The Expectation of Pain

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By Jessica Cocker

Pain play seems to be something that is increasingly prominent within the BDSM culture and without the distinction that it isn’t necessarily expected of everyone. But with the media focusing on sadism so heavily within the BDSM community I find that most believe when they are starting out that it is something they will have to endure in order to be involved in a D/s relationship.

This is an extremely scary thought as someone who is passionate about BDSM education, but I know the reality is that there are some individuals who will get caught in the trap of a dominating figure (online or otherwise) who will try to convince them that in order to be a “good sub” they need to take a decent beating to please them. That makes me sick to my stomach. It is because they only see the popular media’s version of what BDSM is that makes them think this is true. If they get sucked into this version of BDSM, then they can spiral into a very bad place…putting themselves into one bad relationship after another, all the while thinking they are doing what they need to in order to be a “good sub”, but never feeling they meet the standards (because, in reality, there aren’t any!).

The truth is, a BDSM relationship is just like any other. Really, it is. A sexually active couple will enjoy the sex they find stimulating, without worrying about what position is “popular” in this month’s Cosmo. So why should we be worrying about what kind of kink is “popular” on this year’s best seller list? It shouldn’t matter at all. If it isn’t something you’re comfortable doing-don’t do it and don’t let anyone bully you into thinking it is expected.

I look at someone’s kink as their way of “dancing” with their partner. I find that this metaphor is perfect for describing a scene with someone. Not everyone enjoys the same music or they may even learn different steps to the same tune. Pain may work for you, but it’s not going to give the same sensation to everyone.

If you are interested in pain play, be sure to discuss the specific types of pain play. Telling someone “Yeah, I enjoy pain” will mean something different to each person. Pain for me could just mean a light spanking, but to a potential partner that could mean some heavy sadism and we would be greatly disappointed when our miscommunication comes to light.

If you aren’t into pain, be upfront with any potential partner that you do not enjoy S/M. You can still play heavily into the discipline and bondage aspects of BDSM without ever having to involve pain play. Never let someone tell you that you HAVE to do something. There is no “right” way to be a submissive. It is completely subjective to what feels right for you when submitting to a partner.

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