SEXUAL FETISHES & PARAPHILIAS
Understanding Sexual Fetishes
Sexual fetishes refer to the excitement or arousal that you might experience from having contact with a particular object, individual or with a particular situation.
Many people have fetishes that they enjoy and find partners that share their fetishes. Fetishes can be a healthy, exciting and creative way to explore your sexuality.
Examples of sexual fetishes include underwear or other clothing, an attraction to a specific body part, role-playing or a desire to engage in sexual activity in public or another location unique to you.
Other people are bothered by their sexual interests. They may feel that their interests aren’t consistent with their personal values. They may find that it is difficult to find partners to explore their fetishes with and feel alone with their interests. Or, their spouse or partner may not share their fetishes and this might cause them to feel unsatisfied or frustrated.
Sexual fetishes can’t be changed. But, I can help you to develop a healthier relationship with your sexual interests. Acceptance is the first step in this process. Once you are able to acknowledge that a fetish is a natural part of your sexuality, we can develop strategies to explore these fetishes in a healthy way, or, to develop skills to redirect your thoughts from these interests towards sexual activities that are more true to your values.
Understanding Sexual Paraphilias
Sexual paraphilias refer to excitement or arousal that you might experience to unusual or uncommon objects, situations or individuals. Sexual paraphilias are interests that, when acted on, may cause harm to yourself and others.
Some people are troubled by their sexual paraphilias, even if they do not act on their thoughts and interests.
These sexual interests are not ‘a choice’ that people decide to pursue. They are not ‘learned’ and do not result from any defects of personal character. Rather, they result from biological factors that science is, unfortunately, only beginning to understand.
Examples of sexual paraphilias include Pedophilia (a sexual interest in children), and Hebephilia (an interest in adolescents).
Sexual Sadism is also an example of a sexual paraphilia. These interests are different from having a fetish for ‘S&M’ sex. ‘S&M’ commonly refers to activities where both partners are consenting to engaging in an activity that involves elements of control or pain.
With sadistic sexual interests, sexual pleasure is derived from the act of coercing or forcing an unwilling partner to engage in sexual activity with you. This can also include causing physical harm or emotional distress to sexual partners without their consent.
Finally, Exhibitionism is the act of exposing parts of your body to unsuspecting groups of individuals. Some people have the urge to expose themselves for the ‘shock value’ of doing so. Some find it sexual arousing to do so.
Others expose themselves because they hope others will find in arousing too (generally, this is not the case).
There are no ‘cures’ for sexual paraphilias. But, there are treatment options that can help you to successfully manage these sexual thoughts and urges.
I have worked with many clients to help them develop the skills they need to gain better control over these interests. I can also help you to talk to your doctor about different medications that may help you to manage these thoughts and urges.
There is help and hope!