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Friday, August 31, 2007

Flying, the kinky sex orgasm, and the lack thereof

People often draw analogies between things in kink sex and vanilla sex. They do this sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of a desire to avoid the overhead of defining every term they use, but mostly they do it (as I'm about to do) because it's something they've heard done before.

I've never "flown" in a scene. That is to say, I've never "checked out" or "seen my body from outside itself" or "felt like the pain was sexually pleasurable," or many of the other things lots of people who do what I do and claim similar labels as I claim have often told me about their experiences. Typically, they call this experience flying, and I've usually heard it discussed as though it was the BDSM version of an orgasm.

Well, if flying is the BDSM version of an orgasm and scenes are the BDSM version of sex, then I've never come.

Of course we all know that different people play differently and for different reasons and different goals and it's all good no matter who you are or what you're into or whatever, but whenever this subject gets brought up it makes me feel a little anorgasmic in regards to kinky things.

A part of me is always wondering if I'm just too technically-minded, too focused on comparing experiences with descriptions that I've missed the boat already in the same way vanilla people sometimes seem to me to be so concerned with orgasms and ejaculations that even when they experience them they sometimes didn't know that they had. And then part of me says to myself that it must be practically impossible not to notice something like an orgasm ("oh, you'll know!"), so a kinky scene orgasm should be similarly impossible not to notice, and since I've never noticed one I've probably never had one.

A lot of people talk about flying by talking about how pain, when experienced at a certain intensity, rhythm, and circumstance, makes the rest of their existence kind of fade out and brings into focus only the lovely sensations of the moment. I can understand that very viscerally; one of the reasons I love BDSM (and kinky sex, and sensual experiences in general) is because they help me get out of my head and into my body, for lack of a better description at the moment.

However, these same people tell me that the pain is sexually exciting. That's not something I can relate to. Friends have told me stories about whippings and beatings that have left them wet or hard and rutting in place, making their very thought processes change somewhat dramatically. I wonder what that sort of an experience would be like. It honestly doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, because as I've said before, pain doesn't turn me on.

As a perfect and somewhat humorous example, take a very sexy takedown scene that happened recently. Having been pulled away from Eileen for purposes completely unbeknownst to me at the time, I got worried about her when a friend said they had ended their scene because Eileen seemed "a little ADD at the end." Strange, I thought, Eileen only gets that way when something is wrong. I should go check on her.

I quickly turned around and started walking back toward her when several more friends appeared and stopped me. No, hang on, I told them, I need to check on Eileen and make sure she's okay. Then, when they pulled a hood over my face and quickly grabbed me by my limbs, you want to know what my first thought was? It was:

Oh, this is a takedown. Eileen's probably fine.

This was no surprise to Eileen, who later remarked, I knew your brain would keep working. It did. My second thought was, "In takedowns, the victim gets to struggle. I'd enjoy doing that!" So of course I struggled as much as I could while staying (as) careful (as I could) not to inadvertently kick the wrong person in the genitals.

This illustrates a very typical experience that I have when I play: I'm very often completely conscious of what's going on and very aware of the reality of a situation. When Eileen and I play with knives, I'm not scared that she'll purposefully cut my throat, or gouge my eye out, I'm scared that she'll do it accidentally. (The risk is what's appealing.) When she whips me, I'm often adjusting my position and I'm motivated to do so by the conscious awareness that my back is no longer straight after that last stroke and that it should be made straight again, or that the sound of the whip and the feel of the air it pushed toward me means the whip is approximately four inches in that direction so I should turn appropriately.

Really, and I'd hate to destroy people's illusions of my kinky sex if they have any, but I'm actually extremely unsexy in my head when I play. Rational thought processes are not really that sexy no matter how you try to dress them up. Everything sexy is entirely about emotion.

Getting beaten with a nightstick is just that; a stick and a body. It's all very mechanical and not very hot. However, with some feeling in there, like being forced to the ground and invited to violently show the emotional aspects of aggression by fighting back, then physically losing and giving in to overwhelming force, now that's sexy.

It's very, very hard to get me out of my head. The only two things that have ever succeeded in doing so have been intense pain and intense pleasure (not necessarily orgasmic pleasure), and even these things don't manage to do it for very long stretches at a time. The way lots of people describe flying, it seems as though they experience some kind of emotional or spiritual climax too abstract for words. This is all wonderful, but is far too abstract for me.

I don't deal very well with abstracts. I'm a rather technical person, obviously, so I like things that make sense and which are grounded in rational thought. When people try to explain things to me that they say are based on "auras" or "energies," I usually just smile and nod. I have no problem with these things, most recently evidenced by a sudden interest in my social group with tantric practices, but I'd prefer to keep a critical eye pinned consistently in that direction.

So when I think about flying, in all the experiences I've had the one that comes closest to it has been getting suspended in rope bondage. Because that's when I was in the air, swinging around, and that's what flying means to me.

13 comments:

Eileen said...

Great post.

Also, I may possibly have mentioned this, but it bears repeating. I adore the fact that you were running to my rescue when that scene started. Yum.

EthylBenzene said...

May -- thanks! That was very interesting. I personally am a very analytical, brain doesn't turn off kind of person, but I have an extremely emotional reaction to being tied up and hit. And, I do get ... I dunno, floaty. So I'm not sure if it's neccesarily related to how "rational" or "analytical" you are, but may have something to do with how your brain is wired up. That's something I've been wondering about lately. There was some discussion over at SM Feminists regarding the "just so" stories we make up to "examine our desires," and it made me think maybe we're all just wired a bit differently.

There is reasearch about how thrill-seeking behavior can be related to differences in the amount of receptors for adrenalin or someting, right? A lot of things wind up being suprisingly biological, is all I'm saying. Maybe we should do less "inspecting our desires," and more "having fun," or more "making sure newbies are being SSC," or more "drinking beer." Just saying :D

Calico said...

I second this - great post!

I know not of "subspace". Ugh. None of this being unable to talk or "flying" or having extrasensory/out-of-body experiences. I do sexualize pain, but it only "feels pleasurable" about a quarter of the time -- the rest of the time it just fucking hurts and I want it to stop. It's rarely scary in the ways it's supposed to be.

I get a definite endorphin effect, though, where I start giggling uncontrollably and sassing whoever's hitting me. And I tend to get cold and shaky after a really heavy beating.

Eileen, it was awfully cute. He was already looking for you, but I stalled him with the wrong excuse, and vroom! SuperMay.

Juliet said...

I'm not sure about rational thought not being sexy; but maybe it's only sexy when it's occurring outside of actual sex :)

I do get a subspace-type experience (of losing hold of parts of my self-image/identity) when I play, but only when doing DS stuff - pain doesn't do that for me. I've also wondered whether I'm missing something...

Having said that, I can experience pain as pleasurable, but it requires a fair amount of buildup, & only works for some sorts of pain (e.g. thud rather than sting, for hitty things). It changes my mental state in that sense (i.e. processing a physical sensation in a different emotional way), but not in the out-of-body experience way.

My assumption is that it's an endorphin reaction (as Calico says - I've had the giggly thing too), as it certainly feels similar to the way I've felt when (or just after) sprinting on my bike. I also suspect that EthylBenzene is right about people being wired differently and/or people having different reactions to e.g. endorphins.

I don't think I've ever entirely lost the rational self-aware thing. Even when in most not-competent subspace, there's a bit which is aware of things like "this person isn't deliberately going to do Wrong Things". TBH, I don't think I'd want to. I like the rational bit, & I figure it's probably protective. I can shove it down out of the way when I'd rather enjoy the subspace stuff; and if I can't that's usually a good sign that things ain't going to work for some reason.

maymay said...

I also get the endorphin high that comes from intense pain scenes. They don't always leave me gidddy and giggly, but I definitely feel the biochemical difference.

That being said, I have noticed a distinct difference in the way I seem to experience this biochemical shift and the way others have told me about their experiences. I'm not entirely sure if this difference stems from our communication styles or from our actual experiences being very different, but the point remains that I feel rather unique in this regard. (Feeling unique is simultaneously nice and isolating.)

It's comforting at the very minimum to hear from all of you about your own similar, if not identical, experiences.

EthylBenzene said...

Juliet, speaking of bikes and endorphins, I've noticed if I crash my bike during a ride and hurt myself, say, some road rash or bruises, a lot of time it won't hurt as bad as something similar happening if I was just, say, walking along and slipped on some ice. Does that make sense? I have always found the two situation -- pain + sex and pain + bikes -- to be strikingly similar. Just a thought thrown out there. The boyfriend is yelling at me to go put my shorts on before it gets dark :D Maybe I think more on this later.....

devastatingyet said...

It seems to me like being hit used to turn me on and now it doesn't. I think what's really true is that only certain types of being hit (on my ass, inner thighs, pussy) turn me on and the rest don't even though I enjoy them.

I definitely get headspacy - giddy, more emotionally fragile, etc. - and my pain perceptions are altered. But I don't experience "flying" (whatever that is) or anything that is like the kinky sex version of an orgasm. I'm pretty sure Joscelin doesn't either.

And on the other side, hitting him is always, always a turn on for me, but it only turns him on at all if he is very in touch with how sexual it is for me. Otherwise it's more like something to endure.

Juliet said...

EthylBenzene - yep, definitely (although thankfully I've only crashed a couple of times!). I've always put it down to adrenalin - coming off a bike is scarier than falling over - and I guess the adrenalin helps generate endorphins for the actual purpose for which they are intended (viz. helping you cope with a physically demanding situation & reach safety).

Which does lead me to think that May is perhaps right about the analytical/rational thing. That if adrenalin helps generate endorphins, then the more emotionally charged your mental state is then the more/quicker you'll get an endorphin reaction (although eventually it or something like it will kick in anyway).

I have also, on a side-note, noticed a significant crossover between cyclists & perverts - masochists, the lot of us ;)

petboy said...

Maymay... i'm like you on the pain is not sexy thing!

i have found that when Princess spanks me that i now get aroused... But that's a relatively new phenomenom.

i certainly don't experience the "flying" sensation... i am hoping to learn Tantra and how to experience some of these sensations while at Dark Odyssey.

EthylBenzene said...

High five to Juliet!

"I have also, on a side-note, noticed a significant crossover between cyclists & perverts - masochists, the lot of us ;) "

Hahaha... I'll have to check that out!

maymay said...

Petboy,

"i certainly don't experience the "flying" sensation... i am hoping to learn Tantra and how to experience some of these sensations while at Dark Odyssey."

I'm not sure the "flying" sensation and trantric experiences have very much to do with one another, but then again I've never experienced much of either so what would I know?

Enjoy Dark Odyssey when you go! I'm envious that I can't be there.

EthylBenzene said...

Hi folks, I found this article by a blogger I like and admire a great deal and it seemed pertinent:

http://blog.blowfish.com/culture/pain-connection-and-being-here-now/378

Enjoy!

britney lawrence said...

Yes, This is very interesting.