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What Sadists Are Actually Thinking And Why

What Sadists Are Actually Thinking And Why

No doubt you saw this coming, the novel Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James has transformed and fetishized the sadomasochist dynamic. There has been a movement if you will of primarily women who wish to nurture their inner freak, ideally at the hands of a handsome and complicated billionaire.

Ahh, Harley Quinn, the sexy and shall we say quirky super villain who is notorious for her obedience and devotion to the manipulative and sadistic Joker. In the film Suicide Squad, Harley literally throws herself into a vat of toxic waste to prove her undying commitment to her psychotically endearing counterpart. Although their relationship is clearly a case of cut and dry domestic abuse, there is something alluring about their compatibility.

Stepping outside of the world of literature and fantasy, some of our beloved and renowned celebrities have a dark and sadomasochistic side of a sexual nature. Angelina Jolie is not bashful when it comes to disclosing intimate details about her sexual urges. Rhianna is another example, proclaiming her naughty side with lyrics such as, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”

But has sexiness in sadism been overrated these days?

Sadism takes on various forms.

Sadism. The act of inflicting pain on others for personal enjoyment, typically of a sexual nature. Formerly a taboo topic, sadomasochistic relationships have reached a new platform of glorification by the media. But sadism can breach far outside of the bedroom, manifesting into forms of bullying and intimidation in everyday life.

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Before we go ahead and demonize the term, we have to ask ourselves, aren’t we all a bit sadistic at times? If you have ever gotten enjoyment out of hurting another individual, regardless of how deserving of the abuse you believe them to be; verbally, physically, or emotionally, then you have a bit of a sadistic side.

Every sadist needs a masochist to satisfy their fantasies.

For every yin there is a yang, and for every sadist, there is a masochist to feed their need for release. But this concept is not completely black and white.

Many sadists tend to have masochistic tendencies, while masochists inhibit some sadistic tendencies as well. There is a sliding scale of extremity, from something as playful and seemingly innocent as a bit of nibbling and spanking when things are getting steamy; to the more sinister side of the spectrum where consenting partners partake in cutting, gagging, rape fantasies and humiliation.

According to a survey consisting of 391 individuals that was orchestrated by Dr. Justin LeMiller, Sex Psychologist , there was an even 50-50 keel of sadistic and masochistic preference in the bedroom.[1]

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    Digging a bit deeper, for the 50% who had reported receiving pain in a sexual nature, 64% reported the pain being physical, but of a very low intensity. 33% reported the pain being both physical and psychological, and 3% reported solely psychological pain. The results were nearly identical for the sadists, those who’s experiences consisted of giving pain. 66% reported that the pain given was strictly in a physical nature, 32% reported both psychological and physical pain, whereas only 2% administered solely psychological pain.

    All reports indicated that the pain given was of a low intensity. The study goes to dig deeper still, exploring the commonality of various acts. Bondage, biting, spanking, and handcuffs were among the most occurring; while wax, shocking, cutting, piercing and clamping were much less common but still prevalent.

    So what can we learn from this study? Well, for the majority of the participants, the “abuse” was administered in a very light and nearly playful manner. In addition, all of the participants enjoyed to assume both roles of the sadist as well as the masochist.

    The act of sadism can stem from childhood experiences, as well as everyday stress.

    Psychologists have come to believe that these sexual urges may stem from childhood traumas and experiences that surface later in life, typically during early adulthood. Often unrecognized by the individual, they process through their underlying issues by either administering or accepting pain as a form of release or personal punishment.

    Those who lead very stressful, high pressure lives riddled with responsibility are more likely to assume the role of submission; to take a step back from their authoritative lives and allow others to relieve them of the burden. Submissive’s may also suffer from guilt and other psychological ailments, and therefore ask to receive pain as punishment, as has been speculated by experts such as Dr. Vince Berger.[2]

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    Sadists may very well be submissive in their everyday lives, passive and easy going. This can be voluntary, but more often than not they are forced into submission by circumstances that are out of their control. They assume the dominant role in intimate settings to release their frustrations, and for once feel like they are in control.

    Depending on their mood or urges, they may flip flop between the roles of sadism and masochism to satisfy their needs. The human psyche is a labyrinth of experiences and manifestations stemming from experiences, and it is difficult to pinpoint what generates various urges and fantasies.

    Stepping outside of the bedroom we have what is called the “Everyday Sadist.”

    This also ranges on a sliding scale. Experiencing gratification something as “innocent” as killing off an opponent during a video game is a mild form of sadism. The enjoyment of watching your favorite characters feud on an episode of reality TV is another.

    These acts are seemingly harmless, but in a sense the individual is still benefiting from someone else’s pain. As the scale intensifies, acts such as brake checking and other forms of road rage are more sinister and malicious, satisfying the need to cause other people harm for personal enjoyment.

    Sadism ranges in intensity, it may be hard to identify but there are still some telling characteristics.

    So now that we have a pretty accurate depiction of what a sadist actually is, how do you identify one? There are no tell-tale features that a sadist portrays. You kind of just have to wait and see until they start to show their true colors to really get to know their true nature. But there are a variety of characteristics that could send up some red flags.

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    1. They enjoy seeing people hurt. This could range from starting a rumor, to publicly shaming an individual for the sole purpose of seeing them squirm, and feeling in control of their happiness.
    2. They enjoy hurting people. Similar to the previous point, but they enjoy to physically hurt other individuals. Say someone is standing too close to them on the train, so they “accidentally” stomp on their foot to make up for their aggravations.
    3. The idea of others in pain is exciting. They are the first person to rally when a fist fight breaks out. They want to see blood. They get off on the violent energy.
    4. They think it is acceptable to cause others’ pain. To them, it is a part of the circle of life. Either you’re at the top of the chain or you’re not, and if you’re at the bottom, prepare to get stepped on.
    5. They have fantasies that involve hurting others. This could be of a sexual or everyday nature.
    6. They hurt others just because they could. A seemingly simple act such as squashing bugs when it isn’t a necessity can be considered sadistic. A more drastic form of this would be bullying which can take many forms.
    7. Humiliating others to keep them in line. Perhaps during an argument they raise their voice to draw the attention of others, putting their opponent in an uncomfortable and sometimes mortifying position.
    8. Sexual tendencies. This one is a no-brainer. If they ask you to submit to various forms of sexual acts such as bondage, gagging, slapping, hair pulling, choking; you get the picture.

    The best way to get rid of a sadist is to make them believe that leaving was their choice.

    On a sexual level, this is really just a question of preference. If you harbor submissive urges and tendencies, then a sadistic partner may on some level be ideal. Although in this circumstance, the sadism will most likely stay in the bedroom and never cross over into everyday life.

    If the individual in question is showcasing any of the 1-7 characteristics stated above, my advice is to gauge exactly where they fall on the spectrum of sadism. To an extent, we all can resonate with a few of these points depending on the circumstances and our present mood. If you notice that their levels of “Everyday sadism”[3] are a bit more extreme, then tactfully retreat from the situation.

    The most effective way to approach this is to make them believe that leaving is their choice.

    These people need to feel that they are in control, and will lash out if that control is taken away from them. This can be tricky, because you may think that you’re putting them off, when in reality you are giving them ammunition to feed their urges.

    Say you decide to stop wearing deodorant, or start chewing loudly to turn them off. They might take this opportunity to ridicule you for these habits, once again putting you on the receiving end of the abuse. If you can successfully turn them off, they will lose interest and leave on their own.

    A slightly more risky yet effective way to deter them may be to challenge their authority.

    More likely than not, they are attracted to those who easily submit to their demands. Turn up the sass a bit, and start taking control. They will feel put off, and are likely to start looking elsewhere.

    Reference

    [1] Dr. Justin Lehmiller: What Do Sadists and Masochists Actually Do In Bed?
    [2] Dr. Vince Berger: Sadomasochism
    [3] Psychology Today: 10 Ways to Spot an ‘Everyday’ Sadist

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    Jenn Beach

    Traveling vagabond, writer, & plant-based food enthusiast.

    How We Are Confusing Self-Love with Narcissism In This Generation How Traveling Can Drastically Improve Your Interpersonal Skills 10 Best Lumbar Support Cushions That All Desk Workers Need One Small Action Separates Success From Mediocrity. How Not To Turn Meaningful Discussions Into Arguments By Keeping This 1 Thing In Mind.

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

    You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

    This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

    Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

    There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

    How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

    When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

    Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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    1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

    One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

    The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

    Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

    2. Be Honest

    A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

    If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

    On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

    Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

    3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

    Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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    If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

    4. Succeed at Something

    When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

    Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

    5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

    Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

    Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

    If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

    If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

    Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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    6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

    Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

    You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

    On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

    You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

    7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

    Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

    Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

    Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

    When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

    Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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    In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

    Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

    It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

    Final Thoughts

    When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

    The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

    Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

    Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

    Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

    More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
    [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
    [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
    [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
    [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
    [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
    [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
    [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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