Pragmatic and Darwinian Views of the Paraphilias
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In this article, I discuss the question of the pathological nature of various sexual orientations and paraphilias and provide arguments for and against the inclusion of various paraphilias in future versions of the DSM. Practically, it is proposed that most of the paraphilias can be usefully conceptualized as involving sexual behaviors directed toward non-consenting individuals. From a Darwinian standpoint, it seems clear that at least some of the paraphilias should not be considered to be pathological because they are potentially associated with enhanced fitness.
KeywordsParaphilias DSM Darwinian Pathology Sexual orientation
Thanks are due to the pension funds of Queen’s University and the Government of Canada. The author gratefully acknowledges the helpful comments of Martin Lalumière and Paul Vasey. A version of this article was presented at the University of Lethbridge Workshop, The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation: What Is It and How Does It Work? Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, June 2010. The author was an advisor to the Paraphilias Subworkgroup of the DSM-5 Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup.
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