Q: Not too long ago I ended my relationship with my Dominant. While making that decision had been emotionally devastating for me, I know without a doubt that it was the right decision for me. I’m also poly and have a Daddy. While I was collared, I did not do any sort of play with him. Now we would like to start exploring. The problem, however, is that I have lost any and all desire for impact play of any kind. And that really upsets me because it was something I used to love. I thought at first that I just needed some time, and that my desire for play would start to come back. But, instead of getting better, my aversion to impact play is getting worse to the point that I don’t even want to see it or be around it. And, I’ve noticed that my pain tolerance is getting worse and not better. I’ve been told that I need to heal and that in time the desire for impact play will return, but I’ve also had some tell me that I need to get back up on the horse, so to speak, and work through the fear and discomfort.
I just don’t know which way to go. Any advice? ~ s. in DC
A: Picture a series of boxcars on a train track – one is labeled ‘desire to be hurt’ and the others are labeled ‘dominance’, ‘relationship’, ‘love’, ‘submission’ – for some of us – our trains can run quite happily with just the ‘desire for pain’ car present – that desire to feel pain or eroticize the pain response is both fuel for the journey and the REASON for the journey simultaneously. We can enjoy sceneing with different people for example, because our pleasure response is embedded within our experience, and isn’t necessarily part of a relationship with the person holding the handle of the paddle, whip or flogger. For others, the ‘erotic pain’ car needs to be joined with one or more of the others in order for the train to move in a productive direction. For example Pain + Relationship + Dominance = Pleasure. A person that needs this arrangement will enjoy being Dominated and the experience of pain, but may not have the slightest enjoyment from experiencing pain for its own sake. What about people that dont have a strong erotic response to pain at all – can they still enjoy BDSM? We believe that even if the end result isn’t pleasurable in an erotic sense, the experience of surrender can be a wonderful one for the recipient – for example if the person on the receiving end of the sensation doesnt typically eroticise pain, but considers the experience of submitting to the Dominant will of another as a place of deep surrender – their train may be organized as Dominance+Pain+Surrender = Fulfillment.
It sounds like your ‘train’ cars have been rearranged somewhat by your previous relationships – in your current relationship you seem to be receiving a lot of support and nurturing, but you mentioned that spanking, impact play and pain haven’t typically been associated with that relationship – as a result the difficulty you are experiencing is understandable. Because you have had such a deep and lengthy relationship with impact play and pain, the notion that you may need to ‘start over’ with this current relationship may feel counter intuitive. However our sense is that the experiences you had with impact play and with pain were very closely aligned with the dynamic connection in the previous relationship.
If you are to experience impact play as a positive there are two very different (in fact some might say opposite) processes that need attending to. One is disconnecting impact play as a negative. Often our brains will form connections without our conscious knowing it. In the scene we tend to think that “negative” connections only come through being abused or traumatized. In truth we’re making connections between things – both positive and negative all the time. You want to begin to form connections that add impact play back to pleasure. Things like beginning with some very light impact play once you’re in a state of heightened sexual arousal. Using an implement that was not used on you in your previous relationship. Changing the location, position, and circumstances under which it is used.These are all external things. Internally working on letting go of the disappointment, pain, and anger caused by the end of that previous relationship can also help to heal the riff between these parts of yourself.
The second is to work on the type of connection you had when you found impact play good. What was going on? Were you being actively Dominated in ways you found pleasurable? Did you feel a sense of submission and/or surrender within yourself – in addition to a feeling of trust towards your Partner? Working on the formation of new mental pathways and as a result new expectations based upon the relationship you have right now, instead of the relationship you had in the past can breathe new life into you experience. You may find that there are certain things that are not easily transferable out side of certain types of Power exchange. If you know you’ve done the internal self work and the external attempts at creating new experiences and you’re STILL not connecting – consider that your need for this one type of play may have changed and that too is OKAY. We learn and grow in our journey in this Lifestyle and part of that is accepting not only who we are- but who we are becoming.
Master Obsidian and slave namaste
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