About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Sexual Deviance

Last Updated on Feb 17, 2016
Font : A-A+


Sexual deviance includes a range of abnormal sexual expression from fetishism, cross dressing, sexual sadomasochism to pedophilia, incest and rape at the extreme end of the continuum.

“One begins to need more and more intense stimuli in order to produce the same type of arousal ... It creates a greater appetite for more bizarre, more deviant types of sexual images.” Colleen Taylor

Sexual deviance is a complex issue because conformity and deviance are relative terms. To complicate matters further the definition of the term sexual deviance has shifted over time. In the last two to three decades there has been a shift in our attitude towards accepting some of these behaviors as normal and acceptable.

Sexual deviance refers to atypical sexual behaviors generally defined in moral, legal or medical terms. The term has always been a contested category as regards its meaning. Ancient texts, pictures and sculptures all over the world—like the comprehensive textbook for sex Kamasutra, and explicit sexual postures carved in stone in Khajuraho temple in India prove that fresh insights emerging from modern research on sex were already common knowledge in very ancient and medieval cultures in many parts of the world. By a process of socialization whereby society dictates behavioral expectations to people and mainly due to moral and religious mores, normal sex, came to be understood as penile-vaginal intercourse probably because of the procreation clause attached to it.

What is Normal: Misconception of our sexuality can lead to doubts, guilt and shame and perpetuate mistaken views of normal and abnormal sexual behavior in oneself and others. Today, with extensive researches and more information available on the subject of sexuality, it is possible to define our sexuality on the basis of personal choices –perhaps to a greater degree in certain segments of the Western society than in some Oriental societies. Modern lifestyles and upscale urban living have led to a shedding of inhibitions and increased sexual freedom to explore various sexual behaviors. Though a penile-vaginal intercourse for procreation and recreation was generally believed to be the only “civilized” expression of sexuality for a very long time, masturbating alone, or in company, oral sex and anal sex among mutually consenting adults as expressions of love and for purposes of pleasure are now gaining acceptance as typical sexual behaviors in many societies all over the world.

Homosexuality: Sexual mores keep changing according to time and place and what was previously seen as a sexual deviance can become a norm as it gains social acceptance. A recent drastic change occurred in the US when psychiatrists removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders (DSM IV) and certain states even legally sanctioned gay marriages. On the contrary, in countries like India, homosexuality is clubbed along with bestiality (sex with animals) and pedophilia (sex with children) as an “unnatural act” and can attract a jail term of up to ten years under Article 377 of the Indian Criminal Code.

In a survey called “Now for the Truth about Americans and Sex," that was published in Time magazine in 1994, Philip Elmer-Dewitt reported that homosexuality was experienced by 9% of the men, and lesbianism by 4% of the women and they had experimented with it at least at some stage since their puberty.

Perversion: Universally, certain sexual behaviors are described as deviant, aberrant, abnormal or perverted. There is no denying that severe sexual maladjustment leads to conflict and misery, sometimes for the sexually deviant person, but most importantly for others. Psychologists use the term Paraphilia for deviant types of sexual expression such as Fetishism, Transvestic Fetishism (Cross Dressing) Sexual sadism, Sexual masochism, Autoerotic asphyxia, Exhibitionism, Voyeurism, Frotteurism, Zoophilia /bestiality, Necrophilia, and at the extreme end of the continuum—pedophilia, incest and rape.

The incidence of sexual deviance varies in countries depending on the culture and is thankfully not common. A survey called “Now for the Truth About Americans and Sex," by Philip Elmer-Dewitt that was published in Time magazine in 1994, reported the following findings-

  • Traditional penile-vaginal sex was the most enjoyable form of sexual practice and was universally appealing with 83% of men and 78% of women saying that is was "very appealing to them." & 80% of the sample surveyed said that every time they had sex during the past year, they had vaginal sex.
  • Half of the men and a third of the women said that watching their partner undress was very appealing.
  • Oral sex was practiced by 37% men and 19% women.
  • The activates the respondents said they found appealing were quite traditional and conventional. Unusual, far-out "deviant" activities attracted very few positive evaluations.

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Thilaka Ravi. (2016, February 17). Sexual Deviance - Paraphilia - Rape - Incest - Legal Issues - Treatment. Medindia. Retrieved on Jun 03, 2023 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/sexual-deviance.htm.

  • MLA

    Thilaka Ravi. "Sexual Deviance - Paraphilia - Rape - Incest - Legal Issues - Treatment". Medindia. Jun 03, 2023. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/sexual-deviance.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Thilaka Ravi. "Sexual Deviance - Paraphilia - Rape - Incest - Legal Issues - Treatment". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/sexual-deviance.htm. (accessed Jun 03, 2023).

  • Harvard

    Thilaka Ravi. 2016. Sexual Deviance - Paraphilia - Rape - Incest - Legal Issues - Treatment. Medindia, viewed Jun 03, 2023, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/sexual-deviance.htm.

Latest Publications and Research on Sexual Deviance

Do you wish to consult a Psychiatrist for your problem? Ask your question

Dr. Dana Prabagaran I.d
Dr. Dana Prabagaran I.d
1 year experience
Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh
Dr. Vivek Pratap  Singh
5 years experience
Dr. Shobhit Kumar Prasad
Dr. Shobhit Kumar  Prasad
2 years experience
Dr. Kamal Kishore Verma
Dr. Kamal Kishore Verma
10 years experience
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.



I'm a divorced male in my early 50s. I was faithful to my wife for the 25 years married. She always rejected my romantic advances so I became accustomed to masturbating. My fantasies varied over the years during masturbation and my post divorce real life sexual encounters have been receiving meaningless anonymous oral sex from women and men. It's the only thing that seems to stimulate me to orgasm. Recently, I met the most beautiful, smart, sexy woman and I love her but she does not stimulate me enough to orgasm. I now realize I have completely disassociated sex and love. This is my problem to fix but it certainly affects her. I have stopped receiving anonymous sex but I still masturbate while thinking about it. Can anyone with medical or behavioral knowledge please suggest how I can get back to associating love and intimacy with exciting sex? She is starting to ask, "what's wrong?" and I don't know how to explain it. I really love this woman!


If your arousal is based on the anonymity, you will probably have to continue what you're doing and masturbate to your fantasy. If your arousal is based on oral pleasure, you will need too tell her "what's wrong" and trust that she cares enough about you to open up to the idea. Either way it will take time and either reconditioning or being satisfied with your masturbatory sessions and good lovemaking with someone you care for.


I have problems with both frotteurism and fetishism. The impulses are totally out of my control and despite my concience objections and strong will to refrain it is almost like I am posessed and can only stand by and watch. The frotterurism is weird to, I have an impulse to grasp a woman's skirt hem between my fingers without her noticing. I do this in bars and crowed malls mostly. The fetishism is the obsession with womens undergarments from the act of shopping for them to wearing them and filtching them out of my friends and neighbors laundry hampers. I really want to get over this stuff. Chronic mastubation is also a problem...definately associated sex addition from an early age. Never been sexually abused.....but started chronic masturbation very early....child hood considered abusive because very strict parenting causing daily fear and stress...neighborhood bullying also probmatic...and started sexual activity with partners late in life, 19.


i was at Kmart one day and i saw this guy walk up next to a lady with a short skirt he bends down to pretend to look at a dvd,he then picks up the dvd lifts up his shirt from his side and rubs his lower back or waste on her leg, she did not no it was deliberate he said sorry she said ''oh thats ok''he got up and walked away. i also have seen him do it in other stores same thing to women with short skirts


Pleaew list other nonj-coercive paraphilias besides coprophilia, urophilia, Klismaphilia,transvestic fertishism and S and M. Seeking background for a presentation


I once saw a middle aged Polish immigrant guy grab a young African American woman's butt on the downtown 1 train just north of 59th st - she whipped out her xacto knife from the sleeve of her jacket with ninja-like speed and, in less than a second the perverted guy was crying out in pain and bewilderment as his blood splattered the subway car's floor. My suggestion is that if you see this use your cellphone and snap a picture, even if you don't get the act, you can follow this guy around until you can get a good shot and then take the time to do a report with Metro Police. Two separate reports with the same photo, has the tendency to make the hunter the hunted. www.whatisguide.net/0208-frotteurism.html

View More Comments
Recommended Reading
Benefits of Registration
Health Topics A - Z
Drugs for Sexual Deviance
What's New on Medindia
Gut Microbes Could Revolutionize the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Proposed Hospital Protection Act by the Kerala Government
Liability Determination in AI-driven Medical Practices
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Sexual Problem

Consult an Expert