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Kink and Fibromyalgia

Posted in Life, and Sex & Relationships

Being 'served' by my pet. Photo by Fyrehart.

I have been considering writing about this topic because I wanted to give my own perspective on how kink can help people with Fibromyalgia. I think it’s important to talk openly about the ways that sex helps us — especially sex outside what can dubiously be defined as ‘normal.’  There are plenty of people who will talk about how they believe an open and free sexuality to be destructive, so we need as many voices saying the opposite as we can.

As stated above, I have Fibromyalgia, a poorly understood chronic pain condition. It causes severe muscle pain, and thanks to its buddy Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which is probably just another side of the same condition) sleep disturbances, lack of energy and sometimes mental confusion (the infamous “fibro fog”). My condition varies from day to day, but it is difficult to impossible for me to work most jobs and I am almost always in some, often significant amount of pain.

The most obvious benefit that kinky behavior has for me is honestly the one I am least interested in writing about here — endorphins. Yup, those happy little brain chemicals that get released from pleasure, pain, and exercise are great for me, providing intense relief that’s better than anything I’ve ever taken from a pharmacy. When I am submitting to someone, or otherwise experiencing consensual pain and intense sensation, it can distract me from the bad pain in my body. The act of submission — in its deepest, most psychologial form, is an act of meditation, a loss of focus and control that can be deeply relaxing and therapeutic.

But as a switch — someone who can either dominate or submit or move fluidly between the two extremes — I can experience another side of this dynamic. It’s these more subtle gifts from kink that interest me the most right now. Dominating someone is a kind of meditation too, and I enter a kind of ‘dom space’ where I focus on them so intensely that my own aches and pains become far less important (at least up to a point). More than that, however, I have been coming to realize the deep benefits I receive from being served.

The thing is, I am a very independent, strong-willed person. I like to do things for myself, when I can. At the same time I’m a very nurturing person — I love to cook, to listen, to give advice when asked for it, and to otherwise see to the needs of others around me. I know that, as a hedonist, my happiness depends on the happiness of those around me and I do what I can to cultivate that. As a result, however, I sometimes have trouble asking for help when I need it. Even after decades with this condition, it is still hard to accept on my bad days that this strong, otherwise essentially healthy and still youthful body, is simply unable to do what I want it too. It’s all too easy for me to force myself to do more than I should when I’ve run out of “spoons.” This can easily lead to a self-destructive spiral where I try to do too much, and find myself with less and less to work with until I crash.

Yet I am coming to realize how different this can be when I am spending time with one of my service-oriented submissive lovers. For someone who really enjoys doing for me and pleasing me, I can actually nurture by making them do stuff. The act of doing something for me is deeply pleasing to such a sub, and this in turn makes me happy and keeps me from overexerting myself. This can be as simple as asking for another refill on my drink from the soda fountain (saving me from a walk across a restaurant that is painful on some days) or as detailed as asking that the groceries be put away and dinner started while I lie down.

For some reason this is still a difficult lesson for me to learn, and I still catch myself, for example, lifting that heavy box when I know I shouldn’t and I know it’s well within the abilities of my pet. Little by little I am reprogramming myself to ask for more help and I think it’s making me a more skillful dominant too, better able to please my lovers. Just like people can villify sex, it’s also easy to talk about the ways a submissive benefits from a BDSM relationship — it’s often heard in the scene that’s it’s ‘really all about the sub,’ but it’s of course much more complex than that. And if it works, both sides learn and benefit.

Of course, fibromyalgia also presents its own challenges when it comes to sex and kink, but that’s a topic for another post.

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  • Fedeghost

    Sometimes I serve you because I am in submissive mode. Sometimes I serve you because I am in helpful nurturing girlfriend mode. And sometimes I serve you because you are obviously having a hurty Fibro day. I feel bad that I do not always offer to serve you, but I am glad that you have been asking for it more and more. I does make me feel good to do for you just because you are my Daddy, but it makes me feel even better to know that it helps with your pain.

  • Kit

    I recognize that your help comes from many places, and I value it no matter in what spirit you offer it. It’s funny because on one level I recognize intellectually that people who care about me want to do nice things for me and help me ‘just cause’, just like I like to do things for them just because I care. Yet it seems like only being Dominant allows me to so easily short-circuit the pride, independence, or fear of being a burden that sometimes keeps me from asking for the help I need.


  • Stacey Diane Langley

    Thanks for writing this. You know I can relate.

    miss anastacia

  • Kit

    And thank YOU for stopping by to comment, girl!

  • Ravens_Flare

    Well as you know I know this all to well… I just wish I could learn this lesson of not doing to much, not lifting things I shouldn’t, when to stop, when to let go and delegate, and let my loved ones do things for me. I have a special challenge that way, as a collared switch sometimes things are asked of me I just can’t do then, it is then up to me to tell Sir the limitation that is causing it, which is sometimes harder than the job itself. This really is one of the reasons Sir and I have considered getting a service based submissive. One of these days we will be lucky enough to find such a girl, but for now I do what I can. I also do what I must.

    Thank you for this post Kit, many people don’t get to see our world through not only our eyes, but those of our loved ones too.

    And well you and I could go on and on about the physical & mental bonuses. My “sub space” is my white noise, the place where the constant thought processes stop and the world becomes quiet except for Sir or the person playing me, or both. The fact that a good beating can feel like a message, and well when you get the marks that are really ouchie, sometime you think more about them that then pain.

  • Kit

    Flare: Yeah this is a real challenge for any of us with Fibro, I think, to not only know our limitations but also respect them!

    Sub space is such a valuable meditative place for many submissives, myself included when I go that way. It’s not so different than what people seek in sitting ‘zazen’, just you know… sexual and with beatings involved. :)

    One thing that’s helped me is a special safeword invented by Haiku_Slut on FL. Using the word ‘position’ followed by a bodypart, such as ‘position left hip’ means ‘you need to adjust my position to better favor my left hip, or I am going to have to really safeword soon.’ It has helped me when I am subbing and I just introduced it to my newest lover, who also has Fibro.

  • Ravens_Flare

    hee hee hee… what is this Fibro kinksters of the world unite? Not such a bad thing… Sir appreciates me being vocal about it, and as we make the joke I phone it in, I will have to try position… not a bad idea, between the fibro and the severe arthritis I can run into that easily. One bonus of our very long term relationship is he has learned to look for signs something is wrong… if I start moving in an odd way, or such. I have to admit this is part of the reason I love needle play, all the subspace little awkward positioning. Sir also loves to do energy work with needles, which helps with the pain too. I just go in my little place in my mind, listen to trance type music, and the nudge me a bit to see if I am ok. ha ha ha.

    • Kit

      I can’t help but wonder if people with conditions like ours are attracted to this lifestyle!

      It’s true, an aware Top or Dominant can read so much from their submissive… and there’s all kinds of things we’re just not aware of in that moment. I remember feeling great with endorphins, but having a Domme untie me because my leg was twitching so much she knew it would hurt soon, even though it wasn’t yet.

      I am very eager to experience needles and the endorphins they bring. Your description makes it sound even more fabulous.

  • Ravens_Flare

    Yeah I could see that, the not feeling something and it causing an issue, I don’t drop during bondage. I think it is a couple of factors: 1. I like to try to escape. Which can cause problems in and of it’s self. 2. I am well trained in first aid and I watch myself for circulation and neurologic issues. I think this is why Sir find playing with me with the crops and stuff like fun, not to mention the tickling possibilities. Usually if it was just a chest harness it is not really a big deal, depending on how he does it, mostly than we have to worry about my joints. If I mention joint issues starting we take it off or retie with my arms in a different position.
    Yes needles are fun, but I suggest making sure whoever you let stick you has experience, or it may not be as much fun as it sounds.

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  • LittleMiss

    Wow, I just came across this blog, and it made me cry. I have Lupus, fibro and arthritis, and I am now starting to understand why I want to dabble with pain and sex. I am so happy that there are people like you who are exploring these issues and making them known to the world. Thank you!!!

    • Kit

      Thank you so much! It means a lot to me that this blog post touched you and maybe helped you understand a bit about yourself. The idea that sex can be so beneficial to us (even if our conditions sometimes make it difficult) is not one which I think is talked about openly, even less so when you begin to integrate kink and BDSM. I’m always happy to talk about this subject, so please feel free to get in touch if you want or have suggestions for future topics.

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  • Kinky_Pet


    I was writing to ask your view on Fibromyalgia and Needle Play. I am so worried about Fibromyalgia and me doing the kinks I want to try. Last time I did what I wanted I ended up flaring for a few days. Seems I am doing a ton of research as well as my play partner.

    Do you have any information on the subject, do you do it yourself? Do you have a place I could go to on the web that could give more information on the topic?


    • Kit


      I don’t have a lot of experience with needle play, though it is an area that interests me. I have another kinky friend with Fibro and I will ask her about it and try to get back to you on this one.

      In general, the endorphins I gain from play are good for my Fibromyalgia. If you’re flaring up hard afterward I wonder if you are pushing yourself too far? I’m curious what kind of play led to this flare up and if you can track whether its a certain kind of thing that does it.

      As for a ‘place on the web’ — I can only suggest FetLife. There are a number of Fibromyalgia and Kink discussion groups on that site.


    • Kit

      @Kinky_Pet: To follow up, my kinky friend with Fibro is terrified of needles so she can’t offer much. It looks like you found my favorite Fibro support group on FetLife and got some good answers. Feel free to get in touch with more questions!

  • I appreciate so many aspects of this post.
    I hadn’t considered the benefits of endorphins on pain, but that’s a brilliant connection. Chronic pain and acute pain both respond to endorphins. The next time my knee is hurting and the hubby suggests sex, I’ll say yes and use those babies to make me feel better, rather than say no and focus on the discomfort.
    Your idea to use your subs to help you, thus benefiting and pleasing you both, is great. You are lucky to be surrounded by people like that in such a situation.
    My mom had FM and a slew of other issues, so I am all too familiar with the pain, fatigue, confusion. She had the same nasty habit of doing way too much and paying for it. When I visited, it was almost like our roles were reversed – I was the parent taking care of her. She hated that the vast majority of our visits were us just hanging out and talking rather than being out in the world, but I didn’t mind – it was quality time spent together.
    I wish you the best. Thank you so much for sharing your story and how you’ve found a mutually beneficial way to work with it.

    • Kit

      @Mia: It’s a question of balance. There are days I just hurt too much to even get started having sex, but when I am able it almost always helps and leaves me feeling better, at least for a while. There are still times when a sudden sharp pain will derail the fun, but we try our best to adapt, adjust, and return to the fun later when we can’t continue right away.

      The Fibro does require a lot of the adaptability you describe — days when we cancel plans to go to the kink party and stay in because I can’t handle being on my feet that much, for example. At my last anniversary I shared with Pet, we planned to go out for Indian and see a movie together & make out in the theater. We settled instead for staying in, watching a Redbox DVD rental, and ordering Chinese delivery. We still had fun.

      I’m glad this spoke to you and keep me posted on your own journey. I think it’s important to talk openly about both sex & pain, in addition to the places they overlap.

  • Krissi

    Thank you for writing this. I am also a switch, but most of my activity is being a sub as I have found great relief from my pain through, ironically, pain.

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