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 in 1903, taken from Greek παρά (para) "beside" and φιλία (-philia) "friendship, love".
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 This term, nowadays most known as an outdated and offensive name for homosexuality, used to denote a whole range of sexual desires and acts that could not result in procreation.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.
Paraphilias are most often grouped by the type of target of attraction.
- Attractions to beings (pedophilia, zoophilia, etc);
- Attractions to objects, aka fetishes;
- Attractions to actions, 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
- 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.