When we play there can be so many scents involved, we smell our own sweat, pheromones, and fluids, they drive us or deter us. It seems so simple you either like an aroma or you don’t, yet, it’s not that simple. Scents can be as complex as human beings. In an instant, a smell can make us feel peace, joy, nostalgia, dread, panic, or fear.
It is understandable to love the smell of baking cookies or pies if it reminds us of a pleasant time in childhood. There are so many smells that can trigger olfactory memories that will either create a negative or happy response. Smell is the sense that is most associated with memory and often the most significant response to a memory. Connecting us to memories the smell transports us to another time, knowing possible negative smells helps us avoid possible land mines. Understanding this is important in play especially if dealing with a partner who may have land minds, known or unknown. We say the Dungeon is not for therapy, however we also understand how therapeutic play can be.
What smells transport you, and why are they significant? I have always loved the way Dr. Payne smells after he has worked in the garage and is just the right amount of sweaty. His smell is an aphrodisiac for me, erotically intoxicating. I have a particular perfume I wear that Dr. Payne loves, therefore I only wear it for him. I have another scent I wear only for Princess. When we know of positive scents and aromas help us set the stage for positive interactions, what if we brought fresh-baked cookies into our play, how might that transport someone who loves to bake?
The effect of smells on our brain is why aromatherapy can be so compelling to aid in lowering stress and anxiety. The unfortunate thing is that we sometimes encounter smells in play or just our normal daily living, that we don’t know will trigger a bad memory until it happens.
Dr. Payne and I have been going to events, public dungeons, and play parties for a few years now; when I walk in the sounds and smells transport me instantly into that headspace of surrender; giving up more control. However, even after years, there are times something will happen that a sound or smell will take me immediately out of my headspace and into panic mode. Imagine being on a double-sided Saint Andrews cross blindfolded, and in the middle of a scene; you smell someone’s fragrance and hear degradation play. This happened to me at an event, due to past abuse and bullying this immediately sent me into panic mode. Now, when I smell that fragrance, I feel defensive and scared, even though it was someone else’s scene.
This is a bit of a slippery slope, some would say you take that risk in public play parties of encountering something distressing. Others might have the opposite reaction that possibly upsetting play shouldn’t be in such close proximity to others. I would say the risk was mine to take and I now ask not to placed on a double-sided cross. I can’t imagine allowing that incident or the fear of a recurrence to control me, and so it is with smells.
Every time we encounter these triggering smells, we are presented an opportunity to learn something about ourselves, do we find a way to avoid that scent or do we allow it to show us that part of ourselves that fears, feel embarrassment, or loves? At some point trying to avoid all uncomfortable smells could make us all hermits, an emotionally unhealthy way to live.
Smells are not simple, our mind is not simple, our relationship with scenes and kink is not simple. I choose to learn from my aromatic experiences and grow despite the negative ones. Serve the collar, serve your Dom, but do not serve your fear.