A taxonomy of masochism
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masoquismo; taxonomia; dor; BDSM. masoquismo; taxonomía; dolor; BDSM. masochism; taxonomy; pain; BDSM.

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Sapién, A. (2022). A taxonomy of masochism. Resistances. Journal of the Philosophy of History, 3(6), e21097. https://doi.org/10.46652/resistances.v3i6.97


In this text, we identify multiple ways in which we feel attracted to unpleasant experiences. Based on the bibliography in philosophy and psychiatry, two classifications of masochism are established: benign and pathological. Both are explained based on masochistic desires, an attitude in favor of experiencing something unpleasant, such as pain, in virtue of a relationship assigned to the unpleasant experience with something else. The attributed relationship can be instrumental or mereological. Benign masochism consists of habits motivated by masochistic desires without these implying harm to people’s health. In this sense, everyone, or almost everyone, is a masochist. This type may constitute cultural practices, such as eating spicy food, playing contact sports, or participating in BDSM groups. On the contrary, pathological masochism is one that, also motivated by masochistic desires, damages people’s health, whether at a biological, psychological, or sociological level. A taxonomy of masochism allows us to comprehend the intricate relation we have with pain and other unpleasant experiences.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Abraham Sapién


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