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authors prefer the narrower term algolagnia which emphasizes the
pleasure in pain and cruelty, whereas the terms selected by v.
Krafft-Ebing place the pleasure secured in all kinds of humility and
submission in the foreground.
The roots of active algolagnia, sadism, can be readily demonstrable in
the normal. The sexuality of most men shows a taint of _aggression_, it
is a propensity to subdue, the biological significance of which lies in
the necessity of overcoming the resistance of the sexual object by
actions other than mere _courting_. Sadism would then correspond to an
aggressive component of the sexual impulse which has become independent
and exaggerated and has been brought to the foreground by displacement.
The conception of sadism fluctuates in the usage of language from a mere
active or impetuous attitude towards the sexual object to the exclusive
attachment of the gratification to the subjection and maltreatment of
the object. Strictly speaking only the last extreme case has a claim to
the name of perversion.
Similarly, the designation of masochism comprises all passive attitude
to the sexual life and to the sexual object; in its most extreme form
the gratification is connected with suffering of physical or mental pain
at the hands of the sexual object. Masochism as a perversion seems to be
still more remote from the normal sexual life by forming a contrast to
it; it may be doubted whether it ever appears as a primary form or
whether it does not more regularly originate through transformation from
sadism. It can often be recognized that the masochism is nothing but a
continuation of the sadism turning against one's own person in which the
latter at first takes the place of the sexual object. Analysis of
extreme cases of masochistic perversions show that there is a
cooeperation of a large series of factors which exaggerate and fix the
original passive sexual attitude (castration complex, conscience).
The pain which is here overcome ranks with the loathing and shame which
were the resistances opposed to the libido.
Sadism and masochism occupy a special place among the perversions, for
the contrast of activity and passivity lying at their bases belong to
the common traits of the sexual life.
That cruelty and sexual impulse are most intimately connected is beyond
doubt taught by the history of civilization, but in the explanation of
this connection no one has gone beyond the accentuation of the
aggressive factors of the libido. The aggression which is mixed with the
sexual impulse is according to some authors a remnant of cannibalistic
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