This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 16 table of contents.

Masochism and Sadism



What is the appeal of masochistic fantasies for prominent men? What is sexual sadism? What is the "BDSM community"?

A sexual masochist is sexually aroused by being hurt, beaten, or dominated. The term comes from the name of Leopold Sacher-Masoch, who wrote novels about such people and was a masochist himself. He was a nobleman, which fits one stereotype of masochistic individuals. Often they are men who occupy positions of high status or authority, such as "executives, politicians, judges, and bankers" (Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1982). Experts believe the act of submission to pain or domination is an "escape valve" for such people, allowing them to act in ways forbidden by their normal role in public life (Leo, 1981).

Sadists enjoy inflicting pain on others. So-called S&M parlors in big cities cater to sexual sadists and masochists, providing them with whips and other equipment for acting out their fantasies. Many sites on the internet cater to the BDSM (Bondage/Dominance/Sadism/Masochism) community, which has its own clubs and societies and spokespeople who testify that this is the mode of sexual expression they prefer and have voluntarily chosen.


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