Sadomasochist Tendencies And The Mistress Phenomena
There are a lot of misconceptions about sexuality, and one is that men are the only gender to find sadomasochism as desirable and pleasurable. In fact, both men and women can engage in the behaviour as a way to give or receive sexual pleasure to themselves or their partners.
Often, it is assumed that an individual is either a sadist, someone who finds pleasure in giving pain, or a masochist, someone who finds pleasure in receiving pain. In reality, many men and women will play both roles at some point in time in their life, often with respect to other issues that may be occurring outside of their sexual role.
When sadomasochism is practiced consensually and without injury or long term emotional distress to either party, it is not considered a clinical concern. However, when it involves extreme pain, non-consensual aggression or violence or when it is mentally or emotionally damaging to the other person, it can result in a determination and diagnosis of sexual sadism disorder. This can be particularly problematic if there are other concurrent mental health issues including psychopathy or borderline personality disorder that may result in the sadist acting out on his or her violent fantasies.
The Role of the Mistress or Domina
The term Domina is from the Latin word for mistress. Often the Domina or Mistress as seen as the partner achieving sexual gratification or dominance through inflicting physical pain or emotional or mental abuse on the submissive. In reality, it is often the masochist (submissive) who initiates the specific behaviour of the Domina.
In these situations, the Domina is often provided with specific information by the masochist to use in the role play activity. In addition, the masochist may also encourage specific types of physical behaviours such as the use of different items to cause mild to more intense pain. It is important to remember that this is consensual, and Domina is typically not doing this for her own sexual gratification, but rather for the sexual gratification of the submissive.
However, the role of the Mistress, which may also be called the Dominatrix, will be a role that is strictly reserved for sexual gratification. The couple will not engage in these types of behaviours outside of sexual interactions.
Often, outside of the bedroom, the Domina and the submissive will be on very even levels in the relationship, making decisions together, discussing their options and providing concessions, just like all other partners and spouses do for each other.
Research and Understanding
As researchers look into the role of the Mistress in these relationships and in this lifestyle they find that, in self-reporting surveys, women report sadistic fantasies at almost the same rate as men. However, women tend to explore these tendencies later in life than men, with many males reporting their first sadomasochistic relationship in their teens or young adult years while for women it is in their mid to late twenties or older.
Research into the role of women in sadomasochistic relationships continues to show that past assumptions, those indicating that women were more likely to find comfort in the role of the submissive, are simply not borne out by the studies. While there is evidence that men see themselves as more dominant in a relationship, women do not report themselves as more submissive, which may give further consideration to the nature versus nurture theory of society's influence on sexuality.
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