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kneeling slave by China Hamilton

DSM-5 and BDSM Today

How BDSM and slave training can be affected by the new version of the DSM-5. What this can mean and what it does not change. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published a new version of it’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The new version is referred to as the DSM-5. Our interest in the DSM-5 is now it redefines BDSM and to a lesser extent slave training. Sadomasochism is not a disorder if certain triggers are not found in the therapist’s evaluation.


The DSM-5 makes changes that, over time, will have a positive effect on the way the world views B.D.S.M. and slave training. In fact, kinky sex in general will greatly benefit from the changes in wording. To all those in the lifestyle that have taken an active role in helping change the APA’s view from the DSM-I to the DSM-5, THANK YOU!!!


Be Happy with your kink

Prior to the DSM-5, the APA defined sexual behavior acts not solely focused on the genitals or breasts as paraphilias. The word Paraphillas first appears in publication in the DSM-III and is defined as an unusual sex act.

It is about time we leave 1900’s century views of Richard Von Krafft-Ebing and Sigmund Freud behind. Their views of Sadism and Masochism still influence many medical and legal views of kink. Their writings on the subject were greatly guided by their own personal bias and misunderstandings. These two men are at the foundation of the misunderstanding of bdsm. Freud expanded the work of Krafft-Ebing. I have read that Freud didn’t think it was possible for a male to be submissive since it was against nature. The criminal Justice system had long given weight to the views of these two men. This should change the focus by the Justice system with the introduction of the DSM-5.

A friend of mine had her child removed from her care for six months because she was classified as a submissive engaging in BDSM. The social worker testified in court (without interviewing my friend) that because she was engaged in BDSM she would beat her child. What crap, but this poor woman suffered needlessly for six months. I hope the DSM-5 can be thrown in the face of these kinds of “expert” witnesses often used by the Prosecution. In the end, she got her child back, but this is needless trauma to both mother and child. Yes, she fought tooth and nail to get her young baby back.

BUT before you get too happy about the DSM-5 changes: MOST overlook this point. There is no fundamental change in the diagnostic structure since the DSM-III for paraphilias. The kinky acts will still be called Paraphilias acts. But now for it to be a disorder two criteria must be met. The 1) Paraphilias diagnosis and a 2) negative consequences criteria must both exist to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Otherwise, they have a paraphilia (and no diagnosis of a disorder). If a negative consequence from the behavior does not exist, then it’s a paraphilia without harm. A paraphilia without harm is not a mental disorder. Remember if they still see a negative affect it is still a mental disorder.

There is a small wording change made that might be overlooked at first but have a major impact in the long run. The DSM-5 does not call “sadism” and “masochism” in and of itself a disorder. It’s now called a “sadism disorder” or “Masochism disorder”. Yeah I know (what the hell am I driving at?)” The APA now open the door for some “Sadism” or “Masochism” behavior not being classified as a mental disorder. EXAMPLE: An eating disorder is different from the act of eating. Anyone can eat a good meal and even over eat at times without being classified as having mental disorder. This was done intentional by the APA. So is short, the words “Sadism” and “masochism” alone no longer describe a disorder but a sexual practice.

nipple calms and bondage

A Derek Bowden Image

KINK and harm

THE GOOD NEWS:  The DSM-5 finally makes a distinction between kink for enjoyment and kink that causes harm or distress (consequences). So if you are a happy and healthy kinkster you are not considered as having a mental disorder now. Who knew??

What the changes in the DSM-5 really means is that engaging in a Paraphillas alone does not constitute a disorder.  The diagnosis must include prove of harm to oneself or others. Thus a mental disorder.

kneeling slave girl

Image by China Hamilton

So lets all go out and find a slave to beat.  As long as you are happy you are not crazy lol.  (well as a side note the slave probably should be happy too)   It puts a whole new meaning to the words BE happy!!!”

I talk about the DSM-IV, Krafft-Ebing and Freud  here 


Roman numerals are no longer used, so it is not called the BSM-V. All prior versions used Roman numerals. Who knows why they changed.

In 1952, the DSM-I classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. That started changing in 1973 but was not until 1987 that homosexuality was completely removed from the DSM as a disorder. So you can see it takes all those pesky psychiatrist a long time to reason out the obvious. Today homosexuals are still discriminated against in many circles. So don’t expect a quick fix.

In 1995, Denmark removed “sadomasochism” as a disorder. They were the first Country to do so. Good job.. Can we say “follow the leader.”

May 18-22, 2013: The release of DSM-5 took place during the APA’s 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA.


The New DSM-5 and slave training and Sadomasochism — 12 Comments

  1. Cuffsmaster,

    This is an amazing write-up on the changes taking place in the DSM-5.

    Definitely a step in the right direction to remove myths and stereotypes, along with discrimination and stigma.

    Thank you so much! I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

    A “happy” slave,


  2. so I can no longer use the excuse of diminished responsibility…damn it..just as well I am a happy slave too. 🙂

    thank you Cuffmaster,,a very interesting read.

  3. @ Cuffsmaster
    Thank you for keeping us informed and giving your views on the DSM-5.

    Many of us struggle with acceptance by others and hopefully the change in the views of the APA will help shape the general thinking about us.

  4. Additional information you may fine useful:

    A study directed by the “Journal of Sexual Medicine”, reveals that those engaging in BDSM may be better off psychologically than the general public.

    Study is by Wismeijer AAJ and van Assen MALM. Psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners

    The study concludes that:
    BDSM practitioners compared with the control group are less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable.

    Scores were generally more favorably for those with a dominant than a submissive role, with least favorable scores for controls.

    I would not consider this a conclusive study but it sure looks good and points in the direction we have always known.

  5. Geez CuffsMaster;
    Redemption at last. Teehee. Thanks for the wonderful article and input. Now when I receive my canings I can say to myself I am alright after all. Oh crap, but there goes the guilty complex that brings on the desire to suffer. Ah heck with it. I can revel in my desires.

  6. @jessyjane “Now when I receive my caning I can say to myself I’m alright after all.”

    Ah that kinda goes along with the idea that bdsm’er want the general public to view the lifestyle as being an acceptable way of life but in the same breath like the idea of being just outside accepted behavior. A duel edged sword.

    Many engage in bdsm in the bedroom and never admit it.

  7. The cane.
    Two weekends ago a Master friend of ours came by for the weekend. Him knowing how much i enjoy the cane, he obliged my needs nicely. He is an artist with the cane, it was one of the most lovely canings i ever had. i have some lovely pictures of my stripped ass. He also caned my mound, which is probably my most sensitive part of this body. Yum, yum. i do so love touching the welts for days afterwards. Yes, as i have said before i am a masochist(Big Smile) He treated Joan and i to a lovely weekend, but a girl can’t tell everything. Have fun.

  8. More than one person has noted that sometimes a theorist (like, say, “Siggy”) will offer a theory that challenges the status quo as a way of working through his or her own issues. Certainly, it can also serve to increase knowledge of the field. Unfortunately, it can also become a filter through which subsequent theorists view things. I believe such can be laid at the feet of Freud. My experience parallels your comments regarding the necessity of negative impact as part of diagnosing a disorder. In my work in mental health hospitals and with my own clients, I’ve found that symptoms are far more likely to be significant if they produce a negative affect on a person’s life. What’s sad about the DSM-5 in this regard, is that there was recognition of this over 25 years ago. One can argue that the changes in the DSM come about as the result of research, which I agree is how it should be. That said, the necessity of change being research based are of little comfort to one whose life has been disrupted by what later turns out to be an inaccurate or inadequate understanding of behavior.

  9. Pingback: Your Kink is OK in DSM-5 - Deviance & Desire

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