Frotismo: symptoms, causes and treatment of this paraphilia

We take the bus and suddenly we notice that someone is rubbing their genitals against us. We walk through the crowd and notice that our buttocks are touching. Although it does not appear to be the case, it is relatively common situations in our daily life that constitute a crime.

While most of those who perform these types of behaviors perform them without suffering from mental issues, in some of these cases the person doing those touches and rubs is rubbing. In this article, we will briefly examine what is frotism and why it occurs.

    Frotism with paraphilia

    Frotismo or frotteurismo is one of the disorders classified as paraphilia or disorders of sexual inclination, group in which these disorders are grouped in which fantasies and sexual impulses occur repeatedly and continuously in which there is a relationship non-consensual or in which one of the parties cannot consent, in which the only reason for arousal is the use of objects, or in which the humiliation or suffering of oneself or of others is necessary to achieve sexual satisfaction. These desires, impulses or fantasies generate discomfort or deterioration in a vital sphere of the subject who suffers from it.

    In the case of frotism, it is a paraphilia in which the subject presents for at least six months intense fantasies related to the fact rubbing, rubbing or touching someone against or without the will of the victim. It is the idea of ​​maintaining physical contact and the surprise and reaction generated in the victim that arouses the libido of the individual. Because he is considered such, he must have performed the practice in real life or if these fantasies cause him discomfort or limitation.

    The memory of this event is usually used as material for masturbating later, although in some cases they seek to climax during the situation itself (through masturbation, and it is not uncommon for it to be climaxed during the situation itself). there is a real attempt to have sex with the affected people). The rubbing usually targets the genital area or areas related to sexuality like the breasts or buttocks. The subject who performs it can use it to rub any part of his body, being frequent that in the hands or the genitals rub.

    It should be noted that arousal by physical contact or friction with one’s partner or even by involuntary friction with strangers is not included in this paraphilia, and it is necessary that it be carried out actively and voluntarily on the part of the subject rubbing it with the unknown people who have not given their consent. The implementation of the fantasies of a frotteurista it is a crime against sexual freedom in many countries, Which can lead to prison terms.

      General characteristics of the frotista

      The frotista is generally a man who begins his activity in adolescence, generally decreasing his behavior from the age of twenty. It is not uncommon for these to be individuals with shy personalities., With a high level of frustration and a feeling of inferiority.

      Although she can have a partner and have normative relationships with her, it is also not uncommon for the subject to only obtain sexual gratification and arouse it through the practice of this paraphilia, being the only type of stimulation. offered by sexual gratification.

      Usually works in crowded places and situations, In which it is easy to escape and go unnoticed. Typical examples are nightclubs, public transport, traffic lights and crosswalks or shopping streets.

      Possible causes

      The cause of the existence of this paraphilia and others is not fully known, although different models are offered that attempt to explain its origin.

      It is common for frotteurists to be people with poor communication skills and a feeling of inferioritySo in some cases, they resort to this type of practice to try to fill their gaps by performing risky acts. This idea is reinforced by the fact that although it is the physical contact itself that produces the arousal, as in exhibitionists, many frotteuristas also appreciate the reactions of surprise or annoyance from their victims.

      One of the possible explanations offered is based on the effect of exposure to similar patterns of behavior during childhood, the acquisition and learning of the behavior that in some cases they themselves have experienced. This way they could have been sexually abused, Having to touch an adult.

      From a behaviorist point of view, it is possible that we are dealing with conditioned behavior: at one point of great sexual arousal, there was friction with a stranger or stranger, attributing the subject’s arousal to the friction and subsequently consolidating by practicing this association.

      Another theory, which would account for the fact that in some of these subjects the performance of friction is compulsive, is McConaghy’s theory of behavioral termination: the presence of stimuli associated with the practice of friction. it causes the appearance of a high level of anxiety which the subject must resolve by practicing friction. So that this tension does not reappear, the subject then reproduces the behavior.


      As with other paraphilias, treatment of rubricism can be carried out using a variety of tactics. It should be noted that, except in cases where guilt or discomfort arises, in general the paraphilic individual usually does not appear in consultation of his own free will, It is therefore expected that there will be resistance to treatment. It is necessary to show the patient the need and the benefits that his participation can bring.

      We must first analyze the subject’s fantasies because he attributes the subject to his behavior, if this gives it meaning or what circumstances lead him to carry out these practices. Knowing the meaning of the act is of great importance in the face of power belief modification and cognitive restructuring, At the same time that the subject can express possible conflicts which led him to perform it.

      Likewise, techniques such as altering the paraphilic sequence are generally used, in which it is intended to introduce alterations in the sequence of acts that the individual performs to perform the keystrokes so that the end result is incompatible with the keys.

        Bibliographical references:

        • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
        • Belloch, Sandín and Ramos (2008). Manual of psychopathology. McGraw-Hill. Madrid.

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