< Paraphilia

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Regarding homosexuality as a paraphilia: It is my opinion, although I must say that it is not one shared by the majority of scientific opinion, that it was a wrong decision to stop regarding homosexuality a paraphilia. Rather, one should have fought against the negative connotation of the word 'paraphilia': that something is a paraphilia means nothing more than that it is a sexual desire different from that of the majority. Which is true for homophilia. There is nothing 'bad' about that, and in my opinion, there is also nothing bad about several other paraphilias. If people are happy together enjoying sex of a sado-masochistic or fetishist kind, I can't see anything wrong with that. But that does not mean that we should stop calling them paraphilias as well - just that we should refrain from calling paraphilias a priori sick, harmful, or bad.

N.B.: I removed the statement about homosexuality being removed because it is considered 'harmless', because this would imply that other paraphilias are not harmless. -- Andre Engels

Actually, I think most serious scientists would agree with you, Larry, as would I. It is an issue of semantics, not of substance, but semantics becomes important when politics get involved. I don't think there's any problem, for example, saying that homosexuality was traditionally counted as a paraphilia, and still is by some, but is often excluded from the list because it has a greater level of cultural acceptance than many others. That wording doesn't imply that it or the others are "bad", just that our particular culture happens to accept one more than the others, which is a neutral statement about our culture. --LDC

Doesn't the concept of paraphilia assume that there is a healthy sexual nature that will develop in the absence of disease or trauma? And that if disease or trauma are present then sexual development can be turned away from what is healthy? And that paraphilia is the technical term for this latter condition, and is not simply a statistical abberation or an individual preference? I always assumed the term was used only in the context of that theory.

- Tim

Boy, it is hard to close a can of worms, isn't it?

Sexual attraction to corpses is demented regardless of culture. --Larry Sanger

I edited the text of the entry somewhat to indicate when paraphilias become a problem and when they are simply uncommon forms of healthy sexuality.

--Vadim Antonov