Research on pain and pleasure shows that our reactions to those are similar. Moreover, the facial expressions we make during an orgasm are similar to those we make while in pain. Neuroscientist Barry Komisaruk has also conducted fMRI research to see whether there is any connection between pleasure and pain. This relationship could be beneficial for evolution, as it would simplify the way humans interact with their environment. However, it is important to be careful when bringing pain into your sexual life.
The connection between pleasure and pain has been recognized since the time of Plato. In his famous dialogue, Socrates describes the sensation of pleasure when he rubs his aching leg. While this may not seem like a very practical explanation, it is one of the oldest and most well-known examples of the interplay between pleasure and pain. Psychologists have also recognized this phenomenon, stating that “the mind seeks balance.” While this may seem counter-intuitive, the theory is now embraced by modern psychologists. Painful pleasure, also known as kinesthetic sensation, is an intense form of enjoyment that stimulates the reward system of the brain. For masochists, pain is a source of catharsis, a state of deep pleasure that is unachievable in other forms of sexual intercourse. In a purely physical relationship, it is the same thing.
To understand the relationship between pain and pleasure, one must understand how these two emotions are related. Even if we experience mild pain, we will still respond positively to it. This is because we are conditioned to prefer pleasure. It has been hypothesized that our brains respond to intense, contrasting pain with low intensity. As we learn more about pain, we can begin to make sense of the connections between the two.