Thursday, November 19, 2015

Branding: The Masochist's Ultimate Fantasy

by Annabeth Leong

Right now, I feel deep regret that I’ve already written about my experience being (accidentally) branded. In case you missed it, here’s a link to my post Branded By My Craving, AKA I’d Do Anything for a Woman Dressed in a Latex Nurse’s Outfit.

Since I’ve already used my juicy real-life experience, I’m going to have to tell you about my fantasies instead.

I’ve previously observed the odd fact that my erotica writing does not generally line up particularly well with my fantasies. Part of that, I think, is a self-protective instinct. We are writing about such personal, intimate subjects when we write erotica. I do turn myself on when writing, but I also hold a bit of myself apart.

I’ll also give a quick nod to the marketing type of branding. I’ve always feared that my actual fantasies are too dark to sell.

I am a real-life masochist (as will be quite clear if you read the post I linked above). In my fantasies, my masochism is even more extreme.

In real life, pain does a number of things to me that I crave. It disarms me and makes it possible for me to let go enough to orgasm. It provides a type of intensity that I need, both in and out of bed (I feel I am not seeking pleasure or pain specifically as much as I am seeking intensity, and there is hardly any sensation as intense as pain). It calms my mind. It makes me feel strong. It flips a switch, sometimes, that makes pain feel good, but I want and need pain even when it doesn’t feel good.

I am always looking to negotiate the difficult line between pain I want that’s difficult for me to take and pain that’s just too much. I generally need some sort of pain to come, but there is also a thing I experience that I’m not sure how to name. It’s a climax, like an orgasm, that feels sexual, but isn’t exactly a genital rippling. It satisfies me the way an orgasm would, and I often feel done with a sexual encounter after I have it. Lately, I’ve been exploring defining my sexual encounters based on what I actually want to do. I find that a good session of being hurt can satisfy me sexually. I don’t even always take off my underwear anymore.

So, that’s real life. And the pain I’m talking about is usually taking some sort of beating (though I also like wax, electricity, and various sorts of clamps).

In my fantasies, however, I’m obsessed with more extreme and permanently marking types of pain, specifically piercings, tattoos, and branding. I linger on the idea of pain so extreme I’d have to be tied down to take it.

(In real life, I prefer not to be restrained when taking pain because being restrained makes me panic, which makes me more likely to stop a scene. In my fantasies, however, I am being hurt by people who do not care that I am panicking, and I am hurt badly enough that the pain takes me past my normal experience, through to a place I could never reach by my own will. To me, that’s at the heart of all nonconsensual fantasies—what I desire is being taken beyond anywhere I would ever willingingly go.)

I remember the fire of my accidental branding, the way the world went white, the overwhelming orgasmic sensation of that. Then I imagine that multiplying as the brand sears into my skin. Instead of the light, incidental scar I have on my back, I imagine something deep and angry-red, the smell of burning flesh, the moments of struggle followed by abject, helpless surrender. I imagine flying on endorphins beyond anything I’ve actually experienced.

In my fantasies, I also caress the sensation of anticipatory fear. I love that, too. I love knowing that something is coming that I’m not going to like. I love asking for it and then experiencing deeply mixed feelings that it is actually happening—excitement tinged by the certainty of regret. Regret that’s already starting. The first blush of pain accompanied by disbelief that I ever would have wanted this.

I imagine that I’m going to be branded on the face, somewhere horribly permanent. I imagine lying still, watching the brand coming toward me, all too slowly, knowing how very much it will hurt, knowing that it won’t just hurt in the moment but for days afterward, while it heals.

When I got my accidental brand, the woman in the latex nurse’s outfit told me that if I wanted it to scar, I could rub lemon juice into it every day. I did not do this in real life, but I imagine that, too—taking an existing wound and reawakening it every day in a terrifyingly intimate ritual.

I love being hurt by someone who is being sweet to me while they do it. I imagine being told it’s for my own good, being soothed and shushed when I protest, being stroked gently on the forehead while the lemon juice is administered and it begins to sting.

I get the sense that my deeper masochistic fantasies only make sense to other masochists, but I hope this is at least interesting for those of you who don’t identify as such. As I write this, I’m making myself tremble and squirm. Dwelling on the details of pain gets me going like nothing else.

I don’t know if I would do something permanent like this on purpose, but I think about it often. I think about my lover doing this to me or watching it being done to me. I imagine fingers in my cunt while I’m transported by pain.

I have a story on my hard drive in which I try to write my honest fantasies as erotica. I can never bear to work on it very long, but it’s pages and pages like this.


  1. I do find your descriptions interesting, and I've known people with similar tastes, so I sometimes think I'm missing something important by not finding pain arousing. Maybe in the right contexts I could explore the possibilities--being thrown out of the moment by a severe leg cramp, or the kind of anticipation of pain that comes in the context of dentistry, are surely not what anyone would think of as pleasure--but at this point in life I'm not going explore the possibilities of pain. I've dabbled in a bit of flogging and spanking of others, but I'm not likely to go there again, either. All of which makes me more interested in what others may feel, rather than less.

  2. As you suggest, the pain thing doesn't float every particular boat, but Xan West had a great blog about types, degrees and varied qualities of pain on the ERWA blog last week. He's a great writer who describes these elusive qualities as well as I've seen.

    1. Yes, Xan and I have been talking about this on Twitter quite a bit. I'm always honored when a post of mine makes someone bring up Xan West. :)

      It was a great post at ERWA! I really love the fine-grained detail Xan went into about the ways pain can be described beyond the usual and beyond simple dichotomies. And I always love the way Xan writes about pain.

      (Just FYI, Xan does not use pronouns.)

    2. So glad that post of mine has been resonating with folks; I adore pain play and want to support people writing more of it so I can read it!

    3. :) It's great when there's a fun motivation underlying good work.

  3. Oh yes, Xan West writes intriguingly about BDSM (and gives lectures & workshops, if I'm not mistaken). Like Sacchi, I probably won't explore the farther reaches of pain in what's left of my life, but I'm always interested in descriptions of its appeal. Annabeth, what you describe sounds far more than physical, and it seems to be based on an ambivalent desire to be pushed out of a conscious sense of identity. I suspect the real reason that most people are horrified by descriptions of (nonconsensual) torture is because of the motive for it: victims of torture are pushed to confess to crimes they didn't commit, to believe in things that aren't real, and to develop an attachment to the ones who hurt them. We all like to believe that our sense of integrity would hold firm even after days of pain, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and/or sleep-deprivation, but I suspect that every consciousness has a breaking-point. The possibility of becoming not-oneself seems both freeing and scary.

    1. Jean, this is insightful as usual. I think there is a draw to the idea of becoming not myself that is attractive in fantasy, but not in reality. And you're right about what's so horrifying about non-consensual torture. Having spent time at the edges, I definitely know I have limits. My consciousness definitely has a breaking point. I like to play there, and I also fantasize about going past that.

  4. Remembering your previous post (the latex nurse, though what I recalled was the electricity), I was eager to see what you'd say for this topic.

    After reading this precise and revealing post, I'm struck by the fact that although I definitely do not find pain in and of itself arousing, I still identify with you. Your non-con fantasies turn me on, too, especially the part about the inflictor of pain being sweet and solicitous even as he tortures you. I don't find the idea of being raped by thugs at all erotic, but swoon at the notion of an intelligent, self-aware sadist focused entirely on wreaking his will upon my body. The notion of permanence resonates, too, partly because it's an ineradicable proof of surrender.

    I suspect that all of us create more extreme fantasies than we'd actually be willing to endure. Certainly I do. In my case, I sometimes do write them into my stories, as a way of experiencing them vicariously. My cutting story ("Limits: A Love Story") is a prime example.

    Thank you, as always, for your articulate honesty.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisabet. I'm glad you identify. I think there are different angles that can let a person into all sorts of experiences. I definitely tend to focus on pain in and of itself, but there are still emotional elements there. You sound like you're picking up on the emotional elements as more primary, and of course that's interesting, too.

      I have always admired your ability to write down those extreme fantasies. Maybe someday!

      Thanks for reading, as always. :)

  5. I'm with you, Annabeth, in that "Dwelling on the details of pain gets me going like nothing else." But then, I'm a sadist so that's not really surprising, is it?

    I'm honored to be able to read an internal masochistic fantasy; it's a rare thing. Thank you for being so open here.

    In thinking about the sweetness with the sadism; I have often gone to writing Daddy stories because they hold that kind of dynamic so easily, but I'm interested in creating other kinds of sweet sadists in my future work. It's such a delicious combination.

    1. Thanks so much, Xan, for reading, for talking about this, and for everything else.

      I'm glad the fantasy is interesting to read. I am always uncertain how those things come out to others. I really appreciate your feedback on it.

      One of the hottest things I've ever seen in my life was a sadist singing to her bottom while she topped. That just melts my brain. I see how that could fit into some sort of Mommy/Daddy dynamic. I'll be so interested, though, to see what other kinds of sweetness you find in your future work. :)


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