Posted at 21:04 on 12 May 2009 by Pandora / Blake
I've commented before on the similarities between kink and sport. Both are activities where one consents to physical discomfort and potential injury for purposes of enjoyment, social bonding and personal satisfaction. The only real reason I can see that one is more acceptable than the other is the taboo against any sexual activity not sanctioned by strict cultural 'norms'.
Nonetheless, it's interesting to know that sportsmen and women use very familiar language when discussion their relationship with pain. Martin Johnson, the new England manager, said in an interview today with the Guardian:
"People say, 'I bet you don't miss all the bumps and bruises' but I do. It's an honest feeling in the morning after a game, whether you've won or lost, to think, 'Yeah, I've put the effort in'. And that's why when a game is over a player can usually switch off. But as a manager the head keeps spinning. You can't leave it alone."
That sense of honesty will be familiar to many submissives; immersing yourself in a physical experience, striving to do your best, is both satisfying and liberating. However a scene ends - whether it pushed you beyond your limits, went in an unexpected direction or was ultimately disappointing - you can feel proud of knowing you were wholly focussed while it lasted. That you put the effort in.
When I first read the interview, I compared Johnson's experience as a new manager to my own experiences producing and directing spanking porn. As a model, my role is to be wholly present in the moment while the cameras are rolling: a certain amount of angst is common after a shoot, but mostly, if I stayed in character and took my strokes, I can feel pleased with my performance. As a director, there are far more things to worry about, and a far greater sense of responsibility.
But I wonder whether this also applies to Doms. I can't speak for myself, not being one, but I've seen Doms angst about a scene afterwards, wondering if they did the right thing. The analogy is a complex one. Johnson's comment about his relationship, as a player, with the opposing team might have been spoken by any sadist:
"When I played you could simply feel what was happening in a game," he remembers with a suddenly concentrated gaze. "You could feel if their intensity was dropping. And then that great feeling comes when you know you've got them, when you know you've broken them."
Is the experience of playing team sports closer to submission or dominance? What about managing a team? The themes of physical intensity and risk run strong through both types of experience, but the interpersonal roles are very different. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts.
In general, though, I have to agree with Johnson: life without bruises is far less interesting.