Sadomasochism is the giving and receiving pleasure from acts involving the receiving and giving of pain or humiliation. The two words, "sadism" and "masochism," were initially derived in the 19th Century from the names of two authors. The term "sadism" has its origin in Marquis de Sade's name, the French writer who practiced giving pain and wrote novels about it. "Masochism" is named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the Austrian writer who wrote novels expressing his fantasies in receiving pain.
The "sadism" and "masochism" were introduced to the medical terminology as illnesses in 1890 by the German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his book "New research in the area of Psychopathology of Sex." In the 20th Century, many psychologists, psychiatrists, and philosophers wrote about sadism and masochism. Among them were Sigmund Freud, Havelock Ellis, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-Paul Sartre, and René Girard. According to these scientists, there are many reasons why sadists and masochists find their practice enjoyable.
Jean-Paul Sartre argued that masochism attempts to reduce oneself to nothing, while sadism is the effort to conquer the victim's subjectivity. Sigmund Freud described sadism and masochism as abnormal psychological development from early childhood. He noted that both were often found in the same individuals and combined the two into a single dichotomous entity known as "sadomasochism." Scientists gave different interpretations of sadism and masochism. Still, they agreed that sadists and masochists joined together, encounter pleasure in giving and receiving pain as a form of sexual satisfaction. However, they failed to define the origin of sadomasochism and then, of course, they were not able to find the prevention neither the cure for it.
Recent researchers have found an easy way out from the problem by suggesting that sadomasochism is merely a sexual interest, not a pathological symptom or a sexual problem. People with sadomasochistic sexual interests are in general neither damaged nor dangerous. The current version of the American Psychiatric Association's manual DSM-5 excludes consensual sadomasochism from the diagnosis of illnesses when the sexual interests cause no harm or distress. On June 18, 2018, the World Health Organization removed sadomasochism from psychiatric diagnoses in the International Classification of Diseases - ICD 11.
The pathology of enjoyment in pain has become a normal state. It has happened nowhere in nature but in human society. So why do we accept abnormal behaviour as normal? Because we live in an abnormal authoritarian society and authorities, want us to consider it as normal.
My research on sadomasochism is based on the analysis of available data. It brought me to the conclusion that the same social conditions that cause social and psychological problems cause sadomasochism as well. I have spent decades researching the causes of social and psychological problems, which should make me capable of talking about sadomasochism. This article aims to present the origin of sadomasochism, its prevention and cure.
The origin of sadism and masochism are embedded in social relations. They are a result of tension coming from living in authoritarian societies that prevent people from a natural way of living. When children like to play outside but cannot because they are forced to spend a long time in schools, this is the starting point of sadomasochism. When adults want to enjoy their lives but cannot because they have to obey the rules authorities have created, this develops sadomasochism.
A natural reaction to the oppression of authorities is resistance. Those who resist the authorities and manage to release themselves from authoritarian tyranny would most likely have relaxed, productive lives free of tension. This should be the best way of avoiding sadomasochism. However, authorities may have been too strong, feared, or respected, so people could never escape from their oppression completely. Therefore, we all possess some tension from the abuse of authorities, and therefore we all carry some level of sadomasochism. People who follow authorities often try to suppress their anxiety by intensifying self-control. It worsens the problem because self-discipline suppresses an individual's nature and increases the tension. This explains why strongly disciplined and successful people are more prone to become sadists and masochists.
People cannot endure the tension of living in an authoritarian society endlessly, so their bodies find an escape from the anxiety in the perversion of emotions and senses. These perversions are the origin that produces sadism and masochism. The strong tension of sadists perverts their emotions intensely, and then they enjoy giving pain to other people, becoming solid sadists. Lower-level sadists would be satisfied by watching fights in brutal movies, for example. People who live naturally do not enjoy any of it.
Masochists enjoy being obedient to sadists. Scientists offer a spectrum of explanations about the masochist's need to submit to controlling authorities' power. According to them, authorities give masochists safety and protection from the stresses, from helplessness, from fear of life responsibilities, or from guilt. According to me, the permanent tension under imposed authoritarian way of living perverse masochists' emotions to find enjoyment in obedience to sadists. However, it explains the origin of the emotional perversion only. It does not explain the origin of the pleasure in pain.
Masochists must enjoy the pain they receive from sadists a lot; otherwise, they would not accept it. Masochists enjoy the pain much more intensively than sadists who deliver the pain can. Scientists have problems understanding what causes the enjoyment of pain. They even understand the chemical process in a body which creates pleasure in pain, but they do not know why it happens. My analysis has given a pretty convincing conclusion about the origin of pain enjoyment. Permanent tension in masochists besides emotions perverts their sensations as well. High-level anxiety perverts the nerves of masochists. Then the nerves start producing pleasure from the sense of pain.
Many people do not know that they may enjoy pain in sexual contact because they have never tried it. Some people who encounter pain in the sexual relationship get released from the tension and enjoy it. Then the pain becomes their need. The more tension they suppress, the more pain they enjoy. Big masochists may feel extreme pain similar to orgasms. Nothing can bring more intense enjoyment than this, so such people love it.
All people possess some degree of masochism. A low level of masochism would not make people enjoy pain, but it may bring emotional satisfaction in obedience to authorities. Such people would follow authorities uncritically and enjoy it. For example, masochism may make people fans of politicians or celebrities. Almost no one is immune to it. Idolatry puts people on the wrong path, which is one more origin of the masochistic tension and increases the possibility of pain enjoyment.
Sadism and masochism come as the result of an unhealthy way of living. Sadists and masochists build a solid mutual dependency, which might look like being in love. However, every relationship based on the control of authority and the servility of subordinate people should be labelled as a perversion of love. Sadists cannot love, and masochists cannot be interested in people who offer love. If a sadist shows weakness towards a masochist, he or she will instantly lose interest in the sadist. In this case, a masochist can even despise the sadist. In the movie "Last Tango in Paris," the masochist killed the sadist when he showed weakness towards her. The screenplay writer and director understood sadomasochism correctly and presented it realistically. However, sadomasochism could look much worse than the movie presented. Neither sadism nor masochism let people live normally. They are diseases.
The answer lies in everything opposite from what the authoritarian social systems establish. The origin of sadomasochism is based on perverted society, so that the healing of sadomasochism must be based on a healthy society. The best result will be achieved through the implementation of equal human rights.
The essential step in building equal human rights will be built on the equal political power of people. I have called it democratic anarchy. Each person should have an equal opportunity to evaluate other people for whatever they do. A positive assessment should bring small awards to the assessed person, and a negative evaluation will carry small punishments. Such assessments will guide every person to respect other people, to do everything they can to beautify other peoples' lives and do nothing that can hurt them. Such life will eliminate the oppression of people, and this will prevent the evolution of sadomasochism.
Equal human rights must also give each person the right to work. As long as unemployment exists, such a right does not exist. Unemployment will be eliminated by shortening working hours proportionally to the rate of unemployment. This would increase the demand for workers on the free market, placing them in a more balanced economic power position with employers. The ultimate stage of equal human rights will create an equal possibility for the employment of all people at every public work post at any time. It will be necessary to open a permanent competition of workers for every public work post. Workers who offer the best productivity for desired work posts would get the right to work at any time. It is nothing else but a developed market of work. It sounds impossible to achieve because such a division of labour never existed. However, realizing it is just a technical problem that I have pretty much solved in the book Humanism. Besides being the most productive, such an economy will one day bring full implementation of equal human rights. Full implementation of equal human rights would stop emerging of sadism and masochism in society.
In the end, I owe the answer on how to cure sadomasochism. The human psyche is not a dough that can be easily modified. Perversion of a sick society needs time to be healed in a healthy society. Once equal human rights are established, they will start removing sadomasochism and solving the social problems of humankind.
My article Do you love? presents the power of equal human rights in spreading love among people. Nobody will be able to "escape" from loving other people. Equal human rights will bring a wonderful life to all.