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Sexual Sadism Disorder

Sexual sadism disorder is a paraphilia-related mental disorder that occurs when a person gains sexual satisfaction by inflicting pain and/or causing fear in their sexual partner. Sadist is the name given to an individual with a confirmed and definite diagnosis of sexual sadism. The sexual sadist will not be able to receive this sexual satisfaction unless his/her partner experiences pain and humiliation at his/her hands.  A sexual sadist may have been sexual or physical abuse during childhood, but this is not always the case.

Definition:

The main characteristic of sexual sadism is the euphoria or the elated feeling of excitement associated to the sexual arousal that comes with inflicting humiliation, pain and/or suffering onto someone else. If you have this disorder you enjoy inflicting cruel, demeaning, manipulative and/or aggressive behaviors on other people. It is important to note that these behaviors typically begin in childhood and progress into adulthood. The humiliation, pain and suffering that is administered to another person in this case is very real, and may be psychological and even physical in nature. It is not just imagined by the person suffering from sexual sadism.

This disorder was named after Marquis Donatien de Sade, a French aristocrat, who lived from 1740 to 1814. Marquis Donatien de Sade became notorious during his lifetime for composing stories and novels revolving around the concept of administering pain and suffering in order to gain sexual pleasure.

Paraphilia:

In order to understand this condition more deeply, it is important to define paraphilia. Paraphiliais described as a type of mental disorder that involves an obsession with unusual and/or taboo sexual activities. These sexual activities may include inappropriate and/or non-consenting sexual partners. These partners may at times include animals and even children. All types of paraphilia are associated with the recurrent sexual arousals, fantasies as well as urges that can lead to real behaviors.

Causes:

The exact cause of sexual sadism is unknown at this time, but biological, environmental and neuropsychological factors appear to play a role in its development and progression of this disorder. Research consists of neurological tests used to detect abnormal brain activities in sex offenders. It is important to note psychopathy has been linked to sexual sadism.

Symptoms:

If you suffer from sexual sadism, you tend to achieve sexual arousal from psychologically and physically inflicting humiliation, suffering and pain upon someone, who may or may not be your partner (spouse, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.). Your sadistic fantasies and behaviors can impair normal daily functioning and cause significant distress. It is not uncommon for you to become upset and angry because your partner does not want to participate in your sadistic fantasies and activities.

Demographics:

Sadistic fantasies usually begin during early childhood and progresses into adulthood. The sadistic fantasies typically turn into sadistic behaviors. Once you start performing and/or participating in sadistic behaviors, you have a sexual sadism disorder. This disorder is fairly common in the United States and is considered to be beyond the spectrum of a mental disorder. Although sexual sadism is common in the United States, sexual sadism with a non-consenting and unwilling partner is considered rare.

Treatments:

If you suffer from this disorder it is especially important that you seek immediate, professional help. Sadistic activities can seriously injure someone and in severe cases cause death.  In severe cases, in-patient treatment or hospitalization may be required.

Medications:

Certain medications may reduce sadistic behaviors and/or sexual fantasies. Medications like MPA or medroxyprogesterone acetate combined with SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help decrease or eliminate sexual deviant thoughts and behaviors by regulating testorone levels in the blood. Anti-androgen medications may also be used for this purpose. Anti-androgen medications work by blocking the uptake of testosterone by the body. If you suffer from this condition, you may be afraid to seek treatment due to legal consequences associated with your behaviors, but delaying treatment can worsen your condition and ultimately lead to injury and/or harm.

References:

Hucker, S. J. (n.d.). Definition of a sadistic personality disorder.

Nitschke, J., Hucker, S. J., Osterheider, M. & Mokros, A. (n.d.). Psychopathy and sexual sadism.Regensburg, Germany: Department of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, School of Medicine.

Nitschke, J., Blendl, V., Ottermann, B., Osterheider, M. & Mokros, A. (2009). Severe sexual sadism–an underdiagnosed disorder? Evidence from a sample of forensic inpatients. Journal of Forensic Science. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19368626