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According to the American Psychiatric Association, a paraphilia is a type of mental disorder in which the paraphiliac prefers use of a nonhuman object for sexual arousal or engages in repetitive sexual activity with humans involving real or simulated suffering or humiliation or repetitive sexual activity with nonconsenting partners. The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders introduced the word "paraphilia" and noted, "In other classifications these disorders are referred to as Sexual Deviations. The term Paraphilia is preferred because it correctly emphasizes that the deviation (para) lies in that to which the person is attracted (philia)".

In February 2011, Allen Frances and Michael B. First, Chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and its Editor of Text and Criteria, respectively, published an "insider's parsing of the intended meanings" of the first three sentences of the DSM section on paraphilias and stressed that the underlying principle governing inclusion in this category is that a person's focus of sexual arousal be considered deviant, bizarre, and unusual. Thus, if a sexual preference, fantasy, urge, or behavior were to be deemed characteristic of normal people or not inherently deviant, then the sexual arousal or conduct would not be considered evidence of a paraphilia.[1]


  1. Frances, Allen and First, Michael B. (February 2011). "Hebephilia Is Not a Mental Disorder in DSM-IV-TR and Should Not Become One in DSM-5". J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 39 (1): 78-85. 

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