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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. It should be noted that 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. He was imprisoned over some of his controversial works and many of his books were banned almost immediately. 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.