The Impact Play Series
Understanding the psychological and physiological responses to impact play
Sadism and Masochism
You don’t have to be into BDSM to know that pain and pleasure can be experienced simultaneously. As a result, impact play is often used to elicit pain as desired – and those who want to give or receive pain are the “SM” of “BDSM” – Sadists and Masochists.
What does Sadist mean?
A sadist is someone who enjoys inflicting pain or humiliation on another human being. The pleasure gained may be sexual in nature, but may also be derived simply from being in control of another’s pain or pleasure, whether physical or mental.
What does Masochist mean?
Masochist is a term used to describe someone who derives pleasure, and often sexual gratification, from experiencing physical or emotional pain. Physical pain may be from various forms of impact play, or perhaps from other devices such as nipple clamps. Humiliation however, is a form of emotional pain that may also be desirable to a masochist.
Because masochists derive pleasure from pain, it is especially important to set limits ahead of time and to use a safeword during play.
The Body’s Pain Response
The desire for consensual pain can be for many reasons. For some, it promotes a feeling of “helplessness” adding to a submissive headspace. For others, pain heightens their feeling of pleasure and/or arousal. For a third group, coping with pain provides a challenge, and gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. Yet others utilize pain to shut down their minds, allowing them to escape daily stressors or emotional pain.
Science also helps to explain the desire for pain; mechanical, chemical, or thermal forms of pain trigger receptors in the brain. These pain receptors then send protective impulses to move away or to do something to stop or avoid the pain. These same pain receptors also trigger the release of chemicals. To simplify it; endorphins, serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine create a hormone cocktail which, when released, provide a boost of energy as part of the “fight or flight” response, and act as an analgesic or painkiller creating a “natural” high.
How does one get Pleasure from Pain?
One of the most important elements in the ability to get pleasure from pain is the element of consent. Even when restrained or no longer “in charge”, a submissive or bottom still has the ultimate control – and the emotional knowledge that the pain is desired helps to alter the brain’s perception that this is “hurt” and not “harm”.
Once in the right emotional frame of mind, if pain is applied in the right incremental amounts, the hormones released will build, eventually morphing the feelings of pain into pleasure. For some this process happens very quickly, while others require a more gradual and staged buildup. Some of these same hormones that are released in response to pain are also the same ones responsible for sexual arousal.
What is Masochistic Headspace?
Masochism is finding a way of reaching an altered state of consciousness through pain or humiliation. One of the best analogies is comparing it to high-intensity exercise. Anyone who has ever done any running probably remembers that the first couple of miles go pretty well. Once you hit about the third mile though, everything in your body is screaming “STOP”! It’s a battle to push through, but by mile four, things are getting a little easier. You hit mile five and you are in a zone where all you hear is the music of your breathing, your feet are floating, and you feel like you could run forever – ‘the runners high’. You’ve reached an altered state of consciousness.
While the body’s chemical responses are the same as reaching subspace, it’s the ‘painful’ buildup and masochistic headspace that separates the masochist space from subspace; making the euphoric high of a masochist a very intoxicating, and often an addictive experience.
Contributors: Thank you to Mister Ward, Dee and Ondine for contributing to the research, writing and publishing of this article.
Are you GAME enough?
There is nothing more I enjoy than a game of chance, If you are GAME enough is a simple and fun optional game we will be playing in our Discord group during our Impact Play Series.