Mental abnormality involving sexual satisfaction derived from hurting and being hurt. Sadism is the derivation of satisfaction from inflicting pain, humiliation or threat of violence. Masochism is the derivation of satisfaction from being hurt or humiliated. A situation in which both partners find satisfaction does not depend only on the presence of pain or threat. Erotic incidents involving pain, humiliation and threat are purposefully set up in consultation between the partners, according to personal preference. Roles (master and slave) may be assigned from the beginning. It is quite common for costume and ‘props’ such as whips and chains to be used in sadomasochistic play. The word play is apt in the context, because the partners respect and are usually very fond of each other, and both find the experience pleasurable and enjoyable. It is not clear how sadomasochistic feelings arise; some experts suggest that they can result from a connection between sexual satisfaction and pain in early life.

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