Social Sadomasochism: How Emotional Dominance and Submission Affect People's Lives

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Explains the subtle but pervasive aspects of sadomasochism that affect everyday relationships across our lives, detailing when the power and control dynamics become neurotic and describing actions that can be taken to better individuals and improve society.

For most people, a whip-wielding, leather-clad sexual subculture comes to mind when they hear the phrase "sadomasochism." But as psychiatrist Martin Kantor explains in this book, sadomasochism is generally about power, control, dominance, and submission, dynamics that are subtle and pervasive in all of our lives, from home life to work life to social interactions including political arenas. The bottom line: sadomasochism is about the giving or receiving pleasure from the infliction or reception of pain or humiliation and both pain and pleasure can be purely emotional, no sexual or physical context necessary.

Kantor deconstructs sadomasochism to show us how it affects each of us, consciously or not. He explains the "life phases" of sadomasochism, the role early trauma plays in this self-defeating action when it reaches a neurotic level, and the damage it does to individuals, loved ones, and society. This ground-breaking book will appeal to psychology students and researchers, as well as general readers with an interest in psychology.

  • Presents vignettes to illustrate social sadomasochism across life events
  • Details how social sadomasochism is rampant on the 2018 U.S. political scene
  • Explains how racism, bigotry, and sexism are fueled by social sadomasochism
  • Describes how sadomasochism, which is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, plays a role in all psychosis, neurosis, and personality disorders

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