No doubt you predicted it, but E.L. James' novel Fifty Shades of Gray has transformed and fetishized the sadomasochist dynamic. There has been, if you will, a movement of primarily women who want to nurture their inner freak, ideally at the hands of a handsome and complicated billionaire.
Harley Quinn, the sexy and, dare we say, eccentric supervillain known for her obedience and devotion to the manipulative and sadistic Joker. Harley literally throws herself into a vat of toxic waste in the film Suicide Squad to demonstrate her undying devotion to her psychotically endearing counterpart. Despite the fact that their relationship is clearly a case of domestic abuse, there is something enticing about their compatibility.
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Outside of the realms of literature and fantasy, some of our most beloved and renowned celebrities have a dark and sadomasochistic sexual side. Angelina Jolie isn't shy about revealing intimate details about her sexual desires. Another example is Rhianna, who declares her naughty side with lyrics like “sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”
But, these days, is sexiness in sadism overrated?
Sadism manifests itself in a variety of ways
Sadism. The act of inflicting pain on others for personal gain, usually sexual in nature. Sadomasochistic relationships, which were once considered taboo, have now been elevated to a new level of media adoration. Sadism, on the other hand, can spread far beyond the bedroom, manifesting itself in forms of bullying and intimidation in everyday life.
Before we demonize the term, we must ask ourselves: aren't we all a little sadistic at times? If you have ever gotten pleasure from hurting another person, regardless of how deserving of the abuse you believe they are; verbally, physically, or emotionally, you have a sadistic streak.
Every sadist requires a masochist to fulfill their fantasies
There is a yin for every yang, and for every sadist, there is a masochist to satisfy their need for release. However, this concept is not entirely black and white.
Many sadists have masochistic tendencies, while masochists suppress some sadistic tendencies. There is a spectrum of extremes, ranging from the playful and seemingly innocent nibbling and spanking when things get steamy to the more sinister side of the spectrum, where consenting partners engage in cutting, gagging, rape fantasies, and humiliation.
According to a survey of 391 people conducted by Dr. Justin LeMiller, Sex Psychologist, there was a 50-50 split between sadistic and masochistic preferences in the bedroom.
Looking a little deeper, of the 50 percent who reported sexual pain, 64 percent reported physical pain, albeit of a very low intensity. 33 percent reported both physical and psychological pain, while 3 percent reported only psychological pain. Sadists, whose experiences consisted of inflicting pain, had nearly identical results. Only 2% reported only psychological pain, while 66 percent reported only physical pain, 32 percent reported both psychological and physical pain, and only 2 percent administered only psychological pain.
According to all reports, the pain was of a low intensity. The investigation continues to delve deeper, examining the similarities between various acts. Bondage, biting, spanking, and handcuffing were among the most common, while waxing, shocking, cutting, piercing, and clamping were much less common but still common.
So, what can we glean from this research? For the most part, the “abuse” was delivered in a light, almost playful manner to the majority of the participants. Furthermore, all of the participants enjoyed playing both the sadist and the masochist.
Sadism can be motivated by childhood experiences as well as everyday stress
Psychologists believe that these sexual urges may be the result of childhood traumas and experiences that surface later in life, usually in early adulthood. Individuals often go unnoticed as they work through their underlying issues by administering or accepting pain as a form of release or personal punishment.
Those who lead high-pressure, stressful lives are more likely to adopt the role of submission; to step back from their authoritative roles and allow others to relieve them of the burden. Experts such as Dr. Vince Berger have speculated that submissives may suffer from guilt and other psychological ailments and thus request pain as punishment.
Sadists may appear to be submissive, passive, and easygoing in their daily lives. This can be voluntary, but it is more often than not forced upon them by circumstances beyond their control. They assume the dominant role in intimate settings to vent their frustrations and feel in control for a change.
To satisfy their needs, they may switch between the roles of sadism and masochism depending on their mood or urges. The human psyche is a maze of experiences and manifestations resulting from those experiences, and it is difficult to pinpoint what causes various urges and fantasies.
Stepping outside of the bedroom, we have the “Everyday Sadist”
This is also on a sliding scale. It is a mild form of sadism to experience gratification from something as “innocent” as killing off an opponent during a video game. Another thing you can enjoy is watching your favorite characters feud on an episode of reality TV.
These acts appear to be harmless, but in a way, the individual is still benefiting from the pain of others. As the scale rises, acts like brake checking and other forms of road rage become more sinister and malicious, satisfying the desire to cause harm to others for personal gain.
Sadism varies in intensity, and while it can be difficult to identify, there are some telltale signs.
So, now that we've got a pretty good idea of what a sadist is, how do you spot one? A sadist has no distinguishing characteristics. You just have to wait and see until they start showing their true colors to really get to know them. However, there are a number of characteristics that should raise some red flags.
They get a kick out of seeing people get hurt. This could range from spreading a rumor to publicly shaming someone for the sole purpose of watching them squirm and feeling in control of their happiness.
They take pleasure in inflicting pain on others. Similar to the previous point, but they enjoy physically harming others. Assume someone is standing too close to them on the train, and they “accidentally” stomp on their foot to make amends.
It's exciting to think about other people in pain. When a fist fight breaks out, they are the first to rally. They're looking for blood. They thrive on the ferocious energy.
They believe it is acceptable to inflict pain on others. It is, according to them, a natural part of the cycle of life. You're either at the top of the chain or you're not, and if you're at the bottom, get ready to be stepped on.
They have fantasies about hurting others. This could be sexual or of a more mundane nature.
They harmed others simply because they could. A seemingly innocuous act, such as squashing bugs when it is not required, can be considered sadistic. Bullying, which can take many forms, is a more severe form of this.
Using humiliation to keep others in line. Perhaps they raise their voice during an argument to attract the attention of others, putting their opponent in an uncomfortable and sometimes humiliating position.
Sexual proclivities This one is self-evident. If they demand that you submit to various sexual acts such as bondage, gagging, slapping, hair pulling, choking, and so on.
The best way to get rid of a sadist is to make them believe that they chose to leave.
On a sexual level, this is really just a matter of personal preference. If you have submissive desires and tendencies, a sadistic partner may be ideal on some level. However, in this case, the sadism will most likely remain in the bedroom and never spread into everyday life.
If the person in question exhibits any of the 1-7 characteristics listed above, my advice is to determine where they fall on the sadism spectrum. To some extent, depending on the circumstances and our current mood, we can all relate to a few of these points. If you notice that their levels of “Everyday Sadism” are a little more extreme, you should politely leave the situation.
The most effective strategy is to persuade them that leaving is their choice
These people need to feel in control, and if that control is taken away from them, they will lash out. This can be tricky because you may believe you are delaying them when, in fact, you are providing them with ammunition to feed their desires.
Assume you decide to stop wearing deodorant or begin chewing loudly in order to turn them off. They may use this opportunity to mock you for your habits, putting you on the receiving end of the abuse once more. If you succeed in turning them off, they will lose interest and leave on their own.
A slightly riskier but effective way to deter them is to question their authority
They are more likely to be attracted to those who easily submit to their demands. Turn up the sass and start asserting yourself. They will be put off and will most likely look elsewhere.
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