Pat wrote me a while back (yes I know I’m slow but he knows I always get to it eventually) wondering why we engage in risky behavior. Now because of the subject matter of this site I’ll obviously be discussing it based on the risky behavior of some men in the fetish realm. So let’s identify what would be considered risky fetish behavior.
Before I get started on this, at the risk (see what I did there) of everyone leaving comments like, “anyone who does this is insane,” my return comment to you is…duh, that’s what we’re talking about here. So let’s refrain from commenting on the obvious shall we?
When it comes to risky fetish behavior the first thing that comes to mind is sexually transmitted disease. So we’ll put that at number one because I know of many submissive men who engage in extremely risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex with other men they haven’t bothered to do medical checks on. The turn-on in this case is actually the fact that they might get HIV. Remember we’ll get in to the why later.
The next perilous practice I would put on our list would be financial domination or more specifically blackmail. Blackmail or losing control of the power of your finances can be very risky not just from the obvious loss of funds but now we add the treacherous thought of getting caught. It’s both the getting caught part and the loss of control that is the turn-on.
Another fetish that comes to mind is medical domination. Let’s face it laying yourself bare; quite literally, on a table and having someone who is NOT a medical doctor do an extreme procedure such as penile re-shaping or castration is pretty scary.
Those are the top three as far as I am concerned. Of course there are a ton of others that could fall on our list but that will give those of you who didn’t know that any of this existed a good overview of what we’re tackling here.
So I have a question for you. Did you notice a trend in all of these practices?
Yup you guessed it…fear.
You might have come up with a couple of others but if you peel away all the layers of this behavior it boils down to – fear.
So why do we want to be afraid? Isn’t that something we as humans try to avoid? For most of us, yes. But for many of us that feeling of fear becomes an adrenaline rush, which happens to be one of the reasons we engage in risky behavior.
To put it in more mainstream terms that you might be able to grasp a bit better, think of Halloween. Halloween is a major industry as is horror in general. Halloween is my personal favorite time of year because I adore scaring the crap out of people. And we LOVE having the shit scared out of us. The idea of walking down a dark corridor not knowing who or what might jump out at us gets our blood rushing and our hearts racing.
Or if Halloween isn’t your thing think about amusement parks or more specifically roller coasters. Now roller coasters I HATE. But again look at what we put ourselves through. The anticipation of waiting in line which is usually a mile long and winds through half the park so that by the time you’ve been in it about a half hour you’re so far up to the front you can’t back out. You’re committed. And thus begins the panic. Your heart starts to race knowing there’s no way out and you’re about to board the car; you’re at the platform and it’s time to get in. If you pussy out now you’ll look like a tool so you push yourself to step in then what do they do? They sloooowly take you up that first hill. All you hear is that god awful ticking of the chain pulling you up to the peak. By now, for me anyway, I’ve just had a litter of kittens all over the floor of the car and we haven’t even started yet. Then you get to the top and you see nothing but sky because it’s a drop-off and then over you go with my lifeless body flopping next to you. We scream our heads off, some of us throw up but when it’s all over 45 seconds later we get off and say, “LET’S DO IT AGAIN!” Okay everybody but me, but you get my point…fear.
So like I said don’t point fingers just because someone else’s adrenalin rush is different from yours. You see the ladies and gentlemen who engage in the sexual form of roller coasters and Halloween are doing it for the same reason. But that still brings us back to why. Why do we love to be scared?
In the case of fear it’s the hormone adrenalin that gives us that fast heart rate and puts us in our fight or flight mode. For some folks adrenalin is their rush of choice. Emergency room physicians for example thrive on it. Have you ever seen someone do something you thought was crazy only to see a HUGE smile on their face and hear them proclaim, “I’ve never felt so ALIVE!!” That’s adrenalin. But that’s not the only chemical at play with risk. Nor are chemicals the only reason we engage in risky behavior.
My love of medicine as well as the mind had me getting in to autopsies years ago. One thing that stood out was the coroners discussing that the majority of deaths involving young men aged 15 to about 24 was risky behavior. One story that comes to mind was a young lad who was mattress surfing on the top of a car. The mattress was in no way tied down it just sat on the roof of the car as the guy lay on top of it and away they went. Well it doesn’t take too much imagination to figure out the result. The mattress flips up from the front after being lifted by air and both he and the mattress flip backwards resulting in this guy hitting the pavement at a high rate of speed and then shortly thereafter… the autopsy table.
Although no one had done a scientific study about it then, maybe now I don’t know, the general consensus from coroners is that testosterone is a killer. You just didn’t see as many girls behaving the same way and ending up on their tables. This comes from the primal center of our brains. Men behave this way because it’s programmed in them to a degree. Like a peacock having to strut its stuff for the ladies. And testosterone is a big influencer in risky sexual behavior as well. But it’s not as easy as saying men are idiots. It can also be a combination of chemical factors and development that are at play.
Start with the fact that the human brain is not fully formed until after the age 21-ish. It’s different for everyone but roughly that age. The last part of the brain that develops is our ability to perceive consequence. That is why you hear defense lawyers always saying that a child didn’t have the ability to know what he was doing. That’s a bit of a stretch because they know right from wrong but they cannot conceive of the end result of what they’re doing. They are unable to stop and think, if I do this it could affect the rest of my life or worse. I remember a case where a child of about 11 had killed his parents and when he was taken in for questioning he kept asking for his mother. To him it was a video game and his parents should have just got up and kept going.
Okay that explains why adolescents engage in risky behavior but what is an adult’s other excuse besides testosterone and adrenalin?
The answer is Dopamine.
That pesky little neurotransmitter that makes us feel FABULOUS! It isn’t called the ‘feel good’ chemical for nothing. Dopamine is the reason we feel good after a yummy meal or when we win a hand of poker or for the ladies, buying that pair of shoes. It’s also the reason we become addicts. Drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine artificially squeeze out as much dopamine as our little bodies can possibly produce making us feel artificially fantastic. So in the case of our fetish risk taker there’s a certain satisfaction in a submissive male after he’s proved himself worthy in whatever way he enjoys submitting.
Now when we sprinkle sex on top of our crazy sundae we have to throw in the chemicals that make us have that delicious afterglow we love and bask in after a good roll in sack – oxytocin and our friends the endorphins, those yummy chemicals that give us that mellow cuddly feeling we get after sex.
With all of these chemicals coursing through your body it’s a wonder more people aren’t cliff diving their way through life. Luckily our bodies have mechanisms in place to prevent us from being a race of imbeciles who can’t live past the age of 20. So whether it’s age related or chemical we all at some point do something that we know was really risky and if you’re reading this you obviously survived and now you might be a little more aware of why you did it and hopefully don’t repeat it. I’d start by turning down that offer to mattress surf on your buddy’s car and try my list of ladies who’d be happy to help you part with your pension, it’s a little less risky. 😉