Now it's being studied as something to be celebrated and cherished, by those have constructed enter pseudo-academic interdisciplinary programs dedicated to justifying their own perversions.
And the University of Toronto is now about to offer graduate degrees in them:
An undergraduate program at Canada's august University of Toronto offers discussions on flogging, restraint, and role-play, as well as an arts course called "Queerly Canadian." But teachers and students insist it's a serious academic program that isn't simply about sex.
"It's not sexy sex sex, where we're talking about whips and chains, but we will talk about whips and chains," said graduating student Robbie Morgan, 33, who left her job teaching sex education in Chicago to attend the Sexual Diversity Studies program, one of the largest of its kind in North America.
"We'll talk about whips and chains in a political, social, cultural, religious context of sexuality and how that sexuality affects those institutions."
The Sexual Diversity program appears one of the edgier ones on offer at the university, which was founded in 1827 and is best known for its science and medical research. Alumni include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lester B. Pearson, insulin inventors Frederick Banting and Charles Best, author Margaret Atwood and film director David Cronenberg.
The program promises an academic approach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual issues -- from history and law to the performance of sadomasochism.
"It's a very serious analytical exercise and it isn't what a lot of people think it is," director David Rayside told Reuters during a visit to the school, which is located in the original Romanesque-style University College building at U of T's leafy downtown campus.
The program, established eight years ago, got a C$1 million ($900,000) boost this week with a donation from Canadian winemaker Mark Bonham to expand the curriculum. There are plans for Canada's first undergraduate major in sexual diversity studies, and for master's and doctorate programs from 2008.
"This is a long-neglected area and Canada provides an ideal environment to take up these questions creatively," said Bonham in a statement.
Yep, you can now watch dirty movies, play with whips and chains and diddle any one you like, all in the supposed interests of advancing human knowledge. Come see every act and case study in the Psychopathia Sexualis carried out and justified under a smokescreen of academic jargon.
Just another in the series of progressivist political platforms dressed up as academic programs.