Saturday, January 30, 2016

Paraphilic Interests: An Examination of Sex Differences in a Nonclinical Sample

Little research has been conducted to examine paraphilic sexual interests in nonclinical samples. The little that exists suggests that atypical sexual interests are more common in men than in women, but the reasons for this difference are unknown. 

In this study, we explored the prevalence of paraphilic interests in a nonclinical sample of men and women. We expected that men would report greater arousal (or less repulsion) toward various paraphilic acts than women. We also examined putative correlates of paraphilias in an attempt to explain the sex difference. 

In all, 305 men and 710 women completed an online survey assessing sexual experiences, sexual interests, as well as indicators of neurodevelopmental stress, sex drive, mating effort, impulsivity, masculinity/femininity, and socially desirable responding. 

As expected, significant sex differences were found, with men reporting significantly less repulsion (or more arousal) to the majority of paraphilic acts than women. Using mediation analysis, sex drive was the only correlate to significantly and fully mediate the sex difference in paraphilic interests. In other words, sex drive fully accounted for the sex difference in paraphilic interests. 

The implications of these findings for understanding the etiology of atypical sexual interests are discussed.

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  • 1Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
  • 2University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
  • 3University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
  •  2016 Feb;28(1):20-45. doi: 10.1177/1079063214525645. Epub 2014 Mar 14.

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