The sadistic urge grows in me like a seedling. A tiny spark that gets bigger when I don’t tend it. I am civilized, I was socialized: I can ignore it, I can pass it over, I can find another place to release it — like a violent film, a really good run at dawn, an impassioned lecture in front of a class. But other forms of release don’t quite give me the gratification of consensual impact play.
It all comes back to trust, and to connection.
Something inside me — a beast or a monster, an archetype or a warrior goddess, a channeling — craves destruction, degradation, conquering and intense all-consuming passion. Wanting something that much means only thing I can think is I must control myself, I must control myself, I must control myself.
To trust the other person to safeword — to communicate if the scene, the play, the intensity, my ferocious growl goes too far — and to trust their agency, their power to truly give consent, allows me to bypass that learned, socialized, civil message that plays over and over in my head like a ticker tape.
So let’s see what happens if I don’t keep control. Let’s see what happens if I unleash this power, this rage, this tension, this flood of emotion and sensation I have been holding back for as long as I can remember. Sure, sometimes there are release valves — but it’s not the same as opening the floodgates.
I don’t have to keep it in check. I don’t have to hold back. I trust this person to hold me, to take it, to stop me if I go too far, to look me in the eye and say, thank you. Because — or so they tell me — they need it, too.
Sometimes, I feel like a predator.
Letting my sadistic impulse roll through me is a different kind of letting go.
But there’s more to it than just massage. This play between us has something else; it has risk, it has thrill and lust, the building of trust, the practice of push and pull because of the connection between us. We can make eye contact while I touch you, while I guide you through a process of sensational feeling, big and bold sensation made to get deep into the big muscle systems of the body and let go.
All the sensation is for you. I get the indirect stimulation of watching your arousal, I get the pleasure from being a guide through a difficult time, like a coach or a mentor. You can do it. Take a little more. Breathe into my hand. I know sometimes it is hard for you to cry; sometimes you have to have a little help to shake and jolt and coax and urge the deep feelings out. I know sometimes you get stuck; sometimes it takes contact or touch or someone else’s orders to let the dam break and let it all out.
Emotions and experiences get trapped in our bodies, in the large muscles and the fine tendons. Sometimes, the body needs care in order to let those experiences go, to be free of their grip on us. Sometimes we can’t do it ourselves. Sometimes we can’t do it with love and sweetness. Life is messy, full of funk and stuck and the ugly human urges we all have. Sometimes the only way to work through it is to match it.
What if I never come back from there?
The monstrous want of the gratification from causing pain feels infinite, unbearably inconsolable in its desire to consume. It snarls and snaps, foaming at the mouth. It grasps with claws and clumsy arms, it wants to eat and fuck, a cycle of input and output. I want to break things — holes, walls, people. I want to feel the begging in my pelvis and let it ignite the fire under me to burn bright up my spine and light up all my colors.
How can that not be sick, the way I want to take, destroy, damage?
This sadistic impulse in me has been there as long as I can remember. Late at night in my Strawberry Shortcake sheets, talking to the monster inside that wants to bite and rip and tear, I learned that it’s safer to explore in the dark, under the covers, after everyone went to sleep. I learned to hide it from other people. I learned violence never solved the problem.
But it did not change this deep desirous want, this mawing need to slam myself up against another and watch the bruises surface. To know that I have left my mark, irrefutable, on someone else, and they let me, and they liked it, and they still respect me and think I am a good person. Because of course I would not do this without safety, without permission — consent is such a keystone, such a fulcrum upon which everything can change. Consent transforms violence into loving sensation.
Sometimes in a scene, I go so deep I fear I will lose touch with what I really should or shouldn’t do, with what is safe. But that’s when my partner is holding the scene, holding our boundaries and limits with safewords and negotiations. I trust I can go as far as I can, and they will tell me. They will keep me, and them, safe.
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