Paraphilias are sexual dysfunctions or behaviors that stem from a deviant sexual focus. The trademark of paraphilias is that they involve a high degree of obsessive/compulsive thoughts and behaviors, and are complicated by intense fantasies of the sexual focus. There is an extensive list of known paraphilias. It is important to keep in mind that each paraphilic behavior involves a specific focus (specific stimuli). Many times, it is this specific focus that is the primary sexual arousal for the person. For example, it may be quite normal for a 15 year old boy, who is walking in between houses on his way home, to stop and stare at an attractive female who is undressing in a nearby window (this however, does not make it right). The voyeur, on the other hand, will obsessively think about peeping, and will also demonstrate a high degree of compulsive behavior to do so. He or she may have a completely mapped out area for his or her voyeuristic pleasures. Some may literally have a map of all their victims locations, when the victims are home, when they are likely to be changing, etc.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, IV edition, lists 8 major paraphilias:
As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of paraphilias and paraphilic behaviors. Men appear to be ,uch more drawn to paraphilic behavior than women. Some paraphiliac interests are socially acceptable (just view the back pages of any pornographic magazine, or surf the net), such as fetish objects, sadism, masochism, and even some forms of pedophilia. On the Internet, one can purchase "used panties", blow-up dolls, and other fetish items. There appears to be a proliferation of pornographic businesses that would like to satisfy the needs of many men by offering "teen porn", "teenie porn", "barely legal", and so forth. This would be another example of a socially acceptable (by that we mean it is tolerable and even encouraged) pedophilic behaviors. Each year that I add to my experience working with sexual deviancy, I am exposed to new and different paraphilic interest from my clients. People are sexual with animals of all sorts, non-living objects, "pocket vaginas", blow up dolls, magazines, children, and much more. Listed below are several other common paraphilias:
Most adult sexual offenders will have two or more paraphilias, and may have an even wider paraphilic interest range; however, even though an offender may be in treatment, it is somewhat rare for him or her to disclose these paraphilias or interests. Polygraph tests, The Abel Screen, penile plethysmographs, and other assessments tools have been used, with varying degrees of success, to assist in identifying these interests. It is extremely important to treat all of the paraphilias an individual exhibits for that person to continue with healthy living and development.
Training Resource CD-ROM on Paraphilias and More
Sexual Abuse Treatment, Research, Resource, and Referral Page
Online Consultation & Supervision
Understanding, Assessing, and Treating Sexual Offenders
Victims of Sexual Abuse