Sadism

Sadism

WORD ORIGINS

The word sadism comes from the name of a historical figure, the infamous Marquis de Sade (Louis Donatien Francois Alphonse de Sade [1740–1814]), a French count, writer, and philosopher. The term was first used by the psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840–1902). Known for a lifestyle of excess, de Sade took part in violent sexual play with prostitutes, engaged in orgies with men and women, and was eventually and repeatedly charged with sexual crimes for which he was forced to serve prison sentences. While in and out of prisons and asylums, he wrote racy yet philosophical novels and plays. De Sade shone a bright light on sexual practices that many people of the age wished to keep in the dark.
In Psychopathia sexualis (1886), Krafft-Ebing defined the four classes of sexual variation as sadism, masochism, fetishism, and homosexuality. He noted that sadism is a fairly common perversion resulting in sensual pleasure and orgasm by cruel acts of mastery. He proposed that sadism shares a relation of opposition and cooperation with masochism, the passive desire to be subjected to pain, force, punishment, and/or humiliation. Krafft-Ebing also coined the term masochism, once again by referring to a real world figure, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, an Austrian writer known for writing erotic novels based on his life experiences. Sacher-Masoch's most famous work isVenus in Furs (1870), a story about a man who becomes enslaved to a beautiful widow.
Concerning sadism, Krafft-Ebing draws a distinction between the physiologically normal sexualized horseplay, marked by biting or pinching in the heat of passion, and more dominating and abusive sexual acts. He claims that there is a space of transition that separates the former and latter sadistic poles and that the range of sadistic acts is traceable. His text thus suggests a continuum of sadistic practices and offers a plethora of varying cases for study. Though labeling and moralizing against certain pathologies rather than structuring a cohesive sexual theory,Psychopathia sexualis was a landmark work for its time—one that opened a path to the work of the pioneering psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) on sadomasochism and his theory of psychoanalysis.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition) 
Holguin, Ana. "Sadism." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Ed. Fedwa Malti-Douglas. Vol. 4. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 1285-1287. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 11 Sep. 2012.
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Did you see the movie 'Quills'?

In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor. -http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0180073/
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