Masochism: dreaming of 100 lashes

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

I’ve never described myself as a masochist. Masochism implies a desire for pain that is pleasure in and of itself. But I don’t get wet from pain. It isn’t the smack of someone’s hand on my naked backside that gets me hot: it’s the dirtiness, the horniness. The fact that whacking me with the flat of his palm might make his dick hard. The pain itself is a by-product. To be endured, not enjoyed.

But sometimes endurance is the whole, miserable, masochistic point.

If you’re not into extreme BDSM or pain, this might not be the blog post for you.

Last night I dreamt of 100 lashes. With a thin, wet strip of cloth. Torn from a sheet and dunked in a bucket of ice-cold water, so each slick strap across my flesh bit as hard as it could. I dreamed my back was covered in a lattice of welts – a rainbow of reds and pinks and purples.

And I bit down on my tongue and refused to cry out.

I didn’t want it to stop: I wanted to endure.

The phrase ‘be kind to yourself’ is always meant well, and when people tell me to ‘be kind to myself’ usually it’s because… well… I’m not. It’s a suggestion that’s uttered gently, by friends, when I am not being kind to me. When I’m miserable and shitty and when every sentence begins and ends with a ‘sorry.’ When I live inside my own head, trapped in an emotional courtroom drama: justifying, defending, prosecuting and condemning every action I take.

Be kind to yourself.

I’m not very good at being kind to myself. I don’t like it. I like being able to apologise twelve times in one conversation because I spilled half your pint on the way back from the bar. I like adding ridiculous epithets like ‘you must hate me’ or ‘I’m so fucking awful’ or ‘I have been such a cunt.’ I like biting my lip until it hurts because I can’t remember if I emailed you on your birthday and something needs to happen to make me remember it next time.

I like burying my face in my hands in the bathroom and weeping until I am sick.

I tell myself off.

Liking myself requires effort and confidence. It’s brave. Hating myself is a thumb-sucking kind of comfort. A warm blanket that I hide under, because the harder I work at hating myself the less likely it is that someone can pop up and hate me in a new and surprising way.

Masochism does the same thing. It’s what I revert to when I’m lazy. When I need comfort.

When I want to be whipped raw and bloody as I bite my teeth till my jaw locks, eager to take just one more stroke of that thin, wet strap.

So you’ll see why when I talk about masochism, I don’t mean pain as pleasure: I mean pain as pain. Pain as a role-play of justice and retribution.

Pain that emulates the thumb-sucking comfort of a really really really self-hating apology. Pain is the easy joy of saying ‘I’m bad’, even though I know deep down I’m good, and I could argue my case if I had the time or energy. Pain is a simple, sweet alternative to the sustained and Herculean effort involved in asking for pleasure.

Pain is burning hot. Pain is focused. Pain says ‘you have to think about this now because it’s searing through your skin, and this pain – this comfort – will distract you from the other.’

The harsh smack of a thick leather belt on the back of my thighs.

Rough, vicious anal sex where you grip the hair at the back of my neck and call me a bitch when you pull me back onto you.



The humiliating slap of your palm against my face.

Your rough fingers burrowing into my cunt.

Your voice, not telling me ‘it’s OK’ or ‘sssh’ or ‘be kind to yourself’ but ‘fuck you’ and ‘bitch’ and ‘you deserve no better.’

I’m not a masochist. And nor do I really think I deserve to be beaten, or deserve to weep, or deserve to have you fuck me like I’m nothing. It’s just easier to be kind to myself when you’re the enemy I’m facing. Easier to be proud when I’m enduring pain I can’t control.

It’s not self-hate: it’s a weird kind of self-love.

That comforting dream of 100 lashes. That sting of wet cloth on the back of my thighs.



  • ConfusedSub says:

    Thank you so much for writing this.

    Reading what you’ve written so candidly here has given me the courage to write down something that’s been weighing on my mind lately.

    I’m a masochistic heterosexual who’s ex-girlfriend is now going out with a much older man, who, by all accounts is a very rich and successful and overbearing, viscious old bully who has a reputation for approaching her ex’s (who didn’t mistreat her) and laying into them.

    And although my masochism is usually restricted to Femdom, ever since I saw my ex looking especially sexy with her lovely legs out recently, my imagination has taken a new turn.

    I just can’t stop imagining this arrogant, violent, greasy, vile old scumbag confronting me, and, while she watches with a sadistic smirk on her face, subjecting me to an unprovoked, undeserved, and thoroughly sickening battering.

    I mean, an eye blackening, lip fattening, nose flattening, tooth loosening battering.

    I mean I want him to show my sexy ex exactly where sensitive, emotionally intelligent men like myself end up.

    Face down in a pool of blood under his obscenely expensive Brogues.

    And my beautiful ex can watch. And smile. And maybe touch herself.

    And when he’s finished, he can spit on me, and take her home to stick it to her on his £1000 mattress.

    Why does THAT turn me on???

  • Uil says:

    This is a good piece – but I remember an earlier entry from you specifically dismissing the notion that submissive desires have any link to low self-esteem.

    • Girl on the net says:

      You’re absolutely right, and it was in my mind while I was writing this – link here

      I think my opinions on things evolve over time, although I’d still stick by what I wrote in that – submission is not an indication of low self-esteem, and to assume that submission more broadly is a sign of a large underlying emotional issue is wrong. But masochism and play can absolutely be a tool to escape from some headspaces. I generally feel at my most horny and sexual when I’m confident, but I also sometimes use submission and masochism as a means of relaxation/escape/comfort. I don’t think they’re contradictory posts (hence why I added the bit about not feeling like I ‘deserve’ this – because it’s not specifically punishment), but this more recent one is probably more reflective of how I feel in this moment.

      • Even more, but kind of pleasantly ConfusedSub says:

        Hi! After posting my reply I noticed you had replied! We were writing at the same moment, so bear in mind my reply was written in ignorance of your reply! :)

    • Even more, but kind of pleasantly ConfusedSub says:

      I thought that a bit, but after rereading I’m not sure that is what’s being said, at the end it says ‘it’s not self-hate: it’s a weird kind of self-love’.

      I don’t agree that ‘masochism implies a desire for pain that is pleasure in and of itself’. It’s common for masochists to say that it’s not about the pain itself, it’s what it represents, and just the right amount is added like a touch of hot pepper sauce to a plate of delicious humiliation.

      Where it says the pain is something to ‘revert to when I’m lazy, when I need comfort’, I think this just shows how different people engage in activities for different reasons, because I didn’t identify with this. To me, masochism is something I have to bolster myself up for, I have to feel strong enough. Yes, it gives me comfort, but if that’s lazy then you could equally say that any pursuit of pleasure or fulfilment is ‘lazy’.

      Personally, my ability to fully realise my masochism has grown as I’ve become a more confident person. When I had lower self-esteem I wasn’t able to sink to such ‘dark depths’.

      I feel that the time in my life when I was lazy, was all those years when I kept my masochism to myself, drifting along in relationships where I lacked the courage to ‘come out’ to my partner and even to myself, fully.

      Where it says ‘I’m not a masochistic. And nor do I really think I deserve to be beaten’, I’m not sure whether this means that the two are one and the same or not… (this stuff sure gets complicated!) But as a masochist I’m pretty convinced I don’t deserve to be beaten. If I did, I think that would be more what’s referred to as moral masochism. Where’s the fun in a deserved beating? It’s the tyranny that’s the turn on! =)

      Anyway. This post has been very interesting, so thanks again. And I don’t want you to think I’m trying to pick holes in what you say. The reason masochism is so fascinating to me is because it has so many elements to it, there are different types of masochists and it caters for different needs, comes from different places, and in one masochist there can be many different masochists, or different sides of the same masochistic self.

      In closing, I’d also like to say that until recently I wouldn’t have thought that anything dealing with any kind of female masochism or submissiveness would be relevant to me. But I suppose we’re alike in some ways.

      • Girl on the net says:

        I’m so chuffed that this has sparked such an interesting discussion! I find the intricacies of masochism/pain/pleasure really interesting, because there are so many different ways to submit that I’m not sure any two people would be doing it for the same reasons.

        I’m especially intrigued by this: “Where’s the fun in a deserved beating? It’s the tyranny that’s the turn on! =)” which is a bloody great way to put it! I do know of some people who enjoy specifically the punishment, and would be frustrated by a beating that was ‘unfair’ or on trumped-up charges. But yeah, I’m probably with you on undeserved beatings – personally I think the ones I tend to get more turned on by are when it’s beating as a means of turning someone on. Like in order to get hard he has to beat the fuck out of me.

        And I don’t think you’re picking holes in what I’m trying to say! I think this post is a bit stream-of-consciousness, so I’m glad it’s opened up this discussion – always interesting to hear the different nuances of other people’s kinks x

        • Even more, but kind of pleasantly ConfusedSub says:

          Aw, thank you! I’m glad you liked the tyranny bit. Yes, that is one of my own! ;) (Takes a bow).

  • New to this says:

    What a great post, thanks very much for writing it.
    “Hating myself is a thumb-sucking kind of comfort. A warm blanket that I hide under, because the harder I work at hating myself the less likely it is that someone can pop up and hate me in a new and surprising way.” – this really resonates with me and it had not occurred to me that my waxing and waning self-loathing is also a form of protection… very interesting.

    Also, While I agree that being submissive is not a de facto indication of general low self-esteem I do notice that if I am feeling really low then more extreme forms of submission/humiliation creep into my fantasies.

    GOTN, while I have the floor I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for three things. I’ve been wanting to say it for a while but didn’t want to clog up your inbox:

    Over the year or so that I have been reading you, you have helped me understand my sexuality and feel free to express my desires in a way that I couldn’t before. This has been genuinely life changing, and I will never forget your blog’s role in awakening my understanding of myself.

    I loved, loved, loved both of your books – reviews already on Amazon :)

    The Doxy. What can I say? I bought this solely based on your comments about it and wow, it’s a fucking game changer. I can’t see me ever leaving the house again :) xxx

    • Girl on the net says:

      Wow, blimey – thank you so much! I’m really touched, and I’m going to keep this message short otherwise I’ll end up gushing. But seriously – thank you. You’ve made my day =) x

  • Alice says:

    I totally get it when you say pain is “to be endured, not enjoyed”. Pain itself doesn’t make me wet. My masochism ties in very much with my submission – I’m submitting to him, letting him say and do what he wants (within already established parameters) and he decides when it’s too much for me or him. It’s trusting him *that much* to do certain things to me. It’s trusting him more than myself. It’s about going up to my limits, stamping all over them and breezing on through to the next ones with him. It’s overwhelming, challenging and sometimes a complete mindfuck but it’s also exceptionally rewarding.

    Pain doesn’t make me wet but being pulled over his lap and given a hard spanking because he’s decided that’s what he’s doing or biting down and gripping onto him whilst he carves his initials into me with his knife does. It’s not the pain, it’s everything else.

    • Sub says:

      He carves his initials into you with a knife? Shit!
      And I thought my ex’s new man was a scourge for keeping her in a short skirt and no tights all through winter! hehe.

      But yes, it’s not the pain, it’s what it represents.

      I notice you say he beats you ‘because he’s decided that’s what he’s doing’… That’s not a ‘reason’! Which I can see, is of course the whole point. Whereas I myself am the sort of man who’s grateful just to have my tentative suggestions half listened to… Haha.

      Thank you for being patient and tolerating my wimpiness. Hope I haven’t nauseated you! :p ;)

  • Luda says:

    This is interesting! Generally speaking I’m very sub, and masochistic, but my fantasies have a tendency to go the other way when I’m feeling down. Quite savagely so. Lovechild of Valerie Solanas and Patrick Bateman sort of thing. I need to feel like my best, strongest self in order to submit. Cor, aren’t people wondrously varied!

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