Study suggests half of us have an interest in deviant sexual acts
- Psychologists questioned 1,000 people from Quebec about their sex lives
- They found 46 per cent showed an interest in paraphilic sexual behaviours
- A third had an interest in or took part in voyeurism and a fifth in fetishism
- Masochism was most often associated with other deviant behaviours
By Richard Gray
It is often thought of as behaviour indulged by a fringe of society, but it appears sexual deviants may be more common than previously thought. A study has revealed sexual perversions, also known as paraphilia, are surprisingly widespread – occurring in nearly half of a population. Psychologists found in a survey of more than 1,000 people from Quebec in Canada, nearly 50 per cent expressed interest in activities such as fetishism, frotteurism, masochism or voyeurism.
Around a third of those questioned also said they had had paraphilic sexual experiences. People who engaged in masochism were also more likely to have other fetishes.
The researchers said they were surprised to find that of the eight types of paraphilic behaviour recognised by psychologists, four of them appeared to be remarkably common. Voyeurism was reported by 35 per cent of men and women while fetishism was reported by a fifth of those questioned.
Masochism was enjoyed by 19 per cent and frotteurism – where sexual pleasure is derived from rubbing the groin against another person without permission – was ranked among the desires or experiences of 26 per cent
Professor Christian Joyal, a psychologist at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres who led the study, said: ‘Some paraphilic interests are more common than people might think, not only in terms of fantasies but also in terms of desire and behaviour.
‘The main goal of the study was to determine normal sexual desires and experiences in a representative sample of the generVoyeural population.
‘These facts suggest that we need to know what normal sexual practices are before we label a legal sexual interest as anomalous.’ Professor Joyal and his team conducted telephone interviews with 1,040 people from Quebec about their sex lives. Of those questions, 46 per cent said they were interested in at least one type of sexual behaviour that is considered anomalous. They found there was a strong relationship between an interest in sexual submission and an interest in other sexual activities. This suggests the desire to engage in masochism is significantly associated diverse sexual interests. ‘In general, it is true that men are more interested in paraphilic behaviors than women,’ explained Professor Joyal.
‘However, this doesn’t mean that women don’t have these interests at all. ‘In fact, women who report an interest in sexual submission have more varied sexual interests and report greater satisfaction with their sex lives. ‘Sexual submission is therefore not an abnormal interest.’ Although the study, which is published in The Journal of Sex Research, was only conducted in Quebec, Professor Joyal said the findings could also apply to wider populations in North America and Europe. The researchers argue their findings also indicate clearer distinctions need to be made between normal and abnormal sexual behaviour.
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