Sexual perversion in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Sexual perversion in Sri Lanka

9 January, 2022

Sexual perversion which is also known as sexual deviance or paraphilia (in psychiatry) is an alarmingly increasing psychological disorder in Sri Lanka as in many other countries.

This can be due to three decades of terrorism in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 situation has also increased the occurrence of this disorder.

Sexual perversion is a human behavior which cannot be considered as normal or orthodox.

According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD), there are eight types of perversions namely exhibitionism (patients obtain sexual arousal by exposing their genital parts to strangers), fetishism (patients obtain sexual arousal using or thinking about an intimate object or part of the body), frotteurism (patients obtain sexual arousal and gratification by rubbing one’s genitals against others in public places with non-consent), masochism (patients obtain sexual arousal by having pain and/or humiliation inflicted upon oneself), pedophilia (patients engage in sexual activities focusing prepubescent children), sadism (patients obtain sexual arousal by inflicting pain on another person), transvestitism (patients obtain sexual arousal from cross-dressing) and voyeurism which is also known as ‘peeping tom’ (Patients obtain sexual arousal by observing undressing and engage in physical relationships without their knowledge). Necrophilia (patients obtain sexual pleasure while contacting with dead bodies) and urolagnia (patients obtain sexual excitement with the though of urine or urination) can also be included.

Identification of the these types of sexual perversion is important when treating patient since these type of sexual behaviour are repulsive, obsessive and abnormal.

This type of behaviour includes activities which involve underage children with non-consent, non-human sexual objects and engage in humiliation and suffering. Under mild, moderate and severe, the level of the severity of this disorder can be measured.

Patients with mild levels can become highly distressed by frequent events but may never act. Patients with moderate levels may occasionally act and patients with severe levels may repeat indecent acts.

Sexual perversion is more common among males than females. However, this disparity is not clearly comprehended; yet this doesn’t mean that this disorder is rare among females. The occurrence of sexual perversion differs from one culture to another as it has attachments with religion, myths, beliefs, comprehension of certain concepts (like legal versus ill-legal and with consent versus without consent) perception towards such topics, attitudes, industrialization and urbanization.

Causes and symptoms

While considering the causes of sexual perversion, the exact causes have not been identified. Yet, experts believe that it is caused by dire childhood traumas such as child sexual abuse. This perversion may act as a way of obtaining revenge for their childhood traumas. The repetitive nature of sexual perversion is caused by the inability to remove childhood traumas entirely.

Sexual perversion is also linked with several other psychological health concerns such as depression, anxiety, guilty, shame, isolation and poor self-esteem.

These patients are unable to conduct normal social and sexual relationships as they are more exposed to psychological problems, psychosexual trauma, inadequate psychological guidance and counseling, excessive alcohol consumption, socio-cultural factors, parents’ humiliation and severe punishments.

Furthermore, sexual perversion can be influenced by different patterns of upbringing and cultural influences. Sexual perversion patients may experience anxiety, irrational fear, panic, dry mouth, feeling of dread, nausea, terror, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath, which may lead to have panic attacks.

Usually, sexual perversion patients have more than one disorder.


Professional treatment is needed for sexual perversion patients for a period of several years though there is no long-term cure and the success is very limited.

Treatment can include cognitive behaviour therapies which can reduce the number of occurrences of perversion. Group psychotherapy, counseling and shock aversion approaches can be used.

These therapies and approaches can help modify attitudes, beliefs and indecent behaviors of patients. Behavioral intervention can be considered which may have an effect on sexual arousal patterns. Pharmacological interventions can also be considered for the sex drive reduction.

However, patients suffering from sexual perversions can have a normal life and can engage in normal activities and occupations.

It is highly essential to develop hobbies which can help them to forget their indecent behaviors. It is also highly essential to identify one’s health concerns which helps them to control their negative behaviour since engaging in sexual perversion can involve the violation of social norms and laws. [email protected]