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I am studying human sexuality in particular I have reached the point in my studies of abnormal sexual behaviour. With the popularization of the BDSM topic (especially the troubling sadism and masochism) through books like 50 Shades of Purple I mean Gray, inclusion in music videos like Marroon 5's Misery and movies like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo it begs the question is paraphilia on the rise in America? S&M is said to be uncommon but it is highly prevalent in pornography.

BDSM paraphilia as I understand it from the DSM would be those who constantly practice BDSM and are unable to be aroused without it. This would include the outwardly destructive and the inwardly destructive. This is as defined by Dr. Baily who teaches at Harrisburg Area Community College and has clinical experience dealing sadist in particular rapist.

This example from the television show Niptuck very well explains S&M. Abby is textbook masochism and Christian likewise is sadistic.

Abby Mays is an overweight woman with large facial features who wants Christian to make her his Cinderella. But Christian, still hurting over Kimber’s disappearance, is impatient with her. “My face belongs in a feed bag and my hips and legs should be pulling a beer wagon,” Abby declares. Christian agrees. He gets up and viciously marks up her body, coloring in red all her imperfections. When he’s done, she’s red from head to toe.

Christian operates on Abby as if she’s a piece of meat, lipo-ing her so harshly that Liz walks out. She recovers at Julia’s spa, where she lays it on thick about how she can’t believe Kimber left him at the altar. Christian invites her to his place. (In all these Christian-Abby scenes, we hear slashing noises in the background.) Abby keeps her appointment. He asks her to slip on something more comfortable — a paper bag. She puts it over her head and he has sex with her.

Later at work Abby comes in, not to lash out at Christian but to tell him she’s available to him whenever he wants her. She gives him a paper bag with her phone number on it. It was the greatest sex she had ever had. He tells her to be at his place at 9. She leaves. We see a tear roll down Christian’s cheek.

-Let’s hope this is at dark as Nip/Tuck gets

If possible could you consider Mild and Major classifications of sadism as per Dr. Hucker:

--Characteristics/Predominate Features - Mild Sexual Sadism; Mild sadism, referred to as S&M, bondage & discipline, or dominance & submission is a specialized subculture in the homosexual community and in large cities networks exist for those who have this interest. It is not, however, limited to this group. Sexual sadists of both sexes often seek out masochistic partners. Sexually sadistic behaviour in these consensual cases may involve:

  • role playing with dominant and submissive roles: master-slave, governess-pupil, etc.
  • the dominant partner placing the submissive one in a position of helplessness and then applies some form of discipline or punishment, usually accompanied by verbal degradation
  • use of gags and blindfolds to render the submissive partner helpless and immobile
  • the administration of pain, humiliation or bondage is effected through such acts as whipping or flagellation, usually applied to the buttocks
  • cross-dressing the submissive partner
  • treating the submissive like an animal and/or making him/her crawl
  • confining the submissive to a cage
  • humiliated by being forced to wear a diaper or lick the dominant's boots.
  • binding or clamping the breasts/nipples/penis of the submissive
  • urinating or defecating on the submissive and forcing ingestion on the victim

--Characteristics/Predominate Features - Major Sexual Sadism; Major sexual sadism, on other other hand, is usually not consensual and involves injury or death to the victim. The element of fear in the victim and complete control of the victim is the major sexual stimuli in major sexual sadism. Some of the more severe activities involved in this behavior may include:

  • severe beatings
  • torture
  • burning, cutting,
  • stabbing in the breast or buttocks (piquerism)
  • rape (see Sadistic Rape)
  • murder (see Sadistic or Lust Murder)
  • vampirism
  • necrophilia

-Sexual Sadism

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Would you be able to clarify exactly what phenomena you want to obtain historical prevalence data on: Is it any form of BDSM? If so how do you define BDSM? If you refer only to destructive/deviant/problematic or what might be labelled "paraphilic", what would be your definition of the distinction between paraphilic and non-paraphilic? –  Jeromy Anglim Jan 30 at 8:06
    
@JeromyAnglim gladly –  caseyr547 Jan 30 at 8:50
    
If popular books, movies, and music are really pertinent here, you might be asking a sociological question. That is, it may be helpful to clarify whether you're interested in non-clinical issues such as subcultural trends in the popularity of or fascination with BDSM and paraphilia, or whether you want to know about statistical trends in the prevalence of specific clinical diagnoses. Or both! Maybe you'd like to know how any cultural trends might be affecting clinical trends? Clinical diagnosis entails specific criteria that go well beyond mere interest in BDSM. Sorry if I'm harping on this. –  Nick Stauner Jan 30 at 13:16
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@NickStauner yes the ideal answer would contain criminal and clinical citations about diagnostic and symptom pervailance. similar to the citations given by Hucker concerning stats but more recent than the 80s. –  caseyr547 Jan 30 at 16:35
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You should delete everything but the first paragraph. (a) The second paragraph misrepresents the source you quote, thus misleading readers and lowering the quality of this site. (b) The lengthy information overload distracts from your question and is irrelevant to it. –  what Jan 30 at 22:16

1 Answer 1

Currently your question cannot be answered.

There is fundamental disagreement among specialists (a) about the definition of paraphilia, and (b) if paraphilias are disorders. There are no prevalence statistics available (for the general population), so it is impossible to say anything about changes in prevalence.

One of the biggest problems is the lack of available statistics on the paraphilias as a whole. Research has typically been limited to participants from the prison population, which has lead to several limitations in the research. The first problem is that there is a lack of available statistics not only for the paraphilias as a whole, but also in terms of the paraphilias and the general population. One problem with using the prison population is it has lead to an overrepresentation of sexual sadism and pedophilia in the literature. (Blow, 2008; emphasis mine)

If you think that this source does not meet the standards of quotability, here is the same information from a standard textbook on clinical psychology:

For most paraphilias reliable prevalence statistics are not available. (Davison & Neale, 2001)

Sexual fantasies and sexual practice are not the same. Many women report fantasies of being raped, but you cannot infer from that that they actually want to be raped. Therefore drawing conclusions about the prevalence of paraphilias from the prevalence of reported sexual fantasies, as Hucker does, is not legitimate.


Also you are reading things into the DSM that are not there.

The DSM-IV-TR that you link to says:

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving acts (real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person.

B. The person has acted on these urges with a nonconsenting person, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

You say: "BDSM paraphilia as I understand it from the DSM would be those who constantly practice BDSM and are unable to be aroused without it." (emphasis mine)

The DSM does not say anything of the kind.

There are scholars (e.g. Fiedler, 2009) that differentiate between an inclination towards a paraphilia and an exclusive practice. Exclusive sadists make up about 5-10% of all rapists and 30% of all pedophile molesters. Exclusive paraphilias can be found in about 10-20% of sexual offenders. (all numbers from Fiedler, 2009, p. 463)


Sources:

  • Blow, J. (2008). Paraphilias: A Review of the Statistics a nd Confounds Within the Available Research (unpublished seminar paper, University of Ottawa). Available online at: http://courseweb.edteched.uottawa.ca/psy3171/Lectures/Example%20Essays/paraphilia.pdf
  • Davison, G. C., & Neale, J. M. (2001). Abnormal Psychology. Wiley.
  • Fiedler, P. (2009). Sexuelle Deviationen und Paraphilien [Sexual deviations and paraphilias]. In J. Margraf & S. Schneider, Lehrbuch der Verhaltenstherapie, Band 2: Störungen im Erwachsenenalter – Spezielle Indikationen – Glossar (3rd ed., pp. 461-475). Heidelberg: Springer Medizin.
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