Severin is so infatuated with Wanda that he requests to be treated as her slave and encourages her to treat him in progressively more degrading ways. At first Wanda does not want to, but later embraces the idea; though at the same time, she disdains Severin for allowing her to do so. Severin describes his feelings during these experiences as suprasensuality. Wanda treats him brutally as a servant, and recruits a trio of African women to dominate him. The relationship arrives at a crisis point when Wanda herself meets a man to whom she would like to submit. Severin, humiliated by Wanda's new lover, ceases to desire to submit, stating that men should dominate women until the time when women are equal to men in education and rights. Probably the first book which blatantly addresses the issue of female sexual domination, this is today a classic of the genre and it is the author from whom the word masochism takes its name.