Sadomasochism ( SAY-doh-MASS-ə-kiz-əm) is the giving or receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain or humiliation. Practitioners of sadomasochism may seek sexual gratification from their acts. While the terms sadist and masochist refer respectively to one who enjoys giving and receiving pain, practitioners of sadomasochism may switch between activity and passivity.
The word sadomasochism is a portmanteau of the words sadism () and masochism. The abbreviation S&M is often used for Sadomasochism (or Sadism & Masochism), although practitioners themselves normally remove the ampersand and use the acronym S-M or SM or S/M when written throughout the literature. Sadomasochism is not considered a clinical paraphilia unless such practices lead to clinically significant distress or impairment for a diagnosis. Similarly, sexual sadism within the context of mutual consent, generally known under the heading BDSM, is distinguished from non-consensual acts of sexual violence or aggression.