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SM, or Sadomasochism is the giving or receiving of pleasure—often sexual—from acts involving the infliction or reception ( or both) of pain and/or humiliation. A subset of BDSM, practitioners of sadomasochism usually seek out sexual gratification from these acts, but can also seek out other forms of personal pleasure.

The abbreviation S&M is often used for sadomasochism to indicate Sadism and Masochism, although practitioners themselves often drop the & and use the acronym SM or S/M.

Sadomasochism is not considered a clinical paraphilia unless such practices lead to clinically significant distress or impairment for a diagnosis. Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent should not be mistaken for acts of sexual violence or aggression.

The term "Sadomasochism" has been loosely used to refer to the entire umbrella of BDSM, however, this is not at all accurate as SM is only one third of the subdivisions present in the term BDSM.

Best Practices

Always be sure to negotiate before entering a scene.

Intense and skillful SM experiences may result in subspace and require aftercare.

Best Practices indicate not to engage in any sort of SM when:

  • pregnant
  • under the influence of intoxicants
  • on heavy medications and hormones
  • in a poor mental state
  • not properly nourished and hydrated
  • in the presence of vanilla individuals or children (see consent)

Good pain and bad pain

Very few who engage in SM enjoy processing all kinds of pain. To eroticize pain generally requires a correct warm up as well as appropriate head space. Simply stubbing one's toe at random is not likely able to be processed mentally as erotic by most.