Understanding Pedophilic Disorder

Pedophilic disorder is a mental health condition that centers on sexual thoughts or behaviors involving a child well below the age of legal consent. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which publishes the primary diagnostic guidebook used by mental health professionals across the United States, classifies the condition along with a larger group of illnesses called paraphilic disorders. In May 2013, the APA changed the names used for these disorders, and also significantly altered the criteria used to define most of them. However, while the name used to describe pedophilic conduct changed, the basic criteria used to qualify this conduct as a mental disorder remain unchanged. [Read more…]

DSM5: Understanding Fetishistic Disorder

Fetishistic disorder is a mental health condition that centers on the employment of inanimate objects as a source of sexual satisfaction or the fulfillment of sexual fantasies or urges. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which provides the basic roadmap for diagnosing mental illness in the US, includes this condition along with a group of illnesses called paraphilic disorders. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, known in the mental health community by the abbreviation DSM 5, partially redefines the symptoms that qualify for a fetishistic disorder diagnosis. DSM 5 also differentiates between fetishistic disorder and fetishism, a pattern of sexual behavior that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a mental disorder. [Read more…]

Paraphilias and Sex Addiction

In many cases, individuals with a sex addiction satisfy their cravings in what most people would consider “normal” sex, such as sexual intercourse or oral sex with a consenting partner. However, there are a significant number of sex addicts who are able to become sexually aroused and gratified only by engaging in behavior that is generally considered unusual (at best), distasteful, or perverted. These behaviors are clinically referred to as “paraphilias”.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV), paraphilias are “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving 1) nonhuman objects, 2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or 3) children or other nonconsenting persons that occur over a period of at least six months.” The preoccupation is often so intense that the person is unable to experience any sexual arousal or satisfaction without the object or activity.

Paraphilias, by their very nature, are devoid of genuine intimacy or mature love. Granted, some would argue this issue – usually those engaging in the behavior. For example, pedophiles often argue that they genuinely love their victims and that their sexual interaction with children is a way of expressing that love. There are many couples in which one or both partners has a fetish, which is incorporated into their sexual activity. Sexual partners who enjoy a sadomasochistic relationship may also argue that it is based in love. But when the underlying issues are considered, the problem with their arguments usually becomes quite evident. [Read more…]

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