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Beautiful game enters home of masochism

india Updated: Jun 11, 2012 00:53 IST

The whip cracks, the waitress shouts and the client laughs as he winces. Welcome to the Masoch Cafe in Euro 2012 host city Lviv, which also happens to be a little-known place of pilgrimage for lovers of pain.

The city in western Ukraine, which hosts Group B matches involving Germany, Portugal and Denmark, was once home to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1835-1895), who gave his name to the term "masochism" through his famous work "The Venus in Furs".

The origins of masochism — officially defined as deriving sexual pleasure by being physically or emotionally abused — is less well-known than its opposite, sadism, which takes its name from the French writer the Marquis de Sade.

But while Sade has had countless books and films made about his libertine lifestyle and anything goes sexuality, even in Lviv, which used to belong to Poland and Austria, Masoch is a relative unknown.

When Cafe Masoch opened in 2008, "everyone was reading ‘The Venus in Furs' on the tram or the bus", Ilona, a Euro 2012 volunteer, informed. A lifesize statue of Sacher-Masoch welcomes even the most ordinary customer. Inside the Cafe Masoch, the decor is sensual, with moulds of penises and breasts, plus small sofas decked with chains in the cellar and fur-covered menus. On the menu are bulls' testicles and penis as well as "orgasm" desserts and cocktails with names like "fellatio", "breast milk" or "masochito".

But it is the waitresses who bring to life the practices dear to the heart of good old "Leopold", as he is called in these parts.

Oksana Voloshyn, 26, who has worked for the last six months in the cafe-restaurant, is the most active of the waitresses and is happy to oblige anyone looking to play mistress and servant. "Here, we whip the clients and they like it," said Voloshyn proudly. "And when they're whipped, they give a bigger tip."