emotional masochism

Emotional Masochism

I have always had a good pain threshold. Pain was always something that I could manage and make work for me so I probably would have said back in the vanilla world that I was a masochist, or at the very least, masochistic.  When we started D/s I was able to explore my relationship with pain as well as my relationship with pleasure. I began to move away from the idea of being a masochist at this point really. I suppose I had the opportunity to discuss the use of pain as part of play much more openly with people who did it a lot and I realised that there was a difference in terms of where it took them, which I explored in The painful truth.

What I have learnt, however, is that I am an emotional masochist. This was pointed out to me by my friend furcissy who is a great source of information on all things BDSM. He defines an emotional masochist as “someone who gets arousal or sexual gratification from experiencing emotional suffering.  This suffering can happen in a number of ways.  Humiliation, anxiety, degradation, embarrassment, hurt feelings, and heartbreak are some examples of the types of suffering that an emotional masochist may to.  Basically, things that do not feel good.”

Experiencing emotional discomfort in the form of humiliation and shame is something that takes me to a completely different place than the physical pain and discomfort caused by heavy impact play. Although I enjoy it, physical pain will push me deeper into myself and therefore further from HisLordship whereas emotional pain will draw me out of myself and closer to him. I know that this sort of masochism is not the type which is widely spoken about, and HeartsHope posted the other day about some of the misunderstandings surrounding it. Just to clarify, I am not saying for one minute that I get off on being emotionally abused or mistreated.

What I have found is that these sort of acts, under the right set of circumstances, can be a huge trigger to me finding my submissive space and also to keeping me there. As I wriggle and squirm and am confronted with what I really am, the cognitive dissonance created pushes me deeper and deeper into my own submission, and into subspace. The discomfort can lead to me being so highly aroused that nothing else seems to register. My heart races, my senses are heightened, I am out of control of my reactions and responses and nothing else matters other than the connection that I have to him.

Although I can admit that I am an emotional masochist, I struggle to admit the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ in specific terms. I find it embarrassing: both the fact that I like it and the specifics of what I would like him to do. I don’t want to admit that this is something that turns me on, and I can’t take ownership of the detail of what exactly will press my buttons. It goes against the very idea of what I am, although ironically it is only through the ‘forced’ acceptance and acknowledgement of what I am, that I am able to reach this state and find the freedom that I crave. I cannot ask for what I want because I don’t want to want it, if that makes sense.

Another issue is that because this is something that turns me on, it has become a large part of my inner voice during play. I think there is a hesitation in handing that power over to someone else. I cannot ask him to do this to me; he has to take the control from me and do it because he knows it is what I need and want. And I need him to let me know that is what he is going to do, is doing, and has done. In life I have sought to surround myself with those who will seek to negate the words and thoughts of my inner voice, not work with them, so to take that down a different road with someone I trust and love is a thought which is both exciting and scary at the same time. So I hesitate. And I hide.

It is tricky because I do not enjoy feeling humiliated and ashamed per se, but within the right context and the right environment, with the safety of the person I love, the feelings which come from it will arouse me. The cognitive dissonance created will mean that I am freed of what I was before. I will be reduced to the point that none of that matters. In being exposed for what I am, I can leave that part of me behind. I have nothing to lose because that tough layer of self-protection has been broken apart. It has gone and he has seen what is at the centre. Not only has he brought about my reduction to this, having seen what is left, he still loves me and wants me.

I tried to explain how it worked when writing about the wearing of a tail. Usually the feelings come from doing things which I see as forbidden, or dirty or wrong. Having to admit that I get off on the things I shouldn’t want to do and acknowledge the parts of me that I have always pushed away, causes a level of discomfort that is a trigger to  feeling submissive and aroused. I simultaneously want, and don’t want, to do these things so the two lines of thought from the two parts of me collide. The fact that I have not only permitted it but also got off on it, means that I have to throw aside the sort of girl I feel I should be and embrace the sort of girl I am. That brings a huge sense of freedom. I can just be. I can just exist for him and as what he has made me.

Posted in Erotic Humiliation, Play, Scenes and Kink and tagged , , , .


  1. i am so glad you wrote this, as i am also an emotional masochist, and furcissy also brought that fact to my attention. It is hard for me to articulate my thoughts on this, so it is nice to see someone else sharing. Thanks for sharing!

    • I don’t think I have nailed it yet so I will keep trying. The difficulty is in not being able to provide details I think. It feels so vague. HL wants more from me – eeeek ?

  2. This is such a good expression of how emotional masochism can work when done correctly. It’s also not something many people discuss so I am really pleased to see your post 🙂 x

    • Thank you. I am still working on writing about it as I find it hard. There are things there that I can’t articulate for a number of reasons. Shame and embarrassment being two of them ?

  3. Emotional masochism is such a fine line, I know for myself I am also an emotional masochist – to myself, and not in an entirely healthy way, a post I’ve not published here yet. However, as Floss says, when done ‘correctly’ with C it takes on an entirely different shape that feels so good and so freeing…but oh so wrong at the same time. A delicious cognitive dissonance indeed ☺️

  4. FC helped me figure out the name for what I am also. He’s a smart cookie. 🙂
    It’s really difficult to express how emotional sadomasochism works for those outside. It can look like deliberate trauma or abuse if it isn’t understood. I wrote a piece on Fet about it after a friend stated that she couldn’t stand for a partner to pick on an insecurity. I think that’s a common misconception. Emotional masochism isn’t about being ridiculed over something we find painful, it’s about exploring those aspects of ourselves that we would much rather hide.

  5. He is a cleaver cookie indeed… I was just thinking the other day we haven’t seen him much and he posted to say why …. he said that the 12 month point would tell him a lot and I do wonder what he thinks but I’m sure when he’s ready I’ll find out lol
    I am not sure yet if this is an area/trigger for me. I certainly get turned on when MrH asks me to do things that make me feel uncomfortable/embarrassed/ashamed but I don’t know that I could say I was a masochist as I don’t think we have explored it enough or examined/thought about my/our reactions to it… ?

  6. Pingback: Floss#ProudToBeKinky

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.