I posted last week about submissive shaming, an issue near and dear to my heart obviously--but closely related to that is the issue of masochist shaming.
This is my quick and dirty definition, but masochists are basically people who enjoy being hurt. Of course, this is a choice. Masochists seek pain and abuse...if you're being hurt or abused against your will that's not applicable here. That, of course, is reprehensible. Perhaps that's why masochism and masochists are judged so negatively, because it gets mixed up with that icky problem of non-consensual abuse. Wow, you like to be abused? You must be crazy or sick!
But honestly, the two have nothing to do with each other. A masochist craves the treatment he or she gets, and despite what many assume, it's not an indication of mental illness, psychological trauma, low self-esteem, or anything other than the person enjoys being hurt.
That's not to say there aren't people who seek out masochistic activities due to mental or psychological issues. My character Molly in Club Mephisto is one of them, Wednesday in Owning Wednesday is another. Then there's Lucy in Mercy, but she was a dancer already and everyone knows they're all born masochists. (hee hee, I kid.)
But again, who are we to judge if someone scratches their mental itches in a way that satisfies their needs? I personally think it's a beautiful thing. If the activity is consensual, masochistic cravings should be accepted like any other kink.
Which brings us to the poor, despised sadist. I suppose I've chosen a hard row to hoe, choosing to have sadists and masochists as hero/heroine combinations in my books. But the beauty of it is that sadists and masochists go together like spring and flowers, puppies and ribbons, mashed potatoes and gravy. Without a sadist, a masochist is unfulfilled. Do we want that? Of course not!
I suppose my plea is for readers, especially readers of BDSM romance, to accept masochists as the consenting, pleasure-seeking people they are, rather than assuming there must be something wrong with them. Kink acceptance is so key. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, because I think most of our readers here at KEA are pretty savvy about the lifestyle, but if you're out and about in Interwebs-land and you see masochist shaming going on, or sadist condemnation, and you know these are just couples getting their kink on and fulfilling each other, go ahead and say a word or two on the subject.
Education is the key. And of course, lots of yummy pain and nastiness, if you're a masochist at heart.