(redirected from masochists)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to masochists: sadist


(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.
..... Click the link for more information.
), 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™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


Pleasure derived from experiencing physical or psychological pain.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The post Wearing the masochist slur with pride appeared first on Cyprus Mail .
I wondered sometimes whether I was a masochist. I'm still wondering.
British Cactus and Succulent Society - Northumbria Branch, talk, Marvels for the Masochist: The Stapeliae, by Bill Keen, St Aidan's Church Community Centre, Brunton Park, Gosforth, 7.15pm.
CALL THEM revisionists or deconstructionists, but recognize them for what they are--American masochists. Hating themselves and the U.S., they are pan of the current malaise of political correctness.
When we do it to ourselves we are masochists. God takes no pleasure in unnecessary pain; there is nothing to be learned from it but callousness to pain, whether to ourselves or others.
In his concept of "moral masochism," he was also the first to allude to its use as a model for nonsexual social relations, though he never fully developed it.(2) While Freud believed that s/m took on gendered divisions for biological reasons - man's natural aggressiveness and woman's inherent passivity - he also believed that "the nucleus of the unconscious (that is to say, the repressed) is in each human being that side of him [or her] which belongs to the opposite sex," thus allowing for the possibility of female sadists and male masochists (as depicted in yon Sacher-Masoch's work).
Whereas masochists find pleasure in pain, self-mutilators seek relief from distressing emotional states, Briere argues.
(4.) Burger's insistence that the avant-garde is "functionless" perversely replicates and extends the logic of Reik's speculations on "social masochism." Reik argues that idealist political revolutionaries are masochists insofar as they invest all of their emotional energy in a project that is, for Reik, evidently doomed, thereby satisfying an unconscious need for failure.
Describing the successive ministries of Third and Fourth Republics (surely a subject of interest only to Ph.D students and clinical masochists) is such a Herculean task that it leaves McMillan little time to develop the interesting points that he makes about society and culture: it is to be hoped that authors of forthcoming English language textbooks on contemporary France will follow the example of the Nouvelle histoire de la France contemporaine and load the narrative detail into a separate chronological table so that a more free-wheeling approach can be adopted in the text.
In February, FACT published a major broadside aimed at the anti-porners that featured footnoted essays celebrating female sexual expression and opposing censorship, all liberally spiced with photos of leather-bound masochists and lesbian and gay sex that seem calculated to drive the antiporners into a rage.
Actors are masochists" - Jean-Louis Trintignant, 81, who, despite a broken wrist, carried on filming his role as someone facing the trials of old age.
I believe we are not masochists. I want to believe we are people who love our country and really want to be free of the evils of the invasion and occupation," he concluded.