Sadomasochism: Exploring Your Kinks Can Be Good For You

Sadomasochism: Exploring Your Kinks Can Be Good For You
Martin Moore
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When I was a teenager, I remember wondering how someone can derive pain out of pleasure. I didn’t particularly know the terms like sadomasochism back then. But I always knew kinks and fetishes existed. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a sex-crazed kid jacked up on hormones who knew about BDSM because of watching too much porn. I was simply someone who slept in a bunk bed. 

My two older sisters talked a lot about what was going on in their lives while I tried to sleep on the bed assigned to me. I think one of the reasons why I turned out the way I am is because of how free my family had always been around me. I didn’t know what BDSM was or that it could be both sexual and non-sexual. And mind you, it wasn’t much openly discussed back when I still liked pop-tarts more than healthy food like fruits.

My sisters, though, answered all my questions and explained to me whatever I wanted to know. ‘How can you like it when he hits you?’ and ‘how are you happy if you’re crying?’ were my very first questions about masochism. It’s completely normal, is what my sister told me. And because I was always told to have an open mind as a child, I’ve grown up to have a lot of room inside my head.

Sadism and masochism are quite the hot topic now though. Everyone knows about it and most people know what it is. This article, besides sharing that very personal anecdote – but it’s okay, I know you guys like my anecdotes – will also talk about various aspects of sadomasochism. It’ll also talk about terms and go more deeply into this kink.

Sadism and masochism (also called S&M) are a crucial part of BDSM – bondage and domination are the other crucial parts, but those are other very different articles. So…my sister likes it, I care for it enough to sit and research about it, and hell, even Rihanna wrote a song about it, so it’s high time we found out all things illustrious about sadism and masochism. 

What Is Sadomasochism?

These two words typically go hand in hand. Sadism is when someone enjoys giving pain to other people. And masochism is when someone enjoys the pain inflicted on them. When we put these two kinds of people together, we get a perfect pair. You could even say the match between a sadist and a masochist was made in heaven.

In a typical sadism and masochism relationship, there’s a Dominant and a submissive. A Dominant or a Dom is someone who inflicts pain and the submissive or the sub is who bears it. When combined, this practice is referred to as sadomasochism. And of course, there are certain ways to it:

Tools and toys

Many BDSM tools or toys can be used to practice this kink. (Check out our articles on BDSM toys for beginners and extreme BDSM toys.) Generally, the participants allot a certain space in their homes or even studios to carry out this lifestyle. Activities include spanking, slapping, flogging, punching, biting, and pinching and it might also include the use of a whip. 

You can come up with your own activities once you get the idea. Use gags, hot wax, or even clamps. The most intense activities would be piercing, cutting or even giving mild electric shocks to a masochist. Starting from a certain type of clothing to making certain lifestyle choices, this practice can be, and is rather, apparent in many today in many cases.

Sexual gratification is also a big part of sadomasochism

People don’t just come around to meet and beat each other. Although some people might find it appealing – there sure is a non-sexual aspect of every kink – practicing this kink turns the rest of the lot on. 

After a consensual session of sadomasochism, participants often get turned on and engage in further sexual activities. Participants may also engage in sexual activities while they’re still playing. By playing I mean taking part in the kink. For instance, tying someone up or gagging them while having sex with them is a huge turn-on for many practitioners of BDSM.

It’s an extremely broad sector. And BDSM never really ends with just one play. One play mingles with another to give you the perfect experience. With proper precautions, edge plays like breath play or fire play can very well be introduced in your S&M session to make it more suited to your needs!

The Psychological Aspect Of This Kink


The psychological aspect of sadism and masochism has to deal with the power play that goes with it. Submissives love being dominated over. When a sadist inflicts pain in any way, it’s enjoyable to the masochist. Here, one thing that’s important to keep in mind is, that this inflicted pain can also be physical as well as mental.

Therefore, humiliation goes hand in hand with domination over a submissive. Being beaten, insulted, or humiliated – by making a sub wear a dog collar, or making them crawl on all fours – is a part of sadomasochism. These activities are fairly non-sexual but play a big role in the participants psychologically.

Being a dominant

The mindset of a dominant is to be on top. And no, I’m not talking about the sexual position. The Dom, often actually referred to as the top, is the one in control and in power. It’s completely normal for people to want to exchange and switch from Dom to sub and vice versa. But a Dom enjoys a certain kind of supremacy over their sub.

Psychologically, the role of a dominant usually appeals to people who like to enforce their ideology on other people. Once consent is obtained, a Dom might as well make a sub dance naked. It’s all about what the Dom wants a submissive to do. Similarly, a submissive relinquishes all power to the dom.

Outside this play, it’s not necessary that a Dom will be in a position of power or a sub would be someone who is not. Many powerful people tend to choose to be submissive just to let go of all the responsibilities of decision-making for a while. As the top, the Dom will dish out the beating or the humiliation, sexual or otherwise. 

Even if you’re used to leading while having sex, if you don’t know what to do with the power that comes to you once you’re a Dom, you might not be completely ready to be a Dom. A tip for beginners would be to always try to switch and see what role suits you most before acting it out.

Being a submissive

It takes time to let go of the control many of us are used to exerting over our lives. Exploring the role of a submissive, or a bottom, is a great way to free your mind. You learn to trust your partner and give the reins of your body and mind to them. You’ll actually find it exhilarating to be a sub, if your mind is really into it.

Now, it’s not like you’ll be completely stripped of your values and opinions. Being a sub doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself anymore. Unless you’re looking for a complete lifestyle change, only the time you play as a sub with your Dom will be the time you will be asked to give up all control.

Although, be sure to discuss your boundaries before you start your session of sadomasochism. Also, remember your safe words and don’t be shy to use them. Often it happens that you get confused between your submissive personality and your real-life personality. If you’re a sub that does not mean you have to always behave like a submissive around your partner.  

Although even if you choose to take your roles to a longer dynamic – say, for 24 hours and gradually more – always make sure you’re comfortable and happy about it. If as a sub you’re starting to dislike it or feel unhappy, having a conversation to sort things out is the way to go.

How To Practice Sadomasochism?

Now, it’s not at all okay and is often frowned upon, when too much violence enters a relationship. Therefore, consent is important when you’re practicing this kink. But even with consent, if you are borderline more on the extreme side, you’re practicing RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and even that’s something to worry about.

Therefore, there need to be certain guidelines that you follow while you practice sadism and masochism. A sadist and a masochist can have a healthy relationship together if they’re willing to communicate, come up with rules that work for them, and honor each other’s wishes, boundaries, and limits. These are two important things that you must always keep in mind:

Safewords and gestures are important

As a child when I used to listen to my sisters, I didn’t know much about how to practice kinks. But the questions I raised remained with me. And as an adult, I know that even if something is completely normal to one person, it might not be for another. That’s why there’s a need for safe words. 

Often, even after two (or more) partners have discussed their roles and boundaries, some limitations might stop them from certain activities. Then there are always triggers that can take you to an uncanny place. The refusal to use a safe word can leave you traumatized. Do not put yourself through something just for the sake of your partner, the situation or even curiosity. Use safe words and gestures whenever necessary.

Aftercare is crucial

So, you’ve had a successful S/M session, good for you. Now, having a safe, sane and consensual (SSC) BDSM session requires proper aftercare. Along with aftercare, you have to make sure you also have proper health supplies. These would typically include bandages, medicines, scissors or even a proper bed to carry out your session. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if you had to go see a doctor after one such session about your back which hurts. In case you chose the floor or the wall instead of a proper bed, getting an X-ray done as part of the aftercare is inevitable. Medical emergencies aside, softly making out, cuddling, talking, or helping each other clean up is also part of aftercare.

Being together after a session of BDSM sort of help calm you down. Discussing your session can also help wind you down and bring you closer as partners. Proper aftercare is crucial for both your physical and emotional well-being.

To Conclude…

Sadomasochism in itself might just be something you saw or read in Fifty Shades but in reality, it’s so much more intricate than that. There’s never one rule that fits all – except the all-important non-negotiable safety guidelines – or all play that interests everyone. Mixing up the plays and the tools to come up with what interests you the most is where the fun of self-exploration lies!

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