Sadomasochism: (/ˌseɪdoʊˈmæsəkɪzəm/ SAY-doh-MASS-ə-kiz-əm) is the giving and receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation. While the terms sadist and masochist refer respectively to one who enjoys giving and receiving pain, some practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity.
- Her instruments of torture were more numerous than those of any other governess. Her supply of birch was extensive, and kept in water, so that it was always green and pliant: she had shafts with a dozen whip thongs on each of them; a dozen different sizes of cat-o'-nine-tails, some with needle points worked into them; various kinds of thin bending canes; leather straps like coach traces; battledoors, made of thick sole-leather, with inch nails run through to docket, and currycomb tough hides rendered callous by many years flagellation. Holly brushes, furze brushes; a prickly evergreen, called butcher's bush [?butcher's broom]; and during the summer, a glass and China vases, filled with a constant supply of green nettles, with which she often restored the dead to life. Thus, at her shop, whoever went with plenty of money, could be birched, whipped, fustigated, scourged, needle-pricked, half-hung, holly-brushed, furze-brushed, butcher-brushed, stinging-nettled, curry-combed, phlebotomized, and tortured till he had a belly full.
- She does not believe that Wonder Woman tends to masochism or sadism. Furthermore, she believes that even if it did-you can teach either perversion to children-one can only bring out what is inherent in the child. However she did make the reservation that if the woman slaves wore chains (and enjoyed them) for no purpose whatsoever, there would be no point in chaining them.
- I urge you all today, especially today during these times of chaos and war, to love yourself without reservations and to love each other without restraint. Unless you're into leather.
- Margaret Cho The Notorious C.H.O. Tour.
- The first experiment of 365 Chinese adults found female subs showed decreased empathic ability compared with a control group of non-practitioners. But there was no difference between female “switches” — meaning women who switch between dominant and submissive roles — and the control group. Likewise, there was no difference in empathic ability between male practitioners and the control group.
Both male and female practitioners, however, reported diminished feelings of subjective pain intensity when viewing facial expressions indicating pain.
“These findings are consistent with previous findings suggesting that the reduction in empathic responses to others’ suffering was associated with frequent exposure to pain-inflicting situations,” the researchers explained.
- Eric W. Dolan, "Female submissives have reduced empathy to others’ suffering, study on BDSM finds", Psypost, February 27, 2017
- "What all these people are doing is not aggressive; they are inventing new possibilities of pleasure with strange parts of their body - through the eroticization of the body. I think it's...a creative enterprise, which has as one of its main features what I call the desexualization of pleasure."
- Quote in Aldrich, Robert and Wotherspoon, Gary (Eds.) Who's Who: In Gay and Lesbian History from Antiquity to World War II (2001), in reference to S/M.
- My fantasy since I was a small child was to dominate a dominating man. That turns me on more than anything, a man who does not want to be dominated—like Sean Connery, a really macho man. The kind of man who has no desire for submission. It’s truly perverse. It’s the power play: who has it, how long you have it for, and what you do with it.
- It is the night-black Massachusetts legendry which packs the really macabre 'kick', Here is the material for a really profound study in group neuroticism; for certainly, no one can deny the existence of a profoundly morbid streak in the Puritan imagination....The very pre-ponderance of passionately pious men in the colony was virtually an assurance of unnatural crime; insomuch as psychology now proves the religious instinct to be a form of transmuted eroticism precisely parallel to the transmutations in other directions which respectively produce such things as sadism, hallucination, melancholia, and other mental morbidities. Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity. This was aggravated, of course, by the Puritan policy of rigorously suppressing all the natural outlets of excuberant feeling--music, laughter, colour, pageantry, and so on. To observe Christmas Day was once a prison offence....
- Pamela Connolly (2006) compared BDSM practitioners to published norms on 10 psychological disorders. Compared to the normative samples, BDSM practitioners had lower levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological sadism, psychological masochism, borderline pathology, and paranoia. (They showed equal levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder and higher levels of dissociation and narcissism.)
Similarly, Andreas Wismeijer and Marcel van Assen (2013) compared BDSM practitioners to non-BDSM-practitioners on major personality traits. Their results showed that in comparison to non-practitioners, BDSM practitioners exhibited higher levels of extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and subjective well-being. Practitioners also showed lower levels of neuroticism and rejection sensitivity. The one negative trait that emerged? BDSM practitioners showed lower levels of agreeableness than non-practitioners.
- Joe Magliano, "The Surprising Psychology of BDSM", Psychology Today, (Feb 05 2015).
- Both bottoms and tops reported increases in relationship closeness and decreases in psychological stress from before to after their scenes (Ambler et al., under review; Sagarin, Cutler, Cutler, Lawler-Sagarin, & Matuszewich, 2009), but bottoms also showed increases in physiological stress as measured by the hormone cortisol (Sagarin et al., 2009). We found this disconnect between psychological stress and physiological stress to be very interesting, and we wondered whether it might indicate that bottoms have entered an altered state of consciousness.
To test this theory, we ran a study in which we randomly assigned switches (BDSM practitioners who sometimes take on the top role and sometimes take on the bottom role) to be the top or the bottom in a scene (Ambler et al., under review). The results revealed that both bottoms and tops entered altered states of consciousness, but they entered different altered states. Bottoms entered an altered state called “transient hypofrontality” (Dietrich, 2003), which is associated with reductions in pain, feelings of floating, feelings of peacefulness, feelings of living in the here and now and time distortions. Tops, in contrast, entered the altered state known as “flow” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1991), which is associated with focused attention, a loss of self-consciousness and optimal performance of a task. We believe that these pleasurable altered states of consciousness might be one of the motivations that people have for engaging in BDSM activities.
- Joe Magliano, "The Surprising Psychology of BDSM", Psychology Today, (Feb 05 2015).
- Whether writing for or against corporal punishment, correspondents provided detailed accounts of inflicting, receiving, and witnessing ritual chastisements in which older women restrained, undressed, and whipped younger ones. Letters described mothers, aunts, teachers and female servants forcing girls and young women to remove their drawers, tying girls to pieces of furniture, pinning back their arms, placing them in handcuffs, or requiring them to count the number of strokes administered. Some letters were written from the point of view of the mother, and guardians who had to impose discipline, others from the perspective of those reminiscing about having been disciplined. Many provided testimonials that began with the recollection of having "screamed, and shrieked and implored" to no avail and ended by celebrating the moral benefits of chastisement.
- There are one or two rules of thumb which are useful in distinguishing sadism from exciting adventure in the comics. Threat of torture is harmless, but when the torture it’s self is shown it becomes sadism. When a lovely heroine is show bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive just in the nick of time. The readers wish is to see save the girl, not to see her suffer. A bound or chained person does not suffer even embarrassment in the comics, and the reader, therefore is not being taught to enjoy suffering.
- William Moulton Marston as quoted in Olive Richard Bryne's, "Don't laugh at the comics" Family Circle, (Oct 25, 1940).
- Harmless erotic fantasies are terrific, it’s the lousy ones you have to look out for—the harmful, destructive, morbid erotic fixations—real sadism, killing, blood-letting, torturing where the pleasure is in the victim’s actual pain, etc. Those are 100 per cent bad and I won’t have any part of them.
- William Moulton Marston as quoted in The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, (2014), p. 242.
- [N]o one appeared to wonder whether this S-M proliferation was a lesbian copy of a faggot imitation of patriarchal backlash against feminism.
- Robin Morgan, "The Politics of Sado-Masochistic Fantasies", in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist, p 235.
- Only the liberation of the natural capacity for love in human beings can master their sadistic destructiveness.
- Wilhelm Reich, The Function of the Orgasm (1927), Ch. V : The Development of the Character-Analytic Technique, p. 173
- The suppression of natural sexual gratification leads to various kinds of substitute gratifications. Natural aggression, for example, becomes brutal sadism which then is an essential mass-psychological factor in imperialistic wars.
- Wilhelm Reich in The Mass Psychology of Fascism (1933) Ch. 1 : Ideology As Material Power, Section 4 : The Social Function of Sexual Suppression quoted in: R. Claire Snyder Citizen-soldiers and Manly Warriors: Military Service and Gender in the Civic Republican Tradition, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999, p. 152.
- Cause I may be bad but I'm perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But chains and whips excite me.
- It's been so long since I made love, I can't even remember who gets tied up.
- Bettie Page, reported in The Quotable Quote Book (Carol Publishing Group, 1990), p. 258
- Sadomasochism has always been the furthest reach of the sexual experience: when sex becomes most purely sexual, that is, severed from personhood, from relationships, from love. It should not be surprising that it has become attached to Nazi symbolism in recent years. Never before was the relation of masters and slaves so consciously aestheticized. Sade had to make up his theater of punishment and delight from scratch, improvising the decor and costumes and blasphemous rites. Now there is a master scenario available to everyone. The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.
- Susan Sontag, "Fascinating Fascism" (1974), The New York Review of Books (1975-02-06), reprinted in Under the Sign of Saturn (1980), p. 105.
- Giantess porn tends to perplex non-kinksters because it falls outside of normative sexual interests. But macro and micro are better understood through BDSM, particularly dominance and submission (D/s) play. As Sex Therapy Australia’s director Pamela Supple told Vice in 2016, “power, domination, and vulnerability” are at macrophilia’s core. The giantess is usually the dominant, while the smaller person is the submissive (but that may not always be the case).
“It’s allowing your mind to go wherever it wants to go, whilst engaging in play to gain the maximum sexual arousal,” Supple told Vice. “Some want to feel and experience terror—being crushed or controlled. Everyone is different in what they want to experience.”
- In principle there is a difference between violence which is incidental and violence which is inflicted for the indulgence of cruelty. The violence of sadomasochistic encounters involves the indulgence of cruelty by sadists and the degradation of victims. Such violence is injurious to the participants and unpredictably dangerous. I am not prepared to invent a defence of consent for sadomasochistic encounters which breed and glorify cruelty . . . . Society is entitled and bound to protect itself against a cult of violence. Pleasure derived from the infliction of pain is an evil thing. Cruelty is uncivilized.
- Lord Templeton, Judgement in the Operation Spanner case.
- In addition to his bio-physical heresies, Dr. Reich vastly offended many people by his sociological theory, which holds that fascism is just an exaggerated form of the basic structure of sex-negative societies and has existed under other names in every civilization based on sexual repression. In this theory, the character and muscular armor of the average citizen — a submissive and frightened attitude anchored in body reflexes — causes the average person to want a strong authority figure above them. Tyranny, in this model, is not created by tyrants alone but by neurotic masses who want tyrants.
- Robert Anton Wilson, in Everything Is Under Control : Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), p. 361; some of Wilson's account of the suppression of Reich's ideas and work are technically exaggerative: though many of Reich's books mentioning his concepts of orgone energy and the "orgone accumulators" of his laboratory were destroyed the destruction of his equipment and books was not actually total.