Make me Cry: Cathartic Scenes

submissive girl hair pulled sub space

One thing some male D-types have trouble with is shedding the mainstream societal expectation that a man should never strike a woman. In this community, so long as it’s consensual, it’s something sought after by many. I don’t mean to say that this issue isn’t possible for female D-types or male s-types, just that the male-hitting-female scenario has the more prevalent stigma. Add to that some streaming tears? Oh boy. Makes it that much more difficult if you are one of the D-types I’m referring to. Now you’ve hit (in this case) a girl AND made her cry?! You should feel bad, right?

Not necessarily. However, it can be very difficult for D-types and s-types to understand why some s-types want to end up in a puddle of tears. For many s-types who are looking for, or asking for, a “cathartic” scene that allows them to break down and cry it is a major stress reducer.

For many it is very difficult to allow ourselves permission to cry. We grow up with the idea that we must be “strong” and in order to be strong that means we shouldn’t break down. We shouldn’t let ourselves cry, especially in front of others.
So many of us “strong” s-types have demanding jobs, family obligations, children, etc. We can’t afford to stop and “let it all out”. So going through a scene, being physically hit and pushed to limits (with consent of course) is our way of finding permission to let it all go. Thoughts like, “crying due to stress or an emotional issue isn’t ok – but it’s totally understandable if you’re getting beat.” Now, of course that’s not true. It is absolutely ok to cry in response to other things in life. However, like I said, at times it may not feel appropriate or “worthy” of tears.

Are there other reasons why someone would want to have a cathartic scene? Yes of course, however, I believe this reason is a pretty common one for many.

So what do you do if it’s tough for you (if you’re a D-type) or your partner (if you’re an s-type) to bring you to tears? Obviously you have to communicate about it to one another. Start slow. It may not end in tears at first, but perhaps a slow build up is what will work best. For some D-types they really don’t want to be responsible for their s-types tears and will, therefore, allow the s-type to do a cathartic scene with another D-type whom they trust.
With whichever way you choose to handle it, usually after it has happened and the s-type can show the D-type (whether it was them or another trusted play partner) that it was a positive thing. That it did relieve their stress level, put an extra spring in their step, etc., that the D-type will start to feel more comfortable with it. Keeping in mind that the biggest difference between play and abuse is consent.

Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.


  1. Marianne says:

    its super common for newbies especially to be concerned about someone cry. A lot of bottoms love it and makes them feel good!

  2. I made my little cry and it upset me greatly….
    She swears its ok and that I was great to her (i am good with aftercare)
    But I’m happy to have validation from a print source.
    It was a learning moment for both…
    Thanks for the writing and please keep ’em coming !

  3. Catharsis is very uplifting after the tears are gone and the endorphins have begun to flow. I often use a good back flogging to get to the point of release.

    Thank you for addressing catharsis in an article so to begin dialogue in the bdsm community about it. We need more people considering this topic so maybe DMs quit stopping cathartic scenes just as they start to get heavy.

  4. Submsivmale says:

    I have wanted a very dynamic and scary scene for some time that I know will end in total meltdown for me… or was a dream/fantasy started and never completed. I fell in love, and things to me went completely off track and I have spent the last 8 months shell-shocked and confused about so many of my Dommes behavior’s… and just a few minutes ago did I think that perhaps nothing has gone off course except my perceptions…

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