Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Vice Pioneers" : Sadomasochism

Namesake: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Namesake: Marquis de Sade

Namer: Richard von Krafft-Ebing

It's funny how most of our vice categories are created or popularized by suit and tie, unasuming white men. Well here's another--a little info on the world of S&M. The main player of an act categorized by pain and pleasure would of course be a doctor. And his namesakes for the act are of course creatives who expose such behavior.

From Wikipedia: BDSM is a shorthand for the three main subdivisions of the culture: B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (dominance and submission) and S&M (sadism and masochism or slave and master).

In its simplest format, sadists desire to inflict suffering and masochists want to receive suffering. The act might be sexual for both, either, or neither. In a particular sub-set of the BDSM culture, submissive personalities who do not enjoy suffering themselves may nevertheless accept suffering play to serve or please their Master or Mistress. Such people are not considered masochist by technical definition. An opposing variation is the person who enjoys the suffering entirely; these people are referred to as "pain sluts" or "suffering sluts".

Similarly, a dominant desires to exercise emotional or relational control over another. A submissive wants to feel such control. Again, there might be a sexual element, or there might not. Such an element is not necessarily mutual.

Bondage and discipline is then perhaps the hardest of the three to define. It usually involves either physical or psychological restraint, formalized service and/or punishment, and sometimes sexual role playing, such as costumes.

The two words incorporated into this compound, "Sadism" and "Masochism", were first selected as professional scientific terminology, identifying human behavioral phenomena and intended for the classification of distinct psychological illnesses and/or malicious social and sexual orientations. The terms were originally derived from the names of two authors, Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch respectively, based on their popular writings.

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

In 1905, 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 1913.

Many of Marquis de Sade's books, including Justine (1791), Juliette (1797) and 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 château and educated by a group of men using a wide range of BDSM techniques. "O"'s submission is depicted as consensual. A particular revelation of the story is that it is possible to gain power over someone as their victim.

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) under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure and Exit to Eden (1985) under the pseudonym of Anne Rampling.

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