Noraepinephrine is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It is considered the ‘fight-or-flight’ chemical and can be similar to dopamine in the respect that it can be both motivating and desired. It is ignited when faced with acute stimulation our body’s consider a danger…preparing us for aggression or to run.
For some, sustained noraepinephrine release produces and endorphine rush and is pursued with vigilance by those who have tasted its fruit.
Noraepinephrine, also called noradrenaline is actually made from dopamine in the brain.
It is triggered by pain and while the brain mobilizes and prepares the body for what it perceives is a threat (“pain”) it is also pumped through the blood as a hormone. Noraepinephrine thwarts the pain and tunes attention immediately. If sustained, it eventually triggers endorphins much like a runner’s high…and it can be addictive.
The impact of invoking a rise of noraepinephrine is the immediate awakening of attention, enhanced access to memory, and a potent creation of new ones. These are just some of the ways that the body reacts in preparation to fight or run away. A bound subject, who cannot run away much less fight, deals with both the body’s helpless struggle and an emotional onslaught of processing pain and associated memories the predicament conjures. We will deal with the emotional components in a later chapter…for now let’s concentrate on how to cause a rise in noraepinephrine and its impact.
It the context of BDSM, there is already some degree of a dopamine rush in play even before the first strike. The subject is more often than not, attracted to their punisher in some way or they would not be in the position they have applied for. If it is not attraction to the person they are subjecting themselves there is sure to be some level of ‘excitement’ of the event to come. In either case, it means as we learned earlier, that dopamine is elevated and thus arousal is present.
Arousal is actually the raw material of noarepinephrine. The more arousal prior to the threat, the greater supply of raw material there is to generate noraepinephrine.
Many masochists or noraepinephrine junkies, are less interested, and sometimes not at all, in the dopamine induced arousal but getting right to the noraepinephrine spike. For some, noraepinephrine is their sex. Orgasm is an entirely different and less interesting thing. Many people who enjoy spanking do not desire genital stimulation at all before or after what they would consider a blissful spanking session.
To get a baseline understanding of your subjects response to noraepinephrine, here is a little three part experiment you can try.
1. Bind and paddle
Render your subject helpless so they can (must) fully experience the noraepinephrine spikes.
This is more about a controlled subject rather than the emotional context. Over the knee spanking and other positions are also valid but this process takes the other components away to focus on noraepinephrine.
Paddle the subject reasonably hard for up to 10 strokes unless they use a safeword. It should be hard enough to achieve an ‘ouch!.’
Instead of making them count, make them rate the pain for each of 10 paddles on a scale from 1 – 5. Jot the numbers down. If they don’t make it to 10 you are probably not dealing with a developed masochist of acute pain…so that will be helpful to know.
2. Bind, arouse, then paddle.
Either manually or by attaching a vibrator that you can turn on and off, bring the subject to the edge, stop, and then strike.
Make them rate the pain and notate. Then edge, strike, notate until you have completed 10 or they have used a safeword.
3. Bind, maintain arousal, then paddle.
This is easiest to do if you have attached a vibrator that you can just leave on. Instruct them not to orgasm and to alert you if they might. Only stop edging or turn off the vibrator if they say they are about to cum.
Administer 10 strikes, make them rate the pain and notate.
For a full analysis of your results, and to get your subject’s “Nora Score” submit them here: Noraepinephrine Test Data
If your subject gets a high score, then they are probably capable of more noraepinephrine play. Too low a score, or safe word use, means striking may not be the right tool to play with their noraepinephrine.
Don’t fret though…there are many other non-touch ways to ignite noraepinephrine…in the chapters ahead :)!