masochism

masochism (măsˈəkĭzəm) [key], sexual disorder in which sexual arousal is derived from subjection to physical and emotional degradation. A type of paraphilia (see perversion, sexual), masochism is explained in psychoanalysis as a destructive attitude in which the individual turns inward upon himself instead of outward upon others. It is coupled with sadism, in which sexual pleasure is derived from the infliction of pain or humiliation. The word masochism was suggested by Austrian novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose books depicted this abnormality. In recent years, a number of theorists have suggested that sadomasochism can be a healthy form of sexual arousal among consenting individuals.

See T. Weinberg and G. L. W. Kamel, S & M: Studies in Sadomasochism (1983); R. Glick and D. Meyers, Masochism (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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