Sadism, Masochist, Consent and All That...
Tuesday July 20, 2010
"It's unfortunate that I am a masochist," she gasped. I looked over in mild surprise, as I was lifting her to her toes by her thick, erect nipples, and replied, "Oh?" She squirmed a bit and with another sharp intake of breath, she began to explain. "You are a Sadist. I like the pain; which is a bit at cross purposes. As a Sadist, you wouldn’t really want my enjoyment of it", she moaned. "Ah-ha. So we are back to labels, eh?" I whispered to her, and shared the definition of Sadism as I know it.
Essentially, she was referring to the oft referred joke - "A masochist walks up to a sadist and says, "hurt me." The Sadist, of course, smiles and says, "No." While this may exemplify one aspect of sadism, it is only one version of the way the terms are utilized.
Sadism, in the way I know it, is actually short for Consensual Sadism; and means "Consensually deriving erotic (or other) pleasure from another's pain; (preferably if generated by said Sadist)." Wikipedia defines it almost the same way - "Sadism is the derivation of pleasure as a result of inflicting pain or watching pain inflicted on others." It is easy to get confused when not utilizing or taking into account the "Consensual" piece to it.
Now - Let us define Consent! We can’t really have the guideline of consensual behavior and activity without being knowledgeable about what that really means, can we? I didn’t think so. I read somewhere – and I think it was either a Nina Hartley or Dossie Easton/Janet Hardy book that defined it something like this: "Consent is not the absence of "NO"; It is the mutually agreed upon creation of a YES." We particularly loved that and Sheba and I share that every chance we get.
So mostly for the sake of this article, let’s interject the term consensual into all the labels - and we will assume that there is a form of prior consent, when engaging in any of these manners. Note - any non-consensual activity is illegal, unethical and not condoned by AIS. Furthermore, I also know that someone will say, "What about consensual non-consent." I will simply point out "doesn't it say "Consensual" in front of the whole thing?
Anyway - let us get back to the labels part of it. Since we have defined Sadism, let us define Masochism. It's too bad that Crystal isn’t here - as I would be able to simply put her picture here, and move on. But, alas, that is not the case. So - Masochism - as defined by Wikipedia - (paraphrase) "Pleasure in receiving pain". Now let us clarify, it is not just any pain. It is purposeful and accepted pain. There is a saying "good pain - good, and bad pain - bad". Which really holds true.
Stubbing one's toe? Bad pain. Shutting your finger in the car door? Still, bad pain. Being methodically single-tailed until the bottom is black and blue? Good pain. You get the idea. The main difference in this case is that good pain can be "processed", while bad pain cannot. Processing pain is another thing that may need a bit of definition. We hear it all the time, and while we are discussing Bad versus Good pain, it is the perfect place to expound just a little.
When people speak about "Processing" pain, they are referring to how they “deal” with it. There are many different approaches to this. It is a really good example of utilizing the mind to control body sensation and function. Some people (my favorite type) can actually transform the sensations of good pain into Erotic stimulation. Meaning that giving them good pain makes them juicy, wet or hard. Others can change the sensations to a much more bearable level and view it like a massage or something of that nature. Still others simply "withstand" the pain for the sake of someone else, like their top. Processing pain is really a continuum and it is an individual skill that sometimes takes a while to develop.
Well, – hope this gives a little insight into how we look at Sadism, Masochism, Consent and Processing. Next time? Maybe we will go into the labels of role, who knows! But for now? I am off to get some fun projects going in the AIS Kink labs...
ps. - If you want to hear more about Sadism and Masochism the way we use it? Crystal did a segment on Masochism, while Sheba and I did a segment on Sadism for the Erotic Awakenings Podcast - you can check them both out at the Erotic Awakenings Podcast (www.eroticawakening.com); just go through the older episodes.