The ICD diagnoses of fetishism and sadomasochism

J Homosex. 2006;50(2-3):243-62. doi: 10.1300/J082v50n02_12.


In this article we discuss psychiatric diagnoses of sexual deviation as they appear in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), the internationally accepted classification and diagnostic system of the World Health Organization (WHO). Namely, we discuss the background of three diagnostic categories: Fetishism (F65.0), Fetishistic Transvestism (F65.1), and Sadomasochism (F65.5). Pertinent background issues regarding the above categories are followed by a critique of the usefulness of diagnosing these phenomena today. Specifically, we argue that Fetishism, Fetishistic Transvestism, and Sadomasochism, also labeled Paraphilia or perversion, should not be considered illnesses. Finally, we present the efforts of an initiative known as ReviseF65, which was established in 1997, to abolish these diagnoses.

MeSH terms

  • Denmark
  • Europe
  • Fetishism, Psychiatric / diagnosis*
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Masochism / diagnosis*
  • Politics
  • Sadism / diagnosis*
  • Sex Offenses
  • Transvestism / diagnosis*