Abnormal psychology focuses on abnormal behavior and psychopathology in individuals. Paraphilia disorder is among such abnormal behaviors. This term entails wide ranges of obsession related to sexual abnormalities, depression and other disorders.
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Psychologists interested in studying behavior of individuals use observable behaviors to do so. Psychologists try to reinforce positive behavior in individuals with abnormal behavior. Conversely, they try to discourage maladaptive tendencies in people with abnormal behaviors (Sarason and Sarason, 2004).
This essay shall focus on fetishism, transvestic fetishism, sadomasochism, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and pedophilia.
Fetishism in Portuguese refers to obsessive fascination. Normal individuals may find some parts of the body attractive resulting into sexual arousal. Psychologists consider fetishism a problem when it affects the normal sexual arousal or when individuals cannot have sexual arousal without fetish bodily features or objects (Aamodt, 2012).
Characteristics of fetishism disorder result from pathological assignment of sexual fantasies, fixation and certain behaviors towards fetish objects such as underwear, and high-heeled shoe among others, and non-genital body parts e.g. foot, buttocks and hair.
These objects do not include vibrators and other objects designed for sexual gratifications. Individuals with fetishism disorder will only get sexual arousal from using such objects. Fetishism individuals normally smell, rub or hold fetish objects in order to derive sexual pleasure, or ask their partners to do so when having sexual intercourse or masturbating.
Materials, forms, and shapes of fetish objects are crucial for fetishism individuals. This is a common disorder in male, and rarely seen in female. Fetishism individuals focus on the object and not the individual wearing that object.
Transvestic fetishism individuals tend to have a sexual disorder exhibited by dress in clothes of the opposite sex. The desires of individuals with this disorder are to gain sexual arousal through dressing in clothes of the opposite sex or cross-dressing.
Transvestic fetishism individuals must involve cross-dressing as an exclusive way of getting sexual excitement. These disorders also result into some cases of distress in individuals’ lives (Comer, 2009).
Transvestic fetishism is more common in men than women. Transvestic individuals also tend to adopt clothing, items, behavior and mannerism of the opposite sex. Occasionally, transvestic fetishism individuals use dressing, and cross-dressing as a way of alleviating stress.
Sadomasochism characters get their sexual pleasures from actions involving pain, and or humiliation. These individuals also look from sexual pleasures from other actions too. Sadists inflict pain whereas masochists like receiving pain. However, psychologists note that sadomasochism involves either receiving or giving pain for a sexual excitement (Sarason and Sarason, 2004).
Some scholars argue that sadism and masochism do not reflect true sexual context. They argue that giving and receiving pain may occur with or without consent of individuals.
In addition, getting sexual pleasures in such people may not happen in some cases. As masochist likes receiving torture, sexual humiliations and beatings, sadist inflicts pain with or without the consent of an individual.
Voyeurism disorder involves practices of spying on individuals involved in private behavior such sexual acts, undressing, and other private activities.
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Voyeur conducts his or her activities in secret without the knowledge of his or her subject. Voyeurism may include making videos and taking photos during sexual acts or when one is nude. Increased interests and obsessions in a certain subject may result into stalking of such subjects (Comer, 2009).
Voyeurism has evolved in modern time and now includes television programs such The Real World and Survivor. However, in these programs, voyeurs have permission and intimately interact with individuals of their attentions and desires. Despite the knowledge of the voyeur, the original meaning of the term still has sexual connotations.
Exhibitionism disorder involves exposing private parts of one’s body (buttocks, genitals, or breasts) to a friend, crowd, strangers, and public in public or semi-public places. Authorities refer to some threatening cases of exhibitionism as indecent exposure and may attract legal charges.
Exhibitionism involves flashing of private body parts. Flashing may involve a non-threatening exposure of one’s’ private body parts to a person or group in circumstances not appropriate for exposure, particularly in public places or social gatherings (Sarason and Sarason, 2004).
Females tend to flash their breasts as a form of exhibitionism. However, in situations where females use their vulvae and buttocks, may involve some sexual connotations.
In turn, they may provoke sexual interests in their targets. Consequently, the flashers gain ego boost and become bold. Some forms of flashing have no sexual intentions such as the beads shows of Mardi Gras, nudist clubs, sharing tubs, or nude swimming.
Some common forms of exhibitionism involve exposing genitals when not wearing underwear (anasyrma), letting others watch a proceeding of a sexual activity (martymachlia), and men display their bare buttocks (mooning).
Men engage in the act for fun and disparagement whereas females may perform it for sexual seductions. Exhibitionism involves also running or roaming nude in public places (streaking). Finally, there are also acts of exposing a partner’s private parts in public places (candaulism) (Comer, 2009).
Pedophilia disorder involves abnormal sexual interest in children. Individuals with pedophilia disorder get their sexual excitement, gratification, or arousal primarily from engaging underage children in sexual acts.
Pedophiles may aim their sexual desires to children of the opposite or same sex, or both sexes. Attractions may involve children and adults alike. Psychologists consider pedophilia as a case of mental disorder. However, authorities consider such actions as child abuse and punishable criminal acts.
Aamodt, M. G. (2012). Psychology Today. Sussex: Sussex Publishers, LLC.
Comer, R. J. (2009). Abnormal Psychology, 7th ed. New York: Worth Publishers.
Sarason, I. G. and Sarason, B. R. (2004). Abnormal Psychology: The Problem of Maladaptive Behavior, 11th ed. New York: Prentice Hall.