Last week I let a guy put a total of 314 clothespins on me, then rip them off. It took maybe an hour to apply them, then maybe ten of the most painful minutes to rip them off.
This may have been the most painful experience of my life, depending on your definition of pain. If you define pain as unpleasant, inherently unhappy, then this definitely would not qualify, as I never found myself unhappy throughout the experience. If you define pain as merely the physical sensation on your flesh, then this was probably close to if not the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.
This happened down at the local sex-positive club with maybe twenty to thirty people watching. To have that many people watching me, butt naked, go through something that intense was surreal, and possibly one of my favorite aspects.
When they first started going on they hurt a lot more than I expected. I’d tested them earlier and it was no big deal, but when they are placed right next to each other on sensitive areas, it’s a little more intense. At first I didn’t think I’d make it very far, but I pushed through it and felt the endorphins that didn’t numb the pain, but made it manageable by helping me see the humor and bringing me this odd sense of comfort. It became almost a meditative sensation.
The pain would subside to tolerable levels after each one had been on a few minutes. After a while I just lay there in a daze until he got down to my thighs. For some reason those hurt notably worse than the others and I found myself jumping more and waking up from my trance.
My arms were going steadily more tingly, and was becoming very unpleasant. I wasn’t tied down or anything so I could move my arms, but not enough to actually give me much relief. He finally decided he was done, not wanting to do any damage to my arms, and because I was running short on loose skin. Then he disappeared, which I hoped would happen, as my original plan had been to get up and hide from him at this point, running around the sex club yelling at him to try to catch me, with all these clothespins hanging off me. I told this to the guy watching over me and if I remember correctly (my memory is a little fuzzy) he offered to help me off the table and even hide me. That was not even a possibility for me though as I was so high and in so much pain I couldn’t even think about moving.
Then people started gathering around, as my top must have been out rounding them up to watch the show. He came back and started ripping the strips off. I think he was usually grabbing the strings on either end of each strip and just yanking them off in one pull. Oh, Lord, did I scream, alternating between open screaming and biting into my pillow. He gave me rests between each one, where I could look out at the faces of the crowd, (noting the beautiful naked lady right up front) and do my best to crack decent jokes about my situation. It was pretty surreal to have twenty strangers watching me, butt naked, in such a vulnerable and emotionally intense situation, but I was more than happy they were there.
He waited to do my legs last, laughing at how openly terrified I was, then finally ripping both the strips, from my thighs to my ankles, in one quick pull, which was most likely the singular most physically painful moment of my life.
Then the pain rapidly subsided over the next few minutes, to replaced with a dull ache, running in lines up my body. In the end, the whole event took about an hour and a half. My mild altered reality and the sense of deep comfort continued for an hour or so afterward.
When I tell stories like this I usually get one of two reactions. The first and most common is something that amounts to “holy crap, that’s awesome.” The other, of course, is “holy crap, you’re insane. Why would you do that to yourself?”
So to answer, I would say that yes, it is pretty awesome… if you choose to see it that way. Is it insane? Well, if you take the classic definition of “doing the same thing but expecting different results”, insane doesn’t apply, as I was well aware that I was going to be in a lot of pain and I wouldn’t expect anything different the next time. Insane in terms of risk? I doubt there’s any real risk of nerve damage or anything.
So why do it?
The spectators were a happy bonus. It was nice to know I put on such a show that they all stood there in awe, but I didn’t know if anyone would be watching when I agreed to this so that had nothing to do with it.
The real reason was self-exploration. Yes it was at a sex club, I was butt naked, and it was likely a different story for the guy applying them but for me there was nothing sexual about this. I used to think these kinds of things had to be a turn-on in order to appreciate them, but I find now that’s not true. I posted another image of this to Facebook and one of my Christian friends posted this: “What can you know of yourself if you don’t know how you respond to pain?” which I think sums up my reasoning.
A huge part is about understanding pain, learning to control it, and to deal with it. I’ve never been in any truly painful situations in my life. How do I know how I’ll react if I sustain a serious injury? Would a painful injury effect me emotionally? How would I deal with that? These are important questions to ask yourself and I decided to just go one step further and experiment a little.
The same can be said about other aspects. Being naked and vulnerable in front of people I don’t really know, it’s shock therapy in a sense, forcing me to become more comfortable with being in difficult situations. It’s important to have the courage to place yourself in painful or humiliating situations in the real world, when it becomes apparent that it’s in your best interest, and this is excellent practice.
Another reason is to gain a little empathy for others who may be in legitimate pain. For someone like me who has never dealt with much pain in my life, this can be help me understand.
I also feel like there’s a chemical imbalance in our brains these days as a result of our sanitized and safety-obsessed society. We need a little danger to be emotionally healthy. Our brains were not designed to live in comfort and safety for our entire lives. Our minds and souls were designed to live through gritty, brutal and animalistic experiences. Fortunately we can reduce those real-world experiences, but we need to supplement those in a safe and consensual environment, otherwise, our core instincts may get the better of us and present themselves in much more destructive ways.
Beyond that, it’s just a fun experience and a cool story to tell.