Sadism is the obtaining of pleasure when performing acts of cruelty or dominion. This enjoyment can be of a sexual and consensual nature, in which case it is considered one of the paraphilias that are included under the acronym BDSM. Otherwise, it may be indicative of mental disorder[wp] or the result of human emotions such as hatred, revenge[wp] and even certain archaic conceptions of justice. We are, therefore, faced with a polysemy[wp] with distinctly different nuances of meaning. The term sadism comes from the Marquis de Sade[wp], French writer and philosopher author of numerous works where sexual sadism plays a role of great importance.
Its antonym[wp] and potential complement is masochism. Masochism is the acquisition of pleasure through acts of cruelty or self-inflicted or self-provoked by a person with whom an emotional bond is maintained. This enjoyment can also be sexual or asexual. The fundamental characteristic of masochism that distinguishes it from other kinds of submission is algolagnia, that is, the mixture caused between pain and pleasure.
- Sadism and masochism (BDSM)