Exploring Paraphilias: A Comprehensive Overview of Unconventional Erotic Interests
18/04/2024 | B MANOGNA REDDY


These are a group of sexual disorders characterized by atypical sexual interests, fantasies or behaviors that involve objects, situations, or individuals that are not typically considered sexually arousing. These patterns of arousal may lead to distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Paraphilias are considered psychiatric disorders and are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).


These pathways are reserved for treating specific lesions at easily reachable locations and for medications that don't absorb into the body systemically. This means that high concentrations of the drug can be reached at the targeted site without affecting the rest of the body. Therefore, systemic side effects are unlikely or minimal. In cases where drugs are absorbed from these sites, they can also act as a systemic route of administration. For instance, glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) can be applied on the skin as an ointment or transdermal patch for treating angina pectoris.

Types of Paraphilias:

There are numerous paraphilias recognized by the DSM-5, some of the most common include:


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Abasiophilia People with impaired mobility
2. Acrotomophilia People with amputations
3. Adipophilia (fat fetishism) Overweight or obese people
4. Agalmatophilia Statues, mannequins and immobility
5. Algolagnia Pain, particularly involving an erogenous zone: differs from masochism as there is a biologically different interpretation of the intense sensation rather than a subjective interpretation
6. Amaurophilia Being unable to see
7. Amokoscisia To slash and mutilate women
8. Andromimetophilia Trans men
9. Anililagnia Attraction by young men to older women
10. Anthropophagolagnia Raping and then cannibalizing another person
11. Anthropophagy Ingesting human flesh
12. Apotemnophilia Being an amputee
13. Aquaphilia A sexual fetish that involves people swimming, posing, or even drowning in water.
14. Asphyxiophilia Being asphyxiated or strangled
15. Attraction to disability People with one or more physical disabilities
16. Autagonistophilia Being on stage or on camera
17. Autassassinophilia Being in life-threatening situations
18. Autoandrophilia Sexual arousal of a female in response to the image of herself as male
19. Autoerotic asphyxiation Self-induced asphyxiation, sometimes to the point of near unconsciousness
20. Autogynephilia Sexual arousal of a male in response to the image of himself as female
21. Autohemofetishism Making oneself bleed, a type of hematolagnia
22. Autonepiophilia The image of oneself in the form of an infant
23. Autopedophilia The image of oneself in the form of a child
24. Autoplushophilia The image of oneself in the form of a plush
25. Autovampirism/Vampirism The image of oneself in the form of a vampire. Involves ingesting or seeing one's own blood
26. Autozoophilia The image of oneself in the form of an animal


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Belly fetish/Alvinolagnia The midriff or belly
2. Biastophilia/Raptophilia Raping a person, possibly consensual rape fantasy


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Candaulism Exposing one's partner or images of their partner to others.
2. Canophilia Dogs
3. Capnolagnia Smoking
4. Cheirophilia Hands
5. Chremastistophilia Being robbed or held up
6. Chronophilia Partners of a widely differing chronological age
7. Coprophilia Feces; also known as scat, scatophilia or fecophilia
8. Crurophilia Legs
9. Cuckolding fetish Infidelity


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Dacryphilia Tears or crying
2. Diaper fetishism Diapers; considerable overlap with paraphilic infantilism
3. Dendrophilia Trees
4. Dormaphilia/Somnophilia Being asleep, or pretending to sleep


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Emetophilia Vomit
2. Eproctophilia Flatulence
3. Erotic asphyxiation Asphyxia of oneself or others
4. Erotophonophilia/Dacnolagnomania Murder, often of strangers
5. Exhibitionism Exposing one's genitals to unsuspecting and nonconsenting others
6. Exophilia Extraterrestrials


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Feederism Eating, feeding, and weight gain
2. Fictophilia Fictional characters
3. Formicophilia Being crawled on by insects
4. Forniphilia Turning a human being into a piece of furniture.
5. Frotteurism Rubbing against a non-consenting person


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Gerontophilia Elderly people
2. Gynandromorphophilia/Gynemimetophilia Transgender women
3. Galactophilia Breastfeeding or sucking on a woman's breasts
4. Gynephilia Females or femininity, regardless of one's own sex or gender identity


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Hematolagnia Drinking or looking at blood
2. Heterophilia Idealization of heterosexuality and/or people who are "straight-acting", especially by non-heterosexual people
3. Hierophilia Religious/sacred objects
4. Hoplophilia Firearms, guns
5. Hybristophilia Criminals, particularly those who committed cruel or outrageous crimes


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Infantophilia Children less than five years old (a recently suggested term that is not in general use)
2. Impregnation fetishism The event of being impregnated or impregnating another person


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Kleptophilia Stealing; also known as kleptolagnia
2. Klismaphilia Enemas, arousal and enjoyment in receiving, administering, or both
3. Knismephilia Tickling


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Lactophilia Breast milk
2. Liquidophilia Immersing genitals in liquids


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Macrophilia Giant beings; imagined growth of beings
2. Maschalagnia Armpits
3. Mazophilia Female breasts.
4. Masochism Suffering or humiliation; being beaten, bound, or otherwise abused
5. Maiesiophilia Pregnant women
6. Mechanophilia Cars or other machines; also "mechaphilia"
7. Melolagnia Music
8. Menophilia Menstruation
9. Metrophilia Poetry
10. Microphilia Shrunken beings; imagined shrinking of beings
11. Morphophilia Particular body shapes or sizes
12. Mucophilia Mucus
13. Mysophilia Dirtiness, soiled or decaying things


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Narratophilia Obscene words
2. Nasophilia Noses
3. Navel fetishism Navel
4. Nebulophilia Fog or smoke
5. Necrophilia Corpses


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Objectophilia Specific inanimate objects
2. Oculolinctus The act of licking the eyes of another person for the purpose of gratification
3. Odaxelagnia Biting or being bitten
4. Olfactophilia/Bromidrophilia Smells and odors (particularly foul ones) emanating from the body, especially the sexual areas and/or from the opposite sex (as from bad breath, urine, feces, flatulence, etc.)
5. Omorashi Having a full bladder and/or wetting oneself, or from seeing someone else experiencing a full bladder and/or wetting themself


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Paraphilic infantilism Dressing or being treated like a baby, also known as autonepiophilia or "adult baby syndrome"; considerable overlap with diaper fetishism
2. Partialism Specific, non-genital body parts
3. Pedophilia Prepubescent children; also spelled paedophilia
4. Peodeiktophilia Exposing one's penis
5. Pedovestism Dressing like a child
6. Podophilia Feet
7. Pictophilia Pornography or erotic art, particularly pictures
8. Piquerism Piercing the flesh of another person, most commonly by stabbing or cutting the body with sharp objects
9. Plushophilia Stuffed toys
10. Pygophilia Buttocks
11. Pyrophilia Fire


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Robophilia Humanoid robots


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Salirophilia Soiling or dirtying others
2. Sexual fetishism Nonliving objects
3. Sexual sadism Inflicting pain on others
4. Shoe fetishism Shoes, especially high heels.
5. Somnophilia Sleeping or unconscious people
6. Sophophilia Learning
7. Sthenolagnia Muscles and displays of strength
8. Stigmatophilia Body piercings and tattoos
9. Symphorophilia Witnessing or staging disasters such as car accidents
10. Telephone scatologia Obscene phone calls, particularly to strangers; also known as telephonicophilia and scatophilia


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Teratophilia Deformed or monstrous people
2. Toucherism Touching an unsuspecting, non-consenting person with the hand
3. Toxophilia Archery
4. Transvestic fetishism Recurrent and intense sexual arousal from cross-dressing which causes clinically significant distress or impairment
5. Transvestophilia A cross-dressing sexual partner
6. Trichophilia Sexual attraction to hair, often hair that is long, thick, or abundant
7. Troilism Observing one's partner engaged in sexual activities with another person
8. Timophilia Gold, wealth, or social status


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Urolagnia Urination, particularly in public, on others, and/or being urinated on. Also referred to as "water sports"


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Vorarephilia The idea of one person or creature eating or being eaten by another; usually swallowed whole, in one piece; also known as vore
2. Voyeurism Watching others while naked or having sex, generally without their knowledge; also known as scopophilia or scoptophilia


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Wet and messy fetishism Messy situations, including, but not limited to, being pied, slimed or covered in mud.


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Xenophilia An attraction to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs


S.No Paraphilia Focus of Erotic Interest
1. Zoophilia Attraction to non-human animals
2. Zoosadism Inflicting pain on animals, or seeing animals in pain


The exact etiology of paraphilia and paraphilic disorders is unknown. More commonly, however, they coexist with personality disorders, substance misuse or use disorders, anxiety disorders, or affective disorders. However, it is thought that a combination of neurobiological, interpersonal, and cognitive processes all play a role. Persons with personality disorders who have problems with self-esteem, anger management concerns, difficulty delaying gratification, poor empathetic ability, and faulty cognitions are particularly vulnerable. The etiology of paraphilias, like many psychiatric disorders, is complex and multifactorial, involving a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

Several theories have been proposed to explain the development of paraphilic disorders:

  1. Biological Factors: Some researchers suggest that biological factors, such as genetic predispositions or abnormalities in brain structure and function, may play a role in the development of paraphilias. Studies have identified associations between certain genetic markers and paraphilic behaviors, although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood.
  2. Psychological Theories: Psychodynamic theories propose that paraphilias may result from unconscious conflicts, unresolved developmental issues, or early childhood experiences. For example, Freudian theory suggests that paraphilic behaviors may be rooted in unresolved conflicts related to psychosexual development during childhood.
  3. Behavioral Theories: Behavioral theories focus on learning processes and environmental influences in the development of paraphilias. According to classical conditioning principles, individuals may develop paraphilic preferences through repeated pairings of sexual arousal with specific stimuli or situations. Operant conditioning may also play a role, with paraphilic behaviors reinforced by pleasurable outcomes or reduction of anxiety.
  4. Cognitive Theories: Cognitive theories propose that distorted thoughts, beliefs, or perceptions may contribute to the development or maintenance of paraphilic behaviors. Cognitive distortions, such as rationalizations or justifications for paraphilic behaviors, may serve to reinforce and perpetuate these patterns of arousal.
  5. Developmental Theories: Developmental theories suggest that disruptions or disturbances in early socialization, attachment, or identity development may contribute to the development of paraphilias. Traumatic experiences, abuse, or neglect during childhood or adolescence may increase vulnerability to developing paraphilic behaviors later in life.
  6. Biopsychosocial Model: The biopsychosocial model integrates biological, psychological, and social factors in understanding the etiology of paraphilias. This model emphasizes the interaction between genetic predispositions, psychological processes, and environmental influences in shaping individuals' sexual behaviors and preferences.
  7. Sociocultural Factors: Sociocultural factors, such as cultural norms, socialization practices, and media influences, may also play a role in shaping attitudes and behaviors related to sexuality. Sociocultural factors can influence the expression and acceptance of paraphilic behaviors within different cultural contexts.


There is a difficulty in conceptualizing differences between deviant sexual desires arising from mental disorders and displays of sexual orientation that do not emerge from a form of mental illness. Diagnosis of paraphilias is typically made based on a comprehensive clinical assessment by a mental health professional, including a detailed history of the individual's sexual behavior, fantasies, and associated distress or impairment.


  1. Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy may help individuals understand and manage their sexual urges and behaviors, develop coping strategies, and address underlying psychological issues.
  2. Medication: In some cases, medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or antiandrogens may be prescribed to reduce sexual arousal and compulsivity.
  3. Behavioral Interventions: Techniques such as aversion therapy or social skills training may be used to modify inappropriate sexual behaviors and reinforce more adaptive coping strategies.
  4. Support Groups: Participation in support groups or group therapy with other individuals struggling with similar issues may provide validation, empathy, and encouragement for individuals with paraphilias.


Many complications of paraphilia and paraphilic disorders can arise. Living with these intense and abnormal desires and behaviors can be troublesome and cause much turmoil to those individuals suffering from them. When paraphilia becomes a paraphilic disorder, individuals suffer harm, distress, and functional impairment. Furthermore, legal ramifications often ensue, leading to a life of incarceration and/or probation, forensic psychiatric hospital confinement, as well as permanent induction onto the sexual offender registry. Depending on the jurisdiction, the requirements of being on the sex offender registry include address notification, making living location public knowledge, housing limitations, as well as restrictions on being in the presence of underage persons, living in proximity to a school or daycare center, internet use, or even owning toys or other items that may suggest involvement with children.

Legal and Ethical Considerations:

It's important to note that while having a paraphilia itself is not illegal, engaging in illegal or nonconsensual behavior associated with paraphilias (such as child molestation or exhibitionism) is criminal and ethically unacceptable. Treatment for paraphilias often includes strategies to prevent harmful behavior, promote empathy and respect for others' boundaries, and encourage adherence to legal and ethical standards.


The prognosis for individuals with paraphilias varies depending on factors such as the severity of the disorder, the individual's willingness to engage in treatment, and the presence of comorbid psychiatric conditions. With appropriate treatment and support, many individuals with paraphilias can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives while avoiding harmful or illegal behaviors. However, relapse and ongoing challenges may occur, requiring ongoing monitoring and support from mental health professionals.

Last modified on 18/04/2024



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