Masochism is a well-known term that is often used lightly to describe certain human attitudes in some context.

Masochism is actually a disorder and goes far beyond having an affinity for pain, although within its definition there are still elements such as the ability to tolerate suffering and risk well-being or security for a good.

In the following article, we will delve into what exactly masochism is, the causes of its pronunciation, types and treatment available for the minimization of these reflexes or responses in the individual.

What is masochism?

The word masochistic is born from art. In this sense, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch in the nineteenth century represented in his novels characters addicted to physical and emotional pain, where then we can indicate that it was the birth of this recognition.

Later, in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Sexual Psychopathy, the term is given meaning and the recognition of what masochism is is born.

Generally speaking, masochism is quite involved in sexual practices, but it also encompasses pleasure to the pain caused to other people.

In the essay onMasochistic or Self-destructive People, it is contemplated that it is a pattern of suffering, complaint, self-harm and self-loathing, also including unconscious desires to make others suffer with their own pain.

Causes of masochism

Masochism as a disorder can be motivated by certain elements that have been triggers throughout the growth of the individual. They will be mentioned and explained below, for the better understanding and identification of them.

Childhood trauma

Masochistic aspects on the part of parents deposited in children, usually influence the development of this disorder, also affecting the presence of traumas or abuse, thus manifesting depression over time, with masochistic traits that require treatments and even periods of hospitalization.

Severe and violent upbringing

Psychologically there are triggers for upbringing, which are transmitted to infants depending on gender.

Girls tend to be akin to masochistic attitudes, while boys may be inclined to become aggressors and repeat patterns. It happens that in the male sex, traumas dominate in a proactive way, influencinghormonal

Confusion regarding pleasure-pain

We know that in the daily conceptualization of pain, the word pleasure is not recognized as something that is included, so the relationship between these two factors can initially cause confusion in the individual.

Masochism is the combination and interpenetration of these two terms, where the body reacts by blocking the sensation of pain through endorphins, which are the same hormones that our body uses with love, known as the substances of happiness.

Then, these chemical components bind to the receptors in the brain , block the pain stimulus and induce pleasure, so that the type of pain related to masochism for that individual leads to pleasant sensations.

Personal Insecurity

The disorder that occurs in these individuals also leads to insecurity and little consideration of self-worth. It is a self-sabotaging personality and evenquite dependent , so the security they require is obtained from attachment and quite unstable emotionality.

Low self-esteem

Due to the previously described insecurity and low personal value, individuals with low self-esteemare also targets for this disorder. It is, as we previously mentioned, a fairly self-destructive disorder with a background in personality disorders.

types of masochism

Masochism can be distinguished through certain quite specific types. They will be described below, for your better understanding and identification of them.


Erogenous masochism is sexual and is described as the pleasure of being exposed to a passive position, where one stands as an object and through which the other is served pleasure, in many cases, the partner.

In perspective, we could say that erogenous masochism is a sadism against itself. The use of his pain in the erotic life, for the direction towards pleasure.


Female masochism is classified as self-flagellation or even the willingness for someone to whom it attributes greater authority to be responsible for inflicting pain and providing pleasure. It is not necessarily sexual, but it is a paternal projection where they tend to even perceive themselves as unworthy.

are used

  • Be insulted
  • Get hit
  • Be tied up
  • Be Humiliated


It is a masochism of moral degradation. It is a tendency to minimize and devaluate abilities, agreed with unconscious feelings of guilt that, although they affect a psychic level, are oriented towards sadistic complacency.

It works by not renouncing situations that cause pain or suffering and even by searching for the elements that encourage those feelings of self-punishment in the individual.

Treatment for masochism

Masochism has limits, and sometimes they are blurred or difficult to recognize, so adequate and timely treatment for a masochistic disorder is important for the correct development of an individual, especially in the ability to relate personally.


Psychotherapy is applied in cases where there is discomfort with the need for sexual perversion and presence of masochistic fantasies.

If the individual questions the nature and stability of his desires, the analytical action of a professional is important, to know the origins and how to control or specify his desires and their normalization.

cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a strategic therapy where cognitive and behavioral methods are applied for the interpretation of certain elements that make up and can define the individual in question.

Models and methodologies are also applied, which help model new habits with therapeutic approaches that meet the objectives of restructuring, always considering the solution of disorders such as masochism and its derivations.


In the Contemporary Clinic Diagnosis Journal , they address psychodrama as a tool to address complex symptoms under the effect of trauma or behavioral disorders.

Its application in masochism, is directed to a therapeutic approach for the understanding, internalization and treatment of the disorder and its reasons, taking care of the course of the psychological alteration and what are its expressive techniques in the individual.

Animal Assisted Therapy

This type of therapy works as a direct intervention, organized and designed to reduce adverse reactions in patients. The relationship with certain animals can reduce high levels of stress oranxiety and control impulses such as those caused by masochism disorder.

Animal-assisted therapy is also applied for cognitive restructuring, so there are changes in negative thoughts indicating significant and potential results.

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