Murray State Theses and Dissertations


The present study aimed to examine the prevalence rates of paraphilic arousal, behavior, desire, and distress as well as to explore the relationship between paraphilic engagement and psychological distress in a college and online sample. Participants completed a number of online self-report measures that asked about their experience with seven paraphilic behaviors, their desire to experience each paraphilic behavior, distress associated with engaging in each paraphilic behavior, in addition to their current symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. The majority of the participants (69%) reported engaging in at least one paraphilic behavior at least once in their lifetime, and the vast majority of the overall sample indicated a desire to experience at least one paraphilic behavior. Significantly more participants from the online subsample relative to the college subsample reported engaging in and the desire to engage in fetishism, voyeurism, masochism, and sadism while significantly more males than females reported arousal, behavior, and the desire to engage in voyeuristic behavior. Transvestic behavior was the only paraphilia and paraphilic dimension that predicted greater depression, anxiety, and stress. The findings are consistent with previous research that has demonstrated that not all individuals who participate in paraphilic behaviors report feelings of distress, which challenges the notion that unconventional sexual behaviors are maladaptive or that they belong in the DSM-5.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Degree Awarded

Master of Science




College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Thesis Advisor

Michael Bordieri

Committee Member

Sean Rife

Committee Member

Jana Hackathorn

Committee Member

Yousef Yang

Document Type