Algolagnia (pronounced /ælɡəˈlæɡniə/) (from the Greek άλγος, algos, "pain", and λαγνεία, lagnia, "lust") is a sexual tendency which is defined by deriving sexual pleasure and stimulation from physical pain, often involving an erogenous zone.
Studies conducted indicate differences in how the brains of those with algolagnia interpret nerve input.
History of research
In 1892, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing introduced the term algolagnia to describe "sexual" masochism, to differentiate it from Fere's earlier term called "algophilia"; Schrenck-Notzing's interpretation was that algolagnia involved lust, not love as Fere interpreted the phenomenon. (It should be cautioned, though, that the definitions regarding sadism and masochism as medical terms have changed over the years (as also noted in the main article for that topic) and are still evolving, and there are also non-medical definitions of sadomasochism.) However, Krafft-Ebing's theories in Psychopathia Sexualis -- where the terms sadism and masochism were used—were adopted by Sigmund Freud and became an integral part of psychoanalysis, thereby ensuring their predominance over the concept of "algolagnia".
The neurologist Albert Eulenberg was another one of the first researchers to look into algolagnia, in the 1902 Sadismus und Masochismus (Sadism and Masochism). Soon thereafter, Havelock Ellis also looked into algolagnia, in the early 1900s, and stated "Sadism and Masochism - Algolagnia Includes Both Groups of Manifestations" but maintained that that enjoyment of pain was restricted to an erotic context, in contrast to Krafft-Ebing's interpretations. With such titles as Analysis of the Sexual Impulse, Love and Pain, The Sexual Impulse in Women and The Evolution of Modesty, The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity, Auto-Erotism, he described the basics of the condition. Eugen Kahn, Smith Ely Jelliffe, William Alanson White, and Hugh Northcote were other early psychological researchers into algolagnia.
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