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Sadistic & Masochistic Behaviors in Intimate Relationships


According to Sue, Sue and Sue (1994), the traditional psychoanalytic and psychological perspective of sadism defines it as a discrete sexual disorder in which erotic or sexual gratification is obtained from inflicting pain or punishment. Similarly, masochism is defined as a discrete disorder in which erotic or sexual gratification is obtained by receiving pain or punishment (Sue, Sue & Sue, 1994).

However, as Sue, Sue and Sue (1994) also point out, current thinking on sadomasochism (S-M) tends to view the behaviors as arising from urges and impulses associated with giving and receiving pain that exist along a continuum with the full-blow disorders occupying only one end of the continuum. Thus, in any given intimate relationship, there can be behaviors that are associated with less severe or intense sadomasochistic impulses or urges.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the literature addressing some of the less severe S-M urges that take place in intimate relationships. The literature on sociodemographic differences in sadomasochistic tendencies in intimate relationships is also examined. The presented literature focuses on answering the following questions:

1. What types of behaviors in intimate relationships have been associated with sadomasochistic tendencies, urges or impulses?

2. What etiological frameworks have been offered to explain behaviors in intimate relationships said to be associated with sadmasichistic tendencies, urges, or impulses?

3. What are the effects, if any, of sociodemographic variables (e.g., age, gender, etc.) on sadomasochistic tendencies and behaviors in intimate relationships?

Sadism and Masochism in the Intimate Relationship

Etiology and Types of S-M Behavioral Manifestations

One of the behaviors that has been associated with sadomasochistic tendencies as they related to intimate relationships has been ...

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Sadistic & Masochistic Behaviors in Intimate Relationships. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:27, February 19, 2017, from