Sexual masochism disorder is a condition in which someone is sexually aroused by being bound, beaten, or otherwise made to suffer physical pain or humiliation. This desire can cause a significant amount of distress.
The disorder falls under the psychiatric sexual disorders category of paraphilias, which involve recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors that are distressing or disabling and have the potential to cause harm to oneself or others. Sexual masochism refers to engaging in or frequently fantasizing about being beaten, bound, humiliated, or otherwise made to suffer, resulting in sexual satisfaction. If people with this sexual preference also report psychological or social problems as a result, they may be diagnosed with sexual masochism disorder.
The type of distress that people with this disorder may experience includes severe anxiety, guilt, shame, and obsessive thoughts about engaging in sexual masochism. If a person has a masochistic sexual interest but experiences no distress and is able to meet other personal goals, then they would not be diagnosed as having a disorder.
One specific type of sexual masochism is called asphyxiophilia, whereby a person receives sexual satisfaction by having their breathing restricted. While some people engage in this practice with partners, others prefer to restrict their breathing while they are alone, and accidental death may happen as a result.
Sexually masochistic behavior is usually evident by early adulthood, and sometimes begins with masochistic or sadistic play during childhood.