I was looking for my friend/cover model/narrator/co-author Mary Cyn‘s newest book Cold Feet (the conclusion of her wildly sexy, funny, and surprisingly touching Kat McKinney, Wedding Slut series) and came across an article by Jamie Rautenberg, a therapist who works with folks dealing with physical pain, and who happened to have worked briefly as an office temp for a BDSM dungeon. The author became fascinated with (as she says) “not the ‘what’ of the club and the specific fetishes…. it was the ‘why.’ Why was everyone here? What is the motivation for both the client and their dominatrix to engage in this?”
She goes on to explore that why — and to quote my friend extensively. Here’s one bit from Miss Mary:
“Kinks themselves are incredibly intimate. Most people have no idea why they have those kinks but they’re so innate that usually it’s something that you can’t shake. It’s something that you’re always going to be turned on by. And that is deeply personal. There is an enormous amount of intimacy between you and your partner just because you are telling them this is what I want.”
The article goes on to look at what Rautenberg learned working with folks in the BDSM lifestyle, and how she has learned to view the relationship between pain and emotion.
As someone who isn’t particularly wired to respond either to power games or to pain in a sexual way, I found the article very intriguing. As someone who has dealt with pain from time to time (like most of us — if we’re lucky), I found myself thinking about how pain, emotion, and intimacy are interrelated.
Here’s another thought-provoking quote from the lovely Miss Mary:
“Catharsis is a really important thing in kink. Everybody has issues and I think a lot of people use kink in some way to work it out. If they have issues with their parents, that will often come through in different role play scenarios. People with trauma can sort of work through that trauma…I did a scene with someone one time that was single tailing (a type of whip) and single tailing hurts like a bitch, and we hadn’t played in a long time, so I think my pain tolerance had gone down a bit. When he hit me a couple times, I went down, then I breathed for a minute, got back up and then the same thing happened. It was this overcoming and getting stronger and sort of like something knocks you down for a minute and then you get back up and you ask for more…it shows you how strong you can be, and that you can push farther than you think you can…Even though, yeah you’re getting punched in the chest or getting flogged or whatever, that keeps you in the moment. Pain will take all of your attention, so your body and your brain won’t let you think about anything else. So, in a way it’s really relaxing if you are someone who has reoccurring thoughts or thoughts going a mile a minute all the time, if you have just something take you out of that…And it also feels good. Your body aches, but it aches in a way that reminds you you’re alive. A lot can come out with physical play, too. A spanking or something like that will sometimes bring up memories or emotions that I hadn’t dealt with, which happens with massage therapists, too.”
Oh, and I found Cold Feet. It’s coming out on Boxing Day. Do read it: it’s wonderful.