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Psychosexual disorder in which an individual achieves erotic release by being subjected to pain or humiliation. The term is derived from the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a 19th-century Austrian novelist who wrote extensively about the sexual enjoyment he derived from verbal and physical abuse. The amount of pain involved can vary; it is usually sought out and to some degree controlled by the masochist. Masochistic and sadistic traits often occur in the same individual.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on masochism, visit Britannica.com.