Sexual deviation syndromes

Frederick S Berlin, G. S. Coyle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sexual deviation syndromes (paraphilias) are diagnosable psychiatric syndromes manifested by 1) recurrent persistent deviant fantasies, 2) intense erotic cravings that are noxious when frustrated, and 3) relatively stereotyped behaviors in the sense that exhibitionists expose themselves, whereas voyeurs 'peep'. These syndromes follow a predictable course, often respond to biological treatments, and may have associated organic pathologies, but their etiologies are poorly understood. Sexual offenses, as defined legally, may or may not be perpetrated by persons with one of these syndromes. When offending behavior is related to such a syndrome, medroxyprogesterone acetate may be helpful, provided the patient is compliant. It is not known whether this medication can help when such behavior is unrelated to deviant sexual cravings, as when rape is committed in response to anger and hostility - something which may occur more rarely than many psychiatric texts suggest. Legal demands for justice and safety as well as medical concerns for understanding care must both be considered, because each is important. When a person seeks help, as did the patient presented, his difficulties should be appreciated rather than scorned as perversions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJohns Hopkins Medical Journal
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Berlin, F. S., & Coyle, G. S. (1981). Sexual deviation syndromes. In Johns Hopkins Medical Journal (3 ed., Vol. 149, pp. 119-125)