Recently I was playing with a man I've known intimately for many years. I tied him to a bed, and I took a surgical stapler and punched a dozen sharp metal staples into his nipples. Then I moved down his body and carefully put some into the skin of his scrotum.
I was enjoying myself, because I'm a sadist. I like doing intense things to people's bodies. And this man and I very much enjoy my doing intense things to him—even if it makes him writhe and swear in the moment.
I stood up on the bed and looked down at him. He was breathing heavily as he processed the sensation of the staples already in his skin. He met my eyes, and I looked meaningfully at his cock, lying semi-tumescent and tempting on his stomach. I lifted the stapler.
His eyes went wide. "No! No, mistress!" The whole bed shook as he attempted, without success, to slide away from me. I laughed happily, and then I knelt down, with my face close to his. He was flushed and his pupils were dilated.
"Oh, you don't want me to put staples right into your cock?" His passionate pleas rose in volume as I brandished the stapler again. He's really scared, I thought. I've never injected heroin, but I do believe the pleasure I felt in that moment could not possibly be rivaled by anything in a syringe. I felt high—and on the heels of that, I felt a surge of tenderness toward him. And then I put another staple into his nipple.
Now, I cannot be this mean to just anyone. I can slap and tickle a stranger, but to be really cruel to someone, I have to love him. If that sounds weird to you, this next part will seem even weirder: The very act of being sadistic to someone in a BDSM scene often creates feelings in me I can only call love while I'm doing it.
I'm measuring my sadism by the intensity of the reactions of my play- partner, not by any external scale. So what I actually do to create the most intense sensation he can handle isn't that important, as long as I see his breath coming faster and feel his heart pounding in his chest. Just as in traditional sex, that triggers a mirroring response in me. Emotional and physiological arousal, combined with sexual energy—well, my animal brain thinks that's love.
Sometimes it's just for a moment. But other times the memory of that affection lingers, and the next time we play, it's reinforced. That's how I can feel a genuine emotional connection to someone that I only know in the limited context of my dungeon.
Of course, loving someone in the dungeon doesn't automatically mean you're well suited for an everyday-world relationship (although it's terrific when you are!). And I love lots of people I've never done BDSM with. But they say you only hurt the ones you love. As a sadist, the more I get to hurt you, the more I love you.