Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Partialism, Paraphilia and papraphilia related disorders

The likelihood paraphilias and paraphilia related disorders are more prevalent in the population than has previously been acknowledged is high. These disorders are cloaked in shame and guilt and until recently most people were too embarrassed to discuss their particular partialisms. The appearance of the World Wide Web has changed this somewhat with many websites and bulletin boards dedicated to fetishism and fetishistic behaviours. Definitions of sexual normality and abnormality are difficult to establish and diagnostic classification is frequently based upon arbitrary or subjective criteria.

Paraphilias involve sexual arousal in response to non-normative or deviant stimuli. They are described as either victimless or as involving harm or victimisation of a non-consenting partner. Fetishism and retifism are considered victimless whereas exhibitionism would involve an innocent party. Because physical or psychological harm may result these types of paraphilia are referred to as sex crimes and perpetrators, if caught, are legally prosecuted. Little is known about the epidemiology of paraphilias since few individuals with these disorders voluntarily disclose their interests. Paraphilias are almost exclusively male disorders although some women do have tendencies these do not always meet DSM-IV criteria for paraphilias.

Fetishist behaviour is unlikely to be reported and often goes untreated; its prevalence is unknown. Fetishistic behaviours usually begin early in life and once established, tend to be life long. Partialism is a form of fetishism involving intense erotic attraction to specific parts of the body. Frotteurism typically begins during adolescence and declines in frequency after age 25 (Abel & Osborn, 1992). This maybe associated with a withdrawn, immature or socially avoidance personality style. Many sadists can become aroused in the masochistic role, and vice versa although some are one or the other (Spengler, 1977). There is general agreement conditioning factors play an important role in the development and maintenance of deviant behaviour. Early sexually arousing experiences have an enormous influence in shaping subsequent sexual desires and fantasies. First erotic experiences seem to imprint or program the person's love map sometimes to the exclusion of any other subsequent input. The effects of early imprinting are then maintained and reinforced through fantasy arousal during masturbation ( Laws & Marshall, 1990).

From the 19th century onwards western societies found difficulty with parents communicating with their children about sex and were unlikely to encourage their adolescents in intercourse (Frayser, 1985). Throughout this time greater emphasis has been placed on the number of sexual images being used. These are primarily images of females and males are more interested in visual erotic stimulation. The technical capacity to deliver these images has improved and this may account for why now there is an explosion of web materials on the subject of foot sex. Maybe as suggest by Gianni et al. (1998) the increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases within contemporary society has also encouraged foot sex as safe sex. In any event many experts believe the only way to achieve greater understanding of human beings sexual attraction to foot sex will depend on an increased relaxation in society's attitudes to sexual matters in general.

Abel GG & Osborn C 1992 The parphilias: The extent and nature of sexually deviant and criminal behaviour Psychiatric Cinics of North America 15 675-687.
Frayser, S. 1985 Varieties of sexual experience: An anthropological perspective. New Haven, CT: HRAF Press.
Gianni AJ, Colapietro G Slaby A Melemis SM Bowman RK 1998 Sexualization of the female foot as a response to sexually transmitted epidemics: a preliminary study Psychological Reports 83 491-498.
Laws DR & Marshall WL 1990 A conditioning theory of the etiology and maintenance od deviant sexual preference and behaviour In Marshall WL Laws DR & Barbaree (eds) Handbook of sexual assault:Issues, theories and treatment of the offender NY:Plenum Press 209-230.
Spengler A 1977 Manifest sadomasochism of males: Results of an empirical study Archives of Sexual Behaviour 6 441-456

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