The 4 Things to Know of Sexual Sadism and Masochism

The 4 Things to Know of Sexual Sadism and Masochism

Sadism:

“The tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.”

Masochism:

“The tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.”

Paraphilia: One article describes it as a “persistent, intense, atypical sexual arousal pattern, independent of whether it causes any distress or impairment, which, by itself, would not be considered disordered.”

The only time that a sadist or masochist could have a disorder from their “atypical” sexual arousal pattern is when it is lasting 6 months or more and they carry impulses towards, or is pursuing, these sexual patterns with non-consenting victims and/or these strong urges have been a clinically distressed impact on other areas of the persons life. Be sure to talk to a psychologist before becoming diagnosed!

Marquis de Sade’s known as the “Father” of sadism, as the novels he wrote contained many sadistic acts.

Marquis de Sade’s known as the “Father” of sadism, as the novels he wrote contained many sadistic acts.

  1. What is the history of S & M?

One article discusses Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902) was a psychiatrist who, among other psych professionals of his time, shifted the thought that mental disorders arose from “atypical” patterns of sexual behavior into what we see nowadays- these sexual deviances actually stem from an innate disorder that already has taken place within the person! Close to the end of the 19th century, psychiatrists came together with case histories of patients and begun explaining all these deviances of sex with this mindframe. With his book Psychopathia sexualis, Krafft-Ebing helped develop, among other psychiatrists, a system of categorizing “perversions”, as they called it.

(Trigger warning: Sexual violence) One of the main ones included sadism. Krafft ended up naming this paraphilia after Marquis de Sade, an author who wrote a treacherous novel that includes younger men and women with a story of sexual violence and torture for sexual pleasure.

What goes hand in hand for those people with urges like Marquis de Sade? Those who enjoy receiving… the Masochists, of course!

Krafft invented the word masochist from the use of an author’s name- Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. According to Wikipedia, this man wrote the novel “Venus in Furs”, where he includes some of his own fetishes and fantasies, such as a dominant women who sport fur. Sacher-Masoch was actually alive at the time Krafft created this term from his name and was not very pleased by the usage of it…

Biting can be considered a form of sadomasochism that is quite popular with sexual partner(s), whether or not they think it is BDSM.

Biting can be considered a form of sadomasochism that is quite popular with sexual partner(s), whether or not they think it is BDSM.

2. Is it gender specific?

Earlier on in the years, dating back to Freudian theory, sadism and masochism were thought to be put into the 2 constricting boxes of gender- sadism for the male-identified and masochism for feminine characters. One article provided a look into sexual sadism and showed the correlation between high amounts of testosterone and sexual offenders who performed acts considered as sexually sadistic. Though testosterone is a factor, it does not mean that everyone with high levels is seeking out to provide some pain for their own sexual pleasure!

On the other hand, these old-age views upon the female-identified being inherently more masochist stems from a more social perspective. Because female-identified are taught within our patriarchy to put others needs before our own, Freud developed the idea that they LIKE hurting themselves for the sake of others- a false theory, which can sadly lead to victim blaming. As Harold Blum, M.D., put it, “It is important to distinguish between masochistic suffering as a goal in itself, and tolerance for a discomfort or deprivation in the service of the ego or ego ideal.”

In the end of it all, gender does not conform you to being sadistic, masochistic, both or either!

This idealism all stem from the gender stereotypes our society faces, with male-identified “being aggressive” and the female-identified “being passive”. We all have the ability to inflict pain, as well as receive it… what truly matters is if you ENJOY it and it sexually excites you!

3. What is the psychology behind it all?

How much stimulation do S & M people crave?

There is always many degrees of sexual sadism and masochism. In the most extreme case- sexual sadism and masochism disorders. Though pain can be perceived as physical and mental, according to a Reader Survey most masochists (61% to be exact) only experienced pain in the physical sense, while 33% had a combination, and only 3% solely delved into psychological pain. The sadists were along the same lines, with only a 1-2% difference. We sometimes picture a person wailing in pain while the sadist smiles and does acts that could be considered torture, but about 65% of both sadists and masochists reported only giving/receiving light pain, with on average 10% actually involving themselves with pain that can be considered “extremely intense”!

With the  Reader’s Survey , this graph shows how most sadomasochistic acts are more in the form of physical, tolerable pain, compared to the more extreme pain stimulation (i.e. piercing).

With the Reader’s Survey, this graph shows how most sadomasochistic acts are more in the form of physical, tolerable pain, compared to the more extreme pain stimulation (i.e. piercing).

But what actually excites people about inflicting pain?

In one study , sexual sadists were found to have an abnormality in their front (right) temporal lobe- a part of the brain that relays back to the limbic system and is relational to both aggression and sexual arousal. Because of the close connection in areas of brain activation, aggression and sex could simultaneously feed into the reward center of the limbic system, causing sexual pleasure in the presence of pain caused at hand! When we give pain, being able to witness a person going through this process of processing pain, we also have an “zeroed-in” focus on the experience. For sexual sadists, the physical rush of adrenaline isn’t from their body dealing with stimulation, but from inflicting stimulation upon another- the heightened sense of “power” that sadists hold can be quite invigorating.

What about those that like being hurt?

For Masochists, most pain that we derive pleasure from stems from our uncanny response to the pain! Let me explain… Upon receiving pain, our bodies enter the survival modes of fight, flight, or freeze. Not only do we enter this physical state, with endorphins rushing around our body, but we also enter a mental state of focus upon the present event, a focus on the here and now of physical sensations. When doing a brain scan in one study, masochists had much more stimulation in the ACC when viewing masochistic viewing material and recieving small amounts of pain. The ACC is a part of the brain that is part of reward, morality, and decision making. Because emotional pain is processed in the same area of the brain as physical pain, masochists could also possibly enjoy humiliation and degradation, though, as we saw from previous studies, that physical pain is more popular. Be sure to ask your partner(s) beforehand what pain they like- physical, mental, or both!

There also exists the hybrid of the population- the sadomasochists! These fine people not only like giving pain, but receiving pain as well!

Though most studies are done upon those who are clinically diagnosed with sexual masochistic and sadistic disorders, it does give us a better idea on how one could be attracted to such acts. There is a lot of people who carry these sexual preferences, but do not have any issues with it affecting other aspects of their life! Simply in the form of BDSM, they practice this lifestyle of theirs in healthy and safe manners with partner(s)!

4. What tips are there for beginners?

Consent and aftercare are a MUST in order to practice S & M safely!

Consent and aftercare are a MUST in order to practice S & M safely!

  • As a sadist, be sure to ask for consent from a person who can give consent before any acts of sadism occur! This includes DURING the scene as well, when the person receiving the pain might be in a different head space (so much adrenaline disallows higher thought processing)!

  • As a masochist, be sure to ask your partner(s) to do things in a manner that makes them feel comfortable to say no if the act you request is outside their comfort zone.

  • Upon giving pain to someone, especially with impact play, be sure to give time for a gradual warm-up… The body takes about 20 minutes to produce endorphins, which is what helps make the experience pleasurable for the receiver! Think of it as stretching before going on that 5k run.

  • Be sure to ask your partner(s) what areas they are okay with giving pain to, as some acts may leave marks that they may not want to explain at work the next day.

  • PROVIDE AFTERCARE! THIS IS CRUCIAL!

Curious about exploring S and M with your partner(s), but don’t know how to do so?

Scared to even bring it up?

Do you need more education on practicing sadism and masochism in the bedroom?

I offer one on one AND partner(s) sex coaching! Done online or in person (Vancouver).

ASK OR BOOK NOW FOR YOUR FREE DISCOVERY CALL WITH ME!

Love and light,

Jaylene Acheson

Sex + Empowerment Coach

Creator of Femme Forth
@femmeforth

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