Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1443–1447 | Cite as

Paraphilic Coercive Disorder in the DSM: The Right Diagnosis for the Right Reasons

  • Paul SternEmail author


The recommendation to include a Paraphilic Coercive Disorder (PCD) diagnosis in the DSM-5 represents an improvement over current options and would lead to the shrinking of the pool of individuals considered for detention as Sexually Violent Predators. A precise description of the diagnostic criteria for PCD would permit psychologists and psychiatrists to use more specific and narrow criteria for those who seek sexual gratification by coercing others to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. This might permit mental health professionals to abandon the Paraphilia NOS designation in favor of the more defined PCD in appropriate cases. Various critics have attacked the proposal on what appears to be misplaced ideological grounds. Not only should ideological concerns not play a part in a scientific debate, but the critics’ predictions of how the PCD diagnosis would play out in the legal arena are likely wrong. Paraphilic Coercive Disorder would give the judicial system the best opportunity to most accurately identify the small group of men who have previously committed, and are likely in the future to commit, this type of predatory sexual violence.


DSM-5 Paraphilic Coercive Disorder Paraphilia NOS (rape) Paraphilia NOS (nonconsent) Civil commitment Sexually violent predator laws Sex offenders 



The author is an Advisor to the DSM-V Paraphilias subworkgroup of the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup (Chair, Kenneth J. Zucker, Ph.D.). The opinions expressed in this article are the thoughts and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or reflect any policies of the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V Workgroup Reports (Copyright 2010), American Psychiatric Association.


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Copyright information

© American Psychiatric Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Snohomish County Prosecutors OfficeEverett USA

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