Psych journal in revolt as it publishes paper saying masturbation and gay sex are harmful

Several psychiatry researchers have been unsuccessfully seeking distance from a dodgy journal with which they’re affiliated – and which has now published an article claiming homosexuality and masturbation deserve to be considered (or reconsidered, as the case may be) mental illnesses. 

The 2021 paper, “Review of Removing Homosexuality and Masturbation from the List of Sexual Dysfunctions in DSM,” was written by Sayed Ali Marashi, of the Department of Psychology at Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, in Iran It appeared in Clinical Schizophrenia & Related Psychoses.

Oddly, the header text on the paper reads “Metallurgical Investigation of Tie Rod used for lifting Ferro-Alloy during Steel Making: A Safety Issues.”

According to the article: 

A detailed review shows that the reasons for the elimination of homosexuality and masturbation from DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) were not scientific reasons, but the real causes for this move were philosophical, libertarian, and social and political considerations. So, therapists do not need to follow this view. Instead, there are many reasons and evidences that show these behaviors are abnormal and harmful. It is therefore recommended that therapists and researchers seek effective ways to treat these two disorders, and at least not encourage these behaviors

We reached out to Peter Buckley, who’s listed as the editor of the journal, for a comment about the article – and, more specifically, whether it underwent peer review. Buckley, the chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, told us that he was no longer affiliated with the publication: 

the prior publisher of Clinical Schizophrenia & Related Psychoses sold the journal several years ago and I have not been involved since then and so I don’t know anything about this issue.

Deanna Kelly, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland, was also concerned. She told us: 

We are being exploited and unsuccessful so far in the removal of our names from their journal.  

And another member of the advisory board, Brian Kirkpatrick, told us:

There are three of us in this situation.  We’ve tried to resolve this problem multiple times, so far without success.  

Peter Walsh, of Walsh Medical Media, which formerly published the journal but is still listed as the owner, told Buckley in an email that he:

would be meeting with his attorney later the week about writing another letter insisting that our Editorial Board be taken down.

The new publisher has not responded to a request for comment.

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28 thoughts on “Psych journal in revolt as it publishes paper saying masturbation and gay sex are harmful”

  1. Journals should not be sold by publishers to shady other publishers in the first place.

    What was Walsh Medical Media thinking?!?

    1. That’s right, you would think that a journal with a reasonable board would simply try to move to Springer, Sage or Elsevier. I suppose there are enough schizophrenia journals and thus they sold it for what they could. A shame it made the previous team look bad.

      1. Springer, Sage and Elsevier are not exactly beacons of quality either, even if still darker tiers of shady exist. If a journal gets sold to one of these, it should be considered compromised as well.

  2. In France, an established journal titled “Revue française d’intelligence artificielle” (French-speaking AI journal) was sold to the IIETA publisher without the board knowing. The new publisher listed the editorial board (unchanged) on its website. Papers even started being accepted without the board knowing!

    https://www.franceculture.fr/medias/la-revue-francaise-de-reference-en-matiere-dintelligence-artificielle-est-elle-passee-sous-controle

    This also happened in 2019 to “Ingénierie des Systèmes d’Information” while I was editorial board member and we all resigned when we became aware of this manipulation. The change in the topics/language of the papers accepted is so clear that anybody will notice by looking at the table of contents of 2018 vs 2019: https://dblp.org/db/journals/isi/index.html

    Original board: https://web.archive.org/web/20170521042747/http://isi.revuesonline.com/comite.jsp

    Board copied-pasted without informing the persons listed: https://web.archive.org/web/20190623104654/http://iieta.org/Journals/ISI/Editorial%20Board

  3. I’m a financial supporter of this website, so I appreciate most of what we do here.

    However, is it really science and truth finding if we immediately run to dismiss and mock research that presents us with conclusions or possible alternatives that go against our current culture and beliefs?

    We should not mold science to fit comfortably within our flawed world view. Science should bring us enlightenment.

    I’m not sure how legit this research is (haven’t had time to review it) but I dislike how crazy everyone is behaving.

    1. The ones behaving crazily are the publisher of that now-fake journal, the author of that ridiculous piece, and you with all this projection. We know for a fact that there is no scientific basis for the author’s claims. We also know for a fact that the publisher is acting unethically by listing people as members of an advisory board against their wishes and without their advice.

    2. Okay, Chris. So you haven’t read the article, but you’ve decided people are crazy for dismissing it. Got it.

    3. If you read the article the author talks about treating gay people with drugs in his clinic in Iran. These are both reprehensible and pretty bold claims.

      He is DRUGGING gay people, yet apparently 100 years of research down this line (which failed) is not good enough for you. Why is research which violates basic human rights and medical principles supposedly good in your eyes? Because it is ‘un-PC’? It’s always the same poorly constructed argument.

    4. I generally agree with the point that just because claims in an article seem unlikely or bizarre doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the work. And indeed, this particular RW post does not make any claims about issues with the article. However, there clearly is something questionable going on with the journal in which it was published, as none of the listed editors seem to actually be involved with it anymore.

  4. Sounds exactly like ideological suppression of free inquiry. Does masturbation tend to have undesirable mental health consequences? Do homosexual acts tend to have undesirable mental health consequences? Legitimate questions! Scientifically sound answers to such questions can help people. There are people today who don’t even want free inquiry into whether “gender transition” surgery on minors tends to have undesirable mental health consequences. Recently there have been news stories about the fact that negative mental health consequences such as depression are a common experience of hormonal birth control users (I am absolutely aware of friends who state they have experienced this), but truly well designed studies to investigate the matter are lacking. “OB-Gyns will be defensive” say these articles. But women actually need accurate information. Just let it all be researched, in a truly sound fashion. If people are better off without masturbating, then it’s good to make that known. If people’s mental health tends negatively impacted by voluntarily living in perfect chastity, then let’s see the evidence of that too. Let science happen.

    1. “Sounds exactly like ideological suppression of free inquiry.”

      Not to rational, honest people.

      “Does masturbation tend to have undesirable mental health consequences?”

      No.

      “Do homosexual acts tend to have undesirable mental health consequences?”

      No.

      “Legitimate questions! Scientifically sound answers to such questions can help people.”

      We already have scientifically sound answers to those questions. You just don’t like the answers.

      1. I am highly aware of people who say they have been harmed by habitual masturbation or by homosexual behavior. For example, there’s a large, secular men’s community online called “nofap” that considers masturbation harmful and mutually supports one another to stop that behavior. Likewise, it is easy to see there are significant numbers of people who say they have suffered mental health harm (and other harm) related to homosexual behavior and want to cease that behavior. I have known people personally who regret and have chosen to permanently stop those behaviors. So it does not seem strange to me that honest science about it would be a good idea. We’ve all seen polemics for every side of the matter, so objectivity sounds healthy. It should be welcomed in legitimate peer reviewed journals.

        1. That is all very well, but what does it have to do with the theocratic bigotry that featured in this post? What does it have to do with the complaint from ex-editors that a parasitical publisher has stolen their identities?

        2. As far as I am aware of the research, you may be confusing cause and effect. You might as well argue that house cleaning could be bad for your health because you know people who clean house a lot, and they believe it is harmful. People with OCD.

        3. “there’s a large, secular men’s community online called “nofap” that considers masturbation harmful”

          Yes, I know, but they’re wrong. Neither this nor anything else you wrote is scientifically relevant.

    2. Absolutely correct. The research in most areas involving sex and gender is simply TERRIBLE. The statistics are bad. The longitudinal studies see 40, 50, 60% LTFU. The methods are incorrect.

      Many of the comments here on Retraction Watch comment board are Woke SJW scientists demonstrating their Woke credentials of “See no evil, dispute no trans research”.

      1. “Drawing Bayesian inferences after extensive sampling, I’ve determined that it’s 99-percent certain that anyone who uses “woke” as pejorative will turn out to be a f**khead. Please don’t blame me for pointing this out–it’s just science.” Mike Godwin (of Godwin’s Law fame)

        He’s not wrong.

  5. Oddly, the header text on the paper reads “Metallurgical Investigation of Tie Rod used for lifting Ferro-Alloy during Steel Making: A Safety Issues.”

    Oddly enough, a paper with that title was published in a Hilaris journal – another OMICS polyp.

    https://www.hilarispublisher.com/abstract/metallurgical-investigation-of-tie-rod-used-for-lifting-ferroalloy-during-steelrnmaking-a-safety-issues-29304.html

    Peter Walsh, of Walsh Medical Media, which formerly published the journal but is still listed as the owner, told Buckley in an email

    He sold the journal to Srinubabu Gedela. It’s a little late to complain that the original editors’ names have been hijacked and their reputations are being destroyed.

    Looks like he sold the entire stable of Walsh Medical Media, so it is unlikely that the present editorial board are the only people whose names are being exploited.

    https://domainbigdata.com/walshmedicalmedia.com

  6. On second thoughts, it may be that “Clinical Schizophrenia & Related Psychoses” was Walsh Medical Media’s only journal. The imprint is currently associated with 72 journals, but they are from diverse, non-medical fields, and have just been shuffled to WMM from elsewhere in Gedala’s scampire in an attempt to rid them of the OMICS stench.

    https://www.walshmedicalmedia.com/

    Paul Walsh’s LinkedIn account boasts that he sold his company to Longdom Publishing (that is, to another OMICS polyp) in August 2020.

  7. A quick review of this paper: It states at the top “We tried to provide enough accurate data about different perspectives
    on homosexuality and masturbation,…”. After reading the paper, I found it had no data at all about homosexuality, only some anecdote about the “cause” of homosexuality, and the only data on masturbation is a tiny study at college in Iran. Most of the paper is an encyclopedia article about the history of these topics.

    I am all for research in areas that people may find controversial or uncomfortable, but this isn’t a good example of that.

    1. The author states that homosexuality should be treated with drugs, and even lists a handful of anecdotes from within his clinic where he drugged gay people. There’s no need to defend this, and it shows that you did not read it.

  8. Is the article not just “Junk Science”? Having read the whole of it (exhausting!), in my opinion it is a biased polemic, without any analysis of any reputable studies or an understanding of alternative views.

    I am a gay man, happily married, with no mental ill-health, with a supportive family and a great life, living in a country that is mostly not anti-gay.

    There are millions of people like me. Yet anecdotes such as mine are absent in the paper. I love being gay. I celebrate who I am. It is a pity that the author of the paper appears to be so closed to other ideas, and one wonders how many happy homosexuals the author has not even bothered to interview.

    There is also a reliance by the author in the paper on Islam dictating how a community and clinicians should negatively respond to homosexuality. But this is not representative of all muslims. There are many muslims who are pro-gay or who are gay.

    And about masturbation: it’s never done me any harm.

  9. I suppose that the two above-mentioned activities could be harmful to your _physical_ health if practiced in Iran.

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