Sadomasochism

(Sadism. Masochism. S&M. BDSM)

Sadism refers to sexual or non-sexual gratification in the infliction of pain or humiliation upon or by another person. Masochism refers to sexual or non-sexual gratification in the infliction of pain or humiliation upon oneself.

Often interrelated, the practices are collectively known as sadomasochism as well as S&M or SM. These terms usually refer to consensual practices within the BDSM community.
 

Distinction between S&M, BDSM and D/s

Sadists enjoy inflicting pain; this may or may not be sexual in nature. Masochists enjoy receiving pain, which again may or may not be sexual. The simple desire for pain is technically known as algolagnia.

BDSM is a short-hand abbreviation for many subdivisions of the culture: B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (domination and submission), S&M (sadism and masochism), and Master and Slave.

Dominance and submission—control over another, or being controlled by another, respectively—typically describes a relationship power dynamic rather than a set of acts, and may or may not involve sadomasochism. Bondage and discipline describes a set of acts that sometimes involve D/s or S&M; although discipline often implies a level of suffering (real or pretend), participants may stop short of causing actual pain.

Etymology


The development of the term sadomasochism is complex. Originally "Sadism" and "Masochism" were purely technical terms for psychological features, which were classified as psychological illness. The terms are derived from the authors Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

In 1843 the Hungarian physician Heinrich Kaan published Psychopathia sexualis ("Psychopathy of Sex"), a writing in which he converts the sin conceptions of Christianity into medical diagnoses. With his work the originally theological terms "perversion", "aberration" and "deviation" became part of the scientific terminology for the first time.

The German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing introduced the terms "Sadism" and "Masochism" into the medical terminology in his work Neue Forschungen auf dem Gebiet der Psychopathia sexualis ("New research in the area of Psychopathy of Sex") in 1890.[1]

In 1905, Sigmund Freud described "Sadism" and "Masochism" in his Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie ("Three papers on Sexual Theory") as diseases developing from an incorrect development of the child psyche and laid the groundwork for the scientific perspective on the subject in the following decades. This led to the first time use of the compound term Sado-Masochism (German "Sado-Masochismus")) by the Viennese Psychoanalyst Isidor Isaak Sadger in his work Über den sado-masochistischen Komplex ("Regarding the sadomasochistic complex") in 1913.[2]

In the past BDSM activists turned repeatedly against these conceptual models, originally deriving from singular historical figures and implying a clear pathological connotation. They argued that there is no common sense in attributing a phenomenon as complex as BDSM to two individual humans, as well one might speak of "Leonardism" instead of Homosexuality. The BDSM scene tried to distinguish themselves with the expression "B&D" for Bondage and Discipline from that pejorative connotated term "S&M".

The abbreviation BDSM was probably coined in the early 1990s in the subculture around the Newsgroup news:alt.sex.bondage. This new term is first recorded as appearing in July 1991.

Later the dimension Dominance and Submission was integrated into the connotation of BDSM, creating the multilevel acronym common today.

Biology
 

Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed.

Pain, violence, sex and love all are associated with the release of a variety of hormones and chemicals within the human body. Furthermore, humans have been shown to exhibit sympathetic responses in their bodies while watching, hearing, or imagining such experiences.

  • * Endorphins are released by pain experiences and can be perceived as pleasurable and possibly psychologically addictive. It is due to this same release of endorphins that people can become addicted to self harm. In this way, the acts of self harm and engaging in masochistic behavior can be similar in function though most would agree, not in causality.
  • * Brain chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin can be affected by emotional or stressful experiences.
  • * Epinephrine and norepinephrine are released during stressful or painful experiences, and can cause a pleasurable 'rush'.

The effects of S&M on body chemistry possibly reinforce the behavior and therefore might create psychological states that seek to further such behavior.

Psychological categorization
 

Both terms were coined by German psychiatrist 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.[3] Sigmund Freud, 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"—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.

Fiction

Many of Marquis de Sade's books, including Justine (1791), Juliette (1797) and his magnum opus The 120 Days of Sodom (published posthumously in 1905), are written from a cruelly sadistic viewpoint. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel Venus in Furs (1870) is essentially one long masochistic fantasy, where the male principal character encourages his mistress to mistreat him.

In Pauline Réage's novel Story of O (1954), the female principal character is kept in a chateau and educated by a group of men using a wide range of BDSM techniques. "O"'s submission is depicted as consensual.

As with many sexual interests, sadomasochism is a popular subject in erotica. While S&M erotica is often about consensual humiliation and power exchange, consent is often abandoned as serves fantasy. The contemporary novelist Anne Rice, best known for Interview with the Vampire, wrote the sadomasochistic trilogy The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (1983-85) and Exit to Eden (1985) under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure.

Popular culture


Sadomasochism has also become a popular theme for advertisers who seek to appear "edgy" or unconventional. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., a mainstream brewer of popular beers, including Bud Lite, now sponsors the Folsom Street Fair. Diesel brand Jeans runs ads in major fashion magazines with an S&M theme.

 

References

1. ^ Details describing the development of the theoretical construct "Perversion" by Krafft-Ebing and his relation to this terms, see Andrea Beckmann, Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 8(2) (2001) 66-95 online unter Deconstructing Myths
2. ^ Isidor Isaak Sadger: Über den sado-masochistischen Komplex. in: Jahrbuch für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, Bd. 5, 1913, S. 157–232 (German)
3. ^ von Krafft-Ebing, Richard [1886]. "Masochism", Psychopathia Sexualis, 131. “[The masochist] is controlled by the idea of being completely and unconditionally subject to the will of a person of the opposite sex; of being treated by this person as by a master, humiliated and abused. This idea is coloured by lustful feeling; the masochist lives in fancies, in which he creates situations of this kind and often attempts to realise them”
4. ^ Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness

Further reading

  • * 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, 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