Mortification of the flesh

From Spanking Art
Flagellants, from a 15th century woodcut.

Mortification of the flesh literally means "putting the flesh to death". The term is primarily used in religious and spiritual contexts. The institutional and traditional terminology of this practice in Catholicism is corporal mortification.

In its simplest form, it can mean merely denying oneself certain pleasures, such as by abstaining from alcoholic beverages, pornography and fornication. It can also be practiced by choosing a simple or even impoverished lifestyle; this is often one reason many monks of various religions take vows of poverty. In some of its more severe forms, it can mean causing self-inflicted pain and physical harm, such as by beating, whipping, piercing, or cutting. See also self-punishment.

Various forms of self-denial or voluntary suffering are practised in various ways by members of many religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam (only in Sufism and Shi'a Islam).

Popular culture[edit]

Nunsploitation (nun exploitation) is a subgenre of exploitation films produced in Italy and Japan in the Seventies and Eighties. These films were notorious for concentrating on sexual perversities among isolated nuns living in convents. Many films include lurid depictions of self-chastizements such as topless nuns whipping themselves or enduring painful masochistic rituals of mortification of the flesh.

The Japanese film School of the Holy Beast (1974) and Convent of Sinners (1986) from Italy are two prime examples of this genre which depict various forms of sadomasochistic punishments including self-flagellation. A montage of flogging scenes from a few of these films can be seen at the Internet Archive.

Some producers of erotic BDSM and spanking videos have also created stories centered around penitent nuns. The caning video Hour of Penitence from Mood Pictures is one example.

See also[edit]


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