Sadomasochist – It’s all about the pain

Author: Lynn
A to Z | Roles


Who or what is a sadomasochist?

If you start to deal with BDSM – or not – you will very often hear the term “sadomasochist”. This is because the term is also widely used in the mainstream, where it is often used pejoratively, jokingly or as a representative term for all people who are assumed to be into some kind of deviant sexual practice. Whether dominant, submissive or someone seen in latex, the word “sadomasochist” often comes up immediately. But it’s not as simple as that, because in the BDSM field itself, the role in which pain is a central element is not so widespread in this body-emphasizing pure form.

“Sadomasochism” is made up of the two words “sadism” and “masochism”. The term sadism was first used scientifically by a German psychiatrist in 1866. It was named after the writer Marquis de Sade, whose novels mixed pornographic content with violent fantasies. The term masochism was first used scientifically in 1886 by psychiatrist and forensic pathologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. He was referring to the writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who lived from 1836 to 1895. He, in turn, described contractually regulated and theatrically staged pain and submission behavior in several writings.

As these two types are opposites in the BDSM field, the term “sadomasochism” was coined. Not only in the mainstream, but often also in psychology, all sexual practices that deviate from what is considered “normale” and describe a combination of pleasure and pain are summarized under this term. In the past, both sadistic and masochistic tendencies, which are practiced in the sense of BDSM, were classified as mental disorders. It is only since the 1990s that these preferences are no longer considered pathological.

Sadomasochist as a role in BDSM

Someone who describes themselves as a sadomasochist enjoys both inflicting and receiving pain for sexual pleasure. In BDSM, people who are not exclusively the giving or receiving party are called “switches”. Whether sadist, masochist or sadomasochist: Here, the focus of the so-called game is on inflicting and receiving rather than complex role play on a psychological level. Even if, of course, a certain mental readiness must be present for painful games, which is sometimes more or less pronounced depending on the form of the day. In short: sadism and masochism can be two completely different things to dominance and submission, but the transitions are usually fluid and elements are integrated with each other.

And even if sadomasochists do not only play for erotic purposes, it is always the case that everything that happens takes place within a consensual framework and that the boundaries of the parties involved are not exceeded. Spanking, bondage, breathplay and much more can be part of these practices. Many sadomasochists also enjoy playing with themselves alone. However, depending on the practice, caution is advised here. But be aware that, because if serious injuries could occur, there is no second person to help.

Who matches with a sadomasochist?

In a monogamous constellation, other roles without a fixed power structure are suitable. These are, for example, Switch, Primal or other sadomasochists. Whether the role is switched with the partner often depends on whether the partner also switches or prefers a fixed role. It is often not so much the other role that is decisive here, but the shared kinks and preferences. In a poly constellation, it can also be the case that one partner is always a sadist, while the other is always a masochist. This offers a wide variety of suitable partners. Similarities to sadists include Brat Tamers, Riggers or Rope Tops, Masters/Mistresses or generally a Dom who enjoys inflicting pain and the reactions it triggers. Brats, bottoms, subs or a serf are similar to masochists.

In other constellations, the top also enjoys when he or she experiences pain during play. This can be the case in a playfight, fireplay or other types of edge play, such as electrosex. Sadomasochists may be more approachable or less distant than pure sadists. In comparison to pure masochists, sadomasochists may be less submissive or passive towards their partner. How exactly you give and take pain in order to enjoy it is very individual and not generally the same thing.

Which roles is a sadomasochist related to?

As a non-fixed person in terms of playing from top or bottom, parallels can be drawn to almost all roles in the “Other” category – as long as there is a preference for pain and/or humiliation. This could be Switch, Primal, Spanko and many other roles. Here, too, it is primarily about common types of play that can be enjoyed together. Primal play, rope fights and the like should be added to the options already mentioned.

What do I have to consider as a sadomasochist?

Pain is not just pain, but a very complex sensation in the brain. Some people like being hit, others like scratching, biting, electric shocks, others like needling, binding or genital torture. As always, it is therefore essential to clarify in advance where exactly what will be done, up to what intensity and to agree on a safeword in order to maintain a consensual framework. And even after a session, it is important to talk about what worked and what didn’t.

A responsible sadist, and in this context of course also a sadomasochist, is not only familiar with the utensils that are used. He or she also has knowledge of the human body. Where and when does pain lead to injuries or can become life-threatening? Consensual sadism or the willingness to receive as a masochist in the context of BDSM must always take place in a controlled and safe manner. This is the crucial difference to violence and cruelty.

A traffic light system or a scale can help a bottom-playing sadomasochist to guide the Top or Dom to the desired degree of hardness. The submissive partner should show which pain is arousing and which is considered borderline. Both play partners should be well informed, take safety precautions and deal extensively with aftercare.

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