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Healthy Living

Sexual Deviations

Sexual activities that are not practised by the majority of the population have been categorised as ‘deviant’ or “variant” behaviour. Small groups of people feel that since these do not fall under the expected social norms they should be termed as “perversions”. Whatever we call it, it is important for us to realise that no individual has chosen to be born to behave in a particular manner. We do know why these people behave and act differently. There are various theories but none of them has been proven beyond doubt.

In real life, most of us may indulge in some sexual activity, which is not considered “normal”, for thrill or novelty. But this will be only a passing phase and not a permanent trait. When people rely only on deviant type of sexual stimulation (to the exclusion of all other types) for sexual gratification then it will become problematic.

A few of these “unconventional” sexual behaviours are described below:

Transvestism: In this form of behaviour the individual derives sexual pleasure by dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex. This is more common among males than females. Transvestites are normally heterosexuals. They usually wear women’s undergarments and will often masturbate while so dressed.

Exhibitionism: This is an exclusive male form of behaviour in which the individual exposes his genitals, usually an erect penis, in the presence of a young woman in public. He achieves sexual excitement and self-assurance from the shocked reaction of the victim. Exposure is usually followed by masturbation. Exhibitionists are usually insecure and lonely individuals. They simply try to draw the attention of women and thereby reassure themselves of their masculinity.

Fetishism: Fetishism is a condition in which a person gets aroused usually by an inanimate object. A person who indulges in this type of behaviour is known as a fetishist. The fetishist, usually a male, becomes erotically obsessed with an object (a fetish) which is not sexual in the usual sense (such as gloves, shoes, furniture, or a car). He may symbolically fall in love with it and perform ritual acts in its presence. Fetishism is potentially within every one of us and a person, who, for any reason cannot achieve satisfactory sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex, may well seek gratification by turning to some other object with which success is more easily assured.

Voyeurism: This is a condition in which a person derives unusual sexual pleasure and gratification through the surreptitious observation of naked persons or sexual acts. Almost every one derives pleasure in looking at someone undressing or somebody engaged in sexual acts. Because of this voyeuristic tendency some of us are interested in using pornographic material. But compulsive voyeurs take great pains and risks in order to observe others, without the victims’ knowledge. Their sexual arousal is caused only by observing others in the act and not by the “normal” stimulation. These persons are timid individuals and are more of a nuisance than of any danger to others.

Sadism: Sadism is a condition in which a person derives sexual pleasure and gratification by humiliating or inflicting pain on a partner. Many couples, during their lovemaking, may inflict mild pain in the form of bites or scratches. These will be limited to a short duration and may not cause major injury. But in sadism, the intensity of the sadistic acts will be severe and physical injuries will be grave. Acts may include beating the partner with hands or with various instruments, punching, biting till bleeding occurs or even burning (either with cigarette butts or with other electrical implements). A sadist may tie up, gag or blindfold his victim. Pain or humiliation may also be inflicted verbally.

Masochism: Masochism is a condition wherein a person derives sexual gratification by being hurt or humiliated. This type of sexual activity is exactly opposite to sadism. To outsiders, this type of behaviour may appear to be cruel, but a masochist (the person who indulges in this type of activity) enjoys the pain and welcomes it. He may even go to the extent of hiring commercial sex workers to inflict pain on him.

Other Deviant Sexual Behaviour

There are many more types of behaviour, which may be categorised as deviant or variant behaviour. Only a few of them are listed below:

Frotteurism: A condition wherein a person rubs himself against strangers for sexual pleasures.

Kleptophilia: A condition wherein a person gets sexual feelings by stealing things.

Necrophilia: A condition wherein a person gets sexually aroused at the sight of a dead body and gets sexual pleasure by ‘having sex’ with the dead body.

Pedophilia: A condition wherein a person gets sexual pleasure only by having sex with children below the age of puberty.

Zoophilia: A condition wherein a person has sex with animals for fulfilling his sexual urges. This is also known as bestiality.


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