Sexual behaviour that is not common and is considered unnatural comprises an important group of sexual problems. Though not sexual problems in the strictest sense, these behaviours reflect distortion of an individual’s sexual identity. In most cases, this behaviour does not include any physical manifestation of the disorder.
Abnormal sexual behaviour may not only be socially inappropriate, but also offensive or injurious to the self and to others. Some of these include – exhibitionism, voyeurism, bestiality, fetishism, sadism and masochism.
What are the various types of such behaviours?
Exhibitionism – is a deliberate sexual urge in a person to expose his genitals to others in public to obtain sexual pleasure. The person’s thoughts are dominated by fantasies of exposing himself to others. It is more commonly seen in males who often expose themselves before children or women. The most common cause of the disorder is a social or psychological impairment in the individual. In India, this act is punishable by law with imprisonment upto 3 months and a fine.
Fetishism – is an obsession with non-living objects like women’s garments, which provides sexual satisfaction. These things do not normally have any sexual influence on the mind. A fetish can also be associated with any part of the body. For example, a person with foot fetishism may get sexually excited by looking at another person’s feet. This disorder is due to faulty associations of neutral objects with sexually stimulating thoughts.
Frotteurism – it is the urge to rub against or establish physical contact with a non-consenting individual to obtain sexual pleasure. Many such people are unable to have normal sexual relations due to impotence.
Bestiality – sexual intercourse between a human and an animal is called bestiality. Most acts of bestiality take place with people who are in close contact with domesticated animals on farms etc. This is a crime punishable by law.
Voyeurism – is the derivation of sexual pleasure by watching another person undress or perform sexual intercourse. The individual usually masturbates while watching the sex act. These persons are usually unable to maintain normal sexual relations due to impotence.
Sadism and Masochism - these are sexual fantasies involving the use of force in order to obtain sexual satisfaction. A sadist derives sexual pleasure by physically hurting his sexual partner. A masochist, on the contrary, derives sexual satisfaction by being beaten, hurt or made to suffer.
How is abnormal sexual behaviour diagnosed?
Most sexually aberrant behaviour is not diagnosed till it is brought to notice usually by the police authorities or the relatives of the victim. Since this behaviour is also a crime that is punishable by law, it is diagnosed when investigations for the crime are being done. The diagnosis is made by a psychiatrist or a psychologist after conducting a series of psychological tests.
What is the treatment?
Psycho-sexual disorders like the above are treated with the help of psychiatric methods over a period of time. They cannot be treated with one specific medication since they are not diseases. They are mental conditions which need a thorough background research and consistent follow-up by the doctor.