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Taking Pleasure in Pain: How to Understand Masochistic Sexual Practices

17 February 2020

Publication Date
24 January 2020

Original Abstract

The encounter with a patient who initially came to consult for sleep disorders, which concealed moral suffering linked to masochistic sexual practices with a Domina, was at the origin of this research work. The objective of this research is to try to understand how masochistic sexual fantasies emerge and what these sexual practices represent for their devotees, in terms of their psychological life and their sexuality. Sixteen subjects answered a questionnaire built on two axes: the sexual practices themselves (from the first fantasies to their implementation in sexuality), and the biographical path of the subjects (life history, relations with the family and the environment). This is a qualitative research, the results of which were treated in the form of thematic analysis and portraits of each subject, to reflect the uniqueness of their itinerary. The results of this research indicate that masochistic sexual practices always perform a function for those who choose them. They are most often a solution to an internal conflict linked to early relational modalities that generate suffering and/or traumatic experiences. They can also be a solution to sexual problems.

Benhamou, O. (2019). Taking pleasure in pain: How to understand masochistic sexual practices. Sexologies. DOI: 10.1016/j.sexol.2020.01.003.

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masochism, pain, sexual satisfaction, violence, fantasies, sexuality


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