The paper touches upon the topic of masochistic fantasies in the novel "Venus im Pelz" [Venus in Furs] by the Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The piece, published in 1869, was, at one hand, a marketing success of the author, who was praised for the novelty of the look at the issue of sexual otherness and the directness in its depiction. At the other hand, Masoch became the subject of fierce criticism putting forward accusations of celebrating vulgar eroticism. The opponents of the writer saw in the masochistic obsessions of the book character, especially in his attempt to materialize them, a real threat to the current system of values and moral norms. It was only after Theodor Reik’s publication of the results of a long-term research on the phenomenon of self-defeating personality disorder that the phenomenon of masochistic fantasy was discerned, whose complicated mechanism Masoch managed to pointedly convey in his controversial novel.