anti-inflammatory or a pain killer purely because I enjoy the (non-threatening) pain of the injury. To sum it up: I enjoy pain a lot, but if an anti-inflammatory or a pain pill is essential to the healing of my injury so that I can be whole again one day, then increasing pain purely for a gush in my panties is not worth it to me (or Master). In Master’s words:
“If there was a magical machine that could make you feel like you broke your leg, really feel that pain associated with breaking your leg in full force, yet you knew that your leg was unharmed, it would be the most awesome thing in the world to you.”
Chronic pain is a tricky one. I have suffered from chronic pain my whole life, but it is not constant by any means. I do get injured a lot, so I will go long stretches of time where I’m in pain for one reason or another. I have always had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, but it was only recently discovered. Due to the fact that my joints are so mobile (and, in some cases, hyper extended) I sometimes get pain in a joint for no reason other than I am pushing my joints further than they should go, unconsciously. I’m not entirely sure this falls under the heading of “chronic pain” because the pain I feel is generally gone the next day, after a good night of sleep. Aside from that, I never have pain in a limb, joint, or elsewhere for no reason at all. If I wake up with a sore back, it’s likely because I put it in a bad situation by accident, or sustained a fall or something.
My body never hurts purely with no real reason to hurt. I don’t wake up and suddenly my thigh is hurting and I haven’t done anything to it. A lot of people with chronic pain disorders have pain, and there isn’t a real reason for it. For example, your elbow hurts, and you didn’t bang it or otherwise hurt it recently. That’s not me.
So, when I hurt something, and I’m whining about it, there’s one of two problems going on. Either I have:
A) Injured something, or have another “real” issues. (For example, an ulcer, arthritis, broken bone, strain, etc). If I have actually injured something, as mentioned above, I will freak out over it hurting because I know that pain my body is giving me is a signal that something is wrong, and I am worried that the part isn’t going to work right if I don’t go easy on it.
B) I am not really upset about the pain itself, but more upset that the pain itself has lead to me having to be on the sidelines. EG: If I broke my arm, the pain itself probably isn’t why I’m upset. I’m probably more upset that I don’t have an arm that works properly anymore, as well as the fact that I will need special help from friends and family for a while until I am better. I like to take care of others, not be taken care of.
Despite the fact that I generally do enjoy pain, and I like being in pain when I know that my lifestyle or my functionality is not being threatened, yes, there are types of pain that I do not like. For example: I do not like it when I rupture an ovarian cyst. It’s a terrible kind of pain that I can’t really describe, but it is usually so bad that I cannot even stand. I also am not really a fan of “potions and lotions” on my genitals. Tiger Balm on your cunt may be something that pleases you, but it is not something that I really enjoy. Have I done it for my lovers or partners? Sure! But, it’s sort of like the laundry: I’m not really a fan of it, but I will absolutely do it if necessary.
A lot of people like to tell me that because I have a pain tolerance (despite the fact that it is, actually, very, very high) that I am not really a masochist. After all, masochists like every type of pain that exists, right? Nope. Wrong. I sexualize pain, and I have a very difficult time getting off (or in fact getting turned on) without any – so I see myself as a masochist.
Those of you out there who consider yourselves to be (and I hate this term, but for the simplicity of things I will use it here) “vanilla”, do you suddenly consider yourself not vanilla if there is a typical “vanilla” sensation you do not like? For example, let’s say you enjoy kissing, but being licked is an absolute squick to you. Are you suddenly not “vanilla” because there is one type of sensation that you do not like?! Of course not, and masochism is no different.
Furthermore, have you ever done so much kissing, that you think one more kiss that day would make your skin crawl? It can be the same with pain. True, there have been very few times (less than I could count on one hand) that I had received so much pain in one session that I really didn’t want any more, but it has happened. Am I suddenly not a masochist because of those two or three sessions? Of course not! In fact, the fact that I can say that I lived through those nights have made me a better masochist in a lot of ways, and a better person too. They showed me what it was like to survive something I didn’t think I could, even if I knew I was safe all the time.
Chronic pain, and pain from injuries are very complex topics. I know a lot of people will just tell you that the endorphins themselves make them enjoy pain, but when their endorphins “come down” they hate the feel of the bruises, or the soreness of their thighs or breasts. That doesn’t make what those people feel any less real, important, or masochistic. It just means that we experience masochism differently from each other. For me: I need to know that I am ok, and am not going to sustain any serious long term damage (like with my foot I broke last year, that still hasn’t healed) before I can relax, and enjoy the pain associated with the wound. Some random bruise or cut I got from who-knows-where? Yeah, I’m gonna poke that fucker all night long.