Attitudes About Sadomasochism Scale

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Book Chapter

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Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures


The Attitudes About Sadomasochism Scale (ASMS; Yost, 2010) assesses stereotypical and prejudicial attitudes about individuals involved in consensual, sexual sadomasochism. Sadomasochism (SM), in this context, refers to the safe and consensual sexual activities of an adult subculture that practices bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, and masochism as part of their sexual interactions (Scott, 1980; Weinberg, Williams, & Moser, 1984). Many SM activists claim that identifying as a sadomasochist is similar to identifying as a lesbian, gay man, or bisexual, in that SM is an identity that defines their sexuality and their preferred manner of sexual interaction (Taylor & Ussher, 2001). Others argue that SM is best conceptualized as a set of sexual practices or activities, with no implication for identity (Langdridge, 2006). In either case, prejudicial attitudes about such individuals have begun to be documented (Wright, 2006), just as prejudice and discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation have been well documented over the past few decades (Herek & Capitanio, 1996).


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