One night my submissive, Moby, knelt before me in that position some call the slave position: knees spread wide, pelvis thrust forward, hands on his thighs, palm up. I loved seeing him this way, open to me, vulnerable to me. I ran my red crop up his legs, watched him tremble. I laid into him, into his ass, his balls, his most sensitive thighs until he couldn't take another blow, not one. Then I gave him what I call the "false choice" after which I switched to another pain, not the pounding sting of a crop, but the sweet torture, the deep torture of nipple clamps. Slow pain, twisted and burning, the kind which didn't even have a moment, the rush of cool air between each slice of the crop. And when he couldn't take the nipple torture any more, he'd say so, and I'd switch back to the terrible crop. His need to suffer for me, his joy in turning over every bit of his body to me, his passion and pain and presence were all there in his eyes, dark and shining.
His "false choice" was that he chose to end one pain, but there was the other waiting there in the shadows. Which was worse? Which was better? The sudden sharp twang or the slow burn? How much longer could he take it, knowing no real relief was coming, even though he had the choice of when to stop. I was merciless, and another pain would be patiently waiting for him.
I laid my head on the pillow and gazed up at his face, fixed upon mine. He was doing this for me, and he knew it. I knew it. And I loved torturing him. I like to make boys cry. I know it's hard for them. I felt powerful, indulgent, controlling, gleeful.
Later on when he rested in my arms, lost in the safety of my hold, I considered my sadistic nature. How could I be this way? Was this really me? I don't kill spiders, would never hit a child, would never hurt even Moby in any real, soulful way. But it is true, I am undeniably a sadist.
So many people in the D/s scene say I like this play or that, but "no pain." They want to stick with BDSM Lite: silk scarves tied to the bed, a little feather tease, maybe a little over-the-knee spanking. But no, no serious pain. Never struggling, suffering, weeping until all other things are forgotten.
I think I might have been that way too, long ago. That light version of things was like a light, fruity wine, sipped after a tinkle of glasses meeting in a toast after the play was over. Now I've had my taste of blood, and can only drink the dark, strong cordials of a darker, stronger experience. I want to give it, and I want to receive it, because I am a pain slut myself, wanting him to push me more and more and more until I am pushed right over, soaring into the chasm.
Those people think pain is when you twist an ankle, or burn a finger, but pain in the D/s context is hardly pain at all. I know when I give, and when I receive. When I submit, pain transforms to a river of sensation, powerful as it swirls around my ankles, rising slowly, slowly until it engulfs my body. I love to suffer for him because I know in this one place, in this one act where I have given fully, my Dominant receives fully. I serve him by accepting, and myself by allowing myself to go as far as he will take me. I am tethered by his hand, stayed in this place and distance from the outside world until he returns me.
Does the fact that I have this nature "mean" anything about who I am? Does it take away from my humanity, or possibly add to it? Can there be respect for something which seems on the surface to have no reason, no rationale, only pathological weirdness? Can I be a spiritual person as I am, committed to my spiritual path and still make sense of my enjoyment of Moby's pain, or even my own pain? How can this be reconciled with the other parts of me, the parts where I cuddle my cats, take food to the food bank, and call my sister every week?
What if we were to bring sadism out in the open, to be discussed as easily as who won last night's hockey game? Would people only be able to liken me to a child abuser or someone who abuses her spouse? Probably so, but oh how wrong they'd be. Why aren't we allowed to talk about sadism? Why does it always go hand in hand with non-consensual acts? Is sadism by its very nature non-consensual? Or maybe this is just semantics, and at the crux of things lies some mysterious something. Something I feel while hurting, while being hurt; something that just needs another name?
In our culture there is no regular Jane: the happy healthy sadist. Some think it's pathological to want to hurt someone, yet we all do it when we are grievously hurt or betrayed, rushing to hurt back, usually in the emotional realm. How easy it is to push the buttons of the people you love. How many times has a friend given me the silent treatment or said something cutting to hurt me. It may not be a whip, but that, too, is sadism.
Perhaps humiliation is the mental side of sadism. I have not yet been humiliated by any Dominant, but maybe it's because none of my Dominants had that particular bent. Or maybe it's I just have an irrepressible sense of humor or that some kind of religion or familial guilt is necessary to induce true shame. Even when one Dominant urinated on me, all I felt was damp and sticky. My thoughts ran more toward taking a shower, not glorying in any humiliation. My rational mind knew urine is pure, pure enough to drink, not to mention useful to people dying on the desert sands. Too practical I know, and I digress.
Maybe I need something stronger than a little piss. My friend Brandon wrote something in his alt.com ad which made me think if anyone could, he could humiliate me. He wrote about making his submissives rub their cunts on his leg, hump his leg, and beg to be allowed to come. I could see myself, desperate after weeks of being denied sexual release, awkwardly trying to rub myself enough to get off. I would be so needy to be touched, to be allowed a tiny bit of pleasure, that I would beg him. Yes, begging would be humiliating. I knew he would like seeing me reduced by his ownership of my sexuality. This is something I've always wanted, not the begging for the orgasm, but the fact of no longer being in control of my own sexuality. Surrender doesn't get any deeper.
Is this sadism of the mental kind? Maybe. Would it be consensual on both our parts? Of course. If sadism is consensual, is it still sadism? Or does the willingness, even eagerness of the participants somehow morph it into something else, a horse of a different color? What is that color? Is it as false a choice as I gave Moby, or something as deep and dark and sweet as the cordial I taste on my lips?
Sensuous Sadie is a BDSM columnist and edits SCENEsubmissions, a free e-newsletter for the New England area and beyond. She is the founder and leader (1999 - 2001) of Rose & Thorn, Vermont's first BDSM group. Comments, compliments and complaints, as well as requests for reprinting can be addressed to her at SensuousSadie@aol.com or visit her website at www.sensuoussadie.com. Sadie believes the universe is abundant, and that sharing information freely is part of this abundance, so she allows reprints of her writing in most venues.