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Paraphilia - Three Famous Sexual ’Deviants’ in History

Paraphilia - Three Famous Sexual 'Deviants' in History

Paraphilia - Three Famous Sexual 'Deviants' in History

By Tatyana Dyachenko

There have always been those sexual proclivities considered socially ‘acceptable’ and those seen as more taboo, although ideas about the acceptability of sexual desires change over time. ‘Paraphilia’ is the psychological term for ‘abnormal’ sexual desires, especially those which centre on ‘extreme or dangerous’ behaviour, and there have been many famous historical figures considered to have displayed some form of paraphilia. Here are three of the most famous people whose ‘sexual perversion’ has interested biographers:

1) The Marquis de Sade

The term ‘sadist’ – one who derives sexual arousal from inflicting pain, cruelty or humiliation on others – comes from the name of this famous French aristocrat and writer. The Marquis de Sade wrote transgressive fiction about sexual exploitation, but was also a staunch advocator of sexual freedom who rebelled against the Catholic orthodoxy of his time. While the writer took pleasure in graphically describing rapes and orgies, readers have since been split in trying to decide whether the writer was a pornographer and ‘pervert’ who clearly hated women, or might be redeemed as a reformer whose violent fiction satirized and lampooned the prohibitive sexual climate of his time.

2) Armin Meiwes

The line between uncommon sexual attraction and acts considered to be criminal has often been thin. This is proven by the case concerning the infamous Armin Meiwes, a German man who found a stranger online who was willing to be killed and eaten in a cannibalistic ritual. Because Meiwes’ gory fantasy was carried out and he killed and ate his willing ‘victim’, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to the team of prosecutors in Meiwes’ trial, the German’s primary motivation was erotic satisfaction.

3) James Joyce

Famed Irish Modernist writer James Joyce might be best known for classic works of fiction such as Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, but Joyce was also into all kinds of kink. Letters sent to his wife Nora Barnacle detail Joyce’s erotic pleasure at Nora’s farting during sex. The official name for a fetish for breaking wind is ‘eproctophilia’, and judging by some of his salacious letters, Joyce had it bad.

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