A paraphilia is an attraction towards actions other than the ones implied by intimacy with a partner or an attraction towards something or someone that is not an adult consenting human.
This is an umbrella term that unites many types of attractions. Attractions of the map spectrum are paraphilias.
The term "paraphilia" was coined by Friedrich Salomon Krauss, a Croatian Austrian Jewish ethnographist, from Greek παρά (para) "beside" and φιλία (-philia) "friendship, love" in a meaning similar to modern - "love for something beside the normal". He coined it in his review of a work of Dr Iwan Bloch. The review was titled Psychopathia sexualis and published in Wiener Klinische Rundschau, Volume 17, on August 2, 1903. He opposed the pathologizing and medicalizing nature of already existing labels and offered "paraphilia" as a neutral alternative.
The term "psychopathia sexualis" already contains a ready judgment in itself, and therefore isn’t suitable for scientific work. <...> I have the same objection to the expression “sexual perversion” as to “psychopathia sexualis”. Here, too, the word conceals a condemnation from the outset, which should not be put in front of scientific discussions at least, so as not to influence the conclusion. As a replacement for both terms I would like to suggest another, again a Greek one, paraphilia (παράφιλία), for which I know of no evidence from the old Greek usage, but which is formed similar to the word παράνοια (ignorance, foolishness, madness) and simply indicates a form deviating from ordinary love and not corresponding to the nature of correct love, the purpose of which must be the fertilization of the woman. <...> Individual minor symptoms or even mere "nervousness", which is so widespread today in all classes of the population, are certainly not enough to describe paraphiletic acts or conditions as "morbid". Rather, there is no doubt that all paraphilias can also occur in mentally and physically healthy people who must be considered to be of "sound mind" in every respect.
Before this word appeared, feelings and behaviors we would now interpret as paraphiliac would be referred to as sodomy. This term, nowadays most known as an outdated and offensive name for homosexuality, used to denote a whole range of sexual desires and acts that could not result in procreation. Homosexuality has a long story of being grouped together with other non normative sexualities. It was listed as a disorder in the first two editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (issued in 1952 and 1968) in the “sexual deviations” category and only removed in 1973. Nowadays non-paraphiliac LGBT activists are trying to erase parallels between these attractions.
The term "paraphilia" has appeared in the third edition of the DSM (1980). In 2013, DSM-5, paraphilias were depathologized, and the diagnosis was replaced with the one of a paraphilic disorder.
Paraphilias and paraphilic disorders
A paraphilic disorder can be diagnosed when the patient experiences strong distress or has violated someone sexually because of their paraphilia. Stigma and hate towards paraphilias (for example, mapmisia) is one of the most frequent causes of a paraphilic disorder.
The DSM recognizes the following paraphilic disorders:
- Voyeuristic disorder;
- Exhibitionistic disorder;
- Frotteuristic disorder;
- Sexual masochism disorder;
- Sexual sadism disorder;
- Pedophilic disorder;
- Fetishistic disorder (uniting both objectophilia and partialism);
- Transvestic disorder;
- Other specified paraphilic disorder;
- Unspecified paraphilic disorder.
There exist many more paraphilias than the ones that are discussed medically.
It is also possible to make an argument that the term "paraphiliac disorder" describes a condition called "minority stress", and there is no need to separate it into a different category.
Paraphilias are most often grouped by the type of target of attraction.
- Attractions to beings (pedophilia, zoophilia, etc);
- Attractions to body parts other than sexual and objects, aka fetishes;
- Attractions to actions and states, aka kinks.
In non-paraphiliac spaces the word "fetish" is often used to mean an extreme obsession, sometimes in a derogatory way. "Kink" is sometimes utilized synonymously with any non-normative sexual activity. However, paraphiliac communities employ these terms as shown in the classification above.
In addition to classifying paraphilias by who or what the paraphiliac is attracted to, it is also possible to single out different types of attraction:
- Queer spectrum non-allo attractions.
When counted together, paraphiliacs make up a significant part of the human population. Surveys come back with such numbers as 62.4%, nearly 50%, 41.5-50.6%. However, this does not mean paraphiliacs are not a marginalized group, because each individual paraphilia is represented by a minority, and some deal with extreme stigma.
- Objectùm-Sexuality Internationale, a relatively old (founded in 1970s) movement of objectophiles who chose to distance themselves from the rest of paraphilias and claim exclusivity to romantic feelings.
- Zoophiles for Ethical Treatment of Animals (ZETA), a group of zoophiles with beliefs that could be described as “pro contact”. ZETA is built on principles, adjacent to veganism and arophobia/anti casual sex views.
- Sodomy, Britannica.
- DSM-5 and Paraphilic Disorders, Michael B. First, Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online June 2014, 42 (2) 191-201
- Against paraphiliac disorders as a category, Wierstamann.
- Kinks, Fetishes, Paraphilias: Treating Issues with Non-Traditional Sexuality, PsychCentral.
- Mcmanus, Michelle & Hargreaves, Paul & Rainbow, Lee & Alison, Laurence. (2013). Paraphilias: Definition, diagnosis and treatment. F1000prime reports. 5. 36. 10.12703/P5-36.
- Joyal CC, Carpentier J. The Prevalence of Paraphilic Interests and Behaviors in the General Population: A Provincial Survey. J Sex Res. 2017 Feb;54(2):161-171. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1139034. Epub 2016 Mar 3. PMID: 26941021.
- Castellini G, Rellini AH, Appignanesi C, Pinucci I, Fattorini M, Grano E, Fisher AD, Cassioli E, Lelli L, Maggi M, Ricca V. Deviance or Normalcy? The Relationship Among Paraphilic Thoughts and Behaviors, Hypersexuality, and Psychopathology in a Sample of University Students. J Sex Med. 2018 Sep;15(9):1322-1335. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.07.015. PMID: 30224020.
- Objectùm-Sexuality Internationale.