Fight or flight response to bondage

Bondage to provoke a severe stress response

squaddie John not going anywhere. Bondage by smredtop
bondage by smredtop

The "Fight or Flight" response has become a fashionable description of a basic animal instinct. An animal, when cornered, must choose between fighting a threat or fleeing. This involves an assessment of the threat, consideration of the chances of a successful outcome of a fight balanced against the chances of a successful escape.

Fight or Flight response is used to explain some human reactions in a complicated situations such as battlefield combat or a threatening social situation. Traditional military training prepares for the (hopefully rare) situation of life-threatening combat by both repetition of the drills of required responses plus dehumanising of the potential adversaries. Only psychopaths can sustain this illusion indefinitely. Classic battlefield stress scenarios which lead to combat stress disorder arise when this drilling breaks down and the combatant experiences severe contradictions between training (duty) and our common sense or humanity, ie the man realises he is killing other men.

Classic fight or fight symptoms—controlled by a release of adrenaline and other body hormones—include increased breathing and heart rates, increased blood pressure, uncontrolled salivation, sweating, urination, defecation etc.

Constructing a situation where neither fight not flight are possible responses to a real or imagined danger induces stress and the body, restrained from its primal instinctive responses, responds with an enhanced stress response. Classical studies suggest this is anti-erotic, however personal and recent anecdotal experience strongly suggest there is considerable erotic potential in this scenario, particularly among masochists who categorise themselves as "adrenaline junkies" rather than "endorphin junkies" or "pain pigs". Arousal can be either evident at the time or subsequent to release.

From the sub's perspective, the situation of being restrained in a situation of overwhelming bondage with extremely limited possibilities for movement is both overwhelmingly threatening; it's also liberating because the sub has no choices to make, despite his instincts he must endure. The contradictions intensify the fight-or-flight response, which is proscribed by the bondage situation. That such situations are erotic (either by association or by inversion) should not be surprising to those who do not practice conventional sexual relations exclusively.

Overwhelming bondage in a sexual situation also carries the implication and suggestion of rape. There may also be an element of exhibitionism.

The adrenaline response on its own is a vasoconstrictor, is anti-erectile. Other than bondage, another situation which can produce the same response include cold showers and sharp pain (eg from corporal punishment), to which some people also have an erotic response, again either by association or inversion, which overwhelms and counteracts the physiological tendency against erection.

Parachuting and motorcycling also require actions which are counter-intuitive: jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft or steering in to a curve.

Release from such a situation is as problematic as the bondage scenario itself. One reaction is flight, another is disproportionate gratitude and a third is elation at "survival" or "escape". Unquestionably this is masochistic behaviour but it is not necessarily destructive, indeed I would argue that a reasonable amount of seeking and submission to overwhelming bondage situations is much more a strengthening behaviour rather than destructive. Individuals who can cope with such bondage and find an erotic element seem (in my experience) to be unusually self-reliant and self-controlled and self-motivated. It's not generally a pastime for loosers.

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