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The Psychiatric Opinion About SM

The Psychiatric Opinion About SM

 

In recent years as more research has been published, the mental health and medical communities have begun to accept that SM is a safe, legitimate pursuit.

 

According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) which defines currently recognized mental disorders, SM per se is NOT a mental disorder. In their diagnostic criteria for both sexual masochism and sexual sadism, the DSM-IV states that SM only becomes a diagnosable dysfunction when:

"the fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning."

 

In addition, the DSM-IV clearly allows for non-pathological sexual behavior:

 

"a paraphilia must be distinguished from the non-pathological use of sexual fantasies, behavior or objects as a stimulus for sexual excitement."

 

[The entire diagnostic criteria for sexual masochism and sexual sadism are reproduced Appendix A.]