Saturday, July 7, 2012

Endorphins - Pain and Pleasure by Candace Blevins

Have a conversation with a masochist about what makes them like one kind of pain but not another, and endorphins will almost always find their way into the conversation.

According to Wikipedia, endorphin is short for "endogenous morphine", and is an endogenous opioid peptide that functions as a neurotransmitter. They are produced during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love, and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. The scientists say endorphins aren't addictive, but I'm not so sure they're right. 

I won’t go into a detailed description of adrenaline, but I’d like to point out the combination of endorphins and adrenaline creates even more sensations than endorphins alone. Being bound and flogged can bring on a flight-or-flight reaction, which brings forth both chemicals in large quantities. An edge of fear with the pain, as long as it’s from a partner you fully trust, can be a wonderful spicy addition.

In a D/s relationship where the punishments are real, there often isn't a warm-up, and the pain is given in a time frame that doesn’t allow the endorphins to build. A particularly sadistic long punishment might involve a five minute spanking at the top of every hour — so the endorphins don’t kick in until about five minutes after it’s over and are gone before the next begins.
Safeword: Davenport by Candace Blevins

For a longer punishment that happens all at once, there are ways to negate the endorphins. In Safeword: Rainbow there’s a rather controversial scene where the submissive is required to do math problems throughout the scene, keeping her from sinking into the endorphin haze of subspace and forcing her to be more present for the pain.

However, in a normal scene, the endorphins are front and center. If the Top brings you along as the endorphins build, then for some of us there isn’t a limit to how far we can be taken with a flogger or whip. Or rather, there is, but we won’t know we’ve hit it.

In the following except from Safeword: Davenport we're shown what Dana experiences during an intense flogging and whipping. At one point she’s flogged front and back simultaneously by two Doms using a Florentine pattern, so there are four floggers going at once — and for this scene, that's part of the warm-up. Dana is restrained standing between two poles here, arms and legs to the side, with an open-faced hood also attached to the poles so her head stays in place

The first strike of the flogger landed on her right shoulder blade, and Max quickly fell into a comfortable rhythm using a moderate flogger with restrained strength to warm her up. He gauged her comfort level well, gradually upping the intensity, staying just ahead of her endorphins and thoroughly thrashed shoulders, back, ass, and thighs before moving to her front and flogging breasts, stomach, pussy, and thighs. When her front was on fire he switched to her back, changing floggers as he stepped around her. The world went hazy and her body began trying to move into the strikes instead of away. She wanted more, forgot she could ask.

The rhythm stopped and he circled to her front again — her breasts hot and swollen, as if they’d grown twice their size, but she couldn’t wait for the first strike to fall. She was lost without the relentless pounding of the flogger, a ship on the sea with no wind.

The music changed to nineties techno, an insistent beat coming through the drumless instrumental, and her world erupted in wind and sensation. The hits came to the beat of the music — a strike to her left shoulder blade and left breast at the same time, quickly followed on the other side. Right-Left-Right-Left. A continuous loop. Her body tried to react, even though her mind welcomed it, but she was restrained in so many places she couldn’t move away from, or towards, the constant sensation of impact. She tried to keep up with it but with four floggers moving so rapidly all she could do was let go and feel.

She felt her consciousness grow bigger than her body, at one with The Universe; and sensed the delineation between soul and body, could see them as two separate units.

Her body was being flogged, not her soul.

The wind stopped and she opened her eyes and howled as her spirit merged back into her body, the sounds and smells of the club assaulting her.

Max was in front of her, his face inches away. He moved in, his lips on hers, giving her another anchor. Not the leather of the floggers, not the wind, but his presence, his warmth. He pulled back and she opened her eyes again, still in her comfortable fog, but more aware of her surroundings. Brent was walking towards the cage, and Jacob had finally stopped holding himself up. His elbows were slack, head resting back against the statue, eyes closed. Dana thought he must be in that beautiful millimeter of space sandwiched between heavenly bliss and excruciating torment, where you could simultaneously experience both.

She heard the snap of a single tail, didn’t feel the pain. He hadn’t hit her. She tried to relax, realized she hadn’t tensed.

The snap and the pain hit her brain at the same time as the center of her right ass cheek blossomed in delicious agony. Her body strained, tried to run, struggled to move; her muscles writhed under her skin as her heart slammed in her chest, and the throbbing between her thighs became more insistent.

Left ass cheek. Not a blossom, but a pinpoint of magnificent anguish. She heard herself say, “Yes,” very low, and opened her eyes in shock at the sound of her voice.

Her right shoulder and then her left, only seconds apart, and both were on fire. The inferno always raged more on her back, the focused strikes going from skin to bone, without the muscles in the ass to absorb the impact, and she needed that intensity. She remembered she was supposed to tell him, it wasn’t Topping from the bottom. Not today.

She licked her lips, tried to make her tongue work. Finally got her brain firing the right way and said, “Yes, more up there.”

A voice repeated what she’d said, and then Max was behind her, his hands lightly resting on her upper arms. “Talk to me. What do you need?”

She struggled to put it into words, into a sentence. “Shoulders, where you hit… more intense. Need that. Stay there.”

“I’m going to keep moving around, to draw this out for you. Do you not want more on your ass, or are you saying you want the level of pain your shoulders are getting?”

“Need the intensity. Feel it more. Want to hurt. Please.”

“Okay. I’m going to move back and forth so I can make it last, but I’ll give you plenty on your shoulders, okay?”

She tried to nod her head, wasn’t sure there was enough movement for him to see, and said, “Yes.”

She wasn’t expecting the floggers, but he began the relentless Florentine pattern on her shoulder blades, striking over the single-tail marks, and Dana heard herself howling, the merciless pleasure/pain of the continuous blows pulsing through her body, catapulting her to dizzying heights.

The flogging stopped and she moaned in disappointment, but soon felt the single-tail on her ass again, the most violent strike yet to her right ass cheek. She finally screamed, shocking herself with the sound. Max was behind her again, his hands stroking her arms, sides, hips. Coaxing her into taking deep breaths, reminding her to relax and not fight the restraints. She hadn’t realized she was struggling — she didn’t want to be let loose.

“Good girl. Stay relaxed, it’s time for the next.”

Her left ass cheek received the same intensity, and she was screaming again, felt herself fighting the restraints as the adrenaline spiked through her body.

Max’s voice was back, and his hands. The mask was wet, she hadn’t known she was crying. When she could breathe enough to talk she said, “More. Oh god, please more.”

“You’ll get more. Do you trust me to draw this out and make it last another thirty minutes? Or would you rather I make it super intense for the next five minutes and not have a spot left to hit?”

In a moment of clarity, her mind put a full sentence together, though her lips had a hard time saying it. “Make it last, but I want the intense five minutes at the end.”

He chuckled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

She felt him move away, waited for the next strike, but he returned with a bottle of water and a straw, holding the straw to her mouth. “Drink.”

She did, realizing her lips weren’t working because they’d been stuck to her teeth. She drank slowly, wetting her mouth without putting too much into her stomach. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.” He smiled softly, caressed her cheek over the top of the hood. “Ready for more on your shoulders?”

“God yes.”

Sir Max went back and forth from flogger to bullwhip to single tail. She opened her eyes once to see Brent doing something that made Jacob struggle and fight his bonds. The next time she looked, he was gone.

Dana lost all sense of time — there were only the whips, the pain, the pleasure, Dana’s screams, and Max’s voice and hands.

Max was behind her again, his hands on her hips below the waist strap. “You know this can’t last forever. I’m running out of blank canvas, so this’ll be your final couple of minutes.”

“Will you draw blood? I want… feel the whip, break skin? Shoulder blades. Please?”

“I’m sorry, but no. I’ll make it hurt worse than I have, but I won’t tear you open with the bullwhip on top of what I’ve already done.”

“Do it. All of them.” His hands disappeared and then he was in front of her, holding her gaze until she fell into it. His eyes were intense, analyzing her, feeling her out.

“Make it hurt,” she said. “Like you’re drawing blood. I like asking, thank you.”

“Okay, but you’ll get a few on your ass in between the ones on your back.” He finally released her from his gaze and kissed her on the forehead, over the leather. “Enjoy it while it lasts, we’re just about done.”

The next two lashes were on her back, not too far below the previous strikes, and came as a one-two punch. Her ass blossomed in pain again not long afterwards, and then he returned to her upper back. The hits were coming fast and furious, without much time to deal with the heat and torment of one set before the next arrived.

She could see the pain in layers around her, the most recent strikes purple, the ones before that red, then orange, and yellow. She was so close to an orgasm, she kept thinking she just needed a little more to push her over the edge, but it never came.

There were two sets of hands on her. One taking off her hood, another removing the spreader bars. As more of her attachments came loose, strong arms held her up, and when the last chain dropped she was lifted into strong arms.


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Safeword: Matte


  1. Oh my. What an intense scene. Without seeing that for myself I don't think I could write that.

    You're correct, endorphins can be magical things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and that fascinating excerpt!

  2. It's easier to write it when you've experienced it, but difficult to explain how it feels when your brain goes beyond words.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. All right. I'm a big fan of the realistic. For people who don't understand the high of sub-space, I always try to explain it in these terms. Think about a time in your life when you were in jeopardy of some kind. Could have been when you got caught in the ocean ripped tide that summer at camp and eventually got out after much struggle or it could have been a more simple thing. Maybe you overcame your fear of heights and rode that huge rollercoaster with your friends. In the end both are much the same as the experience leaves you feeling euphoric/high like you've accomplished a huge feat and you're greatly relieved once you've gone through it. Oddly you find yourself drained in a really, really (lost all my stress) kind of way – a way that has you hooked so surely, you'd do it again given the chance. Fortunately, in the lifestyle, you get the chance to do just that. Thanks for a great post.

    Riley murphy

  4. Good explanation Riley.

    Nothing battles insomnia like a good flogging :)