ABC of sexual health: Sexual variations
W P de Silva
“Sexual variations” refer to sexual desires and behaviours outside what is considered to be the normal range, although what is unusual or atypical varies between cultures and from one period to another. Defining normality is extremely difficult (and arbitrary), because the definition involves making a value judgment and therefore labelling how we view other people.
Sexual variations are also referred to as paraphilias, a neutral term for behaviours formerly called deviant. They can be defined as conditions in which a person\'s sexual gratification is dependent on an unusual sexual experience revolving round particular sex objects.1 They are much more common in men than women.
Sexual variations have existed and been recorded for millennia in different parts of the world. For example, early Buddhist texts contain numerous references to sexually variant behaviours among monastic communities over 2000 years ago. These behaviours included sexual activity with animals and sexual interest in corpses.