Fetish & Paraphilia – Same or Different?

Fetish & Paraphilia – Same or Different?

What Is a Fetish?

A fetish is described as a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked, to an abnormal degree, to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.

A paraphilia is described as sexual interests in objects, situations, or individuals that are atypical or extreme. A Paraphilic Disorder is described as having an additional experience of distress or impairment in functioning.

The main difference between a paraphilia and a fetish, is that a paraphilia is much more extreme and harmful than a fetish. A fetish can become a paraphilia if the attraction becomes obsessive or harmful.

Paraphilias can include sexual behaviours that society may view as distasteful, unusual or abnormal. The most common are pedophilia (sexual focus on children), exhibitionism (exposure of genitals to strangers), voyeurism (observing private activities of unaware victims) and frotteurism (touching, rubbing against a non-consenting person).

Perhaps because they are becoming more widely acknowledged fetishism (use of inanimate objects), sexual masochism (being humiliated or forced to suffer), sexual sadism (inflicting humiliation or suffering) and transvestic disorder (sexually arousing cross-dressing) are far less common as paraphilias.

Some paraphilias have more than one term to describe them, and some terms overlap with others. But the list is quite extensive.  Anil Aggrawal, a professor of Forensic Medicine, once compiled a list of over 500 terms describing paraphilic sexual interests. He did explain that not all of these have necessarily been seen in clinical setups. Not because they don’t exist, but because they are so harmless that they are never brought to the attention of a doctor or are dismissed by them.

Just like allergies, sexual arousal may occur from anything under the sun, including the sun.

Most of the listed names for paraphilias are used in medical contexts only, due to their Greek or Latin origin.

Title Description
Abasiophilia/ Acrotomophilia/ Apotemnophilia People with impaired mobility/amputations/being an amputee
Agalmatophilia Statues, mannequins and immobility
Algolagnia Pain, particularly involving an erogenous zone; differs from masochism as there is a biologically different interpretation of the sensation rather than a subjective interpretation
Andromimetophilia Trans men
Anililagnia Attraction by young men to older women
Anthropophagy Ingesting human flesh
Asphyxiophilia Being asphyxiated or strangled
Autagonistophilia Being on stage or on camera
Autassassinophilia Being in life-threatening situations
Autoandrophilia A biological female imagining herself as a male
Autoerotic asphyxiation Self-induced asphyxiation, sometimes to the point of near unconsciousness
Autogynephilia A biological male imagining himself as a female
Auto-haemofetishism Bleeding oneself (does not involve ingestion of blood). Type of autovampirism
Autonepiophilia/ Autopedophilia The image of one’s self in the form of an infant/Child
Autovampirism/Vampirism The image of one’s self in the form of a vampire.  Involves ingesting or seeing one’s own blood
Autozoophilia The image of one’s self in the form of an animal or anthropomorphized animal
Biastophilia/Raptophilia Raping a person, possibly consensual rape fantasy
Capnolagnia Smoking
Chremastistophilia Being robbed or held up
Chronophilia Partners of a widely differing chronological age
Coprophilia Feces; also known as scat, scatophilia or fecophilia
Dacryphilia Tears or crying
Diaper fetishism Diapers; considerable overlap with paraphilic infantilism
Emetophilia Vomit
Eproctophilia Flatulence
Erotic asphyxiation Asphyxia of oneself or others
Erotophonophilia Murder, often of strangers (also known as dacnolagnomania)
Exhibitionism Exposing one’s genitals to unsuspecting and nonconsenting others
Feederism Eating, feeding, and weight gain
Formicophilia Being crawled on by insects
Forniphilia Turning a human being into a piece of furniture
Frotteurism Rubbing against a non-consenting person
Gerontophilia Elderly people
Gynandromorphophilia/Gynemimetophilia Transsexual or transgender women
Heterophilia Idealization of heterosexuality and/or people who are “straight-acting,” especially by non-heterosexual people.
Hoplophilia Firearms, guns
Hybristophilia Criminals, particularly for cruel or outrageous crimes
Infantophilia Pedophilia with a focus on children less than five years old, a recently suggested term that is not in general use
Klismaphilia Enemas; arousal and enjoyment in receiving, administering, or both
Lactophilia Breast milk
Liquidophilia Immersing genitals in liquids
Macrophilia Giant beings; the imagined growth of beings
Maschalagnia Armpits
Mazophilia Highly atypical sexual interest focused on female breasts
Masochism Suffering or humiliation; being beaten, bound or otherwise abused
Mechanophilia Cars or other machines; also “mechaphilia.”
Menophilia Menstruation
Morphophilia Particular body shapes or sizes
Mucophilia Mucus
Mysophilia Dirtiness, soiled or decaying things
Narratophilia Obscene words
Nasophilia Noses
Necrophilia Corpses
Objectophilia Specific inanimate objects
Oculolinctus/ Oculophilia Licking the eyeballs/ activities directly relating to and/or involving the eyes
Olfactophilia Smells and odors emanating from the body, especially the sexual areas.
Omorashi Arousal from having a full bladder and/or wetting oneself, or from seeing someone else experiencing a full bladder and/or wetting themselves
Paraphilic infantilism Dressing or being treated like a baby, also known as autonepiophilia or “adult baby syndrome”; considerable overlap with diaper fetishism
Partialism Specific, non-genital body parts
Pedophilia Prepubescent children, also spelled paedophilia; often confused with hebephilia, ephebophilia, and pederasty
Peodeiktophilia Exposing one’s penis
Podophilia Feet
Pictophilia Pornography or erotic art, particularly pictures
Piquerism Piercing the flesh of another person, most commonly by stabbing or cutting the body with sharp objects
Plushophilia Stuffed toy animals (Plushies)
Pygophilia Buttocks, as in a highly atypical sexual interest focused on the buttocks.
Pyrophilia Fire
Sadism Inflicting pain on others
Salirophilia Soiling or dirtying others
Sexual fetishism Nonliving objects
Somnophilia Sleeping or unconscious people
Sophophilia Learning
Sthenolagnia Muscles and displays of strength
Stigmatophilia Body piercings and tattoos
Symphorophilia Witnessing or staging disasters such as car accidents
Telephone scatologia Obscene phone calls, particularly to strangers; also known as telephonicophilia and scatophilia
Teratophilia Deformed or monstrous people
Toucherism Touching an unsuspecting, non-consenting person with the hand
Toxophilia Archery
Transvestic fetishism Wearing clothes associated with the opposite sex; also known as transvestism
Trichophilia Hair
Troilism Cuckoldism; watching one’s partner have sex with someone else, possibly without the third party’s knowledge
Urolagnia Urination, particularly in public, on others, and/or being urinated on. Also referred to as “water sports”
Vorarephilia The idea of one person or creature eating or being eaten by another; usually swallowed whole, in one piece; also known as vore
Voyeurism Watching others while naked or having sex, generally without their knowledge; also known as scopophilia or scoptophilia
Wet and messy fetishism Messy situations, including, but not limited to, being pied, gunged or covered in mud
Zoosadism Inflicting pain on or seeing animals in pain


The above list is, by no means, exhaustive.  More details can be found here.

There seems to be many overlaps in definitions and one can easily become another.  It’s very important to control any fetish and seek help when it starts to consume you or harm others.  Communication is key!  If you or someone you know is affected by a Paraphilic disorder then please speak to your nearest mental health professional or general practitioner for advice.


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