Like Sex with Dr. Jess on FacebookFollow Sex with Dr. Jess on InstagramFollow Sex with Dr. Jess on TwitterSubscribe to Sex with Dr. Jess's channel on YouTubeSubscribe to Sex with Dr. Jess's RSS feed
Sex with Dr. Jess

Blog

May 26, 2022

Masochism and The Pleasure of Pain

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

  • What is masochism and why can pain feel so good?
  • How do you differentiate between safe indulgences and pain versus self-harm?
  • How can you begin to explore masochism for your own pleasure?
  • How do you ensure consent while playing with pain and pleasure?

Researcher and journalist, Leigh Cowart, joins Jess & Brandon to discuss the interface of revulsion and arousal. Their latest book, “Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose” is about all the ways humans consent to feeling bad, to feel better. And be sure to follow Leigh Cowart on Twitter at @voraciousbrain.

Don’t forget that we’re offering 25% off our Mind-Blowing oral courses at HappierCouples.com with code PODCAST. Learn tips, strategies and techniques to ignite the spark & blow your lover’s mind with these 5-part video workshops for the clitoris and the penis.

If you have questions, please send them our way, right here. We love hearing from you. And be sure to subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodbeanGoogle Podcasts, Amazon MusicStitcher!

Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Masochism and The Pleasure of Pain

Participant #1:
You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, Sex and relationship advice you can use tonight. Welcome to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast. I’m Your cohost, Brad Brandon Ware. And today we are going to be talking pleasure and pain and why pain can be so hot and how to explore pain consensually for maximum pleasure and excitement. I like that. And we have some industry news before we dive into pleasure and pain. And I want to shout out a company who isn’t a sponsor, but I’m just really excited for them. This is Laurels, and this is a brand who just had their underwear approved by the FDA for safer oral sex. And I always get questions about oral sex and protection and going to play parties or swing clubs. And of course, you can use condoms on a penis, you can use dental dams on a vulva or a butt. But this is really a game changer because Laurels makes these kind of really sexy, ultra thin, latex undies that are they’re silky to the touch and they’re stretchy. And honestly, they’re adorable. And you use them one time for oral play and FDA approval for I think a product like this is obviously so important, but also a bit revolutionary because everything has been so focused on just one type of kind of penetrative sex, especially in sex education and safer sex. Of course, those of us working in the field have moved beyond that. But now the FDA is finally jumping on board. And oral sex is really one of the most direct routes to pleasure and orgasm for those of us with Vulvas. So this is really cool. And you can use it, of course, on a Volvo or a butt. And yeah, when you have oral sex, of course, there is risk. There is a risk of STIs. And I think people are now more aware of the link between oral sex and STIs and STIs, like HSB and the potential for throat cancer. And of course, I’m not here to scare people off. Like, when you have sex, there’s going to be risk. Just like when you get into a car, there’s always risk. But if you can reduce your risk, sex is just going to be so much more relaxed and pleasurable and hot. And I have to say, I really a lot of us like the sensation of touch and oral through a really thin barrier, like, you know, how it can feel so good to be touched through the clothes as opposed to just straight on the skin. Do they make them in larger sizes for people like me who want to wear a pair? They do. They do. They come in multiple sizes. So, yeah, big. Congrats to Laurels on the FDA approval. Very cool for folks who are wondering, Laurels is get Laurels on IG LORALS. And if you want to learn more about oral and how to blow your lover’s mind, please do check out my Mindblowing oral video [email protected] We’re going to offer a sale this week for 25% off the mind blowing oral courses with Code podcast. And I already think these courses are really, really good value for what they offer. So there’s one set for the penis, one set for the clip, and each set involves five videos on oral sex, from the communication to the very specific techniques which are demonstrated on fruits and veggies in these videos by our lovely model, Ivory. And I just think you can never stop learning. I have so many testimonials on these techniques from folks who say they’re still using these tips and tools and tricks five years, ten years later, after learning them and impressing and pleasing their lovers all around. So head on over to Happyercouples.com Use Code podcast for mind blowing oral penis and clit editions. I think you’re going to love them. All right, let’s shift gears. Let’s dive into our talk of pleasure and pain with our expert who has been researching and writing about masochism, the science and the practice. Lee Coward is a researcher and journalist who is obsessed with the interface of revulsion and arousal and the way we can be drawn toward and repulsed by things lurid or nasty or just plain weird. I love this. All right. They have a book out. Their latest book, Hurts So Good. The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose, is about all the ways humans consent to feeling bad to feel better. Thanks so much for being here, Lee. Oh, thank you so much for having me. I have to ask, to begin with, how did you stumble upon writing about masochism? Well, I started in ballet when I was four years old, and it’s a bit of a nature nurture situation. Like did ballet turn me into a masochist or did I excel in ballet because of some inborn thing in my brain that drew me to it? And I imagine the answer is a bit of both. But I was very active in ballet and did it professionally until my early twenty s. And it was very harmful. I did not have a good experience in ballet, and it was very abusive. And as much as I loved the artistic aspect of it and pushing myself and a lot of the biochemical rewards of that kind of activity, the reality was emotionally and physically, it was very abusive. So when I left ballet, I had nothing to fill that void. I was very upset, and I was just kind of corroded with rage and really fell into the dangerous side of masochism. And it very nearly ruined my life. Chasing pain, chasing high from the pain and stuff like that. And now, well, over a decade of therapy later and a lot of healing, I realized that I still am drawn to pain recreationally, and it doesn’t have this kind of really emotionally painful balance. It’s fun for me. And I was just curious, like what is that about? Why would I do painful things for fun after everything that I’ve been through? And I’m a science journalist, and so I started looking into it. I just realized that it’s so common. It’s so common. So many of us do aversive type things on purpose to get some kind of reward physical or emotional. And I just became obsessed with probing that. What does that tell us about ourselves, that we’re interested in these kinds of things? All right. Well, I want to talk about what masochism is and some of the ways that perhaps we are masochists without realizing it. But I do want to ask you about ballet in terms of the physical and the emotional abuse. Do you think that was specific to your situation, or is that sort of pervasive within the culture of ballet? From what you’ve observed? In my experience, it was pervasive. It seems like there are growing pockets of resistance to that kind of really grueling and toxic training. But a lot of the people that I went to school with have later after they left, ballet disclosed a lot of abuse that they experienced. And it makes me very sad that this art form is so tainted by the way that it is taught to children. And in terms of physical abuse, is it the grueling schedule? Is it pressure on your body? Is it the pressure around being skinny? Like, I remember hearing one of our big ballerinas in Canada talk about how you ought to be skinny. I can’t remember the details of it, but it was this idea that if you’re fat, if you’re not rail thin, you shouldn’t even be doing ballet. Maybe I’m just quoting. Maybe I should just be careful. But I remember something like that. Yeah. That was the environment I grew up in. I had a near lethal eating disorder from my time in ballet. And in terms of the abuse, I mean, like, people throwing chairs at me in class, like physical violence on my body for being shaped incorrectly, teachers with switches, like old school style ballet teachers. Really the ability to withstand the abuse of the training was very foundational to the style of ballet that they were teaching a horrible thing to do to a kid. That’s so scary. It is. And it’s very similar to, like, gymnastics training, figure skating. But more and more I’m seeing companies and schools moving away from that style of training and trying to actually welcome all bodies. Right. I was talking about this experience the other day, so I was in competitive kind of pre competitive gymnastics. And I think I was just six years old, but it was quite intense. And I remember they wanted me like five days a week, and my parents pulled me out of it for two reasons. It was too much of a commitment, and it was just too expensive. They couldn’t afford it. But I do remember having a snack during a break, and it was a granola bar like you remember a traditional granola bar from 1985. And I remember the coach ripping it out of my hand. And I think I don’t know if she said I was fat, but she definitely said I wasn’t skinny enough. And I was saying to Brandon just the other day, I’m so lucky I never personalized those experience. There’s something about even in my childhood when people said that kind of stuff to me, I was like, what’s wrong with her? But I don’t think that that’s normal. I don’t think that that’s common and that internalization and personalization can stay with you a lifetime. Now you’ve been able to turn this around into something far more exciting. And that’s why you’re here, not just to talk about ballet, but to talk about masochism. So could you tell us what it means to be a masochist or to seek masochism and why people opt in to suffering on purpose? What are they really getting out of it? I love that question very broadly. Masochism is the deliberate act of choosing to feel bad, to feel better. And people have long used this tactic of consenting to suffer on purpose so that they can reap the biochemical and emotional rewards that can follow painful stimuli. And it’s actually very common. You see, like hot sauce eating polar plunges, a really deep tissue massage, BDSM, ballet running. There are all these things that we do that’s basically like recreational suffering. And in order to understand that, I think there are two main points about the nature of pain and the nature of masochism that are really relevant. One is that masochism requires consent without question.

Like, if you can’t opt out of the suffering you’re experiencing, then it’s not masochism that’s suffering or that’s torture. There’s something else going on. I speak very specifically about the times in which we choose to suffer, be it going on a long run or eating the hottest hot sauce you could stand, because the act of consenting creates a specific context for the experience. And that’s really important because the subjective nature of pain. So all pain is subjective always. There’s no special machine that I could scan a person’s brain with that would tell me exactly how much pain they were feeling. And pain can differ. Even the same amount of sensation on different bodies or on the same body at different times could result in wildly different sensory experiences. So there’s a story I tell early on in the book that I think demonstrates this beautifully, and it’s about a researcher, a pain researcher named Dr. Lawmore. Mostly he was hiking in the Bush and he felt a sensation on the outside of his leg. Now when your brain is creating pain, it looks at a lot of things. It looks at context. Do you want this? Do you expect this? Do you have any other sensory memories around that kind of thing? So he’s hiking feel something on his leg. His brain is like, that was probably a stick. And I expect this, so it’s fine. Just keep hiking. So he does. And soon thereafter, it collapses and nearly dies. It turns out that our Doctor Mosely was actually bitten by an Eastern Brown snake, which is one of the most venomous snakes in the world. He survives. Miraculously, he survives, and he goes hiking again with some friends. And on this hike, he feels a sensation on the outside of his leg, and his brain drops him like a sack of potatoes. Like ten out of ten pain. He is absolutely writhing on the ground in agony. And that time, it was actually just a stick. But his brain remembered the great lesson of last time and was like, better safe than sorry, and then gave him that kind of symphonic, overwhelming pain. And I say this not people are like, oh, well, that means pain is all in your head. And I’m like, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. Everything is in your head. And the experience of pain comes from your brain, but is absolutely as real as anything else you experience. So once you understand that pain is subjective and that masochism is consent based, you can start to see how humans would use the kind of, like, sensory container of their bodies to have these emotional roller coasters and play for themselves. I feel like I’ve been on a hike and I’ve gotten hit by a stick and been rising in pain. Never a rattlesnake. That’s the Brown snake. I think that’s the Brown snake I saw in Costa Rica. It’s a very deadly snake. Right. Do you bleed out of your orphanage if you get bit by it? Possibly. I would have to check. I know that a lot of snake fights can do that hemolytic stuff. Yeah. She’s like, no, I’m not a snake expert. I’m a pain expert. Not yet, though. Next book is all about snakes. All right, so when we think about that experience of memory and pain, how does that translate in the bedroom? Why can pain in the bedroom be experienced as so exhilarating and pleasurable? Oh, yeah. So you kind of develop these associational metrics between sensation and expected outcome. So if you have positive memories of, like, being spanked in the bedroom, and that was really fun, then going forward, you will already have an expectation of pleasure and an expectation of benefit when you have that kind of, like high sensation pain in the bedroom. And so you can see all these things can kind of snowball by getting into it, then kind of primes you to enjoy it more. And so you develop the expectation that this is going to be really fun, whereas stubbing your toe, you don’t expect it to be really upsetting, even if you like all sorts of crazy pain stuff in the bedroom. A paper cut still pisses you off unless you’re like I’m sure it’s one person’s thing. Surprised paper Cuts is probably like one person’s thing. And hats off to you. That’s amazing. But for most of us, we need the expectation that we’re going to like it in order to prime us for liking it. That’s interesting. So you’re thinking we’re talking subjectivity, talking about the neuroscience memory, but also expectation. And so I think we should just kind of delineate. And I think you did, with the emphasis on consent and the capacity to opt out. But where is the line between safe indulgences in pain and self harm, and how do we know the difference? That is such a good question, and I think that is really at the core of how we figure out what is right for us in terms of pain, sensation, play, shame can muddy the waters of selfreflection, but you really need to be willing to have clear insight into why you want things. What’s your mental state, what are you looking to get out of it? Because the more you can be honest with yourself about where you’re coming from and what you’re looking for, the better outcomes you can set yourself up for. If you are wanting a lot of pain sensation because you’re actually in a really bad mood and you want to damage yourself as a punishment, that might not be a good headspace for you to safely play in. So the line between safe play and unsafe play is kind of always moving, and what looks safe for one person might actually be very unsafe for someone else. And the line can move even, like within a person based on how they triggered about something else. Is it possible to be honest with yourself and consent in a way that is safe for your body? Because there is a difference between wanting to experience hurt and wanting to experience harm. Sensation play in the moment is one thing, but doing something that could cause long term damage to your body is a different conversation. And it’s hard for some people, especially in Western culture, to be curious about why they might want pain with sex, because there’s some shame. The word masochism came from psychopathic sexuality, which was one of the first European texts about sexual pathology. So it comes with the baggage of being like, quote, a sex thing. But now we use the word masochism to describe both like, sex based pain and like, everything from grad students to nail biters to chili heads. So when it comes to being like, where is the line between self harm and play, does it feel compulsive? Does it feel like you can say no? Do you feel like you can articulate your limits? Is this something that you feel like you are opting into for fun? Or does it feel like something that you can’t not do? Because once it gets compulsive and kind of takes on that sensation, it becomes much harder to really know where your boundaries are. And yeah, it’s tricky. It’s just slippery slope. But I think just because there’s no easy answer doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be talking about how to figure it out. And I think the same could be said of pleasure. Right? Yeah. We can look at pain and we can look at the indulgence in pain as inherently problematic because of the shame attached to it, because it doesn’t align with the charm circle of what is supposed to be sexually arousing. But the same questions and that same slippery slope and that same moving line and those same shifting boundaries from person to person and even within individuals exists around seeking pleasure. But there isn’t the same stigma and there isn’t the same shame.

In fact, there’s the opposite. There’s the pressure that you ought to. So I think that’s a really important piece that when we look at any indulgences or play or sexual gratification that is outside of the vanilla lines, we tend to look at it with a lens that is far more suspect. We hold it to a higher standard. Right. I’m asking that question of you, but let’s be honest, I didn’t ask that question about the line between safe indulgences and self harm when I’m just talking about blowjobs or talking about hand jobs or talking about intercourse or talking about these acts that tend to fall within that normative charm circle. So once you’ve kind of figured out your own boundaries and you have acknowledged that line and you figured out that you do want to explore, how do you even begin to explore having these experiences for fun? Right. So crossing those taboos and actually exploring these desires safely. I love that question. And I love your comment about the similarities between pain and pleasure in that way. I think that is absolutely spot on. And I love thinking about sensations, quote good and bad in that way. So thank you for that. In terms of how to get into masochism, I think that some people have this kind of all or nothing idea, like if you’re not jumping all the way into the deep end and playing super hard right away, then you’re somehow doing it wrong. Or people have kind of preconceived notions of what it’s going to feel like, how they’re going to respond, and how much sensation they quote, unquote should take. And I just really encourage people to let go of that. Sensitivity to sensation can change on a daily, hourly basis. It can change in the middle of a scene and being able to kind of experience things as they’re happening. Let your reaction be what it is and be really curious and loving with yourself. Sometimes people feel like they can’t stop the play and still feel good about themselves or they didn’t take as many spankings or they didn’t start with like a classic riding crop. And some people start with that and it’s great. But there are so many avenues into experiencing pain and for fun. And so many different types of pain. Like, you could try heavy impact play and not like it, but actually find out that you’re really into electro stuff. I know people who use hot peppers in the bedroom, people like stingy pain or heavy pain. And it can change based on your mood or who you’re playing with if you’re playing by yourself or with a partner or with multiple partners. So I would just think about what you’re naturally drawn to. Is it like, oh, I like looking at pictures of people in rope. I’ve always wanted to try this thing and then just take some baby steps in that direction. It doesn’t have to be this huge grand gesture towards a new lifestyle. You can just dabble and see if you like it and try it a couple of different ways and direct communication with yourself and with whoever else is involved with a sense of wonder and curiosity. And just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s supposed to be fun. Absolutely. I think about just the little things that people are already doing, whether it’s like a little smack on the butt or a pinch of a nipple or a nibble of a tongue or, like biting a lip. All these things are already kind of leading you in that direction. And I think we have to acknowledge, too, that sometimes within kink communities, there is this hierarchy that’s quite judgmental of anything vanilla. Right. And so we run into this judgment where like, well, I’d love to go explore a dungeon, but I feel like I’m not going to fit in or I feel like I’m going to be judged. And it’s not so much that I’m going to judge the people, but I feel like I’m not going to be enough. Like, maybe I don’t want to dress a certain way. Maybe I want to show up in a frilly white dress and just watch for a little bit. And there is this concern that you’re not necessarily going to fit in. And I will just say to folks out there that there are so many opportunities to learn. There are so many opportunities to, for example, visit a dungeon, and they’ll take you on a tour during that sort of newbie hour. Across Canada, we have the Taboo shows, so they’re in. They change, but they should be in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, maybe Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver, all over. And these are huge consumer trade shows where 20 to 30 to 400 people attend over the course of the weekend. And within the trade show, there is a dungeon area, and the dungeon area is set up for people who really know nothing about these things. Now, of course, it’s far beyond masochism. We’re talking about masochism today. There are many ways to practice kink, but what’s really cool is if you want to try the electric play on your arm, they’ll help you to do that. If you want to watch as somebody plays with very thin needles. They’ll show you that if you want to learn to tie someone up, there are all these opportunities where you don’t necessarily have to get pleasure about out of it to begin with. You can just go for the learning and then you’ll probably have these natural reactions where you’re like, that kind of piqued my interest or I did not like that. And that can kind of help you to choose from this massive buffet of masochism because there are so many options out there. That’s great. That sounds really fun. I love events like that. It’s really cool. And I don’t know of any events like that in the States because they’re consumer trade shows, like they sell candles, they sell sex toys, they sell bongs, they sell kind of everything at the show. And then there are seminars, folks who know that I teach seminars there as well. But I think that the highlight for me are what they call the Dungeons. And they’re set up by local community groups, volunteers who want people to understand what the broader range of BSM options are, including some explorations of masochism. So this is so interesting to me. You say that in your book you talk about pain not only as pleasurable and as exciting, but also as a source of meaning. So I’m interested in that connection between pain and meaning and why humans use pain in rituals. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Wow. Very curious about this. I love that one of the great things about paying is that pain in the context of masticism is that pain brings us unequivocally into the present moment. It is very hard to think about your tax return or your grocery list when you are experiencing painful sensation. It kind of blocks everything else out. And when was the last time you were having just one thought? A lot of us have very busy brains. We live in a busy world. And so to have that moment of like a singular thought, a singular focus, it’s very transcendent to many people. There’s also research shows that if we suffer in pursuit of something, we assign greater value to the outcome.

And a great example of this is actually the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 where people poured ice water on them to raise money for ALS. Now I was talking to researcher Brock Bastion about it, and he was saying that if it had been like confetti or warm water or something more pleasant than just so much ice that it probably wouldn’t have done as well. The fact that there was suffering in pursuit signaled to us that something important was going on. And they did a research study to look into this and they backed it up. But you see, it also in many religions, this kind of penitential model of pain where there’s a reduction of guilt through suffering and all of these different aspects of pain come together with the fact of our endorphin system, our body’s actual response to pain. But you can see how humans would use this kind of sensation to create meaning, to say, hey, something important is going on here. Who hasn’t gotten a breakup tattoo? It’s like all the ways that we Mark occasions, transitions, hazing, rites of passage, grief, using our bodies as amplifiers for the emotion and the singular nature of pain and the very personal, intimate nature of pain plays into that really nicely. And you see it throughout all cultures. Yeah. That’s so powerful to think about it being bringing you to the present. Right. We think about that with all sorts of sensation play, but something that’s a little bit more overwhelming, like pain, something you don’t experience all the time, something that just creates a bit of a dissonance. Right. When you’re not expecting that in your body or when you’re expecting the experience to be pleasurable and when you talk about the means and I don’t want to misquote you, but how it becomes more pleasurable when there’s some sort of a journey to get there, that’s a challenge. I always think about hiking. Yeah. I remember when we were in Yosemite, there were people who kind of drove to the top, but we had hiked to the top. And there’s something so satisfying about that view that is not comparable if you didn’t work for me at least to get up there. Now, of course, not everybody has that opportunity or that option. I know not everybody can do a hike. Not everybody’s body can withstand that. And they hopefully find that pleasure and that journey in other things. But I know for me, the hike like there’s something about looking down and saying, oh, my gosh, I walked up that. And it was kind of fun to get my heart rate up to get this reward of the view. So this is really fascinating stuff. So in your book. So again, once again, the book is called Hurt So Good the Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose. Do you offer kind of pathways or suggestions for people to get started if they want to explore a bit of pain? Yeah. I do not think that a life needs to be sanitized before engaged with critically. So what I’ve tried to do with my book is just to give people the starter questions and intro information and then also like deep pockets of information to get their brain kind of swirling with these thoughts about where does masticism already show up for me in my life? Maybe it’s like super hot showers or really deep tissue massage or hot sauce. In what areas am I curious about and how might I talk to myself and my partners about taking the steps to explore that more? And what do those conversations look like? And I love what I do. I love what I do so much. And getting to have conversations with people who are opening up to exploring different types of sensations for their own bodies is just a real joy to me. I think that’s a great place for people to start with those four questions. Right. About where it’s showing up, where you can remain curious how you might explore it, and how you might have those conversations with partners or with reflections with yourself. Before you go, I know that there’s an origin story for the word masochism. Would you tell us a little bit about that? Yes. So in 1886, Richard von Kraft Ebbing published Psychopathic Sexuality, and so that’s the first European text covering sexual pathology. He created the word masochism. However, Masochism is an eponym. He actually named masochism after somebody by the name of Leopold von Sakuramasok. He did not tell Leopold von Sacher mascot that he was going to do this, and it basically ruined his life. They were contemporaries. And Leopold von Sacher mascot was a famous writer, and his work is still read today. You may know him. He wrote Venus in Furs, right? So Seminole Kink text. We’ve all read it. And he was very famous for writing this style of dominant furclad woman and lording over and whipping the submissive men. Now, Richard von Kraft Ebbing found out from somebody that it was not merely fictitious. He found out that Leopold von Sacramassok was actually into that stuff for real. Sacramazok had his own issues. He was no angel. But this did ruin his life because it got out that he was not just writing about freaky stuff, that he was into it. And people were like, oh, no, we only liked it when you were only pretending.

Now we don’t like it because secretly we’re into it, too, and that’s too much for us. And they were contemporaries. They taught at the same University about ten years apart. So a bit of an underhanded, ice cold naming thing to name a brand new sexual paraphilia about someone and not tell them. But we know who we still think about good old Leopold von Sakura massacre every time we talk about having pain on purpose. I did not know that. And I guess when we think about Internet dragging these days, at least we are not having terms named after us. Hopefully. Hopefully this doesn’t give anybody some awful nefarious ideas. Super interesting. Really appreciate you taking the time to explore this topic of masochism, and I really encourage people to first of all, check out your book Hurts So Good, The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose, published by Hashic. Follow along with your work as well, because you do research and you’re also a journalist. And to reflect upon those questions that Lee just offered us around. Where is masochism already showing up in our lives? What does it feel like in our bodies? And how might we explore that further? And it seemed like a stretch when I thought about, oh, we’re all masochists. We all do things that border along the lines of masochism, but it seems so obvious now. So I really appreciate you kind of bringing this to the surface for us. Thanks for being here today. So I’m so curious about what you’re talking about in particular made reference to a long workout, a run hot sauce. And it reminds me of my friends back in high school where we go and eat the hottest wings that you could and whoever could eat the hottest wings or whoever could endure that pain was the quote, unquote winner. So my question is, why do men in particular, or at least young men, try to showcase their ability to withstand things like that? What is it about us that we’re wired to kind of prove who can withstand the most pain? I think there are a couple of things in play. One is doing group masochism is a really fun bonding activity, and it makes us feel closer, like humans are really wired for behavioral Synchrony. And even just walking in the same tempo as someone else can increase feelings of familiarity towards them, even if it’s a stranger. So when you’re doing group masochism and suffering together, not only are you getting the good brain drugs from the pain, but you’re getting the good brain drugs from the group activity. I think about a lot of my male friends growing up and how there were restricted forms of male intimacy and restricted forms of like, what is okay to touch and when is it okay to hold and to emote? And so if you have these restrictions on what kind of emotional outbursts are okay, what kind of touch is okay? Doing things like wrestling and hot peppers and stunts is a way to emote and to create that intimacy and to feel close. And so I think that’s some of what is going on there. Oh, wow. I definitely agree with a lot of that, because I hadn’t thought about it. But as a group, you go together, you all order, you’re all laughing. I mean, at least this is my experience. And I’m sure it’s not specific just to men, but we’re all, as a group, kidding around with each other. We’re watching each other respond and just engaging with one another. And I really hadn’t thought about it as a way to express emotion. But you’re right. It really was a way I could cry even eating hot peppers, right?

Yeah, you could. And it was permissible in that environment to express pain, to express a vulnerability, to not be able to withstand it. Whereas it wasn’t something that you were able as a young man. It wasn’t something else that I was able to really do elsewhere. Now it’s changed as I’ve gotten older. I’m happy to say I can’t do this. I’m not okay with that or whatever. But in the moment, there that was one of the few environments where you could say that I’m like, I can’t do this. And then for the person who won, I remember this one particular gentleman who ended up having to take two days off of at the time he was working two days off of work Because he couldn’t go to the bathroom Because he was in so much pain. It burned everywhere. Like it was literally the ring of fire. It feels the same on the way out as it does on the ground. I think it feels worse on the way out in some cases. Yes. Oh, my God. Sensitive membrane. That’s so interesting to see that type of group masochism, that shared experience as potentially therapeutic in a world that stymies expression based on various elements of your identity, Whether it be gender identity or sexual orientation or race or age or any of these factors. Super interesting. Yeah. I had a great time. Honestly, we had so much fun doing it and I never won. Except for the guy who shipped fire. Except for the guy who crapped fire when it comes to the cost for new year’s. This year we were locked down. So we got on Zoom with some close friends and did hot sauce karaoke. We gargled Reaper pepper hot sauce and then tried to sing karaoke with hot sauce mouth just like crying, singing Abba with Reaper peppers in our mouth. And it was very chaotic and it was so fun Because I couldn’t squeeze them in person. So I was like, okay, let’s do something. Let’s do something stupid and fun. Let’s drink hot sauce and try to sink Abbot together. That’s some next level, karaoke. There’s some shared emotional experience there, right? That we haven’t been able to share in because we were in lockdown. Super interesting stuff. That’s a good question. Thank you. And thank you for tuning in. Do not forget to learn something new this week. Head on over to happyourcouples.com to save on our mind blowing oral video courses. It’s techniques and strategies to drive your lover wild and get more of what you want in the process. So buy for yourself, for a partner, for a friend who’s getting married or celebrating a birthday Because these courses are educational, but they’re fun and light and I think it’s just so easy to learn. Why not? Happyercouples.com code podcast to save 25% and get learning right. I hope your week is filled with all the pleasure you can imagine and just the right amount of pain, if that’s what you’re into. You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast. Improve your sex life. Improve your life.