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.