Am I a paraphiliac?

Over the last few days I’ve been doing some research on the Internet into why thoughts about the Death Penalty, and execution in particular, cause the sometimes troubling sexual reactions in me. Through this research I’ve discovered a decent description as to what a psychologist might consider this condition: unspecified paraphilia. However, it is also clear that paraphilia is only considered a treatable condition when it becomes a problem for the person or others, or becomes a criminal activity. Of course the information on the theological implications are much more vague. This research also has led me to conclude that psychologists aren’t sure how it is caused, nor how, or even if, it can be really cured. In my case, I’m not too worried about treatment since it isn’t causing too much problem for me. But I’m interested, or at least curious as to the cause in my case.

There is a lot of differing opinion about the cause, complicated because studies in paraphilia are very close to the politically charged area of the causes of homosexuality. However, reading many of the descriptions, I’ve come to some ideas why I may suffer from an extremely rare paraphilia.

One good summary comes from “Sexual Previsions” at In part it reads:

Psychoanalysts generally theorize that these conditions represent a regression to or a fixation at an earlier level of psychosexual development resulting in a repetitive pattern of sexual behavior that is not mature in its application and expression. In other words, an individual repeats or reverts to a sexual habit arising early in life.

However, behaviorists suggest, instead, that the paraphilia begins via a process of conditioning. Nonsexual objects can become sexually arousing if they are frequently and repeatedly associated with a pleasurable sexual activity. The development of a paraphilia is not usually a matter of conditioning alone; there must usually be some predisposing factor, such as difficulty forming person-to-person sexual relationships or poor self-esteem.

In my case, I suspect that this can directly lead back to the poison pad play when I was quite young. (see my October 29, 2005 entry). What I’m not sure about is what would have enforced this into becoming a paraphilia, other than perhaps my parent’s disapproval of the activity. My tendency towards clinical depression, my shyness and lack of friends in elementary school may have also played into this formation.

I’m not fully sure what all this is telling me, but I don’t think that there is anything earth shattering here. If I felt that this were becoming a serious problem I could probably approach a psychologist about this, but I’m not sure that would be wise, nor that I’d be quite willing to come that far into the open with this.