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A masochist is an individual who takes pleasure in the experience of physical or emotional pain. Masochists often rely on this pain for sexual gratification. Masochists are said to suffer from a psychiatric condition called masochism.
The term masochist is derived from the name of Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Sacher-Masoch famously wrote of the pleasure he gained from experiencing pain and humiliation.
A masochist is the opposite of a sadist, who enjoys inflicting physical or emotional pain on others. Masochists and sadists tend to find a healthy outlet for their desires by adopting the BDSM lifestyle.
The term masochist is often used colloquially by people to describe anyone who seems to enjoy arduous tasks, such as heavy labor, exercise, or pursuing doomed relationships. However the term applies most accurately to people who truly take pleasure, generally sexual in nature, in physical or emotional pain.
This pain can come from a variety of sources, and may be self-inflicted or administered by a dominant partner, generally a sadist. A masochist might enjoy receiving physical pain from being spanking, whipped, choked, or by wearing nipple clamps, for example. Masochists can also enjoy being humiliated in a variety of ways, such as being defecated or urinated upon or by being forced to play the role of an animal, a maid, or another submissive or humiliating character.
While masochists reap pleasure from pain, it is possible that sex play can be taken to an extreme that the masochist is not comfortable with. For this reason it’s important for masochists to create a safe word that can be used to stop the scene at any time.