Friday, July 8, 2016

The Evolution of Sadism and Emotional Masochism

Recently I've come across a few new terms that weren't commonly used back when I was blogging years ago.  Things like Emotional Masochist, Mental Bondage, Mental Slavery, etc. weren't thrown around very often.

I've been lucky enough to be part of the evolving growth of a sadist and the accompanying changes it invoked in me.

One thing that I find fascinating is that in D/s, most sadists have very little trouble expressing that side of themselves in play situations.  She can spank, flog, whip, or slap with ease, free from the burdens of guilt.  I believe this is strongly to connected with the consensual nature of these activities in relationships and the idea of it being mutually pleasurable.

What is interesting is that the physical side seems to drastically outpace the mental side of sadism.  This side is harder to quantify and understand.  It is harder to grasp the appeal for the sub.  It feels almost non-consensual in some ways to force a sub through mental anguish without a meaningful reason.

The idea of emotional masochism is an interesting one.  It intrigues me partly because I have experienced its development and evolution over time, but mostly because the concept is able to free a Domme from her self-imposed limits. If I get aroused from being teased, tortured, and tormented emotionally, she is free to do those things guilt free.  Being able to slap a term on it is easier than trying to explain the ins and outs of what it is doing inside of me emotionally.

One of the difficult aspects of emotional masochism is trying to convey a sub's "benefits" from it.  I dare not say "pleasure"  because I don't feel that term to be an adequate description.  If I had to describe it as best I can I would say that certain types of emotional stress induces sexual arousal and a desirable state of subspace.  Subjecting a submissive to this isn't so much as "playing to give them pleasure," but more a means manipulating their subspace. 

I do not think most subs are into this.  I do believe that most subs that have lived a prolonged period of lifestyle Femdom usually end up developing this.  I think the subspace is addictive and it requires triggers that hit on more levels than just physical ones.   Addiction is probably the most accurate term here.

As a newbie sub, being ordered to strip naked for inspection is enough to send our mind spiraling deep into space.  By the 10th time, out tolerance has built up and it doesn't have the same effect.  What is it about this act that "does it"?  Initially, it's the first taste of following orders, realizing there are expectations for us, sensing we are vulnerable, and the like.  When the "high" fades, we crave more.  The first time you are restrained, the mental acceptance of loss of freedom, feeling helpless, being more vulnerable and so on.  By the 10th time, it doesn't have the same mental effect.  It becomes normal.

I believe this is the path that governs the progression into emotional masochism.  It drives that craving for needing more.  Bondage may progress from nylons to tape to rope to chains.  Each stage increases the sense of helplessness, the sense of vulnerability, the symbol of her control over your freedom.  In all honesty, in the short run, a few layers of duct tape are just as effective physically as chains and locks.  Mentally, they are not equal.

It is that mental side... the relativity of situations that seems to keep things evolving.  In certain activities, you reach a point where what it does physically is almost indistinguishable from something else.  e.g. an over the knee spanking can sting, hurt, and bruise when delivered with a number of different objects.  However, the perception that something is "worse" than a previous experience can have significant mental effects.  Once that new extreme has been reached, the previous methods seem like they are easier to handle than the worst one.  If the worst one becomes normal, something yet worse must be discovered to keep it going.  The mind continues to react even if the body's reaction is identical.

I find this process fascinating as I can now put terms to ideas.  My "growth" as an emotional masochist is what has brought me to where I am today... what I crave... what I need.  None of it was really by choice, it just sort of happened that way.  My emotional masochism grew in response to her evolution of mental sadism.

This explains why a lot of activities continue to drive my subspace, such as humiliation, feminization, chastity, pegging, and the like.  Each involved a loss of choice, freedom, or dignity in addition to increased vulnerability and mental anguish.  Those broke through the previous barriers and pushed things to a deeper, more addicting level.


  1. This is a great post. I absolutely love when you share those deep peices of yourself. I did find it interesting that you feel a mental difference in some bondage devices when compared to others. I wonder what it is about the chains that feel like a more advanced stage than the tape. Did you always use one type of bondage implament then slowly begin using other items later?

    1. Thank you, Miss Lily. I will try to answer as best as I can.

      I think what makes things feel more advanced are security, intensity, and specialization. Eg there are hundreds of items you can use to restrain someone securely for an hour. The number of items that can secure someone for say, a week, are far fewer. Moving into items that are designed for the sole purpose of reatraint go another step forward. There is also a difference when it requires someone else to release you vs. something you could eventually escape on your own.

      If you know it is temprary, all should be equal, but a set of steel shackles hit thr mind harder than say, an extension cord.

      Not all activities had a "ramp up," some were intense from the get go.

  2. I appreciate your thoughts about this topic which is little discussed and a central part of my own orientation.

    I agree the boundaries of the submissive become difficult to determine, certainly for the sub and I think likely too for the Domme. Which is why it is a murky area regarding consent or lack thereof, or inability to withdraw consent once given. I think many Dommes back away from extreme mental or emotional sadism/masochism for those reasons. Minds are resilient to a point but there can be unexpected areas that trigger things plus you just can’t “see” the impact in the way you can with flesh.

    Your ponderings about benefits are interesting. I first sought out emotional masochism because it is a way to experience D/s 24/7. Its effects can weigh on the submissive constantly which is impossible with physical D/s.

    For me, there is sometimes sexual arousal with emotional masochism, but other times not. I agree it is a way to manipulate subspace.

    There is another benefit, for me at least, which possibly is a variant of subspace, but it feels extremely different. It is the loss of self and blending into, becoming submerged within another. Saying it that way, it certainly sounds like subspace and maybe it is, but it just feels very different from the typical subspace in which I'm "there" versus ego-less.

    Maslow wrote about the ultimate level of self-actualization; it is an aspect most people don't know because most haven't read his actual works, but past self-actualization (or technically at the maximum level of self-actualization) he believed one moved from empowered self-autonomy to a level of maximal giving of self. Think saints or other religious experiences.

    I certainly do not suggest that emotional masochism is saintly, I think it is much closer to the opposite, yet I sense there is something about maximal giving of self which has some similarities....

    I certainly agree with you that most subs are not into emotional masochism. ;)

    Knowing some of the profound effects, I think most people are not suited to it, certainly on the submissive side. It is very difficult and sometimes goes to very troubling areas.

    Hmm...I had not considered that if a sub lives a prolonged F/m lifestyle, they are likely to develop emotional masochism. Interesting...

    I absolutely agree subspace (and I think Domme, space too) is addicting and therefore, in time often moves to an addiction. I can go years without being emotionally enslaved, but I never stop craving it. Despite the risks I seek it; it is the only time I feel fully alive and where I feel I have always needed to be. Despite the inner pain and turmoil with is part of this along with the bliss.

    1. Thank you, Watson.

      The inability to withdraw consent is a strange one, not because you physically cannot withdraw consent... but I feel that at a certain point you mentally/emotionally cannot imagine being able to do it. I'm guessing you are alluding to something like this.

      I believe I understand that maximal giving self state and I will try to describe the feelings I associate with it (to see if they match up)... but IMO, it feels a bit like you exist as an extension of her will, and nothing more. Does that describe it at all? It's an odd one since even if you have no personal desires of your own, there still exist deep feelings of pride and satisfaction underneath it all.

      Thanks again. I hope I am understanding what you are describing.

  3. Yes, you are understanding what I'm describing which is comforting since few understand. It does feel as though one exists as an extension of her will or even somehow as extension of her (apart from her will which is how it feels, though that may well not make sense logically.)

    You are right that there are no personal desires of your own but there is, for me, I'm not sure it is "pride" because there is pretty much no ego, no sense of self left but there absolutely is satisfaction and a centering which is quite profound.

    About not withdrawing consent, yes it certainly is strange. It happened to me once and it freaked me out. Not one point in time, but I reached a place where I could not withdraw consent until the relationship ended (her choice...which was devastating to me...anyway....) It wasn't that I couldn't imagine withdrawing consent, I could imagine it, but when I tried I could not even bring up the topic. It was beyond my abilities. It was from merging with (into?) her so my wish to withdraw consent was smothered by her preference even though it was not ever discussed once things reached that level. (Hope I'm making is quite strange.)

    I know this can be difficult for many to understand because before it happened to me, I thought ok, maybe that can happen to others, but not to me...I'm too strong (or something.)

    It was an interesting and disturbing experience.

    1. Thank you, Watson. Satisfaction is probably a better description than pride, more a sense that whatever you are is "enough". It is a little bit Zen :)

      F and T both really pushed my limits in public. I couldn't refuse, didn't dream of refusing, wished I could, but just sort of melted into a state of helplessness that rolled with it in a "deer in headlights" sort of way.

  4. Interesting dialogue between you two, fur and Watson. I've let my husband read it, and he feels that you're both describing the sense of ultimate surrender whereby the concept of "self" simply loses its meaning. This merging of your psyche with the will of the Dom occurs, in his opinion, not at the beginning of a relationship, but as a relationship progresses from one level of surrender into another, into another, etc. What's more, he feels that these levels cannot be reached in anything less than a relationship, a full fledged relationship that evolves over time, and is much more than what can be described as "playtime".

    I might add that I find it interesting that Karl also said that he has reached that level of having his self merge into mine only after being physically challenged to the extreme. The total surrender of self - for him - occurs after I have abused him physically and mentally far beyond what he thought I was capable of. As I became the figure of previously unthinkable cruelty, he felt his selfness dissolve. At that point, it was impossible for him to have any thoughts of resisting or pulling away from the situation, or as you put it, withdrawing consent. Hmm. Interesting implications from my side as well.

    1. Thank you, Lady Grey and Karl. I agree this takes time to develop in a relationship.

      Achieving the total surrender state requires a deep understamding of what buttons to push. My own experiences in this happened upon being "broken" by an activity and the next 6-12 times that activity was repeated. It hurts... but in a good way :)