Sadism and masochism
Overview
Sadomasochism broadly refers to the receiving of pleasure—often sexual—from acts involving the infliction or reception of pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 or humiliation
Humiliation
Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have...

. The name originates from two authors on the subject, Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. The term masochism is derived from his name....

. A subset of BDSM
BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...

, practitioners of sadomasochism usually seek out sexual gratification from these acts, but often seek out other forms of pleasure as well. While the terms sadist and masochist specifically refer to one who either enjoys giving pain (sadist), or one who enjoys receiving pain (masochist), many practitioners of sadomasochism describe themselves as at least somewhat of a switch
Switch (BDSM)
In BDSM, a switch is someone who participates in BDSM activities sometimes as a top and other times as a bottom or sometimes as a dominant and other times as a submissive. Partners may switch roles based on mood, desire, or to allow each partner to experience their preferred activity...

, or someone who can receive pleasure from either inflicting or receiving pain.

The acronym S&M is often used for sadomasochism, although practitioners themselves normally drop the & and use the acronym SM or S/M.
Encyclopedia
Sadomasochism broadly refers to the receiving of pleasure—often sexual—from acts involving the infliction or reception of pain
Pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 or humiliation
Humiliation
Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission. It can be brought about through bullying, intimidation, physical or mental mistreatment or trickery, or by embarrassment if a person is revealed to have...

. The name originates from two authors on the subject, Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. The term masochism is derived from his name....

. A subset of BDSM
BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...

, practitioners of sadomasochism usually seek out sexual gratification from these acts, but often seek out other forms of pleasure as well. While the terms sadist and masochist specifically refer to one who either enjoys giving pain (sadist), or one who enjoys receiving pain (masochist), many practitioners of sadomasochism describe themselves as at least somewhat of a switch
Switch (BDSM)
In BDSM, a switch is someone who participates in BDSM activities sometimes as a top and other times as a bottom or sometimes as a dominant and other times as a submissive. Partners may switch roles based on mood, desire, or to allow each partner to experience their preferred activity...

, or someone who can receive pleasure from either inflicting or receiving pain.

The acronym S&M is often used for sadomasochism, although practitioners themselves normally drop the & and use the acronym SM or S/M. Sadomasochism should be differentiated from the clinical paraphilias
Sadism and masochism as medical terms
In psychiatry, the terms sadism and masochism describe a personality type characterized by the actor or actrix deriving pleasure and gratification from inflicting physical pain and humiliation ; and from suffering pain and humiliation upon the self ; such pleasure often is sexual, but not...

 which require that such practices lead to clinically significant distress
Distress
Distress may refer to:*Distress , occurring when an individual cannot adapt to stress*Suffering*Distress signal, an internationally recognized means for obtaining help...

 or impairment for a diagnosis. Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent should not be mistaken for acts of sexual violence or aggression.

Distinction between the subdivisions of BDSM

BDSM
BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...

 is a shorthand for the three main subdivisions of the culture: B&D (bondage
Bondage (BDSM)
Bondage is the use of restraints for the sexual pleasure of the parties involved. It may be used in its own right, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage, or as part of sexual activity or BDSM activity.- Private bondage :...

 and discipline
Discipline (BDSM)
Discipline is the use of rules and punishment to control overt behavior in BDSM.Punishment can be pain caused physically , humiliation caused psychologically or loss of freedom caused physically...

), D/s (dominance and submission) and S&M (sadism and masochism).

Bondage and discipline usually involves either physical or psychological restraint, formalized service and/or punishment, and sometimes sexual role playing, such as costumes.

Etymology

The development of modern psychiatric theories of sadomasochism, and the co-opting of theoretical scientific classification into common usage of the term "Sadomasochism", are complicated by the diversity of intent in application. The two words incorporated into this compound, "Sadism" and "Masochism", were first selected as professional scientific terminology, identifying human behavioral phenomena and intended for the classification of distinct psychological illnesses and/or malicious social and sexual orientations. The terms were originally derived from the names of two authors, Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

 and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. The term masochism is derived from his name....

 respectively, based on their popular writings.

The German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing introduced the terms "Sadism" and "Masochism" into institutional medical terminology in his work Neue Forschungen auf dem Gebiet der Psychopathia sexualis ("New research in the area of Psychopathology of Sex") in 1890.

In 1905, Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 described "Sadism" and "Masochism" in his Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie ("Three papers on Sexual Theory") as stemming from aberrant psychological development from early childhood. He also laid the groundwork for the widely accepted medical perspective on the subject in the following decades. This led to the first compound usage of the terminology in Sado-Masochism (Loureiroian "Sado-Masochismus") by the Viennese Psychoanalyst Isidor Isaak Sadger
Isidor Isaak Sadger
Isidor Isaak Sadger was a forensic doctor and psychoanalyst in Vienna. He studied with Sigmund Freud from 1895 to 1904 with a concentration in homosexuality and fetishism and coined the term Sadomasochismus in 1913. He also coined the term "Narcissmus"...

 in his work Über den sado-masochistischen Komplex ("Regarding the sadomasochistic complex") in 1913.

In the later 20th century, BDSM activists have protested against these conceptual models, originally derived from correlative to the philosophies of two singular historical figures and implying a clear pathological
Psychopathology
Psychopathology is the study of mental illness, mental distress, and abnormal/maladaptive behavior. The term is most commonly used within psychiatry where pathology refers to disease processes...

 denotation
Denotation
This word has distinct meanings in other fields: see denotation . For the opposite of Denotation see Connotation.*In logic, linguistics and semiotics, the denotation of a word or phrase is a part of its meaning; however, the part referred to varies by context:** In grammar and literary theory, the...

 of the authors' controversial mores and essentially Nihilistic
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

 lack of ethical convictions. Their main arguments being that there is no common sense in attributing human behavioral phenomena as complex as "Sadism" and "Masochism" to the 'inventions' of two historic individuals; as one might speak of "Leonardism
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

" instead of Homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

. Advocates of BDSM have sought to distinguish themselves from widely held notions of antiquated psychiatric theory by the adoption of the initialized term, "BDSM" as a distinction from the now common usage of those psychological terms, abbreviated as "S&M".

Historical perspective

Both terms were introduced to the medical field by German psychiatrist
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. All psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation and in psychotherapy...

 Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his 1886 compilation of case studies Psychopathia Sexualis. Pain and physical violence are not essential in Krafft-Ebing's conception, and he defined masochism (German "Masochismus") entirely in terms of control. Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

, a psychoanalyst and a contemporary of Krafft-Ebing, noted that both were often found in the same individuals, and combined the two into a single dichotomous entity known as sadomasochism (German "Sadomasochismus", often abbreviated as S&M or S/M). This observation is commonly verified in both literature and practice; many sadists and masochists define themselves as "switchable
Switch (BDSM)
In BDSM, a switch is someone who participates in BDSM activities sometimes as a top and other times as a bottom or sometimes as a dominant and other times as a submissive. Partners may switch roles based on mood, desire, or to allow each partner to experience their preferred activity...

"—capable of taking pleasure in either role. However it has also been argued (Deleuze, Coldness and Cruelty) that the concurrence of sadism and masochism in Freud's model should not be taken for granted.

Freud introduced the terms "primary" and "secondary" masochism. Though this idea has come under a number of interpretations, in a primary masochism the masochist undergoes a complete, not just a partial, rejection by the model or courted object (or sadist), possibly involving the model taking a rival as a preferred mate. This complete rejection is related to the death drive in Freud's psychoanalysis (Todestrieb). In a secondary masochism, by contrast, the masochist experiences a less serious, more feigned rejection and punishment by the model. Secondary masochism, in other words, is the relatively casual version, more akin to a charade, and most commentators are quick to point out its contrivedness.

Rejection is not desired by a primary masochist in quite the same sense as the feigned rejection occurring within a mutually consensual relationship—or even where the masochist happens to be the one having actual initiative power (this is the confusion of the distinctions of casual appearance and discrete motives which underlies the analyses of Deleuze and Sartre, for example). In Things Hidden Since the Foundation of The World Rene Girard
René Girard
René Girard is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy...

 attempts to resuscitate and reinterpret Freud's distinction of primary and secondary masochism, in connection with his own philosophy.

Both Krafft-Ebing and Freud assumed that sadism in men resulted from the distortion of the aggressive component of the male sexual instinct. Masochism in men, however, was seen as a more significant aberration, contrary to the nature of male sexuality. Freud doubted that masochism in men was ever a primary tendency, and speculated that it may exist only as a transformation of sadism. Sadomasochism in women received comparatively little discussion, as it was believed that it occurred primarily in men. Both also assumed that masochism was so inherent to female sexuality that it would be difficult to distinguish as a separate inclination.

Havelock Ellis
Havelock Ellis
Henry Havelock Ellis, known as Havelock Ellis , was a British physician and psychologist, writer, and social reformer who studied human sexuality. He was co-author of the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality in 1897, and also published works on a variety of sexual practices and...

, in Studies in the Psychology of Sex, argued that there is no clear distinction between the aspects of sadism and masochism, and that they may be regarded as complementary emotional states. He also made the important point that sadomasochism is concerned only with pain in regard to sexual pleasure, and not in regard to cruelty, as Freud had suggested. In other words, the sadomasochist generally desires that the pain be inflicted or received in love, not in abuse, for the pleasure of either one or both participants. This mutual pleasure may even be essential for the satisfaction of those involved.

Here Ellis touches upon the often paradoxical nature of widely reported consensual S&M practices. It is described as not simply pain to initiate pleasure, but violence—or the simulation of involuntary violent acts—said to express love. This irony is highly evident in the observation by many, that not only are popularly practiced sadomasochistic activities usually performed at the express request of the masochist, but that it is often the designated masochist who may direct such activities, through subtle emotional cues perceived or mutually understood and consensually recognized by the designated sadist.

In his essay Coldness and Cruelty, (originally Présentation de Sacher-Masoch, 1967) Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

 rejects the term "sadomasochism" as artificial, especially in the context of the quintessentially modern masochistic work, Sacher-Masoch's Venus In Furs. Deleuze's counter argument is that the tendency toward masochism is based on intensified desire brought on or enhanced by the acting out of frustration at the delay of gratification. Taken to its extreme, an intolerably indefinite delay is 'rewarded' by punitive perpetual delay, manifested as unwavering coldness. The masochist derives pleasure from, as Deleuze puts it, The Contract: the process by which he can control another individual and turn the individual into someone cold and callous. The Sadist, in contrast, derives pleasure from The Law: the unavoidable power that places one person below another. The sadist attempts to destroy the ego in an effort to unify the id and super-ego, in effect gratifying the most base desires the sadist can express while ignoring or completely suppressing the will of the ego, or of the conscience. Thus, Deleuze attempts to argue that Masochism and Sadism arise from such different impulses that the combination of the two terms is meaningless and misleading. A masochist's perception of their own self-subjugating sadistic desires and capacities are treated by Deleuze as reactions to prior experience of sadistic objectification. {E.g. in terms of psychology, compulsively defensive appeasement of pathological guilt feelings as opposed to the volition of a strong free will.} As in the epilogue of Venus In Furs which shows the character of Severin has become embittered by his experiment in the alleged control of masochism, and advocates instead the domination of women.

Before Deleuze, however, Sartre had presented his own theory of sadism and masochism, at which Deleuze's deconstructive attack, which took away the symmetry of the two roles, was probably directed. Because the pleasure or power in looking at the victim figures prominently in sadism and masochism, Sartre was able to link these phenomena to his famous philosophy of the "Look of the Other". Sartre argued that masochism is an attempt by the 'For-itself' (consciousness) to reduce itself to nothing, becoming an object that is drowned out by the "abyss of the Other's subjectivity". By this Sartre means that, given that the 'For-itself' desires to attain a point of view in which it is both subject and object, one possible strategy is to gather and intensify every feeling and posture in which the self appears as an object to be rejected, tested, and humiliated; and in this way the For-itself strives toward a point of view in which there is only one subjectivity in the relationship, which would be both that of the abuser and the abused. Conversely, of course, Sartre held sadism to be the effort to annihilate the subjectivity of the victim. That means that the sadist is exhilarated by the emotional distress of the victim because they seek a subjectivity that views the victim as both subject and object.

This argument may appear stronger if it is understood that this "Look of the Other" theory is either only an aspect of the faculties of desire, or somehow its primary faculty. This does not account for the turn that Deleuze took for his own theory of these matters, but the premise of 'desire as "Look"' is associated with theoretical distinctions always detracted by Deleuze, in what he regarded as its essential error to recognize "desire as lack"--which he identified in the philosophical temperament of Plato, Socrates, and Lacan
Lacan
Lacan is surname of:* Jacques Lacan , French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist** The Seminars of Jacques Lacan** From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power, a book on political philosophy by Saul Newman** Lacan at the Scene* Judith Miller, née Lacan...

. For Deleuze, insofar as desire is a lack it is reducible to the "Look".

Finally, after Deleuze, Rene Girard
René Girard
René Girard is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy...

 included his account of sado-masochism in Things Hidden Since the Foundation of The World, originally Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde, 1978, making the chapter on masochism a coherent part of his theory of mimetic desire. In this view of sado-masochism, the violence of the practices are an expression of a peripheral rivalry that has developed around the actual love-object. There is clearly a similarity to Deleuze, since both in the violence surrounding the memory of mimetic crisis and its avoidance, and in the resistance to affection that is focussed on by Deleuze, there is an understanding of the value of the love object in terms of the processes of its valuation, acquisition and the test it imposes on the suitor.

Modern psychology

There are a number of reasons commonly given for why a sadomasochist finds the practice of S&M enjoyable, and the answer is largely dependent on the individual. For some, taking on a role of compliance or helplessness offers a form of therapeutic escape; from the stresses of life, from responsibility, or from guilt. For others, being under the power of a strong, controlling presence may evoke the feelings of safety and protection associated with childhood. They likewise may derive satisfaction from earning the approval of that figure (see: Servitude (BDSM)
Servitude (BDSM)
In BDSM, servitude refers to performing personal tasks for their dominant partner, as part of their submissive role in a BDSM relationship.In domestic servitude roles, the submissive can receive pleasure and satisfaction from performing personal services for their dominant, such as serving as a...

)
. A sadist, on the other hand, may enjoy the feeling of power and authority that comes from playing the dominant role, or receive pleasure vicariously through the suffering of the masochist. It is poorly understood, though, what ultimately connects these emotional experiences to sexual gratification, or how that connection initially forms.
Dr. Joseph Merlino, author and psychiatry adviser to the New York Daily News
New York Daily News
The Daily News of New York City is the fourth most widely circulated daily newspaper in the United States with a daily circulation of 605,677, as of November 1, 2011....

, said in an interview that a sadomasochistic relationship, as long as it is consensual, is not a psychological problem:

It is usually agreed on by psychologists that experiences during early sexual development
Psychosexual development
In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido that develops in five stages. Each stage — the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital — is characterized...

 can have a profound effect on the character of sexuality later in life. Sadomasochistic desires, however, seem to form at a variety of ages. Some individuals report having had them before puberty, while others do not discover them until well into adulthood. According to one study, the majority of male sadomasochists (53%) developed their interest before the age of 15, while the majority of females (78%) developed their interest afterwards (Breslow, Evans, and Langley 1985). The prevalence of sadomasochism within the general population is unknown. Despite female sadists being less visible than males, some surveys have resulted in comparable amounts of sadistic fantasies between females and males. The results of such studies demonstrate that one's sex does not determine preference for sadism.

Psychological categorization

Since 1952 when the original DSM classified sadomasochism, alongside homosexuality, in 1952 as a type of sociopathic personality disorder, the classification of sadomasochism has been revised numerous times. Contemporary psychology distinguishes between sadomasochism practiced as a life style, with sadomasochism as a medical condition.

In the current DSM, sadomasochism alongside other sexual practices are classified as Paraphilia
Paraphilia
Paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her...

s. As of the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders...

 (DSM-IV) in 1994 the new criteria of diagnosis of Sadomasochism
Sadism and masochism as medical terms
In psychiatry, the terms sadism and masochism describe a personality type characterized by the actor or actrix deriving pleasure and gratification from inflicting physical pain and humiliation ; and from suffering pain and humiliation upon the self ; such pleasure often is sexual, but not...

 as a paraphilia include that: "The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors" must "cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning". The manuals' latest edition (DSM-IV-TR) requires that the activity must be the sole means of sexual gratification for a period of six (6) months, and either cause "clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning" or involve a violation of consent
Consent (criminal)
In criminal law, consent may be used as an excuse and prevent the defendant from incurring liability for what was done. For a more general discussion, see Dennis J. Baker, "The Moral Limits of Consent as a Defense in the Criminal Law," 12 New Criminal Law Review ; Dennis J...

to be diagnosed as a paraphilia. The other major international classification of mental disorders
Classification of mental disorders
The classification of mental disorders, also known as psychiatric nosology or taxonomy, is a key aspect of psychiatry and other mental health professions and an important issue for consumers and providers of mental health services...

, the ICD-10
ICD-10
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision is a medical classification list for the coding of diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases, as maintained by the...

 differs from the DSM in a few regards. The ICD-10 combines sexual sadism and masochism into sado-masochism, makes more of a marked distinction between consensual sadomasochistic practices and sexual violence, and suggests that aspects of sadomasochism occur within average sexual relations.

The DSM's criteria for sadism and masochism though has been criticized as vague and untested in real life circumstances. The inclusion of paraphilias as a whole in the DSM has been a point of debate within the field.
One concern is the ambiguous criteria for distinction between common sexual activities with the criteria for paraphilia. Others believe the inclusion of many paraphilias rest on conventional perceptions of normal sexuality, and compare the inclusion of paraphilias like sadomasochism to that of homosexuality which has been removed.

Real life

The term BDSM
BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...

 is commonly used to describe consensual activities between adults that contain sadistic and masochistic elements. Masochists tend to be very specific about the types of pain they enjoy, preferring some and disliking others. Many behaviors such as spanking
Erotic spanking
Erotic spanking is the act of spanking another person for the sexual arousal or gratification of either or both parties...

, tickling
Tickling
Tickling is the act of touching a part of the body so as to cause involuntary twitching movements and/or laughter. The word evolved from the Middle English tikelen, perhaps frequentative of ticken, to touch lightly. The idiom tickled pink means to be pleased or delighted.In 1897, psychologists G...

 and love-bites contain elements of sado-masochism. Even if both parties legally consent
Consent (criminal)
In criminal law, consent may be used as an excuse and prevent the defendant from incurring liability for what was done. For a more general discussion, see Dennis J. Baker, "The Moral Limits of Consent as a Defense in the Criminal Law," 12 New Criminal Law Review ; Dennis J...

 to such acts this may not be accepted as a defense against criminal charges. Very few jurisdictions will permit consent as a legitimate defense if serious bodily injuries are caused.

In extreme cases, sadism and masochism can include fantasies, sexual urges or behavior which cause observably significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, to the point that they can be considered part of a mental disorder. However, this is widely considered to be rare, as psychiatrists
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 now regard such behaviors as clinically aberrant only if they are identifiable as symptoms and or associated with other problems such as personality disorder
Personality disorder
Personality disorders, formerly referred to as character disorders, are a class of personality types and behaviors. Personality disorders are noted on Axis II of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-IV-TR of the American Psychiatric Association.Personality disorders are...

 and or neurosis. There is some controversy in the psychology professions regarding a personality disorder referred to alternately as "self-defeating personality disorder
Self-defeating personality disorder
Self-defeating personality disorder is a personality disorder that was never formally admitted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . It was discussed in an appendix of the manual's revised third edition...

" or "masochistic personality disorder", where masochistic behavior may not be in relation to other diagnosed mental disease.

"Sadism" and "masochism", in the context of consensual sexual activities are not strictly accurate terms. Strictly speaking, a sadist is someone who enjoys causing pain regardless of whether the "victim" consents to it. Likewise, a masochist is someone who fantasies about or enjoys being beaten, sexually humiliated, bound
Bondage (BDSM)
Bondage is the use of restraints for the sexual pleasure of the parties involved. It may be used in its own right, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage, or as part of sexual activity or BDSM activity.- Private bondage :...

, torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

d, or otherwise made to suffer
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

 in all situations. Within BDSM, a sadist will not inflict pain on people who have not consented. Most masochists do not enjoy pain outside BDSM.

Ernulf and Innala (1995) observed discussions among individuals with such interests, one of whom described the goal of hyperdominants :

Fiction

Many of Marquis de Sade
Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle...

's books, including Justine
The Misfortunes of Virtue
Justine is a classic novel by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade. There is no standard edition of this text in hardcover, having passed into the public domain...

(1791), Juliette
L'Histoire de Juliette
Juliette is a novel written by the Marquis de Sade and published 1797–1801, accompanying Sade's Nouvelle Justine. While Justine, Juliette's sister, was a virtuous woman who consequently encountered nothing but despair and abuse, Juliette is an amoral nymphomaniac who ends up successful and...

(1797) and The 120 Days of Sodom (published posthumously in 1905), are written from a cruelly sadistic viewpoint. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch was an Austrian writer and journalist, who gained renown for his romantic stories of Galician life. The term masochism is derived from his name....

's novel Venus in Furs
Venus in Furs
Venus in Furs is a novella by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the best known of his works. The novel was part of an epic series that Sacher-Masoch envisioned called Legacy of Cain. Venus in Furs was part of Love, the first volume of the series...

(1870) is essentially one long masochistic fantasy, where the male principal character encourages his mistress to mistreat him.

In Pauline Réage
Pauline Réage
Anne Desclos was a French journalist and novelist who wrote under the pseudonyms Dominique Aury and Pauline Réage.-Early life:...

's novel Story of O
Story of O
Story of O is an erotic novel published in 1954 about love, dominance and submission by French author Anne Desclos under the pen name Pauline Réage.Desclos did not reveal herself as the author for forty years after the initial publication...

(1954), the female principal character is kept in a château and educated by a group of men using a wide range of BDSM techniques. "O"'s submission is depicted as consensual. A particular revelation of the story is that it is possible to gain power over someone as their victim.

Isaac Julien
Isaac Julien
Isaac Julien is an installation artist and filmmaker.-Biography:Julien graduated from St Martin's School of Art in 1985, where he studied painting and fine art film...

's short dialogue-free film "The Attendant" (1993) was originally created for the BBC series Time-Code at the beginnings of New Queer Cinema
New Queer Cinema
New Queer Cinema is a term first coined by the academic B. Ruby Rich in Sight & Sound magazine in 1992 to define and describe a movement in queer-themed independent filmmaking in the early 1990s...

. In the film a museum attendant is caught up in sado-masochistic fantasies inspired by a 19th century painting of slaves in chains, Auguste François Biard
Auguste Francois Biard
Auguste François Biard was a French genre painter.Born at Lyon, he traveled around the world, sketching on the way. He was particularly successful in rendering burlesque groups....

's 'Scene on the coast of Africa'. He remembers his past as a singer, and delivers Dido's lament from Purcell's opera.

As with many sexual interests, sadomasochism is a popular subject in erotica
Erotica
Erotica are works of art, including literature, photography, film, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing descriptions...

. While S&M erotica is often about consensual humiliation and power exchange, consent is often abandoned as serves fantasy. The contemporary novelist Anne Rice
Anne Rice
Anne Rice is a best-selling Southern American author of metaphysical gothic fiction, Christian literature and erotica from New Orleans, Louisiana. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history...

, best known for Interview with the Vampire
Interview with the Vampire
Interview with the Vampire is a vampire novel by Anne Rice written in 1973 and published in 1976. It was the first novel to feature the enigmatic vampire Lestat, and was followed by several sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles...

, wrote the sadomasochistic trilogy The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy is a series of three novels written by American author Anne Rice under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure. The trilogy comprises The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment and Beauty's Release, first published individually in 1983, 1984 and 1985 in the United...

(1983–85) under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure and Exit to Eden
Exit to Eden
Exit to Eden is a novel by Anne Rice, initially published in 1985 under the pen name Anne Rampling, but subsequently under Rice's name.The novel explores the subject of BDSM in romance novel form. The novel also brought attention to Rice's published works that differed from the type of writing she...

(1985) under the pseudonym of Anne Rampling.

In Jonathan Larson's musical, RENT
Rent (musical)
Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème...

, one of the main characters, Mimi, is an S&M dancer at a local club.

Pop singer Madonna released two songs about S&M in 90s', the first was Justify My Love
Justify My Love
"Justify My Love" is the first single by American singer-songwriter Madonna from her 1990 greatest hits compilation The Immaculate Collection and was released on November 6, 1990, by Sire Records. It caused international controversy due to the accompanying music video which was sexually explicit...

 in 1990 and the other was Erotica
Erotica (song)
"Erotica" is the lead single from American singer-songwriter Madonna's fifth studio album, Erotica . The single was released in October 1992 by Maverick Records, and later included on her greatest hits albums GHV2 and Celebration...

 in 1992.

Rock band 30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1998. Since 2007, the band has consisted of actor Jared Leto , Shannon Leto and Tomo Miličević...

's music video "Hurricane had an explicit version released that shows very vivid images of S&M. Pop singer Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera
Christina María Aguilera is an American recording artist and actress. Aguilera first appeared on national television in 1990 as a contestant on the Star Search program, and went on to star in Disney Channel's television series The Mickey Mouse Club from 1993–1994...

's music video, Not Myself Tonight
Not Myself Tonight
"Not Myself Tonight" is a song recorded by American pop singer Christina Aguilera. The song was written by Jamal Jones, Ester Dean, Jason Perry, and Greg Curtis, and produced by Polow da Don for Aguilera's sixth studio album, Bionic. The song was released on April 13, 2010 as the lead single from...

, also has some scenes about S&M. Rihanna released a song titled "S&M
S&M (song)
"S&M" is a song by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna, taken from her fifth studio album, Loud . The song was written by Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Corey Jackson Carter, Sandy Wilhelm and Ester Dean, with production helmed by Eriksen and Hermansen of Stargate and Sandy Wilhelm under her...

" in 2011, which describes a woman's love for BDSM.

In the collection of Gary Fisher's work, "Gary In Your Pocket: Stories and notebooks of Gary Fisher," a short story titled Arabesque centers around the power of passivity as embodied by the sadist.

Perhaps the ultimate exploration of SM on film is the Secretary
Secretary (film)
Secretary is a 2002 independent film directed by Steven Shainberg and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway and James Spader as E. Edward Grey...

 in which the female character, Lee, is able to connect with her desire for punishment by making intentional mistakes in her boss's (Mr. Grey) letters she types. His red pen correction marks become pleasurable to Lee (with no reference to teachers' similar practices) and eventually he spanks her, clearly to her masochistic pleasure. Mr. Grey also reluctantly finds his sadistic dimensions and pleasure in them. The film also explores the "reverse control" the masochist has on the sadist. The film was positively reviewed due to its honest and non-sensational treatment of these themes and the idea that one can become satisfied with what one really is and find love in the bargain.

See also

  • Autosadism
    Autosadism
    Autosadism, or automasochism is behaviour inflicting pain or humiliation on oneself; it may be related to self-harm or a paraphilia involving sexual arousal. It can be viewed as a form of masochism, a sublimated form of sadism, or a means to experiencing algolagnia, a sexual tendency which is...

  • Bondage (BDSM)
    Bondage (BDSM)
    Bondage is the use of restraints for the sexual pleasure of the parties involved. It may be used in its own right, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage, or as part of sexual activity or BDSM activity.- Private bondage :...

  • Bottom (BDSM)
    Bottom (BDSM)
    In BDSM, a bottom or submissive is the partner in a BDSM relationship or a BDSM scene who takes the passive, receiving, or obedient role, to that of the top or dominant....

  • Cléo Dubois
    Cléo Dubois
    Cléo Dubois is a BDSM educator, writer, documentarian, ritualist, and personal trainer in the kinky arts.Dubois founded the Academy of SM Arts in 1995 in response to the growing need for a safe place to learn and explore BDSM from an experienced professional as many misconceptions and...

  • Domination & submission (BDSM)
  • Gayle Rubin
    Gayle Rubin
    Gayle S. Rubin is a cultural anthropologist best known as an activist and influential theorist of sex and gender politics. She has written on a range of subjects including feminism, sadomasochism, prostitution, pedophilia, pornography and lesbian literature, as well as anthropological studies and...

  • Nexus Books
  • Paraphilia
    Paraphilia
    Paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and that may cause distress or serious problems for the paraphiliac or persons associated with him or her...

  • ReviseF65
    ReviseF65
    ReviseF65 is a committee that is working to get sexual sadism, masochism, fetishism and transvestic fetishism abolished from the World Health Organization's list of psychiatric diagnoses, ICD...

  • S&M
    S&M (song)
    "S&M" is a song by Barbadian recording artist Rihanna, taken from her fifth studio album, Loud . The song was written by Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Corey Jackson Carter, Sandy Wilhelm and Ester Dean, with production helmed by Eriksen and Hermansen of Stargate and Sandy Wilhelm under her...

     (Rihanna
    Rihanna
    Robyn Rihanna Fenty , better known as simply Rihanna, is a Barbadian recording artist. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of 16 to pursue a recording career under the guidance of record producer Evan Rogers...

     song)
  • Safeword
    Safeword
    A safeword is a code word or series of code words that are sometimes used in BDSM for a submissive to unambiguously communicate their physical or emotional state to a dominant , typically when approaching, or crossing, a physical, emotional, or moral boundary...

    s
  • Schadenfreude
    Schadenfreude
    Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. This German word is used as a loanword in English and some other languages, and has been calqued in Danish and Norwegian as skadefryd and Swedish as skadeglädje....

  • Top (BDSM)
    Top (BDSM)
    In BDSM, a top or dominant is the partner in a BDSM relationship or in a BDSM scene who takes the active or controlling role over that of the bottom or submissive partner....


Further reading

  • Newmahr, Staci (2011). Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk and Intimacy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253222850.
  • Phillips, Anita (1998). A Defense of Masochism. ISBN 0-312-19258-4.
  • Odd Reiersol, Svein Skeid:The ICD Diagnoses of Fetishism and Sadomasochism, in Journal of Homosexuality
    Journal of Homosexuality
    The Journal of Homosexuality is a peer-reviewed academic journal This forum for research into same-sex desire examines sexual practices and gender roles in their cultural, historical, interpersonal, and modern social contexts. In the fall of 2005, the Journal celebrated its 50th volume.- History...

    , Harrigton Park Press, Vol.50, No.2/3, 2006,pp. 243–262
  • Saez, Fernando y Olga Viñuales, Armarios de Cuero, Editorial Bellaterra, 2007. ISBN 84-7290-345-6
  • Weinberg, Thomas S., "Sadomasochism in the United States: A Review of Recent Sociological Literature", The Journal of Sex Research 23 (Feb. 1987) 50-69

External links

  • The Eulenspiegel Society
    The Eulenspiegel Society
    The Eulenspiegel Society is the oldest and largest BDSM education and support group in New York City, where it is based, and claims to be the oldest group in the United States...

    http://www.tes.org, founded in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     in 1971 is the oldest SM support group in the US.
  • The Society of Janushttp://www.soj.org, founded in San Francisco, California
    San Francisco, California
    San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

    in 1974 is the second oldest SM support group in the US.
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