We are nearing the end of this series on pain processing in play.
What do you think can interrupt your pain processing ability? If you've experienced anything like I have, there are moments where you just can't change the pain response to anything beyond pain. What normally feels really good is just not. There are a number of things that can block your ability to translate the pain using techniques talked about earlier.
Let's think about the things that we need to actively process pain and make play enjoyable for both parties. You need focus, trust, little to no distraction, appropriate mood, and a healthy and rested body. Any of these things can fall out of balance and then you may have issues processing pain.
Mood is separated into two parts. Your emotional state and the environmental mood set up by the scene.
If you are in a bad mood you won't respond to pain well. You may fight the pain or store it up without a release mechanism. A negative mindset can also make pain seem more intense and bring you to your edge a lot faster and with less positive benefits. Did you have a bad day at work and are still angry? What about your household chores; does seeing the dishes incomplete make you frustrated? You'll want to work on your mood before you play.
Bad moods aren't typically a good time to play for the Top either, so if you notice that your Top is in a bad mood it might be a good time to postpone and decide to play later on.
The mood that was established for the scene can also hinder your pain processing. If the music is unpleasant, the room is too warm or too cool or there's just too much clutter you may lose the ability to focus on the pain and use your processing techniques correctly. Mixing different play types can be distressing to you as well. Take for example, if your Top starts out with a light-hearted sensation scene and then it shifts to an intense pain scene your body may not be able to translate that change in the way you need to. Working with the Top to learn better transitions in play would be a benefit for your management.
If you cannot focus you will not be able to control the way you manage the pain. Any kind of distractions can do it; from financial worries, incomplete tasks, family strife to the simple paper cut bothering you can knock you off your game. Losing your focus on what's going on also inhibits your responses, so you are actually robbing your Top of their enjoyment. If you are unable to focus, take a break and perhaps play another time.
If you just focus on the pain without any pain management it will make it more intense. Some novice submissives think that if they focus directly on the pain that they will get through the session faster and with guts of steel. Sure, if you make the pain more intense and don't try any of the management techniques talked about previously, you are going to have to end the scene faster because you will reach your edge long before your Top wants you to. Also, toughing it out and acting macho could get your hurt; and not in a good way. If you find yourself unable to do anything but grit your teeth through the pain it would be best if you stop play and try another time. (Caveat: Punishment for wrong doing you can't usually ask for a rain check just because you can't get past the pain.)
Fear and anxiety will make pain feel more intense. Intense pain will add to your fear and anxiety. It's a circle of distrust that can be temporary or permanent. There is no doubt that some of the activities we do can cause fear and anxiety, but if there's a foundation of trust with your partner this fear will be temporary. This is a positive form of fear.
If however, this fear and anxiety is a negative result of things and the trust is broken for other reasons, then the pain you experience will be so intense that it will drive your fear higher and could lead to panic.
Beyond fear is terror and beyond anxiety is panic. These are similar to fear and anxiety but to a much greater degree. When you experience these emotions it's practically impossible to be able to process pain in any way. Your mind has superseded your pain processing with these other emotions. Terror and panic make it impossible to focus.
Most people can’t safely maintain a state of terror or panic for very long. The body tends to shut down and exhaustion sets in.
The next time you prepare for pain play of any sort, see where your mind is at. Are you prepared for the active processing you will need to do or is your focus on something that will only make the experience more difficult for you?
Tomorrow I'm going to talk about the false edge. This is the limit we impose on ourselves as far as pain tolerance but isn't where our actual pain tolerance lies. Together, we'll work on trying to break free of the false edge and soar into heightened pleasures with pain.
Processing Pain in Play Series
- What is the Natural Process?
- Negative Pain Management Techniques
- Positive Pain Management Techniques
- Learning a Processing Technique
- What is the Benefit of Pain Anyway?
- This post: What Can Interrupt or Block Pain Processing?
- Overcoming the False Edge
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