What is “Masochism”?
Masochism is when a person finds pleasure in pain, especially of a sexual nature. This pain can be mental, physical, or both, and can either be self-inflicted or sought from an outside source. Most practitioners of BDSM are a masochist to some degree.
Masochism is often one of the key components of BDSM, especially since many consider the ‘M’ in BDSM stands for “Masochism”. Masochism is defined as one’s tendency or desire to derive pleasure most often or especially for sexual gratification, from pain, humiliation, or other forms of degradation. Most often masochism or masochistic desires take two forms: a Dominant who enjoys handing out punishments and the sub’s suffering, and a submissive who craves it.
Masochism can be combined with physical or psychological pain and often includes elements of both in a session. There is no one particular act that is closely associated with being a masochist but is most often thought of as physical pain, punishment, or torture. The nature of the consensual abuse is often highly personal to the sub, though oftentimes it can be broad. This allows the Dominant more flexibility in fulfilling their own desires in relation to being a masochist.
For a submissive, masochism fulfills their need for punishment and assists in putting them into a submissive mindset. It also relies on trust between a sub and their Dom. For a Dominant, the desire to punish can come from many places, relieving the stress of daily life, transferring anger or other intense emotions into their masochism, and releasing them on their sub when they otherwise not be able to, or they can simply be sadistic and enjoy causing pain to other consenting participants.
Acting out masochistic tendencies is one of the hardest practices for those foreign to the BDSM world or lifestyle community to understand. Those that do not feel this tendency or desire often view it as negative, simply because they do not grasp the psychological impetus behind it. As long as masochistic play, whether pain based, psychological, or both is consensual, safe, and agreed upon there is absolutely no reason why it cannot be enjoyed and practiced.
Dos, Don’ts & Tips
- There is no guidebook to being a masochist. Pain and one’s tolerance to it is a life long exploration.
- As a submissive, explore and learn your own tolerance to physical and mental pain. The same goes for Dominants who inflict pain on submissives.
- An unwanted infliction of pain does not serve either participant, may stop the play, and discourage either from safely exploring this practice.
- Understanding your desire for masochism and why it is pleasing can be deeply personal.
- Learning to translate these desires into positive experiences can be a key to unlocking a much more adventurous and healthy sex life.