Defining Different Types Of Sexual Paraphilias

blurry image of two people about to kiss - Types Of Sexual Paraphilias

Have you ever wondered what people mean when they use the word “paraphilia,” in relation to sexual conduct? Wonder no longer. 

Psychology Today defines the term as “a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme.” 

Though these disorders can sometimes exist in people and cause no ill effects other than some embarrassment for violating societal norms, the sad reality is that many of the behaviors that fall under the category of paraphilia are considered illegal, according to experts like Tsigler Law, a federal crimes lawyer in NYC. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most common paraphilias, drawing attention to which disorders veer into the territory of illegality.


You may already know “pedophilia” as the sexual attraction to children. It likely goes without saying, but this is one of the sexual disorders that engaging in is blatantly illegal, as Los Angeles sex crimes lawyers Stein & Markus so aptly point out. Because of the illegality of this act, pedophiles often conceal their urges, making it difficult to gauge the true number that exists within the population.


Exhibitionism refers to the urge to expose one’s genitals to strangers for the purposes of sexual gratification. This particular disorder almost always appears in men, with only a scant few female examples being reported throughout history. Exhibitionists are usually timid individuals with poor social skills, and, like with pedophilia, their deviant behavior is illegal.


When someone gains pleasure from touching or rubbing against a non-consenting individual, they are engaging in frotteurism. In many cases, frotteurism is something that people experience along with other sexual disorders. Some research places the average number of paraphilias in individuals with frotteurism near five, and also notes that the number of women with this particular disorder is unknown because it is never reported.


Voyeurism goes beyond merely taking an unexpected and opportunistic peep on a naked individual. Those who have voyeurism actually have intense and recurring fantasies about watching other, unsuspecting individuals who are naked, disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity. While this disorder is more prevalent in men, it also occurs in women, albeit rarely.

Other Paraphilias

In addition to the main paraphilias that people might experience, there are other disorders that occur at reduced frequencies in the population. This includes fetishism, sexual sadism, sexual masochism, and transvestic disorder. These additional paraphilias aren’t typically illegal, but they can still be damaging to an individual’s well being, and may require treatment in order to control.