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Abstract Paraphilic sexual interests are defined as unusual or anomalous, but their actual occurrence in non-clinical samples is still unknown. This study looks at desire for and experience of paraphilic behaviors in a sample of adult men and women in the general population. A secondary goal is to compare the results of two survey modes – traditional land-line telephone versus online. A total of 1,040 persons classified according to age, gender, education, ethnic background, religious beliefs, and area of residency and corresponding to the norm for the province of Québec were interviewed. Nearly half of this sample expressed interest in at least one paraphilic category and approximately a third had had experience with such a practice at least once. Voyeurism, fetishism, frotteurism, and masochism interested both male and female respondents at levels above what is usually considered to be statistically unusual (15.9%). Interestingly, levels of interest in fetishism and masochism were not significantly different for men and women. Masochism was significantly linked with higher satisfaction with one's own sexual life. As expected, the online mode generated more acknowledgment of paraphilic interest than the telephone mode. These results call into question the current definition of normal (normophilic) vs. anomalous (paraphilic) sexual behaviors.
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The Journal of Sex Research
ISSN: 0022-4499 (Print) 1559-8519 (Online) Journal homepage:
The Prevalence of Paraphilic Interests and
Behaviors in the General Population: A Provincial
Christian C. Joyal & Julie Carpentier
To cite this article: Christian C. Joyal & Julie Carpentier (2017) The Prevalence of Paraphilic
Interests and Behaviors in the General Population: A Provincial Survey, The Journal of Sex
Research, 54:2, 161-171, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1139034
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The Prevalence of Paraphilic Interests and Behaviors in the
General Population: A Provincial Survey
Christian C. Joyal and Julie Carpentier
University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres and Philippe Pinel Institute of Montreal
Paraphilic sexual interests are dened as unusual or anomalous, but their actual occurrence in
nonclinical samples is still unknown. This study looked at desire for and experience of para-
philic behaviors in a sample of adult men and women in the general population. A secondary
goal was to compare the results of two survey modestraditional landline telephone versus
online. A total of 1,040 persons classied according to age, gender, education, ethnic back-
ground, religious beliefs, area of residency, and corresponding to the norm for the province of
Quebec were interviewed. Nearly half of this sample expressed interest in at least one paraphilic
category, and approximately one-third had had experience with such a practice at least once.
Voyeurism, fetishism, frotteurism, and masochism interested both male and female respondents
at levels above what is usually considered to be statistically unusual (15.9%). Interestingly,
levels of interest in fetishism and masochism were not signicantly different for men and women.
Masochism was signicantly linked with higher satisfaction with ones own sexual life. As
expected, the online mode generated more acknowledgment of paraphilic interest than the
telephone mode. These results call into question the current denition of normal (normophilic)
versus anomalous (paraphilic) sexual behaviors.
In the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5, American Psychiatric
Association [APA], 2013), sexual interests are categorized
as either normophilic (normal) or paraphilic (anomalous). A
normophilic sexual interest is an interest in genital stimula-
tion or preparatory fondling with phenotypically normal,
physically mature, consenting human partners(APA,
2013, p. 685). Any other sexual interest is considered to
be paraphilic (nonnormophilic). Eight examples of paraphi-
lic interests are given: voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteur-
ism, masochism, sadism, pedophilia, fetishism, and
transvestism. Paraphilic interest can take three forms: (a)
mental disorder, in which the paraphilic interest is recurrent,
intense, and causes suffering or impairment or the behavior
is illegal and acted out (i.e., voyeurism, exhibitionism, frot-
teurism, nonconsenting sadism, and pedophilia); (b) para-
philia, in which the paraphilic interest is recurrent and
equally or more intense than normophilic sexual interests
but does not induce suffering or impairment; or (c) anom-
alous,in which the paraphilic interest is less persistent and
intense than normophilic interests. Surprisingly, the basis for
considering sexual interests to be nonnormophilic is unclear,
especially for those interests that involve consenting
partners. Experts in the eld sometimes refer to paraphilia
as a sexual drive outside the normalthat involves sexual
behavior that deviates signicantly from the norm
(Bradford & Ahmed, 2014, pp. xixii), but what these
norms actually are is still unknown.
In DSM-5, sexual interests are dened as fantasies,
urges, or behaviors. However, sexual fantasies consid-
ered to be paraphilic are common not only among col-
lege students (Arndt, Foehl, & Good, 1985; Leitenberg
& Henning, 1995) but also in the general population,
especially fantasies related to sadomasochism or, more
precisely, BDSM (bondage, domination, submission,
sadism, and masochism) (Joyal, Cossette, & Lapierre,
2015). More than 60% of male college students report
fantasizing about sadism and bondage (Williams,
Cooper, Howell, Yuille, & Paulhus, 2009). Male college
students may even fantasize about bondage and mildly
coercive themes more frequently than sex offenders do
(Daleiden, Kaufman, Hilliker, & ONeil, 1998;
ODonohue, Letourneau, & Dowling, 1997). More than
50% of female college students report having had sexual
fantasies in which they submitted to force (Strassberg &
Lockerd, 1998) or intrusive thoughts about being sexu-
ally victimized (Byers, Purdon, & Clark, 1998). The fact
that certain sexual fantasies considered to be paraphilic
by DSM-5 are common among the general population
suggests that labeling them anomalousis incorrect.
Correspondence should be addressed to Christian C. Joyal, University
of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, 3351, boul. des Forges, C.P. 500, Trois-
Rivières, Quebec G9A 5H7, Canada. E-mail:
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH,54(2), 161171, 2017
Copyright © The Society for the Scientic Study of Sexuality
ISSN: 0022-4499 print/1559-8519 online
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1139034
Of course, to fulll DSM-5 criteria of a paraphilia, a
sexual fantasy should also be preferential or as intense as
anormophilicinterest (APA, 2013). To ascertain that
criteria, DSM-5 suggests asking examinees whether their
paraphilic sexual fantasies are weaker than, approximately
equal to, or stronger than their normophilic sexual fantasies
(p. 686). Interestingly, multiple correspondence analyses
showed that four subgroups of a nonclinical sample, repre-
senting 57% of the participants, met that criterion for sexual
fantasies (Joyal, 2015).
Sexual fantasies should not, however, be confused with
sexual interests, especially among women. Qualitative ana-
lysis of self-reported sexual fantasies has demonstrated that
the mere presence of a paraphilic sexual fantasy is not
necessarily indicative of a paraphilic interest (or desire), at
least in nonclinical samples (Joyal et al., 2015). Indeed,
many respondents who reported submissive or rape fanta-
sies specied that they would never want to have such
experiences (see also Masters, Johnson, & Kolodny, 1988,
pp. 271272). As sexual fantasies are thus not a good
indicator of genuine interest in behaviors, it is more appro-
priate to deal directly with past behaviors or with the
expressed wish to realize a desire or fantasy in determining
rates of paraphilia in the general population.
The main goal of the present study was to determine
levels of paraphilic interests in a nonclinical, nearly repre-
sentative sample of adult participants. Another objective
was to provide a thorough review of existing surveys
about paraphilic interests in the general population.
Finally, this study compares rates of acknowledgment of
paraphilic interests as reported in telephone or online survey
Rates of Paraphilic Interests (Desire or Behaviors) In
Nonclinical Samples
Very little information about paraphilic desire or behaviors
has been obtained from nonclinical samples. In a sample
drawn from male young adults and college students, approxi-
mately half (52%) acknowledged interest in voyeurism and
one-quarter (28%) expressed interest in fetishism (Dawson,
Bannerman, & Lalumière, 2016). Two-thirds of another sam-
ple of college students (men and women) admitted they
would engage in voyeurism if they were certain there would
be no consequences (Rye & Meaney, 2007). We were able to
identify only a handful of large-scale studies on paraphilic
desire or behaviors in the general population. Two of these
studiesthe Swedish National Survey of Sexuality and
Health (Långström & Hanson, 2006; Långström & Seto,
2006; Långström & Zucker, 2005), and the Australian
Study of Health and Relationships (Richters, De Visser,
Rissel, Grulich, & Smith, 2008; Richters, Grulich, Visser,
Smith, & Rissel, 2003)were based on representative sam-
ples of a given population. These two surveys suggest that
paraphilic behaviors are unusual (based on the normal curve
criteria for rarity, they affect less than 2.3% of the population
or are two standard deviations below the median or the
mean) or atypical (they affect less than 15.9% of the
population or are one standard deviation below the med-
ian or the mean). In Sweden, for instance, lifetime pre-
valence rates for experience with sadomasochism,
transvestism, exhibitionism, and voyeurism were 2.5%,
2.8%, 4.1%, and 11.5%, respectively, among men. It
should be noted, however, that these data were obtained
as part of a larger study that did not focus on paraphilia
and excluded other, perhaps common, paraphilic beha-
viors (e.g., frotteurism, fetishism). More importantly, the
descriptions of paraphilia used in the study did not neces-
sarily correspond to those used in psychiatric manuals.
Sadomasochism, for instance, was dened as deliber-
ately using physical pain(Långström & Seto, 2006).
Given that pain is not necessarily involved in sexual
sadism or masochism (e.g., bondage, humiliation), these
numbers might underestimate the true prevalence of inter-
est. It would also be interesting to consider sadism and
masochism separately. Finally, these data were collected
in 1996, before Internet access was widespread. It is
plausible that increased use of the Internet and main-
stream publication of such novels as Fifty Shades of
Gray are associated with increased diversity in sexual
interests, including sadomasochism (Peter & Valkenburg,
In the Australian Study of Health and Relationships,
only 2.2% of sexually active men and 1.3% of sexually
active women reported involvement in bondage and dis-
cipline or sadomasochistic activities, which were consid-
ered to be rare events (Richters et al., 2008). However,
these rates concerned behavior only in the year before
the survey, and no data were collected for other para-
philic behaviors. It seems clear, therefore, that they
underestimate the real prevalence of paraphilic behavior.
All other studies of the prevalence of paraphilia in non-
clinical samples were based on samples of volunteers and
reported higher rates. The rst large-scale investigations to
include measures of paraphilic behaviors were the classic
Kinsey studies (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey,
Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953), which found that 24%
of men (N= 5,300) and 12% of women (N= 5,940) had at
least some erotic response to sadomasochistic stories.
However, these early studies were severely criticized for
methodological aws (e.g., using a convenient sample of
volunteers, virtually all of whom were middle-class
Caucasians; Cochran, Mosteller, & Tukey, 1953; Maslow
& Sakoda, 1952). Another classic study, sponsored by the
Playboy Foundation, was published by Hunt (1974).
Among 2,026 adults recruited in 24 cities across the
United States, only 3.5% acknowledged ever obtaining
pleasure by inicting pain (4.8% for men, 2.1% for
women) and 3.6% acknowledged ever obtaining pleasure
in receiving pain (2.5% for men, 4.6% for women); but,
again, the questions were limited to painful stimulation.
Janus and Janus (1993) surveyed 2,765 American adults
about several paraphilic behaviors and reported a higher
lifetime prevalence than previously reported for some
activities, including sadomasochism (14% in men, 11%
in women), domination or submission (11% in men, 11%
in women), fetishism (11% in men, 6% in women), and
urophilia (6% in men, 4% in women). Voyeurism was not
surveyed. That study was also highly criticized, however,
for several methodological aws, including the recruiting
process (à la Kinsey) and the lack of statistical analyses
(e.g., Davis, 1993; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, &
Michaels, 1994). In addition, questions concerned respon-
dentsattitudes toward paraphilic behaviors, not experi-
ences with them.
More recently, Makanjuola, Adegunloye, and
Adelekan (2008)foundaprevalencerateof22%for
experience with paraphilic behaviors among 408 male
and female high school teachers in Nigeria. Voyeurism,
again, was the most popular at 10% (see also Abdullahi,
Jafojo, & Udoa, 2015s study with Nigerian university
students). However, some criteria for inclusion in these
studies were clinical (i.e., feeling guilt, discomfort, or
anxiety related to sexual interest), meaning that paraphi-
lic enthusiasts with no guilt or discomfort about their sex
lives were eliminated. Moreover, data concerning fetish-
ism, sadism, and masochism were not collected by
Makanjuola et al. (2008). In Brazil, Oliveira and Abdo
(2010) conducted an ambitious investigation based on
individual face-to-face interviews with 7,022 persons.
They found that 52% of men had had at least one life-
time unconventionalsexual behavior (including non-
paraphilic behaviors such as swinging, ménage à trois,
and group sex). The two most frequently reported uncon-
ventional behaviors were paraphilic: voyeurism (13%)
and fetishism (13%). These rates are still in the statisti-
cally unusual range (less than 15.9%), although specic
behaviors were not segregated by gender so were almost
certainly higher for men. In Germany, Ahlers et al. (2011)
reported that 44% of a community sample of men
acknowledged at least one lifetime paraphilic behavior
as dened using phenomenological descriptions derived
from the eight examples of the Diagnostic and Statistical
Revision (DSM-IV-TR). The highest rates were associated
with fetishism (24.5%) and voyeurism (18%). However,
that sample was of a very specic subgroup of partici-
visit the study site; 19% response rate), so those numbers,
as acknowledged by the authors, might represent
Overall, the prevalence of paraphilic behaviors among
nonclinical populations varies substantially in the few
studies that exist, which were conducted in different
eras, with different denitions, and using diverse data
collection methods. Still, it is worth noting that voyeur-
ism and fetishism are consistently found to be the two
most popular paraphilias among men. (Similar results
were found more recently with written descriptions of
self-reported male sexual fantasies; see Joyal et al.,
2015.) In addition, overall rates of paraphilic experience
increased steadily from one era to another.
Surveying Sexual Interests: On the Importance of the
Mode of Contact
An important issue with surveys concerning sensitive
subjects is the mode of contact. Existing surveys dealing
with paraphilic interest and experience have tended to use
different modes of contact. The Swedish survey was con-
ducted mainly in person at respondentshomes (Långström
& Hanson, 2006; Långström & Seto, 2006; Långström &
Zucker, 2005); the German and Playboy studies required
that participants visit a study site (Ahlers et al., 2011; Hunt,
1974); the Brazilian study was conducted through fortui-
tous encounters in streets and public places (Oliveira &
Abdo, 2010); the Nigerian and Janus investigations used
conventional mail (Janus & Janus, 1993; Makanjuola and
colleagues, 2008); and the Australian survey was con-
ducted over the telephone (Richters et al., 2008). Which
approach is best when asking delicate questions is still
unclear, however. The person-to-person approach at home
is generally considered the state-of-the-art approach,
although it may lead to underestimation of sensitive (e.g.,
sexual) matters, even when the respondent is isolated in a
separate room, because the respondent still has to return the
completed form to the interviewer (Långström & Zucker,
2005). The telephone approach has generated the highest
response rate to date in paraphilia studies (73%, Richters
et al., 2008), although the survey had to be conducted for
over a year to reach that rate (a period generally possible
only for government-sponsored surveys). Research sug-
gests that the Internet is effective for this type of survey,
and comparative data have shown that online surveys
increase acknowledgment and accuracy about sensitive
information (Kreuter, Presser, & Tourangeau, 2008; Link
& Mokdad, 2005). However, the advantages of telephone
and Internet surveys are still being debated (Stephenson &
Crête, 2011; Yeager et al., 2011). Classic landline tele-
phone surveys used to be considered a more valid approach
than online administration because they allow probabilistic
recruitment (and representative samples, which is not pos-
sible with the Internet). On the other hand, recent compar-
isons of these survey modes showed that Internet surveys
generate better results because many young people are
using smartphones rather than traditional landlines, making
them more difcult to reach by telephone. This change has
led specialists to predict the end of telephone surveys, at
least in Canada (Grenier, 2013).
In view of this uncertainty, and given that the goal of
the study was to estimate (not determine) the prevalence
of paraphilic interest in a community-based sample, both
survey modes (telephone and Internet) were used. This
hybrid approach allowed us to estimate the rate of
paraphilic interest in a sample approaching representa-
tiveness and to compare rates of reports of paraphilic
interest obtained via the telephone and the Internet. It
was hypothesized that the Internet survey mode, given
the relative anonymity it allows, would generate higher
rates of acknowledgment of paraphilic interest than the
telephone mode.
Most contemporary surveys on paraphilic sexual inter-
ests or fantasies have been conducted online (Dawson
et al., 2016; Dombert et al., 2016: Joyal et al., 2015;
Wurtele, Simons, & Moreno, 2014). Online surveys, how-
ever, generally obtain their information through commer-
cial self-serve Web sites (although Dombert et al., 2016,
used market research panels). While popular and inexpen-
sive, self-serve Web sites prevent verication of basic
information such as sociodemographic characteristics of
participants (e.g., age, gender) and determination of
response rates, making stratications based on these char-
acteristics impossible. Using a professional rm of inter-
viewers makes it possible to address these problems
(Stephenson & Crête, 2011). In addition, sociodemo-
graphic factors can be used to assess and address compar-
ability between subgroups of participants (e.g., by
weighting cases). It has been suggested, for instance,
that respondents to online surveys on sexual behaviors
are younger and better educated than respondents to sur-
veys conducted through other modes (e.g., Ross,
Månsson, Daneback, Cooper, & Tikkanen, 2005).
The rst goal of the present study was to estimate the
prevalence of interest (both desire to experience and
actual experience) in the eight examples of paraphilia
provided by the DSM-5 (Criteria A for voyeurism, exhi-
bitionism, frotteurism, pedophilia, fetishism, masochism,
sadism, and transvestism). Another objective was to
assess the link, if any, among these different paraphilic
interests, childhood sexual abuse, and general satisfac-
tion with sexual life. Contrary to what many assume,
paraphilic behaviors, especially those related to BDSM,
seem to be associated with better-than-average psycho-
logical adjustment, education, and socioeconomic levels,
and not with childhood abuse (Richters et al., 2003,
2008; Wismeijer & Assen, 2013). Having sexual fanta-
sies related to BDSM activities is also a good predictor
of a higher diversity and intensity of sexual fantasies in
general (Joyal et al., 2015). Finally, this study compared
rates of acknowledgment of paraphilic interests between
survey modes and between genders.
We tested four principal hypotheses. First, we
expected that the overall rate of paraphilic interest in
this community-based sample would be higher than what
has been held to be statistically atypical or unusual (i.e.,
more than 15.9%). Second, we predicted that prevalence
of lifetime interest (behavior or desire) in three specic
paraphilias (fetishism, voyeurism, and masochism)
would be higher than for other paraphilic behaviors in
both men and women. Third, we hypothesized that per-
sons practicing sadistic or masochistic behaviors would
be no more likely than others to have suffered childhood
abuse. On the contrary, these persons were expected to
be more sexually satised than persons who do not
practice BDSM. Finally, we expected that online rates
of acknowledgment of paraphilic behaviors would be
signicantly higher than those obtained via the
Participants and Procedures
Respondents were selected and interviewed by three
female professional interviewers from an independent private
rm, the Bureau of Professional Interviewers (http://www., between August 9 and September 8, 2014.
Data were obtained from 1,040 adults ages 18 to 64 years old
who matched as closely as possible the corresponding popu-
lation of the province of Quebec (at least 1,000 respondents
are required to obtain an adequate representation of the adult
population of the province; Institut de la Statistique du
Québec, 2015; Stephenson & Crête, 2011; in 2013 the popu-
lation of 18- to 64-year-olds was 5,079,841). The question-
naire was available in French or English, the two ofcial
languages of the province. The telephone survey was admi-
nistered to a probabilistic sample of 500 respondents, and the
same questionnaire was completed by 543 Internet respon-
dents. The Internet sample was drawn from a panel of volun-
teers who were representative of the Quebec population. Both
samples (telephone and Internet) were stratied by region
(proportionally), and individuals were selected randomly
within each stratum. The Internet sample is a probabilistic
sample of the Internet panel. However, this sample cannot
be considered representative of the Quebec population
because it is not possible to reach a truly probabilistic
sample through the Internet. Still, this approach makes it
possible to approach representativeness (Stephenson &
Crête, 2011).
Sample strata for age (1824: 6.5%; 2534: 17.9%;
3544: 23.5%; 4554: 28%; and 5564: 24.1%), ethnic
background (Caucasian: 88.3%, other: 19.7%), academic
achievement (none: 0.9%; primary school: 2.4%; high
school: 19.8%; technical or preparatory school: 33.9%;
college: 22.7%; higher education: 13.1%), administrative
region (17 regions, including Montreal, 20.4%, and
Quebec city, 12.8%), and religious beliefs (Catholicism:
73.0%; none: 16.4%, other: 10.6%) all corresponded to
proportions in the population of the province of Quebec
(Institut de la Statistique du Québec, 2015). To achieve
this representativeness, however, and to provide compar-
able intergroup comparisons between each survey mode,
phone data collection with respondents aged between 45
and 64 years was stopped after two weeks because of
overrepresentation. In contrast, 40 additional Web surveys
had to be conducted with persons living in rural regions
to achieve representativeness. These data conrm that
persons reached by landline phones tend to be older than
those reached via the Internet and that persons reached via
Internet are more likely to live in urban centers than those
reached by landline phones. (The use of cellular phone
numbers for survey purposes was banned in Canada at the
time of the study.) As usual with surveys concerning
sexual behaviors, women were slightly overrepresented
(54.3%). Given that data for this study are considered
separately by gender, no statistical correction was under-
taken to address this difference. The response rate
(30.2%) corresponded to that for general private surveys
conducted in Canada (especially those conducted over a
four-week period; Public Works and Government Services
of Canada, 2013), although the rate was somewhat higher
via telephone (32.4%) than Internet (28.0%).
Following sociodemographic inquiries (mentioned
previously), questions relative to participantsgeneral
sex lives were asked: approximate number of lifetime
partners, approximate frequency of current sexual rela-
tions with partners, current frequency of pornography
consumption, overall satisfaction with current sex lives
Prefer not answering), and childhood (12 years old or
less) sexual experience with older persons (adults or
adolescents three years older or more). The phrasing
childhood sexual experience with an older person
was preferred to the term childhood sexual abuse
because some participants, especially men, might not
consider such an experience as abuse. Questions derived
from the Questionnaire on Sexual Experiences and
Behaviour (Ahlers, 2010;Ahlersetal.,2011)were
then asked about the phenomenology of paraphilic beha-
viors provided in the DSM-5, including the presence of
sexual arousal:
1. Fetishism: Have you ever been sexually aroused by
an inanimate non-sexual object? Please note that a
vibrator does not enter into this category;
2. Transvestism: Have you ever been sexually aroused
by wearing clothing from the opposite sex?;
3. Voyeurism: Have you ever been sexually aroused
while watching a stranger, who was unaware of your
presence, while they were nude, were undressing, or
were having sexual relations?;
4. Exhibitionism: Have you ever been sexually
aroused by showing your genitals to a stranger who
was not expecting this?;
5. Frotteurism: Have you ever been sexually aroused
by touching or by rubbing yourself against a
6. Pedophilia: Have you ever engaged in sexual activ-
ities with a child aged 13 years old or less after you
were an adult?;
7. Masochism: Have you ever been sexually aroused
while suffering, being dominated, or being
8. Sadism: Have you ever been sexually aroused by
making someone suffer, or by dominating or psy-
chologically or physically humiliating another per-
son?; and
9. Other behavior: Have you ever been sexually
aroused by an animal, fecal matter, enema, urine,
cadavers, or other unusual things? If yes, please
Note that the pedophilia item did not include sexual arousal
criteria because in that case behavior only was sufcient. An
additional item—“extended exhibitionism (couple),which
refers to having sex with a partner in front of other people or
where you are at risk of being seen (Have you ever been
aroused by engaging in sexual acts with a consenting part-
ner knowing that someone was watching you or could be
watching you?)was also included. For each item (except
other behaviors), respondents were asked whether and
how often they had actually engaged in the activity (0 = I
have never done it;1=I did it once;2=I did it sometimes,
210 lifetime;3=I did it often, more than 10 times lifetime).
Following each item, a secondary question, based on the
same behavioral denition, was asked concerning the desire
to experience it (e.g., Would you like to show your genitals
to a stranger who is not expecting it?;Would you like to
engage in sexual acts knowing that someone is watching
you or could be watching you?). Desire was assessed on an
intensity-graded scale (0 = Not at all;1=I have thought
about it;2=Maybe;3=Absolutely). It took approximately
10 minutes to complete the survey.
Paraphilia versus Paraphilic Interests
To estimate rates of paraphilia (Criterion A of the DSM-5),
intensity and persistence of desires and experiences, respec-
tively, were computed. For each paraphilic theme, the pre-
valence of responses was divided in three categories, both for
desires (Not at all or I thought about it; Maybe or absolutely,
and Absolutely) and experience (No or once; Sometimes or
often;andOften). The Absolutely and Often categories were
considered as evidence for intense and persistent interests,
Statistical Analyses
Paraphilic experience was dichotomized between Never
(rate of 0) and At least once in lifetime (rates of 1 to 3).
Desire for paraphilic activities was dichotomized between
Not at all (rate of 0) and At least some interest (rates of 1 to
3). Frequencies were obtained for the whole sample, then
separately for both genders, and separately for both survey
modes. Difference between genders and survey modes was
assessed with chi-squares (Bonferroni corrected) and odds
ratios. The strength of the links between different paraphilia
(both for experience and desire) was assessed with Kendall
Tau-B correlations for ordinal categorized variables. Given
that virtually all correlations would be signicant with an
alpha set at 0.05 for a sample of more than 1,000 partici-
pants (e.g., Dawson et al., 2016), only correlations with a
medium effect size (r= .30 or more) were considered
signicant. The link between each paraphilic behavior and
childhood sexual abuse, on one hand, and between each
paraphilic behavior and sexual life satisfaction, on the
other hand, was assessed with binary logistic regressions.
Ethical Considerations
This study was approved by the ethical committee of the
University of Trois Rivieres. Respondents could end their
participation, contact the main investigator, and/or receive
professional counseling at any time. Data were collected
anonymously. Once the interview started, all personal infor-
mation was automatically erased from the system, making it
impossible to call the same person again or to complete an
interview at another time. Similarly, no personal number,
Internet identication protocol, or cookies could be used.
Merging both survey modes and genders revealed that
nearly half the sample (45.6%) acknowledged a desire for
(wish to realize) at least one paraphilic behavior and
approximately one-third (33.9%) had engaged in a paraphi-
lic behavior at least once during their lifetimes. Voyeurism
was the most common theme (46.3% desire and 34.5%
experience, respectively), followed by fetishism (44.5%
and 26.3%, respectively), extended exhibitionismcouple
(30.6% and 30.1%, respectively), frotteurism (26.7% and
26.1%, respectively), and masochism (23.8% and 19.2%,
respectively). These categories showed rates of occurrence
higher than those considered rare (2.3%) or unusual (15.9%)
according to the statistical normal curve (Tables 1a and 1b).
Signicantly higher rates of desire and experience were
reported by men than by women for voyeurism (60.0%
versus 34.7% and 50.3% versus 21.2%, respectively), and
frotteurism (34.2% versus 20.7% and 32.4% versus 20.5%,
respectively), whereas signicantly higher rates of maso-
chistic desires and experience were reported by women
than by men (27.8% versus 19.2% and 23.7% versus
13.9%, respectively) (Tables 1a and 1b).
As for survey modes, the Internet generated signi-
cantly higher rates of acknowledgment of experience
with voyeurism, fetishism, extended exhibitionism
couple, frotteurism, and masochism than the telephone
(Table 2). The telephone mode failed to generate a
higher rate of acknowledgment for any paraphilia when
compared with the Internet mode (Table 2). As shown in
Table 2, the magnitude of differences between survey
.15 for signicant paraphilia), although plevels were
highly signicant. Importantly, no difference emerged
between subgroups of participants (Internet versus tele-
phone) for any sociodemographic variable except educa-
tional level. Persons surveyed via telephone were
signicantly more likely to have a high school diploma
as their highest educational level than persons surveyed
online (25.8% versus 14.3%, respectively), while online
respondents were signicantly more likely to have a
baccalaureate degree (18.8% versus 26.3%; p<0.001;
members of both groups were equally likely to have a
degree; 25.2% versus 26.9%). Given that higher
education per se has been closely and persistently asso-
ciated with a higher diversity of sexual practices (e.g.,
Bajos & Bozon, 2008; Billy, Tanfer, Grady, &
Klepinger, 1993;Hunt,1974;Kinseyetal.,1948;
Laumann et al., 1994), controlling for the effect of
educational level is important. In this study, the survey
mode generated a difference of approximately 10%
between high school (telephone) and university (online)
achievement, so cases were weighted accordingly (i.e., a
value of 1.2, or an additional 20%, was given to the
telephone respondents versus 1.0 to the Internet
Table 1a. Prevalence (%) and Odds Ratios (Men versus Women) for Desire (Wish to Experience) Paraphilic Behaviors Among 1,040
Adults (475 Men and 565 Women) Surveyed in the General Population (Presented in Descending Order of Prevalence)
Overall Men Women X
pES OR CI (95%)
Voyeurism 46.3 60.0* 34.7 66.5 .000 .25 2.8 2.23.6
Fetishism 44.5 40.4 47.9 5.95 .015 .08 1.4
Exhibitionism (extended) 30.6 35.0 26.9 7.87 .005 .09 1.5 1.11.9
Frotteurism 26.7 34.2* 20.7 24.3 .000 .15 2.0 1.52.6
Masochism 23.8 19.2 27.8* 10.6 .001 .10 1.7
Sadism 7.1 9.5 5.1 7.4 .007 .08 1.9 1.23.1
Transvestism 6.3 7.2 5.5 1.23 .27 .03 1.3 0.82.2
Exhibitionism (strict) 4.5 5.9 3.4 3.8 .05 .06 1.8 1.03.3
Sex with child 0.6 1.1 0.2 NA NA NA 6.0 0.751.5
Note. See Method section for denitions of paraphilia terms. ES = effect size; OR = odds ratio (men/women); CI = condence intervals; NA = not applicable
(includes cell frequencies with less than ve persons). Bold = rates higher than statistical criteria (normal curve) for unusual (15.9%) occurrence.
*Signicantly different from opposite gender after Bonferroni correction (.05/9 = .006).
1/OR (women more likely than men).
correspondents). Following these corrections, the level
of signicant differences between subgroups diminished
slightly but remained high (e.g., pvalue < 0.007 was
elevated to < 0.009 for voyeurism).
According to our strict criteria of signicance (r> .30),
no paraphilic experience was signicantly associated with
another, although the link between sadism and masochism
was close (r= .291; Table 3). However, desiring to practice
masochism was signicantly associated not only with the
desire to practice sadism but also with fetishism and having
sex in front of other people (extended exhibitionismcou-
ple). Desire for voyeurism was also signicantly associated
with desire for extended exhibitionismcouple and frot-
teurism (Table 3).
A total of 82 participants (7.9%) reported having had a
sexual experience with an adult or an adolescent when they
were 12 years old or younger (no difference between gender
or survey mode). This gure corresponds approximately to
what has been found for the male population of the province
of Quebec (9.7%; Hébert, Tourigny, Cyr, McDuff, & Joly,
2009) and is lower than the rate for females (22.1%; Hébert
et al., 2009), although those rates are based on events that
occurred before the age of 18, in contrast with the present
results, which concern events occurring before the age of 12.
The present results reect the fact that prepubescent victims
of sexual contact are generally boys, while adolescent victims
are more likely to be girls. According to binary logistic
regression, only frotteurism had a signicant value in detect-
ing past childhood sexual abuse: Participants who had
engaged in at least one act of frotteurism were 2.7 times
more likely than other persons to report a sexual experience
with an older person when they were a child (p< .0001;
condence intervals: 1.6 to 4.4). A total of 120 participants
(11.5 %) rated their current sexual lives as exciting (versus
50.6% as satisfying, 28.6% as neutral, 4.8% as unsatisfying,
Table 2. Prevalence (%) of Experience (at Least Once in Lifetime) With Paraphilic Behaviors Among 1,040 adults (n= 475 Men and 565
Women) Surveyed in the General Population According to Survey Mode
Overall Internet Telephone X
pES OR CI (95%)
Voyeurism 34.5 38.3* 30.4 7.2 .007 .08 1.4 1.11.8
Fetishism 26.3 31.5* 20.8 15.3 .000 .12 1.8 1.32.3
Exhibitionism (extended) 30.9 37.0* 24.2 20.1 .000 .14 1.8 1.42.4
Frotteurism 26.1 32.2* 19.2 22.2 .000 .15 2.0 1.52.6
Masochism 19.2 23.9* 14.2 15.7 .000 .12 1.9 1.42.6
Sadism 5.5 6.3 4.6 1.4 .230 .04 1.4 0.82.4
Transvestism 4.9 5.7 4.0 1.7 .194 .04 1.5 0.82.6
Exhibitionism (strict) 5.0 5.2 4.7 0.8 .776 .01 1.1 0.61.9
Others 3.6 5.9* 1.0 18.4 .000 .13 6.2 2.416.1
Sex with child 0.4 0.7 0 NA NA NA 0.9 0.91.0
Note. See Method section for denitions of paraphilia terms. ES = effect size (phi); OR = odds ratio (Internet/telephone); CI = condence intervals; NA = not
applicable (includes cell frequencies with less than ve persons). Bold = rates higher than statistical criteria (normal curve) for unusual (15.9%) or rare
occurrence (2.3%).
*Signicantly different compared to telephone mode after Bonferroni correction.
Table 1b. Prevalence (%) and Odds Ratios (Men versus Women) for Experience (at Least One Lifetime Act) With Paraphilic Behaviors
Among 1,040 Adults (475 Men and 565 Women) Surveyed in the General Population (Presented in Descending Order)
Overall Men Women X
pV O.R. CI (95%)
Voyeurism 34.5 50.3* 21.2 96.5 .000 .31 3.8 2.94.9
Fetishism 26.3 30.1 23.2 6.4 .012 .08 1.4 1.11.9
Exhibitionism (extended) 30.9 32.6 29.4 1.3 .258 .03 1.2 0.91.5
Frotteurism 26.1 32.4* 20.5 18.4 .000 .13 1.8 1.42.4
Masochism 19.2 13.9 23.7* 16.0 .000 .12 2.0
Sadism 5.5 7.4 3.9 6.0 .014 .08 2.0 1.13.4
Transvestism 4.9 6.5 3.5 4.9 .026 .07 1.9 1.13.4
Exhibitionism (strict) 5.0 7.8* 2.7 14.3 .000 .12 3.1 1.75.7
Others 3.6 4.8 2.5 4.2 .04 .06 2.0 1.03.8
Sex with child 0.4 0.6 0.2 NA NA NA 3.6 0.434.6
Note. See Method section for denitions of paraphilia terms. ES = effect size; OR = odds ratio (men/women); CI = condence intervals; NA = not applicable
(includes cell frequencies with less than ve persons). Bold = rates higher than statistical criteria (normal curve) for unusual (15.9%) occurrence.
*Signicantly different compared to opposite gender after Bonferroni corrections (.05/10 = .005).
1/OR (women more likely than men).
3.5% as depressing, and 1.1% refused to answer). Another
binary logistic regression revealed that two sexual behaviors
were associated with signicantly higher odds of reporting an
exciting sexual life: practicing fetishism (OR: 2.1, p= .001;
condence intervals: 1.3 to 3.2) and practicing extended
exhibitionismcouple (OR: 2.0, p= .001; condence inter-
vals: 1.3 to 3.1). The chi-square for masochism was also
signicant (16% of the masochistic group reported exciting
sexual lives versus 11.5% for the whole sample; X
(1) = 5.3,
p= .022), although the three behaviors were intercorrelated
(fetishism, extended exhibitionism, and masochism) and the
link with masochism lost its signicance in the regression.
Paraphilia versus Paraphilic Interests
As can be seen in Tables 4a and 4b,prevalenceofpara-
philia (intense and persistent desires or experiences) were low
among the general population, with less than 10% for all
paraphilic themes.
Table 3. Correlation (Kandall Tau-B) Matrix for Paraphilic Experience (Top), Paraphilic Desire for Experience (Bottom), and Sexual
Experience as a Child (CSE)
Fetishism Transvestism Voyeurism Exhib. (E) Exhib. (S) Frotteurism Child Masochism Sadism Others CSE
Fetishism .183 .194 .228 .086 .194 .083 .278 .186 .118 .091
Transvestism .230 .185 .069 .092 .084 .135 .091 .106 .103 .036
Voyeurism .225 .165 .264 .169 .257 .106 .089 .131 .125 .117
Exhib. (E) .268 .189 .420 .145 .184 .115 .284 .199 .095 .119
Exhib. (S) .093 .161 .201 .234 .174 .134 .073 .180 .171 .081
Frotteurism .189 .167 .376 .280 .288 .086 .145 .079 .199 .180
Child .053 .145 .125 .095 .235 .115 .062 .128 .244 .159
Masochism .341 .132 .247 .363 .185 .135 .030 .291 .116 .082
Sadism .213 .147 .243 .265 .180 .102 .178 .375 .162 .061
CSE .062 .088 .070 .075 .093 .090 .168 .048 .038 .083
Note. CSE: Sexual experience as a child (12 years old or younger) with an adult or an adolescent (three or more years older); exhib. (E) = exhibitionism
extended (couple) denition; exhib. (S) = exhibitionism strict denition; Bold = signicant correlations (medium effect size of .30 or more).
Table 4a. Prevalence (%) and Intensity of Desire (Wish to Experience) for Paraphilic Behaviors Among 1,040 Adults Surveyed in the
General Population (Presented in Descending Order of Prevalence)
Paraphilic Behavior Not at All or I Thought About It Maybe or Absolutely Absolutely
Voyeurism 70.9 29.1 9.6
Fetishism 70.3 29.7 8.3
Exhibitionism (extended) 80.7 19.3 4.8
Masochism 85.4 14.6 4.9
Frotteurism 85.0 15.0 3.8
Transvestism 95.8 4.2 0.6
Sadism 96.2 3.8 1.2
Exhibitionism (strict) 97.7 2.3 0.3
Others 98.0 2.0 0.2
Pedophilia 99.6 0.4 0
Table 4b. Prevalence (%) and Persistence of Experience With Paraphilic Behaviors Among 1,040 Adults Surveyed in the General
Population (Presented in Descending Order of Prevalence)
Paraphilic Behavior No or Once Sometimes or Often Often
Fetishism 77.2 22.8 3.4
Voyeurism 76.4 23.6 2.1
Masochism 86.3 13.7 1.4
Exhibitionism (extended) 82.5 17.5 0.8
Frotteurism 82.9 17.1 0.7
Transvestism 96.7 3.3 0.5
Sadism 96.8 3.2 0.3
Exhibitionism (strict) 98.0 2.0 0.1
Pedophilia 99.7 0.3 0
The main goal of this study was to evaluate the level of
interest (desire and experience) in paraphilic behaviors
among persons recruited from the general population. A
secondary goal was to compare the rates of acknowledg-
ment of such interest obtained by two different survey
modes: Internet and landline telephone. Although obtaining
a representative sample of participants (randomly and prob-
abilistically selected) was not possible for the Internet, the
sample was sufciently large to represent major population
strata of the province of Quebec. Results conrmed our rst
hypothesis: Of the eight examples of paraphilic behavior
listed in DSM-5, four (voyeurism, fetishism, frotteurism,
and masochism) were neither rare (less than 2.3%) nor
unusual (less than 15.9%) in a nonclinical sample of adults,
in terms of both experience and wish to experience in both
men and women. This was also the case for an investigated
behavior not listed in DSM-5: having sex with a partner in
front of other people or in a situation where you are at risk
of being seen (extended exhibitionismcouple). Overall,
45.6% of this sample would like to experience at least one
paraphilic behavior, and 33.9% had engaged in paraphilic
behavior at least once in the past. As expected, these num-
bers are lower than those found by Ahlers and colleagues
(2011) for older Berliner males (44% experience). Still, they
suggest that paraphilic interest is more common than usually
expected, not only in terms of fantasies (Joyal et al., 2015)
but also with regard to desire to experience and interest.
These results also agree with ndings that voyeurism and
fetishism are consistently the two most popular responses
among men (Ahlers et al., 2011; Dawson et al., 2016; Joyal
et al., 2015; Makanjuola et al., 2008; Oliveira & Abdo,
These rates of desire for and experience of paraphilic
behaviors are higher than those reported by studies con-
ducted in the 1990s (e.g., Janus and Janus, 1993;
Långström & Hanson, 2006; Långström & Seto, 2006;
Långström & Zucker, 2005). It is possible that the increase
is due in part to nonrepresentative samples (19% response
rate in Ahlers et al., 2011; 32% for the present study).
Although reaching approximately one-third of potential
respondents is the norm in short-term Canadian surveys, it
is well known that persons who agree to participate in sex
studies are more open and more experienced sexually than
nonrespondents (Bogaert, 1996; Strassberg & Lowe, 1995;
Wiederman, 1999). Our respondents might therefore show a
higher rate of interest in paraphilia. But this factor alone
seems insufcient to account for such a large gap between
studies conducted in the 1990s and more recent investiga-
tions. Our sample closely resembles the total population in
terms of sociodemographic characteristics, suggesting that
other factors, such as a decrease in embarrassment, shyness,
or reticence about acknowledging alternative sexual prac-
tices, as well as the widespread availability of pornography
on the Internet, might explain the higher acknowledgment
of sexual diversity. If this is the case, our results might
simply reect social and cultural inuences on sexual beha-
viors (Laumann et al., 1994). It is interesting to note, for
instance, that the most popular normophilicsexual fantasy
nowadays for both genders is experiencing oral sex (Joyal
et al., 2015), although cunnilingus was listed as disgusting
evidence of pathological masochism by Krafft-Ebing
(1886). In the same vein, it seems erroneous to qualify
interest in noncriminal sexual behaviors, such as fetishism
and BDSM as paraphilia, as they are neither atypical nor
unusual, let alone anomalous.
The distinction between a paraphilic interest, a paraphi-
lia, and a paraphilic disorder should be clear, however. In
the present study, no paraphilic desire or paraphilic experi-
ence was reported as being frequent by more than 10% of
the sample. Therefore, these data should not be interpreted
as evidence of a high prevalence of paraphilic disorders or
paraphilias among the general population. The main study
goal was to investigate the appropriateness of labeling all
paraphilic interests as anomalous. Clearly, beyond sexual
fantasies, interests for voyeurism, fetishism, frotteurism,
and masochism are not anomalous.
Another interesting result from this study is the link
between interest in masochism and interest in other sexual
activities. We have previously shown that the fantasy of
being sexually dominated is a signicant predictor for
higher diversity and intensity of sexual fantasies in general
(Joyal et al., 2015). The present study suggests that desire to
practice masochism is signicantly associated with more
diverse sexual interests than any other paraphilicdesire.
This result supports the clinical impressions of Khar (2008)
and Brenot (2012) that individuals (especially women) with
masochistic (or, more precisely, submissive) sexual procliv-
ities are the most satised, driven, and active sexually.
This study also provides further support (e.g., Richters
et al., 2008) for rejecting the popular view that paraphilic
interests, especially sadomasochism, are associated with
childhood sexual abuse or trauma. In our study, only frotteur-
ism was associated with childhood sex abuse. Our results also
suggest that the online mode is a good choice for surveys
dealing with sensitive questions such as sexual behavior and
paraphilia. After controlling for educational levels, rates of
acknowledgment of paraphilic interest were still higher than
those obtained via the telephone, which was expected.
A major limitation of this study, as for most studies on
sexual behavior, is the relatively low response rate. This
problem is ethically inevitable, although response rates are
signicantly higher for more general (and national) surveys
that include questions about sex (e.g., Långström & Zucker,
2005; Richters et al., 2003), compared to surveys such as ours,
conducted over a short period and limited to questions about
sexual behaviors. Another limitation of this study is the pos-
sible nonrepresentativeness of the sample due to use of the
online survey mode. While these two aspects of the study
might have inated rates of acknowledgment of paraphilic
interests, even conservative estimates of the present data
argue against the notion that paraphilic interests are anoma-
lous (DSM-5) or even unusual (ICD-10; WHO, 1993) for at
least half the examples (voyeurism, fetishism, masochism,
and frotteurism) generally listed by psychiatric manuals.
Two of these behaviors are illegal (voyeurism and frotteur-
ism), so they are deviant from a legal perspective. The two
other behaviors (fetishism and masochism) could be proble-
matic (e.g., becoming necessary for satisfaction), although this
is true for any sexual interest. It should be noted also that
desire for fetishism and masochism was as high (if not higher)
among women as among men. Therefore, the ubiquitous (and
unreferenced) ratio of 20:1 for men versus women in terms of
interest in paraphilic behavior (e.g., APA, 2000) is not true for
all paraphilia (see also Abdullahi et al., 2015). It is true that
men, in general, are more interested than women in paraphilic
(or any) sexual behavior. However, the fact that 20% of
women in this study expressed an interest in frotteurism
argues against the idea that womens sexual interests are
necessarily centered on normophilicbehaviors.
Funding and Acknowledgments
This study was sponsored by a team grant to the Groupe de
Recherche sur les Agresseurs Sexuels (GRAS, Jean Proulx,
director) from the Fonds de Recherche Québécois sur la
Société et la Culture (FRQSC). The authors would like to
express their gratitude to the Bureau of Professional
Interviewers (Montreal, Canada) for their invaluable advice, as
well as to all respondents of the surveys. Results of this study
were presented in part at the 34th annual meeting of the
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Montreal,
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... In the last decades, new studies have investigated the prevalence of paraphilic desires and behaviours among the general population, trying to clarify the boundary between paraphilic and normophilic (e.g., Bártová, Androvičová, Krejčová, Weiss, & Klapilová, 2021;Joyal et al., 2015;Joyal & Carpentier, 2017;Seto et al., 2020;Stefanska et al., 2022). Joyal and Carpentier (2017) found a difference between individuals' desire and behaviour, with individual reporting at least one paraphilic fantasy (45.6%) as opposed to engaging in at least one paraphilic behaviour during their lifetime (33.9%). ...
... In the last decades, new studies have investigated the prevalence of paraphilic desires and behaviours among the general population, trying to clarify the boundary between paraphilic and normophilic (e.g., Bártová, Androvičová, Krejčová, Weiss, & Klapilová, 2021;Joyal et al., 2015;Joyal & Carpentier, 2017;Seto et al., 2020;Stefanska et al., 2022). Joyal and Carpentier (2017) found a difference between individuals' desire and behaviour, with individual reporting at least one paraphilic fantasy (45.6%) as opposed to engaging in at least one paraphilic behaviour during their lifetime (33.9%). This moderate concordance between fantasies and behaviours was replicated in recent studies (e.g., Bártová et al., 2021;Joyal & Carpentier, 2022;Seto et al., 2020). ...
... This moderate concordance between fantasies and behaviours was replicated in recent studies (e.g., Bártová et al., 2021;Joyal & Carpentier, 2022;Seto et al., 2020). Joyal and Carpentier (2017) showed that voyeurism was the most common paraphilic fantasy and behaviour in the general population, followed by fetishism, exhibitionism, frotteurism and masochism. While this trend was found across gender, slight differences were also found between males and females, with males reporting higher rates of fantasies and behaviours for voyeurism and frotteurism while females reporting higher rates of fantasies and behaviours for masochism. ...
Purpose: Paraphilia can be defined as a condition in which the sexual excitement rely on fantasizing and/or participating in unusual sexual behaviour. The last decades have been rich with new studies investigating the prevalence of paraphilic desires and behaviours among the general population as well as clarifying the boundary between paraphilic and normophilic. However, few studies have focused on paraphilic interests' nomological network. Methods: The project aimed to assess the prevalence of paraphilias among the general population, including a subgroup of people with self-reported atypical sexual interests. Furthermore, the relationship between Childhood Traumatic Experiences, Personality Traits, Hypersexuality, Pornography Consumption and Paraphilic Arousal was examined through mediation analysis. Analyses were conducted on a sample of N = 372 participants. Results: Analyses revealed a difference in the prevalence between sexual fantasy and sexual arousal, with a majority of self-reported arousal being lower than fantasy. Furthermore, mediation analyses revealed that the relationship between trauma and arousal is mediated by hypersexuality, problematic pornography consumption and personality traits. Conclusions: Abuses during childhood are the starting point of an over-involvement in sexuality, which increase the likelihood of developing atypical sexual interest or behaviour. Implications will be discussed.
... A striking fact about most paraphilias is that many are more common in men, and some are almost exclusively observed in men. In community surveys, for example, men report more paraphilic interests than women for most paraphilic activities, except for masochism (e.g., Bártová et al., 2021;Dawson et al., 2016;Joyal & Carpentier, 2017;Seto et al., 2021). Very few other psychological disorders (e.g., eating disorders) have a gender effect of this magnitude and consistency, suggesting a need for gender-specific models of the development and behavioral manifestation of paraphilic interests. ...
... Perhaps a precise combination of multiple factors needs to be in place for a specific paraphilic interest to develop, and this combination might be different for each paraphilia. This must be the case given women are as or more likely than men to have masochistic interests (Bártová et al., 2021;Dawson et al., 2016;Joyal & Carpentier, 2017;Seto et al., 2021). What our results suggest is that some psychological disorders or associated factors could be involved. ...
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Despite a multitude of theoretical views, it is still unclear how individuals develop and sustain paraphilic interests (e.g., sexual attraction to children, interest in non-consensual violence). It is also not clear from these views why many paraphilic interests, and especially many paraphilias and paraphilic disorders, are much more common in men than in women. One possible factor affecting male's higher rate of paraphilias is anxiety, because anxiety can potentiate sexual arousal in men. We speculated that paraphilic interests could develop when feelings of anxiety are recurrently generated by atypical sexual stimuli, and when that anxiety repeatedly potentiates sexual arousal, reinforcing sexual response to atypical stimuli. It follows that men with paraphilic interests are susceptible to anxiety disorders, because an anxiety disorder would facilitate the hypothesized developmental process. We conducted a retrospective file review of 1048 consecutive patients (944 male patients retained for analysis) referred to an outpatient sexual behavior clinic at a psychiatric hospital to investigate the link between paraphilias and anxiety. Male patients with a paraphilia had 1.64 greater odds than male patients without a paraphilia of having been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but they also had elevated rates of many other types of disorders. Therefore, there does not seem to be a specific link between paraphilias and anxiety in this sample. The discovery of a general link between the paraphilias and psychological disorders in men opens new avenues for studying the developmental origins and consequences of male paraphilic interests.
... Toutefois, 9 % des participants reconnaissent une certaine probabilité d'avoir une relation sexuelle avec un enfant ou d'é couter de la pornographie juvé nile s'ils é taient certains de ne pas être dé couverts ou punis. Enfin, dans une derniè re é tude mené e par Joyal et Carpentier [46,47] auprè s d'un é chantillon composé de 1 040 hommes et femmes, tous issus de la population gé né rale, c'est en moyenne 0,6 % des participants qui reconnaissent le dé sir d'avoir une relation sexuelle avec un enfant. ...
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Dans le discours populaire, pédophile et agresseur sexuel d’enfant sont généralement compris comme étant des synonymes : les pédophiles seraient des individus qui ont commis une agression sexuelle sur un enfant et les agresseurs sexuels d’enfants seraient nécessairement des individus ayant une préférence sexuelle pour les enfants. Bien que les études antérieures aient mis en évidence que la préférence sexuelle envers les enfants joue un rôle important dans le processus de passage à l’acte et la récidive des individus, elle constitue un facteur parmi d’autres (ex.: manque d’empathie, distorsions cognitives). Dans le cadre de cet entretien, les chercheurs apportent quelques nuances en, notamment, délimitant plusieurs concepts tels que celui d’agression sexuelle d’enfant et en abordant : les différents types de délits sexuels, les caractéristiques et les profils des agresseurs sexuels d’enfant et les différences entre la pédophilie et l’agression sexuelle d’enfants. Les chercheurs terminent en présentant le concept de pédophile abstinent, soit un individu ayant une préférence sexuelle envers les enfants, mais qui n’a jamais commis d’infraction sexuelle. Les chercheurs présentent les ressources qui s’offrent à ce type d’individus, les difficultés qu’ils peuvent vivre au quotidien et proposent des pistes de réflexion en matière d’accompagnement et de traitement.
... As Hayes and Dragiewicz (2018, p. 119) assert, researchers need "to go beyond quantifying behaviors to understanding the context [...] Feminist scholars have repeatedly asserted that you cannot simply create a list of behaviors that comprise sexual harassment or sexual assault because the context of the behavior determines the meaning of the activity." Other possible areas of future inquiry include the potential mediating role of social identity deindividuation (Reicher et al., 1995) in the relationship between anonymity, technocultures and online sexual violence; and the predictive role of paraphilia (sexual fantasies, interests, and behaviours beyond those involving consenting adult human partners, including voyeurism, exhibitionism, masochism, and sadism; Joyal & Carpentier, 2017) in sexual violence perpetration in the online dating context. Although outside the scope of the current study, the use of online dating technologies for human trafficking and child sexual abuse purposes also remain under-investigated (with exceptions; see Beech et al., 2008;Sarkar, 2015) and warrant further study. ...
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Online dating websites and apps offer an array of conveniences that have captivated those looking to form new relationships. However, as these platforms have grown in popularity, companies have had to grapple with their potential to act as catalysts for sexual violence and abuse both on and offline. In light of increasing anecdotal, popular media, and law enforcement reports, there is growing academic interest in online dating as a specific avenue of technology-facilitated sexual violence, with its own potential contextual drivers and safeguards. Using a scoping review methodology, the authors map this emerging literature's contours, characterize its theoretical, methodological, and empirical contents, and identify lacunae and opportunities for future research. Areas addressed in the current literature include the prevalence of digital sexual harassment and abuse, individual differences in victimization and perpetration, mechanisms by which online dating technologies facilitate or impede sexual violence, and responses from industry, policymakers, and the general public. Among other gaps, there is need for additional longitudinal and experimental research, qualitative analyses of online dating technologies' digital architectures, and investigation into the psychological and social sequelae of online dating violence.
The field of kink (or BDSM) studies has grown significantly in recent years, with several areas of study being initiated. This paper summarizes the current state of kink research, including prevalence rates; marginalization and stigma; key biological, psychological, and social research findings; clinical issues; and recommendations for further research. Theoretical frameworks such as minority stress, serious leisure, sexual orientation, personal growth and sensation-seeking theories appear to be useful frameworks outside of approaches that assume psychopathology as an etiological factor. Studies find the following results: higher levels of sensation-seeking; kink activities generating states of flow and transient hypofrontality; notable levels of gender, sexual orientation and relationship style diversity in kink samples; and higher levels of minority-stress related suicidality.
The classification of sexual fantasies and behaviors (here referred to as ‘sexual interests’) has historically been divided into ‘paraphilic’ and ‘normophilic’. However, studies on paraphilic interests are often limited to clinical or forensic samples and normophilic interests are rarely assessed in tandem. Previous research has found mixed results for psychological and other correlates of sexual interests, potentially due to inconsistency in operationalism and measurement of fantasies and behaviors. The aim of the current study was to quantify correlates of sexual interests via the Sexual Fantasies and Behaviors Inventory, containing factors related to general fantasies/behaviors, normophilia, power dynamics, sadomasochism, and courtship paraphilias, using a large ( N = 4280) non-clinical sample. Psychological, developmental, sexual, and demographic correlates were investigated via bivariate correlations, mean difference testing, and multiple regression. Sexual interest domains were largely unrelated to psychopathology and developmental factors. Sociosexuality and more accepting attitudes towards sadomasochism was generally related to more arousal to/engagement in normophilic and paraphilic domains. More autism spectrum disorder traits were related to decreased normophilic interests. Psychopathic traits, sexual sensation seeking, and sexual compulsivity were related to paraphilia dimensions, especially courtship paraphilias and domination/sadism; the former was also associated with negative attitudes about establishing consent. Men, non-monogamous, and non-heterosexual participants indicated greater sexual fantasies and behaviors compared to women (except in the case of submission and masochism), monogamous, and heterosexual participants, respectively.
In recent years, there has been a popularization of non-mainstream sexual/cultural practices. The sensation of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to the general public becoming increasingly aware of the kink/BDSM lifestyle. The BDSM/kink/sado-masochist lifestyle has largely thrived under the radar of many in the general public and the subculture/lifestyle has organized and held events for decades. In this article, we discuss the various events of the kink/BDSM subculture/lifestyle and illustrate the importance of the non-play events for those in the lifestyle. The authors have fielded two ground-breaking global surveys that delve into the prevailing social institution of the kink/BDSM lifestyle, The Munch, an event in which no BDSM activities take place. The intention of this research is to show the methods that participants and organizers use in order to protect the identity of those attending non-play BDSM events that take place in the general public. The findings show that those participating in munches, a popular form of non-play events, tend to use their real names, although there is a large minority that do not. The analysis intends to give insight into those who operate below the radar of society and still have a vibrant social scene. VIU logo WLCE logo Information A publication of Vancouver Island University World Leisure Centre of Excellence © Craig Webster and Stanislav Ivanov 2020
Recent research has shown that a tendency to harm others goes hand in hand with a tendency to harm oneself. The present two studies further supported the notion that the joy of harming others and oneself has a common core by showing positive relationships between dark personality traits (particularly psychopathy) and sexual masochistic preferences and between general masochistic tendencies and sexual sadistic preferences. Despite the overlap between dark personality traits and general masochistic tendencies, they independently predicted the engagement in sexual sadomasochism. These relationships statistically held when controlling for the impact of basic personality (Study 1). Study 2 found that self-enhancement, openness to change, and low conservation values serve as motivators for a person's attraction to sexual sadomasochism and shed some light on the differences between sexual sadomasochism and the Dark Tetrad. Overall, people who score relatively high on dark personalities and masochism are particularly predisposed to engage in sexual sadomasochism, in both the dominant and the submissive roles.
This study examined whether the phenomenology (vividness, absorption, sexual arousal) and plausibility of sexual fantasies are associated with behavioural motivation and enactment. An online sample (N = 254) completed a working memory capacity (WMC) questionnaire. They then envisioned an unenacted sexual fantasy and rated its phenomenological characteristics and their motivation to enact it. Next, a questionnaire measuring deliberate sexual fantasising, spontaneous sexual thoughts, behavioural enactment, and content plausibility was completed. Phenomenological characteristics were unrelated to WMC, but positively associated with motivation. Deliberate fantasising was associated with behavioural enactment for both non-paraphilic and paraphilic content. Spontaneous thoughts were associated with the plausibility of non-paraphilic and paraphilic content, while deliberate fantasising was only associated with plausible non-paraphilic content. Plausibility mediated the relationship between sexual thinking and behaviour for both types of content. The results suggest that the phenomenology and plausibility of sexual fantasises are important factors for understanding the sexual fantasy-behaviour link.
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Introduction: According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), a sexual fantasy (SF) is paraphilic if it concerns activities outside the realm of "genital stimulation or preparatory fondling with phenotypically normal, physically mature, consenting human partners" (normophilic). Intensity of the paraphilic SF is also "greater than or equal to normophilic interests." Surprisingly, however, very few data are available to corroborate that definition of a paraphilic SF. Although the relatively high prevalence of paraphilic SF in the general population is well known, the magnitude of difference between intensity of "normophilic" and "paraphilic" SF remains to be assessed. Aim: The main goal of this study was to analyze the SF of adults recruited in the general population to obtain person profiles based on the nature and intensity of their SF. Methods: Multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) were used with data collected from 1,501 adults recruited in the general population to generate subgroups of participants based on the nature and intensity of their SF. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures used was a revised version of the Wilson Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. Results: When all participants are considered as a unique group, the mean intensity of the most intense "normophilic" SF (oral sex) is significantly higher than the mean intensity of the most intense "paraphilic" SF (being sexually dominated for women and watching two women having sex for men), as expected from the DSM-5. When clusters of participants are considered separately, however, conclusions are nuanced. Four significant clusters of participants (two predominantly female and two predominantly male) reported at least one paraphilic SF with intensity as high as that of their most intense "normophilic" SF. In fact, 57% of this sample met the criteria of paraphilia. Conclusion: These results suggest that the current criteria for paraphilia are too inclusive. Suggestions are given to improve the definition of pathological sexual interests, and the crucial difference between SF and sexual interest is underlined. Joyal CC. Defining "normophilic" and "paraphilic" sexual fantasies in a population-based sample: On the importance of considering subgroups. Sex Med 2015;3:321-330.
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Despite the promise of Internet surveys, there are significant concerns about the representativeness of the sample and survey instrument effects. This article seeks to address these questions by examining the differences and similarities between parallel Internet and telephone surveys conducted in Quebec after the provincial election in 2007. Our results indicate that the responses obtained in each mode differ somewhat from each other but that few inferential differences would occur if conclusions were drawn from the analysis of one dataset or the other. We urge researchers to consider the Internet as a viable mode of data collection, in that the consequences of mode effects appear to be minimal. © 2010 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The World Association for Public Opinion Research. All rights reserved.
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Consistent evidence exists for sexual interest in children in non-clinical/non-forensic male populations. However, prevalences for community males’ self-reported sexual interest in children involving prepubescent children have been based on indiscriminate definitions including postpubescent individuals, age-restricted samples, and/or small convenience samples. The present research assessed males’ self-reported sexual interest in children (including child prostitution and child sex tourism) on community level and examined the link between strictly defined sexual fantasies and behaviors involving prepubescent children. In an online survey of 8,718 German males 4.1% reported sexual fantasies involving prepubescent children, 3.2% sexual offending against prepubescent children, and 0.1% a pedophilic sexual preference. Sexual fantasies involving prepubescent children were positively related to sexual offending against prepubescent children. Sexual interest in children was associated with subjectively perceived need for therapeutic help. In contrast to findings from forensic samples, men who exclusively reported child pornography use were identified as a subgroup differing from contact sexual offenders against prepubescent children and men who committed both child pornography and contact sexual offenses against prepubescent children. The empirical link between child-related sexual fantasies and sexual victimization of prepubescent children and high levels of subjective distress from this inclination underscore the importance of evidence-based child sexual abuse prevention approaches in the community. Findings are discussed in terms of their relation to pedophilic disorder.
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Despite the fact that a substantial minority of individuals describe sexual thoughts that are perceived as unwanted and unacceptable, for the most part sexuality researchers have not differentiated sexual thoughts and fantasies that are perceived as positive by the respondent from those which are perceived as negative. At the same time, cognitive‐behavioral researchers investigating intrusive thoughts—that is, unwanted, sudden, and involuntary ego‐dystonic thoughts and obsessions—have not distinguished those reflecting sexual themes from those reflecting other themes. The purpose of this study was to examine sexual intrusive thoughts in a nonclinical population. One hundred seventy‐one college students participated in the study and were administered measures assessing intrusive thoughts, psychological distress, and disposition towards sexuality. Sexual intrusive thoughts were reported by 84% of participants. Compared to the women, the men reported a greater number of different sexual intrusive thoughts, and marginally more frequent sexual intrusions. In addition, the men reported more frequent sexual intrusive thoughts involving some active, aggressive themes and less frequent thoughts of being sexually victimized than did the women. Compared to the men, the women reported less sexual arousal in response to their most upsetting intrusive thought. Greater erotophilia, more frequent sexual daydreaming, and more frequent obsessive thoughts uniquely predicted the frequency of sexual intrusions. This indicates that sexual intrusive thoughts are not just a result of general psychopathology or psychological distress, but also have a large sexual component. Two patterns of experiencing sexual intrusions are delineated.
Little research has been conducted to examine paraphilic sexual interests in nonclinical samples. The little that exists suggests that atypical sexual interests are more common in men than in women, but the reasons for this difference are unknown. In this study, we explored the prevalence of paraphilic interests in a nonclinical sample of men and women. We expected that men would report greater arousal (or less repulsion) toward various paraphilic acts than women. We also examined putative correlates of paraphilias in an attempt to explain the sex difference. In all, 305 men and 710 women completed an online survey assessing sexual experiences, sexual interests, as well as indicators of neurodevelopmental stress, sex drive, mating effort, impulsivity, masculinity/femininity, and socially desirable responding. As expected, significant sex differences were found, with men reporting significantly less repulsion (or more arousal) to the majority of paraphilic acts than women. Using mediation analysis, sex drive was the only correlate to significantly and fully mediate the sex difference in paraphilic interests. In other words, sex drive fully accounted for the sex difference in paraphilic interests. The implications of these findings for understanding the etiology of atypical sexual interests are discussed.
There is a paucity of information regarding paraphilia in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims to take a preliminary look at the prevalence of paraphilia in a population representative of young adults in Nigeria. A total of 871 randomly selected full-time undergraduate students aged 18 or more years and enrolled at the University of Calabar had their paraphilia self-administered proforma analyzed. For the purpose of this study probable paraphilia was defined as paraphilic symptoms lasting over 6 months and associated with moderate to severe distress. The combined prevalence of paraphilia which described the number of subjects with at least one paraphilia was 14.8%. The most prevalent paraphilia subtype was voyeurism while pedophilia was the least prevalent. Paraphilia was significantly more likely to be present among younger students. In contrast to most reports however, there was no significant relationship between gender and paraphilia. Paraphilia research should thus not exclude women or be restricted to populations dominated by men. Longitudinal studies should be carried out in the future to explore the relationship(s) between possible risk factors and paraphilia.
Background: In Nigeria, there is a dearth of data on Disorders of Sexual Preference (DSP), which is due to the unwillingness by most people to volunteer information on such issues. In spite of this, anecdotal evidence suggests strongly that DSP exist in Nigeria. Aims and objectives: This study was aimed at determining the prevalence and pattern of DSP in a sample of teachers in Ilorin, Nigeria. Method: Using a stratified random sampling method, all eligible and consenting respondents were interviewed. A pilot-tested, self-administered questionnaire containing items on sociodemographic and clinical variables and the General Health Questionnaire-30 (GHQ-30) were used for the interview. Results: From a sampling frame of 2,176 teachers, 450 teachers were interviewed but only 408 responses were analyzable. Eighty-nine respondents had ICD-10 compatible DSP giving a combined prevalence rate of 21.8%. The commonest disorder was voyeurism (9.6%) while the least common were paedophilia (0.98%), and exhibitionism (0.74%). Generally, DSP were significantly associated with increased age, male gender, and psychiatric caseness (GHQ score of 4 and above). Conclusion: DSP may not be as rare in Nigeria as currently perceived. Efforts should therefore be made to increase their level of recognition by the public and medical personnel and to encourage those affected to access available help in appropriate treatment facilities.