Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 303-317

First online:

On the prevalence and roles of females in the sadomasochistic subculture: Report of an empirical study

  • Norman BreslowAffiliated with
  • , Linda EvansAffiliated withDepartment of Health and Safety, California State University at Los Angeles
  • , Jill LangleyAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, California State University at Los Angeles

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The existence of females in the sadomasochistic subculture has generally been denied in the theoretical, clinical, and empirical literature. The assumption that females do not exist in the subculture, or exist in such small numbers as to make analysis impossible, was tested. Questionnaires were placed in two publications that cater to sadomasochists, and additional questionnaires were mailed to advertisers whose ads appeared in a sadomasochistic contact magazine. Of 182 individuals who responded, 130 were males, and 52 were females, indicating a meaningful female presence in the subculture. An analysis of the replies revealed similarities and differences between the male and female respondents.

Key words

sadism masochism sadomasochism deviant sexuality