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Classification according to ICD-10
F65.5 Sexual preference disorder
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Algolagnie ( Greek algos "pain" and lagneia " lust ") is a clinical word creation from the late 19th century to describe the pleasure in adding and receiving pain stimuli (↑ sexual preference ). The term has been largely replaced by the synonymous term sadomasochism , passive algolagnia is replaced by masochism , active algolagnia by sadism . The passive aspect can also be referred to as algophilia (Greek philia "love"), pleasure pain or lust for pain , a term that is rarely used for masochism. The algomania (Greek mania “madness”), which describes the pathological desire for pain, goes beyond this term .

In the context of sexual medical diagnostics or psychoanalysis , algolagnia, analogous to sadomasochism, is understood as requiring treatment if sexual satisfaction is difficult or seems impossible without appropriate practices and the person concerned is suffering as a result. Algolagnie is listed as part of the personality and behavioral disorders as a disorder of sexual preference in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) under code number F65.5.

Development of the term algolagnie

In 1886, Krafft-Ebing was probably the first to use the term “sadism” to describe the pleasure of inflicting, or “masochism” for the pleasure of experiencing pain. Algolagnie first appeared in Schrenck-Notzing's writings in 1892 as a clinical made-up word to describe the entirety of these two terms. In his opinion, the two forms form the two poles within an overall continuum. Both this view and that of the strict separation of both tendencies are widespread to this day and are defended with the same reasoning. Initially the term had no sexual connotations, but a short time later it was used for the already known, but as yet hardly scientifically researched, sexual arousal through the reception or infliction of pain under the term passive and active algolagnia.

Medical classification and delimitation


Main article: Sadomasochism

Analogous to its synonym sadomasochism, algolagnia is understood as sexual deviance and is listed as a disorder of sexual preference under the code number F65.6. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which in the United States by the American Psychiatric Association ( Psychiatric American Association ) is published is that algolagnia only in their passive or active expression listed. There is no general assignment as in the ICD.

Consensual or even secret sexual preferences for sadomasochistic practices in the sense of a consensually experienced sexuality usually do not meet the criteria for diagnosing algolagnia in today's medical sense and are a sociologically different, but not uncommon expression of individual sexuality. A diagnosis may only be made with regard to the sexually motivated manifestation of these disorders if the person concerned cannot achieve sexual satisfaction other than through the exercise of sadistic or masochistic practices, or if he himself rejects his own sadistic or masochistic sexual preference and feels restricted in his living conditions or otherwise suffer from it. In addition, the diagnostic criteria do not differ, but are not to be understood hierarchically.

Active algolagnia

A typical Wartenbergrad used for nerve stimulation .

The term active algolagnia corresponds to the term sadism ; in principle, a distinction can be made between sexually motivated action, in which the infliction of pain is experienced as sexually pleasurable, and sadism that has no sexually connotation. Active algolagnia is listed as a disorder of sexual preference in the ICD under the code number F65.5; the diagnosis must be expanded to include a description of the sadistic expression. In the DSM IV , sadism or active algolagnia is listed under the number 302.84.

Passive algolagnia

The term passive algolagnia or pleasure pain, which is synonymous with masochism, describes the sensation of sexual pleasure when experiencing certain physical pain stimuli, the term being related to the passive sensation of sexual stimulation through pain. The ICD does not specify the passive character of this sexual disorder; a diagnosis according to code number F65.5 must be marked with regard to the masochistic sensation. In the DSM IV , the diagnosis of passive algolagnia can be made directly synonymous with the diagnosis of masochism (DSM IV 302.83).


  • Brigitte Vetter: Sexuality. Disorders, deviations, transsexuality. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart et al. 2007, ISBN 3-7945-2463-2 .
  • Peter Fiedler : Sexual Orientation and Sexual Deviation. Heterosexuality - homosexuality - transgenderism and paraphilias - sexual abuse - sexual violence. Beltz-Verlag et al., Weinheim et al. 2004, ISBN 3-621-27517-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Peter Fiedler: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Deviation: Heterosexuality - Homosexuality - Transgenderism and Paraphilias - Sexual Abuse - Sexual Violence. Beltz PVU 2004, ISBN 3621275177 , page 46
  2. Uwe Henrik Peters: Lexicon of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Medical Psychology. Elsevier GmbH Germany, 2007, ISBN 3437150618 , page 17
  3. Brigitte Vetter: Sexuality: disorders, deviations, transsexuality. Schattauer Verlag, 2007, ISBN 3794524632 , pages 233 and 237
  4. (link not available)
  5. ^ Dolf Zillmann: Connections Between Sexuality and Aggression. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998, ISBN 0805819061 , page 14
  6. Albert von Schrenck-Notzing: The suggestion therapy for pathological manifestations of the sexual sense: with special consideration of the contrary sexual sensation. Enke, Stuttgart 1892
  7. Peter Fiedler: Sexual Orientation and Sexual Deviation: Heterosexuality - Homosexuality - Transgenderism and Paraphilias. BeltzPVU, 2004, ISBN 3621275177 , chapter 8.2.1, page 248 ff.
  8. (link not available)
  9. ^ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DC 1994. ISBN 0-89042-061-0
  10. BehaveNet: Diagnostic criteria for 302.84 Sexual Sadism ( Memento from July 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) DSM diagnostic criteria in English. Last accessed February 20, 2009
  11. BehaveNet: Diagnostic criteria for 302.83 Sexual Masochism ( Memento of February 24, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) DSM diagnostic criteria in English. Last accessed February 20, 2009