In the psyche coexist sadistic and masochistic wishes, fantasies, and drive derivatives. Sadomachochistic gratifications can be involved e.g. in teasing, sarcasm, slander, clowning and passive aggression. Some people consciously or unconsciously need to suffer, be punished or punish. In sexual behaviour it ranges from relatively normal to the perverse when physical pain is requisite for the sexual relationship.
With increasing sexual liberation, justifications for sadomasochism have been increasingly advanced by the homosexual community. A therapeutic social role has been claimed by social scientists. It has been described as a new dimension of love and as imitating, and thus respecting, nature.