472. Thoughts on Sadism vs. Malice

It’s sort of ironic that I had this blog post title already saved as a draft I was intending to write about when a couple of minutes ago a Domme friend messaged me about receiving some negative comments from someone that completely relates to this topic.  I was originally planning on writing this from a perspective of dominant guilt and reluctance but I figure that is a good enough reason to write it in a more general sense.

I think that a lot of people shy away from the term sadist.  This is common with newer Dommes and for “curious” men that are looking at the D/s lifestyle from the outside in.  I know many veteran Dommes that embrace the term completely and consider it an essential part of who they are.

For a straight forward definition I will be working with: a sadist is someone that derives pleasure (usually sexual) from inflicting suffering.

As much as newer subs can struggle with the idea of being subs, newer Dommes often struggle with the idea of sadism.  They can feel abnormal or screwed up.  They can feel dangerous.  However, the biggest hurdle they often must clear on the path of self-acceptance is the idea that being a sadist doesn’t make someone a bad person.

Many violent criminals are sadists.  Being a sadist doesn’t make someone a violent criminal.  Being a sadist doesn’t turn someone into a sociopath or a psychopath that breaks laws and violates others.  Being a sadist doesn’t remove someone’s conscience.  Being a sadist doesn’t make someone heartless or lacking in empathy, sympathy, and compassion.  Being a sadist just means that someone gets turned on by inflicting pain.  That doesn’t make someone a bad person, it just gives them a sexual quirk.

The mental hurdle that I referred to earlier is for a Domme to come to the understanding that being a sadist does not make them bad or evil.  In my eyes, the crucial difference is the absence of malice.

In D/s, when a sadist hurts a consensual sub that in many cases is some form of masochist, there is no malice.  The sub gets what they want.  The Domme does it because they want to feel a certain way.  Even if the Domme secretly desires to say, enslave someone who doesn’t like pain and hurt them, the fact that they would not act upon that desire keeps them from falling into the realm of evil.

To summarize it bluntly, a person that chooses to hurt a consensual “victim” in a way that gives them both pleasure is not evil.

How this differs from malice is simple.  A sadist wants to hurt someone because the sadist gets something from it.   A person acting with malice wants to hurt someone simply because they wish harm upon the victim.   From my perspective, this makes malice evil in a way that sadism in D/s is not.



17 thoughts on “472. Thoughts on Sadism vs. Malice

    1. ” A person acting with malice wants to hurt someone simply because they wish harm upon the victim.” Well furcissy, does this not describe her and every other sadist? Doesn’t every sadist who strikes someone with the cane or a strap or a flogger want this, or are you going to argue the sadist doesn’t wish harm, doesn’t want to see welts, bruises, broken skin, doesn’t want to hear cries and moans? You see, furcissy, when that person comes up to you, her, or anyone else and asks you or her or anyone to hurt them because they get off on it and you get off on it, at that moment you and her have a choice, irrespective of concent, and its a simple one. Do I hurt, cause pain do harm or don’t I. If the answer is yes, there is more going on that just a “sexual quirk”


      1. I don’t see why you are trying to simplify this topic into a completely black and white state. I think there is a very strong difference when someone meets their desires while still maintaining a conscience and compassion vs. those who act without regard for the other party involved.

        D/s and BDSM are heavily founded upon the idea of a sadist and a masochist meeting each other’s needs in a consensual setting. Both people want it, both people agree to it, and actions are performed within agreed upon limits. Something like a designed kidnapping roleplay is very different from an actual kidnapping.

        WHen I look at “harm,” I look beyond the moment. In a consensual setting there may be pain but there is not lasting psychological damage from someone feeling violated or abused from a non-consensual act.

        Being a sadist doesn’t automatically make someone evil.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Perfect explanation! Whenever I have tried defining the difference I haven’t been able to articulate it. 🙂

    I often refer to HD as a sadist because he enjoys making me suffer. But he doesn’t violate any boundaries in doing so and it’s done knowing that I receive some sort of satisfaction out of it as well. There is no malice, no intent to do harm present. It is an often overlooked distinction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, HH. I believe that a lot of people view sadism through a certain lens. e.g. There are sadists that do terrible things, so everyone who is a sadist does terrible things. The term itself is one that they latch onto and start to project other words into its definition. In some ways it’s like the “I can’t understand how someone would want to _______,” starts to encompass everything on the darker side that they can’t understand.

      Sadists are often the best dominants, the key is finding a sadist that isn’t a sociopath, narcissist, psychopath, etc. Thankfully there are plenty of people who fit that description.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think media plays a huge role in it as well. We always see it portrayed in a negative light, even on fictional programs. There have been very few positive portrayals that I can recall. Any time sadism is mentioned in psychology publications or news stories or crime dramas, it’s always as a bad thing. “The serial killer is a sadist who enjoys watching his victims suffer.” And it’s typically a male because it people have difficulty accepting that women can and are sadists as well (negatively or positively).

        (Of course this misrepresentation is par for the course as far as bdsm in general, but I think sadism gets a particularly bad reputation in mainstream media and news and psychological studies.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is easier for people to look at things they do not understand in extreme forms. Masochists get portrayed badly as well. A lot of times people just prefer to limit their scope so that it makes more sense to them. I don’t love that it happens that way, but it just does.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi fur. As you know, I’ve written entire blog posts on the subject of sadism, so I’m not going to get into all that. I did want to raise my hand in appreciation of your last two sentences here. And I will add that IMHO, ALL dominants are sadists in one form or another, and denying that is just short sighted and self delusional. Once you do something as basic as tease and deny or put a chastity device on your sub, you are a sadist by the straight forward definition you cited. It doesn’t need to be whips and chains, it’s not malicious, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if consent is involved. Period.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Lady Grey. I do enjoy your views on sadism. For some reason it still gets treated as a dirty word in some circles.

          Take care.


  2. Good piece.

    Every domme I have been in session with has identified as a sadist, so have many others I’ve only spoken to online. It does sound odd, but you cover it in the piece that the vast majority of sadists are, indeed, responsible.

    I know I get the levels of pain or stress that she knows I can take, even as she stretches the limit. She will never gratify her own sadism at the cost of damaging me. This is unique to everyone she works with, some will take much more than me, some not able to take very much. In each case the gratification of the sadist is determined by the limits of the other person.

    I’ve only once met a domme who I got bad vibes from. in terms of this piece, she oozed malice. Over an exploratory lunch she had little conversation bar how much pain she liked to inflict irrespective of limits. She left a bad taste in the mouth.

    Perhaps it’s the circles I move in, but malice is rare. That makes it more shocking when you do encounter it.

    melody x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Melody. I believe that responsibility is the result of the struggle with coming to terms with the darkness. Most of the sadists that I know went through a period of doubt as they were accepting that side of themselves. It often covers a gambit similar to many subs: feeling screwed up, trying to wish it away, and finally accepting it. I think that the acceptance they reach is conditional. They are okay with their sadism as long as A, B, and C are met but they will never allow themselves to spiral off into the darkness.

      I do find that detecting malice is tricky and the “vibe” you referred to is probably what you have to go on. Someone who has malice will likely appear that they do not and someone may project malice as part of an act or theatrics when they do not actually have malice.

      Take care.


  3. Great post, furcissy! Easy to understand, and for anyone who is actually in the lifestyle and has experienced the desire to hurt or be hurt, these concepts make sense. For those who aren’t…well, why the heck are they on here reading about it?

    Hope all is well, my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nora.
      This concept is something that a lot of newer dominants struggle with during their first year. It makes it hard to accept themselves because in addition to feeling abnormal it makes them worry if it is possible to still be a good person.

      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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