A friend asked the question “Can a masochist be a sadist?”
This, I think, is a deceptively simple question. By that I mean that if one unpacks it, it has a number of levels to it or points of view at least.
When I first hear the question, I initially began analyzing it in terms of what I know about psychology, simply puzzling out whether the two traits could occur simultaneously within the same individual. The possibility doesn’t seem unreasonable at all. Perhaps qualified psychologists could set me straight on that point.
Another angle to look at, though, is on an experiential level. I’m not so much concerned with definitions or boundaries as I am what it could mean to an individual. I had to examine this very closely myself, because my particular sexual sadism is very driven by empathy. It is in knowing a woman is feeling the pain and especially if I see it in her face, that I become most aroused.
This scene from the TV show “Community” is one of my favorites in mainstream even though you can’t see her butt.
But she does give great face and great voice 🙂
She’s a good actress (assuming the switching wasn’t real… hmm… imagine the rehearsals… okay I wandered off. Where was I?) A yes. The pain.
She was clearly in pain and so my empathy kicked in and I was quite aroused. Now if empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s place and almost “feel what they feel”, then my arousal is partly based on imagining for myself what she’s going through. I can’t call it masochism really, because it’s not a conscious imagining and if it were, I’d be imagining being her and not me. But it’s not a big stretch to imagine sadism and masochism coexisting in the same experience.
I really don’t understand masochism on an experiential level, but I can extrapolate from my own sadism, and indeed my sadism is founded on that extrapolation in the form of empathy.
So stretching my imagination further, if I attempt to imagine myself to be a masochist, the only way I can even get close to that space, is to romanticize the suffering I might experience. I can be the handsome hero, captured by the enemy compound and they send a beautiful and sadistic interrogator to get information from me. Understanding how much I like spanking or whipping an attractive woman, I can imagine how she might feel about spanking or whipping me if she finds me attractive and happens to be sadistic in that way.
So now, occupying this pseudo-masochistic (HA, that sounds like ‘sadomasochistic’. Did I coin a new term? Suggested definition: not actually a masochist, but willing to pretend…) space, how would sadism enter into it? I suppose if as a sadist, I’m focused on the masochist’s pain and reaction, then as a masochist wouldn’t I be focused on the sadist and her reaction? And I imagine that as she becomes more and more aroused with the experience of spanking or whipping me, I can imagine empathizing with that and therefore, exhibiting a sadism through her.
It’s a fascinating experiential knot 😉
Thank you for the question, Alias 🙂
Everyone, let me know what you think. What’s your experience? Are you a switch? How do you experience that? If you play mostly or all on one side of the power exchange coin, tell us about your experience with ‘the other side’ even if it’s only in your imagination.
Who knows, you may persuade me to share my ‘other side’ fantasy 😉