When did masochism become synonymous with submission, and sadism with dominance? Are these two truly synonymous?
For the sake of illustration, let us refer to the classic Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. In the novella, the protagonist, Severin, wishes to become the slave of a widow named Wanda. Wanda claims that the desire to dominate a man is latent in her person, but by the end of the book, we are left feeling as though she not only doesn’t desire this, but seeks the exact opposite: to be dominated herself. However, being enraptured by Severin, she undertakes the task as he describes: wearing furs, striking him when specified, and eventually completely enacting his ultimate fantasy: to take a lover and allow him to abuse Severin. … Continue Reading