This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 16 table of contents.


Paraphilias are unusual or inappropriate sexual attractions (from para meaning outside or unusual and philia meaning an attraction or interest). The category includes fetishes (obsession with inanimate objects, such as shoes or underclothing), exhibitionism, transvestitism, voyeurism, zoophilia (sexual activity with animals), masochism and sadism and a variety of other interests such as arousal by feces or urine.

What are paraphilias? What do paraphilias "always involve"?

Paraphilias always involve something forbidden. A voyeur may enjoy the forbidden activity of watching a woman undress through a peephole in a wall. The same person may not enjoy ordinary marital sex, which lacks the elements of risk and forbiddenness.

Write to Dr. Dewey at

Don't see what you need? Psych Web has over 1,000 pages, so it may be elsewhere on the site. Do a site-specific Google search using the box below.

Custom Search

Copyright © 2007-2011 Russ Dewey