English Sexual politics

Workshop Manchester: How to remove SM and Fetish diagnoses

“How to remove SM and Fetish diagnoses”

Workshop Manchester
Sunday, August 24th at 1pm
Malmaison Hotel, Piccadilly (Gore St), (the mezzanine lounge)

Workshop Manchester (women only)
Sunday, August 24th at 2pm
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, 15 Pritchard Street (off Charles Street)

Workshop London
Thursday, August 28th 7pm-9pm
Central Station, 37 Wharfdale Road, Kings Cross, (main bar)

You can also read the introduction to the workshop online at

  • The stigma attached to SM and Fetish diagnoses is used to justify violence, harassment and persecution because of people‘s SM-preference.
  • SM people lose their jobs and the custody of their children because their love and lifestyle is still considered as a disease.
  • Even law court verdicts acquit self-identified murderers and rapists because the victims are stigmatized as sick perverts.

Fetishism, transvestism and sadomasochism are still considered mental illnesses by The World Health Organization and most countries, despite the fact that US psychiatrists revised their DSM manual nine years ago, and Denmark, as the first European country, totally removed the SM diagnosis in 1995.

Join the ReviseF65 efforts to remove diagnoses from the International Classification of Diseases!

The ReviseF65 project is established with a mandate from the 1998 Convention of the Norwegian National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH). Our efforts is so far supported by the Norwegian Association of Gay and Lesbian Physicians, the Norwegian Society for Clinical Sexology, the 1999 European Conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the 2000 General Assembly of the European Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (ECMC).

The ReviseF65 group consists of Leather/SM/Fetish men and women representing organizations of Leather and SM gays, lesbians, bi- and heterosexuals, as well as professionals in sexology, psychology and psychiatry.

Join the mailing list: to be informed and have your voice heard, join the e-mail discussion group at

From Thursday 21st August to Monday 25th August, you can contact Svein Skeid and Eric Barstad at The Rembrandt Hotel, 33 Sackville Street, Manchester,, tel: 0161 236 1311.

From Tuesday 26st August to Sunday 31st August, you can contact us at Blades Hotel, 122 Belgrave Road, Victoria, London, tel 020 7976 5552.
founded in Norway – serving the world

English Sexual politics

How to remove SM and Fetish diagnoses

Introduction to workshops held at SM Pride August 2nd in London, August 24th in Manchester (one for women and one general) and August 28th in London 2003.

Founded in Norway –
Serving the world

About us and the ReviseF65 group

My name is Svein Skeid (picture right). I have been working in the field of SM human rights for two decades. I am Gay Person of the Year in Norway 2003, and have a special membership of Scandinavian Leather Men Oslo (SLM). Today, I represent the ReviseF65 group, whose aim is to remove SM and Fetish diagnoses from the the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Eric Barstad (picture below) is a female to unisexual leather/SM/rubber transgender person. Eric is the President of the lesbian/gay SM/Fetish group Smia-Oslo and a member of the ReviseF65 committee and SLM-Oslo).

We will talk about what our project group is all about: why it was established and which diagnoses are to be removed. We will also tell you about why these diagnoses need to be abolished and how to remove them.

SM Pride: I have traveled from Norway to this festival because I always have wanted to attend SM Pride and the SM Pride March which started in 1992, the year before the Spanner Verdict which made some SM play illegal in the UK.

Europride: We have traveled from Norway to Manchester, not only because of this year‘s Europride, but also because this is the very town where the Spanner Case startet in 1987. As you possibly know, the 1993 Spanner Verdict made some SM play illegal in the UK.

In the 1990’s members of our group campaigned and set about fund-raising to help the gay defendants in the Spanner Case (a total of £2000 was raised). We gained support of several dozen Norwegian political organizations, including women‘s rights groups and trade unions, not to mention the unanimous backing of the Lesbian and Gay movement.

Take a look at our Spanner website (unfortunately only in Norwegian).

In our view, the ReviseF65 work is a logical follow-up of the Spanner campaign. Even if the Spanner fight is not won yet and Spanner Trust still have a long way to go, the ReviseF65 group considers it necessary to start the long-term national and international project to get rid of discriminatory SM diagnoses. We understand that the Spanner Trust trustees are of the same opinion.

And as we shall see, there is similarities between the law and psychiatric diagnoses.

Even though the diagnoses of Fetishism, Transvestism and Sadomasochism are rarely applied, the stigma attached to them is used to justify various forms of harassment of these sexual minorities.

Fetishism, transvestism and sadomasochism are still considered mental illnesses by the World Health Organization (WHO) and most countries, despite the fact that US psychiatrists revised their DSM manual nine years ago and Denmark in 1995 was the first European country to totally remove the diagnosis of Sadomasochism.

The ReviseF65 project concerns both gays, straights and transgender people. Therefore the group consists of Leather/SM/Fetish men and women who represent organizations of Leather and SM gays, lesbians, bi- and heterosexuals, as well as professionals in sexology, psychology and psychiatry.

The name “F65” is a chapter in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) describing the so called “Paraphilias”, earlier called “perversions”. It also contains other paraphilias. Obviously, we are only rallying for the SM and Fetish diagnoses that concern consenting adults.

Why do we want to abolish these diagnoses?

The Revise F65 project group is of the opinion that stigmatizing minorities by considering their sexual orientation as a psychiatric condition is as disrespectful as if you discriminate against people because of their race, ethnicity or religion.

The stigma attached to these diagnoses is used to justify harassment. 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.

Sadomasochists as prosecution witnesses face similar difficulties in credibility as heterosexual women. In law courts, murderers and rapists are acquitted despite confessing to their crime. The only reason why is that the victim is a masochist. Several courts have done this because of the diagnoses.

Because people are considered “sick” or “perverted”, the victim is placed beyond the protection of the law. This is some of the same “illiberal nonsense” as in the Spanner case. Because you are a “pervert” your consent place you beyond the protection of the British law.

Lack of legal security for SM-ers

Leitner v. State (1983) 631 So. 2d 278-9. 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.

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 the chief sufferers, losing their jobs, or even their children, because of their SM love, lifestyle and self-expression.

In fact, staying in the closet doesn’t protect people – only one-third of those who suffered violence or discrimination reported that they are “out”. The other two-thirds were minding their own business and keeping their mouths shut when they were either harassed or discriminated against.

A lot of people fear loss of child custody, losing their job or the possibility of harming family relations because of their SM orientation.

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 – sado-masochism. 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 (unfortunately currently only in Norwegian). 

Once more we see the the law and the psychiatry walk hand in hand, as was the case concerning homosexuality in earlier days.

Possible strategies to remove the SM/fetish diagnoses

We have in recent years seen three strategies used to remove SM and Fetish diagnoses.

1) Political actions directed towards the government and the health administration. This was the strategy used when Denmark withdrew SM from their national list of psychiatric diagnoses in 1995. It was a political decision resulting from a single letter from a SM organization. Maybe the chairman of the SM group “The Black Society” had an “easy match”, because the Health Minister of that time – Yvonne Herløv Andersen – was a liberal lesbian lady. we also know that there has been a serious debate about sadomasochism in Denmark for decades.

2) The second strategy is coordinated action from kink-friendly mental health professionals towards the board that is responsible for decision-making concerning the diagnoses. This is what happened when the American Psychiatric Association, APA, considerably revised their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994. SM and Fetishism is now considered to be a healthy form of sexual expression in the US, as long as it does not impair the daily functioning of the subject, according to the latest edition of DSM-IV.

According to DSM-IV, SM and Fetishism only becomes a diagnosable dysfunction when urges, fantasies or behaviors “cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” In addition APA clearly indicate that “a paraphilia must be distinguished from the non-pathological use of sexual fantasies, behavior or objects as a stimulus for sexual excitement.”

3) In the ReviseF65 group we have discussed which strategy to choose for some time. My visit to Europride in Cologne last summer was a great help as it gave me the opportunity to discuss strategy with German SM activists.
You could say that we have chosen the slow and labour-demanding way: building up support from federations of mental health professionals. Last winter, we received important support from both the Norwegian Association of Gay and Lesbian Physicians and the Norwegian Society for Clinical Sexology. Next year, we hope to be able to receive support from the Organization of Psychiatrists in Norway. In this way, we will build a professional foundation for an initiative by the health authorities to remove the diagnoses.

On an international level, we have for several years tried to stimulate the building-up of a growing international activist and professional network that shares our goals.

The more countries that abolish their national SM and Fetish diagnoses, the bigger the possibility that the World Health Organization will follow suit.

We have also gained support from other organisations in Europe. So far we have got support from the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA Europe), and the European Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (ECMC).

This third “hard way” strategy is much like the one used by the lesbian and gay movement to get rid of homosexuality as a diagnosis (this was in fact in the same F65 chapter as the SM diagnosis is now).

Professional articles

The support we have obtained this far, is not least due to systematic professional work from the mental health specialists in the ReviseF65 committee. An article by psychologist Odd Reiersøl can be found at So far, this article has been translated by other webpages to German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Russian, in addition to English and Norwegian. Another article, written by Reiersøl and I, will be published in a SM edition of the American publication “The Journal of Homosexuality”. A third article addressed to psychiatrists, written by our project psychiatrist Reidar Kjaer, will also soon be accessible to the public in a scientic magazine.

Last June, Kjaer was a speaker at a symposium on the SM/fetish diagnoses at the International Psychiatric Conference in Vienna, Austria, which was arranged by the World Psychiatric Association. A first step can be that the WHO will change the ICD diagnoses in a similar way that happened in the US in 1994 when DSM-IV was established.


In spite of several attempts, we have not been able to carry out research projects as yet. We wanted to find out whether SM/fetish people have a higher degree of psychopathology than the rest of the population. Unfortunately, the efforts were aborted, due to collaboration difficulties and lack of support from the educational and political institutions approached.

But no, evidence has so far showed that there is any more severe psychopathology to be found in the persons that can be labeled with any of these three diagnoses.

Results from a research project by Connolly et al 2003, among a group with bondage and sadomasochistic interests (BDSM) showed that “no evidence was found to support the notion that major disorders–including depression, anxiety, mania/bipolarity, and obsessive-compulsivity–are more prevalent among members of the BDSM community than among members of the general population. Indeed, if anything, our findings suggested that members of the BDSM community are less likely than others to present with major disorders.”

They also “found no support for the view that BDSM players present greater-than-average levels of psychological sadism or masochism. Clearly, then, earlier assumptions that severe psychopathology underlies all BDSM erotic play were not supported”.
Ref. (Connolly et al. in press)

How can we co-operate?

The purpose of this introduction has been to get individuals, SM groups and kink-friendly mental health professionals in the UK involved in the network-building efforts to reach the goal of getting the diagnoses repealed. We think that specific strategies should be determined at the local and national level, depending on the professional and political situation in your own country. The support and work of leather men and women, SM community-leaders and kinky organizations are crucial to reaching this goal. The initiative of individuals is always to be welcomed. Even more effective can be the formation of local and national working groups, which are able to approach the professionals in question.

Is there any possibility that UK activists can rally against this diagnoses even though some forms of SM is still illegal in the UK?

Is it possible that medical and judicial suppression of SM people are two aspects of the same case? That legal thinking to some extent is grounded on psychiatry, and that psychiatric thinking to some extent is grounded on the judicial situation?

Is it possible that the removal of SM diagnoses could make it easier to legalize SM in Great Britain?

Is it possible for British SM human rights activists to collaborate with the ReviseF65 group?

To be informed and have your voice heard – you can join our e-mail discussion group at

Svein Skeid

English Norsk Seksualpolitikk

Mistet jobben på grunn av SM-orientering

Mistet jobben pga SM-orientering (publisert 15. juni 2003)

En 26 år gammel kvinne mistet i desember 2000 vikarjobben sin som selger i et forsikringsselskap på Østlandet på grunn av åpenhet omkring sin SM-orientering.

Av Svein Skeid

Hun hadde et vikariat med muligheter for fast ansettelse og gjennomgikk 6-7 ukers intern teoriopplæring og oppnådde beste resultat av hele kullet av nye vikarer.
Etter å ha blitt med i salgsteam, dro teamet på teambuilding-seminar. Under seminaret ble de ansatte blant annet oppfordret til å fortelle sine kolleger noe om seg selv som de andre ikke kjente til. Kvinnen lurte litt på å fortelle om sin SM-interesse, men følte at det ikke ble helt riktig, og valgte heller å bidra med noe annet. Senere samme kveld, etter at middagen var fortært og stemningen ble løsere, åpnet hun seg opp for 2-3 kolleger og fortalte litt om SM-interessen. Dette ble møtt med godt humør og tatt imot som noe “kult” av kollegene, og i de første par ukene tilbake på kontoret, ble det spøkt og fleipet litt med “kinky” vitser i pauser og slikt, spesielt mellom kvinnen og disse kollegene. Teamlederen hørte spøkene, men delte ikke humoren.

To uker senere fikk kvinnen sparken. Sjefen skyldte på økonomien og sa han hadde tatt inn for mange nye ansatte. Dette kom som en stor overraskelse på henne, med tanke på de gode resultatene på teoriopplæringen.

Hos konsulenten i vikarbyrået, fikk kvinnen etterpå et velmenende råd om at det er lurt å være litt mindre åpen om sitt privatliv på arbeidsplassen. Kvinnen forklarte konsulenten at hun trodde forsikringsselskapets økonomi var årsak til oppdragsavbruddet, hvorpå konsulenten ble litt perpleks et øyeblikk – akkurat nok til at kvinnen skjønte at økonomien slett ikke hadde noe å si.

To måneder etter dette, annonserte forsikringsselskapet på nytt etter nye vikarer til sine salgsteam – vikariater med muligheter for fast ansettelse.

Kvinnen valgte å ikke sloss for jobben sin, med tanke på at hun kun var vikar og derfor ikke hadde like store rettigheter som en fast ansatt ville hatt. I tillegg ville hun blitt stående som en bråkmaker, og kanskje miste muligheten til arbeid gjennom vikarbyrået i ettertid.

Det finner mange eksempler på at fetisjister og SM-ere mister jobben på grunn av sin SM-tilhørighet og orientering. Andre trues med oppsigelse dersom de fortsetter å informere offentlig om gruppens menneskerettigheter.

En undersøkelse blant leserne til “The Leather Journal” i 2001 kan tyde på at én av fire fetisjister opplever jobb-diskriminering.

En undersøkelse foretatt av SM-rettighetsorganisasjonen The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, NCSF, viser at én av 13 SM-ere hadde mistet jobben på grunn av sin legning.


English text

Dismissal of temporary worker

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.

By Svein Skeid

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).

English Professional work



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.


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.


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.


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].




The Manuals of Mental Health and Project ReviseF65

Svein Skeid is one of the responsibles for the Project ReviseF65 or Project ICD ( 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 (, 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 ( 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 ( and, 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 (, 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” (, 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.




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.


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.”



– 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 (

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.


Animals prefer Homossexuality to Evolution. Retrieved January 17, 2003, from

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

Classificação Estatística Internacional Das Doenças e Problemas da Saúde (ICD-10). Retrieved May 7, 2002, from [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

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 Retrieved May 7, 2002 [Dead link]. Retrieved April 02, 2002. Retrieved April 02, 2002. Retrieved January 10, 2003. 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.

English Professional work

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.

Arkiv 1997 - 2002 English Fagartikler

Revise F65! The ICD-10 paraphilia diagnoses

In Norwegian


The relevant sections in “F65 Disorders of sexual preference”:


In the ICD-10 the Sexual deviation category is called Disorders of Sexual Preference (DSP) and given the code F65.

“Disorders of Sexual Preference, Includes: paraphilias,

Excludes: problems associated with sexual orientation”

“Diagnostic Criteria for Research”, characterize these disorders by the following general criteria:

G1. The individual experiences recurrent sexual urges and fantasies involving unusual objects or activities.

G2. The individual either acts on the urges or is markedly distressed by them.

G3. The preference has been present for at least 6 months.
F65.0 Fetishism

Reliance on some non-living object as a stimulus for sexual arousal and sexual gratification. Many fetishes are extensions of the human body, such as articles of clothing or footware [sic]. Other common examples are characterized by some particular texture such as rubber, plastic, or leather. Fetish objects vary in their importance to the individual: in some cases they serve simply to enhance sexual excitement achieved in ordinary ways (e.g. having the partner wear a particular garment).

Diagnostic guidelines. Fetishism should be diagnosed only if the fetish is the most important source of sexual stimulation or essential for satisfactory sexual response.

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 sexual intercourse and cause the individual distress.

Fetishism is limited almost exclusively to males.

F65.1 Fetishistic transvestism

The wearing of clothes of the opposite sex principally to obtain sexual excitement.

Diagnostic guidelines. This disorder is to be distinguished from simple fetishism inn that the fetishistic articles of clothing are not only worn, but worn also to create the appearance of a person of the opposite sex. Usually more than one article is worn and often a complete outfit, plus wig and makeup. Fetishistic transvestism is distinguished from transsexual transvestism by its clear association with sexual arousal and the strong desire to remove the clothing once orgasm occurs and sexual arousal declines. A history of fetishistic transvestism is commonly reported as an earlier phase by transsexuals and probably represents a stage in the development of transsexualism in such cases.

Includes: transvestic fetishism

F65.5 Sadomasochism

A preference for sexual activity that involves bondage or the infliction of pain or humiliation. If the individual prefers to be the recipient of such stimulation this is called masochism; if the provider, sadism. Often an individual obtains sexual excitement from both sadistic and masochistic activities.

Mild degrees of sadomasochistic stimulation are commonly used to enhance otherwise normal sexual activity. This category should be used only if sadomasochistic activity is the most important source of stimulation or if necessary for sexual gratification.

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.

Includes: masochism sadism

F65.6 Multiple disorders of sexual preference

Sometimes more than one disorder of sexual preference occurs in one person an none has clear precedence. The most common combination is fetishism, transvestism, and sadomasochism.


AOL discriminates gay leathermen

Homoorganisasjoner kritiserer AOL for diskriminering av lærhomser
USAs største internettleverandør AOL, lar rasistiske og homofobe ytringer passere, men slår ned på enlærhomse som beskriver seg selv som “SM-slave”. Yahoo 21.10.99

English Seksualpolitikk

Enda en stat tillater dildoer

Staten Louisiana har opphevet loven som forbød sex-leketøy som ligner kjønnsorganer og som “er laget eller markedsført for stimulering av menneskelige kjønnsorganer”. Butikkinnehaver Christine Brenan fikk ifjor bot og to års betinget fengsel for å ha solgt dildoer og andre sexleketøy.

Skeive nyheter har tidligere meldt at staten Alabama har gjort tilsvarende vedtak etter at en gruppe amerikanske kvinner gikk til sak. Straffen for å selge dildoer i Alabama var 77.000 kroner og straffearbeid i ett år.

English Norsk Seksualpolitikk Sexual politics

Intimsfæren truet

Hentet fra Kulturkanalen Morgenbladet 07.03.97

Intimsfæren truet

Av Didrik Søderlind Kulturkanalen Morgenbladet 07.03.97

Den såkalte Spanner-dommen fra England har fått minimal omtale i norske media. Et lynkurs: I 1990 fikk femten homoseksuelle menn fire og et halvt års fengsel for sadomasochistiske handlinger. Dommen ble senere nedsatt til to og et halvt år, siden ingen av de tiltalte ante at de hadde gjort noe ulovlig. Tre av de dømte appellerte til menneskerettighetsdomstolen i Strasbourg. I forrige uke ga domstolene den engelske regjeringen rett på alle punkter. Alle handlingene var utført med fullt samtykke – det viktige skillet mellom S/M og seksuell vold – fra alle de involverte. Alle aktiviteter foregikk i private hjem. Alle var over den seksuelle lavalderen, som i England er to år høyere for homoseksuelle. Ingen penger skiftet hender. Ingen hadde anmeldt noen. Medisinske undersøkelser viste at ingen av de siktede var blitt skadet. Det var ingen ytre omstendigheter som gjorde akten rettsstridig.

Spanner-dommen handler om langt mer enn retten til å påføre sin egen kropp smerte, og om mer enn retten til å ha et seksualliv utenfor det alment aksepterte. Den berører såpass grunnleggende ting som råderett over egen kropp, hvorvidt voksne mennesker skal anses som myndige og ikke minst retten til privatliv.

Er det som foregår på ditt soverom et politianliggende? Hvis dominobrikkene begynner å falle, kan det bli riktig morsomt. Blir det forbudt å påføre kroppen sin smerte i nytelses hensikt, kan det i ytterste konsekvens bli forbudt å ta hull i ørene, hvis du “får noe ut av det”. Og hvordan skal politiet kunne finne ut dét?

England, landet der parlamentsmedlemmer blir funnet døde med appelsiner i munnen, har en lang tradisjon på denne typen tenkning. Særlig har homoseksuelle— fått føle jernhælen. Clause 28 tok ikke bare sikte på å stigmatisere homoseksuelle, men å utrydde homoseksualitet som begrep: Positive skildringer av homoseksualitet skulle renskes ut av skolebøker og kulturliv.

I Norge slutter nå Kvinnegruppa Ottar seg til samme tradisjon ved å ville forby S/M. Ottar er en marginal gruppe uten særlig innflytelse. Mer betenkelig er det derfor at Kvinnefronten nå følger opp. Riktignok i mer moderat form; kvinnefronten vil “ideologien”, hva nå dette måtte bety, til livs. Resonnementet er påfallende likt kirkens absurde skille mellom homofil legning og praksis. Å ville forby en seksualitet på denne måten plasserer Kvinnefronten i leir med konservative kirkelige krefter. Det er forsåvidt ikke noe nytt i dette; disse to fløyene har tidligere bevist at selv om de er “strange bedfellows”, kan de ha det riktig hyggelig under halmen. Menneskelig seksualitet er mangslungne saker. At det finnes mange som synes at alle skal være heteroseksuelle, er ikke noe nytt. Det er allikevel provoserende når trangsynte seiler under progressivt flagg. Politiet har andre ting å drive med enn å legge seg opp i voksne menneskers samtykkende seksualliv. For eksempel etterforske saker der mennesker har blitt utsatt for seksuelle handlinger mot sin vilje.



It is provoking when narrow-minded sail under the progressive flag”, Didrik Søderlind write about the Norwegian women group Kvinnefronten in Morgenbladet March 7, 1997.

The Spanner campain in Norway
From 1993 to 1997 Smia-Oslo campaigned and set about fund-raising (picture) in favour of the defendants in the British Spanner Case, which started in Manchester 1987. As part of an international campain, Smia gained support from several dozen Norwegian political organisations with many hundreds of thousands of members from both the political left and right, including women‘s rights groups and trade unions, not to mention the unanimous backing of the Lesbian and Gay movement. 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.

About the Spanner process
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 defendants (picture), 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 Law Commission: SM is legal!
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).