How unusual are the contents of paraphilias? Paraphilia-associated sexual arousal patterns in a community-based sample of men

J Sex Med. 2011 May;8(5):1362-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01597.x.


Introduction: This is a report of a cross-sectional study on paraphilia-associated sexual arousal patterns (PASAP) among men in a metropolitan city in Germany, EU.

Aim: To determine the prevalence of PASAP during sexual fantasies, fantasies accompanying masturbation, and real-life sociosexual behavior.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, self-reported sexual history data were collected by questionnaire from 367 volunteers recruited from a community sample of 1,915 men aged 40-79 years.

Main outcome measures: The Derogatis Symptom Checklist-Revised (SCL-90-R) and the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (LSQ; German original, Fragebogen zur Lebenszufriedenheit, [FLZ]) were administered to obtain a general subjective health measure and a measure of general as well as sex life satisfaction. The Questionnaire on Sexual Experiences and Behaviour was administered to comprehensively assess all relevant sexo-medical data. Results. The percent of men that reported at least one PASAP was 62.4%. In 1.7% of cases, PASAP were reported to have caused distress. The presence of PASAP was associated with a higher likelihood of being single (odds ratio [OR] 2.6; 95%; confidence interval [CI] 1.047-6.640), masturbating at least once per week (OR 4.4; 95%; CI 1.773-10.914), or having a low general subjective health score (OR 11.9; 95%; CI 2.601-54.553). Pedophilic PASAP in sexual fantasies and in real-life sociosexual behavior was reported by 9.5% and 3.8% of participants, respectively.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that paraphilia-related experience can not be regarded as unusual from a normative perspective. At the same time, many men experience PASAP without accompanying problem awareness or distress, even when PASAP contents are associated with potentially causing harm to others. In view of the relevance for sex life and relationship satisfaction, presence of PASAP should be assessed in all sexual medicine consultations. Future research should focus on conditions in which PASAP reach clinical significance in the sense of mental disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraphilic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Paraphilic Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires