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Van Ophuijsen, J.H. (1929). The Sexual Aim of Sadism as Manifested in Acts of Violence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 10:139-144.

(1929). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 10:139-144

The Sexual Aim of Sadism as Manifested in Acts of Violence

J. H.W. Van Ophuijsen

In the following remarks I shall endeavour to formulate as briefly as possible the conclusions I arrived at in an earlier discussion of the sexual aim of sadism as manifested in acts of violence.

In considering sadism we can distinguish two different kinds of sexual aim: (a) that of doing violence to, destroying or mastering the object, and (b) that of soiling it. (Where corrosive substances are used for the latter purpose, the aim may probably be regarded as intermediate between the two.) It is generally assumed that the intention of sadistic violence is to inflict (bodily or mental) suffering (pain, degradation) on the object, because the perception of this suffering produces in the subject pleasure or gratification (orgasm). Again, it is generally assumed that the masochist desires himself to undergo what the sadist takes pleasure in inflicting on the object. The same, it is thought, is true of sadistic and masochistic phantasies. If we accept this notion (even leaving aside the question of activity and passivity) we are bound to regard sadism and masochism as obverse and reverse, and to speak of 'sado-masochism', of active and passive sexual cruelty, and active and passive algolagnia.

These views are contested more or less hotly by individual observers. On the one hand, Magnus Hirschfeld denies, on grounds of his experience, that the term algolagnia can be applied to masochism; for, he says, the true masochist experiences only as pleasure the stimuli applied to him, and this ceases as soon as pain is caused.

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