Dr. Marty Klein lectured at Indiana University last fall on the “War on Sex” in America and outlined the ways in which our country attacks sexuality and has forced its association with all things bad and wrong with society.
I agree with Dr. Klein when he says we need to take a new look at sexuality, a positive look that recognizes sexuality as a natural, healthy part of our everyday lives and a part that, as of right now, is far too rigidly controlled and regulated by American culture (and often laws).
Good News From Sweden
So onto the good news about Sweden: Sweden’s health officials have decided that seven “alternative” sexual behaviors will no longer be listed as diseases in an effort to “limit prejudice” against people who practice these activities, including sadomasochism, fetishism, and transvestitism.
Here in the US, people who engage in these behaviors (often called kink or kinky sex) are pathologized by the DSM-IV, the diagnostic manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists to match psychological symptoms to mental illness or disease. You can check here for what the DSM-IV currently says about paraphillas or these sexual behaviors.
Dr. Klein put it best on his blog when he wrote:
Why does it matter? Because people whose sexuality is officially classified as “sick” are more likely to lose their kids, their jobs, their military careers, and their civilian security clearances…To appreciate the importance of Sweden’s bureaucratic action, recall that homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in the U.S. until 1973. Included in the diagnostic manual DSM-II, it was finally omitted from the updated DSM-III. As people today discuss how many civil rights should be granted or withheld from gay Americans, imagine how the debate would look if people like Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, or the Mormon Church could say “yes, but the American Psychiatric Association says these men and women are sick.”
You can read more in Dr. Klein’s 2006 book: America’s War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust and Liberty.