The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!

#57: Playing with Pleasure and Pain

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Playing along the borders of pleasure and pain can add delectable spice to your love life - although the thought of it can be pretty confusing and scary.

So let me explain.
We all have pain thresholds, and the area around that threshold can be exquisitely delightful - if approached in a safe and relaxed manner.

Sportspeople do it all the time: the runner’s high, the endorphin rush of lifting heavy weights repetitively - it’s one of the reasons people love sport and physical activity. I used to train intensively in the marital arts and would take a beating several times a week and would dish it out just as strongly. It was great!

This is all considered ‘normal’ behaviour. In fact, when sportspeople push themselves, they are lauded and praised. Yet those who do it sexually are often considered deviant.

Pushing the boundaries of pleasure and pain in physical activity only works if it’s done carefully. You have to warm up, you have to know your limits, you have to develop at your own pace, and those you’re playing with have to know and respect your limits too, as well as their own.

As a high level black belt I would train with my black belt peers very differently than I would with new students. With the newbies, there was a lot of instruction on staying safe, and the instruction on safety would change as the skill level grew.

It’s the same with pain play. We all have different erotic interests and different limits. I know people who like to put hooks through their skin and swing from the ceiling. Yikes! That is most definitely not something I want to do! But good luck to them; from what I’ve observed, their level of care in preparation is akin to that of parachutists. I’ve also watched people create intricate designs in needles on other people’s chests. Again, yikes! No-one is putting needles in my skin (unless they’re an acupuncturist); but again, the people I’ve observed in needle play do have the same level of care and hygiene as any medical professional (in fact a lot of them are in the medical professions!)

I’ve deliberately used a couple of quite extreme examples there, there’s not a lot of hook or needle play going on in the bedrooms of Australia, nor need there be. However, it seems there’s not a lot of playing going on full stop, and this is one area where you can have some fun exploring. Such as:

  • A gentle massage might put you to sleep, a firm massage, with a few slaps on the bum might arouse you.
  • Making love in missionary position might be a bit ho-hum, pull your partner’s hair at the same time and an erotic edge is added.
  • Squeezing your partner’s nipples with your finger tips or nails, slowly increasing the pressure, can be squirm-inducingly good on it’s own or when combined with genital pleasuring.
  • Running your nails down the inside of your partner’s thighs, over the soles of their feet, around their neck, or any number of other delicious body areas, can create a similar effect.
  • Biting the various body areas can also be delightful - start with a gentle bite and oh so gradually increase the pressure.
Any form of ‘impact play’, whether it be slapping, spanking, using a paddle or whip, is often looked at aghast - but it can feel sublime. People have been using flagellation to reach states of religious ecstasy for centuries, and the sensation is the same without the religious elements - bliss.

Try a little light slapping over the genitals; you might be pleasantly surprised. A good spanking on the buttocks or flogging around the upper back can send delicious sensations throughout the body.

The overall point has to be the receiver’s pleasure. The inflictor of the pleasure/pain receives their pleasure through the pleasure of the receiver (otherwise they’re just a sadist, and that is a very different thing). As described in my last post, The Sensual Dom/me, this has to be done with sensuality, depth, slowness, connection. At any time, the receiver can stop the activity. The receiver has full control.

Remember too, that you have to build up to this kind of play. Just as with genital sex, you don’t go straight to the genitals, you have to warm up; it’s the same here, you don’t go straight to the nipple squeeze! Lots of foreplay and beforeplay is required. You have to be relating well to your partner, you have to be feeling aroused and desirous of them, you have to already be ‘melting’ into the experience - then, and only then, do you start to play.


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