Not All Paraphilias Are Mental Disorders
Not all paraphilias or lifestyle choices should be considered for changes in the next version of the DSM. How do you determine what paraphilias are ok and which one’s are not? Many of the paraphilias have in common distressing and repetitive sexual fantasies, behaviors, or urges. These behaviors must occur over a certain period of time, usually over six months, and interfere with the persons normal everyday functioning. When a person recognizes that these symptoms have a negative impact on their life, but cannot control them, that constitutes the beginnings of a mental disorder. However, not all paraphilias should be considered. The category for all of these disorders ranges from the trivial, to the criminal. We can all agree that pedophilia, exhibitionism, and voyeurism can be disturbing to those unsuspecting victims. However, unless things like, sadism and masochism are taken to the extreme, normal sexual exploration shouldn’t be considered as a mental illness. Many people have sexual fantasies and fetishes. This is a normal part of sexual exploration. When these categories start to take over a person’s life, this is where the exploration ends and the illness begins. The American Psychological Association’s paraphilias subgroup’s DSM revisions acknowledge that you can be a fetishist, a transvestite, sexual sadist, or sexual masochist without having a mental disorder. (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, 2012) The proposed changes for the paraphilic section of the new DSM-V, is worded poorly. The APA is talking about how much time Americans can devote to sexual fantasy before it suggests...
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