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(măs`əkĭzəm), sexual disorder in which sexual arousal is derived from subjection to physical and emotional degradation. A type of paraphilia (see perversion, sexualperversion, sexual,
in psychology, sexual behavior deemed pathological by its deviation from "normal" sexual desire. The definition of sexual perversion has shifted considerably over time: indeed, it has never been an uncontested category of meaning.
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), 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).



a sexual perversion in which an individual cannot reach orgasm unless his sexual partner abuses or humiliates him. Masochism is named after the Austrian writer L. Sacher-Masoch (1836-95), whose novels led the Viennese psychiatrist R. von Krafft-Ebing to diagnose the condition in him.

What does it mean when you dream about masochism?

Masochism can represent a desire to punish oneself out of guilt for a crime committed. Physical masochism in a dream can also represent psychological masochism.


Pleasure derived from experiencing physical or psychological pain.


1. Psychiatry an abnormal condition in which pleasure, esp sexual pleasure, is derived from pain or from humiliation, domination, etc., by another person
2. Psychoanal the directing towards oneself of any destructive tendencies
References in periodicals archive ?
Lopatka may have suffered from sexual masochism, said Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorder Clinic.
If we define sexual masochism as the condition in which sexual pleasure is contingent on suffering, humiliation, and physical pain, then the narrator of A Recent Martyr is a sexual masochist.
Table 1 DSM-IV Paraphilic Disorders(*) DSM-IV Defining Paraphilic Disorder Characteristic Exhibitionism Exposure of genitals Fetishism Use of nonliving objects Frotteurism Touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person Pedophilia Focus on prepubescent children Sexual masochism Receiving humiliation or suffering Sexual sadism Inflicting humiliation or suffering Transvestic fetishism Cross-dressing as member of the other sex Voyeurism Observing sexual activity Paraphilia not All other paraphilias otherwise specified