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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.

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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