Frotteurism

Frotteurism: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: FrotteurismFrotteurism is a disorder in which a person derives sexual pleasure or gratification from rubbing, especially the genitals, against another person, usually in a crowd. The person being rubbed is a victim. Frotteurism is a paraphilia, a disorder that is characterized by recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving objects, the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one's partner (not merely simulated), or children or other nonconsenting persons. The behaviour usually begins in adolescence with puberty and involves sexual arousal from the touching or rubbing against unsuspecting victims. While the rubbing or touching may be on any part of the body, the breasts, legs and buttocks are the most common areas. The individual may touch the victim with his hands or rub his genital area against the victim. Most individuals with this frotteurism are male and in most cases the victims are females. The incidents usually occur in crowded settings where it can be interpreted or disguised as inadvertent behaviour. Setting include elevators, escalators, buses, trains, subways, or crowds in general. Victims may be unaware that they have been so accosted. Prevalence is difficult to determine in the general public, particularly given the tendency of the individual to "disappear" in the surrounding crowd. Individuals may present for treatment spontaneously if the condition is causing them sufficient distress but, in general, they come to the attention of mental health professionals only if they have come into contact with the criminal justice system as a result of their behaviour. Symptoms: The symptoms of frotteurism are fairly straightforward and basically include the act itself and any interference this condition causes to everyday life. Anyone, male or female, can suffer from this condition, but the most common occurrences initiate with 15 to 25 year-old males. Symptoms and signs to look for if frotteurism is suspected are as follows: Sexually arousing fantasies, urges and behaviors that involve touching and rubbing against an unfamiliar person.
  • Rubbing the pelvic region, penis or other areas of the body against non-consenting persons in public places for the purpose of sexual arousal and gratification.
  • Using the hands to touch an unsuspecting victim in an inappropriate area, such as the breasts, buttocks or genital region.
  • Fantasies during the act that the frotteur is involved in an intimate relationship with the victim.
  • The acts become obsessive, recur and begin to interrupt normal, daily functioning.
Diagnosis: Most people with frotteurism never seek professional help, but people with the disorder may come into the mental health system as a result of a court order. The diagnosis is established in an interview between the person accused of frotteurism and the mental health professional (a psychiatrist or a psychologist, for example). In the interview, the individual acknowledges that touching others is a preferred or exclusive means of sexual gratification. Because this acknowledgment can bring criminal charges, the disorder is underdiagnosed and its prevalence is largely unknown. In some cases, other people besides the accused may be interviewed, including observers or the victim. Treatment: For treatment to be successful, the frotteur must want to modify existing patterns of behavior. This initial step is difficult for most people with this disorder to take. Behavior therapy is commonly used to try to treat frotteurism. The frotteur must learn to control the impulse to touch nonconsenting victims. Medroxyprogesterone, a female hormone, is sometimes prescribed to decrease sexual desire. Frotteurism is a criminal act in many jurisdictions. It is usually classified as a misdemeanor. As a result, legal penalties are often minor. It is also not easy to prosecute frotteurs as intent to touch is difficult to prove. In their defense statements, the accused often claim that the contact was accidental. NOTE: The above information is for processing purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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