Paraphilias in the DSM-5

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2016:12:383-406. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-021815-093330. Epub 2016 Jan 11.


This review summarizes and critically examines the changes in how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) characterizes paraphilias. Attention is paid to the diagnostic options that were included in DSM-5, the decision not to include criterion sets for two additional disorders (paraphilic coercive disorder and hypersexual behavior disorder), and the further decision not to modify the diagnosis of pedophilic to pedohebephilic disorder. The three most significant changes are (a) the move to distinguish paraphilias from paraphilic disorders (allowing unusual sexual interests to be studied by researchers but only regarded as disorders when they cause distress or dysfunction), (b) introducing criteria describing paraphilic disorders as being in remission (when they no longer cause distress or dysfunction), and (c) clarifying the relationship between behavior and paraphilias. Concerns are noted about the forensic use of diagnoses and the lack of funding for field trials in this revision of the DSM. Suggestions are given for future directions in order to further research efficacy and clinical diagnosis.

Keywords: changes; definitions; evidence base; implications; paraphilia/paraphilic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

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