Can you comment on the differences in the amount of pain people can enjoy and/or tolerate? It's amazing to see someone take hundreds of whip strokes, while I can't manage more than 10 to 30. What makes people so different? Is it physical, psychological, or dependent on the amount of experience? I realize the point of playing with pain isn't to see who can "take more," but as a bottom, I can't help but think I could please my top more if she could hit me harder or longer.
As you can imagine, what makes a heavy masochist is an oft-discussed subject in the BDSM scene. Experienced tops know that a heavy scene doesn't automatically equal a good scene, but still, a bottom who takes a lot of intense stimulation does draw awed and admiring glances at the dungeon party.
How do they do it? At first glance, it would seem that the level of intense sensation that someone can process and accept, if not eroticize, is a completely physiological trait. I have known people who, from the first time floggers went thwack across their backs, were able to seamlessly convert the sensation into something good. They often report a high tolerance for pain in nonkinky situations as well, which supports the idea that their bodies release endorphins earlier and more often than most people. And adrenaline can sometimes act as a substitute for endorphins, so if someone is nervous/excited enough about a scene to get that going on, they'll be able to take a lot of pain, at least for a short time.
However, while the pain threshold is mostly a matter of how someone is wired physically, there are some psychological factors at play, along with skills that can come from experience. Pain is an attention-getting signal from your body. In a nonkinky setting, it usually means something bad is happening, and it's accompanied by fear or anger. If you can learn that in a kink setting pain does not automatically equal danger, your emotional responses will change, and the physical sensation won't overwhelm you so much.
What else increases pain tolerance? Sexual stimulation—either receiving or, surprisingly, giving. I have also found that creating a feeling of intense emotional connection with your partner can sharply increase the amount of pain he or she can take. When I'm pushing someone close to his physical limits, I get my body close to him, look into his eyes, tell him how much I like what he's giving me and how much it feeds the sadist in me. I find that my bottom will choose to push through what he thought was his limit and find that, in fact, he can go a little further for me.
Naturally, you want to be a good bottom for your partner and it's tempting to count whip strokes and compare yourself to others. But it's not about giving your top a great arm and shoulder workout, it's about how you both feel when it's over. If you've pushed yourself for me, that's what pleases me as a top.
PICK-UP ARTIST WORKSHOP
Learn tactics recently announced on the new VH1 reality series called The Pick-Up Artist. This three-hour intensive workshop in social dynamics is designed for both men and women. Preregistration recommended. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E,270-9746, email@example.com, 7—10 pm, $40, membership required.
MEN-ONLY NIGHT AT THE WET SPOT
A BDSM play party for gay, bi, and straight boys. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746, firstname.lastname@example.org, 10 pm—3 am, $20, male ID required, members and their guests only.
LITTLE RED LOUNGE
Erotic performances in a mellow, informal atmosphere with a hot tub, hors d'oeuvres, and delicious desserts. Bring your own wine to sip and share. Little Red Studio, 1506 Franklin Ave E, 328-4758, www.littleredstudioseattle.com, 9 pm, $20.
EROS EVENTS SWING PARTY
Party at the friendly Eastside swing club—this party's theme is Adult Toy Night. Single men must request to be added to the waiting list; couples and single women can just show up. Eros Events, 425-868-8169, www.redmond-ranch.com, 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, $50 for couples/$30 for single women.SATURDAY 9/22
The St. Pauli girl, the mascot for St. Pauli Girl beer—which is brewed by Beck's, the most powerful brewery in Germany—is probably a sex worker. St. Pauli, the red-light district of Hamburg, situated on the River Elbe, has been a haven for sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll since the 17th century, when sailors began to frequent the area while on shore leave. It is one of the poorest districts in Germany, a place of squatters' riots, brutalist art, and music—the Beatles lived, played, and learned to use drugs in St. Pauli before they were famous. The true power of German beer is its hidden wanton sexuality. Fremont, N 35th St and Phinney Ave N, www.fremontoktoberfest.com, 11 am—midnight, pretty much 21+.
TIE ME TO THE BEDPOST PLEASE!
In this workshop, Jim Duvall will teach you the basics about tying up your lover using common household items and no fancy gear or knots. We will cover safety, negotiation, and how to do safe and sexy bondage in your home. Raven's Gallery Erotic, 408 Dexter Ave N, 274-8077, email@example.com, 4—6 pm, $40 single/$65 couple, advance registration required by Sept 21.
G-SPOT 101 AND FEMALE EJACULATION
Earth-shattering orgasms? Yes! Female ejaculation? Sometimes. Here's your chance to find out the truth about the G-spot. Babeland sex educators share what it is, where to find it, how to stimulate it, and what could happen when you do. Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914, 7:30 pm, $30.