Here’s a snippet from a brilliant Slate.com article by Jillian Keenan on how the reclassification of kink in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders doesn’t go far enough to destigmatise BDSM. (Basically, we’re no longer deemed bad or mad pervs unless we’re also sad pervs.) :
“…In 1952, the DSM I officially categorized homosexuality as a mental disorder. As the gay rights movement gathered momentum in the 1960s, however, the psychiatric community introduced a diagnostic compromise by saying that people who were comfortable with their sexual orientation did not have a mental disorder. The APA triumphantly removed general homosexuality from the DSM in 1973. But for people who were “in conflict with” their homosexuality, they introduced a new condition instead: “sexual orientation disturbance” (SOD). The 1980 DSM IIIreplaced SOD with “ego-dystonic homosexuality,” but the basic principle remained the same: Happy homosexuals did not have a mental disorder, while unhappy ones did.
The term paraphilia—which sexologist John Money defined as unusual sexual interests—first appeared in the DSM III. (Before that, the DSM II listed homosexuality, masochism, sadism, transvestism, fetishism, and other consensual minority sexualities alongside criminal pedophilia and frotteurism in the category of “sexual deviations.”) Although there were minor wording changes to the subsequent DSM IV and DSM IV-TR, psychiatric consensus continued to lump noncriminal paraphilias together with criminal paraphilias as mental disorders.
Thankfully, all forms of homosexuality (including ego-dystonic homosexuality) were finally removed from the DSM in 1987, after a long struggle and far too late. Noncriminal sexual paraphilias should also be removed for many of the same reasons that homosexuality was: People who are stigmatized and misunderstood, such as sexual minorities, might be unhappy—but the unhappiness itself is the problem that should be treated, not the person’s sexual identity or practice.
To be clear, I’m not comparing the experience of being kinky to the experience of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. No one is trying to stop kinky people from getting married or, with a few exceptions, threaten our physical safety. The LGBTQ community has serious human rights violations to contend with; most kinksters face nothing more serious than internal turmoil, awkward conversations with new partners, and cultural mockery…”
Read the full article here.