Paraphilic disorders: A better understanding

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Can treated patients still be sexual?

If pharmacologic treatment of a paraphilic disorder results in erectile dysfunction, prescription of a medication such as sildenafil can be considered for patients who are in a consenting adult relationship, generally with the knowledge of their partner. Sildenafil can facilitate erectile capacity without increasing sexual drive. It can be helpful to explain to a patient that the purpose of pharmacologic treatment is not to prevent the enjoyment of sexual feelings within the context of a healthy, consenting, adult relationship, but instead to lower the intensity of problematic sexual urges, thereby facilitating sexual self-control. Just as lowering the appetite for food can make it easier to diet but not impossible to eat, lowering sexual appetite can facilitate successful self-control without necessarily interfering with erotic feelings experienced during sexual intimacy.

Bottom Line

Paraphilic disorders are not manifestations of a character flaw, but manifestations of unchosen qualitative differences in the nature of one’s sexual cravings. Not enough is yet known about the biology of sex to be able to pharmacologically alter its qualitative nature. However, pharmacologically lowering the intensity of a patient’s sexual drive can facilitate successful sexual self-regulation.

Related Resources

Drug Brand Names

Flutamide • Eulexin
Leuprolide injection •
Eligard, Lupron Depot
Medroxyprogesterone •
Naltrexone • Revia, Vivitrol
Progesterone • Prometrium
Sildenafil • Viagra

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