I wanted to share some thoughts on another great post from Sparky on the 'No safe word' blog: http://nosafeword.blogspot.com/2011/12/building-pain-tolerence.html
He speaks there about pain-play - and the ways in which he has seen (and experienced) intense play over time.
He says that the 'Old Guard' traditions seemed to be based on a Top taking the sub on a journey: building their Trust, and using a slow build up of pain and experience to ramp up their endorphin high and enable them both to reach higher and higher levels of experience together:
But, for whatever reason, some of those newer players in the 'newer kinks' seem to have lost this idea - preferring instead to head straight for intensity. But, whilst that leap to the peak experience may look good from outside:
"The sub doesn't have the time to learn from the experience, gain trust, or reach levels of inner calm by becoming acclimated to the pain they experience before being taken to the next plateau.
In fact I think in those cases the sub is merely a prop as a part of expression of sadism."
It is unfortunate, but i must agree - and have had that same feeling that my experience does not feature in the new Top's concerns - that i am merely there as an object, a three dimensional porn-prop to their own short-lived gratification, to be discarded once they are done.
The idea of being a sexual object may be hot - and there are those that hold the belief that the sub is there to serve and nothing more: that the Top's pleasure is all that matters - but in reality such depersonalising experiences have only been painful and empty - and i believe deeply damaging to both my own self-worth, and to the Top's perception of Himself as Top and Sadist.
The old traditions built up over time, based on the experience of many Men - most of whom had been on the other side of the whip, the clothes peg or the needle; each had experienced what it means to surrender, and how it feels to ride your Top's gift of pain.
They knew from personal experience how the slow ramping up is a part of the journey - and that the journey is itself the goal.
And in that gaining of experience they also gained a key part of BDSM: EMPATHY.
Empathy is knowing what the sub is feeling - physically and emotionally; empathy is in knowing from your own experience how to play his body and mind.
Empathy is in knowing that the Top understands your building need to surrender - and receives that surrender with full knowledge of what it costs.
Empathy is what makes our play the meeting of equals - even whilst the one surrenders all to the other.
Without empathy, there is no Trust; without trust, there is no possibility of a bond between the players - and without that bond, BDSM is meaningless: a one-night stand masquerading in leather and chains.
And perhaps most importantly: Empathy is what makes BDSM play a shared experience of pleasure, rather than simply one Man abusing another for His own selfish ends...
To me, BDSM is all in that slow build up - both of the sub's ability to surrender and go into the experience (whether that is pain, or submission), and of the building Empathy and Trust between the players - that both enables the sub to submit, and that creates the deep emotional bond that makes it all worth while.
Because it really isn't about the pain itself. If it was, I'd stay at home and get off by jabbing needles in my leg. Pain (or humiliation, or bondage, or any part of BDSM) is simply the tool used to help us ascend - the conduit through which our energy flows: me to You - the key through which i am able to attain surrender, and You are able to receive it.
Pain is the method of travel - and not the point of the journey.
And, done well with respect and with experience, BDSM really should be a journey - a long climb up the screes and bluffs of our shared sexual heights - until you are *both* stood upon the highest peaks - and both made greater from the shared experience of the climb.
But like any mountain climb, that takes both time and experience.
And maybe that is where the newer kinks and players lose: because they don't give it the necessary time.
Maybe it's the desire for instant gratification, or too much choice in the online world that creates a perceived need to make an immediate impression - and maybe it's just a simple lack of experience and of empathy. But the rush to get to the peak experience means that you really do miss the journey - and therefore never truly reach the goal.