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From the university of perversity: An A to Z of non-researched sexual paraphilias

One of my students asked me the other day whether I will ever run out of sexual paraphilias to write about. I may run out of paraphilias that have been scientifically researched but the one thing I’ve learned from all my reseach into human sexual behaviour is that human beings appear to have the capacity to become sexually aroused to almost anything. Today’s blog takes a brief A to Z look at 26 paraphilias where (as far as I am aware) there is absolutely no empirical or clinical research on the topic. In fact, in almost all of the paraphilias listed here, I couldn’t even find an anecdotal case study or an online forum where people discuss such issues. The majority of the paraphilias below can be found in either Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices and/or Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. Just to make things a little more interesting, one of the 26 paraphilias listed below is one that I made up.

  • Anasteemaphilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal to individuals who are much taller or shorter than themselves (i.e., it is the large difference in height that is the primary source of sexual arousal)
  • Batrachophilia: This is a sub-type of zoophilia where individuals derive sexual arousal from and/or attraction to frogs. The Victorious Vocabulary website says that it relates to an extreme fondness for frogs, or a sexual obsession with frogs.
  • Cratophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from displays of strength. I have only come across one academic paper that makes a specific reference to ‘cratophilia’ and that was a study led by Dr G. Scorolli on the relative prevalence of different fetishes using online fetish forum data. They reported that some of the sites featured references to ‘muscle fetishes’ (5% of all sites concerned with bodily features) and that some of these related to cratophilia (although it also featured individuals who were sthenophiles who prefer the look of the muscles rather than acts of bodily strength)
  • Doraphilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from animal fur, leather, and/or skin. The Wikipedia page on clothing and garment fetishes mentions doraphilia in passing but there is no supporting empirical evidence.
  • Endytophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal only from partners who are clothed during sexual intercourse. The only interesting things I found on the internet relating to endytophilia was that (a) it contained the letters for the word ‘depiliation’, and (b) it was claimed in an online article by Tony Leather that the most famous endytophile was Elvis Presley.
  • Fratrilagnia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from having sex with one’s own brother. Although I am aware cases of brother-sister incest, the implication from the behaviour being classified as a sexual paraphilia is that it is the fact being a brother is the primary source of the individual’s sexual behaviour.
  • Geusophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal through taste (presumably of food but none of the definitions I’ve come across make that explicit – seem my previous blog on sitophilia).
  • Hyphephilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from touching skin, hair, leather, fur or fabric. This appears to be very similar to doraphilia (above) but includes a greater number of tactile materials from which an individual derives sexual pleasure.
  • ldrophrodisia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from the odour of perspiration, especially from the genitals. This would appear to be a sub-type of olfactophilia (sexual arousal from smells and odour).
  • Juvenilophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from having sex with juveniles.
  • Knismolagnia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from tickling. Since writing this article I managed to collect enough anecdotal material to write a whole blog on this paraphilia.
  • Lyssophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from becoming angry or upset.
  • Moriaphilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from telling sexual jokes. This may be related to other psychological conditions such as ‘punning mania’ although this sexual paraphilia (if it really exists) could be argued to be a sub-type of narratophilia.
  • Nosolagnia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from knowing partner has terminal illness. Although I have never come across a case of nosolagnia, I would imagine it has psychological overlaps with those individuals who seek sexual arousal from vulnerable individuals (such as those who sexually exploit the learning disabled).
  • Ochlophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from being in a crowd. This would appear to have some overlap with frotteurism (sexual arousal from rubbing up against people and which I examined in a previous blog).
  • Placophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from tombstones. After finding out what placophobia was, the musician and author Julian Cope claimed he must be a placophile on a post at his Head Heritage website (although my guess is that his love for tombstones is not sexual).
  • Quadoshka: OK, I admit this a little bit of a cheat as there are so few sexual paraphilias beginning with the letter ‘Q’ (and I’ve already covered queefing in a previous blog). Quadoshka is where individuals derive sexual arousal American Indian form of tantric sex.
  • Rhytiphilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from facial wrinkles. This would appear to be related to gerontophilia (sexual arousal to people who are much older than the individuals themselves).
  • Septophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal to decaying matter (presumably human or something else that was once living, but none of the definitions I have come across make any specific references). This paraphilia would therefore appear to have clear overlaps with necrophilia (sexual arousal from dead people) and necrobestiality (sexual arousal from dead animals).
  • Timophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal comes from gold or wealth. Given that money and/or wealth are often said to be aphrodisiacs, I would have thought there would be lots of research into this, but I have yet to come across any. However, it is one of the few paraphilias that is listed here that appears on the Right Diagnosis online medical website. This also reminds me of the interview on the Mrs. Merton Show where Debbie McGee was asked So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”
  • Uranophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from heavenly thoughts. One online definition claims that uranophilia is the “ultimate expression of faith in that you can take such joy, such pleasure from the mere thought of heaven alone”. I am very doubtful that this paraphilia even exists.
  • Vicarphilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from other people’s sexual experiences. To me, this sounds remarkably like a form of narratophilia (that I covered in a previous blog). One online dictionary goes much further in its definition and defines vicarphilia as vicarious arousal sexual arousal from other peoples’ exciting actions, experiences and behaviors and sexual attraction for people who lead exciting lives, such as influential people, celebrities, gangsters, and people who engage in dangerous sports such as racers, daredevils, and action sportsters”.
  • Wing Fetishism: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from wings – but not from bird or animal wings but from angel or demon wings. I know of no literature on this at all but I am assuming it is a fantasy-based paraphilia like macrophilia (sexual arousal for giants).
  • Xylophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from wooden objects. This may have some overlap with the next sexual paraphilia on this list (i.e., ylophilia).
  • Ylophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from forests. The Fetish News website defines ylophilia as an extreme affinity for forests, including sexual attraction to or arousal from the texture and shape of trees and shrubs. This would therefore seem to overlap with dendrophilia (sexual arousal from trees, that I covered in a previous blog).
  • Zelophilia: This is where individuals derive sexual arousal from jealousy.

So did you spot the one I made up? If you think you know which one it is or want to know, email me directly at: mark.griffiths@ntu.ac.uk. Also, if you have any information on any of the paraphilias listed here I would love to hear from you.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Caust, D. (undated). Sex sense: Unusual sexual behavior. Located at: http://www.drdeborahcaust.com/articles/pdf/ss9_unusual.pdf

Gates, K. (2000). Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. New York: RE/Search Publications.

Leather, T. (2012). What floats your sexual boat? Wikinut, September 9. Located at: http://news.wikinut.com/What-Floats-Your-Sexual-Boat/3vg12rx5/

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Scorolli, C., Ghirlanda, S., Enquist, M., Zattoni, S. & Jannini, E.A. (2007). Relative prevalence of different fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19, 432-437.

Wikipedia (2013). Clothing fetish. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_fetish

Wood you do it for me: A beginner’s guide to dendrophilia

Dendrophilia (also known as arborphilia) literally translates as a love of trees (in fact, I was originally going to try and get the words “pining for it” in the title of this blog but decided against it in the end). For me, human sexual contact with trees is not something that I think of as naturally going together. The only modern day “cultural” reference I can recall (an I use the word “cultural” in its loosest sense) was in the 1981 film The Evil Dead when the character Cheryl is attacked by trees possessed by the demons, that then come to life and brutally rape her (a scene that director Sam Raimi has since regretted including in the film).

However, the word ‘dendrophilia’ has now been adopted by some in the sexology field to refer to those who have a fetishistic or paraphilic interest in trees (i.e., individuals who derive sexual pleasure, sexual arousal and/or are sexually attracted to trees). This may involve actual sexual contact with trees and/or (as Raymond Corsini notes in his 1999 Dictionary of Psychology) veneration as phallic symbols. In his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, Dr Anil Aggrawal (Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India) defines dendrophilia as arousal from trees or fertility worship of them” whereas Dr. G.R. Pranzarone in his online Dictionary of Sexology says it is the love of trees. But categorically states “it is not a paraphilia” (but doesn’t give any reason as to why).

Dr. Brenda Love in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices writes about dendrophilia and notes that trees were ancient symbols of fertility and that on designated holy days, men had to go into the fields and ejaculate onto the trees. She also cites the work of anthropologist Thomas Gregor who studied the South American people of Mehinaku (a village of the Amazonian Xingu tribe) and described the following folk tale of a dendrophilic act in his 1985 book Anxious Pleasures; the Sexual Lives Of An Amazonian People:

“I have been able to find only two other stories of masturbation, and in both, men are the principal actors. In one tale we learn of a man who found a remarkably gratifying hole in a tree, which he began to use to the exclusion of his wife and girlfriends. In the second story, a man made an artificial vagina of leaves to which he became similarly attached. In both myths, the culprits were seen by other villagers who hacked away the hole with an axe and tore the leaf vagina to shreds. In both stories, the masturbators behaved as if their leafy companions had been real women. They wailed for the deceased plants, cut their hair short, and took off their belts as a symbol of mourning”.

Just to put these observations into context, Dr. Theodore Lidz in reviewing Gregor’s book for the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, notes that the Xingu tribe are a small society that not only permits extramarital promiscuity (to an extent perhaps never before recorded), but the promiscuity promotes rather than disrupts the societal integration.

A fairly recent British case of dendrophilia came to light when 21-year old Scottish man William Shaw received a lifetime ban from Airdrie’s Central Park for attempting to have sex with one of the trees (with The Sun winning the best headline with “Fancy a treesome?”). He dropped his trousers and underpants and simulated sex with a tree while in the visitor attraction in September 2009. 
he was subsequently charged with an act of public indecency at the town’s sheriff court.
 The Sheriff (Frank Pieri) released Shaw on bail on the condition that he did not set foot in Central Park again. I also feel duty bound to point out that there was also a YouTube video posted in March 2012 showing a very intoxicated woman trying to have sex with a tree.

Willow Monrroe in her regular ‘Fetish of the Week’ column also briefly examined dendrophilia (although none of her claims were supported by any evidence). In relation to this fetish she claimed:

“I can see it. The metaphors are obvious and long over-drawn. And experience has proven that sex and the wild world of nature go together like cheese and wine, one being the natural complement of the other”…Dendrophilia is considered a pathology. There are documented cases of persons seeking and receiving treatment for what’s perceived as a psychological disorder. For example, one psychologist reported treating a man who had a long running affair with an oak tree”

The Deviant Minds website also featured an article on dendrophilia and speculated about the condition’s origins. The article asserted that dendrophiles “go beyond simply looking for new textures, for under their hands and other regions. It may involve deep emotional bond towards nature only a few might understand”. However, as with most online articles, there is absolutely no empirical evidence to back up a single claim made, and as far as I am aware, there is not a single academic or clinical study published – not even a case study.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Corsini, Raymond J. (1999). The Dictionary of Psychology. London: Psychology Press.

Daily Telegraph (2010). Tree sex man ordered to leave park. Daily Telegraph, January 21. Located at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/weird/tree-sex-man-ordered-to-leaf-park/story-e6frev20-1225821689910

Deviant Minds (undated). Dendrophilia. Located at: http://www.deviantminds-central.com/articles/fetisharchives/dendrophilia.php

Gregor, T. (1985). Anxious Pleasures; the Sexual Lives Of An Amazonian People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Monroe, W. (2012). Fetish of the week: Dendrophilia. ZZ Insider, January 6. Located at: http://www.zzinsider.com/blogs/view/fetish_of_the_week_dendrophilia

Pranzarone, G.F. (2000). The Dictionary of Sexology. Located at: http://ebookee.org/Dictionary-of-Sexology-EN_997360.html

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