"Will you hurt me?"she whispered, "Please."
She's standing there in the middle of the room. Arms and hands tied with rope and fixed to a ring in the ceiling. It almost looks like she's praying...if it weren't for the pantyhose pulled down to her knees and the dress pushed up to reveal her butt. She looks at me with a mixture of expectation and devotion. My hand rests on her cheek as I look deep into her eyes. We both know about the heavy leather straps in my other hand. Both know what will happen next. I stretch the moment, let the tension increase into the unbearable. Until I see the pleading in her eyes, the most intimate of all requests: "Hurt me...!". A slight smile plays on my lips. And while I hold her gaze with mine, I slowly raise my hand with the leather flogger...
Later, when she's in my arms, a soft blanket around her shoulders, a drink in hand, she'll tell us, exhausted but happy, how the first stroke felt. How the feeling chased through her body, how pain and pleasure mixed and she slipped into her subspace - that meditative state in BDSM. And in a warm, contented voice, she will whisper, "Thank you."
Schmerz ist nicht gleich Schmerz
Playing with kink and BDSM is often about rituals and practices in which the consensual infliction and receiving of pain between partners plays a special role. Be it as a punishment or as a reward, for the purpose of increasing pleasure, as a borderline experience, as an instrument for creating a very special intimacy - or all at once. In this context, a slap in the face can transport just as much love as the sentence "Please, hurt me." However, it is important to find out with your play partner what kind of pain is perceived as good - i.e. pleasant, pleasure-enhancing. And what kind of pain is uncomfortable, annoying, or off-putting. Along which individual line does the pain of pleasure move. It should also be discussed how injuries are dealt with if they should occur unintentionally. Whether and which traces may remain - or even should. And what kind of physical and emotional aftercare is necessary for everyone involved.
Especially in the context of kink and BDSM - the playful exploration of all our sensual, dark fantasies and needs - the experience, infliction and enjoyment of pain sooner or later often plays a role. It's not for nothing that the butt bared for spanking, the crop in the hand of the dominant part, is an image that pops up in our heads again and again when it comes to fantasies of lustful submission and devotion.
But pain is not the same as pain. Stepping on a lego brick in the dark or moaning comfortably under an intense massage are two completely different experiences of pain. As is the evaluation of the experience afterwards: the Lego pain leaves us annoyed and frustrated, the pain of the massage is linked to a dull, blissful state of relaxation. In the context of kink/BDSM, it's no different: the right kind of pain feels good. Brings us in contact with ourselves, brings us into the moment and gives us a feeling of purification, the feeling of having accomplished something. The wrong kind doesn't do this. We feel sore, insecure, unsatisfied and are on the outside - repeatedly pulled out of the moment in which we actually want to immerse ourselves. But how do two (or more) play partners find out which type and intensity is right for them? In my experience, three factors play a major role:
Communication, framework and individual pain perception
The sharp bite of the whip or the smack of the leather flogger?
We have already written about communication in BDSM, the negotiation of consensus, scenes and types of play. (You can find the article here) But here is a brief overview again: Each of my sessions is embedded in a conversation about previous experiences, wishes, preferences, limits, triggers, needs and intentions of my playing partner and me. About the core erotic theme that largely determines the story in our heads, in the light of which we view and experience the events of a session. Even before the game, there should be a detailed and open discussion about what type and intensity of pain is desired. Which setting is attractive for us, which mindfucks and which actions and words we like. And which of all these things is to be avoided. There are people who love the stabbing pain of a crop but find the dull pain of a flogger boring. Others, on the other hand, enjoy the full slapping of the leather on their skin and can be "whipped" into an ecstatic trance state with the right rhythm, but would be at the end of their pain tolerance and pleasure after just a few strokes due to the sharp "bite" of the whip. And others, on the other hand, do not want to feel any pain at all, but just let themselves fall and be guided in the rope or in the power imbalance of a session.
In the session itself I use a system of verbal and non-verbal communication. This can be a short exchange, a short question "How are you?", "Do you need a break?", "Is that too hard?" etc. There is also a set of safe words. For example "yellow" for less or a break and "red" for a stop or the game being abandoned. There are also hand signals, control handles, etc. On the one hand, some partners find it easier to communicate their own limits in a scene through certain gestures than through words. On the other hand, it often happens in the game that the playing partner has too much mouth for a clear articulation. Different scenarios need different security measures and forms of communication to ensure that everyone involved moves in the area that is desirable for them.
Create a framework in which everyone involved feels safe and secure
All of the pre-scene communication isn't just for sharing what's happening and for carefully choosing what stimulation feels right or tolerable. It also serves to create a framework in which everyone involved feels safe and secure. Conscious and safe play, exploration and acting out in kink/BDSM - the associated potential - to arrive at ourselves, to rediscover ourselves - is only possible if we create a safe environment. A safe space where we can allow intense stimulation and states without freezing, being overcome by shame, fear or panic. Our individual pain perception is not fixed. Whether we are tired or irritable, whether we feel safe or insecure, whether we trust our partner or not: All this and more contributes to whether the body and psyche increase or decrease the perception of pain at this moment. Although it is the task of the dominant part to maintain the agreed, secure framework over the course of a session, this framework must first be set together. The surrendering part must not content itself with saying. "Do what you want with me." While this is appealing in the imagination, in reality most of us already have a direction in mind for where we want to go. (Keyword erotic core topic). It makes a difference if you find yourself chained up in a dark basement and on all fours eating out of a bowl, or if you are artfully tied up by candlelight to piano music and soulful slaps on the butt. Which setting is the right one for everyone involved should therefore be coordinated with each other.
Sex is a contact sport
Wherever different bodies meet, accidents and injuries can (and will) happen. Of course, a distinction must always be made between unintentional and willful violations and transgressions. In principle, all game partners should be aware of the dangers and risks of the respective game types. In particular, the dominant part needs to know what he/she is doing, what could happen, how he/she plans to mitigate the risk and how accidents, if any, will be dealt with. This should also be discussed with the game partner. Without both really knowing what is happening and what can happen, there can be no real consent, i.e. no real agreement (keyword "informed consent"). If something happens in a session that makes it necessary to interrupt the game, the injured partner should first be stabilized physically and emotionally. How this is to be done can be quite individual and should be discussed in the pre-session conversation. Physical injuries should be treated appropriately and, if necessary, a decision should be made as to whether a visit to the doctor is necessary. Once the initial shock is over, talk about what happened. What went wrong, what boundary was violated. This is not the time for blame, apologies, or stubbornness out of hurt pride. Remain factual, appreciative and open. Say how you perceived the situation. what you would have needed. And what you wish for a similar scenario in the future. In this way, everyone involved in the situation can grow, (re)build trust and do better in the upcoming play.
After the play is before the play
And even if the joint session was a sensual, intoxicating dive into the abysses of your fantasies: Take time for each other afterwards and to come back to reality together. This aftercare moment is often decisive for us as to whether the session is stored in our memory as a good or less good experience. Especially the submissive part often experiences a little "nightcap" after an intense session when all the delicious hormones slowly evaporate again. A drink, a blanket and some chocolate make the landing much smoother. Talk about how everyone experienced the game, what was particularly nice, surprising and exciting - and what wasn't so nice or too much. This is also an opportunity to talk about whether we have awakened the desire to continue exploring certain types of games or border areas together next time. Take the time to wake up together from what you just experienced. And look forward to the next scene together. After the game is well known before the game.
Stay safe, play wild!
*If you are interested in the topic and you want to learn more about kink, consent, communication and the core erotic topic, we look forward to seeing you in our online workshops or in private coaching.