Understanding Masochism

Today I want to look at masochism and help those who are not masochists potentially understand why someone might enjoy pain.
I wanted to write this article because of the initial difficulty my girlfriend and I had and the initial difficulty I have seen others have. For many people, it is hard to understand how another person would choose to cause pain to themselves, or say that pain is a pleasurable sensation. Yet this is exactly what a masochist will tell you. So I wanted to write this article to help understand why another person would like pain. I think when you do it is easier to accept your partner and also provide that stimulus they want. I do want to say though that masochism is a highly individual experience. Each person will give you different reasons. The list I have created is largely personal, but from what I have read and talked to others about, it seems to be quite common in terms of why people say they enjoy it.
The first reason pain is enjoyable is because allowing another person to inflict pain upon yourself requires huge amounts of trust. If you hand a paddle to someone and tell them to spank you, that requires trust. If you let someone flog you, that requires trust. If you let someone stick needles in your, it requires trust. If you let someone bite you, scratch you, dig rope into you, do anything to your body, it requires trust. There are potentially serious consequences if they do it improperly. When someone paddles me, they can cause too much pain. They could cause internal bleeding if they hit the wrong spot. They could cause nerve damage. They could cause bleeding. They could seriously harm me. But I consent to that risk because I trust them and love them. The more risk there is, the more trust is required. And normally inflicting pain on a person involves more risk. So part of masochism to me is that it really allows me to bond with a partner, to develop love and affection. It allows a connection and a closeness that can exist outside of BDSM, it can exist outside of masochism, but to me masochism facilitates that relationship and makes it easier. So when someone says hit me, realize that is a sign of respect and trust.
The second reason I love pain is because of endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s feel good hormones. If you have ever heard about morphine, it is an opioid which mimics your endorphins. They decrease pain, increase happiness, and make you feel good. Runners get cranky when they stop running for a day because they are short of endorphins. Trauma also causes a release of endorphins. So a part of pain is actually pleasure. It is that release of endorphins and that surge of feeling good. It is my guess that masochists are slightly different in how they deal with pain and release above average levels of endorphins or respond in a greater magnitude. I have never found any data backing that up, but it seems reasonable. When I experience pain brought on by my partner, there is pain and discomfort, but that is quickly replaced by a warm buzzing sensation. People describe highs. They talk about “subspace” and how they just drift. That is caused by those endorphins. So realize your experience to pain is not the same as everyone else’s and that sometimes people feel more good than bad when it comes to pain.
There is a joy in overcoming an obstacle. There is contentment and utility in pushing yourself hard. The same exists for masochists getting through a session. When your dominant or top wants to push slightly harder than before, when they want a longer session, or to hit harder, or you want a longer session, or to be hit harder, there is a pride and a sense of accomplishment. You feel as though you achieved something. You let yourself be in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time to please your partner. Or to push yourself and build your willpower and determination. That pride and success adds to your mood when the session is done and provides a driving force when you are in pain. It adds mental stimulation to your sessions and provides you with happiness when it’s done. So part of your partner’s masochism might be out of pride and a sense of accomplishment of being able to push themselves and grow.
Not All Pain Is The Same
I just want to end off on something too, which I think helps understand a masochist better. Not all pain is the same. This was a hard concept for my girlfriend to understand too. But just because I am a masochist does not mean all pain feels good. In fact there are lots of types of pain I absolutely dislike. But there are good pains too.
The difference is this. A bad pain feels bad and continues to feel bad. A good pain tends to start out feeling bad, but then ends up feeling really good. My point here is that masochists still do feel pain, they still dislike things, and they still avoid certain things. It is just that some things you register as pain are different to them and are also associated with good feelings. This is also why it is important to negotiate and understand what your masochistic partner wants (as well as them understanding your wants).
So hopefully you now understand why our partner might like pain and enjoy the sensation. My hope is also that this potential understanding can bring you closer together and allow you to grow as you understand each other better. As always if you have any questions ask in the comments. If you want to know about any specific experiences or more detail I will be happy to answer.