Pain stacking is not a new technique in BDSM, but a particular concept based on a technique of pain application. The sensation of pain during S&M; play can wax and wane with changes in how it’s administered (and other variables). Pain stacking is the sensation experienced when the application of pain is consistent, continuous and extended.
This article is written from the perspective of a happy bottom with limited topping experience. I’ll discuss many people’s favorite kink: spanking. I have a great appreciation for various topping styles (not all, but most! I have my favs), and after years of being labeled as such, finally graciously admitted to and adopted the title of pain slut.
I have a pretty solid tolerance for sensual pain. I am not one to safeword, and have only done so once. Charge that to 40% – I simply haven’t needed to, 40% – I enjoy pushing my own limits, and 20% – my stubborn pride. Numerous variables can affect my pain threshold at any given time – the tool/toy used, level of impact, frequency of impact, the atmosphere/surroundings, my level of focus, my chemistry with the top, and even at what point I am in my 28-day cycle. While any of these variables can be altered, pain stacking is most directly determined by level and frequency of impact.
Sidebar – men optional: Ladies who have endured childbirth may have likely experienced pain stacking of a different beast. When contractions are a few minutes apart and 30 seconds long, you have time to rest in between, catch your breath and relax for a moment. When contractions are much closer and upwards of 90 seconds long, the rest time lessens. Before you are over the pain of the last contraction, another one begins. The pain of the second is thereby increased by the residual pain of the first. This stacking of pain is welcomed only for the resulting beautiful new life to come.
On spanking, on pain
The sensitive, careful and methodical application of pain can move the pain threshold higher, enabling the bottom to tolerate higher levels of pain, thereby receiving the benefits of higher endorphin levels. a submissive’s journey
One-hit Wonder – pain stacking achieved: none to minimal
I’ve experienced the One-hit Wonder, or the top who gives a single hit to the cheeks then abruptly stops. This top is just testing the waters it seems. Maybe if one hit was ok, two hits will be ok, or even three! Since she didn’t scream bloody murder, I feel secure enough to continue. Or maybe this is a top who just likes to tease. By the time hit #2 is delivered, my back side has forgotten what hit #1 felt like, and the sensation has likely passed. Either way, as a bottom, I get no satisfaction from this. I am no fan of the One-hit Wonder. (Side note: This doesn’t apply to the spanking connoisseur who simply pauses for a moment to admire what lies before him/her!) – Fact about me: My favorite line from The Matrix was when Morpheus said to Neo, “Stop trying to hit me and HIT ME!” (watch clip on YT)
The Fast and the Furious – pain stacking achieved: moderate, varies
More often than not, I’ve experienced The Fast and the Furious, or the top who gives it all he’s got, but all he’s got is a few short minutes. This usually entails a rapid succession of intense impacts that elicit loud responses from the start. The pain can be quick, harsh, eye-widening and make you wonder if it’ll ever end. But that’s the point – it ends, sometimes too quickly. Sometimes it ends just as I am transitioning from pain/pleasure to endorphin-rush pleasure and close to the possibility of subspace. I consider this to be more of a “pain dumping” than pain stacking. Quick, fast and in a hurry has it’s place, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity for a strong, skilled, even speedy spanking. I just happen to have another favorite style.
Slow & Steady Wins Subspace – pain stacking achieved: high
My favorite spanking style is Slow & Steady Wins Subspace. This style involves a nice lengthy spanking (20 minutes, plus) with a solid focus and very consistent level of impact. No one hit is “test the waters” too soft or “bitch where’s my money” too hard. In the first few minutes, I will often smile and just enjoy the thuddy impact and warmth, and will respond to statements & questions. Somewhere in the middle, my responses, if any, will likely be moans that have to be interpreted as a yes or no. By the end, my mind has reached a zone where I don’t know whether to scream or moan anymore, and my body produces involuntary reactions to each impact. It is called subspace. It is called bliss. The pain (thud, sting, warmth) of each hit is reawakened by the pain of the next hit, and the intensity of the sensations continues to build & increase (pain stacking). By this point, my pain threshold has been met or lightly exceeded, a pushing of limits I can appreciate.
More often than not, it has been the rhythmic, methodical, deliberate administration of sensations that has allowed me to move beyond myself and my surroundings and enter into subspace during a session. Pain intensifies pain, and pain stacking is not only a great sensation to experience, but an excellent method for reaching the pain threshold (or even exceeding one’s known threshold).
Questions: What is your experience with pain stacking, and how have you achieved it? Flogging, caning, hot wax pooling, a different technique? Do you think pain stacking is lessened if the delivery of pain is moved from one part of the body to another during a scene? Does a concentrated focus on one area of the body help achieve/increase pain stacking?