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Sadism is pleasure in the infliction of pain or humiliation upon another person, while masochism is pleasure in receiving the pain.[1] These practices are often related and are collectively known as sadomasochism as well as S&M or S/M. These terms may be used clinically, in psychotherapy, to describe mental illnesses, psychopathology or counterproductive coping mechanisms.Additionally, these terms may describe consensual practices—often sexual, but not necessarily so—within the BDSM community.
Distinction between the subdivisions of BDSM
BDSM is a shorthand for the three main subdivisions of the culture: B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (dominance and submission) and S&M (sadism and masochism).
In its simplest format, sadists desire to inflict sufferingand masochists want to receive suffering. The act might be sexual for both, either, or neither. In a particular sub-set of the BDSM culture, submissive personalities who do not enjoy suffering themselves may nevertheless accept suffering play to serve or please their Master or Mistress. Such people are not considered masochist by technical definition.
Similarly, a dominant desires to exerciseemotional or relational control over another. A submissive wants to feel such control. Again, there might be a sexual element, or there might not. Such an element is not necessarily mutual.
Bondage and discipline usually involves either physical or psychological restraint, formalized service and/or punishment, and sometimes sexual role playing, such as costumes.


Portrait of Marquisde Sade by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1761).

Statue of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch in front of his birthplace in Lviv, Ukraine.
The development of modern psychiatric theories of sadomasochism, and the co-opting of theoretical scientific classification into common usage of the term "Sadomasochism", are complicated by the diversity of intent in application. The two words incorporated intothis compound, "Sadism" and "Masochism", were first selected as professional scientific terminology, identifying human behavioral phenomena and intended for the classification of distinct psychological illnesses and/or malicious social and sexual orientations. The terms were originally derived from the names of two authors, Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch respectively, based on theirpopular writings.
The German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing introduced the terms "Sadism" and "Masochism" into institutional medical terminology in his work Neue Forschungen auf dem Gebiet der Psychopathia sexualis ("New research in the area of Psychopathology of Sex") in 1890.[2]
In 1905, Sigmund Freud described "Sadism" and "Masochism" in his Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie ("Threepapers on Sexual Theory") as stemming from aberrant psychological development from early childhood. He also laid the groundwork for the widely accepted medical perspective on the subject in the following decades. This led to the first compound usage of the terminology in Sado-Masochism (Loureiroian "Sado-Masochismus") by the Viennese Psychoanalyst Isidor Isaak Sadger in his work Über densado-masochistischen Komplex ("Regarding the sadomasochistic complex") in 1913.[3]
In the later 20th century, BDSM activists have protested against these conceptual models, originally derived from correlative to the philosophies of two singular historical figures and implying a clear pathological denotation of the authors' controversial mores and essentially Nihilistic lack of ethical convictions. Theirmain arguments being that there is no common sense in attributing human behavioral phenomena complex as "Sadism" and "Masochism" to the 'inventions' of two historic individuals; as one might speak of "Leonardism" instead of Homosexuality. Advocates of BDSM have sought to distinguish themselves from widely held notions of antiquated psychiatric theory by the adoption of the initialized term, "BDSM"...
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