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Filias and paraphilias: definition, types and characteristics

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Although the term "filia" has a very broad meaning and can refer to any type of hobby, in Psychology we use it above all in the field of sexuality. When the filias are very marked and atypical we speak of paraphilia.

In this article we will describe the characteristics of the most common or striking types of filias and paraphilias. To contextualize these categories, it is important to previously define the concepts of filia and paraphilia.

  • Related article: "The main sexual and psychosexual disorders"

Definition of filia and paraphilia

The word “filia” comes from the Greek “philos”, which we could translate as “love” or “friendship”. It is often used as a suffix to designate intense fondness or liking for a particular item, which may or may not be sexual; Thus, a cinephile person is one who enjoys cinema a lot, and philately is the hobby of collecting stamps.

However, in psychology sexuality is the field where this concept appears most commonly. Within this scope, philias overlap with paraphilias, defined as patterns of sexual behavior

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in which the desire, the excitement or the pleasure depend to a great extent on atypical elements, although this does not necessarily entail a pathology.

Paraphilias are harmless if they do not cause the discomfort of the person or others, so that in many cases they simply consist of a sexual preference. This usually happens in fetishism (getting excited with an object or part of the body), among other philias. However, sometimes these preferences involve people who do not consent or simply make relationships difficult.

The term "filia" is opposed to that of "phobia", which is used to refer to irrational fears or aversions. Like philias, phobias can sometimes be sexual in nature; for example, erotophobia or genophobia is the aversion to sexual relations, while the word “medomalacuphobia” refers to the fear of losing an erection.

  • Maybe you are interested: "Types of Phobias: Exploring Fear Disorders"

Types of filia and their characteristics

Below we will make a brief description of the main characteristics of different types of filias and paraphilias. Assigning them one or another label depends on the intensity of the preference, the discomfort they bring to the person or others and the point of view of each expert.

1. Fetishism

Fetishism is the sexual preference for inanimate objects or for specific parts of the body. Two of the best known fetish affiliates are podophilia, which involves the feet, and retifism or liking for shoes. A preference for objects designed for sexual stimulation, such as vibrators, is not considered fetish.

2. Exhibitionism

This filia consists in obtaining sexual excitement and pleasure by exposing parts of the body, usually the genitals, to other people. It is common for the intensity of the exhibitionistic behavior to increase with practice, and it may take on a compulsive character.

  • Related article: "Exhibitionism: causes and symptoms of this sexual paraphilia"

3. Voyeurism or scoptophilia

Voyeurism is defined as the taste marked by watching people who are naked or having sex. Voyeurs tend to prefer that the observed person does not know that they are looking at them, and they usually do not seek sexual intercourse with them.

4. Frotteurism

Frotteurists, or frotteurs, seek the physical contact with other people to masturbate afterwards; in their pathological form, they do so without permission and / or against their will. It usually takes place in places where there are a lot of people, such as public transport or nightclubs. Frotteurism is much more common in young people.

5. Sexual masochism

Masochism includes the sexual pleasure obtained by receiving physical harm or humiliation, as well as any other type of suffering. It is the most common paraphilia in women, and is frequently associated with sadism.

6. Sexual sadism

Sadistic people sexually enjoy the idea or practice of hurting others. Although pathological sexual sadism is often talked about, there are many sadistic people who only fulfill their fantasies with consenting people; this happens for example in BDSM, which includes the practices of bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism.

7. Transvestite fetishism

This philia involves obtaining sexual pleasure by dressing as a person of another gender. It has only been described in heterosexual men, who in some cases do not identify with the male gender. When a man becomes aroused by seeing or imagining himself as if he were a woman, we speak of autogynephilia.

8. Pedophilia

The DSM manual defines pedophilia as the sexual preference for people who have not reached puberty (under 13 years of age approximately). The difference with pedophilia is that this term designates the practice of abusive behavior towards children, while pedophilia can also refer to habitual impulses or fantasies that have not been compliment.

9. Gerontophilia

Gerontofilia is the sexual preference for elderly people. If the attraction is towards elderly men, this philia is known as alphamegamy, while if the object of desire is women it is matronolagnia.

10. Necrophilia

Necrophiliacs are attracted to corpses, whether human or other animals. Although logically necrophilia is usually carried out without the consent of the deceased person, they have been given cases of necrophilia with the prior permission of the dead, such as the famous episode of Armin Meiwes, the "Cannibal of Rothenburg ”.

11. Suffocation

Choking is getting pleasure from the sensation of drowning. Sexual asphyxia can be carried out with a partner or as a method of masturbation; in this case we would speak of autoerotic asphyxia.

12. Zoophilia or bestiality

In zoophilia the person desire or engage in sexual activities with animals. It is especially common in rural settings and in psychiatric patients, and cases of exclusive zoophilia are only very rarely detected.

13. Urophilia and coprophilia

In urophilia the fantasies include the presence of urine, while in coprophilia the same happens with feces. A related paraphilia is diaper fetishism. When the person is excited by the idea of ​​urinating or defecating on top of a sexual partner, we speak of salophilia.

14. Xenophilia

Understood from a sexual point of view, xenophilia is the preference for people who are perceived as members of an ethnic group that is exotic or different from their own. However, in a broader sense xenophilia is the taste for people or objects of unknown origin, and technically it has a meaning opposite to that of the word “xenophobia”.

15. Gynandromorphilia or gynemimetophilia

This affiliation refers to the preferential attraction, whether exclusive or not, towards transgender or transsexual people. The conception of gynandromorphilia as a type of paraphilia is frequently criticized since can lead to the stigmatization of transgender people and those who are attracted to they.

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