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Review
, 46 (2-3), 194-215

Erotic Target Location Errors: An Underappreciated Paraphilic Dimension

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Review

Erotic Target Location Errors: An Underappreciated Paraphilic Dimension

Anne A Lawrence. J Sex Res.

Abstract

Based on studies of heterosexual male fetishists, transvestites, and transsexuals, Blanchard (1991) proposed the existence of a hitherto unrecognized paraphilic dimension, erotic target location errors (ETLEs), involving the erroneous location of erotic targets in the environment. ETLEs can involve preferential attention to a peripheral or inessential part of an erotic target, manifesting as fetishism, or mislocation of an erotic target in one's own body, manifesting as the desire to impersonate or become a facsimile of the erotic target (e.g., transvestism or transsexualism). Despite its potential clinical and heuristic value, the concept that ETLEs define a paraphilic dimension is underappreciated. This review summarizes the studies leading to the concept of ETLEs and describes how ETLEs are believed to manifest in men whose preferred erotic targets are women, children, men, amputees, plush animals, and real animals. This review also describes ETLEs in women; discusses possible etiologies of ETLEs; considers the implications of the ETLE concept for psychoanalytic theories of transvestism and male-to-female transsexualism, as well as for the forthcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition; suggests reasons why the concept of ETLEs has been underappreciated; and describes what might result if the concept were more widely appreciated.

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