My first introduction to kink happened at a goth bar and involved a guy with a Pauly D haircut, a custom made wooden paddle and my ass.
I wasn’t expecting the encounter when I put on a black dress and joined my co-worker for a night of drinks and Depeche Mode, but the initial stings sparked new sensations that alerted me to ways of feeling I never thought possible.
Pauly-D-Hair had gone to a fetish ball the night before; while there, he spanked all the (consenting) women who walked by with his brand new toy. I am a curious cat and I wanted to know more about the fetish ball—what was it, who was there, what happened at one. He answered my questions, but kept returning to the paddle, he just wouldn’t shut up about how amazing it was and how everyone who felt it loved it, etc. Finally, I made him retrieve it so I could discover what all the fuss was about.
In the middle of the crowded club, he bent me over his knee and lifted up my dress exposing my lacy underwear to the world. The object was like a giant wooden spoon and when it came down across my ass, a mega-rush of energy and excitement surged through my body. Was it the exhibitionism of it? Was it the literal pain? Was it the psychology of doing something outside of the small box of acceptable sexual behavior? Perhaps it was a little bit of all three. It wasn’t glittery glamour sexy, it was the deep recesses of a dark cold dungeon sexy. And I realized that’s where I wanted to be.
We set up a scene.
And then another.
I’ve always been a rather high-strung person; I’ve had plenty of friends tell me how much I would benefit from meditation, but I was always like, “whatever, I’m fine.” I’ve been lightly experimenting with different avenues of BDSM for almost a year now and through this journey I have discovered that it has brought me much closer to mindfulness and a sense of calm being—a place I would not have gone without experimenting with my masochistic side.
Three Ways BDSM Made Me More Mindful
1. Practiced Stillness
“Cuffs or rope?” he asked me. It was my first time in a “scene.”
“Rope,” I said, wanting him to work for it.
I didn’t want the restraint of me to be easy.
But then, there I was, naked, wrists over my head, tied to a metal hook in the ceiling.
I’ve always been the leader of a group. I’ve bossed my past boyfriends around easily without even blinking. I’ve persistently complained about any injustice I see come my way. I’ve stood up for the weirdos and the outcasts. I’ve studied and studied the patriarchal system, misogyny, power dynamics; yet, nothing has felt better than for a moment in time being able to let that all go. To be still. To allow someone else complete control and just be. No decisions, no defending, no debate.
It took me being tied up, unable to move, to realize the value in stillness. I realized it was time to stop running from my problems and get tough—take a couple of hits and power through. If I can take a beating in the bedroom, I can take on any sort of challenges that come my way outside it—and perhaps even enjoy overcoming them.
2. Present in the PleasurePain
“Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life but the ability to cope with it.” ~ Unknown
The practice of BDSM requires absolute trust in the partner at play.
When he released his hands from my throat he asked me why I liked what he did.
“It’s because you’re paying attention,” I said.
The art of domination and submission takes concentration, complete communication and knowledge of how the body functions and speaks. When I am spanked or choked or slapped, I become present with the sensation. I am nowhere else but where I am. The hits awaken my sense of being; I’m not thinking about my past or future, I am letting the body flow, savoring the moment of intensity between my partner and I.
3. Escape to Sub Space
I have a few friends who are mega into meditating; they spend hours at a time doing it. I know that a major element of meditating is learning how to clear the mind. For those who may not be into meditating or want to attempt to get to that clearness another way, entering what’s known as sub space in a scene is a good way to do such clearing. Sub space is often characterized as a state of deep recession, a way for submissives to separate themselves from their environment in order to process the experience.
The intensity of a BDSM scene, the restraints, the infliction of pain, causes the body to release enough chemicals—epinephrine from the suprarenal glands, as well as a big dose of endorphins and enkephalins—that the body turns into a near trance-like state. This feels like floating, perhaps one could compare it to being slightly high, you’re there but everything surrounding is faded and nothing really matters anymore.
The body is much stronger than we often give it credit. As a submissive, I am curious to see how far I can push it, how much I can take; at what point does pleasure from pain turn into just pain, and how will I react? How will my dom? When I go into subspace and come back, how will I have changed?
The difference between meditators and masochists is the avenue in which stress is relieved, but the outcome can be quite similar: relaxation, slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and lowered stress hormones.
After a scene I feel calmer; in days that follow I actually feel more in charge of my body and my mind than before. I don’t find weakness in my submission in the bedroom, I find pleasure and presence and peace.