Sensory overload – When the six senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, & proprioception in any combination become stimulated so as to induce a temporary haze of brain confusion. (UrbanDictionary.com)
I have touched on sensory overload in other posts but lately have become so conscious of it in sessions that I forced myself to give some thought to what it means for me and how I experience it.
I once had a session of just one hour with a young and rather beautiful dominatrix at the famous Pandoras Box dungeon in New York. Within ten minutes or so of walking into the dungeon she had me at my absolute limit, half of me mentally yelling the safe word, the other wanting to beg for more. She kept me at exactly that edge between bearable/unbearable for perhaps 30 or 40 minutes, an amazing feat for someone who had never seen me before. I guess she could have got me to that place simply by using well chosen nipple clips. However what kept me there for so long and made this session beyond intense and still real for me ten or more years later, was that nipple clips were just one of a whole arsenal of weapons she had brought to bear. I was also experiencing pain from weights attached to my balls, a spiky leather strap tight round my cock, lines of pegs across my stomach and a flogger on my back. The fact that all these sensations were arriving at the same time seemed to take the experience to a whole new level. I was totally spent but euphoric at the end.
More recently I’ve found it is the moment when pain and pleasure arrive at the same that has that transcendental effect. Last year I had a session with an American mistress. She had been applying ever increasing pressure to my nipples. This always does it for me but the electrified clips that she had been working up to were pretty extreme. They went on softly but as soon as she switched the power on my back arched involuntarily as an instant surge of real pain appeared from nowhere. I knew immediately I was in trouble; breathing hard, writhing on the bed and asking myself what might be a respectable interval before I used the safe word because I certainly couldn’t handle these clips for long. Then she did the simplest of things: sitting beside me on the bed she started to rub her hand softly in wide circles over my stomach; not an overtly sexual or even sensual act but its impact was profound. I wanted to enjoy the soft cool touch of her hand but all my capacity to process sensation was fully occupied with the waves of pain coming from my nipples. I found myself fighting to get on top of the pain, control my reactions to it and push it deeper below my consciousness. I started to get my breathing under control, and focussed as much attention as I could on her touch, eventually balancing the pleasure and pain sensations, letting both wash through me and enjoying the feeling of having regained control of myself in an extreme situation.
I recently had a similar experience, the gentle massage from one participant creating a counterpoint to the harsh pain being inflicted by another during a highly charged and kinky threesome. The competing sensations overwhelmed my ability to process them, pushing me deep into subspace.
I find that an orgasm driven by this type of pain/pleasure sensory overload becomes something very special. The river of pleasure sensations form a reservoir of pent up emotion waiting to burst. The pain sensations prevent the orgasm from happening, creating a high dam, behind which the volume of pleasure and emotion relentlessly increases. An experienced mistress will keep adding layer upon layer of pain to the damn, delaying the orgasm until the moment when she finally allows the dam to burst in an emotional and physical release that takes over my whole body and leaves me shaking for minutes and feeling drained for hours. The intensity of this orgasm and its aftermath goes beyond anything I have experienced in ‘normal’ intercourse.
I don’t have the understanding of either physiology or psychology to explain what is going on below the surface here. Perhaps the answer is in the dictionary definition I started with and what I experience is a “temporary haze of brain confusion” bought on by the traffic jam of pleasure and pain signals waiting to be processed by the brain. Perhaps what I feel is driven by the complex cocktail of chemicals, adrenaline and endorphins whose release is triggered by these competing sensations. What I am sure of is that, for me at least, this is why BDSM is such an important part of my life. Experiencing such extremes of sensation and emotion sends me back into the world refreshed and recharged ready to look life straight in the eye, knowing I have been tested and survived.
I would love to hear of other people’s experience of sensory overload. If you have been taken to these places or others, please add your story to ‘comments’.