Professional work

Delete SM and fetish diagnoses!

Despite new research, the views of psychiatry on the subject of SM, Fetishism and Fetishistic transvestism, have hardly changed in the last 100 years.

Leather people have been considered healthy the last ten years by most researchers, by US psychiatrists, and by the health authorities of Denmark and Sweden. Despite this fact, Fetishism, Fetishistic transvestism and Sadomasochism are still branded as mental illnesses by the World Health Organization (WHO), in expectation of the next revison of WHO’s diagnostic manual ICD-10. This revision is going to start fall 2009/winter 2010.

Sweden deleted their national fetish and SM diagnoses January 1, 2009. Denmark repealed Dual-role transvestism and the SM diagnoses fall 1994 and May 1995. The American Psychiatric Association, APA, considerably revised their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) spring 1994.

Like the earlier diagnosis of Homosexuality that is no longer applied by the WHO, the SM and Fetish diagnoses are rarely used in clinical practice as a means to assist people. On the contrary the stigma attached to the diagnoses justifies various forms of harassment and discrimination of this sexual minority by the society. ReviseF65 can document that people are losing their jobs, the custody of their children etc., because of their SM-love, lifestyle and self-expression. Much of the discrimination is directly or indirectly a result of the diagnoses.

The Gay Movement more than 30 years ago considered it of fundamental importance to first delete the diagnosis of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), before any further major human rights improvement was possible. If a group is considered mentally ill, very few people will listen to your arguments aiming at reducing prejudice in society.

ReviseF65 apply the same judgement today. We consider unscientic and stigmatising SM and Fetish-diagnoses as possibly one of the biggest obstacles to the acceptance of our human rights. Abolishing them is a very important step in the effort to reduce prejudices towards the SM-Leather-Fetish-population.

The pansexual ReviseF65 committee, located in Norway, sets focus on the lack of scientific basis for today’s diagnoses and tries to stimulate the building-up of an international activist and professional network to delete these diagnoses.

What can you do in your country?

As with the earlier diagnosis of Homosexuality; the more countries that drop their national SM and Fetish diagnoses, the greater is the possibility that the World Health Organization will follow suit. National ICD-diagnoses can only be abolished by groups in each country. This work must be done by the SM-Leather-Fetish-movement itself. Don’t expect anybody to fight for your freedom from such discrimination, if you don’t do it yourself.

The initiative of individuals is always very welcome, but the formation of local and national working parties would be even more effective in approaching the mental health professionals in question.

Examples of national strategies

We think that the strategy should be determined either locally or nationally, depending on the professional and political situation in each country.

  • Gain support from sexologist-, psychologist- and psychiatric-federations on a national level. Experience from the homosexual diagnoses show us that the latter organization can be the key to the national removal of diagnoses.
  • Lobby the political health administration to withdraw SM and Fetish diagnoses from the national list of psychiatric diagnoses as the Danish health minister did in 1995.
  • Spread the word about the ICD-work of ReviseF65 and make a link to the web page from your own website. To be informed and have your voice heard – join our e-mail discussion group at http://www.revisef65.org/moderator.html and inform others about it.
  • Cooperate with other gay&lesbian and fetish&SM groups to plan national strategies for the abolition of the diagnoses.

Support to the ICD project
The Revise F65 project was established on the initiative of the 1996 and 1998 National Conventions of the Norwegian National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH).

The 21st European Conference of ILGA in Pisa, October 1999, decided to support the Revise F65 project and ask the Board to assist by giving access to channels of information.

The General Assembly of the ECMC in Milano, August 2000 adopted a motion establishing a project group with the same mandate.

The Boards of the Norwegian Association of Gay and Lesbian Physicians HLLF (right), and the Norwegian Society for Clinical Sexology NFKS (left), decided to support the Revise F65 efforts in 2003.

Organizations involved
The Revise F65 project group consists of SM/Leather/Fetish men and women representing organizations of leather and SM gays, – lesbians, bi- and heterosexuals, as well as professionals in sexology, psychology and psychiatry.

LLH, Landsforeningen for lesbisk og homofil frigjøring – Norwegian National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation

SLM-Oslo, Scandinavian Leather Men, Oslo

Verkstedet Smia-Oslo

SMil Norge

Lærhomsen – en norsk SM-dokumentar (publisert 26. juni 2006)

En norsk dokumentar fra 2006 av Lars Joakim Ringom

Uten store ord, avvæpner den 25 minutter lange norske dokumentaren på en varm og humoristisk måte de vanligste mytene om SM og lærmiljøet som en minoritet i den homofile minoriteten. Diagnoseutvalgets leder Svein Skeid guider oss inn i de mørkeste kroker av Nonna i Grønlandsleiret og synliggjør fetisj ved sentrale maktinstitusjoner i Oslo.

Regissør Lars Joakim Ringom vant Big Brother 2001. Filmen er hans eksamensoppgave ved Høgskolen i Lillehammer juni 2006. Både filmen og de medvirkende medlemmer av SMia, SLM og LLH, fikk meget god evaluering av sensorene. De mente Ringom “hadde laget et morsomt/underholdende, og varmt portrett av noe som ellers blir sett på som skremmende, og “farlig””. Lars Joakim “hadde kastet seg ut på en vanskelig oppgave og klart det veldig bra”.

“Det er ingen tung film, men en underholdende. Det går raskt i svingene, og de som hadde negative oppfatninger før jeg viste den, syntes den var bra”, skriver Lars Joakim i en mail 19. juni 2006. “Noen kom bort til meg etterpå og sa at, så lenge begge parter er med, og det er frivillig, ser jeg ingen grunn til at de ikke kan drive med dette”.

Det er ingen hemmelighet at filmprosjektet møtte til dels stor motstand i høyskolemiljøet på Lillehammer før opptakene startet. Men Ringom sto på sitt, og det endelige resultatet ble altså godt mottatt i et filmmiljø som er kjent for å holde høy kvalitet.

Filmen balanserer bra mellom fokus på menneskene bak maska, enkel informasjon og skildring av SM-aktivitet uten å være “spekulativ” eller “pornografisk”.

Lærhomsen (The Gay Leatherman)
En norsk 25 minutters dokumentar fra 2006 av Lars Joakim Ringom.
Medvirkende: Svein Skeid og medlemmer av SMia, SLM og LLHs Diagnoseutvalg Revise F65.
Regi/klipp: Lars Joakim Ringom.
Foto/klipp: Elin Sørheim.
Lyd/klipp: Kristian Karlsen.
Animasjon: Espen Willander.
Veiledere: Aleksander Røsler, Rolv Håan, Thomas Østby og Geir Ove Thorsveen.
Produsert med støtte fra Fritt Ord, Høgskolen i Lillehammer og Film3 AS Kortfilmfondet v/Terje Gloppen.
Filmen forefinnes på DVD i HD-format 16:9 i norsk og engelsk tekstet versjon.
Engelske undertitler: Louise Hjorth.

Filmen Lærhomsen fikk hederlig omtale ved Dokumentarfilmfestivalen i Volda 26.4.2007.
VG 18.4.2007 www.vg.no/pub/vgart.hbs?artid=191045
Dagbladet 2.7.2006 www.revisef65.org/SMfilmGro.html
P4-nyhetene 19.4.2007 www.p4.no/story.aspx?id=228115
Skeive filmer 26.6.2007 http://www.oglff.org/2007/filmer/laerhomsen/
Blikk 18.4.2007 www.blikk.no/nyheter/sak.html?kat=1&id=8021
Blikk 22.9.2006 www.blikk.no/nyheter/sak.html?kat=1&id=6417
Wikipedia om Lars Joakim Ringom http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lars_Joakim_Ringom
Om Svein Skeid www.revisef65.org/fesveinhomoaerespris.html
“Lærhomsen” vises under homofestivalen Skeive dager i Oslo 26. juni 2007 og er valgt ut av Skeive Filmer-komiteen til å representere Norge på internasjonale homofestivaler i året som kommer.
Stående ovasjoner for filmen Lærhomsen i Tyskland 2.7.2007.

Text in English

Filmen Lærhomsen er ikke til salgs eller tilgjengelig på annen måte. Filmskaperen har foreløpig heller ikke hatt noe ønske om offentlig publisering utenom enkelte visninger ved filmfestivaler og private arrangementer.

STÅENDE OVASJONER FOR “LÆRHOMSEN” (2.6.2007)
Filmen Lærhomsen ble møtt med begeistring på sommerens kongress for Tysklands største SM-organisasjon BVSM. Nettstedet sklavenzentrale.com beskriver filmen som kongressens høydepunkt og forteller hvordan den ble møtt med stående ovasjoner for sin “avbalanserte blanding av innlevende dokumentasjon, situasjonskomikk, uventede vendinger og og fremstilling av en intensiv SM-sesjon”.
LES MER


Les sexolog Gro Isachsens anmeldelse av “Lærhomsen” i Dagbladet 2. juli 2006. 


Bilde fra filmopptakene på Nonna 26.4.2006. Foto: Lars Joakim Ringom

Discrimination and violence towards the SM/fetish population (Revise F65, 2004; NCSF, 1999)

See also: NCSF 2008: Second National Survey of Violence & Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities
NCSF’s Violence and Discrimination Survey 1999.

 

 

(Some more discrimination cases are included under “Discrimination and stigmatization” on the full index page: Site map!)

På norsk
A lot indicates that the instances of violence, harassment and discrimination in connection with work, home and custody of children that we are aware of are just the tip of the iceberg. As the situation stands today, it is often spokespeople for SM interest organisations etc. that by the power of their visibility experience discrimination. The pathologising and diagnosis of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are often the direct or indirect cause of these attacks.

As a person interested in SM/fetish, you risk losing your job, custody of your children, problems with neighbours, your innermost circle of friends and your closest family members. This then means that we might not have so many sources of support left in our lives. Many people therefore choose to keep their orientation hidden because of the fear of what could happen if they disclosed this.

As a consequence, many individuals do not report being attacked because of the fear of being further harassed by the police. Even if 36 percent of respondents in the American study described below experience violence and harassment, 96 percent of these didn’t report this. As a taboo minority, SM ers and fetishists also experience a significant degree of suppression and invisibility in society, including in the press. When we are referred to, this is usually in connection with “scandals” where the people in question’s sexual orientation is used as a piquant detail to spice up the story for readers.

Violence and harassment

A study (n=1017) undertaken by the SM rights organisation The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), shows that belonging to the SM community and SM sexual orientation generally speaking means that an individual exposes themselves for being socially stigmatised.

Thirty-six percent of subjects had been subjected to violence or harassment because of their SM/fetish orientation. This included verbal insults (reported by 87%), physical violence (25%), stalking (19%), damage to property (19%), blackmail (17%), sexual harassment (13%), rape (10%) and other types or violence or harassment (7%).
https://ncsfreedom.org/component/k2/item/452-ncsfs-violence-and-discrimination-survey.html

The swedish police department Säpo point our that lesbians and gay men are the group that is exposed to most violence and persecution in Sweden. The worst attacks have happened at events with a theme of SM and fetish. See: www.revisef65.org/fefestninger.html [Norwegian text only]

EXAMPLE 1
In Norway, the newspaper Klassekampen (27th July 1990) and the monthly publication Blikk have documented how in 1992 a van with nazi symbols drove round the centre of Oslo threatened and shot at gay leather/SM men.

EXAMPLE 2
Nazi attack against RFSL
Nazist violence and murder of homosexuals is a large problem in Sweden. Leather- and SM- gay men are hardest hit.
Source: Qmagazine October 13, 1998
http://www.revisef65.org/linkoping2.html [Swedish text only]

EXAMPLE 3
Neo-nazis screamed, “bögjävlar” (“fucking buggers”) and made Nazi salutes to SM/fetish gay men. Nazi vandalism to the offices of the gay organisation RFSL has set off a debate about the risk level, with RFSL demanding that homosexuals should be covered by the law on hate crimes towards minority populations.
Source: Qmagazine October 19, 1997.
http://www.revisef65.org/linkoping.html [Swedish text only]

Discrimination

Thirty percent of individuals in NCSF’s study had experienced discrimination because of their SM orientation, preference or method of expression. Forty percent had experienced harassment, 25% loss of job or contract, 17% loss of promotion, loss of custody of children 3%, denial of membership to an organisation 11%, unauthorised arrest 5%, or other forms of discrimination.
https://ncsfreedom.org/component/k2/item/452-ncsfs-violence-and-discrimination-survey.html


Discrimination by official bodies

EXAMPLE 4
Lack of legal security for SM-ers
Denmark: Attacker escapes prosecution. By Ole Martin Larsen. Police in Copenhagen have refused to prosecute a man for rape because the victim is a masochist. The woman herself raised the alarm to police from the man’s home. She was found there by a police patrol, dissolved in tears, chained with both foot- and handcuffs and with blood streaming from cuts in her thighs. Despite this, the police consider that there is not sufficient evidence to convict the man.
“Even if I am a masochist, no still means no, and that should be respected. And I said this clearly, amongst other ways by calling the police. What is my legal security worth if this cannot lead to a conviction”, said the woman, a female doctor, to Berlingske Tidende. She has appealed to the public prosecutor about the police’s decision. According to the sadomasochist’s organization SMil, the case is unique, and raises a fundamental question of whether a no from a masochist has the same value as a no from others. Because of this, SMil considers the matter to be concerned with the legal security o f sexual minorities.

Source: Berlingske Tidende/Arbeiderbladet 22th October 1994.

EXAMPLE 5
Murderer goes free because victim was a sadomasochist
In August 1993, an American court of appeal let a brutal murderer free because the victim had written a sadomasochistic fantasy in their diary. In this way, people’s right to consent is placed outside the law because of their sexual orientation, even to the extent that their death has been involved.
Leitner v. State (1983) 631 So. 2d 278-9.
www.csun.edu/~hfspc002/PoliceFreeGaySlaves.html

The “sadomasochist” is often seen as having given up h/er rights to protection from violence or abuse. It is clear that homosexual men as prosecution witnesses face similar difficulties in credibility as heterosexual women. In August of 1993, an appellate court released a man convicted of murder because the murder victim had written a long sadomasochistic sexual fantasy in his journal and the trial court had refused this journal entry as evidence at trial. The fantasy is reproduced for the delight of the court in its entirety in the published case. The unspoken implication here is that a man who fantasizes about homosexual sadomasochism has somehow consented to a brutal murder: “The journal excerpt was essential to the appellant’s defense. It suggested Craven may have desired to be involved, and may have been involved in voluntary sadomasochist sex when he was killed. If he suffered from these desires, then he might have sought out an amenable partner”[20] who eventually killed him. (That wasn’t very “amenable” of the partner if you ask me). Again, the law has constituted the sadomasochist as an always-already willing victim, even to the point of death.[21] This opinion also highlights the idea of “voluntary sadomasochistic sex” as a “desire” that one “suffers from,” a common thread in much of this discourse. The official status of “perverse” desire is thus situated as a medical and psychiatric condition that places those “afflicted” beyond the protection of the law and unworthy of inclusion in “civilized” society.


EXAMPLE 6
English rapist freed because of victim’s SM orientation
In a rape case heard at Leicester Crown Court in England on 29th November 1994, the defendant was freed even though rapist Ben Emerson had admitted the attack. The discovery of SM toys in the woman’s flat, together with her sexual leaning, led to the rapist being freed. Do we see any similarities here to the general debate concerning rape about “loose” and scantily clad women who are not taken seriously when they say “no”. It is actually the woman’s sexual leaning that stands in the dock, not the perpetrator’s acknowledge attack.
Source: Press Association Newsfile 30th November 1994; “Student Cleared in Body-Piercing Rape Case”.

1994: The “crime” of being a pervert: Despite of a self identified rapists confession, on 29 November 1994, a man was found “not guilty” of rape at Leicester Crown Court, because SM-toys was found in the female victim’s apartment. “There can be no doubt from the evidence that what was really on trial during this event was the prosecution witness’s sexuality — the mere existence of an interest in kinky sex made her charge of rape untenable”, writes Ben Attias at the California State University of Northridge, USA. “A woman’s privilege to say “no” to sex is here circumscribed by the discursive apparatus invoked by her sexuality — a woman with an interest in sadomasochism, rubber skirts, and body piercing, judge and jury seem to have reasoned, cannot be raped. Her sexuality implicitly predisposes her to consent to sex — she is inscribed as always already willing.” [Ben Attias http://www.csun.edu/~hfspc002/PoliceFreeGaySlaves.html] [“Student Cleared in Body-Piercing Rape Case,” Press Association Newsfile, 30 November 1994].

Rape Defendant Ben Emerson

Despite this frank confession, Ben Emerson was awarded a verdict of “not guilty” of rape on 29 November 1994, after a two-minute jury deliberation at Leicester Crown Court. The judge commented to the jury, “I wholeheartedly agree with your verdict.” The judge had actually recommended to the jury that it render a quick decision before even hearing the defense’s case: “At the end of the prosecution case the judge summarized the alleged victim’s evidence and reminded the jury how she and Emerson had oral sex without her objecting at her home….the judge told the jury: ‘When he went to get some baby oil to massage her body, what is this young man to think when he finds in the drawer artificial penises, magazines designed to excite sexually? He finds a riding crop near her bed and chains on the bed,” (ibid). After the trial, a friend of Emerson stated, “Justice was served in the end.”

“Justice,” in this case, meant the release of a self-identified rapist because the “alleged” victim had committed the prior crime of being a pervert. There can be no doubt from the evidence that what was really on trial during this event was the prosecution witness’s sexuality — the mere existence of an interest in kinky sex made her charge of rape untenable. A woman’s privilege to say “no” to sex is here circumscribed by the discursive apparatus invoked by her sexuality — a woman with an interest in sadomasochism, rubber skirts, and body-piercing, judge and jury seem to have reasoned, cannot be raped. Her sexuality implicitly predisposes her to consent to sex — she is inscribed as always-already willing. Ben Emerson, quoted in “Student Cleared in Body-Piercing Rape Case,” Press Association Newsfile (30 November 1994). www.csun.edu/~hfspc002/PoliceFreeGaySlaves.html

EXAMPLE 7
USA: Released after multiple rapes
Donald Kekich, Bruce Battista, Harold Phillips and Daniel Phillips were found not guilty by Ohio’s court of appeal of having carried out rape and mistreatment throughout the night of 14th July 1977. The victim Jane Lucas had been careless enough to write a birthday card to Kekich from which her masochistic interest was clear. By the force of her sexual leaning she was seen as “always willing” and prepared for sex and in practice declared to without the legal capacity to oppose the attack.
Source: [17] State v. Battista, Case Nos. CA 4815 & CA 4816, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth Appellate District, Stark County, Ohio, Slip Opinion 8th November 1978.

On 8 November 1978, an Ohio appellate court handed down a similar verdict to two men accused of rape, felonious assault, and felonious sexual penetration. The court included a detailed description of the events of 14 July 1977 in the court transcript, providing an account of victim Jane Lucas’ testimony “[a]t the risk of memorializing the conduct of the Defendants for the future delight of the sexually perverse.”[17] This invocation of a notion of potential prurient interest in the testimony of the victim is characteristic of the Court’s treatment of the issues involved — outright violence is sexualized and treated as potentially “nonserious” in the serious context of the courtroom.[18]

According to Lucas’ testimony, she drove to Donald Kekich’s apartment with the intention of having sex with him. When they got there, Kekich told her to undress and asked if she needed to use the bathroom. In the bathroom, she was grabbed by a naked man (Howard Phillips, another of the defendants), raped, and severely beaten. Kekich and Phillips continued to rape and beat her for hours, later taking her to the apartment of other friends who joined in her torture, which lasted all night and included being threatened with a shotgun, which was then shoved inside of her while pictures were taken.

The defendants were convicted of “felonious sexual penetration,” but were acquitted of rape and assault on the basis of the discursive apparatus mobilized by the following testimony: “She asked for everything. She asked to blow you, she asked to go to bed with you. I mean, every sex act that happened was through her. I mean came out of her mouth and with each and every guy,” (Bruce Battista). The appellate court vacated convictions on rape and assault charges based on testimony from a friend of Lucas’ that she had overheard Lucas express masochistic fantasies, and the following birthday card sent by Lucas to Kekich, with whom she had a sexual relationship prior to the assault:

“I think you’re a brute, an animal and a Sex Fiend! — And I want you to know I appreciate it! Happy Birthday! To a man who won’t stand anything he doesn’t like, do without anything he desires, or even be polite to people unless they please him. As mean as you are – you will live a century & then some – Happy Birthday, Turkey!

…Love, Janie Lucas”

According to the appellate court, “It is evident in the instant case that Jane Lucas who accompanied Donald Kekich, Bruce Battista, Harold Phillips and Daniel Phillips initially by invitation got much more than she bargained for. However, it is equally obvious from evidence of record and especially from the birthday card admitted as Defendants’ exhibit, supra, that had acts which followed been limited to sexual conduct it would not have been necessary to compel Jane Lucas to submit by force or threat of force and that no charges would have been filed with nothing further being heard of such occurrences.”

Here the mere suggestion that Ms. Lucas might have consented without force to a sado-masochistic sexual relationship is taken as a priori evidence that she cannot legally be raped. Again, her sexuality inscribes her as always-already willing. The appellate court’s conviction of the defendants on charges of “felonious sexual penetration” further indicates that what went wrong on July, 14, 1977, was not so much the violence and terror to which Ms. Lucas was subjected, but rather the introduction of a foreign object into one of her orifices — the defendants, in other words, were convicted of violating a dildo law. (The relevant portion of the law states as follows: “No person without privilege to do so [it is unclear who has this privilege] shall insert any instrument, apparatus, or object into the vaginal or anal cavity of another, not the spouse of the offender, when any of the following apply: (1) The offender purposely compels the other person to submit by force or threat of force…”)

 

EXAMPLE 8
The Spanner case
A hundred years after the case against Oscar Wilde, England has been the only land in Europe to criminalise safe, sane and consenting SM-sex between equal gay partners. Heterosexual sadomasochists have been found not guilty for similar activities. In the European Commission of Human Rights, seven lands voted to free the Spanner gay men, while 11 wanted to convict them. Subsequently the court unanimously followed the majority vote in 1997. The tragedy here is that the Nordic lands would have counted in the balance of votes. If they had supported the Spanner gay men, then the opposite outcome would have been achieved. The Norwegian representative didn’t even turn up to vote. In the English highest court of appeal (1993), the Spanner men were sentenced by three votes to one. The convicted men have received moral and economic support from a collective Norwegian and international gay movement and a range of Norwegian political organisations with many hundreds of thousands of members from both the political left and right. This was a broad mobilisation of people for important principles such as freedom from harassment and not being allowed to work in the public sector, the right to free expression and adult individuals’ right to take their own decisions regarding their bodies and sexuality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Spanner

An official appointed British Law Commission in 1995 came to the conclusion that SM or sadomasochism, short of causing serious or permanently disabling injury, should be no crime between consenting adults. – Under the Law Commission’s new proposals, the Spanner men would never have been prosecuted, according to the director of the civil rights group Liberty, John Wadham (Pink Paper December 22, 1995).
http://www.revisef65.org/lawcomm1.html

Discrimination on the internet

EXAMPLE 9
AOL discriminates against gay SM people
Gay rights organisations threatened to boycott internet service provider AOL because America OnLine discriminated against SMers, whilst racists’ and homophobes’ expressions are tolerated. On Monday, NationalGayLobby.org demonstrated outside the town hall in San Francisco because AOL had removed the user profile of a SM gay man which included the words “submissive” and “bottom”. Activists warned that this would be just the first in a series of protests if AOL didn’t stop the censorship or throw out the homophobes.
Source: Wired News 25.10.1999.
www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,32106,00.html

EXAMPLE 10
SM-censorship on Geocities
The Swedish website Robin1 for lesbians and gay men was censored by Geocities after Robin1 posted up theme pages on fetishism. There was no pornography on the pages. Here, you can read Robins story about the censorship and about his own coming out process as a leatherman. Skeive nyheter December 1997. www.revisef65.org/fesmsensurgeocities.html [Sorry, only in Swedish]

Scandalisation in the press

“Sado-murder” and “sado-rape” are usual headlines when the tabloid press want to bring out the spicy details that are supposed to send a shiver down reader’s spines and sell more papers. Despite modern research having shown that SMers are no more likely to commit crimes, the person’s “sadomasochistic” learning is used as an obvious explanation for why the attack took place. The media do the same as they used to with homosexuals in terms of how they build up stereotypes. It is exactly this kind of media blunder that was in our time the reason that in 1981 an anti-discrimination law was passed in Norway relating to gay men and lesbians (Else Bugge Fougner and Berthold Grünfeld in Norway’s Offentlige Utredninger (NOU) om strafferettslig vern for homofile, 1979).

One of many possible examples, the case described here is the witch hunt against the SM-er and weapons inspector Harvey McGeorge.

EXAMPLE 11
Witch hunt against human rights activist
The American weapons inspector Harvey McGeorge (53) was scandalised and ridiculed in the press throughout the world because he had worked to inform people about safe, sane and consenting SM sex. The weapons inspector’s Swedish boss, Hans Blix, stated however that McGeorge’s private life was not relevant to his position as a weapons inspector. Source: Smia-info 30th November 2002. www.revisef65.org/fefnsm.html [mostly Norwegian. One English link]
http://www.londonfetishscene.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2207:qsaddamasochistq-revealed-as-weapons-inspector&catid=30&Itemid=76

Loss of job

There are many examples where fetishists and SM-ers lose their jobs because of their SM interest and orientation. Others are threatened with dismissal if they continue to inform people publicly about the group’s human rights.

A survey among readers of “The Leather Journal” in 2001 could indicate that one in four fetishists experiences discrimination at work.
http://www.theleatherjournal.com/?q=politics

A study undertaken by the SM rights organisation The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, NCSF, shows that one in 13 SM-ers had lost their job because of their orientation.
https://ncsfreedom.org/component/k2/item/452-ncsfs-violence-and-discrimination-survey.html

EXAMPLE 12
Threatened with dismissal
”Lasse”. In 1996, Oslo local authority threatened to dismiss a 22 year-old Norwegian bisexual male musician from his job in a free theatre group for children if he did not stop giving out information about fetishism in the media. The man was at this point a committee member in the Norwegian fetish organization Colorful People and had taken part in a debate on fetishism on ZTV. The man chose to sacrifice his freedom of expression in order to keep his job.
Source: Personal documentation.

EXAMPLE 13
Dismissal of temporary worker
”Kjersti”. In December 2000, a 26 year-old Norwegian heterosexual woman lost her temporary job as a salesperson in an insurance company in Eastern Norway because of her openness about her SM-orientation. This occurred despite the fact that she had completed internal training with the best results of the entire new intake of temporary staff. At a teambuilding seminar, participants were invited to tell their colleagues something about themselves that the others didn’t know about. The woman wondered whether to tell them about her interest in SM, but felt that this would not be quite right and therefore chose to contribute something else. Later the same evening, after dinner had been eaten and the atmosphere was more relaxed, she opened up to two or three of her colleagues and told them a bit about her interest in SM. This was met with good humour and taken as something “cool” by the colleagues, and in the first couple of weeks back at the office, this was joked about with “kinky” jokes in breaks, especially between the woman and these colleagues. The team leader heard the jokes, but did not share in the humour. Two weeks later, the woman was dismissed. The boss blamed this on the firm’s financial situation and said that he had taken on too many new employee s. However, the consultant in the deputy agency that had sent her to the firm in the first place afterwards gave her a friendly hint not to be so open about private matters in her next job. Two months later, the insurance company advertised again for new temporary staff for its sales team – temporary work with the possibility of permanent employment. The woman chose not to fight for her job, in the belief that she was only a temporary worker and therefore did not have the same rights as a permanent employee. Additionally, she would have been labeled as a troublemaker and would perhaps have missed out on the possibility of getting work through the temping agency in the future.
Source: Personal documentation

EXAMPLE 14
Dismissal of teacher at primary school
“Eros”. Norway, place unknown, 2003. A person of unknown sex, aged between 20 and 40 years. The person worked as a teacher in a primary school and is active in the Norwegian SM scene. In the course of the first few months in 2003, members of the local community around the school worked became aware of the person in question’s SM preferences. The person in question had not “come out” by themselves; this knowledge being made public was due to gossip behind their back. The gossip reached the school’s administration and the person received a sharp reaction from the school’s leadership: they were dismissed from their position at the school. It is hopeless to take up the fight again a dismissal like this. Such dismissals are clearly against the law, but should a person win a case against their employer, it would be just about impossible for the person to return to their workplace. The possibilities are all too great that the remaining employees would be in possession of misinformation and prejudices which would mean that they would not look upon that person as unsuitable to work with children, and as a result would “freeze” them out within the workplace.

EXAMPLE 15
Lost children because of SM diagnosis
“Hilde”. In 1997, a 42–year-old Norwegian woman in Eastern Norway let herself be pressured by her own lawyer to give up her custody of her two daughters after her divorce. The lawyer considered that the woman had a poor legal case because SM is defined as a psychiatric illness in Norway. This happened after her ex-husband got hold of the woman’s holiday photographs which showed her interest in SM – sado-masochism. He passed the photographs on to his lawyer. The children were also informed about the woman’s orientation. Today, the woman lives almost 40 Norwegian miles (400 kilometres/248 English miles) away from her children, but has partially regained contact with them after many years without contact.
Source: SMil-bladet, no. 2, 2002.

EXAMPLE 16
Children lost their father for 10 years
“Severin”. In 1983, a 39-year-old Norwegian man, who had been open with his wife of 12 years about his homosexual SM-orientation, lost shared custody rights of his three children (6, 10 and 12 years) because of his fetish- and SM-orientation. The smallest details of the man’s private sexual life was described by his ex-wife and her new husband in the court case (with jury). After this, he did not see his children for 10 years, until them became old enough to themselves make contact with him. Today, the man has a good relationship to them. An important element of the case is that the man was granted visitation rights to the children, something that was sabotaged by his ex-wife throughout the years of separation from his children.
Source: Personal documentation.

EXAMPLE 17
SM-preference does not affect caring ability
“Janne”. A 28-year-old Norwegian heterosexual woman had her parental rights to her two small boys under the age of six withdrawn in 2000 after she had asked the Child Protection department for help after the break-up of her partnership with the children’s father. Her ex-partner later became aware of her new interest in SM via an unknown source and informed the Child Protection department of this. SM-orientation was taken as a sign of illness and that the woman was not fit to be a parent. She was also reported for inadequate parenting of her children. The ”judgment” on the loss of parental rights including the woman’s SM-orientation, was announced by the Child Protection department in the presence of the children. After this, the woman was only allowed to have the children for between one and a half to two hours, one or two times a month, under supervision. She was not allowed to see the children in her own home. It became clear in the time following the judgment that the children had not received inadequate parenting from the woman, but instead one or both were born with a mild learning difficulty, which made him/them somewhat more demanding than unaffected children. The woman has employed a lawyer who is pursuing the case. The woman also wishes that something good should come out of the whole affair; namely that experts used in comparative cases in the future should intuitively know that the sexual preferences of adults – what one enjoys together with one’s partner – has nothing to do with a person’s qualities as a parent.
Source: Personal documentation.

Trashing: SM women harassed by other women

As with other types of attack, it looks as if women are especially vulnerable. According to the Jad Keres report from 1994, 56% of lesbian or bisexual women have experienced discrimination and violence from other women in the lesbian scene because of their interest in SM

https://ncsfreedom.org/component/k2/item/453-violence-against-s/m-women-within-the-lesbian-community-a-nation-wide-survey.html

One quarter of the sm women surveyed were physically assaulted by members of the lesbian community.

Discrimination within the lesbian community affects 30% of the women surveyed because of their sm orientation, including being ejected or refused admittance from a public accommodation, denied housing, and/or refused membership in a social, recreational, political, educational or spiritual lesbian group.

The lesbian author Pat Califia (Patrick Califa-Rice) in an interview with the Swedish paper Homoplaneten describes the harassment “trashing” of American SM activists:

“SM lesbians are beaten up and closed out from women’s social meeting places. Our literature is burned, they call our employers and say that we are perverts so that we lose our jobs”.
Source: “Samtaler med Pat Califia” [Talks with Pat Califia]. RFSL 12.10.1998.
http://www.rfsl.se/?p=3815&aid=4757

Things show that trashing where the most radical feminists harass women also happens in Norway. SM lesbians here too are denied entry to women’s social meeting places.

EXAMPLE 18
“Banners that express support of SM go against the basis guidelines for
having banners and the “8th of March”- days intentions and are therefore unacceptable in the parade.
Decision of the 8th of March committee in Oslo on 20th February 1997.
Source: Letter and telephone call from 8. mars-komiteen 1997.

EXAMPLE 19
A 32-year old lesbian woman was in 1997 outed and publicly exhibited as an SM‘er at her place of work by a Norwegian extreme radical feminist. The 32-year-old had taken part in a newspaper debate on SM and arranged a meeting on this theme. The feminist participated in a educational gathering at the woman’s workplace. The 32-year-old was not at the gathering, but figured as a therapist on a video used in the session. The feminist recognised the lesbian women on the video and said in front of the victim’s colleagues, head of department and representatives from other institutions “It is shocking that this woman works as a therapist when she is an SM-er”.
When the lesbian woman came back to work after the weekend, shocked colleagues told her what had been said. The victim felt that she had to turn up at a meeting of all the employees and prepared herself for the fact that she might no longer be able to work there. After this, the situation calmed down and the woman no longer works there.
Source: personal documentation

EXAMPLE 20
It can seem as if certain feminists systematically teach women to fear SM women and SM lesbians. The same 32-year-old mentioned above also experienced in 1995 that a colleague at an institute for outreach work with young people refused to work with the SM woman “because she couldn’t feel safe with the woman’s attitude towards violence”. The woman was called in by her boss in connection with the matter, but he didn’t have any problems with the SM lesbian’s sexual orientation. Neither did the third person in the team, a muslim American, have problems with this. The woman was at that time the leader of an SM rights organisation.
Source: personal documentation.

SM is healthy


How to delete SM/Fetish diagnoses
Workshop in the Sonntags-Club, Greifenhagener Strasse 28, Berlin
Sunday, 05. September 2004, 12.00

My name is Svein Skeid. I am leader of the Revise F65 project which aim is to delete SM and Fetish diagnoses from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organization (WHO). I have been working in the field of SM human rights for two decades. I am a Norwegian registered physiotherapist. My professional background is in psychiatry. I am Gay Person of the Year in Norway 2003, and have a special membership of the Norwegian gay Leatherclub – Scandinavian Leather Men Oslo, SLM. Together with the mainly heterosexual organization SMil-Norway, SLM have financed this journey from Oslo, Norway for Ole Johnsen and myself. Ole Johnsen is moderator of the Revise F65 mailing list.

First of all I like to thank all you persons in BVSM, SMart Rhein Ruhr and BDSM-Berlin for making this lecture possible at a very short notice. I am impressed by the German work for SM human rights and what you in a short time have done with German Modification of the ICD-10 diagnoses.

Kathrin Passig in BDSM Berlin has helped The ReviseF65 group since 2000 among other things with translations and the special bibliography concerning the F65 classification system on our ReviseF65 website extracted from Datenschlag’s BISAM bibliography.

Uli – or Tai Gin
 edited a fantastic ICD-10 special number of SMart-Info in September 2002 after my visit to Europride in Cologne. Shortly afterwards you started to build up BVSM e.v. which was established in May 2003.

And Raven in BVSM e.v. is much of the reason for why Ole, Erik and I are here this weekend in Berlin. Raven wrote me 11th of August and offered us to have ReviseF65 flyers at their booth during Folsom Europe. I am overwhelmed by your helpfulness and the information you all have given about what is going on in Germany. On Monday Raven gave me the translated text to a BVSM-flyer stressing among other things the negative influence of these diagnoses on the trust and relationship between client and therapist.

Martin in SMart Rhein-Ruhr e.V. has told about the campaign you organised to the German Modification of ICD-10 this year including data protection and civil liberties.

And Manuela in BVSM e.v. wrote about challenges in the work and asked important questions that I will try to answer here today.

Manuela wrote in her mail:

Right now there are two main problems:

1. We don’t quite know how to bring the diagnosis codes (…) into the general public. Right know it’s just a fact that is known inside the scene. How do you deal with that problem?

2. Our proposal for removing the f65 diagnosis from the ICD-10-GM wasn’t successful. We need a better argumentation and more scientific works to quote. Because of that we’re interested in your literature list. Especially the argumentation that lead to the deletion of “Homosexuality” in the ICD could be interesting, too.

Hi Manuela

We do use the experience from the process that lead to the deletion of the diagnosis of homosexuality in the ReviseF65 work. Even though we are a pansexual SM and Fetish committee with both gay/straight activists and professionals in psychology and psychiatry, we have our mandate from the national (LLH 1998) and international (ILGA 1999) lesbian and gay movement.

The Gay Movement more than 30 years ago considered it of fundamental importance to first delete the diagnosis of homosexuality, before any further major human rights improvement was possible. The ReviseF65 movement apply the same appraisement today. We think that unprofessional and stigmatising SM and Fetish-diagnoses are possibly one of the biggest obstacles to the acceptance of our human rights. Abolishing them is a very important step to decrease prejudices towards the SM/Leather/Fetish- population.

We learned that it is a tradition to evaluate one single or several selected diagnoses, and then delete them from the international ICD or the national translated versions. The latter was what happened when Transvestism and Sadomasochism was no longer recommended to be used by the State of Denmark in 1994/1995. (They were very lucky because the Health Minister was a liberal lesbian. Danish psychiatrists were very angry and upset after the political decision. We also know that there has been a serious debate about sadomasochism in Denmark for decades, much longer than in Norway… and Germany. www.revisef65.org/denmark.html)

Prejudices and discrimination

For the rest of us, who are not so lucky as the Danes, we have to use the experience from the gay movement. And we have to realize that this can be a long-term project. Even though we see more and more SM and Fetish expressions in the media and the public space, there are still much prejudices.

Like the earlier diagnosis of Homosexuality that is no longer applied by the WHO, the SM and Fetish diagnoses are rarely used in clinical practice as a means to assist people. On the contrary the stigma attached to the diagnoses justifies various forms of harassment and discrimination of this sexual minority from laymen. The ReviseF65 group can document that people are losing their jobs, the custody of their children etc., because of their SM-love, lifestyle and self-expression.

The US National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and the Leather Leadership Conference documents that between one-third and one-half of the leather/SM population suffer discrimination, violence or persecution because of their sexual orientation and identity. As with other forms of assault, women are often the chief sufferers. And much of the discrimination is directly or indirectly a result of the diagnoses.

A Norwegian example:

In 1997, a 42–year-old woman in Eastern Norway let herself be pressured by her own lawyer to give up the custody of her two daughters after a divorce. The lawyer considered that the woman had a poor legal case because SM is defined as a psychiatric illness in Norway. This happened after her ex-husband got hold of the woman’s holiday photographs which showed her interest in SM – sadomasochism. He passed the photographs on to his lawyer. The children were also informed about the woman’s orientation. Today, the woman lives 250 English miles away from her children, but has partially regained contact with them after many years without contact.
Source: SMil-bladet, no. 2, 2002. The whole case is described in more detail at www.revisef65.org/febarn.html (unfortunately currently only in Norwegian).

Professional support

Two members of SMart Rhein Ruhr and the previous BDSM-Netzwerk e.V. in 2002 learned me the expression “Blind Activism” as a waste of effort when you go public without a good plan and a solid professional foundation. Before we go public, we need professional mental health arguments directly concerning the three ReviseF65 codes and we need to gain support from mental health professionals.

And as with the earlier diagnoses of homosexuality, ReviseF65 aim at support from professional mental health organizations. Last year we asked for and got support from the Norwegian Association of Gay and Lesbian Physicians (HLLF) and the Norwegian Society for Clinical Sexology (NFKS). The next goal is to get support from the Norwegian Psychiatric Association. Experience from the homosexual diagnoses show us that this latter organization is the key to the national removal of diagnoses!

As with the diagnosis of homosexuality: In 1977 homosexuality was no longer recommended to be used by the Norwegian Psychiatric Association. Several years later it was taken out of the list with the next ICD revision that came in the early nineties.

Just as with Homosexuality 30 years ago, the ReviseF65 and the German Modification of ICD-10 is a groundbreaking pioneer work. Nobody has formed the basis for us. We have to do it ourselves. And that is just what the ReviseF65 professionals are in the process of doing. A work that will be of importance for SM activists and kink friendly professionals worldwide.

Professional articles

The process is started to establish a professional basis for the removal of SM and Fetish diagnoses. Psychologist and member of the ReviseF65 group Odd Reiersøl and myself have written an article about the diagnoses and on the Revise 65 project that will be published in a forthcoming special, double issue of the US periodical Journal of Homosexuality on SM. The article will be published simultaneously by The Haworth Press INC as a book on SM. (The article is “in press”).

This magazine and book will moreover contain a lot of other scientific SM-material and information that can be used in the ICD work. Therefore we all have to be a little bit patient.

In addition, psychiatrist and member of the ReviseF65 group, Reidar Kjær, held an important lecture about F65.0 Fetishism, F65.1 Fetishistic transvestism and F65.5 Sadomasochism in June 2003 at the International Conference on Diagnosis in Psychiatry in Vienna Austria, arranged by the World Psychiatric Association. This lecture is essential because it is directed specially towards psychiatrists. The profession that is in the position to revise the F65 chapter of ICD. Dr. Kjaer‘s article will soon be published. But it is not “in press” yet.

Outdated, unprofessional and stigmatising

The mental health specialists Reiersøl and Kjær in their articles conclude that the ICD diagnoses of Fetishism, Fetishistic transvestism and Sadomasochism are outdated, unprofessional, inaccurate, illogical, stigmatising… and even moralistic and ridiculous in my own point of view.

Although established by the WHO in 1948, their contents have not undergone any significant changes the last hundred years. They are not up to the scientific standards of the ICD manual because new research has not influenced the paraphilias concerning safe, sane and consensual behaviour between adult persons. The SM and Fetish diagnoses are at best completely unnecessary. At worst, they are stigmatizing, cause minority stress and discrimination.

Let me mention a few examples from my point of view. I have to say, there is also something ridiculous about the so-called paraphilias – which earlier was called perversions.

Unusual. According to the diagnostic criteria, the F65 chapter focus on “unusual objects or activities”. A traditional attitude that victimize minorities. We can ask: Is this a statistical or normative issue? How much or how little is unusual? Nevertheless a very inaccurate and little scientific referral. Extreme sports and flagellation ceremonies can also be considered unusual activities, but this far, base-jumpers and flagellants has not been labeled perverts.

Distress. Another diagnostic Criteria for F65 is that “The individual either acts on the urges or is markedly distressed by them.” But as we know it is society’s reactions to SM activities that causes the distress, not the SM activities itself. Yet, “traditional” intercourse may result in emotional distress as well.

As you can see from the leaflet I have given you, there is some importantant differences between the official version from the World Health Organization, and the German Modification (ICD-10-GM).

German psychiatrists have taken away to of the most ridiculous sentences when they translated the Fetishism and Sadomasochism paragraps.

Intercourse. According to the World Health Organization Fetishism is an illness because it does not have procreation as its purpose and interferes with intercourse! Yes, you are correct. That’s the argument or the moral basis. “Fetishistic fantasies are common, but they do not amount to a disorder unless they lead to rituals that are so compelling and unacceptable as to interfere with intercourse and cause the individual distress”. Today non-procreative sex is regarded as a healthy pursuit also by most psychiatrists, but obviously not by the WHO. This is more moralistic than scientific if you ask me. I suppose German psychiatrists have understood this. But remember that the WHO version still is the official one that we have to fight against in our argumentation.

Violence. My most serious objection to the F65 chapter from the WHO, is the mix up of voluntary and consensual SM sex on one side, and violence, harassment and spouse abuse on the other side. ICD-10 mix together consensual and nonconsensual sexual behaviors. Abusers are being classified and diagnosed in the same general category as individuals with non-abusive interests. This violence part has also been removed by German translaters.

“Sexual sadism is sometimes difficult to distinguish from cruelty in sexual situations or anger unrelated to eroticism. Where violence is necessary for erotic arousal, the diagnosis can be clearly established.”

On the web site http://members.aol.com/NOWSM/Psychiatrists.html/#Psychiatrists, Park Elliot Dietz – one of the worlds leading authorities on the relationship between aggression and sex – documents the basic differences between violent sadism and SM sadism.

Human rights movements

This is the way we work in the ReviseF65 committee. We try to pick apart the inconsequences of attitudes and texts that are more than hundred years old. Yes, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who in 1886 introduced the “perversions” in “Psychopathia Sexualis”, was also an eagers spokesman for the “degeneration theory”. Not only was homosexuals, sadomasochists and fetishists degenerated. The scientific incorrect degeneration theory also included women in general, poor people and other races. May be today’s alternative sexualities experience the “racism” or “sexism” of our time. Some researchers talk about the phenomena of “sadomasophobia”. I have myself introduced the word “fetishphobia”.

Thanks to the women liberation movement, the gay movement and the civil rights movement in the US, the scientific “truth” of the attitudes leading to sexism, homophobia and racism has become history. Now it is up to the SM movement to get rid of the “science” that leads to sadomasophobia and fetishphobia.

 


Pictures by Svein Skeid from Europride 2002 in Cologne. 

Picture left is from the CSD, Gay and lesbian Days in Oslo, Norway 2003, when Svein Skeid received Gay Person of the year award. 

Bibliography 1 – ReviseF65

This bibliography is broken into two sections:

  1. Texts concerned with the F65 classification system
  2. Recommended general publications

This is an extract from Datenschlag’s BISAM bibliography. The complete version is available at www.datenschlag.org/english/bisam/. This version does not contain the abstracts, just the bibliographic notes.

Compiled by Kathrin Passig (picture left).
Please send corrections and additions tó [email protected].

This version: September, 2003

Bibliography 1 – ReviseF65
Texts concerned with the F65 classification system

[APA52] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 1952.

[APA68] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Second Edition (DSM-II). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 1968.

[APA80] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Third Edition (DSM-III). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 1980.

[APA87] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Third Revised Edition (DSM-III-R). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 1987.

[APA94] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 1994.

[APA00] American Psychiatric Association (ed.). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition, Text Revised (DSM-IV). American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C., 2000.

[Bay87] Ronald Bayer. Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1987.

[Bre89] Norman Breslow. Sources of Confusion in the Study and Treatment of Sadomasochism. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 4(3), (1989), pp. 263-274.

[BRW93] Bernd Brosig, Klaus Rodewig, Regina Woidera. Die Klassifikation von Sexualstörungen in der ICD-10: Ergebnisse der ICD-10-Forschungskriterienstudie. In: Wolfgang Schneider (ed.), Diagnostik und Klassifikation nach ICD-10, Kap. V: eine kritische Auseinandersetzung; Ergebnisse der ICD-10-Forschungskriterienstudie aus dem Bereich Psychosomatik/Psychotherapie, vol. 17 of Monographien zur Zeitschrift für psychosomatische Medizin und Psychoanalyse. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1993. pp. 200-209.

[BB77a] Vern Bullough, Bonnie Bullough. Sin, Sickness, Sanity: A History of Sexual Attitudes. New American Library, New York, 1977.

[Bul76] Vern L. Bullough. Sexual Variance in Society and History. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1976.

[Bul94] Vern L. Bullough. Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research. Basic Books, New York, 1994. www2.hu-berlin.de% /sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/LIBRO.HTM.

[BDD94] Vern L. Bullough, Dwight Dixon, Joan Dixon. Sadism, masochism and history, or when is behavior sado-masochistic? In: Roy Porter, Mikulás Teich (eds.), Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The history of attitudes to sexuality. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994. pp. 47-62.

[Cap91] Paula J. Caplan. How do they decide who is normal? The bizarre, but true, tale of the DSM process. Canadian Psychology, 32(2), (1991), pp. 162-170.

[FS99] L. Fischer, G. Smith. Statistical Adequacy of the Abel Assessment for Interest in Paraphilias. Sexual Abuse, 11(3), (1999), pp. 195-206.

[Gay97] J.J. Gayford. Disorders of sexual preference, or paraphilias: a review of the literature. Medicine, Science, and the Law, 37(4), (1997), pp. 303-315.

[Ger92] Bernard Gert. A sex caused inconsistency in DSM-III-R: the definition of mental disorder and the definition of paraphilias. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 17(2), (1992), pp. 155-171.

[HS02] Russell B. Hilliard, Robert L. Spitzer. Change in criterion for paraphilias in DSM-IV-TR. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(7), (2002), p. 1249.

[McC99] Nathaniel McConaghy. Unresolved Issues in Scientific Sexology. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28(4), (1998), pp. 285-318.

[Mon84] John Money. Paraphilias: Phenomenology and classification. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 38(2), (1984), pp. 164-179.

[Mos01] Charles Moser. Paraphilia: A Critique of a Confused Concept. In: Peggy J. Kleinplatz (ed.), New Directions in Sex Therapy: Innovations and Alternatives. Brunner-Routledge, Philadelphia, 2001. pp. 91-108.

[MK02] Charles Moser, Peggy J. Kleinplatz. Transvestic fetishism: Psychopathology or iatrogenic artifact? New Jersey Psychologist, 52(2), (2002), pp. 16-17. http://home.netcom.com/~docx2/tf.html.

[MK03] Charles Moser, Peggy J. Kleinplatz. DSM-IV-TR and the Paraphilias: An Argument for Removal. Paper presented on May 19, 2003 at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, 2003. http://home.netcom.com/~docx2/mk.html.

[MO+93] Aribert Muhs, Christina Öri, Ingrid Rothe-Kirchberger, Wolfram Ehlers. Die Klassifikation der Persönlichkeitsstörungen in der ICD-10. Ergebnisse der Forschungskriterienstudie. In: Wolfgang Schneider (ed.), Diagnostik und Klassifikation nach ICD-10, Kap. V: eine kritische Auseinandersetzung; Ergebnisse der ICD-10-Forschungskriterienstudie aus dem Bereich Psychosomatik/Psychotherapie, vol. 17 of Monographie zur Zeitschrift für psychosomatische Medizin und Psychoanalyse. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1993. pp. 132-149.

[PF+92] Harold Alan Pincus, Allen Frances, Wendy Wakefield Davis, Michael B. First, Thomas A. Widiger. DSM-IV and New Diagnostic Categories: Holding the Line on Proliferation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149(1), (1992), pp. 112-117.

[PT94] Roy Porter, Mikulás Teich (eds.). Sexual knowledge, sexual science: the history of attitudes to sexuality. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994.

[SZ+96] H. Saß, M. Zaudig, I. Houben, H.-U. Wittchen. Einführung zur deutschen Ausgabe: Zur Situation der operationalisierten Diagnostik in der deutschsprachigen Psychiatrie. In: American Psychiatric Association (ed.), Diagnostisches und statistisches Manual psychischer Störungen DSM-IV. Hogrefe, Verlag für Psychologie, Göttingen, Bern, Toronto, Seattle, 1996. pp. IX-XXIV.

[Sch95] C.W. Schmidt. Sexual psychopathology and the DSM-IV. American Psychiatric Press Review of Psychiatry, 14, (1995), pp. 719-733.

[Sho97] Edward Shorter. A History of Psychiatry. John Wiley, New York, 1997.

[Sup84] Frederick Suppe. Classifying Sexual Disorders: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatrical Association. Journal of Homosexuality, 9(4), (1984), pp. 9-28.

[WHO48] World Health Organization (ed.). Manual of the international statistical classification of diseases, injuries and causes of death: sixth revision of the International lists of diseases and causes of death, adopted 1948 / compiled under the auspices of the World Health Organization. WHO, Geneva, 1948.

[WHO57] World Health Organization (ed.). Manual of the international statistical classification of diseases, injuries, and causes of death: based on the recommendations of the Seventh Revision Conference, 1955, and adapted by the Ninth World Health Assembly under the WHO nomenclature regulations. WHO, Geneva, 1957.

[WHO67] World Health Organization (ed.). International classification of diseases: manual of the international statistical classification of diseases, injuries, and causes of death, based on the recommendations of the Eighth Revision Conference, 1965, and adopted by the Nineteenth World Health Assembly. WHO, Geneva, 1967.

[WHO77] World Health Organization (ed.). Manual of the international statistical classification of diseases, injuries and causes of death: based on the recommendations of the Ninth Revision Conference, 1975, and adopted by the Twenty-ninth World Health Assembly. WHO, Geneva, 1977.

[WHO92] World Health Organization (ed.). The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines, vol. I. WHO, Geneva, 1992.

[WHO93] World Health Organization (ed.). The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Diagnostic criteria for research, vol. II. WHO, Geneva, 1993.

<!–nextpage–>

 

This bibliography is broken into two sections:

  1. Texts concerned with the F65 classification system
  2. Recommended general publications

This is an extract from Datenschlag’s BISAM bibliography. The complete version is available at www.datenschlag.org/english/bisam/. This version does not contain the abstracts, just the bibliographic notes.

Compiled by Kathrin Passig (picture left).
Please send corrections and additions tó [email protected].

This version: September, 2003

Bibliography 2 – Recommended general publications

[AS+01] Laurence Alison, Pekka Santtila, N. Kenneth Sandnabba, Nikolas Nordling. Sadomasochistically Oriented Behavior: Diversity in Practice and Meaning. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30(1), (2001), pp. 1-12.

[All40] Clifford Allen. The Sexual Perversions and Abnormalities: A study in the psychology of paraphilia. Oxford University Press, London et al., 1940.

[Bau88] Roy F. Baumeister. Masochism as Escape from Self. Journal of Sex Research, 25, (1988), pp. 28-59.

[Bau89] Roy F. Baumeister. Masochism and the Self. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1989.

[Bau91] Roy F. Baumeister. Escaping the Self: Alcoholism, Spirituality, Masochism. Harper Collins, New York, 1991. 268 pages, masochism on pp. 115-138.

[Bau97] Roy F. Baumeister. The Enigmatic Appeal of Sexual Masochism: Why People Desire Pain, Bondage and Humiliation in Sex. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 16(2), (1997), pp. 133-150.

[BB97] Roy F. Baumeister, Jennifer L. Butler. Sexual Masochism: Deviance without Pathology. In: Donald Richard Laws, William O’Donohue (eds.), Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment. Guilford Publications, New York, 1997. pp. ?-?

[Bie98] Robert V. Bienvenu II. The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1998. www.americanfetish.net.

[BBJ93] Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame, Jon Jacobs. Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission. Villard, New York, 1993.

[Bre89] Norman Breslow. Sources of Confusion in the Study and Treatment of Sadomasochism. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 4(3), (1989), pp. 263-274.

[BEL85] Norman Breslow, Linda Evans, Jill Langley. On the Prevalence and Roles of Females in the Sadomasochistic Subculture: Report of an Empirical Study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 14, (1985), pp. 303-317.

[BEL86] Norman Breslow, Linda Evans, Jill Langley. Comparisons Among Heterosexual, Bisexual and Homosexual Male Sado-Masochists. Journal of Homosexuality, 13(1), (1986), pp. 83-107.

[BB77a] Vern Bullough, Bonnie Bullough. Sin, Sickness, Sanity: A History of Sexual Attitudes. New American Library, New York, 1977.

[BB94] Vern L. Bullough, Bonnie Bullough (eds.). Human sexuality: an encyclopedia. Garland, New York / London, 1994. www2.hu-berli% n.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/SEN/INDEX.HTM.

[Cap84] Paula J. Caplan. The Myth of Women’s Masochism. American Psychologist, 39(2), (1984), pp. 130-139.

[FM91] Gerald I. Fogel, Wayne A. Myers (eds.). Perversions and Near-Perversions in Clinical Practice: New Psychoanalytic Perspectives. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn., 1991.

[Gat00] Katherine Gates. Deviant Desires. Juno Books, 2000.

[LC95] Law Commission. Consent in the Criminal Law: A Consultation Paper, vol. 139 of Law Commission Consultation Paper. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1995.

[LMJ94] Eugene E. Levitt, Charles Moser, Karen V. Jamison. The Prevalence and Some Attributes of Females in the Sadomasochistic Subculture: A Second Report. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23(4), (1994), pp. 465-473.

[Mos88] Charles Moser. Sadomasochism. Journal of Social Work \& Human Sexuality, 7(1), (1988), pp. 43-56. Special Issue: The Sexually Unusual: Guide to Understanding and Helping.

[Mos92] Charles Moser. Lust, lack of desire, and paraphilias: Some thoughts and possible connections. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 18(1), (1992), pp. 65-69.

[Mos99] Charles Moser. Health Care Without Shame. A Handbook for the Sexually Diverse and Their Caregivers. Greenery Press, San Francisco, 1999.

[Mos99a] Charles Moser. The psychology of sadomasochism (S/M). In: Susan Wright (ed.), SM Classics. Masquerade Books, New York, 1999. pp. 47-61.

[Mos01] Charles Moser. Paraphilia: A Critique of a Confused Concept. In: Peggy J. Kleinplatz (ed.), New Directions in Sex Therapy: Innovations and Alternatives. Brunner-Routledge, Philadelphia, 2001. pp. 91-108.

[MK02] Charles Moser, Peggy J. Kleinplatz. Transvestic fetishism: Psychopathology or iatrogenic artifact? New Jersey Psychologist, 52(2), (2002), pp. 16-17.. http://home.netcom.com/~docx2/tf.html.

[MK03] Charles Moser, Peggy J. Kleinplatz. DSM-IV-TR and the Paraphilias: An Argument for Removal. Paper presented on May 19, 2003 at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, 2003.
http://home.netcom.com/~docx2/mk.html.

[ML87] Charles Moser, Eugene E. Levitt. An Exploratory-Descriptive Study of a Sadomasochistically Oriented Sample. Journal of Sex Research, 23, (1987), pp. 322-337. Also published in [Wei95].

[MM96] Charles Moser, J.J. Madeson. Bound to be Free: The SM Experience. Continuum, New York, 1996.

[Noy97] John K. Noyes. The Mastery of Submission. Cornell University Press, Ithaca et al., 1997.

[Oos00] Harry Oosterhuis. Stepchildren of Nature: Krafft-Ebing, Psychiatry, and the Making of Sexual Identity. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2000. 321 pages.

[Sar88] Thomas O. Sargent. Fetishism. Journal of Social Work \& Human Sexuality, 7(1), (1988), pp. 27-42. Special Issue: The Sexually Unusual: Guide to Understanding and Helping.

[Spe77] Andreas Spengler. Manifest Sadomasochism of Males: Results of an Empirical Study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 6, (1977), pp. 441-456.

[Sto91] Robert Stoller. Pain and Passion: A Psychoanalyst Explores the World of S\&M. Plenum Press, New York, 1991.

[Wei94a] Thomas S. Weinberg. Research in Sadomasochism: A Review of Sociological and Social Psychological Literature. Annual Review of Sex Research, 5, (1994), pp. 257-279. Also published in [Wei95], pp. 289-303.

[Wei95] Thomas S. Weinberg (ed.). S\&M – Studies in Dominance and Submission. Prometheus Books, New York, 1995.

[Wil87] Glenn Wilson (ed.). Variant Sexuality: Research and Theory. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1987.

[Wri99] Susan Wright (ed.). SM Classics. Masquerade Books, New York, 1999.

 

Healthy SM and fetish people!
Text in this column by reviseF65

Europride Köln 2002. Photo: Smia-Oslo

THE SO-CALLED “DEVIANT” SEXUALITIES: PERVERSION OR RIGHT TO DIFFERENCE?

THE SO-CALLED “DEVIANT” SEXUALITIES:
PERVERSION OR RIGHT TO DIFFERENCE?

This study, presented at the 16th World Congress of Sexology in Cuba 10-14 March, 2003, suggests that non-conventional sexual practices cannot be used as a diagnosed criteria of any kind, which means that the only aspect that distinguishes these individuals from others is their sexual practices.

INTRODUCTION

The Internet became one more vehicle where people, occasionally or routinely, may enjoy or accomplish sexual fantasies and desires, often unconfessable and frustrated in their love and sexual relationships, safely and anonymously, without their real identities being revealed.

Similarly, the Internet provides opportunities for men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, marital status or age, and with distinct sexual preferences, to make come true, in the “real” world, a contact started and kept through online communication (Martins & Grassi, 2001).

Starting from the premise that the definition of “normality” is historically and culturally built, concepts such as “normal”, “healthy” and “pathological” are being questioned by all professionals who are interested in the study and comprehension of human sexuality.

The innumerable manifestations of human sexuality, so as the most varied searches for pleasure, confirm once more that, for the human being, sexuality is not linked to procreation.

The dynamics of human sexuality – what leads an individual to have the sexuality one has – has been an object of study since ancient times, without a consent being reached, which has lead to the search of new paradigms for understanding the so-called “deviant” sexual behaviors.

One of the reasons that make the comprehension of unconventional sexual interests difficult is that the traditional sexual paradigm, based on psychology and psychiatry, as well as on popular opinion, assumes that procreation is the most important biological function (Fog, 1992).

Most collected and studied data about so-called “deviant” behaviors were based on cases considered pathological.

Such studies were made under the legal medical view, or having as reference people who sought for psychiatric and/or psychological treatment because their sexual preferences “deviated” from “normal” sexual behavior (Ceccarelli, 2000) – understood as heterosexual relationship, ending on genital penetration and with the intention of procreating.

Certain so-called “deviant” practices, such as Sexual Sadism and Masochism and also Fetishism, are categorized as “paraphilias” and disfunctional behaviors in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (Fourth Edition), DSM-IV, by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – 10th revision (1999), by the World Health Organization, which has generated many debates regarding diagnostic criteria, with which many professionals who are interested in the study of “alternative” sexual practices do not agree.

This study aims to explore human sexuality in its most diverse variations such as BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) or SM, and Fetishism, through an online questionnaire sent to a group of people who describe themselves as BDSM and Fetish practitioners, and who have in the Internet their referential for the exchange and search of information, as well as the search for partners who share the same sexual fantasies.

This study has no intention of encouraging or condemning the choice of sexual practices, but of exploring the diversity of adult human sexuality of a group of people in the context of the contemporary Brazilian society.

METHOD

An e-mail was sent to the various discussion groups and classified ads posted on websites directed to consensual BDSM and Fetish practitioners in Brazil, and who use the Internet as a means of exchanging and obtaining information and contact with people who share the same sexual fantasies. The exploratory character of the study was explained, that it would be conduced basically via e-mail, and that the real identity of the participants would be preserved. Those who were interested should be over 18 years old, their sexual orientation or marital status notwithstanding. It was asked to the volunteers that they got in touch by replying the sent e-mail. One hundred and eleven people from various Brazilian states manifested their interest in participating. They were sent, then, a questionnaire with questions such as why they used the Internet, which sexual practices they were involved in, how and when they became interested in sexual activities that were considered “different” and how they felt about having pleasure with practices that are considered unconventional.

Information on their age, religious formation, sex, marital status, education and sexual orientation were also the object of interest for the research. It was not the aim of the present study to establish diagnostic criteria of the researched sample, or describing in details the unconventional sexual practices.

DISCUSSION

In spite of the growing evolution observed along the years in human sciences and in the technologic and scientific fields, sexuality is still the object of much speculation, prejudice and taboo. If we observe the diverse current reactions in face of sexual manifestations, we will see how much such reactions remain unchanged throughout History. Although the sixties‘ “sexual revolution” and the innumerous movements aiming at the recognition of human rights (especially the feminist) have changed the social scenery, sexuality is still an enigma for the human being and the object of many discussions since antiquity.

From the 5th Century on, due mainly to the leading Christian Fathers – Augustine, Jerome and Thomas of Aquinas – sexuality was linked to and procreation: the unquestionable example that follows is the “naturally heterosexual” life of animals. All sexual practice that falls out of that norm would bring what is known as the “negative pleasure stigma”.

Then, a form of morality that is essentially a sexual morality appeared. Practices “against nature” – considered offensive to decency, to custom and to public opinion – bring out severe sanctions, so that “normal” may be kept.

However – History shows that – such an objective was never reached: sexuality always escaped all attempts of normatization (Ceccarelli, 2000).

In the late 19th Century, the contemporary psychiatric discourse appears, marked by the same moralistic view;

it maintains the theological and juridical positions, bringing to the medical order what was, until then, from the juridical. The great psychopatologists of that epoch, among them Havellock-Ellis (1888) and Kraftt-Ebing (1890), classified and labeled the sexual practices that escaped moral rules.

A detailed inventory of the so-called “deviant” sexualities was traced, in which new forms of sexual practices (those which use the other for obtaining pleasure and in which the natural finality of sexuality – procreation – is subverted) were created: homosexualism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, sadism, masochism, joining the endless psychiatric nosography of that time. It is also when some terms, that later became classical, are introduced: perversion (1882, Charcot and Magna), narcisism (1888, Havellock-Ellis), auto-erotism (1899, Havellock-Ellis), sadism and masochism (1890, Krafft-Ebing) [Ceccarelli, 2000].

In the late 19th Century and, in a stronger way, in the early 20th Century, Sigmund Freud, in his most important text on sexuality, the “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” published in 1905, sustains that subordinating sexuality to the reproductive function is “a too limited criterion”. In Freudian perspective, sexuality is against nature, that is, as far as sexuality is concerned, there is no “human nature” (Ceccarelli, 2000).

Joyce McDougall and the concept of “Neo-Sexuality”

Contemporary author Joyce McDougall (1997) made an important and innovative reading of Freud, regarding perversion. According to the theoretical perspective of the author, the word “perversion” has a depreciative conotation and points towards negativity, since one never hears of someone who was “perverted” to good. The author maintains that, besides the moralistic implication in the vernacular use of the word, the current standard of psychiatric and psychoanalytic classification is equally questionable. When labeling and diagnosing someone as “neurotic”, “psychotic”, “psychosomatic” or “perverted”, the innumerable variations of psychic structures of each clinical category are not taken into account, losing sight of the most remarkable aspect of human beings in their genetic structure, which is their “singularity” (McDougall, 1997, p 186). Regarding the so-called perverted sexualities like fetishism and sadomasochist practices, she verifies that those occur in the quality of erotic games in sexual activities of non-perverted adults, be they heterosexual or homosexual, so that such practices do not provoke conflict, for they are not experienced as compulsive or as exclusive conditions for sexual pleasure. But heterosexual or homosexual adults who only have fetishist or sadomasochist erotic scripts, for whom those sexual practices are the only means of access to sexual relations, there must be care as to want those people to lose their heterodox versions of desire, simply because they may be considered symptomatic. Instead of “perversion”, McDougall (1997, p 188) prefers to name them “neo-sexualities”. According to the author, the term “perversion” would be more appropriated as a label for acts in which an individual imposes personal desires and conditions on someone who does not wish to be included in that sexual script (as in the case of rape, of voyeurism and exhibitionism) or seduces a non-responsible individual (as a child or a mentally disturbed adult) [McDougall, 1997, p 192].

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The Manuals of Mental Health and Project ReviseF65

Svein Skeid is one of the responsibles for the Project ReviseF65 or Project ICD (www.revisef65.org) that aims to mobilize, through a website and a discussion group on the Internet, SM/Leather/Fetish groups and professionals in the field of mental health in all the world, with the purpose of taking away the psychiatric diagnoses (“paraphilias”) of Fetishism, Transvestism and Sadomasochism from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (www.revisef65.org/ICD10.html), published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The diagnoses of “paraphilia” may serve as a justification for stigmatization and violence against sexual minorities. Several reports of violence against Sadomasochism and Fetish practitioners may be found in the ReviseF65 website (www.revisef65.org). The U.S. Leather Leadership Conference reports that thirty to fifty percent of the SM population suffers discrimination, violence or persecution due to their sexual orientation. Project ICD states that “Stigmatizing minorities by diagnosing their sexual orientation is on the contrary as disrespectful as discriminating people because of their race, ethnicity or religion”. It is, undoubtedly, a legitimate proposal in defense of the human rights of sexual minorities.

Countries as Denmark, in consonance with the legitimate needs and rights of sexual minorities, have totally withdrawn the diagnoses of sadomasochism from their health manuals in 1995.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder – Fourth Edition (DSM-IV, 1995, pp 495) also classifies Fetishism and Sexual Sadism and Masochism as “paraphilias”, in which, besides the existent recurring and intense fantasies and sexual impulses or behavior involving those practices (Criterion A), those fantasies, sexual impulses or behaviors must cause a clinically significant suffering or damage in social or occupational functioning or in other important areas of the individual’s life (Criterion B) [DSM-IV, 1995, p 495]. In case Criterion B is not met, the sexual variants above are not considered pathologic or symptomatic, configuring only a variation of adult human sexuality.

Due to the lack of information and knowledge of what consensual erotic practices are about, their practitioners are erroneously classified as victims or perpetrators of coercitive acts of violence and sexual abuse.

BDSM Concepts and Practices

Consensual fetishist and sadomasochist practices are not easily defined, for they include a wide range of behaviors from which many practitioners do not appreciate all roles and activities, being the detailed description of each BDSM or Fetishist practice beyond the scope of the present study. We will focus, however, on the most general terms.

The term “BDSM“, that refers to the sadomasochist universe as a whole, involves all its aspects – dominance, submission, bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism, while SM means “sadomasochism” (Paschoal, 2002, p 14). However, the relationship between them is analogous to the distinction between the terms “homosexual” and “gay” (Moser, 1996, p 24).

According to this author’s theoretic perspective, “Dominance and Submission (DS) implies the deliberate transference of psychological and sexual control from one partner to the other without, necessarily, elements of physical pain or humiliation”.

The term “Bondage and Discipline“, “B&D” or “B/D” refers to sexual practices with various kinds of immobilization or physical restraint, while “Discipline” indicates the acting out of fantasies that relate to punishment/penalties like, for example, the “teacher/student” fantasy.

Humiliation” refers to role-playing scenes in which the dominant partner detains control of power over the submissive partner, inflicting and ritualizing psychologic tortures, like verbal insults of a sexual conotation.

Regarding the terms “sadist” and “masochist“, there is a more physiological conotation, in which people experiment pleasure sensations in giving and/or receiving carefully controlled spanking with slippers or whips (Moser, 1996, p 25).

The word “leather” is used in the sadomasochist community by gays and lesbians (Moser, 1996, p 63).

Other behaviors also generally included in the sadomasochist practice are “age play”, a fetish that demands a partner to act as being of a different age, sometimes older, sometimes younger (playing as a baby, for example); forced or voluntary feminization of male submissives who wear high heel shoes, lingerie and female dresses (“crossdressing”), and also sexual plays involving urine and excrements. Paschoal (2002, p 16) maintains that “each of these concepts has personal, individual and unique aspects, like the people who practice them… Each one is free to choose which and how they prefer them… It is impossible to follow them in a literal way, since human creativity and individual freedom are what is the most precious in the human being”.

With the same creativity, the BDSM community created the term “vanilla“, for referring to conventional sexual practices that do not involve any SM component (Scott, 1997, p3). The “Safety, Sanity and Consensuality” triad (Brame G, Brame W & Jacobs, 1993, p 49) is considered a basic norm for consensual unconventional practices and may never be ignored or neglected. Paschoal (2002, p 22) states that the non-existence of any of the SSC aspects makes any and all BDSM relationship totally inviable.

By “Consensuality“, Moser (1996, p 31) understands the voluntary agreement firmed between the participants of the erotic play, in which the limits of each participants are honored. He explains that domestic abuse that occurs between a couple cannot be named “SM”, for SM is consensual, and abuse imposed on a partner is not. We may use as an example sexual intercourse and rape, where the former is consented and the latter is imposed by coercion. Therefore, the difference between sadomasochism and true violence is to be found in “informed consent” (Moser, 1996, p 31).

Sanity” refers to being aware of what the participants are doing in an SM scene: it is a fantasy that does not correspond to reality. Certain BDSM practices imply considerable risk. In this sense, the knowledge of the partner, the establishment of limits and knowing the risks inherent to each practice are very important factors for the erotic BDSM play to be safe and pleasant. It is also worth saying that safety involves some prohibitions. As it is extremely important that one has complete awareness of what one is doing, the use of alcohol or any kind of drugs is severely unadvisable before or during the BDSM scene or play (Paschoal, 2002, p 27). In case any physical or psychological limit is surpassed, the use of a “safeword” reestablishes the limits of physical and emotional safety of the participants and the play is immediately interrupted (Paschoal, 2002, p 25).

According to Brame, G, Brame, W & Jacobs (1993, p 358), the word fetish comes from the Portuguese word feitiÁo and it is said to be used for the first time by Portuguese explorers in the 15th Century, for describing sacred images. In its anthropologic meaning, fetish is linked to sacred artifacts that are invested of spiritual powers. For fetishists, the erotic fetish is the symbol of the divine itself, being able to arouse and even to induce their devotees to ecstasy. Examples of erotic fetishes are found in those who admire a pair of shoes, instead of the feet that wear them; or the feet are considered extremely arousing, in detriment of the human body as a whole. All human beings are fetishists to some degree. In Brazilian culture, buttocks are the object of national adoration, while in American culture, breasts are extremely valued. In China, small female feet are extremely sexy. This demonstrates that different cultures elect their own fetishes. As Paschoal (2002, p 68) illustrates very well, “a fetish would be a specific preference in a universe of possibilities… BDSM is more like a fantasy full of fetishes. So as a masochist prefers (or has the fetish of) receiving pain, or being tortured exclusively with ropes, or with candles, or with ice, or with all alternatives, or with none of them, the sadist prefers (or has the fetish of) causing pain. They are all fetishes”.

Regarding Brazilian reality, the Internet became a powerful vehicle for the search of information and contacts for people who are interested in the erotic sadomasochist and fetishist practices, largely contributing for the formation of a “virtual” subculture of sexual minorities. The Brazilian BDSM movement is at an embryonary state, but growing, with hundreds of websites and discussion groups (www.yahoo.com.br and www.msn.com.br), trying to form a gathering movement that provides recognition, visibility and contacts outside “virtual” reality, following an international tendency proposed by American organization “The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom” (NCSF), that fights for equal rights in the legal, political and social fields for adults who are engaged in the practice of alternative sexual expressions. According to articles on SM available in their website (www.ncsfreedom.org.), NCSF explains that Sadomasochism is not abuse or domestic violence, being the latter “a pattern of intentional intimidation of one partner to coerce or isolate the other partner without consent” (www.ncsfreedom.org/what.htm), as opposed to what happens in BDSM practices, in which the partners involved agree on everything that will happen in the erotic play, besides being well informed about possible consequences of the erotic power exchange game. It also explains that domestic violence may occur in any group of people, including SM practitioners, but with the difference that within the sadomasochist community domestic violence is not forgiven, and victims as well as abusers are encouraged to look for specialized help.

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RESULTS

Table 1

As we may see from table 1, the great majority of the total sample (n = 111) is composed by heterosexuals, but only seven (6,3 %) respondents are female, being four (4) officially married and three (3) single. The number of people who have partners and practice the same sexual fantasies, 36,1%, was larger than expected.

It is interesting to point out that in sexual practices involving Submission and Masochism (43,3%) only six (6) are heterosexual women, while the rest of the group are males, regardless of sexual orientation. Catholic religion (53,2%) has more representatives (which reflects Brazil’s religious proportions). The education level is high, 70,3 being graduated and 13,5% post-graduated.

CONCLUSION

We will quote below excerpts from some reports for illustrating the qualitative part of the study, in which respondents talk about how they feel regarding their sexual experiences and the topics that were approached in the questionnaire they answered.

– SS, post-graduated, fetishist, 35, married: “When I was about five years old, I remember getting aroused by wearing satin gowns, I liked to urinate on them and feel the smell of urine for many days… Since I was a child I realized I had “different” desires, but I was only able to understand that in fact these fetishes are not an “aberration of nature” three years ago, with the Internet… on the net I saw, talked to and knew there are people with the same tastes”.

– S., enterprise administrator, masochist, 34, married, remembers: “There was this game of police and thieves and the girls were always the police and the boys were the thieves. Girls ran after, caught and arrested the boys. I remember that when I was arrested, I always asked to be tied up, or I would run away; so I developed, unnoticing, my instinct of submission to females… A fantasy that impressed me in my child and teen years was “Catwoman” from the Batman series… Today, seeing it again with experienced eyes, I can perceive a very explicit fetishist citation. Catwoman was beautiful, that latex suit tight on her body… Whenever she captured the heroes, they were tied up and were at her feet… She was always shown, in her hideout, sitting on a throne on a pedestal, and her helpers sat on the floor at her feet… sometimes she found a way to step on a helper… pure fetish”.

– Fbond, importer, bondage fetishist, 31, married: “I take bondage and fetishism very seriously, I don’t like anything that causes pain, but I like the seduction allied to bondage, underwear, insinuating clothes (but not vulgar), I am cultured… I found out I was a fetishist at age 8 watching a Jerry Lewis movie and now I have more than 150 tapes of that kind… I consider myself a very friendly person, so I think it’s absurd that a fetishist should be put in the class of “abnormals”. Maybe there are even cases like that, but it’s not the majority”.

– Al Z, dominator, post-graduated in System Analysis, 38, married, reports: “Since I was a child, I appreciated scenes with bound or spanked women (generally in movies), when I knew nothing about sex… I think it was instinctive… I awoke to my fantasies five or six years ago, when I accidentally entered a site… at that time, I was 32 or 33 and that fact totally changed my life… Bondage and spanking (female buttocks) arouse me a lot, and also other forms of physical and psychological domination like, for example, transforming my partner into a dog, putting on her a collar and a leash… My relationship with my spouse is “standard”, that is, it follows religious and social rules for marriage… She doesn’t know about my incursions into the virtual world, not even that I look for someone to make my fantasies come true in the “real”. I feel like an absolutely normal person… What I think is that society is really afraid to admit that who likes BDSM (within the erotic context, of course) is a normal human being. People always look forward to living with more pleasure and BDSM is one more alternative form of reaching it fully… I never opened up to someone as much as I’m doing to you now, but I feel very good, because it was suffocating me”.

– J., System Analyst, submissive, 32, single: “I feel perfectly normal and even – why not – privileged, for knowing how to explore my sexuality in a different and much more intense way than most people do. I’m very happy to have enough capacity to understand my fetish and to enjoy it in a healthy, safe and very peculiar way”.

– N., administrative assistant, bondager, 26, single: “I like to be bound and completely immobilized, to feel completely vulnerable in the hands of my partner, not being passive but struggling because I was tied up, as if I was forced to be in that situation, not accepting passively that the other ties me up, but trying to “escape”, to get free, and end up being “defeated” by his strength and technique… the deprivation of senses, like vision and speech… this way they become sharper, but not knowing what the other person is going to do is an incomparable sensation… being gagged is an indescribable sensation… Putting all that together is an inexplainable sensation… Sincerely, I feel more normal than other people, I accept myself. I think what is abnormal is people neglecting themselves, or even living a faÁade relationship and looking beyond for the fulfillment of their fantasies… I believe that people can only be totally happy when they look for a relationship that fulfills them totally… (that is) difficult, but living a double life is still more difficult… in one of them you will be acting out… The society in which we live in is hypocrite… everyone has fantasies, but to fit the “normal” standard, they don’t recognize it and even criticize and get shocked with other people’s opinion. I believe that each one owns their life and owe no explanation to others about what they like or dislike within four walls; better yet, I think we must be free to live out our fantasies and other quotidian things too; of course, respecting the other’s limits and space. For me, BDSM is a form of pleasure, it is a vast world with many branches and each person chooses among those what really gives them pleasure… I chose mine and I am not bothered by the fact that society does not accept it or thinks I am an aberration… I feel more normal than everyone, for I am sincere with myself, I recognize and accept myself like that and it makes me happy…”

– M.H., dentist, crossdresser, submissive, 39, married: “I am married and my wife takes part in everything and has dominated me for over one year… As you may see, I’m a submissive crossdresser and I behave accordingly. I’m my wife’s sissy. I dress as a woman everytime I can, do all housework and I’m a woman for my wife. I’m totally passive and she is active… I often get spanked and humiliated, and I love it… I found out that what I felt and did was in tune with the BDSM universe when I was 18. But not knowing it was a BDSM attitude, ever since I can remember… since 6 or 7… I loved to play house with my cousins and I was always the housemaid, always working and humiliated. This was the role I chose. It gave me pleasure and, in my point of view, it fits BDSM. When I was 10 I came for the first time, when putting on an aunt’s skirt… I came without even touching myself. Since then I was always out of standards, but at 16 I noticed I was “different”. Would I be gay? But how would I be gay if I never had interest in men? But if I wasn’t gay, why would I fantasize myself in the female role?… Unfortunately, people live in a standard, hipocritely proposed by this machist and repressive society we live in.”

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– ZZ, billing assistant, submissive foot fetishist, 34, married: “My relationship with my wife is the best possible, in all senses. She knows about my attraction for feet, so much that she began taking more care of them and sometimes, when we make love, she spanks me with her slippers and I like it a lot. Since there is no physical or emotional damage to anyone and both agree on it, any practice is worth it, between a couple. The way society sees or judges my acts is not at all relevant to me.”

– JP, lawyer, sadist, 38, married: “I feel privileged for having certain sexual interests that are different from most people’s and for always being able to make them come true. BDSM is very complex, for there are different levels of SM and I’m in an intermediate one… some practices are indigestive for me, like coprophagy, public humiliation, cuts or burning, but as the word goes, “if done with their consent, the problem is theirs”…”

We may suggest that the people that took part in the researched sample, far from representing the totality of individuals with unconventional sexual practices in Brazilian society, feel in tune with their diverse sexual preferences, which are experienced as pleasant, and also feeling privileged for having a “differenced” sexuality from those who see in sex and in conventional roles the only form of expression for love, intimacy and fulfilling their sexual fantasies.

We cannot affirm, by the collected and reported data, that BDSM and Fetish practitioners who took part in this study may be called “paraphilic”. We would rather describe them as aware and well informed practitioners, and conscious of what we consider as variants in the complex adult human sexuality expression.

The use of the Internet is clearly important in the formation of a consensual BDSM subculture in Brazil, not only for communication and obtaining information among similar practitioners, but also as a mechanism of social inclusion, gathering thousands of people who share the same unconventional fantasies and practices. This study was made possible exactly because of the easy access, anonymity and the facility that the Internet provides to its users. Cooper et al (2000, p 6) states that the Internet offers the opportunity for the formation of virtual communities, in which the isolated and discriminated, like, for example, gays and lesbians, may communicate about sexual topics that interest this community.

When they realize the number of “equal” people, the sensation of isolation and of being “different” decreases or disappears and a new sense of “belonging” and identity appears for those who, before the advent of Internet, felt “abnormal” and “out of standard” for not having someone to share their longings and fantasies due to the prejudice and stigma regarding everything that deviates from the “norm” or “standard”.

We may suggest that the Internet may serve as a virtual “life-boat” for, when giving the opportunity to BDSM and Fetish practitioners and other sexual minorities to “come out of the closet”, it provides them an environment with no repression, prejudice, and where everything is possible in the fantasy world, and also giving the opportunity for those fantasies to come out of “virtuality” and be made true in the “real” world. According to Bader (2002, p 259), the question why some people act out their fantasies, while others do not, has no easy answer. In his theoretical perspective, it is easier to understand why someone develops some sexual fantasy or practice, but one can rarely affirm why this person acted it out or simply kept it in the fantasy level.

The world has gone through technological changes that are almost impossible to keep up with in the field of human life conception: the “test-tube” baby and artificial insemination are now current practices, once impossible to be imagined and made true, as is now the possibility of human cloning in laboratories. Novelty is frightening, provokes fears and feelings of unprotection.

But it is undeniable that changes in mentality are on their way, in this new millenium. Judeo-christian tradition, that has shaped the basis of Brazilian society for centuries, shows to be anachronic before the mentioned facts and what is yet to come.

The propagated “naturally heterosexual” animal life, that served as justification for the inprisonment of sexual desire and pleasure by religious institutions, begins to fall down with the latest scientific researches about the animals’s sexual life, which demonstrate that the “practices against nature” are also part of animal sexuality (www.subversions.com/french/pages/science/animals.html).

Where are we going to, since psycho-social, religious and cultural concepts and norms, that once defined the notion of “normality”, no longer apply to the pluralist society that we see? Our traditional sexual ethic, followed for a hundred years, no longer fits socio-cultural changes and the new challenges of the 21st Century. We live in a plural society, in which the most diverse expression of adult human sexuality are becoming visible and want to be accepted, recognized and legitimated. Sexual expressions that demonstrate maturity, respect and awareness among those who practice them. It is worth pointing out that feeling comfortable and in ego-syntonia with their sexual practices may have been the reason that took these individuals to take part in this study. The line that separates consensual BDSM practices and the so-called “perverted” practices is very thin. But is important that one knows how to distinguish one another.

And, based on that distinction, the present study has demonstrated that, in spite of its limited range, it is a human right to be “different” from majority and, consequently, to have that “difference” respected and accepted by all others.

REFERENCE

Animals prefer Homossexuality to Evolution. Retrieved January 17, 2003, from www.subversions.com/french/pages/science/animals.html

Bader, M. J. (1997). Arousal. The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies. Thomas Dunne Books, pp 259-260.

Brame G, Brame W & Jacobs (1993). Different Loving. The World of Sexual Dominance & Submission. Villard Books, NY, pp 49, 358.

Ceccarelli, P.R (2000). Sexualidade e Preconceito. Article published in the Revista Latinoamericana de Psicopatologia Fundamental, SP, III, 3, 18-37. Retrieved October 10, 2002, from www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/Villa/3170/PauloCeccarelli.htm

Classificação Estatística Internacional Das Doenças e Problemas da Saúde (ICD-10). Retrieved May 7, 2002, from www.desejosecreto.com.br/revisef65.html [Dead link]

Cooper A et al. (2000). Cybersex. The Dark Side of the Force. Taylor& Francis, p 6.

Fog, A (1992). Paraphilias and Therapy. Nordisk Sexology, vol10, pp 236-242. Retrieved October 1, 2002, from www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/98-053r_fog_eng.htm

Manual Diagnóstico e Estatístico de Transtornos Mentais – 4a Edição DSM-IVtm (1995). EditoraArtes Médicas, Porto Alegre, 1995, p 495.

Martins M C, Grassi M V F C (2001) American Women and Internet Infidelity. Abstracts Book. 15th World Congress of Sexology, June 24-28, Paris, p 149.

MCDougall, Joyce (1997). As Múltiplas Faces De Eros. Martins Fontes, SP, 2001, pp 186, 188, 192.

Moser C, Madeson JJ (1996). Bound to be Free. The Continuum Publishing Company, NY, 2000, pp 24, 25, 31, 63.

Paschoal H, (2002). Sem Mistério. Uma Abordagem (Na) Prática de Bondage, Dominação, Sadismo e Masoquismo. Editora Cia do Desejo, Campinas, SP, pp 14, 16, 22, 27, 68.

Scott, G G (1997). Erotic Power. An Exploration of Dominance and Submission. Carol Publishing Group, p3.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Retrieved July 24, 2002, from www.ncsfreedom.org/what.htm

www.associacaobdsm.com.br. Retrieved May 7, 2002 [Dead link].

www.msn.com.br. Retrieved April 02, 2002.

www.revisef65.org. Retrieved April 02, 2002.

www.subversions.com/french/pages/science/animals.html. Retrieved January 10, 2003.

www.yahoo.com.br. Retrieved April 02, 2002

 


Author: Maria Cristina Martins, Clinical Psychologist and Specialist in Human Sexuality. Campinas, SP, Brazil

Co-author: Paulo Roberto Ceccarelli, Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, PhD in Psycopathology and Psychoanalysis by Paris VII, Paris, France; Appointed Professor of the Psychology Dep. of Pontifice Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Remove SM/fetish diagnoses (spring 2002)

Examples of statements, quotes and evidence of support

Will be forwarded to the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The ICD diagnoses of “Sadism” and “Masochism” are certainly messy because abuse and violence is mixed into the same category as consensual sexual games.” “Any kind of sexuality may be perverted – even heterosexuality. I think it may be useful to reserve the words “perversion” and “paraphilia” for abusive, disrespectful and other harmful sexual activities.
Psychologist and sexologist Odd Reiersøl.

SM practitioners have been victimized by society as a whole and by many groups that should know better. There is no credible evidence that SM practitioners have any more problems or issues than other sexu al orientations. There is no data to suggest that SM leads to violence. All research so far, indicates that SM practitioners are indistinguishable from individuals with other sexual orientations, except by their sexual behaviour.
Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D.

To stigmatize, diagnose and marginalize consenting SM and leatherpeople, is not going to help the victims of domestic violence. On the contrary, false reports, blackmailing and diagnosing healthy and innocent people weakens the credibility of true sexual abuse victims.
The lesbian and gay SM support group Smia-Oslo.

Sexual [SM] impulses form a strong part of each person’s day to day life, so that their suppression can effect the development or balance of the individual’s emotional life, happiness and personality.
Paras 10.46 and 10.49 in the official appointed Law Commission’s document No 139 1995 issued by the UK Home Office.

Unlike the psychiatrists and psychologists who deal primarily with psychologically troubled individuals who are also interested in D&S [Dominance and Submission], I did not find them to be psychologically troubled or socially inept; rather … their backgrounds, activities and attitudes are quite unlike the social stereotype that depicts sadomasochism as a form of violence, mischief, or mayhem perpetrated by the psychologically unstable who seek to hurt others or to be hurt themselves. … Thus, quite unlike its public image, the community is a warm, close and supportive one.
Sociologist Gini Scott in her 1983 book “Erotic Power” about the dynamics of the heterosexual SM subculture.