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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 September 30, 2020

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

    We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

    In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

    The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

    The Importance of Living in the Moment

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

    While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

    Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

    Better Health

    By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

    Improve Your Relationships

    Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

    Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

    How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

    By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

    Greater Self-Control

    You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

    Why Do We Worry?

    Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

    When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

    Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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    Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

    3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

    Step 1: Overcome Worrying

    In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

    Calm Your Mind

    When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

    The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

    In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

    Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

    Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

    People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

    If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

    Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

    In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

    Racing Mind

    Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

    You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

    If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

    Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

    None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

    So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

    By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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    In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

    Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

    A Wandering Mind

    From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

    Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

    Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

    Outside Influences

    Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

    Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

    Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

    So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

    Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

    Understand Mindfulness

    The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

    When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

    You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

    This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

    To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

    If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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    You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

    Mindfulness Meditation

    Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

    Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

    You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

    This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

    If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

    Mindful Breathing

    While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

    You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

    Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

    Mindful Walking

    Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

    Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

    Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

    You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

    In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

    You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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    Mindful Eating

    Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

    The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

    Live in the present with mindful eating.

      Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

      So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

      • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
      • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
      • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

      You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

      Mindful Activities

      Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

      Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

      You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

      Final Thoughts

      Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

      Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

      Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

      The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

      More About Living in the Present

      Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

      Reference

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