Sadism is generally defined as enjoyment derived from inflicting pain or suffering on other individuals. Sadistic acts can involve inflicting physical, verbal, or psychological harm to an individual. The term is typically discussed as it pertains to extreme behaviors, such as those found in criminal and sexual contexts (e.g., serial murderers, serial rapists, sexual sadists). However, sadism can be nonsexual as well, referring to the enjoyment of domination and the cruelty of others. In fact, some have referenced a milder version of sadism, everyday sadism, to describe sadistic tendencies that may be normative and characteristic of human nature. This entry explores the history of sadism, the differences between sadism and sexual sadism, and the challenges inherent in the sadistic personality disorder diagnosis.


The term sadism was ...

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