Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


  • Darren Langdridge
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_272


There has been a paucity of literature on sadism and masochism from a critical perspective until relatively recently. These sexual practices/identities continue to be misunderstood and the subject of considerable vilification with a history that is replete with medical, psychological, and legal opprobrium, alongside considerable confusion concerning their definition, role in sexual life, and aetiology. However, thankfully in recent years there has been a critical challenge to extant psychological and psychiatric understandings and the growth of a new and exciting critical stance, which seeks to understand rather than pathologize this intriguing example of human sexual behavior (Kleinplatz & Moser, 2006; Langdridge & Barker, 2013; Moser & Madeson, 1998; Taylor, 1997).


Sadism is a term first used by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, a psychiatrist writing in the late 1800s, derived as a result of the writings of the notorious French nobleman the Comte de Sade, born in...

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  1. Denman, C. (2004). Sexuality: A biopsychosocial approach. Basingtoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  2. Kleinplatz, P., & Moser, C. (2006). Sadomasochism: Powerful pleasures. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Langdridge, D. (2006). Voices from the margins: SM and sexual citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 10(4), 373–389.Google Scholar
  4. Langdridge, D., & Barker, M. (Eds.). (2013). Safe, sane and consensual: Contemporary perspectives on sadomasochism. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Moser, C., & Madeson, J. J. (1998). Bound to be free: The SM experience. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  6. Taylor, G. W. (1997). The discursive construction and regulation of dissident sexualities. In J. M. Ussher (Ed.), Body talk: The material and discursive regulation of sexuality, madness and reproduction (pp. 106–130). London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Online Resources

  1. https://ncsfreedom.org/ - National coalition for sexual freedom

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology, The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK