This is a guest post by Erika McLean.

Why do people kneel and let other people order them about and hit them with things?  It’s perhaps the most common thing I get asked when people find out my sexual interests.  Why, why, why?  There are volumes of things written about this but, being as I’m a hard science kind of girl I thought I might share the part of my theory of BDSM that doesn’t involve psychology.  The biology of the brain varies little from person to person, where psychology is hard to pin down.  BDSM causes cascades of hormones and neurotransmitters that saturate the brain and bring with them extraordinary highs and lows of emotion and sensation.  Adrenaline, Oxytocin, Testosterone, and Endorphins - chemical Masters of the brain, we are at thy mercy.

Lots of people are adrenaline junkies.  It’s why people skydive, or race cars, or participates in any activity that consistently puts them in harm’s way.  Adrenaline is a major part of the sympathetic nervous system, aka your Fight or Flight instinct.  The simulated danger and potential for bodily harm in BDSM can cause large doses of this neurotransmitter to be dumped into your bloodstream, increasing your heart rate and giving you a rush.

So, in order for this hormone to be around you have to be hurt or scared right?  Nope.  This reflex can be set off by a stress of any kind, not just physical harm.  Worried about doing well in protocol matters to win your Master’s approval?  Trying something new and feeling a little nervous about it?  Made or did something special and you’re waiting for her to notice?  It’s all the same reaction in your body and in the Moment of Truth those cold hands, speeding heart and hyperventilating breaths are all due to the sudden dump of adrenaline into your bloodstream.

A submissive or masochist is likely to encounter this hormone a lot during their relationship.  Sometimes it could affect your ability to submit after all the instinct of self-preservation is a strong one.  The most important tool to overcome your biological reactions is self-awareness.  Keep tabs on your breathing, your heart rate, and your general emotional state while you are submitting and realize that a couple deep breaths when you’re starting to feel stressed will do wonders for your level of calm.  Other than that though, enjoy the ride.  The rush that hits right before the lash adds a spice to things nothing else can compete with.

Hormone Junkies are experts at manipulating their own biological responses to experience new thresholds of sensation, to push their physical and mental limits.  Adrenaline is not the only contributor to the BDSM biology party though.  Hand in hand come Testosterone, Oxytocin, and Endorphins to round out the experience.  Look for further articles about these hormones in other parts of Hormone Junkies.


Erika McLean of graduated from Husson University.  She lives in Maine with her Dom husband, three kids and pets.