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Filias y parafilias: definition, types and characteristics

Filias y parafilias: definition, types and characteristics

November 27, 2021

Although the term "filia" has a very broad meaning and can refer to any type of hobby, in Psychology we use it especially in the field of sexuality. When the philias are very marked and atypical we speak of paraphilia .

In this article we will describe the characteristics of the most common or striking types of philia and paraphilias . To contextualize these categories it is important to previously define the concepts of philia and paraphilia.

  • Related article: "The main sexual and psychosexual disorders"

Definition of philia and paraphilia

The word "filia" comes from the Greek "philos", which we could translate as "love" or "friendship". It is usually used as a suffix to designate Intense liking or taste for a certain element , which may or may not be of a sexual nature; thus, a cinephile person is one who enjoys cinema a lot, and philately is the hobby of collecting stamps.


However, in psychology, sexuality is the field where this concept appears most commonly. In this area, the philias overlap with the paraphilias, defined as patterns of sexual behavior in which the desire, the excitement or the pleasure depend to a great extent on atypical elements, although this does not necessarily entail a pathology.

Paraphilias are harmless if they do not involve the discomfort of the person or of others, so that in many cases they simply consist of a sexual preference. This usually happens in fetishism (excited by an object or part of the body), among other philia. However, sometimes these preferences involve people who do not consent or simply hamper relationships.


The term "philia" is contrasted with that of "phobia" , which is used to refer to irrational fears or aversions. Like the philias, phobias can sometimes be of a sexual nature; For example, erotophobia or genophobia is the aversion to sexual intercourse, while the word "medomalacufobia" refers to the fear of losing an erection.

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

Types of philia and their characteristics

Next we will make a brief description of the main characteristics of different types of philias and paraphilias. Assigning one or another label depends on the intensity of the preference, the discomfort that leads to the person or others and the point of view of each expert.

1. Fetish

Fetishism is the sexual preference for inanimate objects or for specific parts of the body. Two of the best-known fetish filias are the podophilia, which involves the feet, and the retifism or taste for shoes . The preference for objects designed for sexual stimulation, such as vibrators, is not considered fetishism.


2. Exhibitionism

This filia consists in obtaining sexual arousal and pleasure at expose body parts, usually the genitals , to other people. It is usual that the intensity of exhibitionist behavior increases with practice, and may adopt a compulsive nature.

  • Related article: "Exhibitionism: causes and symptoms of this sexual paraphilia"

3. Voyeurism or scopophilia

Voyeurism is defined as the taste marked by observe naked people or who are having sex . Voyeurs often prefer that the person observed does not know that they are watching, and usually do not seek sexual intercourse with it.

4. Frotteurismo

The frotteuristas people, or frotteurs, look for the Physical contact with other people to masturbate after ; in their pathological form, they do so without permission and / or against their will. It is usually carried out in places where there are many people, such as public transport or nightclubs. The frotteurismo is much more usual in young people.

5. Sexual masochism

Masochism includes the sexual pleasure that is obtained when receive physical harm or humiliation , as well as any other type of suffering. It is the most common paraphilia in women, and is often associated with sadism.

6. Sexual sadism

Sadistic people enjoy sexually with the idea or practice of harming others. Although there is often talk of pathological sexual sadism, there are many sadistic people who only fulfill their fantasies with people who consent to it; this happens for example in the BDSM , which encompasses the practices of bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism.

7. Transvestite fetish

This philia involves obtaining sexual pleasure by dressing as a person of another gender. It has only been described in heterosexual men, who in some cases do not identify with the masculine gender. When a man gets excited seeing himself or imagining himself as a woman, we talk about autogynephilia.

8. Pedophilia

The DSM manual defines pedophilia as the sexual preference for people who have not reached puberty (children under 13 years old). The difference with pedophilia is that this term designates the practice of abusive behaviors to children, while pedophilia can also refer to impulses or habitual fantasies that have not been fulfilled.

9. Gerontofilia

The gerontofilia is the sexual preference by people of advanced age. If the attraction is given to elderly males this philia is known as alphamegamia, while if the object of desire are women it is matronolagnia.

10. Necrophilia

Necrophilous people are attracted to corpses , be they from humans or from other animals. Although logically necrophilia is usually carried out without the consent of the deceased, cases of necrophilia have occurred with previous permission of the deceased, such as the famous episode of Armin Meiwes, the "Cannibal of Rotemburgo".

11. Asphyxophilia

Asphyxophilia consists in obtaining pleasure with the sensation of drowning. Sexual asphyxia can be carried out with a partner or as a method of masturbation; in this case we would speak of autoerotic asphyxia.

12. Zoophilia or bestialism

In zoophilia the person feel desire or perform sexual activities with animals . It is especially common in rural settings and in psychiatric patients, and only very rarely cases of exclusive zoophilia are detected.

13. Urophilia and coprophilia

In urophilia, fantasies include the presence of urine, while in coprophilia the same happens with feces. A related paraphilia is diaper fetishism. When the person gets excited with the idea of ​​urinating or defecating on top of a sexual partner, we talk about elimination.

14. Xenophilia

Understood from a sexual point of view, xenophilia is the preference for people who are perceived as members of an ethnic group exotic or different from their own . However, in a broader sense xenophilia is the taste for people or objects of unknown origin, and technically has a meaning opposed to the word "xenophobia."

15. Ginandromorfofilia or ginemimetofilia

This filia refers to the preferential attraction, whether exclusive or not, towards transgender or transgender people. The conception of ginandromorphilia as a type of paraphilia is frequently criticized as it may favor the stigmatization of transgender people and those who are attracted to them.


PARAPHILIAS (November 2021).


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