Key words: Pain, sexual pleasure, sexual sadism, sexual masochism, sexual sadomasochism, BDSM, sexual arousal, Nigeria.


Pain for Sexual pleasure: New Trend in Nigeria. Can pain associated with sexual intercourse be enjoyable? Isn’t sexual intercourse made to be pain free and enjoyable by both partners? So what is this new trend among young people in Nigeria? Why are they introducing pain and humiliation into sexual arousal and acts to feel pleasure? Are there dangers associated with such practices?

Sexual sadism, sexual masochism and BDSM (Bondage and discipline, Dominance and submission, Sadism and Masochism) are unconventional sexual practices. They are actually global issues that have been around for many years. But they are new, and presently practiced among some young Nigerians. In one study in some Lagos tertiary institutions, 15.2% ha been involved in at least one BDSM activity. These are young people, with a few people from the older generation. These acts are also being portrayed in Nigerian movies.

These happen only as fantasies, many a times.  Studies have it in the United State, up to 50% of both men and women fantasy about sexual domination. That is, the individual will only imagine it happening in such manners. But for many as 5% to 15% worldwide, they will occur physically.

Conventional sexual arousal.

Sexual arousal is the excitement phase, one of the four phases of the sexual cycle. Usually pain at this sexual cycle is an indication for such a person to protect that body part from further threats or dangers. The usual reaction when such pain occurs is that the person will move away from the pain causing object. But there are certain sets of human beings who enjoy pain, which can even get them sexually aroused.

Types of pain and humiliation elicited in pain for sexual pleasure in Nigeria.

Sexual intercourse is supposed to be pain free during the arousal period, the penetration, and the actual act. But for some people, the pain free is not exciting enough for them, so painful stimulus and humiliating actions are added. This is to get them aroused in order to enjoy the act of sexual intercourse.

These painful and humiliating actions can be elicited privately alone by the individual, and at the end, he or she will masturbate. At other times, a partner, who is willing or unwilling is introduced to participate in the acts. The willing participants are usually naïve, for financial gain, or enjoy sex that is aroused by pain and humiliation. The unwilling people are forced to participate and at the end, they are raped.

1. Physical pain elicitation, the normal chief exciting issue, can come from:
  • Being pinched, bitten or scratched with fingernails are some form of stimulus.
  • Slightly beaten or spanked, to being flogged or caned, are other forms.
  • The use of restraints such as tying the hands together, tying the legs together  with ropes, handcuffs or chains can be used. Sometimes, these limbs are spread out and tied to the ends of the bed or other nearby objects. Sometimes the entire body is bound together. Some people may be placed in a cage.  These methods are called bondage.
  • For some people, mouth gagging or clamping the breast nipples are the exciting issues.
  • Some people will do self mutilation, or stick themselves with pins.
  • Others may prefer cutting and burning themselves or their partner’s skin.
  • Blind folding is also made use of.
  • In some occasions, liquid wax, ices cubes and electric shocks are the preferred choice.
  • Some people will prefer to have a rope or other materials tied around their necks to strangulate or choked during orgasm.
  • In extreme cases, stabbing and other forms of torture are used.
2. Psychological pain:
  • One partner will use what is called a mind game to manipulate or intimidate the other person to submit.
  • This person can use the other person’s fears, insecurities and weaknesses against him or her.
  • Psychological abuse such as hostile words can also be used, such as, blame or belittling words. So that the partner fills stupid and guilty.
  • Having done any of these, the perpetrator or the dominant person will then take up immediate charge. It becomes easy to manipulate the other person to submission.
3. Humiliation practices:
  • This involves many forms of physically humiliating the partner.
  • It can involve, urinating on the partner, or being urinated on, to get sexually aroused. Also, defecating on the partner, or being defecated on, can elicit sexual arousal.

Sexual Sadism, a form of pain for sexual pleasure in Nigeria

  • The person with this type of sexual behavior will inflict pain on another person. Then he will passively watch the person suffer the pain as he gets the sexually arousal. It is actually the suffering of the victim that is sexually arousing. The pain could be physical, psychological or humiliating in nature.
  • Majority of such practitioners are males in 95% of cases..
  • There is a difference between sexual sadism and rape. Someone with sexual sadism requires obtaining sexual arousal from the pain on the victim, before the rape. A rapist is already sexually aroused before meeting the victim; the aggression is only to get the victim to cooperate.
  • The person displaying sexual sadism lacks the ability to empathize with the victims, in sexual context. But in other issues, they have the ability to be empathic.
  • The sadistic act increases over time.
  • This perpetrator may have a willing partner who is ready to receive the pain. Most often such a partner is someone with sexual masochism. Or an unconventional commercial sex worker, cooperating for financial gain.
  • When the partner does not consent to the act, sexual sadism becomes a crime.
  • Sexual sadism starts in childhood and diagnosis is usually made in early adulthood.
  • It is chronic in nature.

Sexual Masochism, a form of pain for sexual pleasure, the new trend in Nigeria.

  • This involves instilling pain on oneself to get sexually aroused. Sometimes, the person invites another person to cause the pain on him or her.
  • When the person inflicts the pain on himself, he will self masturbate at the end.
  • Masochistic sexual fantasies start in childhood, and diagnosis is usually made by early adulthood.
  • Those who practice sexual masochism have high pain threshold. Their pain tolerance increases with the number of sessions. It also increases with the number of body parts getting the pain during the act.
  • The increased pain threshold only occurs during sexual acts and not at other times.
  • It is a chronic behavior that can vary from one person to another and vary from severity to dangerousness.
  • About one third of people who practice sexual masochism also practice sadistic behaviors.

Sadomasochism or BDSM another form of pain for sexual pleasure in Nigeria.

1. Meaning:
  • Sadomasochism has been renamed BDSM. This stands for Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and submission (D&s), Sadomasochism (S&M). In summary, it stands for Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism.
  • This occurs when a couple meets, with one having sexual sadism and the other sexual masochism.
  • The lifestyle of BDSM consists of the sexual behaviors of the combination of sadism and masochism.
  • This is also known as Kink behavior. This is consensual unconventional sexual behavior. It involves the sexual exchange of power and pain.
  • It requires that the partners must consent to the practices of power and pain.
  • This type of sexual life style can be formed at different stages of life. Some can have it at puberty, while others see it in adulthood.
2. Role play:
  •  This role play implies that one person will be in control or have power dominance. The other person will be submissive. It can also be called top cum bottom positions. The person in control or dominant, dishing out all the orders, and stays on top. While the submissive person stays at the bottom, following all the commands of the person at the top.  This means that the sadist stays on top, while the masochist is at bottom.
  • They can also have exchange of roles played or switch roles.
  • It is important to know that though consent is given before the act, this consent can be withdrawn at anytime. And there are rules to be obeyed.
  • Those who practice BDSM have problems with empathizing with suffering of others in sexual matters. But they easily empathize in other issues.
3. Mode of identification:
  • They have dress codes to enable those with their type of sexual practices, identify themselves.
  • There are specific words that they speak among their members that others outside the culture, will be unable to understand.
  • Their homes are also furnished in certain ways to conform to their sexual practices. This can be exhibited either in their living rooms, bed rooms, or private rooms that are kept under lock and key. People not in this type of sexual practice will never notice these furnishings, especially those in the living rooms.
  • They have their social groups so as to get social supports from, physical and virtual.
  • This group believes that those who engage in conventional sex methods have boring sex.

Why introduce pain and humiliation into sexual arousal and pleasure?

  • The causes of Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism and BDSM have not been fully understood. Many theories have been postulated.
 1. Biological causes:
  • Some people have postulated a genetic cause, where the gene OXTR is implicated in masochism.
  • Also, causative factors include neurological constitutions of the brain’s pain and reward system.
  • Scientists have observed increased activities at certain parts of their brain in those who practice sexual sadism. These brain areas include the prefrontal cortex and the amygdale region. These brain areas have increased activities when these types of people view others in pain. And it leads to their having sexual excitements. Other parts of the brain involved are the hypothalamus, the deeper parts of the brain and the spinal cord.
  • The chemical called cortisol is also implicated. This rises in those who are receiving pain and orders.
  • Testosterone hormone is also seen to be increased in those receiving orders and pain.
  • The neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine also come into play.
  • Even opioids have a part to play in pain modulation.
  • Trauma to the head from any cause can predispose to any of these sexual behaviors.
2. Psychological factors:
  • Child sexual abuse can predispose to sexual masochism and to sexual sadism. Childhood sexual abuse can predispose to arousal from pain and humiliation. Being raised by a sexually provocative and punitive mother is a risk factor. So masochism is a way the person adapts to the sexual abuse received in childhood. The person integrates the anger, rage and shame into being sexually aroused from pain. The female gender is more often affected by this.
  • Sexual sadism is associated with antisocial personality disorder.
  • Other forms of childhood abuse are implicated in the development of masochism. For example, in separation or abandonment issues. Here, the person affected makes use of masochism to handle the traumatic event brought about by the abandonment. This helps the person maintain self integrity.
  • Some people who had identified with parents who abused them via aggression in childhood are at risk.  
3. Social factors:
  • Certain people who are impulsive and open to learn new and risky behaviors are also at risk. They can be affected by peer or societal influence.
  • When people who are impulsive or excited about risky behaviors associate with people with such sexual behaviors, the sexual behavior can be learnt.
4. Cognitive factors:
  • Those who have higher education wise are at high risk, because of their higher sexual curiosity.
5. Economic factors:
  • Some people, especially women, go into these acts, the masochism and the BDSM for financial reason. These are like the conventional commercial sex workers.

The gains from pains for sexual pleasure in Nigeria.

1. Sexual sadism:
  • They gain the show of power and being in control over situations.
  • Such people derive sexual excitements from the physical and psychological sufferings of their sexual partners.
  • It is an outlet for sexual fantasies.
2. Sexual masochism:
  •  They enjoy receiving pain and it is very exciting to them.
  • Such people enjoy being submissive to the sexual sadist.
  • The pain is a form of escape from unwanted emotional distress, for some of therm.
3. BDSM:
  • For those with sadomasochism, the pain is very rewarding and enjoyable. But they pain received outside sexual pleasure is not enjoyable.
  • This pain makes them have a feeling of helplessness and submission, especially for the women. So it enables them to feel safe and protected, which actually they did not get in childhood.
  • It enables the submissive feel the sense of satisfaction because they earn the approval from those that inflict the pain.
  • They feel a sort of achievement and pride from the pain.  
  • The pain enables them forget the stresses in life, be it physical or emotional. It also helps them escape from responsibilities of life and from guilt.
  • It increases intimacy and connects the couple socially.
  • And also gives them an altered sense of consciousness, which they enjoy.
  • Those in the power positive enjoy their power role.
  • It is a form of releasing sexual fantasies.

Complications from pain for sexual pleasure in Nigeria

  • Engaging in sexual sadism with a person that is not consenting, is a crime. Most often, they end up with unwilling partners whom they will rape after being sexually aroused. This can lead to imprisonment.
  • Non compliance to the rules of those engaged in BDSM, is seen as an assault.
  • Sometimes the scenes become so intense and cruel that the one who is submissive is brought to tears. Even those that perpetrate sexual sadism can increase the violence. So serious injuries can occur. These include receiving serious bruises and scars, being maimed, loss of consciousness etc. Brain damage and death can also occur.  
  • These sexual practices can become an addiction, just as people become addicted to drugs or substances. So they have the tendencies to develop craving, intoxication, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. So, because they are addicted to it, they keep on engaging in the acts despite it being harmful to them. And when someone with sexual masochism develops tolerance, he needs an increase in the torture, to get sexual excitement. This can be very dangerous.
  • They are stigmatized by the society, so some may feel shame, anxiety and guilt.  
  • Sexual sadism is associated to antisocial personality disorder.


  • In the old psychiatric books, these unconventional sexual behaviors were believed to be due to mental health conditions. But recently, they have been removed as mental health conditions.
  • In the recent times, these sexual behaviors are not being seen as disorders, but as sexual preference by most researchers. This only holds if those who practice the sexual behaviors are not distressed by it. They also believe that once the person’s functions are not affected by the behaviors, treatment is not necessary. But some researchers still believe that they are sexual deviants that require treatment, even if not distressed.
  • But those who practice these behaviors, do not believe that they have any medical problem that requires treatment.
  • For those who practice sexual sadism with unwilling partners, they are believed to need treatment.
  • Those who are actually not very comfortable with their sexual behavior, also require treatment.
  • Treatments are given via psychotherapy, when Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be carried out. With this form of therapy, the patient is made to understand that such sexual behaviors do not conform to the conventional form and they are taught healthier ways to take care of their sexual arousals. There are other forms of psychotherapies that can be used for treatment.
  • Medications are also made use of. These medications are used to balance the neurochemicals in the brain. They also reduce the impulsive behaviors. Some medications are given to suppress the sexual drive, i.e. the high sexual level.
  • After the sexual acts, the participants may require treatments from the complications they may have received. Some may have received either physical or psychological trauma.

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