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Archive for February 27th, 2010

After a great deal of work by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has agreed to change its criteria for its Paraphilias section, which up until this moment has listed Exhibitionism, Fetishism, Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Frotteurism, Pedophilia, Transvestic Fetishism, and Voyeurism as mental disorders in and of themselves. The proposed revisions would finally differentiate between these desires, which can be experienced healthily (pedophilia being possibly an exception), and the unhealthy expression of these desires, i.e. examples in which these desires inhibit day to day functioning, are exercised on non-consenting parties, or otherwise cause harm to self and/or others.

The manual will now include such things as Exhibitionistic Disorder, Sexual Masochism Disorder, and so on, and would require not just that the person exhibit the desires, but that said desires adversely affect the patient’s functioning or that they cause harm to others, such as unsuspecting strangers to which the exhibitionist exposes himself.

I will admit that I am a little concerned that pedophilia is included among these other so-called disorders: I believe that a person can have a fetish for shoes, for example, without it impinging upon his or her life or harming self or others. It’s difficult to imagine, however, someone having a strong sexual attraction to kids without it eventually becoming problematic – or even without it initially seeming sick in some way. It makes me wonder where and how we draw the line between just kinky and really actually kinda sick. Is there a way to have sexual attraction to kids and have that not be sick?

I mean, I suppose if you don’t act on it, it never actually causes harm. But I’m still not crazy about it being included with the other paraphilias, as I think that there are ways to enact the other paraphilias without causing anyone harm. I guess you could dress up someone of age as a kid. But…ugh. Seriously. Somebody help me out here. I really think that a line should be drawn between someone who gets off on hurting people – because they consent to it and like it – and someone who gets off on having sex with kids, who by definition are unable to consent. There are sadists who are truly sick, who want to hurt people who don’t want to be hurt. But are there pedophiles who aren’t truly sick? Somehow I can’t see it.

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