The DSM diagnostic criteria for sexual sadism

Arch Sex Behav. 2010 Apr;39(2):325-45. doi: 10.1007/s10508-009-9586-3.


I reviewed the empirical literature for 1900-2008 on the paraphilia of Sexual Sadism for the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Workgroup for the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The results of this review were tabulated into a general summary of the criticisms relevant to the DSM diagnosis of Sexual Sadism, the assessment of Sexual Sadism utilizing the DSM in samples drawn from forensic populations, and the assessment of Sexual Sadism using the DSM in non-forensic populations. I conclude that the diagnosis of Sexual Sadism should be retained, that minimal modifications of the wording of this diagnosis are warranted, and that there is a need for the development of dimensional and structured diagnostic instruments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Sadism / diagnosis*