- This article is about a specific sexual disorder. For sexual rubbing while naked or clothed during normal sexual activity, see frottage.
In psychiatry, the clinical term frotteurism (no longer called frottage) refers to a specific sexual disorder. It is a paraphilia involving rubbing against a nonconsensual person to achieve sexual arousal or even orgasm, discreetly without being discovered, typically in a public place such as a crowded train.
The term toucherism is sometimes used to describe the closely related condition involving only touching or fondling without rubbing, although it is generally considered to be part of frotteurism.
Usually such nonconsensual sexual contact is viewed as criminal offense: a form of sexual assault albeit often classified as a misdemeanor with minor legal penalties. Conviction may result in a sentence including compulsory psychiatric treatment.
A person who suffers from frotteurism is known as a frotteur.
The term frotteurism derives from the French verb frotter meaning 'to rub'. The term frotteur is the French noun literally meaning 'rubber' or 'one who rubs'.
The psychiatric handbook, the DSM (see below), used to call this sexual disorder by the name frottage until the second edition (DSM II). However, this term is no longer used to refer to the sexual disorder, which is now called frotteurism, as it is in the current fourth edition (DSM IV). Nevertheless, the obsolete term frottage still remains in some law codes and so on, retains some currency, and can cause confusion with the term frotteurism. "Frottage" is now the preferred term for consensual rubbing as part of normal sexual activity.
The professional handbook of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV), lists the following diagnostic criteria for frotteurism.
- Recurrent, intense, or arousing sexual urges or fantasies, that involve touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person.
- The person has acted on these sexual urges or fantasies, or they cause the person significant distress, to a degree they are disruptive to everyday functioning.
DSM IV Classification
According to DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, IV edition), where all psychiatric illnesses are represented as numerals to avoid confusion, frotteurism is classified as 302.89.
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