Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 213–223

The DSM-5’s Proposed New Categories of Sexual Disorder: The Problem of False Positives in Sexual Diagnosis

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10615-011-0353-2

Cite this article as:
Wakefield, J.C. Clin Soc Work J (2012) 40: 213. doi:10.1007/s10615-011-0353-2


The proposals that have emerged from the DSM-5 revision process have triggered considerable controversy, especially regarding potential invalid inflation of diagnostic categories. To illustrate the kinds of issues that have emerged, I closely examine the proposed new categories of sexual disorder. The DSM-5 Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group is proposing the addition of three categories of disorder to the DSM-5—hypersexuality, hebephilia (as part of a revised pedophilia category that would become pedohebephilia), and coercive paraphilic disorder (basically a “nonconsent” or rape paraphilia). These proposals are driven by perceived clinical or forensic needs. I argue, however, that their conceptual soundness remains problematic; each could lead to large numbers of false positive diagnoses (i.e., diagnoses that mistakenly label a normal variant of behavior as a mental disorder), with potential for serious forensic abuse in “sexually violent predator” civil commitment proceedings.


DSM-5 Diagnosis Validity Sexual disorder Hebephilia Hypersexual disorder Paraphilic coercive disorder Harmful dysfunction False positive 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silver School of Social Work and Department of PsychiatryNew York University (NYU)New YorkUSA

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