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Sadism is the condition of enjoying the infliction of suffering on others, or exerting control over them. It can be sexual or non-sexual.
Some sexual sadists may be aroused or gratified by actual violence or inflicting pain, while others simply enjoy domination over a sexual partner. Sadists often engage in sexual activity with masochists, and many people in the BDSM scene are both sadistic and masochistic. Sexual sadism is not a mental disorder except in certain rare and extreme cases.
Non-sexual sadism is the enjoyment of cruelty or power in a general sense. Sadists are often drawn to positions of influence or authority. As with sexual sadism, some may actually enjoy causing suffering, while other sadists have a fixation with having control over people or situations, manipulating them at will.
The term is named after the Marquis de Sade (1740–1814), who was a sexual sadist and wrote extensively on the subject of extreme sexual deviance. Many of his books were banned almost immediately and he was imprisoned after mailing a signed copy of his book "Justine or the Misfortune of Virtue" to Napoleon I. Much of his work, although fictional, doesn't bear much resemblance to modern S&M practices and popular fiction due to their focus on non-consensual acts — with incestuous rape and torture being at the lighter end of his fantasies. Seriously, the man's writings shit and piss — literally — all over Rule 34.