Fast Facts About Paraphilia
Fact 1: Paraphilia is a sexual desire that is considered abnormal.
Individuals with a paraphilia experience sexual arousal from fantasies, behaviors, or objects that are outside of the mainstream range of sexual interests. Sometimes paraphilias are referred to as sexual deviancy or sexual perversion. Paraphilias are considered by some medical professionals to be emotional disorders or a type of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Fact 2: Paraphilia affects people from all walks of life.
People with paraphilias come from all walks of life. They cross all socioeconomic, educational, gender, age, and cultural lines. Although most paraphiles are male, a small percentage are female.
Fact 3: The causes of paraphilia are not always clear.
A common belief about paraphilia is that it occurs when someone associates a feeling of sexual arousal with an experience or object, although there are other theories as to the causes of paraphilia. Research is continuing on whether there are any biological correlations with paraphilia, such as brain structure.
Fact 4: Not all paraphiles sexually offend against others.
Paraphiles who sexually offend against others may display distorted cognitive skills, emotional deficits, or other problems such as anger management or obsessive thinking.
Fact 6: Treatment can help prevent a paraphile from offending.
Individuals with a paraphilia can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and other approaches that focus on addressing inappropriate beliefs and attitudes, cognitive and emotional deficits, and a lack of self-regulation skills. As is true of any therapy, treatment is most effective when it is designed around risk-needs-responsivity principles. This requires providers to structure treatment around the individual’s risk to reoffend; address skill-building needs such as prosocial thinking, interpersonal skills, and anger management; and tailor interventions to match the individual’s learning style (responsivity).
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The following citations reflect research, publications, and presentations by current ATSA members.
- Mixed emotions: An incentive motivational model of sexual deviance: Smid & Wever (2018)
- Evidence of construct validity in the assessment of hebephilia: Stephens, Seto, Goodwill, & Cantor (2017)
- The puzzle of male chronophilias: Seto (2017)
- Age diversity among victims of hebephilic sexual offenders: Stephens, Seto, Goodwill, & Cantor (2016)
- An exploration of fetish social networks and communities: Fay, Haddadi, Seto, Wang, & Kling (2016)
- Hebephilic sexual offending: Stephens & Seto (2016)
- Men presenting with sexual thoughts of children or coercion: Flights of fancy or plans for crime?: Turner-Moore & Waterman (2016)
- Paraphilias in the DSM-5: Beech, Miner, & Thornton (2016)
- The prevalence of paraphilic interests and behaviors in the general population: A provincial survey: Joyal & Carpentier (2016)
- Gender dysphoria and paraphilic sexual disorders: Zucker & Seto (2015)
- Hebephilia: Stephens & Seto (2015)
- Paraphilic disorders: Krueger & Kaplan (2015)
- Assessment of the paraphilias: Seto, Kingston, & Bourget (2014)
- Specificity of sexual arousal for sexual activities in men and women with conventional and masochastic sexual interests: Chivers, Roy, Grimbos, Cantor, & Seto (2014)
- Is a separate diagnostic category defensible for paraphilic coercion?: Knight, Sims-Knight, & Guay (2013)
- Current treatments of paraphiliacs: Abel, Osborn, Anthony, & Gardos (2012)
- Increased frontotemporal activation during pain observation in sexual sadism: Preliminary findings: Harenski, Thornton, Harenski, Decety, & Kiehl (2012)
- A dialogue on paraphilia coercive disorder: Moving toward an empirically based consensus: Knight & Thornton (2011)
- Behavioral discriminators of sexual sadism and paraphilia nonconsent in a sample of civilly committed sexual offenders: Richards & Jackson (2011)
- Evidence regarding the need for a diagnostic category for a coercive paraphilia: Thornton (2009)
- Pedophilia, hebephilia, and the DSM-V: Blanchard, Lykins, Wherrett, Kuban, Cantor, Blak, Dickey, & Klassen (2009)
- Sexual arousal patterns: Normal and deviant: Abel, Coffee, & Osborn (2008)
- Exhibitionistic and voyeuristic behavior in a Swedish national population survey: Langstrom & Seto (2006)
- Assessment and treatment of paraphilias: Seligman & Hardenburg (2000)
- The paraphilias: The extent and nature of sexually deviant and criminal behavior: Abel & Osborn (1992)
- Self-reported sex crimes of nonincarcerated paraphiliacs: Abel, Becker, Mittelman, Cunningham-Rathner, Rouleau, & Murphy (1987)