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The 8 types of paraphilias: their classification and characteristics

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Sexuality is an extremely broad concept, but even so, there are a number of generalities that apply to most.

However, some behaviors or thoughts escape that bulk. It's where paraphilias come in, a phenomenon we'll address here. In the following lines you will find a summary of the main types of paraphilias, with a classification of the main forms that this type of behavior can adopt.

  • Related article: "The 16 most common mental disorders"

How to classify paraphilias?

Although the main objective of this text is to be able to make a compendium of the different types of paraphilia, it is necessary that we stop for a moment to to be able to analyze in greater depth what exactly this concept refers to, which we have all heard at some time but whose definition may not be entirely clear.

Therefore, it is necessary that we first define what a paraphilia is. A paraphilia is a form of sexual behavior of some individuals in which the arousal does not come from the act itself, but in activities or elements that by themselves would not have to be stimulating on a sexual level.

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In this sense, it must be taken into account that some behaviors that in the past were considered some types of paraphilia, today Today they are common sexual practices in a large percentage of the population, such as masturbation or sex oral. However, others have remained atypical forms of sexual arousal.

Even so, There is no closed list of the types of paraphilia, as it largely depends on the criteria followed to classify them. Likewise, different subtypes could be derived from each type, and from them, many specific paraphilias, which can take forms very particular depending on the person, so the list, if considered in an extensive way, could be endless.

In any case, the criteria that we will follow in this article in order to make a list of the various types of paraphilia is that of the diagnoses associated with paraphilia contemplated in the DSM-5, the diagnostic classification manual of the American Association of Psychiatry.

The 8 types of paraphilias according to DSM-5

The DSM-5, among many other psychological disorders, considers eight main forms of atypical or inappropriate sexual arousal, that is, types of paraphilia. Within these eight, two large groups could be established. In one of them would be included those in which the anomaly is located in the object of the arousal, and in the other, in the behavior necessary to achieve the arousal.

Below we will describe each of the types of paraphilia that the DSM-5 collects, but not without first remembering that this is not the only classification possible, but only one of them, and which is also subject to possible changes in perception and diagnosis that may be made with the passage of weather.

1. Voyeurism disorder

The first of the list of types of paraphilia contemplated in the DSM-5 refers to the disorder of voyeurism, or what is the same, to sexual arousal from observing other people while they are undressing or even being intimate, without them knowing that others are watching them.

This diagnostic manual specifies that, for this picture to be fulfilled, the individual finds excitement in voyeurism must be of legal age and must have felt this desire for at least six months. In addition, another criterion to meet is to have practiced voyeurism at least once, or that the desire is causing suffering that interferes in some facet of your life.

2. Exhibitionism disorder

Another type of paraphilia that we find in DSM-5 is exhibitionism disorder. In contrast to the previous one, In this case, the excitement does not come from seeing other people naked, but from others seeing the intimate areas of oneself, without consent, that is, suddenly.

The DSM-5 also makes a distinction between types of exhibitionism, depending on whether the person in question is aroused showing their genitals to adults, children, or all kinds of people, regardless of their age or maturity sexual.

Equally, It establishes as criteria having suffered this desire for a minimum of six months and having practiced it at some time or suffering discomfort due to the irrepressible desire. These criteria will be repeated in all types of paraphilias disorders, according to said diagnostic manual.

  • You may be interested in: "Exhibitionism: causes and symptoms of this sexual paraphilia"

3. Froteurism disorder

Another type of paraphilia that we find in this list is rubbing disorder. This word comes from French and refers to the action of rubbing. And it is precisely the rubbing against others (with their own genital area) in an unforeseen way for them and without their consent. These types of actions usually take place in crowded spaces, such as some types of public transport.

In addition, this form of paraphilia can occur in combination with others, which means that the person who rubbing excites you, other types of paraphilia that we are describing here can also excite you.

4. Sexual masochism disorder

One of the most well-known types of paraphilia that is considered in the APA diagnostic manual is sexual masochism disorder. In this case, individuals with this condition find sexual arousal mainly in those intimate acts in which they are humiliated, caused pain or lack control.

These people can enjoy being tied up, beaten, or tortured for sexual intercourse. Among the types of paraphilia, this stands out for being the one that is diagnosed in the most women of all of them.

5. Sexual sadism disorder

In contrast to the previous one, there is the sexual sadism disorder, which would be the one within the types of paraphilia that would fit as the opposite of masochism. In this case, the person who has said diagnosis, gets excited by being the one who dominates, humiliates and even causes pain to the other person, while maintaining intimate relationships.

These individuals enjoy tying up their sexual partners and maintaining absolute control of the situation, making it appear to them. It is the suffering of the other throughout the sexual act that motivates the excitement of these people.

  • You may be interested in: "Sexual sadism: symptoms and characteristics of this paraphilia"

6. Pedophilia disorder

Continuing with the types of paraphilia, we come to the pedophilia disorder, consisting of sexual arousal with children. To fit this diagnosis, the DSM-5 establishes as criteria being at least 16 years of age, that the sexual victim is at least 5 years younger than the aggressor, and has experienced such paraphilia for at least 6 months.

People who fit into this picture tend to have a very clear preference as to the type of victim who arouses their sexual arousal.l. In addition, some studies indicate that precisely the victims of sexual abuse in childhood may have a greater probability of abusing other people in the future.

7. Fetishism disorder

The case of fetishism disorder represents one of the broadest types of paraphilia, since technically it refers to sexual arousal due to a specific element that is present during sexual acts, but can be very diverse in scope. It can refer to a specific type of clothing, both in him and in his sexual partner.

Also to the use of certain objects or elements at the time of maintaining relationships. It can even refer to the excitement when being intimate with people who have very specific physical characteristics, and may even be bodily alterations.

The extension of the term fetish is so wide that it is difficult to establish certain limits when considering what one of these elements is and what is not and therefore what belongs to this category within the types of paraphilia that we are reviewing.

8. Other paraphilic disorder specified or not

The last of all the types of paraphilia, they would actually be two different categories in the DSM-5. The first refers to another type of paraphilic disorder specified, that is, it can be described and recorded in some way, while the other option refers to some paraphilic disorder that is not really specified.

Therefore, This diagnostic manual leaves the category open for the cases in which the psychologist is faced with the case of a person who clearly shows sexual behavior that could be classified as one of the types of paraphilia but not of those that have a specific category in the DSM-5, but of a different one.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association (2014). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5.
  • De Dios Blanco, E. (2017). Paraphilic disorder: clinical characteristics of male patients treated by Clinical Sexology. Journal of the Havana Psychiatric Hospital.
  • First, M.B. (2014). DSM-5 and paraphilic disorders. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
  • Morrison, J. (2015). DSM-5® Guide for clinical diagnosis. Modern Manual.

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