The Psychological Causes and Effects of Masochism and Sadism
Florida Institute of Technology
December 6, 2015
Masochism and sadism are very alike in nature. Masochism is a sexual perversion characterized by pleasure in being subjected to pain or humiliation; especially by a loved object. Sadism is the pleasure in being abused or dominated. Sadists have a taste for suffering. Masochism could be a means of escaping from one’s self. It could be a temporally extended identity. The awareness of one’s self is replaced by the focus on immediate present and on bodily sensations. Psychologists have found that the principle feature of masochism such ...view middle of the document...
It is possible to think about masochism and neither form of self-destruction nor a derivative of sadism. Instead of thinking of it as a derivative of sadism, maybe masochism is a means of escaping from a high-level awareness of one’s self as a representatively mediated, temporally extended identity. This awareness is replaced by the focus on the immediate present and on bodily sensations, and sometimes by a lower level of self-awareness as an object. It has been indicated that the main features of masochism such as pain, bondage, and humiliation help to accomplish the escape from one’s self.
The main idea of masochism is essentially an attempt to escape from one’s self. The person who is behaving masochistically feels that they have a new identity while performing such sexual acts. This is where the action identification theory plays in. Masochistic behavior can also be paired with physical exercise, intoxication, meditative techniques, and maybe even being a spectator. Masochism may be a little different from these because it is an unusually powerful form of self-escape and in its link to sexual pleasure. Masochism can also be used as a deterrent to unwanted thoughts and feelings; especially feelings of guilt, anxiety, or insecurity.
Masochistic sexual practices have been referred to as a pathological problem for a long time. Sigmund Freud thought of masochism as a perversion. Wilhelm Stekel linked masochism to pederasty, epilepsy, mass murder, vampirism, necrophilia, cannibalism, etc. He honestly believed that all sadists and masochists were murderers and were in a temporary lapse of normality he described their company as “the kingdom of hell.” Theodore Reik said that all neurotics are masochists. In the past, masochists have been labeled as extremely disturbed, but recent studies show a surprisingly different picture. Empirical observers think that practicing masochists are normal, at least when it comes to their nonsexual activities.
Whether sexual masochism is considered pathological depends on whether one accepts the sexual practices of masochists as symptoms. If someone does not judge the sexual patterns alone in these masochist behaviors, then the majority of the people who are considered masochists appear to be normal and healthy. It is said that participating in sadomasochistic relations is compatible with a normal, sane, and even a successful life.
The prevailing theoretical position since Sigmund Freud has been that masochism is derived from sadism. In some clinical experiments, sadism is possibly the main attraction. It is also possible that the mentally ill are drawn to inflicting pain rather than receiving it. Most theorists have thought that there is a strong link between masochism and sadism and have accentuated sadism. It is apparently the more important and essential pattern. A lot of evidence contradicts these views. Masochism is far more common than sadism. The number of submissive people outnumbers the number of...