Society today typically views sadomasochistic behavior in the same judgmental way that behaviors such as masturbation and homosexuality were viewed in the past. Although traditional psychology has viewed it as a sexual disorder, due to recent changes in DSM-IV, sadomasochistic practices are no longer defined as necessarily pathological or psychologically unhealthy. People involve in S&M argue that society is censoring a consensual sexual practice between adults, which emphasizes the negotiation, and mutual respect between partners to encourage the utmost safety in its practice.
Discusses the prevalence of S/M orientation in society today and historically, the context of S/M play, the diversity among the backgrounds of its participants, and addresses various S/M myths.
Describes variation in S/M behavior
Some sadomasochistic fantasies and enactments can be therapeutic and allow the client (patient) to fully express their sexual desires in a safe context, and realize that his/her partner can service this full sexual expression.
Sadomasochism cannot be separated from normal sexual behavior. Perverse fantasies occur in normal sexual relationships and differ from perverse psychic structuring in relation to one's individual organization of personality (id, ego, superego).
It is difficult for causes of sadomasochistic desires to be identified because whenever a psychoanalyst thinks one has been identified in a patient, "alibis" emerge that inevitably disqualify the given suspicion.
Study based on the analysis of 245 questionnaires filled out by a largely non-clinical sample in the SM scene. Analysis indicated that the majority of the participants lived well-adjusted, inconspicuous lives, psychopathology was not indicated.