Louis R. Franzini, PhD
Unusual Paraphilias is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes a number of paraphilias and specific fetishes.
At first glance, the title “Unusual Paraphilias” may sound redundant. Yes, a paraphilia involves stimulating sexual arousal in someone by an object or fantasy that for most people is commonplace and not sexually related, either directly or symbolically. That is not true for paraphiles. What you will learn in this course is that there is a clear continuum of unusualness for paraphilias. There are some familiar ones and there are also very many paraphilias reported in the clinical literature which are indeed extremely unusual.
There is a pejorative connotation to nearly all of the sexual interest patterns to be described here. Noted sexologist John Money coined the term “paraphilia” to avoid the negative attitudes many people held regarding these unusual and often distasteful forms of human sexual behavior. His was a thoughtful effort, but many people still register disgust and disdain when they learn of the actual paraphilic interests and practices. Nevertheless, it remains our noble mission to understand these individuals, to protect anyone who might become victimized by their actions, and to educate students and professionals in the healthcare professions who offer treatment for paraphiles.
Let’s first examine the more familiar paraphilias, as presented in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) (2013). In general terms, the recurring and intense sexual arousal in the paraphilic disorder has been occurring for at least 6 months and could be manifested in thoughts, fantasies, urges, and/or overt behaviors. A second general requirement is that the presence of any of these desires or behaviors results in significant emotional distress and/or impairments in their social or occupational functioning. When diagnosing any of the paraphilic disorders, the clinician can specify if its expression is limited because the person lives in a restricted environment, such as a prison or hospital. Any of the disorders can be categorized as “in full remission,” if the person has experienced no impairment in important areas of functioning, when living in an uncontrolled environment for at least 5 years.
Technically, the mere sexual arousal is sufficient for a diagnosis, even if the person has not actually acted on those urges. The urges themselves could cause significant distress or impairments in functioning and become diagnosable even without an expression of overt behaviors. In addition, many of the paraphilias can lead to legal difficulties for the individual, and in some cases, constitute crimes by definition. Some paraphilias involve non-consenting others (adults and children), but other paraphilias include consenting adult partners. Obviously, there can be philosophical disputes about whether treatment should be offered or required for someone whose impulses and their expression may not be harmful to anyone else or even themselves.
This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) and mark your answers on while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists; the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (#PCE1625); theFlorida Boards of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling (#BAP346) and Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).