Poll Results Are In! (Pleasure, Pain, and Science)

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

While not hugely successful,  we did get about 100 votes on the poll, so that does at least make it an easy number to work with! I have had a lot of fun putting this together in the last couple of weeks. Let me begin by thanking our readers for participating, because of your help, my ‘theoretical’ fourth part was able to become reality, so I really couldn’t have done it without you! Now, onto the results!

painscale

For the ‘yes or no’ question about making a consistent, conscious effort to raise your pain threshold being important to you or not, a resounding 70% of us said ‘Yes!’

50% of us say we would tell our partners to stop what they were doing between 8, 9 , and 10, with 8 being ‘much more pain than pleasure’, and 10 being no pleasure at all, only pain! We really do like it rough!

In question one, I asked about your pain threshold in regard to what you say it was during your first BDSM experience involving pain. 6 and 7, respectively, were the most popular answers. In the second question, I asked where you consider your threshold to be right now, at this moment, and 8 and 7 were the most popular, respectively.  It turns out 56 of us were at a ‘5 or under’  on the ‘pain subjectiveness’ scale when we started, and only 28 of us now consider ourselves to be at a 5 or under. So, roughly a little more than 25% of us seem to have had a significant increase in our pain threshold, while 70% of us make an effort to raise it. Are we doing anything wrong? I highly doubt it. There wasn’t any way for me to work in more variables, such as, ‘how long you have been in the lifestyle to begin with’, and, ‘do you participate regularly in sessions involving pain’, as I think this would have allowed for explanations as to why or why not our pain threshold is stagnant or growing. I think also, it may be likely that those in long term relationships with their partners might have an ‘easier time’, if you will, working on their pain thresholds, on account of things like experience with one person regularly, and just being plain comfortable enough to be able to ‘let go’. That is just my opinion though, and I wish I could have included things like that.  Maybe PollDaddy will add some new formats and features or something, and I may be able to do it in the future.

This may raise more questions than answer them, and I suppose any scientific study worth its weight garners more questions than answers at the end, haha! Within those results, however, is something to be proud of I think. Since 7 and 8 were the most popular answers for ‘right now’ thresholds, and most of us have to ‘stop’ at 8, 9, or 10, this means we are, in fact being very open and honest with our communication in regards to how much pain we can bear. Good for us for living up to our own standards and practicing what we preach! Now, go give yourself a nice pat on the back……..or a flogging, whatever you prefer, since its all just subjective anyhow…..

If your interested in the research that brought this piece to its conclusion, just read  these first two articles about Pleasure, Pain, and Science. The poll is actually still open, so it might be fun to see if it evolves over time and any averages change. Hope you enjoyed, and thanks for reading!

Part One

https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-one/

Part Two

https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-two/

The Poll (part 3)

https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/poll-one-the-subjectiveness-of-it-all/

POLL ONE: The ‘subjectiveness’ of it all!

The two articles I have posted preceding this poll are here, if you care to look at them: part one –https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-one/ part two –  https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-two/

 I am limited on what kind of poll I can do here on WordPress, so therefore the type of results I can garner is limited as well. So,this is a simple poll, but hopefully will give us some idea of “The ‘subjectiveness’ of it all!”  Here goes my first ever pollI will be using the scale of 1-10 like you would see in a doctor’s office for these, like this one…..painscale

  Once we get enough people to take the poll, I will work on a post to present the results to see if they are close to what the research says they could be. Please share this with anyone you know in the lifestyle so we can get as many votes as possible. The more votes the polls get, the more realistic the results will be. If this one succeeds, I might have another! Hope you enjoyed participating!

Pleasure, Pain and Science…Part Two

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

Before you read this, please take a look at Part One! right here-  https://asubmissivesinitiative.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/pleasure-pain-and-science-part-one/, which discusses Pain. There will be a poll for Part Three, for you to participate in, so we can analyze a little information for ourselves, and maybe gain some insight. Either way, I hope you will enjoy it, and benefit from the information I’ve gathered.

How do we translate pleasure? you could start with asking the question, “Why do I like what I like?”

Let’s have a look at some research. A study was done with people volunteering to sip a glass of wine while being in a neuro-imaging scanner. While they are doing this, a screen is in front of them, telling them about the wine. Some are told it’s expensive, etc., some are told its cheap, etc. Some are told nothing. Not unexpectedly, those who were told it was expensive wine thought it tasted much better than any cheap wine they ever had. (It was all the same wine, of course). Besides this though, the pre-frontal cortex, which responds specifically to pleasure, and reward, lit up like a Christmas tree! This did NOT happen with the volunteers who were told they were drinking the cheap wine! This suggests that their responses (your responses!) are not just about the wine itself, but your perception of it. So, what you think about the wine, can apparently make it taste better, or worse!expensivewinecheapwine

What you think about what someone looks like, seems to have a lot to do about how you feel about that person. Studies done on ‘happy couples’  resoundingly show that those who think their spouses look better than anyone else, are the same couples that say they argue less, and have more sex. Does this mean those couples have more pleasure? Or love each other more? Think about it. Think about your grade school bully, or the person who shares your office that never shuts up. Now think about how attractive they look in comparison to your best friend/partner/child? Definitely interesting.

Capgras  Syndrome is an affliction where the sufferer believes someone close to them has been replaced by an impostor. As you can imagine, this usually has tragic consequences for the afflicted and their family, because they believe they are killing or removing the impostors and making things better. One case in 1931, had a happy ending though.capgras

“In 1931, researchers described a woman with Capgras Syndrome who complained about her poorly endowed and sexually inadequate lover. She was happy to report that he had a double who was rich, virile, handsome and aristocratic.” HA!** (see below)

So, who you think you are looking at can have a profound effect on how you react to them. Now, think of consumer products. One reason we use them is purely utilitarian, i.e., what they can do for us. Think of a couple of everyday things, like, oh, i don’t know, a sweater and a pair of shoes. (pictures inserted below)

The sweater keeps you warm. Maybe it’s even in style, so you’ll look like you give a damn about what Cosmo says. Shoes, they protect your feet, maybe help you run faster. How much would you pay for an average sweater? For average shoes?airjordansaveragesweater

Now, what if I told you that sweater was worn by George Clooney, and the shoes worn by Michael Jordan? (Insert whatever your favorites are) What kind of responses are lighting up in your brain now? Would you pay more? Do you want it more because of the history that surrounds it? The status or money it might bring you? What you know, or even just what you think you know about anything, or anyone for that matter, has a lot to do with how much you think it is worth. With how much pleasure you think it will bring you. A wedding ring may be considered irreplaceable, and therefore priceless, but usually only by the beholder. Therefore, your response to how much you like something or someone, and how much pleasure you get from them or it, is deeply related to your beliefs about how it came into being.

A study was done on chimps, using a reward system. Signal lights turned on, meaning a reward for work was about to be given. First, the reward was given 75% of the time, and dopamine levels in the brain were measured. Next they reduced the reward percentage to 50%. Surprisingly, dopamine levels were higher with the 50% reward, seemingly meaning the element of uncertainty has a lot to do with pleasure. How does this help us understand ourselves? well the human element in this experiment is time. The time between finishing the work and receiving the reward can be a non-issue for us. Religion is a perfect example. Some of us are able to keep up our levels of excitement about a certain reward, presumably satisfied with not being able to receive it until after we are dead! This is a quality unique to humans, as far as we know. It is also the exception to the rule, however, as most of the time, our own dopamine levels, (and therefore our excitement about it) drop if we feel too much time has passed in between the work and the reward.

Puts the BDSM allure into perspective for me, certainly!How many of us look forward to our Master’s reward after the work is done? This may also help us when we think about the Why’s, How’s, and When’s of Sub Drop. Maybe understanding the ups and downs of our neurological system  might help us identify triggers and other responses, and make some scientific sense out of all those emotions!

Think back to the beginning of your exploration into the lifestyle. Did it meet your expectations, exceed them, or neither? How, or from whom, did you first hear about it,  and how do you think that might have affected your ideas about it in general?safesaneconsensual

So, pain and fear seem to be very closely related. Pleasure, beauty, and worth seem to be just as close. With that in mind, I will close by saying if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then surely pleasure and pain must be as well.

I’ll have the poll posted very soon!

Links to relative info/some resources:

**As quoted by Physchologist Paul Bloom, who has some very interesting research:   http://www.fastcodesign.com/1665606/how-expectations-can-turn-anything-from-worthless-to-priceless

http://on.aol.com/video/robert-sapolsky-on-the-dopamine-and-pleasure-516981862

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capgras_delusion

Pleasure, Pain, and Science…Part One

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

I have Decided to separate this article into a 3 part series, since the information I gathered has turned out to be too much for just one article.  Well, hopefully 4, if I can convince enough of you to take the poll I have envisioned for the third part! The results compared to the research I’ve presented here, would be the theoretical fourth part, so I need your help, please!

Let me begin…

Photo from commons.wikimedia.org

Have you ever wondered why you love the BDSM lifestyle and your best friend, whom you have so much in common with, doesn’t? You could say it was the difference in family environments in which you were raised, but what about your brother, who cringes at the thought of spanking his girlfriends ass with a paddle? Shouldn’t he be open to that kind of thing since you both had the same upbringing?

While most science isn’t looking for answers to these questions, (since BDSM is considered ‘fringe’ at best, and ‘criminal’ at worst) it’s fun for me to be able to think about the research in this way, and present it to you. I’ve done my best to put together the facts and new information, so I, along with your help, can maybe put together a sort of hypothesis on why we feel pleasure and pain the way we do. Turns out, it’s a lot more than external stimuli to our nerves, and electrical signals being sent to our brains. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as:IASPimage

‘Unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual tissue damage, or, described in terms of such damage.’

The ‘and’ is an important word to include, as so many doctors and therapists are finally accepting that pain is not just felt at the physical site in question, but also is being felt in your mind as well, which can have emotional repercussions. This changing attitude is shown in new and better diagnoses and treatments of ailments such as  Depression, Bi-Polar, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and Fibromyalgia. Pain is subjective, meaning it is a personal statement, and cannot be measured in any way but by the person feeling it. In this way of looking at it, you could say, and be correct, “pain is in the genes”.

In fact, it turns out, it is. Or at least some of it. There are many instances of people, even entire families, not being able to feel pain ‘normally’. For instance, putting your hand on a hot burner, and not feeling your flesh singe. In one real, documented case, the sufferer had a broken ankle that went unchecked for over a week because they could not feel the pain of the broken bone, or the swelling tissue! Geneticist John Wood is currently working on the genome of an entire family affected in different ways of not being able to feel pain. Already his findings promise to open up new ways of treating pain at the genetic level. (The gene SCN9A is responsible for how we interpret and feel pain.) So, pain is essential for a normal, healthy life.

DNAOk, so you don’t have the time or money to have your genome decoded, haha. Neither do I. Some Neuroscientists think early childhood experiences  have effects on how we translate pain. Promising research seems to show that ‘pain receptors’ piggy back, if you will, with our basic ‘touch receptors’ during childhood development. This may lead to incorrect, or unbalanced neuro-responses, especially if we have early traumatic experiences. This rings a bell of truth when you think about the irrational fears some people have of everyday objcts, such as birds, balloons, brooms and clowns. (Ok, so some clowns are just plain CREEPY!) The point is, this could show how pain can be related to fear.

It goes back to the ‘subjectiveness’ of it all. We have all surely realized how you feel about something has a lot to do with how you translate it. Your best friend may be unwilling to try bondage, because of a deep fear of being tied up, or being out of control. Therefore, what she thinks about it, is as real as if it were painful. So even if she agrees to do a session to try it out, it is unlikely she will enjoy it, or garner any pleasure out of it, because of how it is perceived and thought about by her to begin with. 

Tighter iz better Nov 27, 2010
There are even some studies that show being born pre-maturely can affect your pain sensitivity. Heel Prick tests are commonly done to infants after being born to draw blood, etc. during these tests, infants are hooked up to painless
neuro-response sensing electrodes. They are then able to measure the amount of brain activity in regards to how much pain the baby might be feeling, i.e., the more the brain lights up, the more pain is involved. Done on both full-term and pre-term infants, the study consistently showed that the pre-term babies had more brain activity, which would seemingly mean they felt more, and/or are more sensitive to feeling pain.
baby heel prickWith that knowledge in your mind, you might ask your best friend if they were a ‘preemie’ baby, or think about how you know your brother was born early. Or did they have an early childhood experience they call traumatic? Could those things make them more pre-disposed to turn away from the BDSM lifestyle? There is no way to universally know what effect those experiences may have or have not, but I bet you’ll be analyzing your friends and family, and hopefully, yourself!

My Piece on “Pleasure” will continue this article, and will be posted very soon! So please check on ASI often, and hopefully I will have enough readers to have a poll taken and we can analyze it for ourselves!

Links for related info/research:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/the-gene-for-pain/3400134 (geneticist John Woods)

Infant heel prick study: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/26/14/3662.full and http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/726736

CIPA (congenital insensitivity to pain disorder): http://voices.yahoo.com/people-cant-feel-pain-1741147.html

http://www.iasp-pain.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home/

http://hkoa.org/hkjos/1997-1/045_049.htm

My Dom is Ignoring Me!

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

Fan Question:

“I am at the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn now.. I have been with my partner for 3 years now but or relationship seems to be at a standstill if not dissolving. I am a lost slave so to speak.. My partner is a Master however he has never collared me which is causing its own issues for me mentally and emotionally. My problem is that I have tried to express my needs and desires to him in various ways all ending in failure. My latest efforts ended with him calling me an ingrate for disagreeing that it should all be my responsibility to get attention I am craving. I often feel he isn’t interested in me anymore making it hard to dress up for him or even get close to him I feel rejected. I have gone so long without my needs being met that I have become somewhat of a brat which he is blanking for his lack of interest. I just don’t know what to do anymore I feel so lost without having aspects of feeling owned and loved. Any advise could help at this point I really an at my wits end with how to even communicate my needs anymore….”

 

Answer:

I’m sorry that you are feeling this way. My advice would be to let him know that you are feeling helpless about his lack attention and that it is something you feel you need in order to continue in this relationship. If he keeps ignoring your attempts without any sort of recognition or compromise, then maybe it’s time to ask for release and find someone who is more attentive and respectful. A proper Dom should be open to listening to his sub/slave. Not that they will always get their way, but communication is a big part of creating a healthy relationship! And it has to go both ways.

Online Relationships and Cheating

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

“What are the possibilities of such a relationship working over the internet? Also, both men and women are prone to cheating on internet partners. Seeing you feel so strongly about the mutual respect, trust, “cherish your partner”, all those things mentioned in the one post of yours. Do those “rules” then apply to a virtual relationship as well? I’m totally new to this entire concept….”

Answer:
What rules apply to a relationship are up to those actively engaged in that relationship. Some people find that online relationships lack a physical aspect and therefore find that it’s entirely appropriate for their partners to seek affection in real life. Others cannot emotionally deal with the idea of their partner being with someone else physically and find that online play is sufficient for both of them. Either way, communication and honesty are key to making an online relationship last. If you are open about your expectations and desires, then you will find a relationship (online or real life) that works for you.

Letting Go

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

Fan Question:

“I need some advice. I have always been in control. I gave up that control to my Master/boyfriend and sometimes have a hard time letting it go. I can be a bit of a brat and I don’t want to disappoint him. What can I do to let go of the control?”

Answer:

Being a brat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on when you are a brat and the reasons behind the brattiness. For some Dominants it can be an endearing quality, but you have to remember that being demanding and argumentative are not likable characteristics for any submissive and honestly goes against what being a submissive is.

If you feel a bratty moment coming a long, tell your Dom! Just say I really feel ____ or I’d like to really ____ right now. Being honest is part of developing a healthy relationship and is absolutely necessary for making a BDSM relationship work. Communication can go a long way, so let him/her know you are struggling with this aspect. That way they can recognize when you are struggling and try to help you through it. It’s a Dominant’s job to guide you, so let them help!

You can also start a journal to keep track of your bratty moments. Think about what triggered the feeling, what helped you calm down or what pushed you over the edge, and ways you can handle future issues.

Good luck!

Parenting and the D/s lifestyle – Ways to Make it Work

growing upOur website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

Many argue there is no way to have a 24/7 D/s relationship and be a parent. I say there are ways. In fact, many of you probably already do it. After searching for information, articles, and reading A LOT of blogs, what follows is my take on different ways to make it happen.

The ages of your children affect the choices and challenges you are presented with in any situation.You may be more free around younger children. For example, an infant or young toddler woken up by a scream or other such noise, isn’t going to come knocking on your door with questions, but can simply be rocked back to sleep, and your lesson is learned (if you’re lucky!). An older child would be much more complicated to deal with. Explanations would be needed, even if they are not wanted.

The advantage we have in the BDSM world, I believe, is our communication skills. Its been said over and over. This ability should flow over in our interaction with our children, as well. What you should talk to them about depends not only on your situation, but also on your own standards and morals. Obviously, if you choose a more open path, your children will see more and hear more. This may be fine for you. If you choose a more closed path, you may never have to deal with it at all concerning your children. As long as children are not exposed to extreme adult situations, there is no simple right or wrong path to take. Remember, safety first includes our children!safesaneconsensual

Depending on how you live the lifestyle, some of this may not apply to you, but I think you’ll find it useful nonetheless. For the purpose of this article, I chose to assume the reader has a 24/7 D/s relationship, or pretty close to it. I am not including the sexual aspect of the relationship here, as children of any age should not be included in those situations. You cannot hide everything from, nor adjust everything for, your child and some things may be overheard accidentally, but this is generally the exception, not the rule.

Many subs have “rituals” they do in service to their Doms, perhaps a greeting at the door when they return home. That is a common one. If you are supposed to be, lets say, naked and kneeling, obviously you cannot do that with children running around, no matter their age. Adjustments should be made accordingly. If you wear a collar, or other such symbol of your ownership/relationship, it may be a non-issue until your children are older and can ask questions. It’s not hard to answer something like that, really. A simple “Mommy/Daddy wears this as a symbol of our relationship/partnership/marriage (fill in the blank) as a reminder of the things we do for each other” can work to satisfy even an older childs curiosity. Or you can change the symbol to something less obvious, like a simple locket no one would question. Or even a certain undergarment to be worn. If you are to sit at Master’s feet on the floor when they have returned home, put some soft pillows down and have the children sit with you.

We all use safe words. (I hope we do!!!) They are simply a code, of sorts, to show a particular meaning, like stop, go, slow down, etc. You can make other code words or actions, for use in front of the children, to let each other know how you feel about a subject. When being a parent, you have to be strong and forthright, even while you may be a sub. It can be a challenge to be submissive to your Dom and possibly have to be dominant over your children, maybe even within the same given daily situation. Confusion easily happens, when, lets say, your child is misbehaving in some way, and in your frustration, you lash out at your Dom. A code word, or even a touch, can work quickly to put you back in your place, and may even help you (or both of you) see the situation more clearly, all without your child realizing it.

Rituals like these can become part of your normal, stable home environment, and the children won’t even need to realize if it makes you more comfortable that way. If you start while they are still young, things like this can become non-issues, which is probably where most of us feel the most comfortable, no one enjoys defending their lifestyle choices, even in front of toddlers, haha. It can make it even harder when the questioner is your child.

For these reasons I think it’s a good idea to have stability and a routine worked out in your relationship before children are brought into it. In this world of blended families we have, that simply does not always happen. This is where age appropriate discussions come in, as toys will undoubtedly be found, noises overheard, and even code words figured out. Children are smart!

I wish I could take credit for this next one, but I cannot. In all the blogs I read, this analogy just takes the cake, and the ice cream, as it were. (I will put a link below so you can read the blog if you want). I simply had to share this, and I will use my own words here.

We often refer to “normal” lifestyles as “vanilla”. After all, vanilla is the most common of the flavors. Lifestyles can be likened to ice cream. Vanilla being the most common, and almost everyone has tried it. Many are satisfied and never try another flavor. Some like the flavor, but want different toppings, nuts, sprinkles, etc. Some even stop eating vanilla ice cream altogether and go with the different flavors, or even make up their own flavor and unusual toppings.Ice_cream_flavors

I think this analogy just might be a great way to  break the ice when talking to your child and may help lead you into other ways to appropriately discuss things with your children. While we are talking about vanilla here, Id like to say, even though the vanilla world may not understand our flavors and toppings, we are no different from them in the fact that we love our children and want whats best for them. No matter the flavor we like, we put their needs above our own, and do the best we can to keep the scales balanced. I also believe the happier we are, the happier our children will be, and therefore we need to take care of our needs, too. Be honest, and open, while being age appropriate, and our children will respond in kind.

Read as much as you can. Blogs are a great way to glean information from someone elses similar experience. It is impossible to fit it all in here. I ask that you share as much as you can. With each sharing comes more information for others to learn. This is such an important topic to cover, and no one article or person is going to have all the answers for your situation. I ask all of you, from one parent to another, to share your experience and advice, and keep our lifestyle the one of many flavors.

~Rose Petal

The ice cream analogy –

http://servingmaster.com/2012/11/28/bdsm-and-parenting/

some general info –

http://voices.yahoo.com/bdsm-101-parenting-dominant-submissive-household-1859936.html

Should I Look for a Dom First?

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

Fan Question:

“I am new to the community and I have never been with a Dom male as a submissive, I have never been a sub nor have I had any experience with spankings, floggings, paddles, I fantasize about everything bdsm a few things turn me on how should I go abouts finding a Dom, and or if I should experience first before looking for a Dom? thanks for the responses”

Answer:     If you’re interested, but have never tried anything.. then do a lot of research FIRST. Having a better understanding of the culture and activities will give you an advantage when you finally do start looking for a partner. It will also make you more comfortable talking about it and you will know more about what you like and dislike. Subfrenzy, or jumping right in, can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.. so look online for BDSM information or education, check out or buy a couple books, maybe even go to a munch or two to get into the local community. Some local dungeons also do beginner or safety courses that could be useful too! Good luck! ~Jessi~

How to Make My Partner Dominant

Our website has moved! Please check out this article on our new, independent website!

 

Fan Question:

“heres my problem i am a natural sub but my current bf kinda is too. ive asked him to be more domanat but hes so senstive and sweet hes tried some of the things ive told him i like but its like hes scared to domanate me like i so wish he would. how can i help bring him out of his shell and amke him feel more comforatable and want to be my master. sn this is the frist relationship hes ever been in with a sub he actually never knew about this life style before we got together any helpful ideas would be great”

 

Answer: If your current partner isn’t naturally Dominant, there’s no way to “covert” them. Someone has to have some dominant or submissive qualities in order to take on those roles.. so someone who is more submissive would feel extremely uncomfortably taking on a Dominant role. Sorry, but there’s no “Dominant To-Do List” that will create a Dom person.