What is a paraphilia?

Essay by spitfire99 June 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

PARAPHILIAS -- Greek for "beyond normal", and is the modern day psychiatric term for sexual perversions.

Paraphilias refer to intense, repetitive sexual urges, fantasies or behaviors where the sexual goal is an unusual situation, activity or object. They differ from what some people might consider "novel" sexual activity in that these behaviors cause significant distress or impairment in areas of life functioning. In other words, the person typically recognizes the symptoms as negatively impacting their life, but feel as if they are unable to control them.

This impairment can occur in any important aspect of an individual's life such as social, occupational, recreational, or family. Unusual objects or scenarios are necessary to achieve sexual excitement. These fantasies, urges, or behaviors must occur for no less than 6 months to meet diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV and must interfere with either satisfactory sexual relations or everyday functioning.

In persons with a paraphilia, the capacity for affectionate, reciprocal emotional and sexual intimacy with a partner is generally impaired or nonexistent, and other aspects of personal and emotional adjustment are impaired.

Paraphilias include:

Sexual urges or sexual fantasies with non-human objects and/or sexual behaviors with non-human objects

Sexual behaviors involving humiliation or suffering of oneself or another person

Adult sexual behavior that involves children or nonconsenting adults

The DSM-IV lists 8 major paraphilias:

1. Exhibitionism--focus on exposing oneself to an unsuspecting person

2. Frotteurism--focus on touching or rubbing against an unsuspecting person

3. Fetishism--focus on non-living objects, such as underwear, shoes, leather, and the like

4. Pedophilia--focus on children and young adolescents

5. Sadism--sexual arousal from inflicting great pain and suffering onto others

6. Masochism--sexual arousal from having great pain, humiliation, and suffering inflicted onto them

7. Voyeurism--focus is on people or viewing an unsuspecting person

8. Tranvestic Fetishism--sexual arousal from dressing...