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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Masochism Tango

If you've never heard this classic from Tom Lehrer, have a listen. Granted, masochism is broadly played for laughs here, but what exactly is masochism?

This blog was prompted by a snippet of conversation last week with The Villain. During a pause in the proceedings, I'd asked him if he was a switch. "I'm a sadomasochist," he answered. "Isn't that what we all are?"

"No," I said. "I have no desire to inflict pain on anyone." "Ah," he replied, "you're a masochist, then."

I must have made a face, because he added, "You don't like that term, do you." "No, I really don't," I said. "I mean, I don't get off on pain for pain's sake. I don't get wet when I stub my toe. But when it comes to spanking pain, I'm like 'gimme gimme gimme!'"

He just heard the "gimme gimme gimme" part and cheerfully complied. The conversation fell by the wayside. But I've been thinking about it ever since.

Here is the definition of masochism:

gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, especially the tendency to seek this form of gratification.

This sounds fairly broad, doesn't it? Wouldn't the implication be that a masochist is gratified by pain, period? Not a highly specific type of pain? What about the psychological aspects of said pain -- does that enter into the masochism equation?

I've heard that a spankee who claims he/she isn't a masochist is in denial. I don't think I'm in denial; I don't object to the term per se. I just think in some cases of certain types of bottoms, it's inaccurate.

Yes, I am gratified by having pain inflicted on my bottom. But it's so much more than that -- it's about head space, power exchange, chemistry, emotions. And take that pain anywhere else on my body, and I go through the roof.

I have known of some hardcore masochists who can absorb (and get off on) all varieties of pain, the more the better. Their bodies are canvases for torture. Me? I hate pain. First sign of a headache, I'm running for the Advil bottle. I'm scared of dentists. I love spanking, but other forms of BDSM? Nyet.

If I were a masochist, wouldn't I enjoy this?

Oh hell, no. The one time someone briefly tried this on me, the only thing I got out of it was the urge to thrust my heel back and rearrange his teeth.

And don't even get me started on this:

I can't even bear witness to breast play, not of any kind, let alone endure it. Four words -- learn them, and learn them well: Leave_the_girls_alone.

But some of this action?

Yeah, baby. Bring it.

If I were a masochist, just into the pure gratification from pain, would I be so damn picky about my play partners? Would the attraction and chemistry be so important -- I mean, as long as the guy is a pain delivery system, does anything else matter? Oh, and what about technique being important? So he has crappy technique and couldn't hit the side of a barn accurately, so what? Wouldn't that make it all the more masochistically exquisite? "Ooooohhhh... you wrapped that strap all the way around my thigh -- do it again, please please please?"

I don't seek pain. I seek spanking. And if it were just about the pain of spanking, I could just as easily self-spank. Or, as mentioned, play with any Joe Blow with a hand and a lap.

Oh, and that degradation/deprivation/humiliation business? Big fat "no thank you" to that as well.

So, here's my question, fellow bottoms: What does masochist mean to you? And more important, do you consider yourself one? Why or why not?

EDIT: Guys, I know this could be a somewhat controversial topic -- let's be nice, OK? Don't make me be toppy; I really hate that. :-)


  1. For me, a masochist is someone that derives pleasure from pain being inflicted upon ones body.

    I guess I could say I'm a maso.. because I do like pain, but I only like the kind of pain that primarily lands on my round and willing bottom and inflicts enough of a smarting sting that I find enormous pleasure in the nether regions due to said experience.

    I hate humiliation and degradation.. and I also hate pain inflicted anywhere else but the "so called" intended area .. "my bottom". ;-)

  2. Zelle -- perhaps there are degrees of masochism? I dunno... the term bothers me, because of its broadness. Then again, labels kinda suck anyway, don't they.

  3. For me, technically.. "Labels are for Campbells Soup cans"... LOL .. But .. we need something that gives a prospective partner .. an idea of where we stand "play wise". Like you "masochist" .. *the term*.. puts me in a mindset that lends itself more toward BDSM.

    We need a word specifically for SPANKOS.. that describes the fine line between pain and pleasure that we enjoy, that does not cross lines into the abyss of severe pain.

    On a side note... I think those damn Russian girls are damn sure masochists! I can't even watch 10 seconds of those videos!

    On another side note... My singletail play with Phil, might be considered masochistic to some.. when in fact, my pictures of said play are very deceiving. Those marks look ferocious (all those criss-crosses and x's and z's on my booty) LOL ... but they are really and truly light whip kisses that for the most part, hurt no more than a bee sting.. and damned if they didn't fade almost immediately. I took pics real fast!

  4. Zelle -- I've seen those pictures! It's truly amazing how fierce they look; I guess images can be deceiving.

  5. My booty is quite "fair" (complexion wise).. and I've always had a propensity for turning pink with the slightest of slap! So those light little pops he landed on me.. were like just teasing touches.. it was the most erotic play I've had to date.. it took me to the moon 4 times in one 30 min play session. LOL .. Of course occasionally Phil popped me real good to grab me back outta LA-LA-LAND.. LOL .. now those pops STUNG! But for the most part.. he's a master at just "kissing" you with the whip popper.. and that is something that makes me want to start going BEEP, BEEP, BEEP...and backing up into his play space!... LOL

  6. I never like the term masochist. I am submissive, feisty and feminine. It is in the poetry of submission that the pleasure of being spanked has meaning for me, and in the lyricism of femininity that it evokes in me. Masochism and sadism imply neurosis.

  7. Lorraine -- you know, it's all relative. Some would look at the term "submissive" and think it implies groveling. I have found that no matter what one person thinks of an orientation, there is another who will see it a completely different way.

  8. Erica,

    I don't like the term "masochism," either. Yet, there may be degrees of it. I would say there is a huge difference between spanking and BDSM stuff. I think doing anything to a woman's breasts is insane. But some gals like it, I guess and that to me is masochism. Some of the stuff I have seen makes me cringe.

    I think most who can be really classified as masochists don't like to go to the dentist, either. :-) I do know of people who don't use any numbing meds when they have cavities filled. They have to have a very high tolerance for pain.

    You know, a person can be classified as a masochist and not even get into any infliction of physical pain. There is a psychological element here.

    I guess each person has to decide what they want and how far they want to go. The really hard core stuff I would say is true masochism. To me, spanking can be fun and stimulating to a point... beyond that point you end up with real damage to the skin, muscles, and nerves. It takes a long time to heal that kind of hard core stuff and sometimes the body does not fully recover. That is what I would term masochism.

  9. I think masochism can generally be applied to anyone who enjoys some form of pain. In that, very broad sense, I suppose a person who enjoys getting spanked would be a masochist. However, the word has been tainted a bit and I think the reason so many people don't like it is they get these mental images of BDSM dungeons, extreme submission and the forms of pain mentioned in the blog post.

    Erica, in your case, based on what you wrote here, I suspect you're slightly less of a masochist and spanking is more of a fetish (a means of arousal). You don't just like getting hurt, you specifically like getting spanked. Heck, maybe you like getting spanked even if it's light enough not to really hurt?

    As a test, would you get aroused if someone put you over their knee and talked to you about punishment while rubbing his hand over your bottom? If so I think that pegs you as having a fetish, rather than (strictly speaking) being a masochist. However, the fact you like getting spanked and, it seems, enjoy the pain and (I gather) the pain is a catalyst to sub-space, then I think that makes you a bit masochistic.

    Some people say, "I don't like paper cuts or stubbing my toe," and that's fair enough. But, hey, I like penetration, but that doesn't mean I enjoy sticking my dick into everything... pudding, salad, and tree stumps aren't my cup of tea. I just like putting it in girls. Sometimes I'm even picky about the sort of girl, but I think it's still fair to say I like penetration.

  10. Hi Erica i agree with you about the term for the word Masochism, I don't consider me one of them as well, Like you i can't stand pain anywhere else on my body except for my bottom, i have been into spanking most of my life and i think the anticipation of waiting for my spanking gives me butterflies in my stomach and the telling off goes in one ear and out the other and while i am over the knee i like the head rush and i enjoy pushing my pain limits as far as they will go :-) big hugs to you from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  11. Bobbie Jo -- my John is one of those people who has had dental work done without anesthetic. He's also the same man who got back up on his bike and rode himself home, after getting hit by a drunk driver and shattering his collarbone on the pavement. The man has a tolerance for pain that is unfathomable.

    Anonymous -- ROFL!! What a brilliant analogy; thank you! And you know what... no, I don't like light spankings. They annoy me. So, points taken.

    Jade -- I can relate to a top's words going in one ear and out the other. ;-)

  12. Amen, sister!
    I have always had a problem with the word "masochist." I, emphatically, am not a masochist. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not in denial.

    Spanking is a psycho-physical experience, and while there are times when it can be painful (i.e., without a warm-up or just really severe), usually a prolonged warm-up ensures that the spanking is not especially painful even if it was very hard. I can't say enough about the need for a good warm-up!

    I certainly do realize that there is a cross-over between spanking and bdsm, and that maybe spanking is even a sub-set of bdsm, but I would still protest that I am not a masochist.

    I'm so happy for you that you have all these good things going on for you right now!

  13. Dana -- that's another interesting point. If I were a true masochist, would I need a warmup? I hate spankings without warmup! Wouldn't I prefer the intense pain of going from zero to 8-to-10 on the pain scale immediately?

  14. "Please beat me!" begged the masochist. "No I will not" replied the sadist, with relish.

    Over here the word 'submissive' has the same meaning as 'bottom' in your world. In the spanking context we don't attach a wider meaning than a female who is spanked. It can be abbreviated to 'sub'.

    Sadism and masochism are psychology terms, and can cover anything from mild teasing to torture. Spanking is considered a sado-masochistic activity. But as long as we are all having fun who cares!

  15. I would also add that I am not a "submissive" insofar as people in the bdsm world define it. I choose to submit to spanking, and I view my submission as a voluntary gift. But my personality is far from submissive. :-)

  16. NC -- true, it's all about fun and whatever floats your boat, I suppose. But I do feel the need to analyze things to pieces. It's what I do. (grinning)

    Dana -- I can be submissive, although my personality is not. But the top has to be very special.

  17. Erica, again you have raised a very interesting question! I've made some very exhausting experiences with online debates recently and decided to be more careful about joining discussions like this one. But since your readers are decent people and the discussions on your blog are respectful ones, I think it is worth taking the risk.

    My definitions of the different terms we use in the context or spanking are as follows:

    First of all, I would like to distinguish between pathological sadism and affectionate erotic sadism. The former is the kind of sadism that for example some killers and rapists are diagnosed with. It's a mental dysfunction based on the fact that these people aren't able to feel any compassion and therefore enjoy torturing others. Of course this is NOT what we are talking about in the context of erotic spanking at all! My definition for the erotic form of sadism is: An erotic sadist is someone who enjoys inflicting pain in a consensual (erotic) setting. Usually this goes along with affection for the “victim”.

    I'm not sure whether there are two forms of masochism as well. Maybe one could say that the mental dysfunction that makes some people who feel completely numb need pain regularly in order to feel alive at all is a form of masochism, too. Again, this is not the form of masochism that plays a role in spanking play. My definition for the erotic form of masochism is: An erotic masochist is someone who enjoys receiving pain in a consensual (erotic) setting.

    Given those two definitions I consider myself to be both, a masochist and a sadist. Like you, Erica, I don't enjoy any form of non-erotic pain like headaches. I only play with people I trust, I usually prefer a certain amount of pain only and a warm-up, I've got certain no-spanking areas, I only enjoy the pain in combination with certain fantasies and so on. But still I think that I am a masochist because at least in combination with some of my fantasies mere love-taps don't do it for me (I think Anonymous made a good point here). And I'm a sadist as well because when I switch I enjoy inflicting pain on someone who enjoys receiving it.

    Concerning submission and domination: For me the former means that someone enjoys being controlled by another person (and giving in to that control) and the latter means to enjoy controlling another person. Concerning erotic play of course consent, respecting limits and so on are the framework for this power dynamics. I don't consider myself submissive or dominant in the context of my relationship or in the context of spanking play in general. But there are very special play scenarios (with my partner only) in which I can enjoy being submissive or being dominant.

    And, last but not least: Top and bottom. For me, these terms only say something about the side on which someone likes to play. In my definition a bottom simply is someone who enjoys to be on the receiving end of a spanking (for whatever reason) and a top someone who enjoys being on the giving end. A switch enjoys both positions. According to that definition I'm a switch with a higher preference for playing on the bottom side.

    (to be continued...)

  18. (...continued)

    I would like to add a few words about masochism, more severe forms of play and health aspects because these topics were raised in various comments:

    I am into more severe play from time to time and I know several people who are. Some of them have also made severe spanking films (for example for Lupus Pictures). But most of the people I know don't enjoy the pain during such a severe spanking at all, it's either about flying afterwards or about the experience of letting go. And most of them only do this on very rare occasions and always in trustworthy environments.

    None of the people I know have any scars or other permanent damages from this form of play. The canes which are for example used by the Eastern European producers and which I have used for my two severe scenes as well are very light in contrast to for example the canes that are used for real judicial punishments in some countries (horrible thought that people do this) and which cause permanent scars indeed. I know people who have weak spots, but they are caused by very regular play which doesn't even have to be extremely severe. I don't play regularly (compared to others) and I don't have any weak spots, despite of having received more severe spankings on very few occasions.

    Of course I can relate to the fact that there are a lot of people who aren't into this form of play and find the pictures of severe marks disturbing! And that is of course absolutely okay. There are certain forms of play that turn me off or which I even find disturbing as well (maybe also forms that are considered “harmless” and which most spanking enthusiasts enjoy). All I would like to ask for is to please not confuse personal preferences with moral judgements. Most people who are into more severe scenes are completely sane and very careful, they just have different fantasies and tastes than others.

    I've just written a post titled “Healthy Severity” in which I wrote about my second-ever severe spanking experience that happened a few weeks ago. It was embedded in a consensual, empowering storyline which I had written, and it was filmed in a beautiful environment by Pandora Blake who makes women-gazed, ethical spanking films. My aim was to take good care of myself and my health during the experience. My partner who administered the caning and Pandora as the producer supported me and took great care of me as well. It absolutely worked out! So, I can definitely say that severity and safe, sane and consensual play can go together very well.

  19. Erica,

    I am enjoying the discussion here. Very interesting.

    I was thinking about something that may draw a picture here where some of us are; at least me. I like massages sometimes and I also go to two chiropractors. (one for my neck and the other for the rest of me) Sometimes when I get a massage, it is painful to some degree because my muscles are tight. When my chiro uses the clicker on me, sometimes my gluteal muscles will "push back". That can be painful. The pain in massage and chiro treatments "hurt good." In other words, in spite of the pain associated with it, it hurts good. It is a therapeutic kind of pain. That is how I view the kinds of spankings I want. I am not into really hard stuff and sometimes it isn't erotic for me at all. It is the stimulation I get from the sting of it.

    So in a sense, for me anyway, having a massage, a chiro treatment, and a rather mild spanking have no masochistic definition. When I got training in Swedish massage, and also had a book on therapeutic massage, one of the things suggested to so was slap the body all over. You know what, that gets the blood flowing. It is another form of stimulation that can be benificial.

    When I see some of the more severe pictures, I just cringe. Then I have to remember that the people involved want that and also take care to not actually damage the body. Of course, to me, it looks like damage has been done even though it has been brough out that pictures can be deceiving. I do remember one picture I saw years ago that was rather startling to me and that was a frat guy whose right cheek was completely amythest purple. I wonder how his bottom is today. It would seem to me that some muscle damage had been done there, but maybe it healed up ok. I hope so for his sake.

  20. Kaelah -- thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful response! It was a good read and you made some very good points; the one about two types of sadists resonated with me, as I have known both.

    Regarding acromonious online debates and flame wars, I will not allow them here. Call it censorship, but here in this little space of mine, there must be respect. Difference of opinion -- fine. Attacking others -- not fine. If one commenter has an issue with another commenter, I invite them to take it between themselves in email. Not on my blog.

    Bobbie Jo -- the body does have some amazing healing powers. Look at the constant battering that sports figures take to their bodies. For you and me, the extreme severity is not desired. But for some... what can I say, they crave it.

    Ugh -- I HATE that clicker that the chiropractor uses. Mine used it on my shoulder a few times; it sounds like a staple gun and it feels worse!

  21. A very interesting discussion to me - one I have tried to understand on a personal level. Being a switch may complicate things for me. I have zero interest in a warm-up, I want the shock of the pain. OTOH, I don’t want many licks. About 20 is just right. So am I masochistic? I think a pain slut at least.

  22. OBB -- another title, pain slut! I'd say I'm more of a spanking slut than a pain slut.

    John is the only man who is allowed to call me "slut" (he does so affectionately, referring to all my play). To which I answer, "Yeah, but I'm YOUR slut."

  23. Terrific topic! Since the term masochist was created for a reason, I'd have to tailor the enjoyment of pain exclusively to my bottom in several forms. I do not enjoy pain on any other body part, however, I can endure a great amount without crying. I get laser treatments on my face for rosacea. They hurt like someone's snapping rubber bands over and over. I channel the discomfort to my bottom to get through the sessions because the more intensity I can take per treatment the better results.

    On to the bum cheeks. :) I freely admit I love firm/severe punishment spankings that will leave marks for a few days and soreness for up to a week. But I agree, Erica, I could do this to myself, but it's much more fun with a compatible top to do the spanking. So when I am between spankings, I simply do without.

    I also enjoy rigorous massages concentrated on my behind, too. They feel great and this does not register as bad pain to me. Same goes for workouts. I love when I do a lower body weight training combo that makes it hurt to sit, like right now! :) Those EM'Effing lunges got me good!

  24. I wanted to further clarify my separation of enduring pain to actually seeking it out. When it's time for a dental appt, dealing with a stomach ache, migraine, etc, I do NOT have that psychological thrill, butterflies in my tummy. I see these issues as something to just plow through, there will be an end to it. Whereas for spankings, I am always super thrilled pre spanking. My mood is pretty light hearted. At times I have not only the mental excitement, but also the sexual turn on too which usually resurfaces post spanking.

    The term spank is also widely used. I never judge others' desires, but I have no personal desire to ever have my breasts, feet, back, etc spanked or whipped. I tried to envision this happening sometime as an experiment, but none of the positive internal feelings presented themselves. Just beat my bum please! :)

  25. Kelly -- the only exception to my "on the bottom only, please" rule is with flogging -- a deerskin flogging all over the back, bottom and legs is just @#$%ing amazing.

    I have very little pain tolerance outside of spanking; I'm actually quite the wimp, truth be told.

  26. @Erica, we really were thinking on the same track this week. Lol. To me, it's all about my head space. The pain of the spanking is far from the most important factor of the experience, in my opinion. I don't like the labels. Don't even get me started on the terms "brat" and "bratting", that's a whole post on it's own.

  27. Lea -- yes, it really is!

    I think it's a blend of the pain and the head space, for me. Because I do need to feel it, but if my head isn't in the right place, if the connection isn't there, then it's just not good.

  28. Spanking is about a relationship, an emotional connection of some sort, for both parties, along with the physical heat.

    But everybody has already been saying that, I just wanted to make a remark so I could sign off and go poison pigeons in the park.

    Genuflect! Genuflect! Genuflect!


  29. I don't like the term masochist either, mainly because it's too general and pain-centred. For me it's not just the pain of spanking that gets me going, it's the whole scene around a spanking and the headspace we get into. Having said that, I agree that light spankings are just irritating. In fact, they make me feel silly - as though somebody's humouring me. It completely destroys a scene and makes sure I won't play again. I suppose that means the pain is a necessary part of the pleasure, but just having a pain in the bottom isn't a turn on in itself - it's the way the pain is arrived at that makes it hot.

  30. No masochist here, although sometimes I wish I was one. I really don't like the pain, and for me that's not what spanking is about.

    I don't sit at my desk, shuffling my pencil around, absently thinking, "I wish someone would hurt me."

    I think of the moments between us before, during, and after. The looks, the tension, the desire, the cleansing. The pain is just a necessary part to get me there.

    I use pain. I don't seek it.

  31. I am definitely not a masochist. It is about the before and the after. The during part is always in retrospect very much part of it - but trust me, while I am being spanked, I am not totally overjoyed at the pain.
    Oh and the humiliation and degrading bit? I will advice anyone nicely not to attempt it - I am quite adapt to turn the tables right back on the person, with an added bonus or two.



  32. Wolfie -- I'm so proud of myself; I didn't have to look up "genuflect." :-D

    Addison -- well said. Yeah, that pitty-pat stuff; it's embarrassing. Makes me feel like a baby!

    Pink -- "I use pain. I don't seek it." Now there's a quotable.

    Raven -- LOL... that sounds ominous!

  33. I've always considered myself a masochist. I will silently suffer and endure pain very bravely. But I don't enjoy pain other than the pain on my bottom during and after a spanking.

    My "girls" are off-limits to any sort of abuse. They are quite capable of generating their own pain from the inside, and that's more than enough for me.


  34. Hermione -- amen to that. Menopause sucks, but there is a silver lining to every cloud... no more agonizing breast pain every damn month!

  35. Very interesting to hear everyone's opinions. Thank you all. Great topic Erica very educational.


  36. Jon -- it's fun to have posts like this now and then; stimulates the thought processes. :-)

  37. Erica, your post inspired me to write a post of my own again. Thanks a lot for the thought fodder! :-)

  38. I can't post my comment...will try by splitting into two.

    I'm not a masochist either, I just like certain types of pain. ;)

    I think the issue here is a lot of BDSMers feel spankos are othering them (like the rest of the world does) when really what you do is not all that different. It smacks of the "straight guy who just wants a hand job from another guy but, you know, none of that gay stuff."

    "Spanking is a psycho-physical experience, and while there are times when it can be painful (i.e., without a warm-up or just really severe), usually a prolonged warm-up ensures that the spanking is not especially painful even if it was very hard. I can't say enough about the need for a good warm-up!"

    This. Exactly this.

    I'm considered a "heavy player" and a "masochist" by almost everyone in the community. I regularly have my skin broken, I have bruised to a deep, deep purple over my entire bum and thighs. But I don't actually like pain for pain's sake. I do it for a lot of reasons (gives me pleasurable rush, can send me into subspace, makes me feel tough), but pain is definitely not one of them.

    I've been with a sadist who I couldn't stand. There would be no warmup and he'd just go 100% the whole time. I was miserable, it hurt in a bad way, even though I'd easily taken much much more from skilled sadists.

  39. And when I go to the dentist, and usually I need to have general on top of local anesthetic. I totally panic with a lot of medical type pain like needles.

    So I think there's a lot to consider here. First, yes, you can fetishize punishment and pain without actually enjoying the pain. Second, you can enjoy pain for pain's sake - I think these people are rare even in the community, but it happens. I suspect a lot of people who like spankings are getting off on the endorphines of the pain, just like most "scene masochists" do. Just like I do.

    Where the differences come in are first, I have a high pain tolerance for certain types of pain. Which makes it easy to do pain that looks scary to other people. Next, I also have very efficient ways of coping with pain. With focus, I can "disappear" most pain. Third, I have low fear of most types of pain (this is probably why I can take SM but not dentists...fear/anxiety for that type of pain). You might have a visceral fear of certain types of pain that makes it seem scarier and hurt-ier than it actually is. The fear/anxiety also might make it impossible to sexualize it, and might stop the scene before the endorphins get their chance.

    So I know this is kind of disorganized...basically what I'm trying to convey is that even those of us who do "scary" pain might feel the same way as you do. You still have the opportunity to say, well a spanking isn't that bad so I'm not a masochist, but confronted with broken flesh, it's harder for me to claim I'm not. But, I'm NOT. I do. not. like. the. pain. So for me masochist is a misnomer, but only because it's shorthand for a more complicated story. For practical purposes, perhaps you might not want to use the label after all because it might communicate you are a heavier player than you are, but it doesn't mean you are some how different than I am. Unless you are purely a fetishist, and get no physical enjoyment from the intense sensation (I call it "intensity" rather than "pain" because that communicates my experience of it better), you are probably on the same spectrum as I am.

    Otherwise...I guess I don't get the huge difference between what you do and I do. Though I am totally willing to hear people out. I prefer pain on my ass to other places. I prefer when there's a bit of an imagined power dynamic (such as being disciplined with a spanking). I prefer when it doesn't hurt like "normal pain," and really just like it for the good feelings. I have a more or less normal experience of most pain and do not seek it outside of sexual contexts. Having a higher pain tolerance makes a lot of what looks like scary pain to lots of people not actually feel that bad.


    Last note - I get why spankos don't want to be associated with us. It's a stigma no one wants. And it's fine if you don't like the term. I don't expect most spankos are fundamentally different (except maybe more hung up about the stigma since they have the luxury to be hung up about it), but I don't think you need to start calling yourself a masochist if you don't want to.

  40. Hurts so good -- thank you for taking the time to write this thoughtful comment.

    I think I am sometimes guilty of trying to define what we do by falling back on the tried and true labels, and most of the time, they don't neatly fit anyone.

    The differences between you and me are probably quite basic: 1) my pain tolerance may be lower than yours, and 2) I am horribly squeamish and terrified of blood and overly damaged skin. It signifies a loss of control, a sort of going too far, for me, and I don't deal well with that at all. And I admit I am frightened of those who are capable of inflicting that level of damage.

    You "get a rush," etc., from pain, even though you don't like the pain per se. Masochists derive gratification through pain -- it never really says they LIKE the pain. My head may be exploding at this point, but I still wonder, what exactly IS a masochist, exactly, then?