The Psychology of Sadism: Why Some People Are Turned On By Others' Pain

The Psychology of Sadism: Why Some People Are Turned On By Others' Pain

Sexual sadists are people who derive arousal from inflicting pain on others. This could be physical pain, such as hitting someone else, or it could be psychological pain, such as humiliating another person. Where does this sexual interest come from? A lot of people are curious, including a reader who recently sent me the following question:

“My friend expressed that he is turned on by the idea of seeing someone feel pain and/or discomfort. He said if you want to turn him on, you should whimper or cry. Of course this isn’t his only turn on, but I wonder where it comes from. Why would seeing someone hurt turn him on sexually?”

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5 Things You Should Know About Unusual Sexual Interests And The People Who Have Them

5 Things You Should Know About Unusual Sexual Interests And The People Who Have Them

Psychologists use the term paraphilia to refer a wide range of unusual sexual interests, including—but not limited to—exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadism, masochism, and fetishism. Because sexual desires and behaviors that fall under the paraphilia umbrella tend to be widely misunderstood, I thought it would be worth taking a closer look at some of the key things scientists have learned about them.

1.) Having a paraphilia does not necessarily mean that you have a psychological disorder.

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Strange Sex: Tales Of Sexual Arousal From Stinging Insects

The buzz on the Internet last week was the story of a Swedish man who supposedly died after having sex with a hornets’ nest. According to various media reports, the man’s pubic hair and semen were found inside the nest and he had been stung 146 times, leaving his body so swollen that he looked like “a beached whale.” After making the rounds in the international media, it was discovered that the story was a hoax perpetrated by News Sweden, the Swedish equivalent of The Onion. What may surprise you, however, is that this story isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds because there are indeed some people in this world who derive sexual arousal from stinging insects.
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Is Having A High Sex Drive Linked To Increased Attraction To Both Men And Women?

According to classic psychological learning theory, having a higher drive increases the probability of engaging in dominant (i.e., well-learned) behaviors; at the same time, the likelihood of engaging in non-dominant (i.e., poorly learned) behaviors decreases. If we apply this theory to the human sex drive, the logical prediction that follows is that having a higher sex drive should increase attraction only to your desired sex. In other words, a high sex drive should make a heterosexual person more attracted to members of the other sex but not the same sex, while a gay or lesbian person should be more attracted to members of the same sex but not the other sex. But is this really the case? A fascinating set of studies reveals that this prediction is not universally supported. Specifically, while it does hold for men, it does not for women [1]. Among most women, a high sex drive is related to increased attraction to both males and females. 
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Sex Question Friday: Why Do Some People Have Fetishes?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer sex questions submitted to me by actual college students. This week, we’re talking about fetishes. Fetishes refer to cases where an individual’s sexual desires and behaviors hinge upon a specific object, such as shoes or feet. Contrary to popular belief, having a fetish isn't necessarily problematic. It only becomes a problem when desire for this object creates persistent personal distress (in other words, a fetish isn't considered a clinical "problem" unless the individual is bothered by it or finds that it interferes with their ability to develop and maintain relationships). People can have fetishes for virtually anything, from the conventional (e.g., silk panties and leather boots) to the unusual (e.g., dirt and cars). It is perhaps no surprise that the most common question people have about fetishes is how they develop in the first place, hence the following question submitted by a reader:

"Why do some people develop strange fetishes?"

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