Biography of the Original Masochist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch Part 2

About the original masochist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, history and biography of the man who coined the sexual term.


But it is one thing to dream and quite another to act out one's dreams in the daylight world. Leopold began to do just that. Aware that his sexual impulses were outside the norm, he set out to find the nearest possible realization of his ideal--that masterful czarina who would bully and humiliate him, who would, in fact, physically hurt him. For pain, Leopold had discovered, was the necessary prelude to pleasure.

Leopold's 1st mistress was the beautiful Anna von Kottowitz, a woman some 10 years his senior, who abandoned her husband and children to live with him, but who gradually lost interest in the whips and birches. The relationship continued for several stormy years and ended only when the new lover whom Leopold had procured for her--for he could not be entirely satisfied until she had betrayed him--turned out to be a crook. Leopold had found it necessary to write prolifically to maintain Anna in the extravagant style she demanded. He found he could write in almost any genre (except poetry, which he seems never to have attempted). He published many tales from his theatrical experience (he had done some professional acting), then a 2nd history, and finally his 1st novel.

He had loved Anna, but he took on Fanny Pistor, his next mistress, much as he might have hired an actress for a limited run. The contract, which both parties signed, read in part:

Herr Leopold von Sacher-Masoch gives

his word of honor to Frau Pistor to become

her slave and to comply unreservedly

for 6 months, with every one of

her desires and commands. For her part,

Frau Fanny Pistor is not to extract from

him the performance of any action contrary

to honor . . . [she] is also to allow

him to devote 6 hours a day to his professional

work, and agrees never to read

his correspondence or his literary compositions

. . . . Frau Pistor, on her side,

promises to wear furs as often as possible,

especially when she is in a cruel mood. . . .

On a trip to Italy, Frau Pistor traveled 1st class as a baroness, while Leopold traveled 3rd class as her servant, and in Venice, according to formula, she managed to deceive him with another man. She proved to be exactly the despotic, brutal woman he had envisioned, and the affair was really quite a success.

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