Results from some new analyses as well as a selective review of the results of six empirical studies on a self-identified sample of sadomasochistically-oriented individuals (22 women and 162 men) with an emphasis on differences between gay and straight participants are presented. The gay male respondents seemed to be better educated, to hold white-collar occupations and to be more sadistically oriented. The gay male respondents became aware of their sadomasochistic preferences and had their first experiences at an older age. They showed a preference for leather outfits, anal intercourse, rimming, dildos, wrestling, special equipment and uniform scenes, and the straight male respondents for verbal humiliation, mask and blindfold, gags, rubber outfits, cane whipping, vaginal intercourse, cross dressing, and straitjackets, and different role plays except for uniform scenes. Four separate sexual themes were identified: hypermasculinity; administration and receiving of pain; physical restriction and psychological humiliation. Gay male participants showed a preference for hypermasculinity and straight men respondents for humiliation. The number of lesbian respondents was too low to draw any definite conclusions. Differences between gay and straight male sadomasochists in the present sample were found. Clearly, sadomasochism cannot be thought of as a unitary phenomenon: People who identify themselves as sadomasochists mean different things by these identifications.