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Friday, December 03, 1999Female perversion not uncommon: study
Despite a long-standing belief to the contrary, women as well as men suffer from paraphilic sexual disorders, including paedophilia, sexual sadism, exhibitionism and frotteurism (rubbing against a non-consenting person), according to a new Canadian case study.
The study, reported in the current issue of The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, also concludes that women are more likely to have multiple paraphilic disorders than men.
"It is something we thought didn't exist," Dr. Paul Fedoroff, the study's lead author, said in an interview. "We now realize it certainly does exist and may be more common than we think."
A paraphilia is a deviant sexual attraction.
Dr. Fedoroff, a forensic psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and a University of Toronto psychiatry professor, said such disorders among women are underreported because forensic criteria are biased against females. As well, he said since it was felt women could not suffer from paraphilic disorders, specialists did not take note of such behaviour.
"For instance, if a man is touching a child we think about child molestation very quickly but if a women touches a child in the same way, there is a tendency to attribute it to something that is not sexual, like being affectionate," he said.
The study notes that the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual states: "Except for sexual masochism, where the sex ratio is estimated to be 20 males for each female, the other paraphilias are almost never diagnosed in females, although some cases have been reported."
About 132 candidates enrolled in special forensic programs were examined in the long-term study, which included 14 women. All 14 were accused of or admitted to paraphilic disorder activities.
The most common diagnoses among women were paedophilia, sexual sadism and exhibitionism.
The study called the number of females studied a "small; but clinically significant sample." The women represented 11% of all cases at the time of the research.
"And that is much more than most people would think," said Dr. Fedoroff.
The findings indicate there were no significant social differences between women and men enrolled in the programs.
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