…but how can you tell

re: this post, this advice on mental illness, self-harm, and masochism

Seriously.  How can you tell though?


16 responses to “…but how can you tell

  • Libris

    I think the best advice I ever found about this was to work out /why/ you (general you) self-harm, and then work out whether that is something that masochism could help with or that you want associated with it (in terms of headspaces/thought trains/etc). (And obviously that can get complicated and messy and situational, but it’s a much better starting point than just assuming all self-harm comes from one source.)

  • epochryphal

    this is the most uninformed drivel i ever fucking–

    • epochryphal

      alright ok i’m staying here not. moving to tumblr to argue so:

      – risk reduction and coping mechanisms, pls

      – “”””healthy””””

      – “”must be play”” nah. nah. you know how many people do Processing scenes?

      – “this is noncon/using the top without their consent” ehhhnnn well but not more than like, if you had sex with someone out of self-loathing? is that really nonconsensual?

      – “healthy masochists want to be hurt for fun and pleasure and the joy of submitting” ok one, not always submitting jfc. two, no? it can be about feeling Powerful? testing your limits and endurance and will? i found some folks saying “derive meaning from pain” and Yeah. also some saying “likes to suffer” and Also, Yeah

      – yeah seriously “even if it makes you feel great, the reason is bad and a Good Person would never agree you Could consent. and would be Betrayed if Used that way” uhhh. motivations are not so clear-cut

      – for real, policing the reasons mentally ill people get to have kink? in a history of disabled people being legally ruled unable to consent to sex?? um???? “understanding of consent must be scrutinized” no u??????

      – pls read what Actual Disabled People have written abt s/m and also maybe don’t tell someone they can’t want pain for x reasons when you…have no experience with either those reasons or those desires/wanting pain…..

      *pastes the following link EvEryWhere*


      “I should mention that some disabled people don’t know what we want, or what hurts us, or what harms us. […] What does it mean to say that you want pain, when you’ve spent your whole life pretending pain doesn’t exist because the expression of pain is so horrifying to people? […] Also, what does it mean to have it actually be important and expected that you try to figure out what level of hurt is harm, and what your limits are?”

      like yeah it’s a big hard question to wrestle with but “Play It Safe And Never Conflate Or Combine Kinds Of Pain” is so. prescriptively limited and ignorant of how we have agency and get to figure this out but are Constantly told we don’t get that.

      Disability Context GodDammit

  • Sieketya

    I’ve had some experience with desires towards self-harm as well as kinky masochism, and I think I’m able to distinguish them? It’s mostly been a while since I’ve had the former, but, it comes with pretty overt self-hate and that sort of punishment feeling. But then again, I /don’t/ like punishment in a kinky concept, so there’s nothing to conflate there. So for me, in a simplified description, if it’s like “I’m awful I should be hurt”: no. If it’s like “oh man that would feel good”: yes.

    • epochryphal


      the absolute entitlement to “i the dominant must know every single emotion and reason and thing going on for you the submissive” is disgusting.

      • Libris

        @epochryphal: are you objecting to my response, or to asexual-domme’s response to that? Genuine question, I’m not great at parsing (and currently meds, etc etc bleh)

        More generally, I’m really annoyed about ‘but I don’t think you can use pain to help with anything’, because you cannot really say that masochism is okay and cool and then turn around and say ‘except for anyone with pervasive brain things’. Like, anything I do /ever/ has to be done in mind with organising sensory stimulation correctly, and for the next few years at least, anything ever has to take in mind whether it would help or hinder dissociation; I can’t just turn those off for kink shit because if I could /they wouldn’t exist in the first place/. Just blocking people from doing things that they might enjoy and that you would otherwise support, just because they have brainweird, is pretty fucking annoying and kinda ableist.

      • Coyote

        Wait what, there was a response? Nobody told me!

        (kidding, I mean, you’re telling me right now, thank you for that)

      • Coyote

        (link for future reference)

        Oh. Lol. Apparently “BDSM must be play” doesn’t mean BDSM must be play.

        [tw: suicide]

        Anyway — am I alone in thinking the “dom” (or more inclusively, the pain supplier) doesn’t *need* to be informed? …I mean, I’m sure there’s people for whom that would work out better than not, but in… less than ideal relationships, I could see that turning into, at best, the masochist having to comfort/reassure *the sadist* about *their* [the masochist’s] own issues — kinda like how when depressed folk feel like killing themselves and tell someone about it, that can make people respond in a distressed way that basically calls upon the suicidal person to respond to *their* upset…ness… And anyway, besides that, there are lots of reasons why telling someone your mental health issues might not be safe. And sure, *ideally* you’re only doing pain play with good safe people, but, uh. That doesn’t mean it’s the case for everyone.

        • epochryphal

          “i still don’t agree pain is a valid coping mechanism bc it hasn’t been for me (a non-masochist, with maybe similar brain things)
          …but “the nuance” is important”

          “the nuance” meaning….that the reasons for wanting pain can be different? but…still disagreeing that they’re valid reasons….

          /ok enough of that part

          Yes, Yes, even with a ~good safe perfect dom who will respond perfectly~ you don’t. Ever. Owe telling them abt your self-harm or suicidality or negative emotions or coping or Whatever.

          like even if it’s 10000% Guaranteed Safe. that’s not a moral obligation. it just isn’t. your internal experience is yours, is *private*, is your choice to share/not share.

          this isn’t about negotiating “i need you to do x, and not do y.”

          this is about “i am feeling z” and The Dom Deciding that means you don’t get to do x because They’re Protecting You.

          this is insidious erosion of right to consent. it’s externalizing decisions, it’s setting up disabled and/or submissive people to be called Abusive for Entrapping an abled dom into Enabling them in being Bad.

          it’s a call to lay out all your dirty laundry and trauma and history and motives and thoughts and emotions Ever, before you can be declared Competent To Consent, in order to Protect you from Traumatizing yourself and, more, Implicating a Good Dom in such a nasty complicated affair.

          it’s gross and ableist and domist and entitled and, HEH, abusive.

          • Libris

            Yeah. I am mostly trying to aim for, like, communication and negotiation and making sure everyone knows what’s going on. Like, if I ended up dissociating hard during something, I might want to make sure the other person involved knew to do something. Or I might just want them to know that that might happen and it’s okay, because people freaking out if you’re in anything near a vulnerable situation is Terribad in my experience.

            Also, I think it’s okay for other people to be like ‘I don’t want to play with you then’. Firstly because people can refuse to consent even for shitty reasons; that sucks, but respecting people’s agency is important. Secondly because if they are like ‘ew you have mental illness cooties’, it’s probably better you know that now than discovering it in the middle of a scene. (This is my approach to basically everything that isn’t work: be myself really hard, since if someone doesn’t like it, I don’t want to be friends with them anyway.)

            HOWEVER people being like ‘you shouldn’t do the thing’ are assholes. And basically everything epochryphal said there. And I guess if they do, at least you know they are assholes, and can try and find better people to play with? Harm reduction blahblah.

            But yeah. Different things will fit for different people. I tend to emphasise communication a lot because I personally think it’s important and grew up in a community of extreme repression, but there are always gonna be places where that’s harmful, and people have to judge that for themselves, and hopefully get to a safer place. And yeah, you don’t owe anyone details of your shit, beyond anything that might be truly necessary (like, I dunno, ‘I’m allergic to peanuts, don’t use them in this feeding scene’ or whatever).

  • ☁ | The Ace Theist

    […] needs to be about that same feel when. [sidenote: you may remember asexual-domme from this convo here and here, tw for self harm and pain […]

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