A paraphilia is a condition involving sex fetishes where a person's sexual arousal and
gratification depend on fantasizing about, and engaging in, sexual behavior that is
atypical and extreme. A paraphilia can revolve around a particular sex fetish like an
object (e.g., shoes, underwear, clothing) or around a particular sex fetish act (e.g.,
inflicting pain, exposing oneself).

Most of the paraphilias are far more common in men than in women. The focus of a
paraphilia is usually very specific and unchanging. For example, for someone who
derives sexual pleasure from exposing his genitals, watching others engaging in sexual
activity will not generally provide sexual gratification.
A paraphilia is distinguished by a preoccupation with the object or behavior to the point of being dependent on that object or behavior for
sexual gratification. In most cases, types of sexual activity outside the boundaries of the paraphilia lose their arousal or satisfaction potential
unless the person fantasizes about the paraphilia at the same time.

Although many of the paraphilias seem so foreign or extreme that one could not imagine how the object or behavior can be arousing to
anyone, they are easier to understand if one thinks of those behaviors that, in less extreme versions, are quite common and not considered
abnormal. For instance, having a partner "talk dirty" occasionally may be a "turn-on" for some people, but when talking dirty is the only way
that sexual arousal or satisfaction can occur, it would be considered a paraphilia.

Others want to be bitten, scratched, or spanked, or find that watching their partner undress is highly arousing. Viewing a nude person or
watching sexually explicit videos can be arousing for most people. Each of these acts is innocuous unless magnified to the point of
psychological dependence.

There are numerous paraphilias. Some of the major types are:

Fetishism: A fixation on an object or body part that is not primarily sexual in nature, and the compulsive need for its use in order to obtain
sexual gratification. The fetish object is almost invariably used during masturbation and may also be incorporated into sexual activity with a
partner in order to produce sexual excitation. Fetishists usually collect the object of their favor, and may go to great lengths, including theft, to
acquire just the "right" addition for their collection. Some of the more common objects that have served as fetishes include women's
undergarments, high-heeled shoes, or specific materials, like silk, leather or fur. Some people have a fetish for particular body parts such as
feet, hair or legs.

Transvestism: A paraphilia in which heterosexual males repeatedly and persistently get sexual pleasure from dressing in women's clothing.
Transvestism is not simply dressing up in the other sex's garments for fun or for temporary effect. The transvestite needs to cross-dress to
achieve full sexual and emotional release. This is very different from the female impersonator or the drag queen (male homosexuals who
occasionally dress in women's clothing), both of whom are usually playing social roles rather than expressing sexual needs.

Voyeurism: Deriving sexual satisfaction from watching people undressing or nude, or observing them during sexual acts without their
knowledge or consent. Voyeurs (from the French verb meaning "to see") or Peeping Toms are usually unmarried males in their 20s and 30s.
They generally prefer to peep at women who are strangers and they are often most sexually excited when the risk of being discovered is high.
Many voyeurs confine their sexual activity to masturbation while peeping or while fantasizing about previous peeping escapades.

Exhibitionism: Compulsive act of inappropriately exposing one's sex organs to unsuspecting strangers for the purpose of sexual arousal and
gratification. Also known as "indecent exposure" and "flashing," this paraphilia is found almost exclusively in males and the peak age of
occurrence is reported to be in the twenties. Many exhibitionists have erectile difficulties in other forms of sexual activity and seem to be
pushed by an uncontrollable urge that leads to their impulsive behavior. For some, the primary intent of exhibitionism is to evoke shock or fear
in their victims, not necessarily to achieve an erection or to ejaculate. They derive their pleasure from the visible reaction of their victims. It is
generally agreed that the exhibitionist is unlikely to rape or assault his victims, but there are exceptions to this rule, especially when an
exhibitionist is unsatisfied with his victim's response. Police catch more exhibitionists than any other category of paraphiliacs. The risk of being
caught may be an important element of the turn-on, leading some exhibitionists into behavior almost guaranteed to result in arrest, such as
repeatedly performing at the same street corner.

Sadomasochism: A paraphilia that combines sadistic and masochistic roles in sexual interaction. Sadism is the intentional infliction of pain on
another person or the threat to do so, for sexual excitement. Masochism is a condition in which a person derives sexual gratification from being
subjected to pain or to the threat of pain. A sadomasochist is a person who can derive sexual pleasure from either role. Forms of sadism run
the gamut from the fairly common carefully controlled play-acting with a willing partner, in which the mild forms of pain that result from such
acts as spanking or biting are not actually experienced as painful (think of having one's back scratched — the same intensity can sometimes
feel good and sometimes hurt depending on the circumstances), to the very rare assaultive behaviors that may include torture, rape, or even
murder. Some extreme sadists require an unwilling victim to derive pleasure; others become sexually aroused only when they see their victim

Masochism: Can range from mild versions to extremes. In the mild renditions, activities might include bondage (being tied up for the purpose of
sexual arousal), being spanked, or being overpowered by physical force. The crucial point is that they are mainly symbolic enactments done
under carefully controlled conditions with a trusted partner. At the opposite end of the spectrum are genuinely painful activities such as
whippings, semi-strangulation, being trampled and self-mutilation. Although sadomasochistic acts in their extreme forms can be physically and
psychologically dangerous, the majority of people engaging in these behaviors do so with an understanding of the risks and stay within
carefully predetermined limits.

I have purposefully left Pedophilia and Bestiality off of the list, as they are both illegal and immoral acts with I will not take part in.

There are some paraphilias that are relatively rare. Apotemnophilia refers to the sexual attraction to amputations. Coprophilia and urophilia
refer respectively to sexual excitement deriving from contact with feces and urine. Klismaphilia is sexual excitement resulting from the use of
enemas. Frotteurism is sexual arousal resulting from rubbing the genitals against the body of a fully clothed person in crowded situations, and
necrophilia is sexual arousal derived from viewing or having sexual contact with a corpse.

It is unclear what causes a paraphilia to develop. Psychoanalysts theorize that an individual with a paraphilia is repeating or reverting to a
sexual habit that arose early in life. Behaviorists suggest that paraphilias begin through a process of conditioning. Nonsexual objects can
become sexually arousing if they are repeatedly associated with pleasurable sexual activity. Or, particular sexual acts (such as peeping,
exhibiting) that provide especially intense erotic pleasure can lead the person to prefer that behavior. Although the origins of most paraphilias
are not understood, in some cases there seems to be a predisposing factor such as difficulty forming person-to-person relationships.

Whatever the cause, paraphiliacs rarely seek treatment unless an arrest or discovery by a family member traps them into it. In most cases,
the paraphilia results in such immense pleasure that giving it up is unthinkable. Human sexuality is a very bizarre thing, and it has always been
my position to explore it in every possible way... provided it isn't illegal or involving children, very few things are off limits!
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