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Sadomasochism is the giving or receiving 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 or receiving pain, practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity.
Sadomasochism is not considered a clinical paraphilia unless such practices lead to clinically significant distress or impairment for a diagnosis. 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 sadomasochism is mostly simply a sexual interest, and not a pathological symptom of past abuse, or a sexual problem, and that people with sadomasochistic sexual interest are in general 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 — , who not only practiced sexual sadism, but also wrote novels about these practices, of which the best known is Justine. 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 In , 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 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 [ who? In contrast to frameworks seeking to explain sadomasochism through psychological, psychoanalytic, medical or forensic approaches, which seek to categorize behavior and desires, and find a root cause, Romana Byrne suggests that such practices can be seen as examples of " aesthetic sexuality", in which a founding physiological or psychological impulse is irrelevant.
Rather, according to Byrne, sadism and masochism may be practiced through choice and deliberation, driven by certain aesthetic goals tied to style, pleasure, and identity, which in certain circumstances, she claims can be compared with the creation of art.
Both terms were introduced to the medical field by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his 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. This observation is commonly verified in both literature and practice; many practitioners, both sadists and masochists, define themselves as switches and " switchable " — capable of taking and deriving 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, rather than 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 Todestrieb in Freud's psychoanalysis. 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.
In Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World , René Girard 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 , 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.
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 , Gilles Deleuze rejects the term "sadomasochism" as artificial, especially in the context of the quintessentially modern masochistic work, Sacher-Masoch's Venus In Furs.
Deleuze's counterargument 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 sadist, in contrast, derives pleasure from the "Law": 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. For example, in terms of psychology, compulsively defensive appeasement of pathological guilt feelings as opposed to the volition of a strong free will.
The epilogue of Venus In Furs 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 argument, 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". Conversely, 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.
For Deleuze, insofar as desire is a lack it is reducible to the "Look". Finally, after Deleuze, René Girard included his account of sado-masochism in Things Hidden Since the Foundation of The World , originally Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde , , 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 focused 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.
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: 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. Joseph Merlino, author and psychiatry adviser to the New York Daily News , 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 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. 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. Medical opinion of sadomasochistic activities has changed over time. If you wish to ship to Australia, you will now need to shop the new dedicated Australian site.
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