Out of coincidence, I happened to see two pieces of theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that focused on extreme masochism. The first, ‘Fiji’, a two-hander that deals with the topic of cannibalism, involves two men who connect via the internet-  one with an intense desire to be slaughtered and eaten by another human and another with an intense desire to slaughter and eat another human. We witness what will be their first (and last) meeting, as eventually one man will eat the other and fulfil the joint fantasy. The second play was a theatre adaption of bestselling American modern classic, ‘A Little Life’, which follows a man who struggles immensely through his life to move past his childhood sexual trauma, relying on self harm as a coping mechanism and having masochistic tendencies that replicate the abuse he received as a child. Although masochism is one of the most common fetishes today, it’s nonetheless an incredibly complex topic. I interviewed a friend and avid masochist about her mindset behind her fantasies. 

When did you first think ‘Oh shit, I’m a masochist!’?

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed humiliation/deprivation. Even when I was like 4 years old, my sister used to make me stay under the bed and only bring me food and water when she thought I was deserving of it. Lol- that sounds really dark when I say it like that, but it never lasted too long, it was more like a game. I used to play outside with the kids on my street, and I remember we would play a game where it was like slaves and masters, and I would love being the slave and doing whatever people wanted me to do. I just felt a kind of perverse enjoyment of being subordinate. I also felt so attracted to seeing sadistic behaviour. This is a hilarious example but I remember going to see my sister perform in the musical ‘Oliver’, and I was literally like 10 at this point but I was so fucking into the character of Bill Sikes who’s basically the bad guy, who’s horrible to Nancy and just really scary all-round. I think I was also hyper-sexual as a child. I first had an orgasm when I was about 5, and I continued to get myself off after that on a regular basis. 

 

Why do you think you enjoy masochism?

This is so hard to answer, because it just feels innate. I think I find people who hold a lot of power, and who have a darkness to them, who essentially want to control very attractive. And when people want to control me, it feels good, because it feels like they want me. They’re the opposite of indifferent. They want me so much that they need to have a say over everything I do, sexual or not sexual. I am quite literally theirs, every part of my body is for them and they can do what they want with it- it feels like the most intimate thing ever. 

 

What would be your biggest turn ons as a masochist?

This sounds.. kind of dark, but I like it to feel real. If I get a feeling that the person I’m with is only doing it to please me, then I’m immediately turned off. So I actually rather not tell people outright that I’m a masochist. I want to be sure that they are doing what they’re doing because they want to without a thought for what I want. I want it to be about their pleasure for them, because that’s how I get pleasure- by knowing that it’s about their pleasure. I also find it really hot when someone doesn’t overtly call themselves a sadist. Because when people are too showy about it, it just feels more false and self conscious in my opinion. I want them to be sadistic in the same innate way that I’m masochistic. That’s why I struggle to understand how people can easily switch from being sub to dom. I am a sub through and through, it could never be any other way. So for me the turn on is all in the mind. As long as I am sure that they are sadistic in their head, I’m melting.  

 

Are there any specific sadistic actions that really get you going?

I love when people behave like that with me outside of the bedroom too. Just little things, the way they hold me or to phrase it better, handle me, their protectiveness, the way they tell me what to do. It just feels so much better to me though when I know they really mean it, they really are controlling and that it’s not a game to them. I guess that’s kind of fucked up. But I only like it because I think deep down, I’m quite emotionally strong and stable, so I can handle it. 

Inside the bedroom, I love choking, I love being pinned down. I like toys, but I don’t like the main focus to be all these toys. Again, it feels showy and weird. You can be just as dominant using only your hands. I love being slapped, I love being manhandled, and told exactly what to do. I love that they know they can do anything they want to me, and because they’re physically stronger than me, I don’t have any choice but to obey. 

 

Is there anything that other masochists love that you don’t?

I don’t hate anything as long as I know it’s not for show, or for the sake of trying to please me. I guess my whole pleasure comes from the fact that whatever their fantasy for me is, I am forced to go along with it too, I’m whatever they want me to be. However, I will say that I probably prefer being something precious to the sadist. Like a kind of twisted contrast where I’m so precious that they want to keep me as theirs and theirs alone, and want me to be their slave only. Rather than being constantly treated like dirt, passed around and called degrading names, basically having no meaning at all to the sadist. Though I do like that also…but I don’t know if I could have a long term thing that was like that. I don’t know if it would actually damage my mental health. 

There’s plenty of different dynamics with sadists/masochists. Is there any dynamic that you particularly find yourself in often?

I guess this is kind of what I was just saying. I don’t mind being fully degraded, and basically this want to be this watered down version of myself constantly doing whatever someone else tells me to do- but not as a long term thing. The sort of sub/dom relationship I usually find myself in is one where they are very in love with me, we both are able to behave like the full versions of ourselves, which for me is actually quite strong outside of the bedroom- unafraid to say what I want and and kind of mischievous. I end up teasing them or whatever and gradually pushing them to punish me all the time. It creates an excitement because I know that later on, I’m going to be fucked like crazy and I can’t do anything about it. 

But there is something about the idea of a fully masochistic relationship, where I am humiliated and degraded through and through that touches something deep inside me. I don’t know if ‘excites’ is the correct word. But it definitely pulls me in. In a more emotional, intense and strange way. It’s just very dark. I’ve never had a relationship like that, I don’t know if it would be a good idea to try. 

 

Do you think masochism is healthy?

Ha ha. When it’s a game to people, which I think (?) it is to most, I think it’s definitely healthy! To me, I wouldn’t say it’s as much of a game, especially when I think about that sort of completely through and through masochistic relationship that lures me in. I think that could be very damaging. It could take a proper toll on my self esteem. I don’t want to actually crumble in my day to day life. Most of my masochistic relationships have felt healthy, because on some level, I feel powerful. As I said, I usually am quite outspoken outside of the bedroom so my relationships aren’t actually imbalanced. 

There have been moments, when someone has been being rough, throwing me around a bit and fucking me or whatever, but actually just not feeling it, I’m not turned on, and I can’t get turned on, even by the fact that I’m totally under their control. And instead I just feel very worthless. I feel like flesh without blood. It’s moments like that where I really confuse myself and feel utterly sad. I think, Surely this isn’t natural. To enjoy being disrespected like this. Yet there’s still a small, crippling part of me that enjoys it, or tells me to try and enjoy it. I think that can be damaging. Just because you’re a masochist, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have boundaries. I don’t do safe words- because I never used to really know when I wanted to stop. I used to push myself and think ‘isn’t this what you wanted all along? Shouldn’t you carry on for their pleasure?’ But the answer is no. I’m starting to finally know when I need to stop. 

 

Do you think your masochism stems from previous trauma?

There’s definitely trauma that it could stem from…But I have no idea. I feel like blaming trauma is easy to do. I don’t know whether this is just how I am. Or a bit of both! I’m very shy and unconfident- you could also blame that on trauma, but then again so is my father so maybe those traits are just passed down? I don’t want to make assumptions when it’s difficult to tell for sure whereabouts my masochism came from. All I know is that I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. 

 

Is there any advice you would give to other masochists?

I don’t know if I’m a responsible enough masochist to give advice to others. I would say trust your gut- when it feels bad, it’s for a reason. And the whole point of masochism is that you find pleasure in the pain. If the pain outweighs the pleasure, it’s only going to be detrimental to you. 

 

Interview
BDSM
masochism
psychology of sex
Sex
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Submissive
Iso

Iso

Author

Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.


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