Paraphilic Disorders

Atypical Sexual Preferences

What is a paraphilic disorder and how do I seek kelp?

“A paraphilic disorder is a sexual disorder that causes you significant distress, personal harm, or risk of harm to others” (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, pg. 380). “The common paraphilias are exhibitionism, pedophilia, voyeurism, fetishism, transvestism, sexual sadism and masochism, frotteurism (touching or rubbing against an unwilling person) and telephone scatologia (obscene phone calls) and 95% of sufferers are men” (Kafka, 1997). There are several theories as to why individuals develop paraphilic disorders including psychological and biological with psychological being the most prevalent (Benuto, n.d.). The psychological theory suggests that a childhood incident or relationship contributes to the development of the disorder and once established become chronic and most often continues on into adulthood (Benuto, n.d.).

“Some of the misconceptions about those who suffer from paraphilic disorders are that they are from less privileged families, less intelligent, and socially isolated” (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). Some sex offenders can fit these criteria but these standards do not apply for all who suffer from this type of disorder (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). Another theory is that all sex offenders suffered sexual abuse as a child (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). Several different studies have been done that concluded that sex offenders have a similar or lower incidence of sexual assault by adults than the general population and does not predispose one to committing sexual abuse (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). In the past it was believed that sex offenders should not masturbate a study was done that proved it could be beneficial (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). When sex offenders stopped masturbating it actually increased their risk of re-offending (Myths and Misconceptions about Sex Offenders, n.d.). If you feel you suffer from this type of disorder there is help available.

If you are seeking help for this type of disorder or any disorder that is causing you stress, dysfunction or endangering your life looking for a licensed experienced professional in your area of distress is extremely important. If the process feels overwhelming and you do not know where to start there are several ways to find a psychologist, ask your physician or another health professional, call your local or state psychological association, and consult a local university or college department of psychology (How to Choose a Psychologist, n.d.). Or if you feel comfortable ask family and friends if they can recommend someone (How to Choose a Psychologist, n.d.). Keep in mind that a psychiatrist must have either a M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy, along with a four year residency, and at least three of these years specifically in the practice of psychiatry (Cherry, n.d.).

The following is a list of questions you can ask your mental health care provider to see if they are the right fit for you.

. Are you a licensed psychologist and how many years have you practiced?

· What experience do you have helping people with these types of problems?

· What are your areas of expertise?

· What kinds of treatments do you use, and have they been proven effective for dealing with my kind of problem or issue?

· What are your fees?

· What types of insurance do you accept? Will you accept direct billing to or payment from my insurance company? Are you affiliated with any managed care organizations? Do you accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance?

(How to Choose a Psychologist, n.d.)

The most important factor to remember when seeking help is to not be ashamed. There are places you can turn to for help. The negative risks are greater when the issue is left untreated. There are others just like you and you do not have to suffer in silence or alone.

By Heather Shepherd

Baker College

PSY 311


Benuto Ph.D., Lorraine. Paraphilias Causes and Treatments. (n.d.). Seven Counties Services Inc. Retrieved from

Cherry, K. (n.d.). Psychiatrist Careers: Job Overview, Training, Job Duties. About Education. Retrieved from

How to Choose a Psychologist. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. Retrieved from

Kafka, M. P. (1997, September). How are drugs used in the treatment of paraphilic disorders? Harvard Mental Health Letter, 14(3), 8. Retrieved from

Myths and misconceptions about sex offenders. | IPCE. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (Sixth Edition). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Paraphilias (Sex Deviations). (n.d.). Retrieved from

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