What is a Paraphilia?
Malin and Saleh (2007) report that the debate continues as to whether paraphilias are best conceptualized as sexual disorders unto themselves, or are simply a special kind of obsessive disorder, anxiety disorder, or even addiction disorder. Paraphilia is not a term used in the Kink community; however, as a clinician, you will see that Kink communities will often lump paraphilias with the term Kink or fetish. According to Malin, H. M., and Saleh, F.M., (2007), it has been estimated that some fifty paraphilias that have been identified and described in the research literature. Anil Aggrawal (2009) compiled a list of 547 terms describing Paraphilic sexual interests. He cautioned, however, that not all of these paraphilia has necessarily been seen in clinical setups. This may not be because they do not exist, but because they are so innocuous they are never brought to the notice of clinicians or are dismissed by them. Like allergies, sexual arousal may occur from anything under the sun, including the sun (Aggrawal, 2009). This means it is essential to have a keen knowledge of what to look for when it comes to sexuality and eroticism in your patients. Additionally, Aggrawal’s statement is normalizing the concept that eroticism is individualized.
In a typical medical or counseling practice, a healthcare provider will rarely come in contact with an individual who desires treatment for their paraphilia unless the paraphilia has begun to impair their life in some way. In my clinical practice, I have seen a direct request to address the paraphilia when it has affected the patient’s health, affected their relationships, or affected them legally. This is an opportunity to discuss the objectification typical of paraphilias versus the relationship connection in Kink. That is an integral part of this work.
What is a Fetish?
There are two definitions of “fetish.” The clinical term refers to a form of sexual desire in which gratification or arousal to a degree depends on some object, item of clothing, environment, role, sensation, or part of the body. Some examples of common fetishes can be feet or latex. It is important to note that fetishes enhance the sexual experience, but are not required for it. The street use of the term fetish is often blanketed with any alternative sexual expression and often is used interchangeably with the term Kink. In this manual, we use fetish as the catchall category for anything not covered in the other four divisions.
Clinically, we define “fetishism” as the sexualizing or sexual focus on a non-living object or a non-genital body part that adds to sexuality and connection. “Paraphilia,” however, is a fixation and need to have the object of desire in order to be sexual, thus sexual activity no longer is about connection and the fetish becomes the agent of impairment in their sex life. A “paraphilia” is a condition that is characterized by abnormal sexual desires; however, from a clinical standpoint, these activities must be impairing one’s health, relationships, or other aspects of one’s life in order to be considered pathology.
Paraphilia and Fetish Clinical Term List
This list combines both clinical terms as seen in published journals and common terms used within the Kink community. Although there are a significant number of others, these are the ones that you may see in practice more often unless you specialize in forensic work. This is an incomplete list and meant as in introduction.
- Abasiophilia: sexual arousal for people with impaired mobility.
- Ablutophilia: sexual arousal from showers and baths.
- Acomoclitism: sexual arousal from hairless genitalia.
- Acrophilia: sexual arousal from high places.
- Acrotomophilia: sexual arousal from an amputee partner.
- Actirasty: sexual arousal from exposure to the sun’s rays.
- Agalmatophilia: sexual arousal for mannequins or statues; similar to technosexuality.
- Agonophilia: sexual arousal from pretending to struggle or wrestling play as a form of foreplay.
- Agoraphilia: sexual arousal from sex in public places.
- Agrexophilia: sexual arousal from knowing that others are aware of a person’s sexual activities.
- Algolagnia: sexual arousal from pain, particularly involving an erogenous zone; differs from masochism as there is a biologically different interpretation of the sensation rather than a subjective interpretation.
- Allorgasmia: fantasizing about someone other than one’s partner.
- Allotriorasty: sexual arousal from partners of other nations or races.
- Alphmegamia: sexual arousal from older men.
- Altocalciphilia: sexual arousal from high heels.
- Alvinolagnia: sexual arousal from stomachs.
- Amaurophilia: sexual arousal from a partner who is unable to see them during sex; partner can be blind or blindfolded.
- Anaclitism: sexual arousal from activities or items one was exposed to as an infant.
- Anasteemaphilia: sexual arousal from taller or shorter partners.
- Androidism: sexual arousal from robots with human features.
- Andromimetophilia: sexual attraction to trans-men.
- Anililagnia: sexual attraction by young men to older women.
- Autogynephilia: sexual arousal for a biological male that imagines himself as a female.
- Autonepiophilia: sexual arousal from dressing as (or imagining oneself as) an infant; also known as Infantilism.
- Avisodomy: sexual arousal or behavior with birds.
- Anophelorastia: sexual arousal from defiling or ravaging a partner.
- Antholagnia: sexual arousal from the smell of flowers.
- Aphephilia: sexual arousal from being touched.
- Apotemnophilia: sexual arousal from being a self-amputee or a longing or desire to become an amputee.
- Archnephilia: sexual attraction or arousal to spiders.
- Asphyxiophilia: sexual arousal from asphyxiation or strangulation.
- Asthenolagnia: sexual arousal from being “weak”, “helpless,” and being humiliated.
- Audiophilia: sexual arousal from recorded sound.
- Autagonistophilia: sexual arousal from exposing naked body or genitals to strangers while on stage or while being photographed.
- Autassassinophilia: sexual arousal from being in life-threatening situations or staging one’s own death.
- Autoandrophilia: sexual arousal for a biological female that imagines herself as a male.
- Autoerotic Asphyxiation: sexual arousal from self-induced asphyxiation, often to the point of unconsciousness.
- Biastophilia: sexual arousal from the act or thought of raping a non-consenting person.
- Belonephilia: sexual arousal from knives, pins, needles and sharp objects.
- Catheterophilia: sexual arousal from the thought, act, or watching the usage of a catheter.
- Choreophilia: The act of dancing to orgasmic release.
- Chremastistophilia: sexual arousal from the thought or act of being robbed or held up.
- Chronophilia: sexual arousal from having partners of a widely differing chronological age range. See also: Anililagnia.
- Coprolalia: sexual arousal from the use of profanity (i.e. fuck, shit, bitch).
- Coprophilia: sexual arousal from scat/feces; also known as scat, scatophilia or fecophilia.
- Coulrophilia: sexual arousal from clowns.
- Crurophilia: sexual arousal from images or touching of legs.
- Crush Fetishism: sexual arousal from crushing or seeing small creatures being crushed.
- Dacryphilia: sexual arousal from the sight of tears or crying.
- Dendrophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to trees or the worship of their fertility.
- Doraphilia: sexual arousal caused by the feel, smell or touching of leather, skin, or fur.
- Dracophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to dragons and serpents.
- Dysmorphophilia: sexual arousal by or attraction to partners who are deformed or physically impaired partners.
- Ecouteurism: sexual arousal from listening to others have sex, often without permission.
- Electrophilia: sexual arousal from playing with electricity and electrical equipment such as a TENS unit or a Violet Wand.
- Emetophilia: sexual arousal from vomiting, being vomited on, or the smell of vomit; also known as Rainbow Play.
- Enderacinism: sexual arousal from the act or thought of tearing out sexual organs by the roots.
- Endytophilia: sexual arousal from a clothed partner.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: sexual arousal from the thought or act of asphyxia of oneself or others.
- Erotographomania: sexual arousal from writing love poems or letters.
- Erotophonophilia: sexual arousal from the thought or act of committing murder.
- Exhibitionism: sexual arousal from exposing oneself sexually, with or without the consent of others or even the one being exposed.
- Formicophilia: sexual arousal from being crawled upon and/or bitten by insects, initially referring to only ants, this term is now commonly used to refer to any insect.
- Forniphilia: sexual arousal from acting like or using human furniture.
- Frotteurism: sexual arousal from rubbing on a non-consenting person; often involving a targeted body part such as genitals or feet.
- Gerontophilia: sexual arousal and attraction for the elderly or of a different generation.
- Gymnophilia: sexual arousal from nudity.
- Gynelophilous: sexual arousal from the slight touch of pubic hair.
- Gynemimetophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to transwomen or from a male impersonating a female.
- Haematomania/Hematolagnia: sexual arousal from blood.
- Hamartophilia: This term has been used for sexual arousal for committing acts one considers to be sinful or sexual blunders or incompetence.
- Haptephilia: Excessive sexual arousal from being touched.
- Harpaxophilia: sexual arousal from being robbed or burglarized.
- Hebephilia: sexual attraction or arousal for early pubescent children.
- Hierophilia: sexual arousal from religious/sacred objects.
- Hirsutophilia: sexual arousal from the armpit hair.
- Hodophilia: sexual arousal from traveling.
- Homeovestism: sexual arousal from wearing clothing of one’s own gender.
- Homilophilia: sexual arousal from hearing or giving sermons.
- Hybristophilia: sexual attraction to criminals, particularly for cruel or outrageous crimes.
- Hygrophilia: sexual arousal from body fluids or body moisture.
- Hyphephilia: sexual arousal from sensations; specifically touching skin, hair, leather, fur, or fabric/specific fabric.
- Hypoxyphilia: sexual arousal from the limiting or withholding of oxygen to a partner or oneself.
- Kainotophilia: sexual arousal from change
- Kakorrhaphiphilia: sexual attraction or arousal from failure.
- Keraunophilia: sexual arousal from thunderstorms and violent weather.
- Kinesophilia: sexual arousal from exercise.
- Kleptophilia: sexual arousal from stealing.
- Klismaphilia: sexual arousal from the usage of enemas.
- Knismolagnia: sexual arousal from being tickled.
- Knissophilia: sexual arousal from the smell and use of incense.
- Kopophilia: sexual arousal from physical and emotional exhaustion.
- Lactophilia: sexual arousal from breast milk.
- Liquidophelia: sexual arousal from submerging one’s own genitals into liquid.
- Macrogenitalism: sexual attraction to large genitals.
- Macrophilia: sexual attraction to giants, primarily domination by giant women or men.
- Mammaphilia: sexual arousal from breasts.
- Masochism: sexual arousal from being dominated/humiliated.
- Mastigophilia: sexual arousal from punishment (giving or receiving).
- Mechanophilia/Mechaphilia: sexual attraction or arousal from to cars and/or other large machines.
- Megalophilia: sexual attraction to large objects.
- Menophilia: sexual arousal to having or having sex during menstruation.
- Merinthophilia: sexual arousal from being bound and confined.
- Metophilia: sexual arousal from another person’s face.
- Metrophilia: sexual arousal from hearing, reading, or writing poetry.
- Mucophilia: sexual arousal to seeing, eating, or touching mucus.
- Mysophilia: sexual arousal from dirtiness, soiled, or decaying things.
- Mysophilia: sexual arousal from the smell of foul odors or decaying material.
- Narratophilia: sexual arousal from dirty talk, usually with obscene words, or from discussing sex.
- Nasophilia: sexual attraction to noses.
- Necrophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to corpses.
- Neophilia: sexual arousal by anything new.
- Normophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to acts considered normal by their religion/culture/society.
- Nyctophilia: sexual arousal by darkness or night.
- Ochlophilia: sexual arousal from being in a crowd.
- Oculolinctus: sexual arousal from licking someone’s eyeball.
- Oculophilia: sexual arousal from eyes.
- Odaxelagnia: sexual arousal from biting or being bitten.
- Odontophilia: sexual arousal from teeth especially extractions.
- Olfactophilia: sexual arousal from smells.
- Ophidicism: sexual attraction or arousal to reptiles.
- Ozolagnia: sexual arousal from powerful smells.
- Paraphilic Infantilism: sexual arousal or attraction to adult baby/diaper lover (AB/DL).
- Parthenophilia: sexual attraction exclusively to virgins.
- Partialism: sexual attraction to specific, non-genital body parts.
- Pecattiphilia: sexual arousal from sinning or having guilt.
- Pediophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to dolls.
- Peodeiktophilia: sexual arousal from exposing one’s penis.
- Pedovestism: sexual arousal from dressing and behaving like a child.
- Phallophilia: sexual preference or attraction to large penises
- Phobophilia: sexual arousal to fear and or hate.
- Phygephilia: sexual arousal to or being a fugitive.
- Pictophilia: sexual arousal from pornography or erotic art, particularly pictures.
- Piquerism: sexual arousal from the thought or act of penetration or piercing of another person, most commonly by stabbing or cutting the body with sharp objects.
- Plushophilia: sexual attraction or arousal to stuffed toys.
- Podophilia: sexual attraction to feet.
- Polyiterophilia: sexual arousal by having sex with a series of partners.
- Psychorophilia: sexual arousals from contact with extremely cold objects and/or watching others freeze.
- Psychrocism: sexual arousal from the cold or ice.
- Pubephilia: sexual arousal from pubic hair.
- Pygmalionis: sexual arousal from rubbing one’s body against a dolls, mankind or statues.
- Pygophilia: sexual arousal from or attraction to the buttocks.
- Pyrolagnia: sexual pleasure from watching fire.
- Pyrophilia: sexual arousal from fire or arousal from intercourse with a burning corpse; also used when referring to sexual arousal with fire play.
- Ramenophelia: sexual arousal from rubbing noodles on one’s own or someone else’s genitals.
- Raptophilia: sexual arousal from committing rape, consensual or non-consensual.
- Retifism: sexual arousal from shoes, feet, heels.
- Rhabdophilia: sexual arousal from being flagellated.
- Robotism: sexual attraction to or the use of robots in sex play.
- Sacofricosis: The process of making a hole in one’s pocket to masturbate in public.
- Sadism: sexual excitement from inflicting pain; also used for the sexual arousal from dominating or humiliating one’s partner.
- Salirophilia: sexual arousal from caused by the soiling/dirtying of others.
- Scatologia: sexual arousal from performing or receiving obscene phone calls.
- Scopophilia: sexual arousal from being stared at.
- Siderodromophilia: sexual arousal from trains.
- Sitophilia: sexual arousal from the use of food.
- Somnophilia: sexual arousal from watching, fondling, or having sex with other people while they sleep.
- Spectrophilia: sexual attraction or arousal from an image in mirrors or sex with spirits.
- Splanchnophilia: sexual arousal from the thought, touch, or seeing of entrails.
- Sthenolagnia: sexual arousal or attraction to muscles or displays of strength; muscle worship.
- Stigmatophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to body piercings and tattoos or by marking one’s own body by inserting objects into it.
- Symorophilia: sexual arousal triggered by watching or staging disasters (i.e. car accidents).
- Tantalolagnia: sexual arousal from teasing.
- Taphephilia: sexual arousal from being buried alive.
- Technosexuality: sexual attraction or arousal from robots or people dressed as robots.
- Teratophilia: sexual attraction to deformed people.
- Textophilia: sexual arousal from certain kinds of textiles, usually from the sensation of it rubbing against an erogenous zone.
- Thesauromania: sexual arousal from collecting women’s clothing.
- Thlipsosis: sexual arousal from pinching.
- Timophilia: sexual arousal from gold or wealth.
- Transformation Fetish: sexual arousal or attraction to depictions of transformations of people into objects/other beings
- Transvestism: sexual arousal from dressing opposite from one’s gender.
- Transvestophilia: sexual attraction to transvestites.
- Trichophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to hair.
- Tripsolagnophilia: sexual arousal from massage
- Troilism: sexual arousal from watching one’s partner have sex with someone else, possibly with or without the third party’s knowledge; also known as cuckoldism.
- Triolism: sexual arousal from three party sexual experiences.
- Urolagnia: sexual arousal from and/ or sexual activity involving urine.
- Ursusagalmatophilia: sexual arousal or attraction to teddy bears.
- Urtication: sexual arousal from stinging nettles stimulating the skin.
- Vaccinophilia: sexual arousal from being vaccinated.
- Vampirism: sexual arousal from blood play.
- Vicarphilia: sexual arousal from hearing stories about other people’s lives, these stories so not have to be sexual in nature.
- Vincilagnia: sexual arousal from being tied up.
- Vorarephilia: sexual arousal from the thought or act of devouring others whole or being swallowed whole.
- Voyeurism: sexual arousal from watching others while naked or having sex, with or without their knowledge.
- Wet and Messy Fetish (WAM): Also called sploshing, sexual arousal from having food-related sub stances deliberately and liberally applied to the naked skin, predominantly the face orgenitals, or to the clothes people are wearing.
- Xenophilia: sexual attraction or arousal from strangers.
- Zelophilia : sexual arousal from jealousy.
- Zoophilia: sexual arousal from the act or thoughts of animals.
- Zoosadism: sexual arousal from inflicting pain onto animals or seeing them in pain.