Good pain (BDSM)

Good pain and bad pain are terms used lightheartedly by BDSM practitioners, signifying that whilst BDSM may include an element (often quite pronounced) consensual pain, there is a purpose to it, and some pain is consented to and accepted whilst other pain is not.

"Good pain" is therefore pain which is mutually agreed, desired or permitted by the submissive partner to be experienced, and seen by them as of enjoyment or value. Examples might be, the pain of being bound in a position which becomes gradually harder to handle, or the pain or some forms of sensation play such as whips or edgeplay.

"Bad pain" is by contrast, pain which is outside hard limits, non-mutual or non-valued, not wished for, and of limited or no value in this context. Examples might be the pain of a spasming muscle, a clinical injury or fever, of a non-consensual physical assault such as a punch, deliberate triggering of a phobia, or an accident such as walking into a lamp-post or a door by mistake.

Sometimes the categorization may vary depending on individual and context -- for example punching or rough sex may be agreeable to some and not others, and pins and needles may be seen by some as part of the need to endure in BDSM and therefore an integral part of it, and by others as beyond their desired limits and "bad". Likewise a pain that is "good" during a scene where it is agreeable, may be viewed as "bad" for example, the next day in a domestic context or walking down the street.

A minority view is that some people see all pain as teaching limits and self-discipline, and therefore argue that this is a false distinction. Such people often also do not believe in hard limits, arguing there should be total trust and no preset assumptions.

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