In her column on March 28 ("Apparition of a Lolita nation?") Debra Saunders appropriately questions the American Psychological Association's rhetoric that pedophilia is "a mental disorder, extremely harmful to children, is illegal and should stay illegal" when they simultaneously publish a study by psychologists urging mental health professionals not to assume that sex between nonrelated adults and minors is abusive.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which is published by American Psychiatric Association in conjunction with liaisons from more than 60 health associations, including the American Psychological Association, is gradually diminishing the criteria for diagnosing sexual disorders known as paraphilias.
Paraphilias include pedophilia and other sexual disorders such as exhibitionism and transvestic behavior (cross-dressing). In DSM-IIIR, which was published in 1987, a diagnosis of any paraphilic disorder including pedophilia required that at least two diagnostic criteria be met: (1) whether the client had the particular deviant sexual urges and fantasies over at least a six-month period, and (2) had acted on those urges, or was markedly distressed by them. Seven years later when DSM-IV was published in 1994 the second criteria was altered and the actual action of the sexually deviant behavior was deleted. …