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Too often we assume that “sick” sexual behaviors — BDSM, cross-dressing, or other atypical sexual interests — have to be ended through a program of renunciation and abstinence, even though the American Psychiatric Association has very clear guidelines in the DSM-5 on the difference between kinks (paraphilias) and the psychological disorders associated with kinks.I once supervised a therapist who believed that if someone was into spanking, something was wrong because, in her opinion, pain and pleasure should never be combined.
* The sex addiction model uses a widely used and widely available sexual addiction screening test, which therapists can administer to recognize areas that are “problematic” within their clients’ “arousal template.” Clients are asked if they have purchased romantic novels and sexually explicit magazines, spent time and money in strip clubs, have paid prostitutes, or even if anyone has been upset by their behavior.
They are asked if they regularly engage in sado-masochistic behavior, or regularly attend bathhouses, sex clubs, or porn shops, and whether they cruise parks.
Thus, the test implicitly decides that viewing and purchasing romantic novels and sexually explicit magazines, or any of these other behaviors is wrong.
Jack Morin, in his book, , says it best: “If you go to war with your sexuality you will lose and cause more chaos than you started.” Doug Harvey Braun, author of "Treating Out Of Control Sexual Behaviors: Rethinking Sex Addiction" cautions removing a person’s erotic life in the process of trying to treat their so-called addiction, referring to it as an “eroticectomy.” In the sex addiction model the client is led to believe that if they return to that sexual behavior they will relapse into sexual compulsivity.
So they build a life around avoiding the behaviors and fantasies with strong boundaries rather than accepting and befriending this part of themselves and learning to control it rather than it controlling them.
Sex therapist Marty Klein has written, “The mission of sex addiction therapists is to put everyone in the missionary position.” Having come from the inside of the trainings and discussions, I can’t disagree with him.