Gaining life experience makes me better at having sex, but also, gaining sex experience makes me better at living life. It’s a two-way street.
I’ve talked to you before about the similarities between sex and improv, and one of those similarities is that they’ve both informed my life philosophy. Massively.
Recently I was trying to describe to a friend how I feel when I’m getting spanked – the times when I’m really in the mood for it, braced for it, craving it. I reach a point where the painful rhythm no longer feels like a series of individual impacts: it becomes a wave I’m riding. I feel in control of the ups and downs of my experience, even though I’m bottoming and therefore have given up my power in the context of the scene. I feel how I do when I’ve been running for a while, or gotten into the swing of an intense badminton game, or been kissing someone for so long that my mind goes blissfully blank.
That’s an endorphin high. And it feels like a meditative zen high, too – something like what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.” It’s part of what keeps me coming back to the act of spanking, especially when I’m stressed and need a release. Like Jillian Keenan says, yes, spanking feels painful, and difficult, and in some ways unpleasant, but it also feels necessary.
When I first began experimenting with spanking, I would wimp out as soon as it started to actually hurt. I’d tell my partner to stop, feeling like I’d reached my limit, and we’d move on to other things. Over the past few months, I’ve explored this kink more and I can now handle vastly longer, meaner spanking sessions than I could when I started. But it’s not so much that my pain tolerance has increased; I just understand now that pain is okay. My world will not unravel if I experience pain. Some moments will be difficult, sure, but those moments will end. And I will still be okay when they do.
This is also a lesson I’ve had to learn in relation to my anxiety. A favorite mantra of mine (courtesy of author Susan Jeffers) is “feel the fear and do it anyway.” This is one of the simplest, scariest, hugest messages I’ve had to drill into my brain: that most of my fears aren’t based in reality and exist only in my own head. My amygdala might tell me that talking to a cute stranger at a bar or walking into a big party full of strangers is a lion-stampede-level hazard, but it is absolutely no such thing. In the vast majority of cases, I can safely ignore my fear. It’s tricky as hell, and my body and brain will fight me the whole time I’m doing it, but the exhilaration of going through with it is worth the risk, and it’s never, ever as bad as I think it’s going to be.
Alexandra Franzen said it better than I could: “Are you willing to feel temporarily uncomfortable so that you can accomplish something that is permanently amazing?”
When I push through my pain aversion during spankings, I reach that endorphin high – that top-of-the-mountain, good-kink buzz that quiets my mind and pleases my body. I impress my dom, and I get to rest easy knowing I’ve earned it when he tells me I’m a good girl.
When I push through my day-to-day anxieties, I get what Alex Franzen calls “glitter-bombs exploding through my veins.” I feel infallible, badass and brave. I gain a new fear reference, a confidence power-up, and whatever rewards await me at the other end of that courageous thing I did. (A date with a hot new acquaintance? A radio show hosting gig to put on my resumé? A hilarious story to tell at the next TMSG?)
Being brave is the hardest thing I ever do, and it’s also the thing that pays off the most. It’s terrifying, but it’s worth it. It feels impossible, but it’s worth it. It’s painful and awful and risky and reckless, but it’s worth it.
Now, what brave things are you gonna do this year?