Motivations for Sadomasochism

Report
James Ambler, Kathryn Klement, Sarah Hanson, David Wietting,
Ellen Lee, Evelyn Comber, & Brad Sagarin
Paulhus & Williams (2002)
Psychopathy: personality disorder centered on callousness
and unemotionality
Narcissism: grandiose sense of self-importance, sense of
superiority, lack of empathy
Machiavellianism: tendency to manipulate and exploit others
Chabrol, Van Leeuwen, Rodgers, & Sejourne (2009)
Sadism: a pattern of cruelty, aggression and demeaning
behavior
“I would enjoy hurting someone, physically, sexually
or emotionally”
“I have fantasies which involve hurting people”
“I have humiliated others to keep them in line”
“Sometimes I get so angry I want to hurt people”
Chabrol, Van Leeuwen, Rodgers, & Sejourne (2009)
DSM-IV-TR: SEXUAL SADISM
Over a period of 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing
fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving acts (real, not
simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering
(including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the
person.
The person has acted on these sexual urges with a nonconsenting person, or the sexual urges or fantasies or
interpersonal difficulty.
ICD-10: SADOMASOCHISM
A preference for sexual activity that involves bondage or the
infliction of pain or humiliation. If the individual prefers to be the
recipient of such stimulation this is called masochism; if the
provider, sadism. Often an individual obtains sexual excitement
from both sadistic and masochistic activities.
Mild degrees of sadomasochistic stimulation are commonly used to
enhance otherwise normal sexual activity. This category should
be used only if sadomasochistic activity is the most important
source of stimulation or necessary for sexual gratification.
Sexual sadism is sometimes difficult to distinguish from cruelty in
sexual situations or anger unrelated to eroticism. Where violence
is necessary for erotic arousal, the diagnosis can be clearly
established. Includes: Masochism, sadism.
Separates sadism from
masochism
 Assumes all sadism is
pathological
 Does not separate
clearly sexually sadistic
behavior from cruel
behavior

Combines
sadomasochism
 Allows for consensual
SM play
 Distinguishes sexual
sadism from cruelty in
sexual contexts


Difference between
sexually-motivated
acts and brutal violent
acts in a sexual
context

Example: Piquerism &
Jack the Ripper

Offenders with deviant fantasies commit
increasingly violent crimes
 “Devolving”

Case study:
Ted Bundy
MEN



More likely to have explicitvisual sexual imagery
21% reported fantasies
about being sexually
overpowered (Sue, 1979)
24% reported fantasy of
forcing someone to have
sex (Sue, 1979)
WOMEN


More likely to have
emotional-romantic imagery
51% reported fantasies about
being sexually dominated
(Pelletier & Herold, 1988)

16% reported fantasy of
forcing someone to have sex
(Sue, 1979)
Leitenberg & Henning (1995)
Josifkova & Flegr (2008)
Josifkova & Flegr (2008)

Testosterone
 High levels of testosterone may be associated
with dominance or sadism

Luteinizing hormone
 LH stimulates testosterone production in testes
 Some studies show a positive correlation between
LH and indexed offense violence




Self-control
Self-efficacy
Self-esteem
But it does not
compensate for
low self-esteem
Damon (2002)
Flow
The ego falls away.
Time flies. Every
action, movement,
and thought follows
inevitably from the
previous one.
Csikszentimihályi (1991)
1.
Engagement in activity chosen for it’s own sake
(not necessary but a facilitative condition)
2.
Perceived challenges are high while skill level is
also high
3.
Clear goals that are regarded important
4.
Immediate feedback indicating success at task
5.
Highly focused attention
1.
Intense concentration on task
2.
Deep sense of involvement and merging of
action and awareness
3.
Sense of control over one’s actions
4.
Enjoyment in activity
5.
Distorted sense of time



Why pain?
Transient Hypofrontality
Escape from Self


“The human brain has limited resources”
“A minimum level of intensity is required to
force the redistribution of resources in the
brain.”
 On a continuum
 Focus can force redistribution
▪ Meditation

Structures are prioritized as needed
Dietrich (2003)
Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL):
• Important for directed attention, temporal integration, and working
memory
Working memory deficits cause:
•
•
•
•
Less abstract thinking
Less access to memory
Less self-reflective consciousness
Less cognitive flexibility
 These lead to subjective changes
in consciousness
Dietrich (2003)
Common experiences of altered states of consciousness:
• time distortions
• disinhibition from social constraints
• changes in focused attention
Transient Hypofrontality States
-Runner’s High
-Meditation
-Dreaming
-Day dreaming
-Hypnosis
-Various Drug Highs
Specific variations:
• reduction of pain
• feelings of floating
• feelings of
peacefulness
• little consistent logic
• difficulty with memory
• feeling of living in the
here and now
• little active decision
making
Dietrich (2003)
•Subspace
•Flying
•Floating
•The wave
•The forever place
“With my girl, she was punishing me, and I felt a deep sense of pain
and pleasure, sort of a one with nature and my environment, it was
incredible.”
“It’s very dreamlike. I knew that I felt good, and I was aware of my
partner, but I was not paying attention to anything else.”
“I felt intense pleasure and pain, I almost felt like I was flying and for a
moment I thought I would pass out. I felt like I was separating from
my own body.”
“An almost trance like state. Pain didn’t exist in any form.”
“While bottoming with my partner, I was able to let go to the point of
losing touch with reality while my partner spanked me.”
“While being dominated I stepped back inside myself. After getting the
rush from playing I lost track of what was going on, nothing seemed
to affect me while I was down inside myself.”
The self is sometimes burdensome

"The greater the demands in my outside life, the likelier I am to
feel submissive sexually."
Baumeister (1988)
Wiseman (1996)
• “Pain gradually obliterates psychological content, eventually
leaving only the awareness of pain. One’s knowledge of the world
is temporarily forgotten, and attention is narrowed to the
immediate present, both spatially and temporally.” (Scarry, 1985)
• Pain, interrupted action and failure feedback focus people’s
attention
• BDSM play
•
•
•
•
Pain
Bondage
Humiliation
Sex as a reinforcer
Baumeister (1988)
Vallacher & Wegner (1987, 1989)
In the pain field there is a growing recognition that the subjective
interpretation or meaning of pain determines the amount of painrelated suffering
The brain creates experience, we don’t have unedited access to
what happens to us
Meaning changes the hedonic experience of pain
▪ Root canals suck
▪ Slapped in a scene vs. slapped in an argument
Leknes & Tracey (2008)
Evidence of pleasure-related analgesia has been
reported in human and animal studies; pain is
decreased by:
 pleasant odors
 images
 music
 palatable food
 sexual behavior
 perceived control
 meaning of the pain
Leknes & Tracey (2008)

The brain addresses intense physical and mental
demands by prioritizing resources; lack of resources
to certain areas result in altered states of
consciousness

Pain, challenge and failure feedback all push
people into the here and now
 The subjective suffering an individual experiences depends
on context and interpretation, not the actual stimulation
occurring
The deployment of sexuality is always changing
and is ‘concerned with the sensations of the
body, the quality of pleasures and the nature
of impressions [that] the body produces and
consumes.’
Michel Foucault (1978)
Competence
Psychological
Relatedness
Autonomy
Self
Determination
Theory
Deci and Ryan
(1985)
Self-control
Self-efficacy
Flow
Self-control
Self-efficacy
Flow
Altered
states of
consciousness
Escape from
self
Sexual
arousal
Self-control
Self-efficacy
Flow
Power exchange
Autonomy,
competence,
relatedness
Community
Altered
states of
consciousness
Escape from
self

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