Is Pain Real?

Recently I was witness to someone jamming 8 gauge hooks through their partner’s back and all I could think about was how much love they both had in their eyes.


It’s funny to find yourself at a violent sex spectacle and thinking about how much emotion and intelligence is in the room.

But actually it’s not at all because those are vital components to the process.


I’m a newbie when it comes to needles and knives, but a veteran of recontextualizing pain.

Recently I’ve been using Curable to retrain my brain and reframe my pain. I’ve always known about and respected the mind body connection, but this app is full of interviews from specialists and survivors and practitioners that have learned how to handle their chronic conditions without the aid of pharmaceuticals.

A large amount of overlapping evidence has been collected, all of which suggests that altered brain mechanisms greatly contribute to chronic pain. Neuroimaging research has identified multiple brain regions involved in processes of pain, sensory, motor, cognitive, motivational, memory, emotion, and fear that are related to chronic pain. 

A study was done via fMRI with a group of chronic back pain (CBP) patients and healthy controls while executing a simple visual attention task. They discovered that chronic pain patients, despite performing the task equally well as controls, displayed reduced deactivation in several key default mode network regions. These findings demonstrate that chronic pain has a widespread impact on overall brain function, and suggest that disruptions of the DMN may underlie the cognitive and behavioural impairments accompanying chronic pain.

What the fuck is the DMN?

The default mode network (DMN) is a network of interacting brain regions known to have activity highly correlated with each other and distinct from other networks in the brain. All of these regions have been associated with some aspect of internal thought. 

Because the default mode network is most active at rest and because of the structures involved, some people have posited that it is associated with introspective thought, including activities like daydreaming or retrieving memories. Others have suggested, however, that the activity may just be related to physiological processes unrelated to any particular activity – even resting – though this opinion seems to be falling out of favour.

What the fuck does this have to do with being hung by your back?

If your body can manifest ongoing pain via the brain, can it shut it off?


I couldn’t know for sure based on this experience, but what this did show me was how powerful love can be.

The room this was executed in was anything but sexual, there was a crowd of spectators and the entire experience was scored with death metal.

I was expecting to shoot something really bloody, not beautiful.

But the amount of support his partner physically and energetically gave to him in that moment was palpable. Maybe I felt it so strongly because I could zoom in close enough to see sweat, but the feedback from the room made it clear I wasn’t the only one feeling it.


She put her head to his chest to feel his heart beat.

She sang the words of his song into his face.

He held onto her shoulders throughout the entire process - until he felt comfortable enough with both feet of the ground to be fully suspended unassisted.

Energetically everyone in that room felt that moment.

The scene ended with cheering, cheersing and a lot of kissing.


And just a bit of blood…


Want to learn how to turn a suburban basement into a violent sex palace? I’m teaching a course on the introvert’s introduction to erotica this summer at camp do more.

I can hardly human and yet, I can be in this room.

Click here to join me at camp and learn how to be weird while capturing weird and have it all be okay!

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Taylor Oakes