Kink No Longer A Mental Disorder

If you have an interest in BDSM, I’m sure at one point or another you have heard the mentioning of the “Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM).  This is essentially the bible of the mental health professional in the United States, essentially it is used to classify mental disorders.  In this manual there are a list of mental disorders known as “paraphilias”

A paraphilias is considered a mental disorder because an individual is sexually aroused by an object, activity or person that is not able to give back any affection.  Up until 1974, homosexuality was included in the list of paraphilias.

Currently the disorders associated with paraphilias include but are not limited to:

  • Pedophilia – wanting to have sex with and/or sexual arousal from small children
  • Necrophilia – wanting to have sex with and/or sexual arousal from corpses
  • Voyeurism – becoming sexually aroused from spying on others without their knowledge
  • Frotteurism – becoming sexually aroused from rubbing against strangers

Until very recently, many BDSM activities were included under this group of mental disorders, including but not limited too:

  • Sadism – becoming sexually aroused from inflicting pain on another individual
  • Masochism – becoming sexually aroused from receiving pain
  • Fetishism – Non-sexual objects arousing an individual sexually (ie. shoes)

However, professionals and researchers continue to debate what would classify a sexual interest as a mental disorder.  Some issues being debated:

  • Is the interest/activity the only way the individual can become sexually aroused
  • Is it mentally ill if all parties involved are consenting
  • Is there any distress by the individual about their interest/activities

It would seem that good things always come from open communication as the American Psychiatric Association has removed BDSM and kinky sex from being an indicator of a disorder in the new edition of DSM-V. This means that just because you may like BDSM, you are not automatically diagnosed or assumed to have a mental disorder as it was once believed. Instead kinky and/or sexual interests outside of the normal are still considered paraphilias. A paraphilic disorder will be considered if people who have a need for sex and/or are sexually aroused from someone who does not consent and/or has a need to intentionally harm themselves and/or others.

As stated in the DSM-V “A paraphilia is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for having a paraphilic disorder, and a paraphilia by itself does not necessarily justify or require clinical intervention.”

As well as “In contrast, if they declare no distress, exemplified by anxiety, obsessions, guilt or shame, about these paraphilic impulses, and are not hampered by them in pursuing other personal goals, they could be ascertained as having masochistic sexual interest but should not be diagnosed with a sexual masochism disorder.”

While this may be a great start, it truly is only the beginning. Due to BDSM and kink being automatically linked to such horrific and terrible sex crimes such as pedophilia and being considered an automatic diagnosis for a mental disorder for so long, has truly stigmatized anyone who participates in such activities in society. This common belief that has been taught for so long to society will not go away overnight. Even with the DSM-V revisions, I still know of people fighting custody battles and have genuine fears that their desires may be used against them. Most people in society don’t know about the DSM or the revisions. All they know is what they have been taught for many years.

Lets all work together in showing the rest of society that this part of us is not our entirety. It is only part of a very healthy, kind, generous, loving, smart and complex individual just like themselves. Lets put our best foot forward and be a shinning example of what a loving consensual BDSM relationship can look like so they realize that there really is nothing to fear. Help spread the word that BDSM is not abuse, a crime, a mental disorder and/or only found in the mind of a psychopath.

On a side note, I think the one fact that truly needs to be debated, which lies at the core definition of paraphilias and was the reason homosexually was removed from the list. Paraphilias is a condition when someone is aroused by something that can not return that affection. My partner who participates with me in our BDSM activities is capable of returning my affections. They are the one that sexually arouse me. The activities we perform and participate in are fun and exciting but they are meaningless without the love and participation of my partner.

For Example:

I don’t spank My partner because the spanking arouses Me. I spank my partner because of the physiological response it creates. When spanking, there is a large nerve that passes through the ass and carries on to the genitals. By stimulating the buttock with spanking, you can in fact stimulate the genitals. With each strike a signal radiates down the nerve, not to mention the physical vibrations that also carry on to the genital region. There is also a large artery that passes through the buttock and into the genitals. With each spank, more blood is pumped into the butt, this means more blood gets pumped into the genitals as well. More blood causes an increase in arousal. Therefore the body’s own chemistry creates even greater arousal than what might be created from traditional foreplay. Do we all not want to turn our partner on more?

Is using the body’s own physiological conditions a mental disorder? Or is it just another way to show your partner affection and receive that affection in return, which is the exact opposite of a paraphilias.

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Let me know what you think below. Do you feel there is still a stigma around people involved in kink and BDSM? How has BDSM affected your life in dealing with the rest of society?

I’d love to hear from you all.


Paul Bishop

The founder of the BDSM Training Academy. Master Bishop has been involved in the Dominant/submissive lifestyle for over 12 years. With a love for education both learning and teaching, Master Bishop has passed on his knowledge and experience to others entering into the BDSM lifestyle for over 8 years. Join Master Bishop on Google+





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