What Are The Causes of Paraphilia?


Paraphilia definition

The McGraw-Hill Concise Medical Dictionary defines paraphilia as,

"a mental disorder characterized by recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors generally involving, 1. nonhuman objects; 2. suffering or humiliation of oneself or one's partner; or 3. children or other non-consenting persons, that occur over a period of [more than] six months… (causing) significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning; sexual excitement to the point of erection and/or orgasm, when the object of excitement is considered abnormal in the context of the practitioner's societal norms."

Experts believe that paraphilias generally begin to develop around adolescence, continue as the individual becomes an adult, and then fade as they get older. While some paraphilias are relatively harmless, others are criminal acts.

Paraphilias are very rare, but when they occur the overwhelming majority occur in men versus women.

Types of Paraphilia

Some of the paraphilias that are formally recognized by the American Psychiatric Association include:

  • Exhibitionism
  • Fetishism (sexual arousal derived from non-living things)
  • Frotteurism (rubbing one's genitals against a non-consenting person)
  • Pedophilia
  • Sexual masochism
  • Sexual sadism
  • Ttransvestic fetishism
  • Voyeurism
  • Necrophilia
  • Zoophilia
  • Paraphilia–not otherwise specified, a catch-all category for other paraphilias.

Causes of Paraphilia

Unfortunately, it is not known with any certainty what causes the development of paraphilia in all individuals or in any one individual.

Experts in the field of psychiatry and mental health have theorized that paraphilia may be caused by certain traumas experienced in childhood—including but not limited to sexual abuse.

Others have speculated that paraphilia may simply be a Pavlovian consequence—meaning that the focus of arousal has only become arousing because it has been repeatedly associated with a pleasurable or arousing but unrelated activity.

While experts disagree on the causes of paraphilias, there is some general consensus about people who have paraphilias—namely that they have trouble forming intimate bonds with other people.

ocd self test
Do you or a loved one feel like you might have a problem with OCD? Take the Self Test now to get more information.

The information provided on brainphysics.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of brainphysics.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Click here to read our complete Terms of Use.

Susbscribe to our free newsletter for information & inspiration


BrainPhysics.com Social