Classifying Sex: Debating DSM-5

4 July 2013 - 5 July 2013

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

Registrations are now closed.


Robbie Duschinsky (Department of Social Work, Northumbria University)

Véronique Mottier (Department of Sociology / Jesus College & Labso, University of Lausanne)


Scientific Commitee

Daniel Weiss (Cambridge University)

Netta Chachamu (Cardiff University)

Zowie Davy (Lincoln University)

Sally Hines (Leeds University)

Gill Ince (Northumbria University)

Mehreen Mirza (University of Worcester)


Conference summary


This conference brings together social and political scientists, feminist scholars, sexologists, psychiatrists, historians of science, as well as mental health practitioners and sexual rights activists to critically explore the sexual classifications produced by the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published in May 2013. The DSM is the standard reference for the classification of mental disorders, and its first major revision since 1994 is consequently an important global event. The conference will explore which categories of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’, ‘healthy’ and ‘pathological’ sexualities and identities the new manual produces, and critically scrutinise their consequences for diagnostic practices as well as their wider social and political implications. The conference will take place on 4 and 5 July 2013 at the interdisciplinary Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) of the University of Cambridge. It is financially supported by CRASSH, the Wellcome Trust, the Sexual Divisions Study Group of the British Sociological Association, the French Institute, Northumbria University, the Laboratoire de Sociologie of the University of Lausanne, and The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES).



Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge, the British Sociological Association Sexual Divisions Study Group, The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) and Northumbria University.




Accommodation: All conference speakers are staying at Jesus College, Cambridge (where a conference drinks reception will also take place). Jesus College has also made available a limited number of rooms for conference delegates at preferential rates. Delegates who need accommodation in Cambridge need to make their own bookings directly on-line:

to see availability, please enter the code: VM0307

Deadline for booking is 4pm on Wednesday 26 July


Administrative assistance:


Location : SG1&2, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Date : 4-5 July 2013

Thursday 4 july


9.30 - 10.00


10.00 - 12.00

Session 1

  • Monica Greco (Goldsmiths, University of London): What is the DSM?
  • Cynthia Graham (Southampton, Psychology): Changing conceptualisations of female desire in DSM-5
  • Katherine Angel (Warwick, Centre for the History of Medicine): ”Female Sexual Dysfunction” in the DSM: Managing Psychoanalytic and Feminist Pasts in Contemporary Debates about Psychiatry
Chair: Robbie Duschinsky (Northumbria University)


12.00 - 13.30


Poster presentations:

  • 12.30 - Pieter Adriaens (Centre for Logic and Analytical Philosophy, Leuven): On being consistent: Paraphilias and the definition of mental disorder
  • 12.45 - Andrea Lutz (Labso, Université de Lausanne): The female sexual desire “disorders”: from DSM-III to DSM-V
  • 13.00 - Alireza Tabatabaie (Faculty of Education, Cambridge University): Constructing the Ideal Sexual Subject: Sex Education in Iran
  • 13.15 - Noemi Willeman (Université Catholique de Louvain): Liberating the paedophile: a discursive analysis 

13.30 - 15.00

Session 2

  • Patricia Crittenden (Miami, Family Relations Institute): The functions of sexual and reproductive behaviour; Short and long-term adaptation or maladaptation

15.00 - 15.30

Coffee break

15.30 - 17.30

  • Ken Zucker (Toronto, Psychology; Chair of the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders workgroup of DSM-5): The Science and Politics of DSM-5
  • Cynthia Kraus (Lausanne, Gender Studies): Intersex/DSD (“disorders of sex development”) in the DSM-5 diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria: critical reflections
  • Zowie Davy (The Lincoln School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln): Will it make a difference or is it just semantics: Diagnosing trans people in the DSM 5

Chair: Robbie Duschinsky (Northumbria University) and Zowie Davy (University of Lincoln)

19.00 - 21.00

Emma Wilson will be chairing a film showing ('Tomboy') & discussion at CRASSH



Friday 5 July


10.00 - 11.30

Session 3

  • Simon Goldhill (Classics, Cambridge & CRASSH): Where do prostitutes fit in? Between social science and desire in Victorian Britain
  • Patrick Singy (Chicago Society of Fellows): Danger and Difference: The Stakes of Hebephilia

11.30 - 11.45


11.45 - 12.30

  • Alain Giami (INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research): Paraphilias: between sexual disorders, mental disorders and criminal offence

Chair: Véronique Mottier (University of Cambridge) and Mehreen Mirza (University of Worcester)

12.30 -14.00


Poster presentations

  • 13.15 -­‐ Philip Tromovitch (Doshisha University): The Prevalence of Pedophilia: What little we know
  • 13.30 -­‐ Diederik Jansen (The Men's Studies Press): Specification of the Perverted: Anthropologizing Bad Sex
  • 13.45 -­‐ Larry Iannotti (Graduate Center, City University of New York): BDSM Practitioners’ Experiences of Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence: survey results 

14.00 -16.00


Session 4:

  • Lisa Downing (Birmingham, Humanities): Sorting the Acceptable from the Unacceptable : Defining the Pathological in Classic Sexological Perversion Theory and the DSM5's Paraphilia Diagnoses
  • Eric Fassin (with Manuela Salcedo, Paris 8 & IRIS): Becoming Gay? Sexual Identity and Immigration Policies


16.00 - 16.30

Coffee break

16.30 - 17.30

  • Jeffrey Weeks (South Bank University, Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London):  Beyond the categories

Chair: Véronique Mottier (University of Cambridge)