How Many People Have "Unusual" Sexual Desires?

How Many People Have "Unusual" Sexual Desires?

Psychologists and psychiatrists use the term paraphilia to refer to an unusual sexual interest. More specifically, paraphilias are recurrent desires for uncommon sexual objects or activities. Although hundreds of desires have been described as paraphilias at one time or another, there are only eight specific paraphilis that are listed in the current version of the DSM (the psychiatry bible): fetishism, transvestism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteurism, pedophilia, masochism, and sadism (see below for definitions).

Though these interests have long been thought to be rare, very little data exists that can speak to their prevalence in the general population. In fact, almost all of the research conducted on these topics so far has been limited to clinical samples, which doesn’t really give us much sense as to how many people might have had these interests at one time or another. However, a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research offers some insight.

 

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Beyond The Foot: A Look At Some Of The Most Unusual Sexual Fetishes

Beyond The Foot: A Look At Some Of The Most Unusual Sexual Fetishes

What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word “fetish?” For many of you, that word is probably “foot,” or perhaps something that is worn over the feet (e.g., stockings, boots). One of the reasons for this is likely because when fetishes make an appearance in pop culture, feet and shoes are usually the focus of attention. This isn’t particularly surprising in light of the fact that research has found that, by and large, feet are typically the single most common fetish object, a pattern of behavior known as podophilia. However, feet are far from the only thing that people can develop fetishes for. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the lesser known fetishes.

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What The DSM-5 Means For The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Sexual Issues

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the “bible” that psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States use for diagnosing mental health problems. Just a few days ago, the American Psychiatric Association released the latest version, known as the DSM-5, which represents the first major overhaul of the manual in 13 years. The new version has been met with a good deal of controversy, which has already been covered extensively in the popular media. One thing that has not been particularly well-covered, though, is the DSM-5’s implications for the diagnosis and treatment of sexual issues.
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Sex Question Friday: My Boyfriend Likes Wearing Women’s Stockings. Is He Gay?

Sex Question Friday: My Boyfriend Likes Wearing Women’s Stockings. Is He Gay?
Every time I tell someone what I do for a living, they take it as an opportunity to get some free sex and relationship advice. I don’t really mind because this is what interests me after all. Not only that, but the questions I get asked serve as great fodder for the blog! One of the most interesting questions I’ve been asked lately came from a woman I met at a party who was very concerned that her boyfriend might secretly be gay. Below, I provide a recap of her story and a more elaborated version of my response.
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A Top 10 List of Unusual Sexual Behaviors

Paraphilias are one of the most fascinating topics in the field of human sexuality. In case you are not familiar with the term paraphilia, it refers to any unusual form 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 much in the way of research attention. It is also important to point out that paraphilias are not necessarily disorders that require treatment. Paraphilias only become clinically significant to the extent that they cause distress to the individual or involve victimization of others. In this article, I’d like to share some of the most interesting, but lesser known paraphilias that I have ever read about.

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Sex Question Friday: Why Do Some People Have Fetishes?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer sex questions submitted to me by actual college students. This week, we’re talking about fetishes. Fetishes refer to cases where an individual’s sexual desires and behaviors hinge upon a specific object, such as shoes or feet. Contrary to popular belief, having a fetish isn't necessarily problematic. It only becomes a problem when desire for this object creates persistent personal distress (in other words, a fetish isn't considered a clinical "problem" unless the individual is bothered by it or finds that it interferes with their ability to develop and maintain relationships). People can have fetishes for virtually anything, from the conventional (e.g., silk panties and leather boots) to the unusual (e.g., dirt and cars). It is perhaps no surprise that the most common question people have about fetishes is how they develop in the first place, hence the following question submitted by a reader:

"Why do some people develop strange fetishes?"

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