- a type of mental disorder characterized by a preference for or obsession with unusual sexual practices, as pedophilia, sadomasochism, or exhibitionism.
- any abnormal sexual behaviour; sexual anomaly or deviation
n.1913, from German paraphilie (by 1903), apparently coined by Austrian ethnologist Friedrich Salomo Krauss (1859-1938) as literally “inverted erotic instinct,” from Greek para- “beside, aside” (see para- (1)) + philos “loving” (see -phile). The neurotic whose accompanying fancies always lead into forbidden ground (and this is what constitutes the guilt feeling of pollutions) fights against masturbation [pollutions] because it is connected with incest fancies, criminal desires, perversions, or as F.S. Krauss calls them, paraphilias. [Wm. J. Robinson, M.D., “Masturbation — Injurious or Harmless,” “American Journal of Urology,” May 1913] Krauss bereichert uns um das neue Wort “Paraphilie” anstelle der “Psychopathie,” ein fortschrittlich-oppositionelles Wort zwar, aber auch nur ein Wort und als Aufklärung etwa so bedeutsam wie “Seitensprünge.” [“Rezensionen” über die “Anthropophyteia Jahrbücher,” Leipzig, 1907] Popularized in psychology circles in English from c.1918 in translation of work by Viennese-born psychotherapist Wilhelm Stekel (1868-1940); not in widespread use until 1950s. first used in “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” in 1980, as a morally neutral and more dignified label than perversion, to which it is nonetheless etymologically similar. Related: Paraphiliac; paraphilic. n.
- A psychosexual disorder in which sexual gratification is obtained through highly unusual practices that are harmful or humiliating to others or socially repugnant, such as voyeurism or pedophilia.