This is a Term paper of a Submissive I have been mentoring now for a couple of years. When I first met her she worked at a convenience store making 7.50 an hr. Now in school she was going to be a dental assistant, but after much consideration has change to a surgical RN . Now she is on her own, with her two children.
When I first met her she was somewhat new to the lifestyle, and very eager to learn, and wanted nothing but acceptance. Meeting new dominants she did not think things out and has been raped several times, meeting these so called dominants on their terms. Meet me at this park at 8pm, wear a skirt with no panties.
This type of behavior is not at all uncommon. The submissive is looking for the one. Almost all the rapes every year goes unreported , mainly because the submissive does not want the details of the meeting to get out or their lifestyle.
One example I am going to give you. Jessica contacted me, and asked me a couple of questions. 1. does a submissive have to submit on the first meeting.
Absolutely not. This is a meeting between two a dominant and a submissive. The first meeting should be up to the submissive , when and where.
Two. Does the dominant have the right to demand what the submissive should wear.
Absolutely not. The submissive needs to feel safe and secure at all times.
Three. Should a submissive agree to playing on the first meeting.
Absolutely not. If this is the new dominants intentions , then he has no real interest in you, other than busting a nut.
This dominant told jessica, that when they met, if he liked her , he would bend her over and she would take his seed so that he could make her pregnant. Now I do not get it, BDSM has changed so much over the last 10 yrs or so. There are dominants calls Bulls, and submissive’s called breeders , hmm I just do not get it..
Here is the email. He has since moved out of state. Fake Doninant
written 8 months ago:
How are you? You have been speaking with a sub named jessica, as you know many submissives comes with some baggage, as with jessica…. I have known her for about 5 years, we have played on and off, she is very willing, and good at what she does. She needs someone 24/7 365 nothing less.
She called me and told me about your demands, which I find from being in the lifestyle for some 20 yrs hard to grasp at why a dominant would make such demands on the first meeting, to each there own…Do you go to the woodshed in orlando? Or the orlando munch?
I am not trying to be an ass but jessica has some emotional problems and needs a lot of attention, I have advised her not to communicate with you any longer, nothing personal man..
written 8 months ago:
Leland,Thank you so much for your concern as it does sound like a plausible one if it were the case. I had to look back at the messages between us which were10 days ago.
We hadn’t spoke about too much. You are more then welcome to “claim”, “protect” “stick up for” all that you would like. Your ludicrous insinuations are unwelcomed here tho.
I would kindly appreciate if you knew what was going on prior to slandering. “Nothing personal man…”
Here is a message I sent to this so called dominant If you notice I asked a couple of questions that wen unanswered, He then turned and put all the blame on her.
SADOMASOCHISM: WHAT IT IS Sadomasochism 1
AND THE PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO PAIN.
Sadomasochism: What It Is and the Physiological Response To Pain
Pasco-Hernando Community College
Monday / Wednesday Class – 11:00 a.m
Abstract Sadomasochism 2
Sadomasochism has been a very little understood sexual phenomenon for many centuries. Once thought to be a mental disorder, new understanding has led to wider acceptance of this type of sexual contact, including declassification as a mental disorder. The paradoxical perspective being adopted within the psychological community is leading to more acceptance of sexual diversity and better understanding and tolerance of those who practice sadomasochism. Mental illness is no longer being based on social norms or personal bias, but instead on research and psychological testing.
While there are few studies on the physiological response to pleasurable pain, the research currently available suggests this may be a healthy practice, relieving the people involved of build ups of stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline that occur in response to our hectic, stressful daily lives.
Other hormones and neurotransmitters become depleted as a result of daily stress, for example, Serotonin. Decreased levels of this particular substance in the brain are linked to psychological problems. Like other hormones that will be discussed, pain, as well as sexual contact and orgasm can increase levels of this neurotransmitter, providing an overall feeling of well-being and happiness.
While all stimuli, both pleasurable and painful, have physiological effects, the ultimate goal of sadomasochism is to create a mix of both stimuli in order to achieve the best physiological response, ultimately leading to feelings of over-all contentment, happiness, and closeness between the couple.
Sadomasochism: What It Is and the Physiological Response To Pain
A sexual sadist is one who derives sexual pleasure from inflicting pain and torture onto another, who is most often a non- consenting party to the desires of the sexual sadist. These sadists often lack the ability to feel remorse for their actions, and usually have other forms of mental illness. (IPG, n.d.)
A ‘true’ masochist is one who derives real pleasure from inflicted pain. That is, the pain itself is found to be pleasurable. This type of masochist is generally not a submissive person, may hold a strong disdain for the protocol and practices within the BDSM community, but will, nevertheless, participate in the community to some extent in order to fulfill their desires.(Pierre, n.d)
In respect to this paper, we are not exploring sexual sadism and true masochism, but instead, the typical sadomasochism practiced within the BDSM community. BDSM is an acronym that stands for bondage, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism. The difference between these types of practices and participants are numerous.
In order to have a better understanding of sadomasochism within BDSM, we need to have a basic understanding of the roles and titles, common to BDSM. First, we must understand that not all dominants are sadists, and not all sadists are dominant. A switch is a person who is able to take a top or bottom role. A top is someone who takes on the dominant position for the duration of a scene only, and a bottom is someone who takes the submissive role for the duration of a scene. A submissive is not necessarily a BDSM masochist, but most BDSM masochists, unless they are a switch, are usually also submissive. A BDSM sadist differs from the sexual sadist in
that they do care for the health and safety of the masochist, only participates in consensual activities, and offers the use of a safe word or signal in order to stop all activities should the masochist become uncomfortable in any way. The difference between a true masochist and a BDSM masochist is that a true masochist is generally not submissive and derives pleasure from the pain itself; whereas a BDSM masochist generally derives pleasure from pleasing the sadist and from the physiological response to the pain, not the pain itself. These are general, and exceptions abound.
There are as many explanations to the question of why people choose this form of sexual release and lifestyle as there are people who participate in these activities. It is often highly personal, and no two practitioners will give you exactly the same answer for what BDSM and sadomasochism is to them, and what it entails. For instance, not all practitioners enjoy collar and leash play, nor do all participants enjoy humiliation, both stigmas common to sadomasochism.
Most theories, while they may mention a few words about the psychology of sadomasochists, have often been developed without contact with real sadomasochist practitioners, especially outside of a clinical setting, and have often been developed to conform to both social standards and personal bias. They, therefore, hold no real validity even to what could be considered a clinical sample to the population. (IPG, n.d.) There is no accepted understanding of what causes a sadomasochistic sexual orientation, or any other orientation, to develop. Psychologically, samples of sadomasochists have tested no differently than control samples. Through the course of history, sadomasochist practices can be observed, and have even been commonly found in
ancient marriage manuals. This suggests that the behavior may be a part of innate human sexual behaviors. (Moser, n.d.)
Early theories concerning sexuality labeled those who practiced sadomasochism as psychologically ill. Many, including Freud, believed that deviant sexual practices, or those outside the social norm, were the result of some horrific neglect, or sexual or physical trauma, usually occurring in childhood, but could include people who suffered abuse or rape as adults. This perspective is changing through the more inclusive, diverse paradoxical perspective of sex, which sees sexual preferences of all types as being the result of complex interactions of biology, imprinting experiences in childhood, individual experience, and social customs. It recognizes that sexuality is complex and multi-faceted and sets aside judgments about adult sexuality, acknowledging that understanding human sexual responses are just beginning as sexuality is being explored as it really is, without the influence of societal norms. (IPG, n.d.)
Although this new paradoxical perspective is being adopted within the psychological community, and has resulted in the elimination of BDSM sadomasochism as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, it is still commonly believed and accepted that previous trauma, usually sexual in nature, occurring in childhood, is the leading reason many choose to participate in the sadomasochist lifestyle as a way for victims to eradicate fears, or to self-empower themselves. It is thought that the victim is able to put themselves in similar circumstances, except with the knowledge that they have control over the situation, regardless of whether they choose to take a dominant or submissive role, which enables them to rework the past trauma in a positive manner psychologically. This is believed to be
healthy and even therapeutic, as long as the desire is based on self-empowerment and enlightenment, and not manic or obsessive needs to perpetuate violence. (Ferrer, n.d.)
A misconception surrounding BDSM in general, and sadomasochism specifically, is that physical abuse is present, and may even be glorified within the lifestyle. It is important for professionals who counsel people in the sadomasochist lifestyle to differentiate between domestic violence and consensual activities. First, domestic violence is nonconsensual, or consent is obtained through coercion, and includes the willful infliction of permanent damage or injury to another. It typically follows the distinct cycle of violence; a pattern of calm, escalation, an explosive incident, then making up. This is extended to individuals who are incapable of giving valid consent due to mental impairment, physical duress, or are underage. BDSM to include sadomasochistic practices include consent that is freely given, and the activities occur within a negotiated context, and under the standard norm for the lifestyle motto safe, sane, and consensual. (Powers, 2007) Those who practice any aspect of the BDSM lifestyle to include sadomasochism do not tolerate, condone, or encourage any practice outside of the safe, sane and consensual guideline. (Ferrer, n.d.)
While practitioners may be subject to abusive relationships, just as anybody in any other lifestyle may be, Charles Moser, as well as many advocacy groups for BDSM in general, has attempted to set in place guidelines for kink aware professionals to differentiate actual domestic violence from those resulting from consensual activities. Moser lists three key criteria in determining whether domestic violence or consensual activities have occurred. The marks to which he refers here are bruising, reddening, or welts. He first points out that facial marks are
rarely ever received in sadomasochism. Marks on the forearms are also rare, and most likely represent defensive wounds. Secondly, marks left in a pattern across fleshy parts of the body are common to BDSM. Fleshy areas common for marks within the context of consensual activities include the buttock, upper back, thighs, breasts, and genitals. The marks left from an incident of domestic violence are typically less patterned, being more random, not focused on just the areas of the body mentioned above. Third, he reiterates that marks found on the face, eyes, ears, lower back, and bony areas are rare, and would most likely suggest domestic violence rather than consensual play. In addition to these outlines by Moser, The National Leather Association International, the Leather Leadership Conference, as well as other advocacy groups came together to create a list of specific questions about the nature of the consent to aid healthcare professionals in determining domestic violence within a BDSM/sadomasochist relationship. (Powers, 2007)
Clinically and similarly to members of any other sexual orientation, sadomasochists may have other psychiatric problems that may or may not have any connection to sexual interest in sadomasochism. (Powers, 2007) Typically, these problems involve seeking counseling for questions about being normal, making uncomfortable thoughts and feelings go away, relationship problems as a result of one partner’s sadomasochist interests, and ethical questioning of such a lifestyle. The overall percentage of those who do suffer from some type of psychological illness within the BDSM community may be slightly higher than the general population, as any type of fringe community will tend to attract those who may not be psychologically sound. (IPG, n.d.) The BDSM community in general is very open, accepting, and tolerant of individual differences which may make it more appealing to those individuals.
This is one reason safety is strongly taught within the community. Local meetings, called munches, and other organizations, often teach that the community makes a great place for predators and fakers to fit in. Safety measures are stressed, and the red flags that participants, especially those new or just beginning to explore the lifestyle, should watch for. While there is a lack of current research concerning psychological problems of those who practice sadomasochism, the preliminary data that is available show practitioners do not have any specific psychiatric problems. (Moser, n.d.)
Another attraction to sadomasochism is the exchange of power that takes place between the sadist and masochist. There are two perspectives of power exchange. The first refers to the domination and submission relationship where the submissive partner is submitting themselves in some degree to the will and power of the dominant person. For some, this is only for the duration of the scene, and may hold very little meaning. For others, particularly those who also are dominant or submissive within the BDSM community, as well as their personal relationship, this power exchange is very important. The extent of this power exchange may range from minimal, in that the dominant makes very few decisions without the input of the submissive, to complete power exchange where the dominant controls every aspect of the submissive partner’s life. The need for this type of power exchange is considered normal unless there are other psychological dysfunctions that accompany the need such as schizophrenia, psychosis, or antisocial behavior. (Ferrer, n.d.)
The second type of power exchange discussed within the sadomasochism community refers to the physical energy that is exchanged between the sadist and the masochist. It is almost like an
exchange or sharing of chakra energy between the couple. This is more difficult to describe to those who have not witnessed or experienced a high energy level, intense scene between two people who are truly connected to one another at a nearly spiritual level. This type of energy exchange has more to do with “feeling” of energy.
In general, sadomasochism is a strong emotional aspect to the sexual desires which take a form of domination and submission, as opposed to a need for simple pain. (Anxiety Zone, 2012) In order for us to further understand why this type of pleasure is sought, particularly for the masochist, we need to understand several important factors. First, not all pain is the same. The person inflicting the pain, and feelings and trust level the masochist has for that person, in other words, the dynamics between the two, is imperative. Also, the situation, surrounding, and what is known as the head space, or more simply, mood, of the masochist are also important factors in how pain is perceived. We must also have an understanding of how our body reacts to everyday stresses, including the fight or flight response, and how it reacts to pain and pleasure.
The manner in which pain is inflicted and by whom makes all the difference in how that pain is perceived. A complete stranger who chooses to take a riding crop and smack an unsuspecting BDSM masochist on the buttocks will most likely be met with anger. Psychologically, the BDSM masochist will perceive that pain in a negative manner. If, however, the BDSM masochist’s sadist takes the same riding crop and smacks her on the buttocks when she is least expecting it, she will perceive the action in a positive manner, perhaps even as playfulness. While the pain inflicted in both settings would probably be similar, the manner in which it is perceived is different; therefore the perceived pain levels could be significantly different as well.
On the same hand, the pain from a dominant who stomps on the toe of his submissive will not be perceived as playful, and the pain will not register in the brain in a positive manner. (Pierre, n.d.) In short, even to a BDSM masochist, pain hurts, but the setting the pain is inflicted, and the trust level the masochist feels with the person inflicting the pain affects how pain is perceived.
Pain meant for pleasure must still be administered in a specific way for it to be effective. A good sadist will not begin whipping the masochist with an instrument such as a single tail whip, but will instead begin with light pain, perhaps with soft blows with a flogger, or any multitude of other ways. The reason for this is to begin the physiological response slowly, allowing the body to build up the neurotransmitters that will ultimately provide the masochist with the overall response that is desired. This is called warm up. It is during this time that the sadist will also spend much time getting into the masochist’s mind. Techniques he will employee vary, but can include humiliation, talking dirty, and sensory deprivation, among many other things. The fact that so much attention is put on involving the brain in sex, and the fact that most often, foreplay involves most of the body from head to toe is, in itself, a huge reason many people choose to practice BDSM, as well as sadomasochism.
Most seasoned players also have a general understanding of the physiological response to all aspects of sadomasochism, sex, and love. In a sadomasochist relationship, a good sadist will attempt to create scenes, which are times the sadist and masochist indulge in their lifestyle, or more simply, play time, which takes the masochist through all of the physiological responses, in a specific order. First the sadist wants to engage the brain, as well as the body. As mentioned above, this may include aspects of perceived fear, humiliation, talking dirty, or many other
options, limited only by imagination. During this time, the desired physiological response is to raise stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, which will continue to rise through the duration of this time. It is here that the sadist is also experiencing a fulfillment of his or her own needs of inflicting pain, as well as a releasing of emotional stress. (personal interview, 2012)
Here, it is important that we look at the specific hormones and neurotransmitters that are the major players in stress, mood, and pain perception. Epinephrine is a stress hormone, like cortisol, produced in the adrenal glands. (Markowitz, 2010) Signals from the brain to the adrenal glands release Epinephrine when a threat or stressful situation is perceived. Epinephrine, better known as adrenaline, is responsible for giving us short bursts of energy through its numerous physiological effects throughout our body. It is what enables the stamina needed for the fight or flight response in emergency situations. If the perceived threat or stressful situation lasts longer than a few minutes, more signals from the brain, in the form of hormones, tell the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol enables the body to respond for longer periods of time in the fight or flight response. (Scott, 2011) Normally, after the threat is over, the brain releases other hormones, and activates specific neurotransmitters to regain homeostasis, or balance, within our bodies. (Stress Course, n.d.)
The problem with these reactions is that we tend to live in a fairly safe, but all too stressful world; thereby, we do not fully engage the entire fight or flight response; however, our stress hormones are triggered often, causing the system to become over active, which, over time, leads to excessive levels of these stress hormones to accumulate. The negative health implications are many, but the largest problem is the effect they have on the brain to include killing of cells,
specifically within the hippocampus, which is important for learning and memory. (The Franklin Institute Online, 2004) Excessive Cortisol also prohibits the release of other important hormones and neurotrandmitters responsible for controlling mood. Overtime, the lack of these neurotransmitters can lead to psychological mood disorders. (Markowitz, 2010) It is important to keep in mind that the bodies relaxation response needs to occur after the flight or fight response in order that we may return to a state of homeostasis, or balance, which often, in today’s society, does not occur. (Scott, 2011)
The counter neurotransmitters to the stress hormones, those most masochist want to end a scene feeling the effects of are known also as the ‘happy hormones’. There are several of these that are important to all of us; however those who practice sadomasochism tend to be more aware of them and how they work. Endorphins are the first group that we are exploring.
There are at least twenty different types of endorphins, collectively called the Endogenous opioids. While each type of endorphin has a specific role, the group is overall known for reducing our perception of pain, as well as creating a feeling of euphoria. (Stoppler, n.d.) Produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, they are released in times of excitement, pain, and orgasm. (Konera, Satyanarayana, Rizwan, 2009) Endorphins as a pain reliever are as much as eighteen to five-hundred times stronger than any manmade pain reliever. (Road To Health, n.d) The positive health effects of endorphins are numerous. Within the sadomasochism community, the term endorphin high is used. This is similar to the runners high discussed within fitness circles. An endorphin high is simply the euphoric feeling created by the release of
endorphins. Some of the endorphin group also plays a role in arousal. (Konera, Satyanarayana, Rizwan, 2009)
Dopamine is the third neurotransmitter that is important in counteracting stress hormones. Its major roles include regulating movement and emotional responses. (Psych Basics, n.d) The emotional responses it affects include enthusiasm and joy. It is also the neurotransmitter that is active in the brains reward center, and plays a large role in addictions when it becomes deregulated. The same craving it creates for things that raise dopamine levels, also creates a craving for our partners when we are in love. In fact, dopamine is one of several neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of falling into and out of love. Sex, power, and pornography are all things, among many others, that can potentially raise dopamine levels. Dopamine creates the earning for things. It is subject to highs and lows, which affect how we feel about our partners. One practice within sadomasochism, called orgasm denial, increases important neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, discussed later, but keeps the dopamine level from fluctuating. If oxytocin is the ying, dopamine is the yang of love neurotransmitters. Both must be active on the reward center part of the brain in order to remain in love. Love making without orgasm seems to keep neurotransmitters such as dopamine from swinging, and is considered to be good for feelings of closeness and intimacy. (Marnia, 2005) Not as well known within the sadomasochism circle, it still plays an important role in mood, behavior, and perception.
Serotonin, also functioning as a neurotransmitter, is associated with mood disorder, particularly depression, when we do not have enough of it in our brains. (Free Dictionary, n.d) Low levels are also associated with obsessiveness of people. One of many ways this
neurotransmitter is released is in response to our fight or flight mechanisms cycling to a definitive end. Sex, love, and orgasm also play a role with its release. (Marnia, 2005)
The last hormone that is of most importance to those practicing sadomasochism is oxytocin. This hormone is well known as the birthing and breastfeeding hormone, but it is also the hormone of love and cuddling, increases sexual receptivity, counteracts impotence, and may be the most important neurotransmitter in counteracting stress hormones. Found in both sexes, it creates feelings of calmness and closeness, not just with a newborn child after delivery, but between partners, particularly after sex. It is abundant during and right after orgasm, but is also increased with daily acts of affection. (Marnia, 2005)
Now that we understand what these hormones and neurotransmitters do and how they work, we are better able to tie them into sadomasochism to see how they are advantageous. We can see how stress hormones can be at already high levels before a scene commences. We discussed previously how the sadist will work to increase these levels even more, by activating the fight or flight response in the masochist. The next phase is to inflict appropriate amounts of pain in increasing intervals. This action, as stated, releases the happy neurotransmitters we just discussed. This is the point that sexual stimulation may also begin, as well as mixing pleasurable touches, such as stroking a feather across reddened skin, with the pain being inflicted. The more pain that is inflicted, the more endorphins are released. The masochist can be teased and tortured like this for long periods of time. A good sadist will leave very few places on the body untouched by either pain, pleasure, or some mix of both. At some point near the end of the scene,
the sadist will change techniques so that any perceived danger is no longer present. This allows the entire fight or flight response to cycle to a definite end.
At some point in the scene, it is highly likely tears will be shed, usually occurring as result of a mix of emotional release, and pain. (Personal Interview, 2012) Research shows that tears of this type, as opposed to eye moistening tears for instance, contain stress hormones. (Keough, n.d.) This is believed to be another way in which we combat stress hormones. (Dobson, 2008) This is another example of how the practice of sadomasochism can help alleviate excess amounts of stress hormones.
After care is highly regarded as necessary within the sadomasochism community. A scene is highly emotional, not only for the masochist, but for the sadist as well. (personal interview, 2012) After care is where the sadist attends to the needs, both physical and emotional, of the masochist. During this time, strong bonding takes place, and feelings of love and care are reaffirmed. Clearly, the importance of this time cannot be understated. It is necessary and equally important for both the sadist as well as the masochist. If the sadist and masochist are not a couple but are instead, play partners for instance, other masochists and/ or submissives may provide the after care.
A study done
While it is understood that BDSM relationships vary greatly among individuals, just as relationships within the general population do, extensive interviews by Bert Cutler of heterosexual couples who practice BDSM found several key relationship values appearing frequently as answers in his interviews, which may point to another attraction to this lifestyle.
The couples interviewed stated that they believed the dominant / submissive aspects of their relationship directly related to the close intimacy they felt for one another. All couples placed a high value on communication within their relationship. Each also felt great pride in being able to read their partner and explore one another’s needs, pride in the dynamics of their relationship, as well as pride in their partner. He points out that the dominant and submissive roles were spoken of with equal reverence. (Powers, 2007) Communication, closeness, and relationship dynamics are all equally important within the BDSM community in general, but even more so within a sadomasochist relationship.
While there are many reasons and theories people choose to live this lifestyle, the physiological effects alone show us that we can indeed find enjoyment, health, and pleasure in pain. As more studies are done, and more research is performed on the dynamics of BDSM and sadomasochism, we are gaining a better understanding, both physiologically and psychologically of these types of relationships. The personal and social biased relating to sexuality and personal choices are being removed from the psychological field of study. Psychology professionals are being offered better training, and kink aware professionals are becoming more abundant. Studies are just beginning to show the positive health effects of this type of sexuality. They are also showing that couples who participate in this type of relationship have better communication and stronger feelings for their partners. The study of sexuality is in its infancy in grasping a full understanding of sadomasochism and those who practice it. Further study, both psychologically and physiologically, is needed before the general population as well the psychological community will be fully able to embrace sexual diversity, and even celebrate it as is done within the BDSM community.