Sexual Masochism

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Sexual masochism falls under the psychiatric sexual disorders category of paraphilias, meaning "abnormal or unnatural attraction." Sexual masochism refers to engaging in or frequently fantasizing about being beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer, resulting in sexual satisfaction. Blindfolding, spanking and humiliation in the form of defecation, urination, or forced imitation of animals are other methods used by these patients. Masochists may inflict their own pain through shocking, pricking or choking. Approximately 30 percent also participate in sadistic behavior.

One particularly dangerous method is called hypoxyphilia (near-asphyxiation) caused by reducing oxygen level in the brain. This results in the accidental death of one or two per million people per year. To achieve near-asphyxiation, masochists might place a noose around their necks, chest compression, put airtight bags over their heads or use amyl nitrates ("poppers").

Sadomasochistic relationships tend to be well planned, with partners deciding on a special word the masochist will use to indicate that the sadist should stop.

Sexual Masochism. Last reviewed 11/14/2006

Sources:

  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
  • Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry
  • Current Psychiatric Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Philadelphia
  • Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Psychiatry
  • DSM-IV™ Made Easy: The Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis
  • Treating Mental Disorders: A Guide to What Works