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Although there are earlier historical references to the behavior, the term sadism was coined by the 19th-century Austrian psychiatrist and sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing from the name of the infamous libertine the Marquis de Sade (1740–1814), whose scandalous life and erotic novels were replete with depictions of cruelty, torture, and killing for erotic stimulation. Krafft-Ebing used the term to describe the sexual gratification experienced by an individual when observing or participating in acts of cruelty toward or punishment of another person. Since his influential medical work Psychopathia Sexualis was published in 1886, other writers have expanded the concept to include the infliction of psychological pain or humiliation and the desire to control and dominate another person.

These general ideas continue to influence contemporary definitions, as in ...

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