July/August 2003
BDSM and de Sade

by feather

People in this lifestyle will argue that this lifestyle was based upon de Sade and many walk away that in order to be in this lifestyle, one must be sadist and cruel to a submissive. Keeping in mind knowledge is needed in this lifestyle to put things into perspective, this is a bit about the man this lifestyle is often associated with.

Sade, Marquis was born in Paris,(1740-1814), a writer of French of novels, plays, and philosophical treatises, best known for his long-suppressed erotic works, many of which were written will confined in prison. In 1772 he was tried and sentenced to death for a series of sexual crimes. He escaped to Italy, but on his return to Paris he was arrested and imprisoned at Vincennes in 1777. Six years later he was removed to the Bastille and in confined to the Charenton lunatic asylum in 1789. Following his release from the asylum in 1790, yet incarcerated again in 1803, he was placed in several prisons throughout the years until he died in Charenton in 1814.

Amongst his writings are: The Story of Juliette (6 volumes, 1797; trans. 1958-59) and The Bedroom Philosophers (1795; trans. 1953), in which he described in detail the many sexual acts he practiced. His erotic writings were consider obscene and perverted amongst society and these works were banned until well into the 20th century.

While institutionalized he was diagnosed as a sadist, a new psychological term derived from his name and used by the psychiatrists treating him. Sadism denoted a form of neurosis wherein sexual satisfaction is gained by the infliction of pain on others. De Sade’s neurotic philosophy was that both criminal and sexually deviant acts are regarded as natural. Keep in mind with de Sade that with his victims, there was no consent and with death often being the result, was hardly considered safe, or sane.

You will find that BDSM articles and publications often make note of this writer, his moment of making history and introduction of the new term “sadism” to society by his psychiatrists. For the outsiders looking into this lifestyle, one may wish to conclude that all parties participating in BDSM are into the extremes of this neurosis as de Sade had been. This of course is not true. BDSM as we know it today is based upon the basis of Safe, Sane and Consensual activities between the parties involved.

Granted, BDSM related activities are often considered illegal in most states. Today, according to the laws on the books, for one to inflict pain on another person, is an illegal act of assault and punishable by the courts; and in some states the masochist may be arrested and tried as well, for consenting to the assault. Look up the laws in your own state. Keep in mind that, Marquise de Sade not only committed heinous acts of torture for his own sexual pleasure, but often killed or maimed his victims as well.

De Sade's acts of sadism then, as they would today, confined him to prisons. This lifestyle does open the door to others suffering from similar psychoses and unsavory individuals use it as a means to prey upon an unsuspecting victim with the intent to commit an act of crime.

The word sadism came into existance with de Sade's insane acts of cruelty for his own personal pleasure...Dominance and submission, with or without BDSM activities, as we know it today, is based upon Safe, Sane and Consensual activities and interaction with your partner.

It is my believe that ever since time people have been born with dominant or submissive traits; therefore, D/s has been around forever, privately perhaps within households but in existance never the less. Today we as a society, have become more open and honest about ourselves and establish organizations for those with like minds, thus we hear about this lifestyle more than we had before. Of course, the internet has opened many doors for those who are curious and we have found a place to share our "perversions", "preferences" and "uniqueness" with others like U/us.

© 04-25-03 feather aka mjwr
Protected by the copyright laws. Not to be reproduced, copied or redistributed without the express permission of the author