Are Sadists and Masochists Sociopaths?

Are kinksters, particularly hardcore kinksters involved in sadomasochism, or intense power play, acting out sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies? Many people, even professional therapists, believe so.

“Psychopathy (/saɪˈkɒpəθi/; also known as – though sometimes distinguished from – sociopathy /ˈsoʊsiəˌpæθi/) is traditionally defined as a personality disorder characterized by enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior. It may also be defined as a continuous aspect of personality, representing scores on different personality dimensions found throughout the population in varying combinations. The definition of psychopathy has varied significantly throughout the history of the concept; different definitions continue to be used that are only partly overlapping and sometimes appear contradictory.”

Wikipedia – Psychopathy

The terms psychopath and sociopath both fall under the same category of “antisocial personality disorder”.

It is often difficult to draw the line between “human nature” and “disorder”. As humans, we like to put people into boxes. When someone behaves slightly outside of the mass normality, he has to be studied for his “abnormality”.

When you look into the criteria for sociopath, it’s the following:

• Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
• Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
• Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
• Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
• Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
• Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

Wikipedia – Antisocial Personality Disorder

You can see from that definition how easy it would be for any of us to be diagnosed as a sociopath if we were having a difficult day.

Being a Sadist means deriving meaningful and significant experiences from inflicting (mental or physical) pain on another individual. It could involve sexual pleasure, emotional pleasure, physical pleasure, spiritual fulfillment or relationship intimacy. By the same token, masochism is the part of the jigsaw puzzle that fits into Sadism, deriving meaningful experiences from suffering, either emotionally or physically.

In BDSM, sadomasochism involves negotiation, aftercare, discussion and communication, which makes it safe and consentual – SSC or RACK. Hence, what is being labeled as sociopathic or psychopathic, in the BDSM community would be shunned as irresponsible and dangerous kink.

If you look closely at the description of the term “sociopath”, is it arbitrary to argue that such a term does not serve a purpose? Antisocial is normal, we all have times when we are antisocial. Many of us have days when we don’t give a fuck about society too. Even if one derives pleasure from causing harm to others, or the other way around, isn’t there normality in that too? The question, really, is how do you handle your social deviance?

“Do your actions of social deviance cause harm to others?” is perhaps a better question to ask than “are you a sociopath?”

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