Sex talk
Speaking of Pain Scenes

Simon Sheppard,

Perhaps, as the song goes, you always hurt the one you love. But why would anyone want to hurt the one he's having sex with?

"Some guys really get off on being slapped around," says one obliging sadist, "so I do it. Consensually, of course." Many of those who bottom in SM scenes might say that the pain is part of the pleasure, but not the whole point. In fact, many a masochist would interpret what's doled out as "intense sensation," a place where "feels bad" and "feels great" meet.

"There's also the endorphin high," points out an often-battered bottom, speaking of the natural opiates the body produces in response to hurt. "After a well-run scene, I really feel like I'm flying."

In the context of an SM scene, "pain" can mean anything from the mild discomfort of a nipple being tweaked too hard to an elaborate whipping that leaves the bottom's back bloody. Tolerance for pain varies, too: What feels like exquisite agony to one guy can seem like a mosquito bite to another. For that reason, experimenting with pain requires lots of sensitivity on a top's part. "If I'm playing with a new boy," says the obliging sadist, "I'll discuss it with him, then start slowly and build, watching his responses, maybe backing off to give him a rest, then ramping up again." This sort of feedback loop not only makes a scene safer, but hotter, as well. Knowing your partner – or at least negotiating beforehand – and playing more-or-less sober will help things along.

For an adventurous novice, whether top or bottom, spanking can be a great way to begin exploring pain play. In the end, the ass is an erogenous zone, and many a man finds a bit of butt-blistering to be hot. And though there are techniques to spanking well, it's tough for even the most inept top to inflict real harm. Just start gently swatting, aiming for the fleshy parts and the crack of the ass, and have fun.

Other pain scenes may require more experience, expertise, or equipment. Some scenes, like putting clothespins on a cock, are relatively – if sadistically – simple. Others, such as play-piercing and blood play, are definitely for the advanced pervert only, and require heavy-duty precautions to be done safely.

No type of torture fills every masochist's delightfully perverted bill. One guy who may thrive on heavy flogging might well use his safeword as soon as his balls are gently swatted, while another may love taking a knee to the nuts but hate getting his shoulders swatted. And limits can change: Many experienced pain pigs have learned to process the pain inflicted on them until they can take quite a lot.

There are psychological elements that enhance pain play, too. Sexual suffering can be doled out in the context of "punishment," serve as a rite of passage, or form an intense bond between top and bottom. And while nonenthusiasts might find any sort of SM to be pathological, pain-play participants sometime use the language of spirituality to describe what they go through.

Being swatted with a riding crop or spattered with hot wax isn't everyone's cup of carnal tea. And certainly, there's nothing wrong with vanilla. But pain play can, for many a kinky man, either add stinging spice, or be an end in and of itself. And as long as it's done safely and consensually, a bit of pain play never hurt anybody...unless he wanted to be.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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