The Upside of Pain

Our dynamic includes physical pain.

There is much, much, much more to our dynamic than that, but the pain aspect is what's on my mind at the moment.

I don't really think of myself as a pain puppy, but I do recognize that there is an upside of pain.  Oh, I'm not talking about chronic pain or a toothache or anything like that.  I don't enjoy that sort of pain and would gladly do without it as I'm sure most would agree.  But, the sort of pain that comes from being spanked, from having my nipples pinched, etc., well, I definitely get something out of it.

It's perplexing really.  Why would anyone want pain, enjoy pain, perhaps crave it even?  It seems to me that the answer to that is likely multi-faceted, not a fill in the blank, one size fits all sort of thing.

In my curiosity I decided to do a bit of searching and reading on the subject and I thought I'd share an article with you.

In Pursuit Of Happiness: Why Some Pain Helps Us Feel Pleasure grabbed my attention with the first line ...   

The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular.  The truth is, however, very different.  Pleasure alone cannot not make us happy.

The article goes on to say... 

We need pain to provide a contrast for pleasure

Emerging evidence suggests that pain may actually enhance the pleasure and happiness we derive from life. 

Pain promotes pleasure and keeps us connected to the world around us

An excellent example of how pain may enhance pleasure is the experience commonly referred to as “the runners high”.  After intense physical exertion, runners experience a sense of euphoria that has been linked to the production of opioids, a neurochemical that is also released in response to pain.

Experiencing relief from pain not only increases our feelings of happiness but also reduces our feelings of sadness.  Pain may not be a pleasurable experience itself, but it builds our pleasure in ways that pleasure alone simply cannot achieve.

People are constantly seeking new ways to clear their minds and connect with their immediate experiences.  Just think of the popularity of mindfulness and mediation exercises, both of which aim to bring us in touch with our direct experience of the world.  There is good reason to believe pain may be effective in achieving this same goal. Why?  Because pain captures our attention.

Pain literally brings us in touch with our immediate sensory experience of the world, allowing for the possibility that pleasures can become more pleasant and more intense.

Understanding that pain can have a range of positive consequences is not only important for better understanding pain, but may also help us manage pain when it does become a problem.  Framing pain as a positive, rather than negative, increases neurochemical responses that help us better manage pain.

The topic of pain and the correlation between pain and pleasure is an intriguing topic, don't you think?

Would you care to share ... your thoughts/experiences ... info/articles?

I'd love to get more input on this topic and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought about this topic as it relates to ttwd. 


  1. Hi Lilli, this is a great topic and interesting article, thank you for sharing. I think most of us have questioned why anyone would desire pain.


    1. Hi Roz! I found the article interesting, glad you did too! It's kind of a fascinating topic, isn't it? (((hugs)))

  2. I've spent some time wondering why I'm a bit of a masochist. Why do I embrace some kinds of pain and remain terrified of others, even though they don't amount to much. I like that last bit, framing pain as positive, not negative. That I can relate to.

    1. Hi DelFonte! It is odd, isn't it? But then we humans can defy explanation at times, can't we? ;)

  3. Pain and pleasure I think are very closely linked.


    1. That seems very likely to me too, FD! ;)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts