Sexual Masochism

Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902), psychiatrist, sexologist, and author of the pioneering work Psychopathia Sexualis, originated the term masochism based on literary figure Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836–1895). Sacher-Masoch, a novelist, wrote of an individual’s pursuit of humiliation and suffering at the hands of a dominant woman. In fact, novels by the Marquis de Sade (1740–1814) describe masochistic as well as sadistic behaviors, and French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) lamented his masochistic inclinations in his Confessions (1782). Krafft-Ebing brought within the purview of medicine what had hitherto been well known for centuries and had belonged to the realm of sin.

Krafft-Ebing indicated that he meant by the term masochism that the person is sexually aroused by being completely under the control of another person and treated by that ...

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