Love & Sex

S&M May Very Well Get You High

Pin it

Whips and chains excite me, indeed.

S&M is a long-standing sexual practice that still remains a bit hush-hush, depending on which circles you travel in. The DSM-V (the literal book on psychological disorders) still classifies BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) as merely an "unusual sexual fixation" — at least until it causes harm — but has had some trouble hammering down what causes the urge in people to participate. 

Science has taken another step towards full understanding of all things, including our love for fetish play. Using the Stroop test (a simple cognitive test involving colors), researchers found that while subjects were either submitting or dominating, their results on the test were lower. That means that when you're not having some S&M sex, your brain is more on point. When you are, you're in some sort of altered state.

Similar results were achieved during the "Dance of Souls," a painful, temporary-piercing dance. You can read a fuller description here, but what it boils down to is that although subjects were in pain, they were less stressed. Think of it as Hulk-ing out, or really pushing yourself during athletics. Your body hurts, but you're not really there. They were in "flow," as Live Science said. 

If you want it in scientific terms, James Ambler, a graduate student, told Live Science, "The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is responsible, in part, for distinguishing self from the other. If less blood flows to the brain during these intensely painful experiences, the result may be a feeling of oneness." 

Trying not to gag on all that (the safety word is 'butterscotch'), imagine what this could mean for your life. The next time you're on a roll at work, hitting the weights hard at the gym, or just really rocking out your macrame, think of how you could feel that good and be having sex. Who knows, you might be breaking out a riding crop sooner that you thought. 

Image via Eduardo Santos