How It Came to Be that Sadomasochists Are No Longer “Mentally Ill”


A massive effort led by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom led to a wide variety of non-mainstream sexual practices being removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, reports The Atlantic.

“Asking your partner to tie you to the bedpost, telling them to slap you hard in the throes of lovemaking, dressing like a woman if you are a man, admitting a fetish for feet: Just a few years ago, any of these acts could be used against you in family court,” reports The Atlantic. “This was the case until 2010, when the American Psychiatric Association announced that it would be changing the diagnostic codes for BDSM, fetishism, and transvestic fetishism (a variant of cross-dressing) in the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published in 2013.”

The article recounts the history of the pathologizing and de-pathologizing of different sexual practices.

BDSM Versus the DSM (The Atlantic, January 13, 2015)


  1. Psychiatric Slavery by Thomas Szasz
    Syracuse University Press, 1998 – Medical – 159 pages
    In this short work, Dr. Szasz takes aim at conventional psychiatry, and at the attendent system of courts, hospitals, and psychiatrists who confine patients against their will. The focal point is a Supreme Court case involving a man forcibly committed to a Florida asylum for 14 years. In refuting the widely held notion that the Donaldson case represents an advancement in the rights of mental patients, Dr. Szasz has put the American legal establishments on trial.

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