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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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Paraphilias

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What Behaviors Are Considered Paraphilias? continued...

Some pedophiles, known as exclusive pedophiles, are sexually attracted only to children and are not attracted to adults. Some limit their activity to incest, involving only their own children or close relatives. Others victimize other children. Predatory pedophiles may use force or threaten their victims with what will happen if they disclose the abuse. Health care providers are legally bound to report such abuse of minors.

Pedophile activity constitutes rape and is a felony offense punishable by imprisonment.

Sexual Masochism
Individuals with this disorder use the act -- real, not simulated -- of being humiliated, beaten, or otherwise made to suffer in order to achieve sexual excitement and climax. These acts may be limited to verbal humiliation, or they may involve being beaten, bound, or otherwise abused. Masochists may act out their fantasies on themselves by such acts as cutting or piercing their skin or burning themselves. Or they may seek out a partner who enjoys inflicting pain or humiliation on others. Activities with a partner include bondage, spanking, and simulated rape.

Sadomasochistic fantasies and activities are not uncommon among consenting adults. In most of these cases, however, the humiliation and abuse are acted out in fantasy. The participants are aware that the behavior is a "game" and actual pain and injury is avoided.

A potentially dangerous, sometimes fatal, masochistic activity is autoerotic partial asphyxiation. With this activity, a person uses ropes, nooses, or plastic bags to induce a state of asphyxia (interruption of breathing) at the point of orgasm. This is done to enhance orgasm, but accidental deaths sometimes occur.

Sexual Sadism
Individuals with this disorder have persistent fantasies in which sexual excitement results from inflicting psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation and terror) on a sexual partner. This disorder is different from minor acts of aggression in normal sexual activity -- for example, rough sex. In some cases, sexual sadists are able to find willing partners to participate in the sadistic activities.

At its most extreme, sexual sadism involves illegal activities such as rape, torture, and even murder, in which case the death of the victim produces sexual excitement. It should be noted that while rape may be an expression of sexual sadism, the infliction of suffering is not the motive for most rapists, and the victim's pain generally does not increase the rapist's sexual excitement. Rather, rape involves a combination of sex and gaining power over the victim. These individuals need intensive psychiatric treatment and may be jailed for these activities.

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