Pain and sex – why do you like it?

Pain and sex

I enjoy pain as part of sex play and because of that I am often asked;

Why do you like pain?

The glib answer would be;

Because it feels good.

But it doesn’t, not always does it?  Stubbing your toe on the corner of a table, hitting your head on the open cupboard door, these pains do not feel good to me.  There is a science of pain, people dedicated to understanding it so they can alleviate it when it is telling you that something is wrong with your body. Pain is a warning sign as well as an ongoing alarm, so why would anyone want to put pain and sex together?  Why does pain feel good?

Good pain

To quote Jane Fonda;

No pain no gain.

Since the age of six I attended either ballet class or gym club until dance entered my studies full time at the age of 16 and at 18 I went on to study contemporary dance at university.  In dance pain becomes your close companion, something to work with and to be grateful for.

At the beginning of my final year, after eight weeks of summer in which I did no dancing other than clubbing, I returned to class.  On the day after the first technique class of the term I was in so much pain I could barely walk down the stairs of my house.  My muscles were protesting, but I was back into class the next day, warming up and stretching the pain away until at the end of 90 minute class movement was fluid.  I seized back up overnight and repeated the whole thing the next morning.

I remember the stretch of muscles as I pushed past my limits, coaxing my body through tiredness and, on more than one occasion, injury.  Pain was good for you, it meant you were working hard and doing well.  Good pain hurts at the start, but softens, your body waits it out and relaxes into the pain until it gives way to movement; a bigger stretch or a better extension.

There is also the impact pain, the falls and tumbles from pushing yourself too hard or taking too big a risk, or from someone dropping you.  The pain of bruises, recurring and tender, reminding you that you are not invincible and sometimes pain needs to make evident who is in charge.

The pain of a blister so deep in the ball of your foot, that you can only feel it; hidden under layers of hardened skin until eventually it works it way out as a strange empty space in your foot.

Sometimes, as a dancer everything hurt and the pain told me I was doing well.  If it didn’t hurt I wasn’t working hard enough.  For those three years at university pain was a daily part of my life and it was good.

Choosing pain

Good pain is chosen.  Good pain is invited and accepted, bad pain is un-bidden, it is inflicted on you by the dropped shoe you trip over or the shelf at just the wrong height.  Bad pain harms us and we shouldn’t knowingly welcome harm into our lives.

Perhaps this is why I like pain as a part of sex; it feels good because I’ve trained myself to see it as my friend and to feel it as my reward.  Pain is a relationship and I only want to be in good relationships.


Thanks for reading,

Ruby x

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2 Responses to Pain and sex – why do you like it?

  1. Harper Eliot June 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I read this yesterday morning and am still sort of thinking about it. It’s really hard to describe why I like pain and where my limits are and why they’re there… definitely thought-provoking.

    I also love the section about dancing and the pain involved there. Made for a really interesting read.

  2. Ruby June 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you for commenting Harper.
    I too have been thinking more about this and I came to the conclusion that for me, perhaps because of my experience as a dancer, pain is part of my sensual experience of the word.
    Perhaps there is something else from being a dancer, the transcendent nature of the activity. To be wholly, sensually committed and engaged in the physical moment – either in class or performance – could be compared to the transition into subspace.

    I’m not sure that that is the answer as to why I like pain, but when I’m asked this is something I come back to. I guess just saying “because I do” isn’t enough in the same way that you might if you’re asked why you like chocolate ice-cream.


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