It may seem that most people prefer engaging in conventional sex acts, but a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research revealed that more people are actually into unusual sexual behaviours such as voyeurism, masochism and fetishism than previously thought. Published on March 3, the study states that 45.6 percent of the 1,040 surveyed Quebecker participants desire to do at least one type of anomalous sexual act.

According to Christian Joyal, a Department of Psychology professor at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, sex acts are categorised into normal or normophilic and anomalous or paraphilic. Aside from desiring the anomalous sex acts, 33 percent of the participants have already engaged in them at least once.

Woman's hands in handcuffs. Photo from Pixabay/KlausHausmann

Woman’s hands in handcuffs. Photo from Pixabay/KlausHausmann

Specifically, 35 percent of the male and female participants want or have engaged in voyeurism or the sexual pleasure and gratification from looking at naked bodies while 26 percent are for fetishism or the sexual attraction to non-sexual objects or body parts. Twenty-six percent of them desire or have performed frotteurism or the pleasure from rubbing one’s genitals against a non-consenting person and 19 percent are for masochism or the sexual gratification from physical pain or humiliation.

It was also found out that more men were interested in paraphilic behaviours than women but those women with these interests were more satisfied with their sex lives. Moreover, the research team also found a strong relationship between wanting to be sexually submissive and openness to practising other sexual activities. The research stated that a person fond of masochism would also like to explore other unusual sex acts.

The researchers emphasise that these were paraphilic sexual behaviour and paraphilias, not paraphilic disorders. The participants only desire and performed these non-normorphilic sex acts a few times but do not need these just to be satisfied, unlike those with paraphilic disorders who cannot achieve sexual satisfaction through other means.

“A paraphilia is not a mental disorder but rather a sexual preference for non-normophilic behaviour, whereas paraphilic behaviour is non-preferential and only engaged in from time to time. At the same time, this study strongly suggests that some legal paraphilic behaviours are far from abnormal, contrary to what is suggested by the DSM-5,” says Joyal. “We have reasons to believe that this study’s results which are based on Quebec’s population can be applied to the population of North America and Europe as well.”