For a few years now the big news for sexologists has been the upcoming (like, next Spring) DSM-V, which is to say theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth main revision. The importance of this book cannot be understated, as it is the main reference used to decide whether a person is sane or not, and how society should deal with it. To give an example, until the publishing of DSM-II/7 in 1974 homosexuality was listed as a form of mental illness which could get you forcibly institutionalized – which sorta puts into perspective why whatever gets in or out of the book gets debated for years before each edition.
Now, one problem with the editorial choices is that they are largely made in secret by a committee who doesn’t really have to disclose its reasons. In fact, from time to time old documents pertaining to surpassed editions get discovered revealing how personal beliefs and lobbies pressure can skew the board’s judgement, and the committee has been harshly criticized in several occasions.
The gist of every criticism is that the DSM is prone to overmedicalize normal behaviors. Case in point: is Asperger’s syndrome a very light form of autism, or simply a fancy name for an introverted character and a good excuse to sell treatments and medicines? Either case, it is out of next edition and about 460.000 kids in the United States only will suddenly be “normal” again. Yet if you are a pharmaceutical company this single decision can impact your revenues for hundreds of millions of dollars, so it is easy to see where the push for adding more “disorders” to the DSM-V came from.
This quite depressing scenario hides however an unexpected surprise: the news just came out that “sex addiction” (also known as ‘hypersexuality syndrome’) was twice rejected from the proposals, both as an addictive and sexual disorder categories, and further excluded from Section 3, collecting the conditions ‘requiring further research’. In other words: sex addiction just doesn’t exist – it was a fraud all along.
What this really means mostly amounts to two important points. First of all, watching online porn isn’t really something you can’t control or anything you can call an illness. Christian groups will have to come to terms with the concept that they can’t try to censor these contents on medical reasons or “cure” pornography users anymore – and the latter will just have to cut down on the time wasted on filth, as that’s simply slacking.
More importantly, the same “no such an excuse” approach apply for all those cases in which people found guilty of abusive, violent or just stupid sex-related behaviors hide behind a complacent sex addiction diagnosis. That is, pedophile priests and coaches are officially just criminals, rapists are, abusive bosses and colleagues at work are plain pigs, and so on. Chalk it up as a victory for healthy sex.