Psychological and Developmental Correlates of Paraphilic and Normophilic Sexual Interests

Ashley Brown*, Edward Barker, Qazi Rahman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
251 Downloads (Pure)


The classification of sexual fantasies and behaviors (here referred to as ‘sexual interests’) has historically been divided into ‘paraphilic’ and ‘normophilic’. However, studies on paraphilic interests are often limited to clinical or forensic samples and normophilic interests are rarely assessed in tandem. Previous research has found mixed results for psychological and other correlates of sexual interests, potentially due to inconsistency in operationalism and measurement of fantasies and behaviors. The aim of the current study was to quantify correlates of sexual interests via the Sexual Fantasies and Behaviors Inventory, containing factors related to general fantasies/behaviors, normophilia, power dynamics, sadomasochism, and courtship paraphilias, using a large (N = 4280) non-clinical sample. Psychological, developmental, sexual, and demographic correlates were investigated via bivariate correlations, mean difference testing, and multiple regression. Sexual interest domains were largely unrelated to psychopathology and developmental factors. Sociosexuality and more accepting attitudes towards sadomasochism was generally related to more arousal to/engagement in normophilic and paraphilic domains. More autism spectrum disorder traits were related to decreased normophilic interests. Psychopathic traits, sexual sensation seeking, and sexual compulsivity were related to paraphilia dimensions, especially courtship paraphilias and domination/sadism; the former was also associated with negative attitudes about establishing consent. Men, non-monogamous, and non-heterosexual participants indicated greater sexual fantasies and behaviors compared to women (except in the case of submission and masochism), monogamous, and heterosexual participants, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-464
Number of pages37
Issue number4
Early online date5 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


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