The Growing Problem of Childhood Sexual Abuse among the Active Sadomasochistic Population in Finland

This article was a study done in Finland on the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse among the active sadomasochistic population. Five hypotheses were given and they were: (1)that more childhood sexual abuse victims participated in sadomasochism than those who were not sexually abused, (2) this group was more likely to suffer from a variety of psychological problems than the general population, (3) this group would be less socially adjusted, (4) their past sexual abuse would affect their body image and sexual satisfaction, and (5) that females were more likely to have more masochistic desires while males would be more likely to have sadistic desires (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, pp.

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This study was done through a questionnaire distributed amongst the members of Finlands two sadomasochistic clubs. A total of 186 people partcipated, 164 were male and 22 were female (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, p.

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56). The results showed that out of the 186 people who participated in the study, only 13 males (7.9%) reported childhood sexual abuse, and five (22.7%) of females reported childhood sexual abuse (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, p. 57). It was also shown that the majority of partcipants had higher education and had a higher income than people in the general population, showing that they were well adjusted adults (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, p. 56).

There was a difference in the income levels of males and females, which could be attributed to the male to female ratio of participants, especially considering that the female ratio of sexual abuse victims was higher than that of males. However it was also shown that males who had been victims of sexual abuse had a lower income than the males who had not been victims (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, pp. 58-59). It was also shown that those who had been victims of childhood sexual abuse were more likely than those who were not victims, to attempt suicide and have received psycological treatment, either inpatient or outpatient, in the past (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, pp. 58-59).

Overall, the majority of partcitpants who practived sadomasochistic reported no childhood sexual abuse and were viewed as well adjusted adults, although the idea of denial of childhood sexual abuse was considered (Nordling, Sandnabba, & Santtila, 2000, p. 61).

Article II: Popular Media

This article is written by a woman who teaches about human sexuaslity, especially how it pertains to lesbian culture. This article seeks to inform the reader about the divide that exists in the currentl lesbian culture over the conflicting views on sadomasochistic relationships. On one side, there is the more liberal view that it is a part of an individual’s sexuality and is therefore a private matter whereas the opposing view is that it perpetuates the continued oppression, sexism, racism, and violence that exists in society (Card, 1995).

Claudia Card discusses the paradox that is masochism, the idea that denial of pleasure becomes the pleasure itself and that the pain experienced by the masochist, which is normal a biological deterrent becomse a reward that encourages pleasure seeking behavior (1995). She also discusses how the pure definiton of sadism is pleasure derived from causing pain or the act of denying pleasure of another, but the acting definition is that the sadist seems to achieve pleasure by pleasing the masochist, who also receives pleasure by pleasing the sadist (Card, 1995). This wouls seem to demonstrate a fairly balanced relationships, being as there is a “contract” that exists between the two parties that establishes which acts are acceptable or not, a set of directions of how the acts will be performed, and a safe word that allows the masochist the ability and power to stop at any time (Card, 1995).

The social consequences are also addressed in relation to the practice of sadomasochism. In one view offered up by Card is that of catharsis, which is that the participants use it as a safe outlet for their natural destructive and violent impulses (Card, 1995). Some view it as an addiction that will only lead to more violent and degrading acts as the participants build up a tolerance and need to seek out new and better acts to achieve the same satisfaction (Card, 1995).

A third view of sadomasochism is that it is simply a sexual preference like any other fetish and may perhaps even be a sexual orientation, and therefore has no deeper meaning than a different form of sexuality (Card, 1995). Claudia Card “… find(s) far more ethical questions surrounding this topic than are usually discussed (1995).”

Comparison: Peer-Reviewed vs. Popular Media

Both articles offer up information that may not be known to the average person and they both seek to inform the reader about the topic of discussion. The articles share a tone of authority, demonstrating that the author or authors have familiarity and a deeper understanding of the subject than just the common person off the street does. The authors of both articles bring in the outside work and refer to others that helps bolster and add credibility to their work. However, there are several differences between the two articles. The popular media article written by Claudia Card is written in first person perspective and contains her personal views.

The peer-reviewed article written by Nordling, Sandnabba, and Santtila is written in third person perspective and maintains an authoritative tone, offering up only facts and no personal views. The popular media article does not use any statistics or makes reference to any studies to back up the points made throughout it, instead the author only references and uses quotes from others to make her points. The peer-reviewed article shows a clear table of information, offers statics, and clearly assigned sections to back up any declarations being made about the study’s findings. Although both are written in a professional manner and show the authors’ level of understanding of the subject matter, the peer-reviewed article is much more clearly presented.

The popular media article is written with a clear bias, which is stated by the author herself. It is written from a feministic lesbian perspective, which really limits the scope ideas that are presented. This specific article comes off as being more of a persuasive essay than an actual informative essay. In addition, the facts and views that are being shown do not include any recent or official studies to back up the claims made. Instead, the author only makes use of quotes from various others that can be skewed and manipulated so as to present the appearance of agreement with the author’s beliefs. There is no hard data in shown throughout the entire article which weakens the arguments being made, whether for or against the opinions of the author.

This popular media article also seems to contradict the official findings of the peer-reviewed scientific study. This furthers the reader’s idea that perhaps this article is more about opinions than facts. The peer-reviewed article clearly states its purpose and the questions it will answer for the reader. The format is clean and uniform, so that anyone who has ever read such an article will know where to find the information he or she is seeking. The data is also broken down to show the actual results and how they relate to each of the questions and to the study overall. There are also other studies that are cited with in this article to further the evidence that has been presented which shows the validity of the statements being made. This shows that the article is based on facts, not opinion, and that the information being given is reliable and more likely to show the actual dynamics of the group being studied. This allows for a better and accurate understanding of the subject so that the reader can make better-informed decisions in relation to the material.

However, the way that a peer-reviewed article is written makes it appear dry and full of “science speak” which can potentially turn off any curious readers. The popular media article on the other hand, is written more for the everyday person and would seem less daunting, therefore more likely to be read over the peer-reviewed article. The popular media article is open to a wider audience and is more accessible, meaning that the information it offers is more likely to be passed on, whereas the peer-reviewed article feels exclusive and meant only for those who have a background in science, so it is more likely to be over looked by the general public.


When writing an academic paper, it is important to use peer-reviewed articles over popular media articles because of the information being used by both. With an academic paper, there is supposed to be a level of credibility and accuracy in the facts being used to support the topic of the paper. If one was to use an article from popular media, there is a real strong possibility that the “facts” given are more someone else’s opinion and not really facts at all. With a peer-reviewed article, the data given can be further supported by other studies done on the same subject. This also brings up the point that the reason for formally studying sex rather than just learning about it form popular media is that there is a lot of misinformation out there and it is always possible to gain an incorrect understanding or false knowledge that could lead to someone getting really hurt. Even though the popular media type articles may be easier to understand and are more reader friendly, the reader needs to be aware of the possibility of any bias that is author may have and realize that there is a high likely hood of incorrect information being presented.

Works Cited

  1. Card, C. (1995). Consensual Sadomasochism: charting the issues. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from Feminist Reprise:
  2. Nordling, N., Sandnabba, N., & Santtila, P. (2000). The Prevalence and Effects of Self-Reported Childhood Sexual Abuse Among Sadomasochistically Oriented Males and Females. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Vol. 9(1), 53-63.

Cite this page

The Growing Problem of Childhood Sexual Abuse among the Active Sadomasochistic Population in Finland. (2021, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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