Paraphilia (previously known as sexual perversion and sexual deviation) is the experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, fantasies, behaviors, or individuals. Such attraction may be labeled sexual fetishism.
Paraphilias are emotional disorders defined as sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors that are recurrent, intense, occur over a period of at least six months, and cause significant distress or interfere with important areas of functioning.
Except for masochism, paraphilias are almost exclusively diagnosed in men.
There are a number of different types of paraphilias, each of which has a different focus of the sufferer’s sexual arousal.
There are thought to be biological, psychological, and social risk factors for developing paraphilias.
While the desired sexual stimulant for the paraphilia sufferer depends on the specific paraphilia, the characteristics of the illness are often very similar.
In order to establish the diagnosis of a paraphilia, mental-health professionals usually conduct or refer the person for a medical interview, physical examination, and routine laboratory tests. The professional will assess for any history of mental-health symptoms.
Treatment of paraphilias usually involves the combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Paraphilias have been found to be quite chronic, such that a minimum of two years of treatment is recommended for even the mildest paraphilia.
Prevention for the development of any paraphilic behavior usually involves alleviating the psychosocial risk factors for its development.