Sadomasochism  

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This page Sadomasochism is part of the Marquis de Sade seriesIllustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein
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This page Sadomasochism is part of the Marquis de Sade series
Illustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein

"Now bend over so that you are looking directly at it. Put your elbows on the desk and your face very close to the letter."--"Secretary" (1988) by Mary Gaitskill


"Like the lover's pinch, which hurts and is desired."--Antony and Cleopatra (1623) by Shakespeare


"Sadomasochism is to sex what war is to civil life: the magnificent experience. ... As the social contract seems tame in comparison with war, so fucking and sucking come to seem merely nice, and therefore unexciting." --Susan Sontag in Fascinating Fascism


"The most common and the most significant of all the perversions -- the desire to inflict pain upon the sexual object, and its reverse -- received from Krafft-Ebbing the names of "Sadism" and "Masochism" for its active and passive forms respectively." --Sigmund Freud, "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality," 1905


"What happened between 1740 [The publication of Pamela] and 1840 [birth of Krafft-Ebing] to cause such a proliferation of sexual deviations? The answer is that human beings learned to use the imagination far more than in previous centuries. They learned to day-dream." --Colin Wilson in The Misfits


"The masochist desires to experience pain, but he generally desires that it should be inflicted in love; the sadist desires to inflict pain, but in some cases, if not in most, he desires that it should be felt as love." --Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 , Havelock Ellis


"Sadomasochism is a sacred cult, a pagan religion that reveals the dark secrets of nature. The bondage of sadomasochism expresses our own bondage by the body, our subservience to its brute laws, concealed by our myths of romantic love ." --Sex, Art, and American Culture (1992) by Camille Paglia

This page Sadomasochism is part of the human sexuality seriesIllustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray.
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This page Sadomasochism is part of the human sexuality series
Illustration: Fashionable Contrasts (1792) by James Gillray.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sadomasochism is the giving and receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation. Practitioners of sadomasochism may seek sexual gratification from their acts. While the terms sadist and masochist refer respectively to one who enjoys giving and receiving pain, practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity.

The abbreviation S&M is often used for Sadomasochism (or Sadism & Masochism), although practitioners themselves normally remove the ampersand and use the initialism S-M or SM or S/M when written throughout the literature. Sadomasochism is not considered a clinical paraphilia unless such practices lead to clinically significant distress or impairment for a diagnosis. Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent, generally known under the heading BDSM, is distinguished from non-consensual acts of sexual violence or aggression.

Since 1991, the term BDSM has been more widely used than the term sadomasochism.

Definition and etymology

The term "Sadomasochism" is used in a variety of different ways. It can refer to cruel individuals or those who brought misfortunes onto themselves and psychiatrists define it as pathological. However, recent research suggests that it is simply a sexual interest, and not a pathological symptom of past abuse, or a sexual problem, and that people with sadomasochistic sexual interest are neither damaged nor dangerous.

The two words incorporated into this compound, "sadism" and "masochism," were originally derived from the names of two authors. The term “Sadism” has its origin in the name of the Marquis de Sade (1740 – 1814), who not only practiced sexual sadism, but also wrote novels about these practices, of which the best known is Justine. “Masochism” is named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who wrote novels expressing his masochistic fantasies. These terms were first selected to identifying human behavioural phenomena and for the classification of psychological illnesses or deviant behaviour. The German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing introduced the terms "Sadism" and "Masochism"' into 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 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 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 ideas, because, they argue, they are based on the philosophies of the two psychiatrists, Freud and Krafft-Ebing, whose theories were built on the assumption of psychopathology and their observations of psychiatric patients. The DSM nomenclature referring to sexual psychopathology has been criticized as lacking scientific veracity, and advocates of sadomasochism have sought to separate themselves from psychiatric theory by the adoption of the term BDSM instead of the common psychological abbreviation, "S&M". However, the term BDSM also includes, B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (dominance and submission), and S&M (sadism and masochism). The terms "bondage" and "discipline" usually refer to the use of either physical or psychological restraint or punishment, and sometimes involves sexual role playing, including the use of costumes.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sadomasochism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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