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Author Topic: Kink and Spirituality - Special Topic Discussion  (Read 26918 times)
Jenett
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Religion: Priestess in initiatory religious witchcraft tradition
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« Reply #12: March 23, 2010, 10:47:27 am »

But it seems to me that dealing with what issues you already have is inherently different from seeking out additional problems.  Of course, as I'm writing this, I'm realizing that my knitting frequently makes my arms ache, and I do it anyway, so maybe it's more of a cost-payoff thing than I realized .. we ALL do things that have side effects we might not like, but we do it because we value the reward more than the side effect.

Am I even on the right page here, or am I just wired to the point that I don't get it?

(Darkhawk managed commentary between when I started this and finished, but I'm going to post my take, too, since multiple views are probably helpful.)

Sort of going in the right direction, but it might be helpful to break things down a bit. Starting with "What does BDSM mean, anyway?"

BDSM is a compound anacronym: Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism. Many people who are interested in some subset of these are not interested in the others. My own two leanings are toward the first two pairs in various formats - but straight sadism and masocism hold very little interest for me. (inflicting pain, or receiving it.) There are plenty of people who are only interested in one or two of those six things, not all six, and 'kink' as a term covers all of that, plus a bit more (like sensation play, which isn't really explicitly in there - things like floggers designed for sensation, not pain, hot wax play, ice cubes, etc.)

That said, while I don't exactly seek out pain, I don't necessarily shy away from it either, if there's something else in the experience that's worthwhile to me. I think about the ache after a lengthy pleasant walk (I'm up in Duluth for a short vacation, and my legs ache from driving yesterday, and will hurt more today after I go look at nice waterfalls and lake views involving a bit of hiking.) I think about all the bruised knees and sore muscles I gained when I was doing serious horseback riding. (the knees from not getting the Dorothy pony all the way into her corners, and hitting the pole on the inside corner designed to help that happen.) And I think about the tradition of harpers staining the strings (to color code the octaves) with their own blood.

All of those involve pain, but they're all pains that would also have some interest for me - not pain for pain's sake alone.

But that said, there are some people whose wiring tangles pain and pleasure. That even while they feel the pain, they get other sensations that they enjoy. Most of us have *some* experience of this: the feeling of pins and needles (that hurt, but is also sort of cool). The ache of wiggling a loose tooth when we're children, or peeling off a scab, or pushing on a bruise.

Pain can be a tool - it can be a way to focus the mind in a way nothing else does (especially more acute pain: you're right that chronic pain tends to diffuse attention.)

As far as offering up pain - it's like offering up anything else. Say you make a commitment to say X prayers to a deity, or offer Y thing every day: pain is another kind of offering, a "Yes, I'm taking this seriously enough to do something that would probably not be my first choice, but as a way to show my commitment." Again, not for everyone, or every deity - but common enough in world religions that it's probably not surprising that people do it. (Medieval Catholic penances done by walking on the knees to a given cathedral were certainly not pain-free, for example.) It can be a way of making sure that what we offer truly is difficult for us - or it can be a way of echoing the commitments of the deity in question in some way.  
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