The other day, I was listening to the Ropecast (Graydancer’s podcast about shibari and other kinky things), and much to my delight, Midori was a guest. She and Graydancer talked about a variety of topics, including her “Elements of Suffering” performance.

In describing “Elements of Suffering,” Midori talked about the Japanese cultural virtue of enduring. She didn’t elaborate on the reasons that enduring is a Japanese virtue; she just explained that it’s a common theme. And then she related that back in to her “Elements of Suffering” performance, talking about the idea of enduring hardship (or suffering).

When I first started reading books about BDSM (thank you,, for making it easy for shy kinksters to get their hands on good reading material!), one of the first books I read was Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton’s New Bottoming Book. In it, they tell the reader to think about what it is that he or she wants to get out of bottoming. In other words, what are you looking for, what do you want to achieve — why are you doing this?

It wasn’t a question I could answer right away; certainly not until I got involved with other kinky people and started playing at parties. Even then, I was just trying to learn everything I could, experience everything I could (or what I was willing to experience), and see what I liked.

Figuring out why I liked it could come later.

And, eventually, what I realized was that, when I bottom, what I want is to endure. I want to take the flogging/beating/pain and get through it, get past it, and see what’s on the other side. (I also want to be praised for taking the pain, to be told I’m a good girl, but that’s not my primary motivator in bottoming.)

This is very much in contrast with T.’s goal in bottoming; he very often wants to be broken, to be pushed to the point where he can’t take the pain any more. And as much as I’ve gone there with him, as his top, it’s not something I want to experience as a bottom.

Neither way is “right,” of course; when it comes to kink, there’s only what’s right for any given person. And it’s endlessly fascinating to me to see just how many permutations there can be, how many different ways people have to embrace and express their kink.