Candid Corner: Pleasure in pain

07:00 AM Oct 23, 2021 |

Q) I enjoy sending pictures of myself to people I am dating and sometimes to strangers on the internet. Most of the time, people are happy to receive them, but I get more excited if I get insulted and ridiculed. I don’t know if this is right or wrong. Please help.

Ans: You want to create an impact. Not only do you want the receivers of your pictures to notice you, appreciate you, but you also want to feel the impact on yourself. Humiliation and degradation cause a strong emotional reaction, and that’s what you are looking for.


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Most people perceive this experience as painful but for you is a turn on. You are in the pursuit of psychological pain for pleasure. On a physiological level, pain and pleasure activate the same part of the brain, whether the pain is physical or psychological. Pain leads to pleasure by triggering the body’s own regulating mechanisms and releasing dopamine — the pleasure neurotransmitter of the hour.

Some scientists claim that the dopamine that comes from pain is potentially even more enduring than the one reached from pleasure. You have probably found a way to soothe an earlier wound or resolve a childhood conflict on a psychological level. You now use the hurt or tension of the past with control and agency to feel gratification.

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It is a great skill when you manage to contain it within the erotic experience. Your experience is right until it is consensual from both sides. Until it is an activity between two self-sufficient, informed and consenting adults who agree to receive the images and agree to insult and ridicule you. It is right if this activity is not completely taking over your life and is not putting you at risk. It is right until you feel you have agency in the play you are engaging in.

The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being ( (Have a query? Send it on

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