Sex, Immorality, and Mental Disorders

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (5):487-495 (2009)
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Although the definition of a mental disorder has remained essentially the same from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-III-R) through DSM-IV to DSM-IV-TR, the account of the paraphilias has changed continually. Although the definition in all the DSMs explicitly rules out deviant sexual behavior as sufficient for labeling someone as having a mental disorder, deviant sexual behavior counts as sufficient for all the paraphilias in DSM-III-R. In DSM-IV, the account of all the paraphilias is made consistent with the definition. In DSM-IV-TR, mere deviant sexual behavior is not sufficient for being classified as having a paraphilia, but immoral deviant sexual behavior is. Thus, in DSM-IV-TR, only those paraphilias that involve immoral deviant sexual behavior are inconsistent with the definition, but deviant sexual behavior by itself does not count as a mental disorder



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