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Raising Community Awareness on Paraphilias

Have you ever experienced riding on a public vehicle and someone rubbed his or her private parts to you? Ever seen a male dressing as a female just to achieve sexual satisfaction? Ever heard of cabinets full of canes, belts, cuffs, and clamps? Or has someone masturbated in front of you? Generally, these people are described as paraphiliac. These people suffer from a group of  psychosexual disorder called paraphilia.

People that are unaware of the nature of these disorders often misinterpret these as uncontrolled behavior of people that are sexually attracted to them or are suffering from sexuality crisis. Because of these, they are feared and stigmatized by the community. It is because awareness about the existence and the nature of behaviors of paraphiliacs are low.

paraphilias awareness Raising Community Awareness on Paraphilias

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However, it should be remembered that it is through these socially unacceptable behaviors that paraphiliacs can achieve satisfaction. A human being will do whatever it takes for him to meet his needs for contentment and survival. Instead of calling their attention to be reprimanded and discriminated, they should be sent for counselling and therapy.

All the same, there’s more that needs to be learned behind this tabooed topic.

According to Lippincott (2006), a person who has paraphilia has his or her sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors centered on one of the following: inanimate objects such as shoes and gloves, children, nonconsenting persons, suffering, and humiliation. These behaviors result from inadequate or false guidance while these people are in the peak of their sexual development.

There are four most common forms of paraphilias. First, exhibitionism is the one being portrayed by a person who exposes his genitals to the public. In order for them to achieve arousal, nonconsenting persons to whom he exposed his genitals must be shocked. Second, fetishism is the term for people who are sexually aroused at the sight of inanimate objects and non-sexual body parts such as hands, ears, and feet. Third common form is pedophilia, which is the attainment of sexual gratification through masturbating in front of children, undressing, and fondling their genitals. Fourth common form is sexual masochism, which is the attainment of sexual satisfaction through physical and emotional abuse.

Other less common forms are the following: 1) sexual sadism, which is the behavior depicted when a person feels sexually aroused when he is inflicting pain to his or her sexual partner through verbal abuse, binding, beating, and stabbing; 2) voyeurism, which is portrayed by a person experiencing sexual gratification when witnessing sexual objects and situations; 3) frotteurism, which is the act feeling sexual satisfaction through rubbing their private parts to nonconsenting persons in usually crowded places; and 4) transvestic fetishism, which is the act of heterosexual man dressing and imagining himself as a woman to gain sexual gratification.

The specific cause is unknown. However, behavioral scientists believe that a child who was a victim or an observer of an inappropriate sexual act is likely to develop paraphilia. Also, children who were punished for their wrong behaviors through threats of genital-mutilation will grow up believing that their genitals were really mutilated. As a result, they will post their nude pictures online or expose their genitals to the public to seek for reactions that will tell them that their genital is still intact. Head injury, tumors, and problems with hormones also affect the development of this disease. Lack of knowledge about sex, parenting faults, and dysfunctional relationships are also linked with the development of paraphilia.

The usual onset of paraphilia is during adolescence. These disorders tend to be chronic in nature. Generally speaking, paraphiliacs meant no harm. For example, sadism and masochism is relatively safe for sexual partners as long as two of them consented to the type of relationship willingly. With the previously stated example, paraphilia can be considered as a pattern of living their sexual being.

Understand that paraphiliacs seldom sought for help because of shame and guilt. They will never be at ease with how the public will react upon knowing they possess such behaviors. You can help by referring them to proper support groups or group therapy where they will be taught various coping skills and alternatives to their present means of gaining sexual satisfaction or gratification.


  • Keltner, N., Bostrom, C., McGuness, T. Psychiatric Nursing 6th Edition. 2012
  • Lippincott Williams and Wilikins Straight A’s in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 2006
  • American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition, Revised.

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