Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch: The Father Of Masochism, Explained

By Grace Taylor
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Fanny Pistor Bogdanoff, c. 1870-1880 (note the whip). (Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons)

Human sexuality is a vastly complicated subject. While taboo to talk about in polite society, sex is the reason we're all here today! However, things aren't always so straightforward when it comes to lovemaking, as many people enjoy exploring, shall we say, less traditional means of experiencing pleasure. For example, sadomasochism (A.K.A. S&M, the sexual act of inflicting or receiving pain) is one of the most common fetishes on Earth. You've likely heard of (or maybe even explored) S&M, but have you ever wondered what it means? You might assume it has its roots in Latin or Greek, but the word is actually a portmanteau of the names of two particularly freaky dudes. We owe the word "sadism" to the Marquis de Sade, a violent French nobleman known for his many brutalities and raunchy writings, but the namesake of "masochism," Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, is far less famous.