Kinky Sex Is Absolutely Normal, You Guys, Seriously.


Sex. It’s a perfectly natural human desire, and it plays a huge role in our identity and life experiences. Yet, since the beginning of mankind, people in power have tried their darndest to shit on the sexuality of those around them, and often their suppression tool of choice is shame. We all know who these pearl-clutching, finger wagging assholes are—clergy, politicians, educators, nosy neighbors, and yes, even doctors.  

The mental health profession technically rules what’s “normal” or “abnormal” when it comes to sex, but are they actually right? I mean, when it comes to kink, oftentimes what’s “normal” has nothing to do with actual mental health. Instead, it has to do with the judgment of the culture at the time. Take the guidebook the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (also called DSM). Doctors use this guidebook to diagnose disorders, and the book categorizes kink like voyeurism, sadism and masochism, and fetishes as “abnormal.” That judgy classification bothered one sex-positive Canadian enough that she created a study seeking to debunk it, Reuters reports.

The study was led by Christian Joyal, a psychology researcher at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres. She was peeved that the DSM created and reinforced negative stereotypes about non-vanilla sexual behavior. After all, this is the same guide that once classified homosexuality as “deviant” and was used to condemn gays.

Joyal’s research focused on the manual’s “paraphilic disorders,” which are sexual behaviors labeled as “abnormal,” “illegal,” or “inducing suffering or impairment.” These “abnormal” behaviors include fetishizing objects and cross-dressing, and Joyal found the labeling to be rightfully judgmental. After all, anyone who practices kink seems to enjoy it, so why the bad rap?

It all seems to go back to authority figures who don’t know sex telling everyone how to have sex. It’s annoying, and we just wish those repressed losers would stop overcompensating and leave everyone else alone.

After surveying a thousand adults, Joyal found that a whole lot of people are into sex acts deemed “abnormal,” and if a whole of people are abnormal, then does that mean kink is actually the norm? The researchers asked if they desired eight sexual behaviors that the manual defined as paraphilic. Overall, about half of the people expressed interest in at least one of the kinks, and about one third of the respondents said they had actually engaged in at least one of the behaviors themselves.

David Ley, the author of “The Myth of Sex Addiction,” also worked on the study. He said the research is part of a growing trend of work that focuses on debunking negative ideas about sexuality. He talked about how back in the day doctors condemned masturbation and homosexuality and deemed those acts as “unhealthy.” Now we see how ridiculous those supposedly smart professionals actually were, so what else have they got wrong? After all, as long as sex is consensual, then seriously, what’s the problem? If people are enjoying themselves and not hurting anyone, then there’s nothing “deviant” about that.

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