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Exploration of Masochism

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Imagine. A man/woman passed by a man and noticed abrasions upon his back. The person sarcastically ask, "What the hell happened, you get attack by a cougar?" to which the man replied, "Close to it, it's from sex"

Scratching, hair pulling, & ripping clothes off during sex are all masochistic actions. It is the fight which excites, the struggle. It is the attempt, the act of attempting, to exhaust another. Physically, mentally, & spiritually exhausting them to the point of surrender. A battle of wills, of strength. Who is stronger, man or woman? Individual vs individual.

Sex is meaningless for the common, for the god it is a science. It is a sacred act you perform, a ritual of intoxication. Why else was the Pythia said to react in violent physical sensations when receiving prophecy from Apollo? Anything less may as well be considered impotent.

Is not?

Choking or squeezing of any kind

Necessarily whips, chains, or anything necessarily abusive

others? (et cetera...)

Is?

Smacking

biting

Violent

will

struggle

fight

battle

erotic (Etymological Erotika, from Eros-god of love: Cupid in Roman etc...)

The human spirit

The mind

(et cetera.... others?)

Sex is the evolutionary compendium of interaction?

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mas·och·ism [mas-uh-kiz-uhm, maz-]

–noun 1. Psychiatry. the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering, physical pain, and humiliation.

2. gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification.

3. the act of turning one's destructive tendencies inward or upon oneself.

4. the tendency to find pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.

I'll be the first to say that it's indicative that something is wrong when a person thinks sex consists of submission to pain and suffering.

Sex is a celebration of one's highest values. I'd be wary of anyone who said they found gratification in harming oneself or others.

Edited by West
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It doesn't fall into the realm of metaphysics as it doesn't concern the nature of man per se, but instead falls in the realm of ethics because it deals with values [and one's intellectual and emotional response to said values]. If one extols pain as a proper means of achieving gratification, what kind of values do you think one holds?

Edited by West
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It doesn't fall into the realm of metaphysics as it doesn't concern the nature of man per se, but instead falls in the realm of ethics because it deals with values [and one's intellectual and emotional response to said values]. If one extols pain as a proper means of achieving gratification, what kind of values do you think one holds?

Ok, now I'm confused. Weren't you and I talking about the starving dog art (*animal lovers beware) on chat a few days ago, and drawing reference from that display to MVJ? If so what is the difference?

Edited by Zip
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I don't see why masochism should be particularly maligned as a sexual practice. I think it's a little sketch when someone makes masochism a whole lifestyle, as I find it hard to believe that they value themselves, but as far as leaving it in the bedroom, where's the bad? I personally happen to enjoy it, and I like dishing it out too. I'd like to hear people's understanding of why it is, to use one of Rand's favorite words, "depraved".

Disclaimer: Some BDSM practices are DANGEROUS. I do not consider these to be a good idea, for obvious reasons. So there's no point writing that practices are bad because they're dangerous as I already accept that.

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Ok, now I'm confused. Weren't you and I talking about the starving dog art (*animal lovers beware) on chat a few days ago, and drawing reference from that display to MVJ? If so what is the difference?

My first response is that there's a fundamental distinction between what someone finds to be metaphysically important (as judged by what an artist selects to be included in his work) and what someone pursues as a value. A work of art is a statement about values, while an action is the pursuit of values. I take the concept of 'metaphysical value judgments' to be primarily applied in judging a particular artist and his creations. As KendallJ clarified in a recent discussion, in regards to the person that pursues art and sex in wanting to experience it firsthand (I'm drawing a distinction between the artist and the person appreciating the art here), the important question is not what judgments are inherent in masochism, but what values are being pursued and further, are they pro-life?

Edited by West
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Pain is to be valued. The truth is painful is it not? Did you not read Plato's Allegory of the Cave, much less the Fountainhead? If you look at the sun, your eyes will burn, but only for a short while. Tell me this, which is better, the man who sees and has pain, or the man who doesn't and has no pain...?

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Pain is to be valued. The truth is painful is it not? Did you not read Plato's Allegory of the Cave, much less the Fountainhead? If you look at the sun, your eyes will burn, but only for a short while. Tell me this, which is better, the man who sees and has pain, or the man who doesn't and has no pain...?

I've read both and I don't see how either equates truth with pain. The point of Plato's Allegory of the Cave was not that it was painful, but the fact that it was blinding. The point was to illustrate that the truth would not be immediately comprehendable to the man who broke free of the chains. This is entirely besides the point, and your rhetorical question can be immediately disregarded as irrelevant.

Before I go on, please tell me why pain is a value, and further, why truth is necessarily painful.

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Pain is to be valued. The truth is painful is it not? Did you not read Plato's Allegory of the Cave, much less the Fountainhead? If you look at the sun, your eyes will burn, but only for a short while. Tell me this, which is better, the man who sees and has pain, or the man who doesn't and has no pain...?

This isn't even close to an argument. Plus, its a false dichotomy.

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This isn't even close to an argument. Plus, its a false dichotomy.

Well, at least it's good that you see no reason to explain. I, of course wouldn't want you to waste any time on it. Go ahead and throw any other accusations you have off the top of your head while your at it.

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Pain is to be valued. The truth is painful is it not?

OK, I'll bite. That is pure equivocation. the 2nd statement is false (Objectivism is primarily Aristotelean, not Platonic), and even if it were true, the fact that pain exists in both sentences does not make them related.

There might be a way that one could argue that pain or domination and such sexual "play" do indeed involve the pursuit of values, but not on this basis.

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Can you explain what kind of values YOU think this means someone holds?

Depends on the context. My first response is that pain is a means of your body telling your brain that it is being threatened; there is an element of harm. If a person finds pleasure through this act of harm, it tells me that psychologically this person wishes to override the basic pleasure/pain responses that most animals depend on for survival. Man, being a rational being, could override this response, but then my question is when and why would an individual want to?

Edited by West
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I find the direction of this topic utterly ridiculous. If the truth wasn't painful why the hell would most homo Sapiens go to such great lengths to avoid it? Recognize that "they" not only lie to others, but also to themselves. Furthermore I am not too big on Plato myself, but that doesn't mean I don't, much less can't, find merit in some of his writings, providing of course that they are rational/logical. And on that, How is stating that something is so and so or such as such supposed to convince me, much less anyone, if you don't cite a reason why? What the fuck is this perceptual forums now?! I mean, damn I knew I was controversial but what the hell am I thinking barging into here trying to be productive, golly I'm stupid, somebody change my freaking mind and talk some sense!

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Some people may like it due to the fact that pain and pleasure are controlled by the same region of the brain* and are wired in such a way that we sometimes get "crossed wires" that cause us to feel pleasure when we should feel pain. This is why vigorous activities like exercise can sometimes cause physical pleasure not just physical pain. The may be true of sex since it is a vigorous activity.

I'd just like to state that while I don't consider this a justification for macochism I think it may explain it is at least some cases.

*Strictly speaking nerves only create an electrical impulse that stimulates and area of the brain creating pain, pleasure, and other physical sensations. Strictly speaking we don't feel physical sensations until the electrical impulse reaches and is processed by the relevant brain region.

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I find the direction of this topic utterly ridiculous. If the truth wasn't painful why the hell would most homo Sapiens go to such great lengths to avoid it? Recognize that "they" not only lie to others, but also to themselves. Furthermore I am not too big on Plato myself, but that doesn't mean I don't, much less can't, find merit in some of his writings, providing of course that they are rational/logical. And on that, How is stating that something is so and so or such as such supposed to convince me, much less anyone, if you don't cite a reason why? What the fuck is this perceptual forums now?! I mean, damn I knew I was controversial but what the hell am I thinking barging into here trying to be productive, golly I'm stupid, somebody change my freaking mind and talk some sense!

No need to be all upitty, like that. Seems to me that everyone here is just trying to understand where you are coming from. You make the claim that "pain is to be valued," but have not provided adequate arguments to substantiate the notion enough to convince us. Pain, as was mentioned above, is a notification that something is amiss. Typically it is indicative of having made a mistake. e.g. "I tried to pet the lion and now it is chewing on my leg. It hurts, I must have erred in my judgement."

So rather then be all hurt and defensive, I suggest that you extrapolate further on what you mean. I am not certain from your posts, but it seems like you might mean to go down the "pain builds character," path, which some would probably agree with.

My experience has been that most people here are very rational, interested in ideas, and patient. So while they may tear an idea apart, it is with the same intent and purpose that a 7 year old takes apart a radio-to better understand how it works. Questions, dissections, and counterarguments are not attacks.

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If the truth wasn't painful why the hell would most homo Sapiens go to such great lengths to avoid it?

A very complex question that one may not be able to answer in such a limited venue such as this.

To try to put it simply: Because bad philosophy has lied to them and told them truth hurt. And because once you start evading the truth you start to create a "debt" of sorts which will be repaid once the truth finally catches up with you.

If you follow truth in the first place and never try to run from it, then there is nothing to catch you and hurt you. Truth becomes your friend, rather than your enemy.

Don't shirk from being challenged here. It will happen. But in the end you can benefit greatly from it.

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Depends on the context. My first response is that pain is a means of your body telling your brain that it is being threatened; there is an element of harm. If a person finds pleasure through this act of harm, it tells me that psychologically this person wishes to override the basic pleasure/pain responses that most animals depend on for survival. Man, being a rational being, could override this response, but then my question is when and why would an individual want to?

I think you raised an excellent point here. Why would we ever want to override or, perhaps more accurately, subvert the pleasure/pain mechanism? Speaking for myself, I can think of many reasons. A very straightforward example is, I am an athlete, and there have been many times during the course of either training or competition that I have been in fairly intense pain, but if I were to stop training right then, how would I ever become strong? Just today I was training down in the company gym on my break and the bench presses I was attempting hurt quite a bit. This is because I have chronic shoulder problems. Perhaps ironically, the only way I can ever truly heal my arm is to correct the positional and muscular imbalances in the joint through exercise. So, if I do not endure the pain of exercise and stretching, my arm will never get better. This conclusion is unacceptable to me as I am an active person and a full life requires that my arm work more reliably than it currently does.

Let's try something a little less dramatic as not everyone likes throwing around heavy things as much as me. Perhaps your passion is music and you want to become a guitar virtuoso. When you start playing the guitar, it hurts your fingers. If you continue to play sometimes your fingers may even bleed. But if you allow that to dissuade you then you will never acquire enough skill to achieve your goals. The more you push through the pain in the beginning, the faster your fingers adapt after which point the pain is no longer a problem. Or you can be like Pete Townsend, one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, who thought nothing of shredding his hands during a concert (there's a notable picture of him holding up his torn, bleeding hand with a huge smile on his face).

But you know what, as far as our masochism discussion goes, I don't think for most people it is about merely enduring pain. Some people may be doing that, but that's not usually what I associate with masochism. That's more like a girl gritting her teeth for a few seconds while she's losing her virginity. It's not that she likes the pain, it's just that it'll be better in a minute and then she can get about the business of enjoying the sex. Why would a rational person actually ENJOY pain, rather than merely put up with it as a means to some other end? This is where I'm not sure how my answer would intersect with Objectivism or whether Objectivists would consider this a bit off, but I submit that it is rational to enjoy pain under certain circumstances. It has been my experience in the world that one frequently encounters pain in the pursuit, or even subsequent to the achievement, of one's values. Certainly in an ideal world this would not be the case, and one would feel only pleasure and happiness from the pursuit of rational values, but I'm sure we can all agree that this is not an ideal world and that many things are not as they should be. Frequently greatness is persecuted and belittled. As a result of this, I have learned that rather than an indication of a problem, pain may often be a signal that one is on the right track. Please take this comment only within the scope it is intended; I am hardly implying that all pain indicates success. If I smack my head against a wall repeatedly, that pain does not mean I'm doing something great, it means I'm a dumbass and I shouldn't be hitting my head on a wall. What one must do is identify the source of the pain. If the source of the pain is a virtue, you may actually find it is possible to enjoy the pain in itself, so long as the cause is virtuous. Getting back to this masochism business, say that you are with your beloved, treasured mate. You trust them more than anyone, you trust them with every part of you. They are capable of bringing out all of your most intense states of being. The experiences of that lover pushing you, testing you, driving your senses to the edge with that most primal and visceral of all sensations, pain, and sharing that with them, that intensely private part of yourself, but sharing it in the context of something beautiful rather than ugly, I personally derive intense value from that experience. And the funny thing about masochism, when done properly, is that you, not your lover, are actually the one in control. You know for certain that any time you ask them to stop, they will, if you ask them to kiss the welts and wipe your tears if you should happen to cry (I don't but some people really do push these things that far) that they would, if you ask them to hold you until the shaking stops they do without hesitation. You know all this, but you don't ask, you don't give in, you delight in the sensation of seeing just how much more you can take knowing that it's your choice.

It's tough to explain things like this if it's not the sort of thing you're inclined to enjoy. If anyone has a more specific question about things that may help me target my explanations a bit more. By the way, in case anyone hasn't guessed, I don't exactly condone the sex party culture that surrounds much of "popular" BDSM practice. I don't see how it can possibly be special or valuable if you aren't with someone you strongly care for, unless you either a) don't truly let go and show your deepest self or :P don't really have anything of value to put out there, in which case, what's the point?

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