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Does my fiance have a masochist tendency?

Q: My fiance said that he gets excited romantically and sexually only if I spank him. He doesn't even object to me whipping him. I have met him only once, we maintain contact through email. Is there anything wrong with him? Does he have masochistic tendency? Our marriage is not fixed yet. How should I deal with him? Can this is be just a perverted idea of sex or he might have had a previous sexual experience? I am confused about this and worried. Please advise.

A:Your fiance seems to be suffering from what is known to us andrologists and other specialists in sexual medicine as a paraphilia. The old term for this was 'perversion', and that itself should tell you a lot. There are many types of paraphilias. In this particular case, you are right - what your fiance has is known as masochism. Paraphilias are problems with controlling impulses that are characterized by recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviours involving unusual objects, activities, or situations not considered sexually arousing to others. In addition, these objects, activities or situations often are necessary for the person's sexual functioning. With a paraphilia, the individual's urges and behaviours cause significant distress and/or personal, social or occupational dysfunction. Someone with a paraphilia may be referred to as "kinky" or "perverted," and these behaviours may have serious social and legal consequences. Individuals with masochism use sexual fantasies, urges or behaviours involving the act (real, not simulated) of being humiliated, beaten or otherwise made to suffer in order to achieve sexual excitement and climax. These acts may be limited to verbal humiliation, or may involve being beaten, bound or otherwise abused. Masochists may act out their fantasies on themselves, such as cutting or piercing their skin, or burning themselves or may seek out a partner who enjoys inflicting pain or humiliation on others (sadist). Activities with a partner include bondage, spanking, and simulated rape. Sadomasochistic fantasies and activities are not uncommon among consenting adults. In most of these cases, however, the humiliation and abuse are acted out in fantasy. The participants are aware that the behaviour is a "game," and actual pain and injury is avoided. A potentially dangerous, sometimes fatal, masochistic activity is autoerotic partial asphyxiation, in which a person uses ropes, nooses or plastic bags to induce a state of asphyxia (interruption of breathing) at the point of orgasm. This is done to enhance orgasm, but accidental deaths sometimes occur. It is not know for certain what causes paraphilia. Some experts believe it is caused by a childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse. Others suggest that objects or situations can become sexually arousing if they are frequently and repeatedly associated with a pleasurable sexual activity. In most cases, the individual with a paraphilia has difficulty developing personal and sexual relationships with others. Many paraphilias begin during adolescence and continue into adulthood. The intensity and occurrence of the fantasies associated with paraphilia vary with the individual, but usually decrease as the person ages. Most cases of paraphilia are treated with counseling and therapy to help these people modify their behaviour. Medications may help to decrease the compulsiveness associated with paraphilia, and reduce the number of deviant sexual fantasies and behaviours. In some cases, hormones are prescribed for individuals who experience frequent occurrences of abnormal or dangerous sexual behaviour. Many of these medications work by reducing the individual's sex drive - certainly not what you want in a `just married' situation ! To be most effective, treatment must be provided on a long-term basis. Unwillingness to comply with treatment can hinder its success. It is imperative that people with paraphilias of an illegal nature receive professional help before they harm others or create legal problems for themselves. You will have to decide if it is worth pursuing a long term relationship with a person with a paraphilia, especially if you have met him only once.

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