About paraphilia, a criminal disease!


There are many “Civil Commitment Centers” in different parts of the USA, where thousands of people are kept confined even after expiry of their jail terms, The Guardian reported on October 3, 2018.

These people are considered as the most dangerous sex offenders and will remain detained for life in the Commitment Centers even after serving their time and getting out of prisons.

Each of them has previously been convicted of at least one sex crime – including sexual assault, rape and child molestation. A court has then found them to meet the legal definition of a “sexually violent predator”, meaning they have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes them likely to engage in repeat sexual violence.

Civil commitment centers, which exist in fewer than half of US states, are meant as a community safeguard and a means of providing treatment for the offenders. Necessarily, the tendency to do the offenses is being dubbed as a disease.

One of these major diseases is classified as a paraphilia, an abnormal sexual behavior, researchers have found no effective treatment.

The term paraphilia refers to intense sexual attraction to any objects or people outside of genital stimulation with consenting adult partners. A paraphilia is considered a disorder when the paraphilia is causing distress or threatens to harm someone else.

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When a person has problems with uncontrollable sexual urges centered around activities, objects or situations that are not usually thought to be sexually stimulating, it may be one of several paraphilias. Exact symptoms will vary depending on the exact type of disorder present, but they generally are concerned with uncommon sexual desires or fantasies. The exact causes of these disorders are not known, but there are thought to be several physical and psychological causes that play a factor.

Types of paraphilias –These are the common types of paraphilias that affect most people:
1. Exhibitionism – Compulsion to display genitals to an unsuspecting stranger

Exhibitionism involves someone exposing his or her genitals to an unsuspecting stranger. The individual with this problem, sometimes called a “flasher,” feels a need to surprise, shock, or impress his or her victims. The condition is usually limited to the exposure with no other harmful advances being made. Nevertheless, “indecent exposure” is illegal. Actual sexual contact with the victim is rare. However, the person may masturbate while exposing himself or while fantasizing about exposing himself.

2. Fetishism – Use of an inanimate object or specific part of the body for sexual satisfaction

People with fetishes have sexual urges associated with non-living objects. The person becomes sexually aroused by wearing or touching the object. For example, the object of a fetish could be an article of clothing, such as underwear, rubber clothing, women’s shoes, women’s underwear, or lingerie. The fetish may replace sexual activity with a partner or may be integrated into sexual activity with a willing partner. When the fetish becomes the sole object of sexual desire, sexual relationships often are avoided. A related disorder, called partialism, involves becoming sexually aroused by a body part, such as the feet, breasts, or buttocks.

3. Frotteurism – Deriving sexual pleasure from rubbing genitals on an unwilling partner

With this problem, the focus of the person’s sexual urges is on touching or rubbing his or her genitals against the body of a non-consenting, unfamiliar person. In most cases of frotteurism, a male rubs his genital area against a female, often in a crowded public location. The contact made with the other person is illegal.

4. Pedophilia – When an adult has an abnormal sexual preference for children

People with pedophilia have fantasies, urges, or behaviors that involve illegal sexual activity with a child or children. The children involved are generally 13 years of age or younger. The behavior includes undressing the child, encouraging the child to watch the abuser masturbate, touching or fondling the child’s genitals, and forcefully performing sexual acts on the child.

Some pedophiles, known as exclusive pedophiles, are sexually attracted only to children and are not attracted to adults. Some limit their activity to incest, involving only their own children or close relatives. Others victimize other children. Predatory pedophiles may use force or threaten their victims with what will happen if they disclose the abuse. Health care providers are legally bound to report such abuse of minors. Pedophile activity constitutes rape and is a felony offense punishable by imprisonment.

5. Sexual Masochism – Receiving sexual pleasure from pain, suffering, or humiliation

Individuals with this disorder use the act — real, not simulated — of being humiliated, beaten, or otherwise made to suffer in order to achieve sexual excitement and climax. These acts may be limited to verbal humiliation, or they may involve being beaten, bound, or otherwise abused. Masochists may act out their fantasies on themselves by such acts as cutting or piercing their skin or burning themselves. Or they may seek out a partner who enjoys inflicting pain or humiliation on others. Activities with a partner include bondage, spanking, and simulated rape.

Sadomasochistic fantasies and activities are not uncommon among consenting adults. In most of these cases, however, the humiliation and abuse are acted out in fantasy. The participants are aware that the behavior is a “game” and actual pain and injury is avoided.

A potentially dangerous, sometimes fatal, masochistic activity is autoerotic partial asphyxiation. With this activity, a person uses ropes, nooses, or plastic bags to induce a state of asphyxia (interruption of breathing) at the point of orgasm. This is done to enhance orgasm, but accidental deaths sometimes occur.

6. Sexual Sadism– Receiving sexual pleasure from administering pain and humiliation on other people

Individuals with this disorder have persistent fantasies in which sexual excitement results from inflicting psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation and terror) on a sexual partner. This disorder is different from minor acts of aggression in normal sexual activity — for example, rough sex. In some cases, sexual sadists are able to find willing partners to participate in the sadistic activities.

At its most extreme, sexual sadism involves illegal activities such as rape, torture, and even murder, in which case the death of the victim produces sexual excitement. It should be noted that while rape may be an expression of sexual sadism, the infliction of suffering is not the motive for most rapists, and the victim’s pain generally does not increase the rapist’s sexual excitement. Rather, rape involves a combination of sex and gaining power over the victim. These individuals need intensive psychiatric treatment and may be jailed for these activities.

7. Transvestic Fetishism– Someone who is sexually aroused by wearing, fondling, or seeing clothing of the opposite sex

Transvestitism, or transvestic fetishism, refers to the practice by heterosexual males of dressing in female clothes to produce or enhance sexual arousal. The sexual arousal usually does not involve a real partner but includes the fantasy that the individual is the female partner as well. Some men wear only one special piece of female clothing, such as underwear, while others fully dress as female, including hair style and make-up. Cross-dressing as a transvestite is not a problem unless it is necessary for the individual to become sexually aroused or experience sexual climax.

8. Voyeurism – When sexual pleasure is derived from watching others engaged in sexual activity or seeing the genitals of others while being hidden

This disorder involves achieving sexual arousal by observing an unsuspecting and non-consenting person who is undressing or unclothed or engaged in sexual activity. This behavior may conclude with masturbation by the voyeur. The voyeur does not seek sexual contact with the person he or she is observing. Other names for this behavior are “peeping” or “peeping Tom.”

9. Unspecified Paraphilia – When there are symptoms from two or more of the other types of paraphilias, it is diagnosed as unspecified paraphilias

Most paraphilias are rare and are about 20 times more common among males than among females. However, the reason for this disparity is not clearly understood. While several of these disorders are associated with aggressive behavior, others are not aggressive or harmful. Some paraphilias — such as pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadism, and frotteurism — are criminal offenses.

Having paraphilic fantasies or behavior, however, does not always mean the person has a mental illness. The fantasies and behaviors can exist in less severe forms that are not dysfunctional in any way, do not impede the development of healthy relationships, do not harm the individual or others, and do not entail criminal offenses. They may be limited to fantasy during masturbation or intercourse with a partner.

Symptoms and dangers of paraphilias

Depending on the exact disorder present, there may be various physical and psychological indicators of a problem. Some will appear as physical symptoms, including possible bruises or other marks left for someone into sexual masochism to a secret stash of female clothes for someone suffering from transvestic fetishism. Other indicators of this disorder may appear as emotional problems or trouble with the law over sexual activities. Before the symptoms get out of hand and the problem gets worse, getting the appropriate treatment is recommended. If not treated, paraphilias can lead to serious consequences, including time in prison.

  1. Exposure of genitals in public to strangers
  2. Sexual fantasies revolving around rubbing against a non-consenting person
  3. Sexual fantasies about giving or receiving pain for sexual gratification
  4. Strong sexual urges or compulsions
  5. Sexual fantasies, desires, or urges that cause a problem in relationships
  6. Illegal sexual activity
  7. Use of inanimate objects for sexual gratification
Causes of paraphilias

The exact nature of these disorders is not known, but the causes are thought to be physical and psychological in nature. On the physical side, testosterone is thought to play a large role in whether or not this sexual disorder becomes a problem. On the emotional side, trauma – including sexual abuse during childhood – is thought to be one of the other major causes of these sexual disorders appearing in a person’s life. For most, the problem starts in adolescence and continues into adulthood. The intensity and occurrence of the fantasies associated with paraphilia vary with the individual, but they usually decrease as the person ages.

Some experts believe it is caused by a childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse. Others suggest that objects or situations can become sexually arousing if they are frequently and repeatedly associated with a pleasurable sexual activity. In most cases, the individual with a paraphilia has difficulty developing personal and sexual relationships with others.

Treatment for Paraphilias

Most cases of paraphilia are treated with counseling and therapy to help the person modify his or her behavior. Medications may help to decrease the compulsiveness associated with paraphilia and reduce the number of deviant sexual fantasies and behaviors. In some cases, hormones are prescribed for individuals who experience frequent occurrences of abnormal or dangerous sexual behavior. Many of these medications work by reducing the individual’s sex drive. Some may not think they have a problem while others may be embarrassed to talk about it. GoMentor.com, an online platform, provides treatment for both of these types of people.

How successful is treatment for paraphilia?

To be most effective, treatment for paraphilia must be provided on a long-term basis. Unwillingness to comply with treatment can hinder its success. It is imperative that people with paraphilias of an illegal nature receive professional help before they harm others or create legal problems for themselves.

 Courtesy: 1. WebMd, 2. Go Mentors



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