May 11, 2010

Ouch is Not a Safe Word

Daisy, Diary 2 Comments

“Oouuuch! Noooo! I can’t take it! My butt’s too sore already! I hate that!”

That’s what I typically yell out in my BDSM sessions with Sir M, as he increases the intensity of his play and pulls out nastier toys like the dreaded cane.

“TOO BAD!” is what he will yell back, as he continues to whack me.

I’m not a masochist but I like some BDSM contact play and that often involves varying sensations and levels of pain. Part of submitting to a master is enduring that pain because the master (who’s usually a sadist) enjoys giving pain. But my low pain tolerance means that bearing the sting of his floggers is a huge challenge for me.

I often feel conflicted between taking care of my own needs and serving Sir M and satisfying his needs. I know that he’s a heavy player and likes to hit hard, much harder than I can endure. Out of submission to him, I tried my best to take his beatings every week. I’d marvel at the bruises later, but during play I’d be miserable and angry. I repressed those feelings until I reached a boiling point and exploded. That nearly drove me to stop playing with him. Since then he has been working with me to build my pain tolerance and help me process pain.

He said part of that would happen naturally — the body builds up tolerance to pain with repeated exposure. However, I had to explore other avenues for handling pain or I’d never get to the point where I could really enjoy playing with Sir M.


Sir M assigned some reading as my homework. He lent me a water-stained and heavily notated book from his library, titled Slavecraft by Guy Baldwin and A Grateful Slave. As part of my assignment I read and re-read an essay called “Using or Processing Pain.”

The writer describes pain as a vehicle to transcend the physical and tap into a psychological shift:

…like a fiber-optic cable through which I can find myself transported into altered states of consciousness.

Subspace is what Baldwin is referring to. It is a pleasurable altered state of consciousness that is triggered by the endorphins released — possibly from fear and arousal. It can be momentary, last 30 minutes, or even into the next day. Sir M told me that subspace is the ideal result of BDSM play for the sub.

I had experienced subspace from some knife play and sex play, but not from corporal play like spanking and paddling. Subspace is a wonderful floaty feeling, sometimes propelling me to another reality entirely. Some subs drift off into subspace almost immediately after being struck, and then don’t notice the subsequent pain from play. I envy them and wish I wasn’t such a wimp with pain!

I set a goal for myself — to learn not just how to endure pain, but to enjoy receiving pain by going into subspace.

The fine balance between pain and pleasure

Baldwin explains that the ways people feel and process pain is very personal and differs widely — so what is intolerable to one might be a nice reminder to another of a hard game of tennis, for example. It’s also situational: if a masochist gets hit by a car, he or she doesn’t enjoy it!

One of my friends in the scene, slave s, is a masochist who likes heavy play. I asked her what it’s like for her.

“The pain helps me relax and access my deep emotions. Even though I have a high tolerance, it’s still pain and it makes me tense up. My way of dealing with it is biting and sucking on myself to let go when I’m getting beaten, especially if it’s stingy and intense. Or I might hold my nose, like a form of breath play.”

I still didn’t exactly understand what she was getting out of it until she explained:

“Pushing myself like that so I can serve a master is what it’s all about. That’s what makes me dripping wet.”

I admired her resolve but wondered if I could ever get to that point.


When I play with Sir M he often reminds me to keep breathing deeply. I tend to hold my breath and scream; if I consciously force myself to breathe when I’m in pain it can turn rapid and shallow quickly. But if I can push through to the deeper breathing it is possible to direct the pain out of the body. I visualize it going out through the top of my head.

Not surprisingly, A Grateful Slave in Slavecraft lists breath as the top tool for managing pain: “Breathe out the pain, breathe in relaxed receptivity.”

That makes sense, but putting it into practice isn’t always easy. I tap into the breathing from my yoga practice to push through the pain and that has helped. Sometimes when being hit I do yogic breathing and imagine myself in an intense yoga pose. I’ll make up a fake Sanskrit name for it like ouchakanasana. That amuses me enough to distract me from the pain briefly.

Slavecraft also suggests some more ephemeral methods for managing pain. Some subs create a whole fantasy and place themselves in a role, such as a Roman slave who gets flogged every day. Others might visualize heat, light or color as a manifestation of pain, so that it can be dispersed and dissipated.

Sir M also suggests I use energy movement for pain management. His method is to send the energy from each swat or sting to a different place in the body or disperse it all over the body to dilute the pain. I try to remember to do that between breaths but it takes some concentration.

Sex as a diversion

I’ve found that sexual stimulation is the greatest diversion from pain. The other night Sir M had a sub lick my pussy while he was flogging me and I hardly noticed the pain at all! It switched to an intense sensation that propelled the sexual pleasure. When at last he allowed me to cum it felt like a volcano erupting from the intensity.

I also find that physical contact with him helps me disperse pain more effectively. I might lean back against him or lean my head against his forearm depending on how I’m restrained and what he’s doing, and I’m able to relax and redirect the pain out of me

Sir M has noticed big improvements in my pain processing over the last few months. These days, if you were to stumble across us doing a scene at the local dungeon you might be surprised to see my expression quickly shift from a wince to a beatific smile as Sir M tweaks my nipple and whacks my ass with a paddle. I have a long journey ahead but now I know I can bear it.

Daisy TraLaLA (@daisytralala) is a saucy Angelino kinkster who glides with ease between the worlds of tech, artDaisy TraLaLA, cuisine, electronica and dungeon parties. Check back every Tuesday for posts from her journey to the most divine surrender.


Daisy TraLaLA (@daisytralala) is a saucy Angeleno kinkster who glides with ease between the worlds of tech, art, cuisine, electronica and dungeon parties.

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