Existence and Purpose.

I’m going to spend a little time today writing about submission. I want to discuss what it’s like to identify as a submissive and what its like being at loose ends, without a Dominant.

I was reading something recently about submissives doing better in relation to another individual… something about an external locus of control… hold on… let me see where I put it…
Alright I’m going to toss out a few articles for perusal here at the beginning and then go on with what ever it is that’s going to come of this post.

I first ran across Enslavement.org in the fall of 2004. It was about that time I had started getting into BDSM for ‘real’. I ran off to be a 24/7 slave to a Master in Florida. The story is a long one, and not one I’m going to tell today. There are a number of interesting essays on this site and a number of cool links if you’ve interest in exploring Total Power Exchange or Master/slave relationships:

The Healthy Submissive by Yaldah Tovah, M.D.

The Troubled Submissive by Yaldah Tovah, M.D.

There’s one other related article of interest:

Also related to Enslavement and Tanos is a project called Seek Discipline! There are a number of web boards on there in which unowned and unclaimed submissives and slaves talk about their experiences with being at loose ends. I haven’t explored in any great detail so I can’t make any statements as to the accuracy and such, of information provided but I am impressed that the subject is actively breached on this site. Check it out.

Right, now then, with that out of the way I can launch into my ramble.

At the end of my second 24/7 D/s relationship I was heartbroken and grief stricken, even though the split was amiable and somewhat mutual. At the time I had the good fortune of being part of a rather large and extended local community of Kinksters. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with one of the Dominants available just a few short weeks after my collar had been removed.

We were standing in the somewhat rundown and dilapidated kitchen of the clubhouse, our community play-space, when he asked me how I was doing. At the time I was deeply despondent. My neck felt naked and I often found myself fingering the empty space where my collar used to rest. At his question my hand automatically went to the dip at the base of my throat. I swallowed hard. Dropped my hand. Tried not to look ashamed. I was honest, told him how lost I felt, that I was struggling, all the while being respectful of my former owners, who happened to be friends with him.

He looked at me and said, “At least you are a submissive without a Dominant and not a Dominant without a submissive. A Dominant without a submissive doesn’t exist.”

My shoulders slumped and I responded dully, “What good is existence without purpose?”

Looking back I’m not sure I buy into a Dom not existing without a sub or a sub having no purpose without a Dom. Back then, however, that exchange just about summed it up for me. Where once my life had meaning and structure I now suddenly had none.

I found myself an apartment, the one I currently reside in. When I moved in I had nothing. The few possessions that had made it through my first D/s experience didn’t make a dent in the wide vacant space of the two bedroom duplex. I slept on the floor in the front room… it was late in the year and the cold seeped up through the blankets and chilled me. My only company that first night was a rather large spider that kept racing across the back of my pillow, its long legs made a rapid tapping sound like beans bouncing off the pegs in a rain stick. I don’t mind spiders but I’m not fond of sleeping with them. It took me a while to find and remove him.

It was a long, sleepless night. Every little noise started me awake. Winter had settled into my bones…

The following months were difficult. I spent a lot of time crying. I felt as though I were loosing my mind. I had a nervous break down of sorts and started seeing a shrink. As it turns out my adventures in Florida had left me with a lasting legacy, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and for a number of different reasons following my second D/s relationship it undid me. Please be very aware that BDSM has its inherent risks, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Until my shrink was able to fill me in I thought I was totally and completely barking mad.

I put myself on medication. I went on long walks, sometimes for hours a day. Eating was torture. Nauseous all the time. My life was very mechanical, only acting out the movements everyday living required. I attacked the gardening and yard work with a savagery that often left me sunburned, blistered, and exhausted. Sleeping was no escape as my dreams were filled with warfare, death, and endless fights with my family. I would fall asleep tired and wake up feeling worse.

I was embarrassed at my weakness. Ashamed that left to my own devices I seemed incapable of caring for my Self in a compassionate fashion. I kept asking myself why it was I seemed to need submission. Why couldn’t I be whole, feel whole, by myself? Wasn’t I enough in my own right?

I returned to an old fall back of mine I developed when I didn’t realize BDSM existed as a ‘real’ lifestyle: Separating myself from my Self and pretending to be my own Master. I fed, exercised, and cared for myself with an invisible Master looking on. Pushing myself with silent commands ringing in my ears. I purchased leather restraints, bondage equipment, nipple clamps, all of which seemed useless comforts as I could never bring myself to wear them more than once. Without a Dominant to use them and me, they were empty of the meaning I had hoped to recover, the peace I ached for and so easily found at the hands of somebody else. It was devastating. Why was I unable to provide for myself? Was I codependent and fucked up?

I spent a lot of time questioning the validity of my existence. I had a number of books I kept next to my bed for nightly reading. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. And When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. The closest thing I could find to the wide open and cosmic experience of submission was the state of being described in Zen Buddhism, so I started cultivating a similar practice. Eventually with the help of multiple (exceedingly patient) friends and my own perseverance I was able rediscover my Self.

I started going to school full time and developed a life based around being a student and continuing my education.

Eventually I entered into another 24/7. I kept my place and lived with my Dominant part time, which as I’ve said lasted a year and four months and ended in March of this year.

Once again I am on my own. This time hasn’t been as bad as times before. Part of it I’m sure, is that having been here before, I know that no matter how uncomfortable and painful this might be it too will pass, given time. Where I had a somewhat low self-esteem and a muddy sense of self, I now have good self-esteem and a clear sense of Self, it’s made all the difference. I am questioning my Kink, my life, and I’m not sure I have any answers. I don’t know what will happen next. I don’t know if or when I’ll chose to enter into another D/s relationship.

I try to focus on things as they come. I try to be more present and mindful in my day by days. I practice being compassionate with myself. I don’t try to make my reality something its not. When I miss submission with a fierce ache I let myself feel it, acknowledge its validity. I write about it. I read about it.

Sometimes I get lost in the past and then I bring my Self back to the present. Sometimes I get lost in fantasies and daydreams of some future Mate, Master, Dominant, then I bring my Self back to the present with the knowledge that I’m going to be okay if I never go there again.

I’ve learned to own my Self until such time as I choose to give ownership over to another. I’ve discovered my own personal power. I’ve rediscovered time and again the huge difference between codependency and interdependency.

I’m not saying any of this is easy and I’m not going to tell you I don’t suffer from loneliness and sorrow on occasion because I do. I’m just saying; the end of our relationships doesn’t mean the end of Self or life. Nor even the end of happiness, fulfillment, bliss, or joy. It just means things have changed, and you can be sure they will change again.

Bearing the Bare.

I’m on the tired side. Attempting to get back on some sort of schedule. I’ve set my alarm for six in the morning for the past few days but have yet to make it out of bed. This morning was slightly better, I was up by eight thirty.

It’s been a busy past few weeks though I’d be hard pressed to identify what exactly was so absorbing. Mostly emotional stuff and trying to put a few haunts to rest.

I recently invited one of my sisters and her new husband over for a little party at my place. As parties go it was quite laid back, everyone brought a gourmet dish, and I was sure to invite those who would be easy to get along with. None of it did much good as my sister found reason and occasion to be disapproving and judgmental. I’m sure you’ve been able to gather I’m not exactly mainstream and there’s plenty to condemn me for when you’re a jesus freak. I was disappointed but not surprised. I don’t welcome my family into my life much any more because it’s often the reaction I have directed at me.

Owls work schedule has changed and as a result we have evenings together. We’ve implemented recession living. We plan meals, shopping, and other living expenses. We even use coupons. No going out to eat or coffee. We do all of that here. No unnecessary driving. It’s been a tad strange getting used to but I’ve a feeling our current recession is going to get worse before it gets better, and I’d rather be prepared. She’s picking up the life skills rather quickly, as I knew she would. It’s kind of cool to see her grow into adulthood. She’s finally come to the conclusion she might be with me for a while, and is starting to empty out her storage unit and move in for real.

I was invited to a private play party over at an old friends place. From the invite I was able to make a few guesses at the guest list. The Good Dr was no doubt going to be there, as the guest of honor was a woman she had been courting before I ended our D/s relationship. As it happens the courtship was one of the factors that influenced my decision to leave. I had to call my friend and tell her I would be unable to attend. I didn’t want to ruin her party by making the environment thick with tension. She was disappointed as was I. Unfortunately it is what it is, and I chalk it up as one of the many repercussions of my actions. I accept the cost and am unwilling to put others at risk of being on the receiving end of the  Good Dr.’s ire, it can be uncomfortable.

Speaking of the Good Dr I met up with her ex-girlfriend and my ex-friend Mink, a few days ago. I had a piece of jewelry that had originally belonged to her before the Good Dr re-gifted it to me. Sometimes the only thing we girls, submissives, women, have to show for ourselves when it’s all said and done is our jewelry and other such gifts. This particular piece was a stunning diamond bracelet of unusual design. Re-gifting doesn’t sit well with me and it seemed appropriate to return it to Mink.

The meeting was awkward as there is a great deal of love lost between us. Yet another one of the prices paid for the path I’ve taken. One I don’t regret but I do feel a great deal of remorse for the hurt I’ve caused her. I did what was needed to let it go; I returned the bracelet with a heartfelt apology. I gave her the opportunity to say whatever she needed to say and a chance for us to say our goodbyes. It’s likely that our paths will cross again but I’ve no interest in renewing the friendship we once had.

She attributes a great deal of malice and ill intent directed at her in my actions. The truth of it is I was selfish and didn’t take her feelings into account at all. I saw something I wanted and I went for it regardless of how she might feel. I didn’t care about her, I cared about me and my feelings. Which is worse? Thinking someone love/hates you so much that they go about hurting you? Or finding out that they didn’t consider you at all, and all the hurt you’ve experienced is nothing more then their lack of concern for your well being? I’m not sure, I imagine it depends on the size of ego you’re working with.

Blue Bunny came to town for a few short days. A joy as always to see her. She’ll be here a few times over the next month. She passed on an employment opportunity for a few weeks in Aug, one she’s proffered a few times, and while I was never tempted before, I am now. Poverty isn’t much fun and often times is sufficient motivation to make a few changes in life. Sigh. I’ve been doing a lot of changing.

Lover and I got together a few days ago. We met at his office. I wore something more provocative then usual. I generally go for hot but not over the top, that whole blending in thing. I don’t like to flaunt our affair. I don’t want to risk drawing attention and getting him in trouble. This time I pulled out the stops, I heard a sadness in his voice that concerned me, and there are few things that will put troubles from one’s mind faster than a beautiful women dressed (or undressed) for your pleasure. When I arrived he was seated on the wraparound couch watching some man-on-woman-anal porn on the TV framed by an antique hardwood hutch.

He looked dejected. I put my computer and purse on the marble-topped octagon table as I crossed the room to him. My outfit was complimented but I could tell it wasn’t enough to pull his mind from whatever was distressing him. I sat close, touching his leg, and let him talk.

He told me he’s feeling a little depressed. “The market is down double digits… that hasn’t happened in a really long time.” And he had just heard from his New York lawyer, the one he had paid a rather large retainer fee to, in order to avoid having to pay back a profit he had made a number of years back on a fund that turned out to be fraudulent. The lawyer apologized, “but nothing could be done. The money would have to be returned.”

After most of the retainers fee had been exhausted of course.

When Lover is concerned and disturbed about the economy I know it’s time to worry.

I hid my distress, walked to the dry bar and poured him a drink, moving in a way that would draw his eyes. I could feel him watching me, a hot dark glance resting on my feet strapped bondage style to tall designer shoes, sliding slowly up bare legs, caressing my thighs. The overly short skirt made me look all leg, a half inch from horribly indecent it was, just barely covering my ass and pussy. The type of skirt that requires good looking underwear, cause you’re going to be flashing them if you’re not careful. I wished I had thought of removing my undies in the elevator.

I turned and met his gaze. Took my time sauntering back, pushed his knees apart, and stood between towering over him. Drink in hand he used his other to trace fingers across my panty line. I pulled away from him, a smile tugging at my lips. I walked away, started setting up my laptop, bending and stretching myself across cold marble. Lifting my ass high into the air as I made my music selection. He set down his drink and paced around me. From behind he wrapped his hands around my hips, pulled my bottom forcefully against him. He pressed the side of my face into hard stone. I welcomed the cool, knowing it would do nothing but offset the fever of my skin.

For a time we forgot our selves.

Afterwards he morned not having the comfort of a hotel room and proper bed. Things are tight if hotel fees are no longer easily affordable. My poor Lover. Men have a much harder time with this kind of loss. If you don’t believe me think about the Great Depression, how many people threw themselves out of buildings and such, most of them were men.

(I’m putting together an office lovin’ kit: towels, flat sheet, gloves, garbage bags, laundry bag, antimicrobial hand-wipes, bottled water, chucks, small plastic drop-cloths, and a nail kit. Nails are much more comfortable worn short. I’d include condoms and such but he’s got a locking attaché case where he keeps those sorts of things. I’m hoping the kit will cheer him a bit).

I don’t want to lose Lover any sooner then I have to. Our age difference is such that it’s quite probable I’ll outlive him by a good 60 years. Sixty years is a long time to be without someone you love. I don’t like to think about it but it’s moments like these when it crosses my mind with morbid clarity. Would the loss of his fortune be his undoing? I’d like to think he’s more resilient than that. Hell I like to think we’re all more resilient than that. I have a bad feeling we may have the opportunity to find out.

Depressing isn’t it? Sorry, being a bit dark. Good things often come of hardship but it doesn’t make hardship anymore bearable while we’re bearing it.

It’s possible he’s found another lover to occupy his time and finances, not a happy prospect for me. Perhaps I’ve outlasted my time. Gagh… Ick… All gloom and doom today.

I set him up with one of my apprentices and dear friend for training. She’s just stopped by to tell me she’s seen him again, they met at the hotel. He wants to make their arrangement more full time. Neither one of us are quite sure what that means but neither one of us is willing to lose our friendship over it. I’m sure it’s true that money is tight for him and he’s momentarily charmed by the new shiny I’ve tossed him. I chose not to believe that he has outlived his desire for me.

How to Carry On?

People come and people go throughout the course of our lives. Sometimes they stay only the briefest of moments before moving on. Other times they stay longer and we start to think we know them and they know us. We take for granted that things will always be as they are, when the reality is much more transitory and ephemeral.

We change. All of us change all the time, but it’s difficult to see the changes as they come, for a number of different reasons; it doesn’t fit into our perception of how ‘it’ should be, or how we ‘know’ ourselves to be. It’s easy to overlook how we shift about and grow. Letting go is about understanding and accepting change as a natural part of the process.

Relationships come and go too. It’s true of Vanilla and BDSM alike. Relationships end. Relationships change. Again, it’s a natural part of the process of living. None of us know how long our friends, lovers, partners, parents, or children will be with us.

Life is short and the only constant is Change.

This seems like a fundamental truth to me so I was surprised at how little information I’ve been able to find on breaking up, what to do, what to expect, how to handle, etc. in a BDSM and Kink context. While having a relationship end in the Vanilla world is reason enough for grief in D/s it can be particularly devastating, for both Dominate and submissive.

Both have become dependent upon the other in an effort to be the opposite and therefor equalizing agent in each others lives. The Dom looks to the sub to be soft, pliant, emotive, and receptive. The sub looks to the Dom to provide structure, regulation, protection, and purpose. Both have purposefully unbalanced themselves in order to make this kind of synergetic relationship possible.

There’s a lot of room for error. Especially in 24/7 relationships where the stakes can be higher and harder to recover from should it come to an abrupt end. Even if the split is amiable it can be difficult to relearn how to provide for your Self the things you counted on the other to provide. I don’t understand why this isn’t discussed more.

I’m including in this post resources and articles I found interesting and pertinent to this discussion. These are online sources and I know there are books and whatnot to be found so I’ll keep looking. In the mean time here are some things to chew on.

Once again thank you to Domsubfriends:

Subspace also has some fine stuff:

And finally though certainly not least Sensuous Sadie featuring guest writer Patrick Califia:

Thank you to all the writers for addressing this issue. I’m sure there are more out there that I’ve missed but this is enough to get us started. How to carry on… to be continued…

Face It.

I’m feeling restless. Edgy. Have for the past day or two. Like being emotionally, mentally, constipated. I want to write but know its not going to be about any one thing in particular and I worry wandering all over the place will be put-offish. Got to do it though. Consider this a flush.

My internal barometer hit a high pressure point yesterday late afternoon. I covered miles of pacing. Yoga stretching and weights. I was climbing out of my skin. The feeling runs really deep. Like the itch to play. Scratching on the inside like addiction. I’ve been working with it, and thru it, in all the usual ways.

I’ve been taking more time to practice meditation and mindfulness. I’ve been sitting through the discomfort of enforced stillness. Exercising. Fixing simple meals. Juicing. Drinking lots of water. Doing a liver cleanse. As a result things keep popping up. Thoughts. Emotions. Memories. Pimples (thankfully less frequently). Its amazing how the body and Self are tied so closely together.

Even attempted the old standby: pretending to be my own Master. Put another way I regulate myself the way an ideal Master might. (There is no such thing as ideal but this particular technique has soothed me on more then one occasion when I’ve had a hard time focusing).

Anyway all the usual things weren’t cutting it. When Owl got home I looked up movie times. I wanted some mindless entertainment. I wanted to run away from reality for a bit. She was down so we picked a seven o’clock show. I picked the movie theater and off we went.

I should mention for the sake of this story that my theater choice was based, by and large on the prospect of wither or not I might possibly meet by chance an individual I wasn’t ready to bump into. My aim was to take chance out of the picture, and avoid crashing into anything or anyone.

When I say the Universe likes to give me object lessons in a literal fashion I wasn’t joking.

The movie was good. Just what the DR ordered… or was it? As I was leaving I crossed paths with the one person I had hoped to avoid and based my location choice on. As crossings went it was innocuous, quick nods, exchanged hellos as we passed one another. The sight of her hit me, numbed my poor hurt little head. Struck me to the quick and other bad analogies… I haven’t seen her in four months, not since I terminated our contract…

BDSM can be very bonding and sometimes, a lot of times, the bond lasts longer than the relationship does. Each and every one of the individuals I’ve been in service to holds a piece of me. There was a part of me that wanted to kneel, a part of me, walking towards her, that wanted to crawl into her arms. I saw her fingers tighten on the hand of the women with her.  I kept walking.

The point? Avoidance gets you nothing but what you’re avoiding: at the times and places you least expect. Best not count on avoidance doing any good. Best to avoid avoidance all together. There are other more important things to be concerned with. Gas prices for example.

I haven’t spoken in any detail about my personal kinks or orientations. Been avoiding it. Going to broach that keg now… Except I don’t know how. I’m a sexual submissive who has learned to how be comfortable in a dominant role. I’m extremely service oriented but trying to get away from active practice of it. In the past I’ve considered myself to be highly submissive; now I’m not so sure where I’m at in D/s as I’ve taken my Self out of the game for a time. At least on the submission end of things.

I maintain three apprentices in various states of involvement and activities. From training in basic life skills, to sex and BDSM related stuff. It’s rewarding while not having the requirements of being a 24/7 submissive. In a way teaching is the learning of all those things I thought I knew. Having to model behavior and live what I teach is way humbling.

I’m finding I know rather a lot, (and less than ever before), but how to get it out of my brain into someone else’s? How to organize it? That’s been the challenge; how to make the information useful or meaningful to others.

Holy Drama Batman!

Spidy texted yesterday from far, far, away… 

Hey I’m really considering coming back the 31st. I don’t know he you’d be interested in having me for a day but eggs Benedict is on me this time :-).

I was busy and didn’t respond. This morning I got up late. When I finally got around to checking my phone he had sent a second text. 

I guess I’ll take that as a yes. You do mind. I still need to get my stuff. I’ll be arriving in XXX on the 31st. Probably come that night and scoop it up.

What? I go over a few things in my mind: 

Is he serious? Yes, I think he is. Wow. Does he know how whiny and manipulative he sounds? Is he twelve? No, far from, in his late twenties last I checked. Is he my ex-boyfriend or ex-husband? No, and no. He was a short-lived house guest who stayed two weeks a few months back. I took advantage of his nicely toned ass and talked him into letting me do Wax Play pictures. I also let him store a bag of gear in my basement with the understanding he’d be back sometime within the year to collect. 


I call bullshit. 

I sent back:

Dude stop with the drama, you know it takes me a while to respond sometimes. I get busy and ignore my phone, don’t be so ready to read into things or make assumptions. I think it’ll be fine if you stay on the thirty first. I just need to run it by Owl. I’ll get back to you.

Spidy’s response:

Sorry. Sometimes I forget you don’t have a leash. 🙂 cool cool, let me know.

I roll my eyes and snort. Thinking: I have several leashes. They’re all currently hanging in the closet… moreover my leash is for competent hands only. 

Chew the Fat. Eat the Meat. Spit Out the Bone.

Happy post Interdependence Day. I woke early feeling motivated. I dressed myself, to include bra, rather difficult to get them on one handed so I’ve mostly done without. Nothing quite like going bra-less for a month when you’re chesty. All sorts strike up conversation. Not to mention being visibly injured trumps walking a dog when it comes to dialogue fodder. 

Strangers are willing and eager to initiate communication when I’m out and about. At first I found it moderately unnerving. My social phobias and anxieties got knocked around being triggered and faced so frequently. Now, four weeks later, I hardly panic at all when I have to interact. I feel comfortable rather than just appearing as though I feel comfortable. Nice change. It’s been good to have so much practice with conversing anywhere, at anytime, with anyone.

I found it odd when I realized folks are happy to talk about pain and injury. Its a comfy topic fit for public consumption. How bizarre. People like to commiserate. Everyone wants to hear the story behind the break and share their own injury tale, of themselves or other people they happen to know who have been wounded. I’m using the term wounded loosely, some stories didn’t have anything to do with broken bones. Doesn’t really matter so long as the yarn swap occurs.

It’s fascinating. I’ll outline the dialogue for you:

Stranger: “Ouch! Looks like that hurt. What did you do?”

Me: “It did. I broke my arm.” Motioning to left arm, a little above the elbow, tracing the fracture line.

Stranger: “What happened?”

My story has gotten pithy with over use but I don’t tell it like I’m endlessly repeating myself, or as though I resent being asked (cause I don’t). I occasionally consider changing it up for variance sake, throw in some alligator wrestling or something, but I don’t.

Me: “I got locked out and was breaking into my house. I had my arm braced behind me and I fell.” Smiling in what I hope is an open receptive manner. Pantomiming with my good arm as I go to save further explanation.  

Then it’s story time. I like story time.
Stranger: “That sucks. There was this one time…”

Followed by some version of ‘hope it gets better soon’. Usually a joke or moral gets tossed in the mix somewhere for flavoring. 

Stranger: “Sounds like the house broke you instead.” Uttering a mighty guffaw.

Yep. Its not just men who chat with me either. All genders. All ages. In every setting, whither I’m accompanied or alone, occupied or not. It’s a little weird. But I appreciate the unique opportunity being in gimp-mode has presented me; ‘I will face my fears’. What an interesting social role, not sure what thats all about, but thought I’d share my observations with you anyway.

Bring the Pain

Feeling elated. Went to the DR this morning. X-rays were taken. Good news was given. My arm is healing marvelously. The bone is bonding well and almost perfectly straight. I get to move my elbow. Sweet! Thank you, Universe. As lessons go (and I know it’s not over yet), this has been pretty incredible. 

Event broken bone: They tell me Humerus breaks are one of the more painful broken bone experiences one can have. It was and is painful. The feed back I’ve been given however is I seem to perceive and process pain differently then other patients with similar injuries. From the ER to Physical therapy I am told I’m amazing. While I don’t agree with amazing; I do believe them when they tell me I have a high pain tolerance. Pain intrigues me, all the more because of this. 

I did some web surfing, wasn’t able to find sufficient information on pain perception, pain processing, and pain management. There’s information on pain treatments for chronic and acute pain, lots of national pain associations and the like.

I asked Armadillo about pain, told her what I had found, or rather what I hadn’t found. (She works in clinical research, worked in a pain clinic, and in general is one of the most brilliant individuals I have had the good fortune of knowing). She said there’s a lot ‘they’ don’t know about pain. Most of the time the only instruction given is “breath.” Hummm… curiouser and curiouser. 

Where is the users guide to pain? There’s got to be a few out there somewhere. I mean when you think about it… physical pain is damn near a universal experience among human animals right? Maybe more universal than Sex even, though defiantly less universal than Death. 

Why don’t we understand it better? Maybe Universals aren’t meant to be known. Or maybe we don’t think about Universals because they are so Universally accepted, not enough cognitive dissonance. Why hasn’t pain been questioned further? 

Eastern medicine likely has more information than typical Western will. I’ll get a move on that line of investigation.

I warmed up my student research engine, looked up peer-reviewed articles on pain perception (seems the logical place to start). Finding interesting stuff I can’t wait to read.

Pulled out a year-old psychology book but it’s way too general. Only a half page on pain. 

I want to see what kind of knowledge the Kink and BDSM community has. I’m sure adventures in BDSM changes things significantly, but how and why? 

What about cultural differences in relating to pain? What about meditation and mindfulness? 

I could go on and on. But not right now. I think I’ve found some possible explanations for my particular recent experience with pain but want to take a closer look before I start postulating.