Paraphilias are one of the most fascinating topics in the field of human sexuality. In case you aren’t familiar with the term paraphilia, it refers to all unusual forms of sexual expression. Some of the most common paraphilias include fetishism, in which people become sexually fixated on non-living objects or specific body parts, and sadomasochism, in which people experience sexual arousal in response to giving or receiving pain. A huge number of paraphilias have been identified. In fact, one source puts the number at 547!1 Of course, many of these behaviors are exceedingly rare and most of them have not received enough research attention to merit their own clinical diagnoses in the DSM. In this article, I’d like to share some of the most interesting, but lesser known paraphilias that I have ever read about.
10. Paraphilic infantilism: Sexual arousal is derived from dressing up like a baby or being treated like one. This may or may not overlap with diaper fetishism, in which a person receives sexual pleasure from wearing or using diapers.
9. Formicophilia: Sexual arousal is derived from having insects (e.g., ants) crawl all over your body or genitals and bite you as they do so.
8.Troilism/Cuckoldism: Sexual pleasure is derived from seeing one’s partner engage in sexual activity with another person, or from knowing that one's partner is having an affair.
7. Abasiophilia: Sexual arousal is derived from either viewing or sexually interacting with a person who has limited mobility, such as an individual wearing a cast or using crutches. [Editor’s Note: I once watched an episode of Strange Sex about a heterosexual couple in which the man wanted his female partner to become so obese that she would become bedridden and be completely dependent upon him. You can see a clip from that episode here, where you can also learn about food fetishes.]
6. Omorashi: Sexual pleasure is derived from either having a full bladder, or watching someone else with a full bladder wet themselves. This is separate from urophilia, in which a person experiences arousal in response to urinating on someone else or having someone urinate on them.
5. Frotteurism: Sexual arousal is derived from rubbing up against a non-consenting person in a public place (e.g., on a subway or at a bar). [Editor’s Note: I bet you’re going to think twice the next time someone "accidentally" bumps into you while you’re in the middle of a crowd!]
4. Bug chasing: Sexual arousal is derived from sleeping with (or fantasizing about sleeping with) someone who is HIV-positive. Some of these individuals actually hope to catch the infection in the process.
3. Symphorophilia: Sexual pleasure is derived from watching a disaster occur, such as a car accident or fire.
2. Sacofricosis: Sexual arousal is derived from cutting a hole in the pocket of one’s pants in order to masturbate in public without anybody realizing that it’s happening.
1. Vorarephilia: Sexual arousal is derived from the thought of either eating another person or being eaten by someone else. Most of these people just fantasize about the act, but some of them actually go through with it. Click here to read about the case of a man in Germany who was arrested for murder after carrying out this activity in real life.
You can discover more about why people develop fetishes here. Want to learn more about The Psychology of Human Sexuality? Click here for a complete list of articles or like the Facebook page to get articles delivered to your newsfeed.
1Aggrawal, A. (2009). Forensic and medico-legal aspects of sexual crimes and unusual sexual practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
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