Paraphillic Disorders

What they are and how to treat them

What are Paraphillic Disorders?

A paraphilic disorder is a sexual preference that is not typical, they tend to cause distress or impairment, as well as personal harm or the potential to harm others. There are several types of paraphilic disorders they include necrophilia, transvestic disorder, pedophilic disorder, voyeuristic disorder and more.

What causes paraphillias?

From the behavioral standpoint, the cause of paraphilic disorders are due to intense early sexual arousal paired with a particular stimulus. for example, a child may become aroused when spying on his neighbor having sex. this may be followed by the child fantasizing about the scenario, while masturbating, and this would be enforcing the association between the stimulus and sexual arousal. According to the social learning theory, the environment of a child's home and the culture can cause paraphilic disorders. Studies have also shown that high rates of sex offenders with various types of paraphilia, had a history of child abuse.

Treatment Options for Paraphillias

There are antiandrogen drugs that are used to reduce the sex drive. Surgical castration is also used and it almost completely eliminates the production of androgens and lowers the rate of repeat offenses among sex offenders. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have also been used to reduce sex drive and paraphilic behaviors. Behavior modification therapy is also available for those who are willing to change their behavior, and it can be successful in some cases. Aversion therapy is one type of behavior modification therapy that is used to eliminate sexual responses to objects or situations that arouse the subject. "Cognitive-behavioral therapy for sex offenders have found no significant differences in the recidivism rate between men who received the therapy and those who did not" (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, p. 388).

Finding the right provider

If you or someone you know is in need of treatment for a paraphilic disorder, it is very important to do research on the credentials of the treatment program or the provider you choose. There are well trained professionals available to help. They should licensed by the state that they practice in.


Nolen- Hoeksema, S. (2014). (Ab)normal psychology sixth edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Klein, V., Schmidt, A. F., Turner, D., & Briken, P. (2015). Are Sex Drive and Hypersexuality Associated with Pedophilic Interest and Child Sexual Abuse in a Male Community Sample? PLoS ONE, 10(7). Retrieved from

Psychology Today. Paraphillias. 2016. Sussex Publishers. Retrieved from