Sexual deviation syndromes

F. S. Berlin, G. S. Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


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)
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalJohns Hopkins Medical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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