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Sadism is the infliction of pain and suffering on another person for reasons of sexual pleasure[?]. Medically it is considered to be a paraphilia. The word derives from the Marquis de Sade.

The counterpart of sadism is masochism, consisting of sexual fantasies, urges or behaviour that involves being beaten, humiliated[?], bound, tortured, or otherwise made to suffer, in order to enhance or achieve sexual excitement. The name is derived from that of 19th century author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

The German psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing mentioned sadism and masochism in his 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis, a famous study of "sexual perversity".

Sigmund Freud combined the two into a single idea known as sadomasochism (often abbreviated as S&M or S/M).

to do: psychoanalytic theories of aggression and sadomasochism

The term BDSM has been created to describe the quite common activities between consenting adults that contain sadistic and masochistic elements. Many behaviors such as erotic spanking and love-bites[?] that many people think of only as "rough" sex also contain elements of sado-masochism.

In certain extreme cases, sadism and masochism can include fantasies, sexual urges or behaviour that cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, to the point that they can be considered part of a mental disorder. However, this is an uncommon case, and psychiatrists are now moving towards regarding sadism and masochism as not being regarded as disorders in themselves, but only as disordered when associated with other problems such as a personality disorder.

Unfortunately, some disordered individuals commit crimes with a strong sadistic element. This is generally considered to be caused by personality disorders. Recently, there have been theories that many of these personality disorders have been caused by brain damage.

In general, the depiction of sadism and masochism in fiction tends to be portrayed from the viewpoint of masochistic fantasy.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel Venus in Furs is essentially one long masochistic fantasy, where the male principal character encourages his mistress to mistreat him.

The Story of O is another classic masochistic novel, this time written by a woman, Pauline Réage. In this novel, the female principal character is kept in a chateau and mistreated by a group of men.

As of 2003, sado-masochistic themes are now common in mainstream erotic fiction[?], to the point of cliché.

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