The Pleasure in Pain: Sadomasochism

photo: Tyler Angel

Sadomasochism is the deliciously wicked act of enjoying inflicting or receiving pain, which may or may not involve humiliation (your choice). The (S)adist deals out the torment, which the (m)asochist receives with grace – or with squeals and squirms (consensually).

Some S/m participants fulfill only one of these roles. Others may prefer to be a switch, and enjoy both aspects at different times.

Many Sadomasochists enjoy incorporating bondage and/or power dynamics into their play, but some prefer having no restriction or power exchange, with all participants being in equal control.  

As with all sexual activities, it is extremely important to be consensual and risk-aware, so if you aren’t familiar with the basic principles of BDSM, be a good student for me, and go brush up here and here before reading ahead.

Key Things to Know About S/m

Now that you’re prepared and ready to play, it’s important to be clear about what S & M involves. It’s crucial to first note that the words “sadomasochist,” “sadist,” and “masochist” are all used in a specific context in the BDSM world.

They are vastly different from the psychology terminology, whereby those terms require severe distress and/or non consenting parties to be involved. S/m in the BDSM world is all about consent, expectations, and communication.

S/m is about enjoying pain for your pleasure, but there are a few things to that are definite no-no’s when it comes to this kink. It is not a way to take out frustrations or aggressions on another person, or a way to get your needs met without meeting the needs of your partner(s).

Both parties should be enjoying themselves in equal measure and participate willingly.


Safe is Sexy

As with any sexual activity, physical and mental health is super crucial. Depending on how kinky you’re getting with your S/m play, you may have physical injuries, or mental distress. It’s so important to make sure you’re as practically and emotionally equipped beforehand as possible. As with any BDSM exploration, avoid intoxicants of any kind before play.

A first aid kit is always good to have handy – including alcohol swabs if you’re going to be engaging in any skin penetration activities. Aftercare is particularly important with S/m. Plus, having your lover tend to your wounds can be as loving and intimate as the sexual portion of your evening.

Be aware that past traumas can be at risk of resurfacing during, so of course, it’s extremely imperative to have established safe words beforehand. NEVER be afraid to use them.


The Exquisite Agony

Now that you’re fully prepared, there are many ways to dip your toys into pain for pleasure. It’s always best to start small and work up to the more intense activities, so put away your whip and knife for just a moment. 

Tried and True

Start with some tantalizing basics, like spanking a bare butt with your hand, striking with paddles or floggers, or even using the back of a hairbrush or wooden spoon for a free, easy impact tool!

Lay your partner over your lap, and caress your item of choice (or your hand) lightly over your lover’s backside slowly as you warm them up. Tell them exactly how many times you’ll strike them, and instruct them to report the pain to you on a scale from 1-10 after each blow. One would be something they barely felt, ten would be an impact they could only handle a few doses of.

This will let you get a sense of your partner’s pain tolerance – helping you tailor their pain in the exact right way. Be mindful that most people take time to warm up to pain, even if they are thirsty for it. An initial orgasm may really help, so using a toy like the Magic Wand on them in between your spanks can make the experience more pleasurable.

If they are into humiliation, you may get some bonus points by teasing them after their orgasm for making a wet spot on your lap.

When it comes to spanking, or any kind of sexual hitting, you’re bound to leave a mark. Discussed ahead of time if bruises/marks are okay with them and where they’re appropriate to leave. For example, your deviant trophies may be fine on the legs, but a no-go on the face or neck. For a quicker healing process for marks, Arnica can be very helpful. It can even be taken internally before play as a homeopathic drop or tablet, and used externally as a cream, applied gently to tender areas after play.

The Sadistic Hair Stylist

A simple make-out session can turn into a delicious S/m session with just a few tricks and tweaks.

After several minutes of making out, start playing with your partners hair and ears, relaxing their scalp (and their mind). Run your fingers up the back of their neck (your palm facing their skin), and into their hair, gathering a nice handful against their scalp. Then, twist until they whimper against your mouth. Release, and give them a few minutes of soft stroking before starting again.

Side note: make sure to keep your hand close to their head to avoid pulling at their hair in an unpleasant way that can also be damaging to the hair follicles.

Tooth and Nail

A wonderful way to start exploring pain with your partner is through your mouth. No, not more conversation – I’m talking teeth here. Try kissing your partner’s neck until you really get them moaning, and then work in a few little love nips. Start light and gauge their response. If they’re enjoying it, try moving all over their body – looking for those hot spots.

If biting really isn’t your style, try giving your partner a luxurious massage with some scented oils. Better yet, a body-safe massage oil candle to drip on their skin before massaging it in. Once they’re nice and relaxed, lightly run your nails along their skin. Switch between relaxing finger and hand massage, and increasingly deeper scratches.

If you come near a nipple, why not give it a little flick or twist, just for fun? If they respond well, a clamped nipple or two might be just what the doctor ordered.

Denial and Release

We all know the old saying, “absence makes the heart grow wetter.” Or was it fonder? I forget, but either way, orgasm denial can build anticipation, and can make orgasms rather intense. Try telling your lover they are not allowed to pleasure themselves for several days leading up to your play.

Once it comes time to be together, tell them they are not allowed to orgasm without your permission. Use their favorite toy on them – like the womanizer – in their absolute favorite way, but stop right before they orgasm. The torture of being right on the edge and denied permission to fall over is delicious.

Once you feel they have suffered enough, allow them their release, and relish in the look of relief on their lovely face as they explode in orgasm.


S/m can be a fun and sexy way to incorporate different elements into your sex life, and doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Make sure you understand the risks, and always play with people that you trust and respect. Happy torture time, kinksters!



Isabella Frappier is an Australian writer, holistic life coach, tarot reader, birth doula, and apothecarist who is currently based in LA. When she’s not busy championing her sex positive agenda she… oh wait – she’s always busy doing that. You can connect with her at or follew her Instagram @bellatookaphoto!
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