Paraphilias are sexual desires or activities that lie outside the cultural norm, and under some conditions are considered mental disorders. The term was defined in its current use by the sexologist John Money.
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2 Non-consensual and Criminal Paraphilias
3 Other Paraphilias
4 See also
Paraphilias are sometimes called sexual perversions\ or sexual deviations. Somewhat less judgmentally, and more colloquially, they are grouped together under the term "kinky sex." What is considered to be "perversion" or "deviation" varies from society to society. Some paraphilias have been and/or currently are crimes in some jurisdictions. Others are viewed as harmless eccentricities by many people.
Some paraphilias are defined as potential mental disorders in the DSM-IV. These are:
Although homosexuality was once considered to be a paraphilia, it is not usually regarded as such any longer. Similarly, consensual sadomasochism, exhibitionism, voyeurism and non-psychotic forms of fetishism, urolagnia and even coprophilia are increasingly becoming culturally acceptable forms of sexuality. The fluidity and arbitrariness of such characterizations may be due to the fact that it is often very difficult to understand why some humans are predominantly aroused by certain stimuli that apparently leave the majority of the population unaffected.
Observation of paraphiliac behavior has provided valuable scientific information on the mechanisms of sexual attraction and desire, such as behavioral imprinting. Careful investigation has also led to the tentative conclusion that normal biological processes may sometimes be manifested in idiosyncratic ways in at least some of the paraphilias. For instance, for one to become sexually aroused on account of consuming human feces may appear bizarre, revolting, unnatural, inconceivable, and inexplicable to many. Consider, however, that in many animal species one or both parents will consume the feces of their infants in the process of keeping them clean. The taste for the feces of their infants must be "hard-wired" into them. They must experience it as a desirable, pleasant activity. And, most importantly, this devoted care of infants is closely associated with love -- which in turn is closely associated with erotic arousal.
All of these factors, care, love, and the sexual impulse, are thus thought to be hard-wired and also to be so closely related to each other in the neurophysiology of the individual that it may be impossible to strongly activate any one of them without causing some activation of the other two. This association is manifested in a much more commonly experienced way, in the tendency of lovers to treat each other as infants and to want to care for each other. "Baby, I want to do everything for you." Finding that seemingly unfathomable behavior actually has its roots in drives or motivations shared by most or all people makes the strange behavior much less threatening. It also makes it possible to begin thinking of ways in which learning disruptive patterns of sexual interaction may be avoided or at least minimized. (See John Money, The Lovemap Guidebook, chapter 7, and especially pp. 170 ff. Continuum, 1999)
Non-consensual and Criminal Paraphilias