Paraphilias, psychology homework help

Please respond to the following post in a proffesional manner using to APA style citations: Paraphilias, as the DSM-5 defines them are “any intense and persistent sexual interest other than sexual interest in genital stimulation or preparatory fondling with phenotypically normal, physically mature, consenting human partners” (APA, 2013, p. 685). There are two types of paraphilias, the first type is anomalous activity preferences (such as courtship disorders) and the second type is anomalous target preferences (either directed at humans or elsewhere) (p. 685). One specific paraphilia is sexual sadism. In sexual sadism, the individual has a recurring and intense sexual arousal from the psychological or physical pain of another person that lasts at least six months (Beidel, Frueh & Hersen, 2014, p. 574). Sadistic fantasies often include themes of dominance, control, and humiliation (Hooley et al., 2017, p. 430). Sexual sadism seems to be more common in males. The DSM-5 also specifies whether the individual is in a controlled environment or if the individual is in full remission.

Two different viewpoints that can explain sexual sadism are biological and social. There are four areas of biological factors: (1) genetic vulnerabilities, (2) brain dysfunction and neural plasticity, (3) neurotransmitter and hormonal abnormalities in the brain or other parts of the central nervous system, and (4) temperament (Hooley et al., 2017, p. 66). Genetic vulnerabilities are things that are inherited and passed down from generation to generation. A problem with a gene or with multiple genes can lead to mental disorders, but it is hard to say exactly what genetically causes behavior because the environment also plays a role in determining behavior. Brain dysfunction can cause abnormal behavior as well. The brain is flexible in development, allowing for positive and negative effects to happen. Neurotransmitters can fall into imbalance because of an excess of production and release which causes an excess of the neurotransmitter, problems with the reuptake of the neurotransmitter, or problems with the receptors in the postsynaptic neurons. These imbalances can lead to mental disorders. Hormonal imbalances also can lead to mental disorders. Temperament is the basic disposition that a person has. A person can have neuroses, be extraverted, or be a very timid and anxious person. All of these biological abnormalities combine with environmental, social, and cultural events that help create the person. For the sexual sadist, there could be a biological disposition towards hurtful behavior, such as imbalances in neurotransmitters.

The social viewpoint has several factors: (1) early deprivation or trauma, (2) problems in parenting style, (3) marital discord and divorce, (4) low socioeconomic status and unemployment, (5) maladaptive peer relationships, and (6) prejudice and discrimination (Hooley et al., 2017, p. 90). These environmental factors can shape a person and dysfunction in the environment can lead to mental disorders. For example, a child who grows up in an abusive home is more likely to have mental disorders than those children raised in warm, loving homes, but, this is not to say that the child raised in a positive environment does not have a chance at having a mental disorder. For the sexual sadist, it could be that the individual grew up in a less than ideal environment, and learned that pain equals pleasure.


American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders [5th ed.]. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

Beidel, D. C., Frueh, B. C., Hersen, M. (2014). Adult psychopathology and diagnosis [7th ed.]. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Hooley, J. M., Butcher, J., Nock, M., & Mineka, S. (2017). Abnormal psychology [17th ed.]. Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing.

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